Trump and Bolton talk tough on China; Cui Tiankai takes to Fox News; Yi Gang says China can handle trade war and will not engage in competitive devaluation; Crazy Rich Asians gets China release date

Today's newsletter is a bit long because I included China-related excerpts from President Trump's 60 Minutes interview and National Security Advisor John Bolton's interview on the Hugh Hewitt radio show.

Other things on my radar this morning include:

  • US officials are not the only ones taking to media to discuss US-China relations; Ambassador Cui Tiankai sat for an interview with Chris Wallace for the Fox News Sunday show;

  • "钟轩理 Zhongxuanli" the pseudonym for the Central Propaganda Department Theoretical Bureau, is out with another commentary in People’s Daily on the US-China trade war;

  • In statements at the IMF meeting PBoC governor Yi Gang expressed confidence about China's ability to weather the trade war and promised that "we will not engage in competitive devaluation, and will not use the exchange rate as a tool to deal with trade frictions";

  • US Treasury Mnuchin says a Trump-Xi G20 meeting is not a done deal;

  • Xi chaired the second meeting of the Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development;

  • Variety reports that "Crazy Rich Asians" has a November 30 release date for China.

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the launch of the subscription version of Sinocism. For all of you who signed up to an annual subscription when I launched, thank you. If your credit card has changed/expired since then please update it in your account settings (account--payment settings--update) before tomorrow. If the account cancels and you have to resubscribe you will no longer have access to the charter rate of $118/year I offered for the first month.

I can't even begin to express my gratitude to all of you for supporting Sinocism and allowing it be a viable and independent source of information about China.

Thank you.

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The Essential Eight

1. Trump on 60 Minutes about China

Donald Trump 60 Minutes interview: Full transcript of Lesley Stahl's interview with the president - CBS News

Lesley Stahl: China.

President Donald Trump: I get along with him. It's very important. China, let's go.

Lesley Stahl: I'm skipping across the world here. You've slapped a lot of tariffs--

President Donald Trump: $250 billion.

Lesley Stahl: Gonna do more?

President Donald Trump: Might. Might.

Lesley Stahl: Round three?

President Donald Trump: They wanna negotiate, Lesley. They wanna negotiate.

Lesley Stahl: Are you ready?

President Donald Trump: Look.

Lesley Stahl: Are you ready to--

President Donald Trump: I have a great chemistry also with President Xi of China. I don't know that that's necessarily going to continue. I told President Xi we cannot continue to have China take $500 billion a year out of the United States in the form of trade and others things.

Lesley Stahl: And how-- how--

President Donald Trump: And I said we can't do that, and we're not gonna do that anymore.

Lesley Stahl: How much squeezing of them are you prepared to do when American products are gonna be more expensive for American consumers in the end of all this?

President Donald Trump: Okay. Okay. So, so far, that hasn't turned out to be the case.

Lesley Stahl: Some--

President Donald Trump: --if you think about it, so far, I put 25% tariffs on steel dumping, and aluminum dumping 10%.

Lesley Stahl: But they've--

President Donald Trump: --again.

Lesley Stahl: --retaliated. That's what I'm asking.

President Donald Trump: They can retaliate, but they can't-- they don't have enough ammunition to retaliate. We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.

Lesley Stahl: Are you trying to sort of push them into a depression?

President Donald Trump: No no, although they're down 32 percent in four months, which is 1929.

Comment: How many times have China’s stock markets crashed since 2006? Their performance is not meaningfully indicative of anything fundamental in china, and the government knows it can contain any “social management” fallout from the market crashes. Sad that the US President thinks this matters in any meaningful way…

Lesley Stahl: Well that's what I'm asking.

President Donald Trump: I don't want that. No, I don't want that. I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our-- our markets are open.

Lesley Stahl: But you're in a--

President Donald Trump: And it will be a fair deal--

Lesley Stahl: --trade war right now. Trade war.

President Donald Trump: You call it war, I don't call--

Lesley Stahl: You-- you--

President Donald Trump: --it--

Lesley Stahl: --you did today.

President Donald Trump: I called it a skirmish.

Lesley Stahl: I heard you, you called it a war.

President Donald Trump: I called it, actually I called it a battle. But, actually, I'm gonna lower that. I consider it a skirmish. And we're gonna win.

While Mnuchin says the G20 meeting may not happen—Trump-Xi meeting at G20 may not go ahead, warns US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin | South China Morning Post:

Mnuchin, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in Bali, also said that Chinese officials had told him that they did not want to see a further depreciation of the yuan’s exchange rate, an issue that the US has been very concerned about.

“I don’t think any decision has been made with regard to a meeting,” Mnuchin said when asked if the Chinese side had offered enough trade concessions to justify a meeting.

“To the extent we can make progress toward a meeting, I encourage that. There are no preconditions, the president will decide [whether to meet Xi].”

Comment: I’d love to see the full list of 142 demands the US made to China, and figure which of the ones the Chinese say they can address immediately vs medium term vs never...

 2. Yi Gang expresses confidence at IMF meetings

US-China trade war: PBOC still has plenty of tools, Yi Gang says - CNBC:

"I think the downside risks from trade tensions are significant," Yi said at the International Banking Seminar, which was organized on the sidelines of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Bali, Indonesia.

"We still have plenty of monetary instruments in terms of interest rate policy, in terms of required reserve ratio. We have plenty of room for adjustment, in case we need it," he said, adding that China still wants a "constructive solution" to the ongoing trade frictions.

Five Things to Know About What PBOC Chief Said at the IMF Meetings - Caixin Global:

Yi said China’s economic growth is currently stable, and it is expected to achieve its target expansion this year of 6.5%, or possibly slightly higher. Inflation is benign, corporate profits have increased, and taxes and wages are also at a good level. Domestic consumption has become the main driver of growth.

