Trump Backs Off Trade And ZTE Deals; US-DPRK Summit In Doubt; Congress Targets PRC Investments & Confucius Institutes; Australia Has Upset Beijing; More Support For Indigenous Chips; Central-Local Relations

Happy Wednesday, getting right to it today.

Thanks for reading. 

The Essential Eight

1. Trump Backs Off Trade And ZTE Deals

Trump Denies Reaching Deal With China on ZTE - The New York Times:

“There is no deal. We will see what happens,” Mr. Trump said in response to reporters’ questions about ZTE during a meeting with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea. Mr. Trump, when asked if he was happy with how recent trade meetings with China went, responded: “No, not really. I think that they’re a start.”

“China has made a fortune,” Mr. Trump said, just hours after his closest advisers had last gone on television to promote the success of the recent trade talks. “I’m not satisfied, but we have a long way to go,” he said.

And his Tweet Wednesday cast even more doubt on the deal:

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

Our Trade Deal with China is moving along nicely, but in the end we will probably have to use a different structure in that this will be too hard to get done and to verify results after completion.

May 23, 2018
President Trump Press Conference With South Korean President | Video | RealClearPolitics:

We can do a 301, we can do -- where we don't need China, where we can just say, "Look, this is what we want. this is what we think is fair." That's always a possibility, if a negotiated deal doesn't work out.

As I said, we lost $500 billion a year for many years. And then it varied from $100 billion to $500 billion. When you're losing $500 billion a year, you can't lose in terms of a negotiation. It's really easy to win...

As far as ZTE is concerned, the president asked me to look into it and I am doing that. And don't forget, for the ones that say, "Oh, gee, maybe Trump is getting a little bit easy," ZTE, we closed it. It wasn't another administration. It was this administration that closed it.

It's a phone company, for those that don't know. A very large phone company. But it's also a phone company that buys a large portion of its parts that make up these phones that are sold all over the world, from American companies.

So when you do that, you're really hurting American companies also. So I'm looking at it. But we were the ones that closed it. It wasn't done by previous administrations, it was done by us. So we'll see what happens.

Mnuchin: China will still be subject to tariffs on steel, aluminum - POLITICO:

"As it relates to China, the steel and aluminum tariffs will remain in force. Those were not part of our discussions," Mnuchin said before the Senate Appropriations Financial Services Subcommittee.

Chinese Stocks Slide Most in Seven Weeks as Trade Optimism Fades - Bloomberg:

Signs of improving relations with the U.S. had driven gains in recent weeks in Chinese equities, with the Shanghai measure closing at a two-month high on Tuesday. President Donald Trump said yesterday he’s “not really” pleased with the results of the trade talks, while a planned summit with North Korea’s leader -- and China ally -- is also looking shaky. Rising defaults among Chinese companies added to jitters among investors.


2. US-North Korea Summit

Trump Backs Away From Demand for Immediate North Korean Denuclearization - The New York Times:

President Trump opened the door on Tuesday to a phased dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, backing away from his demand that the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, completely abandon his arsenal without any reciprocal American concessions...

The scale of North Korea’s program, he said, would make it difficult to dismantle it in a single step. “It would certainly be better if it were all in one,” Mr. Trump said. “Does it have to be? I don’t think I want to totally commit myself.”..

Mr. Trump said he detected a change in Mr. Kim after he met China’s president, Xi Jinping, this month in the coastal Chinese city of Dalian. He suggested that Mr. Xi, whom he described as a “world-class poker player,” encouraged Mr. Kim to harden his approach to the United States, in part to gain leverage in trade negotiations between China and the United States.

“There was a different attitude by the North Korean folks after that meeting,” Mr. Trump said. “I can’t say that I’m happy about it.”

From the May 8 newsletter:

Is the Trump-Kim summit now at risk of at least a delay because of the US conditions around complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID), and the maintaining of sanctions until that is achieved? Did Kim go meet Xi to brief him on this and did Xi bring it up on his call with Trump this morning? The reference to phased and synchronous measures 分阶段、同步性的措施 may be a tell.

My guess: Don't hold your breath for a US-North Korea summit in the next few weeks

Xi Jinping, Kim Jong Un hold talks in Dalian - Xinhua:

Kim expressed the hope that the DPRK and the United States would build mutual trust through dialogue and relevant sides would take phased and synchronous measures in a responsible manner so as to comprehensively advance the political settlement of the Korean Peninsula issue and eventually achieve denuclearization and lasting peace on the peninsula. [希望通过朝美对话建立互信,有关各方负责任地采取分阶段、同步性的措施,全面推进半岛问题政治解决进程,最终实现半岛无核化和持久和平]

Ahead of planning meeting in Singapore, Trump suggests N. Korea summit could fall through - The Washington Post

Their trip comes less than two weeks after a North Korean delegation failed to show up for a similar planning meeting with U.S. officials in the island country, a failure that raised red flags at the White House, according to people familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the process..

As he has before, Trump suggested that Pyongyang’s hard-line shift over the past week was a result of Kim’s second meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom Trump called a “world-class poker player.”