In order to solve structural problems in the economy, China will accelerate domestic reform and opening-up, and strengthen intellectual property protection, Yi said.

China will also consider adopting the principle of “competitive neutrality” for state-owned enterprises, Yi said, referring to policies to ensure that state-owned enterprises compete with private businesses on a level playing field.

China and IMF members pledge to avoid using currencies as trade weapon - Reuters:

China's top central banker on Saturday pledged to keep the yuan currency's value "broadly stable," a sign that Beijing may be trying to prevent a bruising trade dispute with the United States from spilling over into a currency war.

People's Bank of China Governor Yi Gang's statement at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings in Bali came as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Chinese officials had told him that further yuan depreciation was not in China's interest.

IMFC Statement by Yi Gang, Governor, People's Bank of China, People’s Republic of China:

Looking ahead, China's monetary policy is expected to remain neutral with more focus on guiding expectations. Proactive adjustment and fine-tuning are needed to ensure that the monetary stance will remain appropriate in a changing economic and financial environment, both domestically and externally. It is expected that a well designed and implemented monetary policy will create a conducive financial environment for the supply-side structural reforms and high- quality economic growth. At the same time, China will continue to push ahead with the market- based reforms of interest rate and exchange rate regimes, and keep the RMB exchange rate broadly stable at an adaptive equilibrium level. China will continue to let the market play a decisive role in the formation of the RMB exchange rate. We will not engage in competitive devaluation, and will not use the exchange rate as a tool to deal with trade frictions. Since the beginning of this year, China has continued to implement proactive fiscal policies, and has adopted a series of measures to ease the burden on market participants. Fiscal policies have been playing a greater role in expanding domestic demand and promoting structural adjustment.

In Depth: Central Bank Governor Discusses China’s Economy - Caixin:

Yi Gang, China’s central bank chief, remains optimistic about the country’s macroeconomic prospects, he told Caixin on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund’s ongoing annual meetings in Bali.

Yi addressed fears of a “consumption downgrade” and explained the reasoning behind recent central bank decisions, including last week’s reserve requirement ratio cut, in an interview this week with Caixin.

As The People's Daily runs another commentary on the trade war...

I don't remember ever seeing so many "Zhongxuanli" commentaries in such a short period

I am guessing the purpose of this series is to instill confidence in the cadre ranks that China can handle the trade war, that the US is out to get China and is going rogue against the global trading system, and that China is now a responsible and resolute in the global system?

The original - 人民日报刊发钟轩理文章:贸易战阻挡不了中国前进步伐

This is the very abridged translation of the latest “zhongxuanli” commentary in People's daily. The original quotes several prominent Western academics, officials and investors in support of argument that China's economy can handle the trade war and the US is mistaken to launch it-- Op-ed: Trend of economic globalization unstoppable - People's Daily Online:

Vice President of the US Mike Pence claimed in a recent speech that “we will demand that Beijing break down its trade barriers, fulfill its obligations, fully open its economy — just as we have opened ours”.

But the Vice President, on the other hand, talked at length the trade protectionism adopted by the US, claiming that the US has recently strengthened CFIUS --the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US-- heightening the country’s scrutiny of Chinese investment in America.

Any logic? The speech was self-contradictory.

And Xinhua runs an attack on US "cyber fear-mongering"-Commentary: The ulterior motives behind Washington's cyber fear-mongering against China - Xinhua:

It is not hard to see that there are at least two ulterior motives behind the United States' obsession with demonizing China in the cyber space.

First, by hyping so-called cyber security threats from other countries, Washington attempts to shift worldwide attention away from its own cyber capacity and bullying history, and, more importantly, to make excuses for further cyberspace military buildup.

Second, by slandering Chinese enterprises and their products, like Huawei smart phones and DJI drones, Washington contrives to stir up Sinophobia in other countries so as to browbeat or hoodwink them into blocking Chinese competitors and saving the market for U.S. companies.

The original - 人民日报:煽起“网络恐中”别有用心--新华社评论员 


3. Brazil farmers like the trade war. North Dakota ones, not so much...

North Dakota soybean farmers, caught in the trade war, watch the season run out on their crop - The Washington Post:

We had one country with imports that exceeded the 10 largest other country imports,” Peterson said. “We had all our eggs in one basket with China. It isn’t that we wanted that, or that we didn’t recognize it. But when demand comes that heavy from one area of the world, you try to address it.”

But because the North Dakotan market has been geared specifically for Chinese imports, growers are now left wanting

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: China Sept Soybean Imports 8mmt:

Chinese market commentary has noted that Brazilian prices quoted to Chinese importers have started to rise in recent weeks. U.S. soybean prices have fallen low enough to be roughly comparable to Brazilian prices after assessing China's 25% retaliatory tariff on the U.S. beans. On October 12, the National Grain and Oils Information Center estimated that the CNF price of Brazilian soybeans for arrival in China was $465/mt, about 25% higher than the $348/mt CNF price for soybeans from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. After adding tariffs, value added tax, and unloading fees, Brazilian beans would cost RMB 3708/mt and U.S. Gulf beans would cost RMB 3666/mt.

Trump trade war delivers farm boom in Brazil, gloom in Iowa | Reuters:

It is turning instead to Brazil, which has ridden the wave of Chinese demand for two decades to become a global agricultural powerhouse. Brazilian soybean exports to the Asian country jumped 22 percent by value between January and September, compared to the same period a year ago.

Brazilian producers are not only selling more grain, their soy is fetching $2.83 more per bushel than beans from the United States, up from a premium of just $0.60 a year ago, thanks to stepped up Chinese purchases.