Donald Trump blames China for problems with Kim summit - FT $$:

“Trump is now blaming China for intervening and changing the North’s attitude. But the change in attitude was caused by Washington’s hawks, such as John Bolton. Their remarks went too far,” said Kim Joon-hyung, a South Korean presidential adviser...

Kim Jong-bong, a former South Korean intelligence officer, said: “During the meeting between Xi and Kim in Dalian, Xi is reported to have assured the North of economic support even if the summit with the US ends in failure.” 

“So from Trump’s point of view, even though he succeeded in bringing the North to the dialogue table with the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign, China’s intervention has changed Kim Jong Un’s attitude.” 

Question: But did Kim change his view, or is Trump just realizing that Kim never said what he wanted to believe about denuclearization? Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies blames Trump:

Jeffrey Lewis@ArmsControlWonk

Again, this is a lie told by the White House. North Korea’s position has not changed. This is not China’s fault. It’s not Kim’s fault. It is Trump’s fault. Do not let him rewrite this history. https://t.co/OJ6Xn2HyjE

May 22, 2018

Jeffrey Lewis@ArmsControlWonk

This is precisely what I warned about in March: North Korea never offered to disarm and as Trump realizes this he will blame everyone — everyone except himself. Don’t let him do it.https://t.co/zia8Ff0djJ pic.twitter.com/AiAxhYPYut

May 22, 2018


3. Congress Targets Chinese Tech and ZTE Deal

Congressional Opposition Mounts Over White House Approach to Chinese Tech Deals - WSJ:

The Senate Banking Committee unanimously approved legislation on Tuesday that would tighten national-security reviews of Chinese technology deals by the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., strengthen export controls and prohibit the Trump administration from lifting stiff penalties imposed on ZTE...

Also on Tuesday, a bipartisan group of 27 senators urged the heads of the U.S. trade representative’s office and Treasury and Commerce departments to reject any proposals to ease export controls on technology as a way to boost sales to China...

Separately, the measure targeting a ZTE deal was just the latest indication of growing congressional opposition. The provision, introduced by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.), would prohibit the president from changing the penalties on sanctioned Chinese telecommunications firms until the administration certifies to Congress that the company in question has complied with U.S. law for a year.

The House Appropriations Committee passed a similar bill recently. And the Cornyn letter also blasted any easing of penalties against ZTE. The administration shouldn’t “compromise lawful U.S. enforcement actions against serial and premeditated violators of U.S. law, such as ZTE.”

What kind of China deal is this? - POLITICO:

The House Financial Services Committee followed Tuesday evening with unanimous approval of its version of the bill, H.R. 5841 (115). Legislation passed in both chambers would expand the powers of CFIUS to review a number of new types of transactions on which it currently doesn’t have oversight. But to the satisfaction of the business community, the bills passed out of committee scaled back language giving CFIUS the power to deny offshore joint ventures involving U.S. companies. Those types of business dealings, if they involve sensitive technology, will be subject to U.S. export control regulations. The House bill also walked back CFIUS expansion to oversight of non-controlling investments, which the broader business lobby saw as another potentially investment-stifling regulation.

Pro Rata - May 23, 2018 - Axios:

Digging down, there are two big groups of exemptions. The first relates to exempted countries — which is expanded from earlier drafts and is designed to prevent CFIUS from getting drowned in a flood of applications:

NATO countries are exempted

Major non-NATO allies, including Israel and Japan, are exempted

Countries with special security relationships to the U.S., such as Singapore, could be exempted by future rule-making.

The other exemption is for "passive investments," which includes three main requirements:
Investor cannot have board or board observer rights.

Investor cannot have access to non-public technical information (this is tightened from an earlier version that included such things as access to product road-map).

Investor cannot have any say in company operations outside of normal shareholder votes.

And the EU is going after Chinese deals as well-With eye on China, EU parliament pushes tougher line on investments | Reuters:

The officials said the parliament’s proposal would be stronger than that of the Commission’s in several respects: it would extend the list of sectors that could draw EU scrutiny and oblige the EU executive to vet suspect investments, rather than just giving it the option to do so.

The draft gives a far wider definition of critical infrastructure and technologies that could trigger the screening process. Among the sectors added to the list include the media, ports, the automotive sector and election infrastructure.

New language underlines the importance of safeguarding the personal data of EU citizens. The draft also puts more emphasis on investments that might be carried out under state influence - a nod to fears that Chinese firms are buying up European rivals as part of an industrial strategy orchestrated by Beijing.


4. Congress Targets Confucius Institutes

Preventing Chinese espionage at America’s universities - The Washington Post:

“Communist China is infiltrating American universities to meddle with our curricula, silence criticism of their regime, and steal intellectual property including sensitive dual-use research,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). “The Confucius Institutes are the velvet glove around the iron fist of their campaigns on our campuses. The American government needs new tools to protect the integrity of our universities and research, and to block academic espionage.”

Cruz is introducing legislation intended to boost government authorities’ capacity to deal with foreign intelligence organizations operating inside the American education system. Called the Stop Higher Education Espionage and Theft Act of 2018, the bill doesn’t mention China by name, but it is a clear attempt to give the U.S. law enforcement community more tools to deal with the Chinese Communist Party’s expansion inside American educational institutions.