4. Trade just one dimension of broader US-China competition/conflict

I know, it is obvious to you, but I am still surprised by some who still think this is just about trade...

U.S. Edges Toward New Cold-War Era With China - WSJ $$

Interviews with senior White House officials and others in government make clear that recent volleys in what appears a new Cold War aren’t the exception to President Trump’s China policy. They are exactly what the administration wants—putting the spotlight on a meeting between Mr. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a multilateral summit planned for November...

John Bolton, the new national security adviser, has long advocated for a tough approach to China. According to a senior administration official, Mr. Bolton has “unleashed” Matthew Pottinger, chief Asia adviser for the White House, to push for stronger China policies.

The views of Mr. Pottinger, a former U.S. Marine and former reporter for The Wall Street Journal, were reflected in the National Security Strategy that last year put China in the same threat category as North Korea and Iran. He helped oversee a research project detailing ways Beijing uses money to influence U.S. think tanks, universities and local governments.

Comment: Still hoping that study is released or leaked soon

National Security Advisor John Bolton On His Trip To Russia, The Missing Saudi Jamal Khashoggi, Iran, China and Big Tech « The Hugh Hewitt Show Transcript:

HH: All right. Speaking of red lines, a Chinese ship came within 135 feet of an American warship. These are American sailors. If we are threatened, will our sailors fire upon Chinese ships?

JB: Look, the rules of engagement for U.S. Navy vessels worldwide, but particularly in potentially dangerous areas like the South China Sea, are clear. The commanders have the authority we need. We will not tolerate threats to American service members. We’re determined to keep international sea lanes open. This is something the Chinese need to understand. Their behavior has been unnecessarily provocative for far too long. They got away with an awful lot under the Obama administration. I would say China is one of the due bills coming due that Obama ignored or mishandled badly. The pressure’s now on President Trump. He’s responded in a way that has the Chinese confused. They’ve never seen an American president this tough before. I think their behavior needs to be adjusted in the trade area, in the international, military and political areas, in a whole range of areas. Perhaps we’ll see at the G20 meeting in Argentina next month Xi Jinping willing to come to talk turkey on some of these issues. But the president feels very strongly that China’s taken advantage of the international order for far too long, not enough Americans have stood up to it. Now’s the time to do it.

HH: China appears to have weaponized the export of commercial technology in recent reports in Bloomberg and elsewhere. Was there an arms race of which we were completely unaware and not participating?

JB: We were being taken to the cleaners for decades. Ever since China came into the World Trade Organization, they have pursued a mercantilist economic policy in what should be a free trade environment. And they’ve gone well beyond that. They’ve violated rule after rule after rule. And they’ve defied the prediction of those who advocated admitting China to the WTO, that if they came in, international pressure would make China conform to these rules and norms of behavior. They’ve done the opposite. They’ve gotten worse. They steal our intellectual property so they’re able to compete with us without the investment that’s required in research and development. They force technology transfers from American and European companies. They discriminate against us in terms of their domestic policies. And because of the economic growth that they’ve sustained, not only by abandoning their Marxist principles, but basically by violating the international norms we expected them to comply with, they’ve gained substantial economic strength. And on the basis of that economic strength, they’ve built military strength. I think what the president’s doing, because of his business background among other things, is he’s challenging them on the economic grounds. And if they’re put back in the proper place they would be if they weren’t allowed to steal our technology, their military capabilities would be substantially reduced. And a lot of the tensions we see caused by China would be reduced.

Comment: What does Bolton mean by "And if they’re put back in the proper place"?

HH: Beyond shareholders though, we certainly would not have allowed in pre-war Germany Americans to sell the Krupp Iron Works, the design for new artillery. Are we, is there a role for the government to step in into Silicon Valley and control technology transfers?

JB: Well, we’re looking at the export control area. Look, we did this and continue to do it in terms of dual use technology that could affect nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or ballistic missile development. I think in cyberspace, we’re entitled to do the same thing not because we’ve abandoned free market principles, but because we have to be realistic about the adversaries we face in the world today that use the fruits of American freedom against us.

HH: Should we be encouraging our allies to match what the Chinese are doing, the creation of artificial atolls and the armament of them? The Philippines could do it, Japan could do it, ought they to be doing it?

JB: Well, I think we’ve got to do more first to establish for the Chinese that we do not acknowledge the legitimacy of any of this. The ship near collision you mentioned is an example of how dangerous Chinese behavior is. We have now got more participation by allies, the British, the Australians and others, are sailing with us through the South China Sea. We’re going to do a lot more on that. I think we could see more exploitation of mineral resources in the South China Sea with or without Chinese cooperation. They need to know they have not achieved a fait accompli here. This is not a Chinese province and will not be.

Trump Embraces Foreign Aid to Counter China’s Global Influence - The New York Times:

With little fanfare, Mr. Trump signed a bill a little over a week ago that created a new foreign aid agency — the United States International Development Finance Corporation — and gave it authority to provide $60 billion in loans, loan guarantees and insurance to companies willing to do business in developing nations.

The move was a significant reversal for Mr. Trump, who has harshly criticized foreign aid from the opening moments of his presidential campaign in 2015..

The president’s shift has less to do with a sudden embrace of foreign aid than a desire to block Beijing’s plan for economic, technological and political dominance. China has spent nearly five years bankrolling a plan to gain greater global influence by financing big projects across Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa.

Comment: And how many lobbyists used the China angle to push through what is effectively corporate welfare?

5. Ambassador Cui Tiankai Fox News Interview

I assume Amb. Cui was trying to talk straight to President Trump. From what I saw I do not think his performance will change the President's mind...

Chinese official finds Trump 'very confusing,' says US warships at China's doorstep building tension | Fox News:

President Trump's inner circle is "very confusing" for foreign diplomatic officials in Washington to navigate, China's U.S. ambassador Cui Tiankai told "Fox News Sunday" in an exclusive wide-ranging interview.

Cui added that U.S. warships are "on the offensive" near China, days after a U.S. destroyer nearly collided with a Chinese military vessel in the South China Sea. The Pentagon said the Chinese ship came within 45 yards of the U.S. destroyer, in an intentionally "unsafe" maneuver...

He added: "It’s important to notice who started this trade war. We never want to have a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests."

Comment: There are plenty of people in DC who think that China has been engaged in a trade war for years, and only now is the US responding...

The Chinese side released what it says is the transcript of Cui's remarks that were not broadcast in the interview — 中方公布华莱士专访驻美大使崔天凯未播出内容

Chinese ambassador dismisses as 'groundless' U.S. accusation Beijing interfering in domestic affairs- CGTN:

"It's not Chinese warships that are going to the coast of California, or to the Gulf of Mexico,” Cui said. “It's so close to the Chinese islands, and it's so close to the Chinese coast. So who is on the offensive? Who is on the defensive? This is very clear."

Despite these tensions, Trump has often stressed his personal chemistry with President Xi Jinping, and the two are reportedly due to meet at next month's G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

Cui said: "There's a good mutual understanding and good working relationship between the two. I hope and I'm sure this will continue."

6. Hong Kong ready for a new national security law?

Because it sure looks like Beijing is laying the groundwork...

Heeding China's call, Hong Kong tightens grip on dissent | Reuters:

“We can see them (the government) being much more assertive in using these powers and in shaping their policy decisions to reflect the national interests,” said Professor Simon Young of the University of Hong Kong’s law school, saying the courts may be a last line of defence against government overreach.

Serving and retired police officers, lawyers and lawmakers describe intensifying political operations by the police force’s Security Wing, an elite unit that officially handles sensitive tasks including VIP protection and counter-terrorism investigations.

Sources familiar with the wing’s work say it led surveillance and monitoring operations against the National Party and more than a dozen other groups...

Previous attempts to draft a harsher new national security law, known as Article 23, were met with mass protests and abandoned. Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who took office last year, has not yet proposed a new version, a reflection in part of lingering public concern.

But many observers say the government is using the Security Wing to tighten its grip even without Article 23.

7. Xinjiang

The Leaders Who Unleashed China’s Mass Detention of Muslims - The New York Times - Chris Buckley:

In a campaign that has drawn condemnation around the world, hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities have been held in “transformation” camps across Xinjiang for weeks, months or years at a time, according to former inmates and their relatives.

Beijing says the facilities provide job training and legal education for Uighurs and has denied carrying out mass detentions.

But speeches, reports and other documents online offer a clearer account than previously reported of how China’s top leaders set in motion and escalated the indoctrination campaign, which aims to eradicate all but the mildest expressions of Islamic faith and any yearning for an independent Uighur homeland...

Mr. Xi made his first and only visit as national leader to Xinjiang in April 2014. Hours after his four-day visit ended, assailants used bombs and knives to kill three people and wound nearly 80 others near a train station in Urumqi, the regional capital. The attack was seen as a rebuff to Mr. Xi, who had just left the city and vowed to wield an “iron fist” against Uighurs who oppose Chinese rule.

Chinese official says 'sinicization' of religion in Xinjiang must go on | Reuters:

The “sinicization” of religion must be upheld to promote ethnic solidarity and religious harmony, a senior Chinese official has said in the troubled western region of Xinjiang, which is home to a large Muslim population.

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency on Saturday quoted You Quan, head of the ruling Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, which oversees ethnic and religious affairs, as making the remarks on a visit to Xinjiang this week.

Official report on You Quan’s visit - 尤权:大力促进民族团结和宗教和谐 努力实现新疆社会稳定和长治久安 

How China defines religious extremism and how it justifies Xinjiang re-education camps for Muslims | South China Morning Post:

While the law says officials must distinguish between everyday religious activity and extremism, its definition of the latter means even people who damage banknotes or reject mass media can be targeted

Hu the Uniter: Hu Lianhe and the Radical Turn in China’s Xinjiang Policy - Jamestown:

Recent analysis of the shift in CCP policy toward Xinjiang has tended to focus on the role of regional Party boss Chen Quanguo, who has overseen the dramatic securitization of China’s far western region (China Brief, 21 Sept 2017). Yet ethnic and frontier governance is a multi-ring circus in China, with a competing matrix of functional bureaucracies and policy options [2]. While it is difficult, if not impossible, to tease out every factor affecting policy, the emergence of Hu Lianhe portends a significant shift in both the institutional and policy direction emanating out of Beijing, and suggests that what is happening in Xinjiang is the leading edge of a new, more coercive ethnic policy under Xi Jinping’s “New Era” (新时代) of Chinese power, one that seeks to accelerate the political and cultural transformation of non-Han ethnic minorities.

8. A sad end for a Chinese immigrant to the US

Just read this piece...

The Case of Jane Doe Ponytail - The New York Times:

She toils in the netherworld of Flushing massage parlors, where she goes by the street name of SiSi. A youthful 38, she is in a platonic marriage to a man more than twice her age; harbors fading hopes of American citizenship; and is fond of Heineken, Red Bull and the rotisserie chicken at a Colombian place on Kissena Boulevard. Among her competitors, she is considered territorial and tireless.

It is the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and SiSi is in a shabby building’s top-floor apartment, for which she pays her “boss” a hefty fee. She has returned from a market with provisions. She has tried calling her younger brother in China, but he is asleep. She has been on the phone with friends and clients, unaware that she is in the sights of a 10-member police team working vice...

By morning, Song Yang would be dead, shattering a tight Chinese family that would never accept the police version of events. Her death would also come to reflect the seemingly intractable nature of policing the sex industry, and cast an unwelcome light on the furtive but ubiquitous business of illicit massage parlors.

Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China's Stocks Extend $3 Trillion Rout - Bloomberg The Shanghai Composite Index fell 1.5 percent to its lowest close since November 2014. A gauge of consumer-related shares dropped the most after data showed purchases of passenger vehicles and online appliance sales slumped in September.   

Investors Dismiss Regulator Pledge as Stocks Fall to Near Four-Year Lows - Caixin The drops followed a statement from the head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) over the weekend that aimed to reassure investors. CSRC Chairman Liu Shiyu said (link in Chinese) at a panel in Beijing on Sunday that the commission would protect the rights of hundreds of millions of small to midsize investors.

China opposes SOE discrimination: official - ECNS: A report at the upcoming B20 summit in Argentina that proposes "addressing State-related competitive distortions" has neglected the fact that SOEs have fully integrated into the market after reform and participated in fair market competition with other enterprises, it was added. We oppose setting different rules due to differences in corporate ownership, and oppose discriminatory treatment of state-owned enterprises in the formulation of international rules," said Peng at a press conference about SOE growth in the first three quarters.

China's central SOEs continue rapid revenue growth - Xinhua: Aggregate revenues of the country's nearly 100 centrally-administered state-owned enterprises (SOEs) increased 11 percent year on year to 21.1 trillion yuan (3.05 trillion U.S. dollars) in the January-September period, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) said. The revenue growth picked up from 10.1 percent in the first half of the year. "There has been a continued steady trend," SASAC spokesperson Peng Huagang said at a press conference.

How a $500 Billion Cash Injection Is Transforming Chinese Cities - Bloomberg Now, by accelerating the so-called shanty-town redevelopment program while curbing the cash handouts that have accompanied it, the government is trying to boost stimulus while avoiding a bursting of property bubbles nationwide. "Shanty-town redevelopment is important as this is a key part of domestic demand which is directly controlled by the government," analysts led by Song Yu, chief China economist at Beijing Gao Hua Securities Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s mainland joint-venture partner, wrote in a note. "There have been a lot of market concerns whether the government would scale back the amount of related investment."

China moves to boost private investment - Xinhua Chinese authority has intensified efforts to encourage private sectors to participate in infrastructure investment in seek of healthy economic growth. By the end of September, at local level, some 1,222 infrastructure projects worth at least 2.5 trillion yuan ($362 billion) have been promoted among private companies, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s economic planning agency. Private companies have shown cooperation intention in 150 projects worth at least 250 billion yuan, the NDRC said in a statement on its website

Former official suggests vacancy tax on empty homes - ECNS Qiu Baoxing, a former vice minister of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and a member of the State Council, has suggested that authorities should impose a vacancy tax on empty homes amid measures to “gradually flatten, rather than pierce through” the real estate bubble. Qiu said China's housing vacancy rate is relatively high, from about 70 percent in northern Ordos city in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to about 10 to 20 percent in the capital city Beijing, while the rate is usually about five percent in countries with a vacancy tax.

Chinese private sector fears grow over state’s role as Qingdao sends officials into firms to set up labour unions | South China Morning Post The Qingdao city government in eastern China has decided to send state-appointed cadres to act as “labour union chiefs” into 92 local private enterprises – a move that raises concerns over whether the state is extending its reach too deeply into the private sector. According to a report in the official newspaper Qingdao Daily last week, the city has selected the 92 cadres as the first batch of government-appointed “first chairman of labour unions” at “non-public enterprises” in the city in Shandong province.

China Automakers Deflated by Reliance on Foreign Partners - Caixin Shares of Chinese carmakers that rely heavily on foreign joint ventures dropped sharply on Monday, following signs that such firms may soon lose control of those ventures under relaxing ownership rules from Beijing. A third consecutive month of falling car sales in China in September, combined with broader market weakness, further stoked the sell-off, which saw shares of many of the nation’s best-known names slump as much as 7%.


Politics, Law And Ideology

Retired CDB Chief Implicated in Alleged Corruption - Caixin The graft trial of former Gansu party boss Wang Sanyun brought to light allegations of a corrupt network linking Wang with a disgraced energy tycoon and a recently retired policy bank chief...Wang was the Communist Party chief of Gansu, one of the poorest provinces in northwestern China, between 2011 and April 2017. Those who benefited from ties with Wang include Ye Jianming, founder of energy conglomerate CEFC China Energy, according to a report by state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV). Caixin reported that Ye was placed under investigation for alleged economic crimes in January.According to CCTV, Wang accepted bribes from Ye and offered help to Ye’s companies through Hu Huaibang, the former president of China Development Bank, the largest policy lender.

China’s removal of Meng Hongwei completes reshaping of public security ministry | South China Morning Post The downfall of the former head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei, effectively completed a gradual change of guard in the top echelon of the 2 million strong police force Chinese President Xi Jinping inherited five years ago.  //  with nice chart of the current lineup, lots of Fujian/Xiamen.Shaanxi/Zhejiang connections..

Book of Xi's discourses on building a community with a shared future for humanity published - People's Daily Online A book of Comrade Xi Jinping's discourses on "promoting the building of a community with a shared future for humanity" has been published by the Central Party Literature Press. The book, which was compiled by the Party history and literature research institution of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, will be distributed across the country as of Sunday.// 习近平同志《论坚持推动构建人类命运共同体》出版发行

Party building to be strengthened in political advisory bodies - Xinhua The guideline, released by the General Office of the CPC Central Committee, contains specific instructions in the following areas: -- General requirements on strengthening the Party building of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in the new era -- Shoulder the political responsibility of fulfilling the Party's leadership over the CPPCC -- Adhere to using Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era to arm the minds of members at all levels of CPPCC -- Expand the effective coverage of Party organizations in CPPCC -- Keeping improving the workstyles -- Push for full and rigorous governance over the Party with strict discipline -- Strengthen the leadership over the Party building at all levels of CPPCC in the new era.中办印发《关于加强新时代人民政协党的建设工作的若干意见》

Xi congratulates Xizang Minzu University on 60th anniversary - Xinhua | Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Xizang Minzu University on the 60th anniversary of its founding in a letter on Monday...The university should also carry out the Party's ethnic and religious policies, raise awareness of ethnic unity and progress, pass on fine traditional Chinese culture and safeguard ethnic harmony, he said. Xizang Minzu University, located in Xianyang of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, was founded by the CPC Central Committee as the first inland-based institution of higher education for Tibet after its peaceful liberation. 习近平致信祝贺西藏民族大学建校60周年 

Former board chairman of China Huarong Asset Management expelled from CPC, office - Xinhua Lai was found to have violated the central authorities' principles and policies on financial work, said the statement, adding the company's pell-mell expansion and out-of-order operations have resulted in a serious deviation from its primary business. He had pursued personal glorification, engaged in superstitious activities and refused to cooperate in the investigation, said the statement. By attending banquets paid with public funds, visiting private clubs and luxury restaurants and allowing relatives to travel using public funds, he violated the Party's eight-point rules on improving Party and government conduct, it said.//The official release 中国华融资产管理股份有限公司原党委书记、董事长赖小民严重违纪违法被开除党籍和公职 One of his transgressions was "violating central financial work guidelines and policies 违背中央金融工作方针政策"

11名金融副省长炼成记:4人来自证监系统,3人成长于建行 Thepaper looks at 11 provincial vice-governors known as the "financial vice-governors" because of their experience in the financial sector  //  在中国官员中,有一个群体越来越受到关注,那就是具有长期金融系统工作经验的副省长,简称“金融副省长”。 他们的职业生涯或起步于大型国有银行,比如建设银行、农业银行,或起步于金融监管部门,比如证监系统、央行系统。经过金融系统多年历练后,成为一方副省长,他们有什么特点?或者说,金融副省长是怎么炼成的? 金融副省长群体已初具规模。据澎湃新闻梳理,在全国31个省市自治区(不含港澳台)中,有11个省(含直辖市、自治区)配备了“金融副省长”, 包括京沪津渝四大直辖市,以及江苏、浙江、广东等发达地区。 这11名现任金融副省长分别是浙江省副省长朱从玖、湖北省副省长童道驰、云南省副省长陈舜、上海市副市长吴清、广东省副省长欧阳卫民、北京市副市长殷勇、江苏省副省长王江、天津市副市长康义、重庆市副市长刘桂平、山东省副省长刘强、四川省副省长李云泽。

首访《平"语"近人——习近平总书记用典》节目制作团队:让党的创新理论"飞入寻常百姓家"—中央纪委国家监委网站 CCDI/NSC magazine interviews the team behind the new series of Xi's use of classical sayings and historical allusions...that apparent summer lull in the personality cult seems to have ended...

Chinese live-streaming star locked up for singing national anthem in ‘disrespectful’ way | South China Morning Post Yang Kaili, a 21-year-old self-made celebrity who had 44 million followers on one social media platform, “insulted” the national anthem while broadcasting on the Huya live-streaming platform, on October 7, police in Shanghai’s Jingan district said in a social media post on Saturday. Yang was introducing an “online music festival” when she hummed the beginning of a ceremonial tune called Athletes March, before singing the opening words to the national anthem March of the Volunteers while waving her arms in the air like a conductor

Judge for yourself:

Account of Police Brutality Gives Rise to a #MeToo Moment in China - The New York Times Ms. Sun says that a male police officer choked and beat her after getting into an argument over credentials, and then forced her to submit to a strip search. In a social media post that was widely shared this week, she called the episode “the darkest, most terrifying and humiliating day of my life.” The authorities in Guangzhou, the southern Chinese city where the events are said to have taken place, deny any wrongdoing, saying they have security camera footage that challenges Ms. Sun’s claims.

Professor punished for praise of public intellectuals | China Media Project The “Lecture Room” (百家讲坛) program on China Central Television, the country’s state broadcaster, is now running a special series of episodes called “Bringing the Language of ‘Ping’ Closer to the People: The Dictionary of General Secretary Xi Jinping (平”语”近人——习近平总书记用典). From October 8 through October 19, the program will run at 8PM each night. The program, created jointly by the Central Propaganda Department and China Media Group, the state-run conglomerate created in March 2018 by combining CCTV and China National Radio, draws on the phrases and concepts in Xi Jinping’s speeches to promote his so-called “banner term” (旗帜语), “Xi Jinping Thought of Socialism With Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” (习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想). The program series will have 12 episodes in all.

China Focus: 40 years on, Xiaogang still testbed of China's rural reform - Xinhua Yan remembered the autumn harvest of 1979 was particularly joyous after decades of famine. The unprecedented harvest came a year after farmers made a secret pact to resist the country's egalitarian agricultural system. This was the event that ignited China's nationwide rural land reform. // COmment: Monday CCTv Evening News on Xiaogang 【壮阔东方潮 奋进新时代——庆祝改革开放40年】安徽小岗村:敢闯敢试 农村改革激发新活力 

The Disciplinary Failure of Dignity | China Media Project In a report last week, The Paper, an online new site operated by the Shanghai United Media Group, revealed that Zhao Siyun (赵思运), a professor at the Communication University of Zhejiang serving as deputy director of the Academy of Literature, had been issued with a “severe internal-Party warning” (党内严重警告) for a speech he gave in September to incoming students...Zhao’s masterstroke of political mischief seems to have been his resurrection and definition of the concept of the “public intellectual,” or gonggong zhishifenzi (公共知识分子). This term has become a deeply sensitive one in China over the past decade, and has never in the reform era been more sensitive than it is now under Xi Jinping.


Foreign and Military Affairs

习近平主持召开十九届中央军民融合发展委员会第二次会议强调 强化责任担当狠抓贯彻落实 加快推动军民融合深度发展_CCTV节目官网-CCTV-1_央视网( Monday CCTV Evening News on the second meeting of the Central Commission for Integrated Military and Civilian Development...indigenous technologies of course part of the focus  //  会议强调,战略性重大工程是推动科技创新的有效途径。要着力突破关键核心技术,立足最复杂、最困难的情况,以工程建设为牵引,集中优势力量协同攻关,早日取得突破。要扩大国产技术和产品规模化应用,更多立足国产产品开展研制,在使用中不断迭代优化,进而带动国家整体创新实力提升。要提高工程建设效益,统筹配置资源,努力实现整体性能最优、综合效益最大

Military units, private firms sign deals worth 2b yuan - Global Times Military and private firms in China signed a total of 154 deals worth more than 2 billion yuan ($289 million) on Saturday at the fourth military-civilian high-tech equipment exhibition in Beijing, further promoting its military-civilian integration strategy, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Daily reported. The 176 signatories included 17 affiliated units of armed service branches and 47 affiliated units of defense industry enterprises, according to the Equipment Development Department (EDD) of the Central Military Commission.

China’s military recruits private experts to work on defence technology projects | South China Morning Post General Xu Qiliang and General Zhang Youxia, the two vice-chairmen of the PLA’s all-powerful Central Military Commission, highlighted the importance of military-civilian collaboration during their visit to a high-profile military equipment exhibition in Beijing on Thursday. Such partnerships were essential “to provide strong propulsion and strategic support to make the dream of a strong military come true”, military media quoted the two as saying.

Chinese hypersonic nuclear aircraft 'creates stunning plumes of light over Beijing during secret test flight' THIS spectacular footage appears to show the Chinese military testing a top secret hypersonic nuclear strike aircraft. The strange skyward spectacle was visible in the capital Beijing as well as in the northern regions of Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi province.

Strange aircraft makes stealthy appearance at air force gala - Global Times At a morale-boosting gala to build a "first-class strategic bomber division," the silhouette of a mysterious aircraft appeared on a big screen in photos released with publicity for the event. The front of the aircraft did not resemble China's known strategic bomber as it sported angled winglets on the ends of its wings, with no visible tail. The report did not mention the mysterious aircraft, but online readers speculated that it could be the H-20, China's in-development long-distance strategic stealth bomber. This is not the first time an aircraft rumored to be the H-20 made a mysterious appearance.

United States or China as world leader? Asians overwhelmingly prefer the US, Pew study finds | South China Morning Post When asked if it would be better for the world to have the US or China as the leading global power, 73 per cent of Asian respondents – represented by polls taken in Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia – favoured the United States, versus 12 per cent for China, the new research showed. The 25-country median – which includes Germany, Canada and Brazil – was 63 per cent for the US and 19 per cent for China, according to the research, which was presented by Bruce Stokes, Pew Research’s director of global economic attitudes, at an Asia Society event in New York.

China’s Diplomacy Has a Monster in its Closet | The Diplomat Ultra-nationalism is damaging China’s credibility as its ambassadors indulge in curious, chauvinistic and all-too-official tirades.

Is America Over-Reacting to the Threat of Chinese Influence? | ChinaFile Conversation Some believe it’s past time for greater vigilance, and maybe even alarm, at Chinese state-coordinated influence—particularly given reports of such campaigns in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Vietnam, and elsewhere. Others believe the United States, as an open society, should easily be able to absorb or deflect such efforts. Some have cautioned that vigilance against Beijing specifically could easily morph into prejudice toward all Chinese nationals, or even Chinese- or Asian-Americans generally.

Mattis Trip to Vietnam Aimed at Countering China’s Influence | RealClearDefense By making a rare second trip this year to Vietnam, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is signaling how intensively the Trump administration is trying to counter China’s military assertiveness by cozying up to smaller nations in the region that share American wariness about Chinese intentions...The Mattis trip originally was to include a visit to Beijing, but that stop was canceled amid rising tensions over trade and defense issues

China’s navy to join Thailand and Malaysia for training exercise as military seeks to build bridges with neighbours | South China Morning Post A joint naval exercise to be held this weekend between China, Malaysia and Thailand in the Strait of Malacca follows US Defence Secretary James Mattis’s visit to Singapore and Vietnam, which started Monday. China will send three destroyers and frigates, two shipborne helicopters, three Il-76 transport aircraft and a total of 692 servicemen to the nine-day exercise named Peace and Friendship 2018.

China’s Navy Deploys New H-6J Anti-Ship Cruise Missile-Carrying Bombers | The Diplomat The upgrade to the H-6J variant entailed fitting the aircraft with completely new airframes, lighter weight composites, new fuel efficient D-30-KP2 turbofans, advanced avionics, and a full glass cockpit. The bomber also has been fitted with a new long-range surface search radar and an electro-optical targeting pod for target acquisition. The H-6J is primarily an anti-surface warfare platform. It can carry up to seven YJ-12 supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCM) — six on wing pylons plus one in the bomb bay. According to the Missile Defense Advocacy group, the YJ-12 ASCM has a range of 400 kilometers, depending on launch altitude, and can reach speeds of up to Mach 3. Fitted with a 200 kilogram high-explosive warhead, the YJ-12 is capable of performing air-borne evasive maneuvers before striking its target. It is thought to be one of the most effective ASCMs in China’s current inventory.

Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond investigate WeChat posts for possible vote-buying | The Star The cities of Richmond, Vancouver and Burnaby have referred investigation to police of alleged vote-buying using the Chinese social media platform WeChat. “The City of Vancouver is aware of messages circulating on WeChat from the Canada Wenzhou Friendship Society that appear to offer money in exchange for voting in Richmond, Burnaby, and Vancouver,” according to a statement released by the city the afternoon of Oct. 12.  //  Comment" Wechat is the most important media and communications nexus of Chinese language media consumption and CCP overseas influence efforts

(2) China’s unmanned combat aerial vehicle Wing Loong II proves successful Wing Loong II, or Pterodactyl II, an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (#UCAV) designed and developed in China, has proven successful in a recent combat test in the northwest China, China Aviation Industry reported.  //  Comment: video of it blowing things up. How will the rest of the world react if (when?) these drones are used in Xinjiang for not just surveillance purposes?

India and China discussing Iran, Af-Pak connectivity projects: China envoy - The Hindu India and China are discussing connectivity projects that pass through Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, the envoy of Beijing said here on Monday. Inaugurating the first ever joint India-China training programme for Afghan diplomats, Ambassador Luo Zhaohui said that, both sides should cooperate over connectivity projects with Iran, Pakistan and extend it to smaller countries of South Asia.

Beijing seeks proposals for winter Olympic opening ceremony - Xinhua "We are looking for creative proposals that could fully embody the vision of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games and the Olympic spirit, fully demonstrate the inheritance and development of the splendid Chinese culture, and fully reflect China's achievements in the new era," said Liao Quan, an official with Beijing 2022. // Meanwhile the co-chairs of the US Congressional Executive Commission on China have written to the President of the IOC asking that the 2022 games be moved from China because of the Xinjiang mass detentions and other human rights violations. Their letter here



Taiwan invites Pope Francis to visit, following landmark China-Vatican pact | Reuters Taiwan Vice President Chen Chien-jen met Francis on Sunday and invited him to visit, Tsai’s office said in a statement, adding that the pope had replied he would pray for Taiwan. But it gave no date for the proposed visit.


Tech And Media

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Lands a Release Date in China – Variety After weeks of speculation, “Crazy Rich Asians” has landed a release in China. The brash Asian-centric romcom hit is scheduled to hit theaters on Nov. 30.  //  Comment: A surprise even to people close to Warner Bros I believe

Tencent hit as China’s freeze on new video game titles continues | Financial Times $$ Chinese gaming companies originally hoped the approvals would resume this month, but now expect the freeze to last until next year, according to two senior industry executives and an industry lawyer. “We don’t have much hope any games will be approved this year,” said a senior executive at one of China’s largest gaming companies, adding that it would hit revenues.

Baidu Takes Stake in NetEase Music - Caixin NetEase Music, a unit of gaming giant NetEase Inc., announced Friday that it has secured new funding from backers that include Baidu, private equity firms such as China’s Boyu Capital, and New York’s General Atlantic Service Co. LLC.

Tencent Music delays $2 billion U.S. IPO due to weak markets: sources | Reuters Tencent Music Entertainment has delayed its planned U.S. initial public offering (IPO) until at least November as the owner of China’s most popular music apps prefers to wait for global stock markets to stabilize, three sources said.

Stressed-out Chinese love melodrama about courtly life - Chaguan - The Economist The leading man in “Yanxi Palace”, Qianlong, is something of a cipher: a stern autocrat who finds his harem a chore. Chinese pundits have debated whether the show is a feminist tale about strong women, or a retrograde saga about women who survive by obeying and pleasing bossy men. It is both. It is a reflection of the country today, a chauvinist place full of strong women.


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

NBA journeyman Marreese Speights is China’s newest star - The Washington Post As part of a partnership between Monumental Sports and Entertainment and Alibaba Group, a Chinese conglomerate, Speights’s new team spent the week in D.C., with the trip culminating in a matchup against the Wizards for the second consecutive preseason.

China Watching — Language Wars, from Montreal to Beijing – China Heritage Ian Johnson is a prominent writer and reporter whose work has appeared in leading international publications for many years. He is also the author of a number of books, the most recent being The Souls of China: The Return of Religion after Mao (New York: Pantheon Books, 2017). He kindly responded to our request to introduce how he became involved in studying Chinese and writing about China.


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Beijing experts blame perfume, hair gel for adding to smog - Global Times Beijing experts blame volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in hair spray, perfume and air refreshers in the city's air pollution problem, saying these compounds comprise 12 percent of PM2.5 in Beijing, and call for regulating these "less significant" sources.  VOCs are concentrated in aerosols like perfume, hair gel, insecticide and cleaning agents, as well as kitchen and gas stations, Wang Gengchen, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Atmospheric Physics Institute, told the Global Times on Sunday.


Food And Travel

World’s Most Consumed Liquor Tries to Make It in the U.S. - WSJ China’s baijiu liquor is the most widely consumed spirit in the world, yet most of the Western world has never heard of it. That fact has baijiu-maker Luzhou Laojiao Co. eyeing the West. The state-owned distillery in Sichuan province has joined with U.S. and European entrepreneurs in a venture called Ming River, seeking to introduce Americans and Europeans to the popular liquor, one bartender at a time.