5. Beijing To Punish Australia?

Australia’s attempt to soothe relations with China in turmoil - FT $$:

At the weekend, China lifted an apparent 8-month freeze on the granting of diplomatic visas to Australian ministers, enabling Steven Ciobo, trade minister, to attend a football match in Shanghai and deliver a speech in which he praised China as “one of the true global giants”.

Australia central bank chief: Important to avoid escalating issues with China | Reuters:

Australia’s top central banker said on Wednesday it was “important we avoid escalating” political issues as the country finds itself in a diplomatic hot water with China, its biggest trading partner.

Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Governor Philip Lowe made the comment in response to a question on the risk of economic fallout from the tension between the two nations.

In Australia, Fears of Chinese Meddling Rise on U.N. Bribery Case Revelation - The New York Times:

Andrew Hastie, chairman of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, identified the businessman, Chau Chak Wing, as the person in a 2015 bribery case previously called only Co-conspirator No. 3.

“CC-3 is Dr. Chau Chak Wing,” Mr. Hastie said in a speech in the Australian Parliament’s Federation Chamber, adding, “The same man who co-conspired to bribe the U.N. president of the General Assembly, John Ashe.”

He continued, “The same man with extensive contacts in the Chinese Communist Party, including the United Front.”

Time for China to cool Sino-Australia ties - Global Times:

China does not have to throw away Sino-Australia relations. China just needs to slow their relationship for a period. For example, it will not be necessary for the Australian Prime Minister to visit China this year. In fact, he could visit a few years later. China's ministerial officials, other than those with the economic and trade departments, could postpone interactions with Australia.

Non-government related exchanges between the two nations should be maintained. Chinese students and tourists in Australia should not be bothered.

China has promised to increase its imports from the US, according to the recently-concluded Sino-US trade talks. It is reasonable to cut a few imports from Australia to implement the China-US trade agreement. It will benefit China anyway. By doing so, China will be able to keep its promise to the US, and while helping Australia to reconsider the ways in which they can balance relations with their Western allies and China's interests.


6. Hong Kong Politicians Get A Lesson In CCP History

How has China’s Communist Party kept power? 100 Hong Kong political bigwigs get rare lecture from senior theorist  | South China Morning Post:

Qu Qingshan, deputy head of the party’s history and literature research institute and a member of its powerful Central Committee, delivered the 2½-hour talk on Sunday at Beijing’s liaison office in Sai Wan.

The unusual speech on party history comes after recent efforts by Beijing to assert its control and widen understanding in Hong Kong of the country’s history and development...

Two anonymous sources said Qu analysed how the party had managed to stay in power when communists in Russia failed and the former Soviet Union collapsed.

“One problem with the Soviet communist party was its lack of new ideologies and theories after Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin. But the Chinese Communist Party has built up its own ideologies according to the changing times and social situation,” a source quoted Qu as saying.


7. More Support For Indigenous Chips

Nation in big semiconductor push - China Daily:

At least 46 big-budget semiconductor projects are scheduled to be built in China within two to three years, as part of the nation's broader push to reduce reliance on foreign chip manufacturing and design techniques, according to data compiled from local governments' key 2018 project plans...

The intensified push comes as China attaches growing importance to chips-which lie inside a wide range of products and power mobile phones, computers, automobiles and other equipment. In recent years, China has spent more than $200 billion on imported chips annually, more than it spends on crude oil imports.

China Supports Local Semiconductor Firms By Adding Them To Government Procurement List – China Money Network:

In a move to promote self-reliance in semiconductors, China has included four homemade central processing unit (CPU) firms to its procurement list for central government’s IT projects, a notice on Central Government Procurement Center’s website shows.

In the procurement list for computers and laptops, four Chinese local CPU brands were added. These brands are Loongson CPU designed by Chinese Academy of Sciences-backed Loongson Technology, FeiTeng CPU deigned by Tianjin Phytium Technology, Zhaoxin CPU developed by state-owned Shanghai Zhaoxin Semiconductor Co., Ltd., and Sunway CPU developed by Wuxi-based Jiangnan Computing Lab.

"The inclusion of Chinese local chip makers is a milestone for the industry," Hu Weihu, CEO of Loongson Technology told Chinese local media, "In the past when we were not included, government organizations could not purchase even if they wanted to."

发力支持国产芯片 中央政府采购有大动作(图)|芯片|服务器|龙芯_新浪新闻:

尽管美国对中兴销售零部件和软件的禁令将被解除,但此事依然对中国的芯片产业敲响警钟,社会各界普遍呼吁国家层面加强对芯片研发的扶持力度。近日有媒体注意到,在中央国家机关发布的新采购名单中,服务器产品的技术要求格外引人注目,因为龙芯、申威、飞腾等国产CPU都被列入了政府采购名录,“中国政府采购也开始发力国产芯片了”


8. Central-Local Relations

Wu Zhilun (吴知论), deputy director of the office of the Central Institutional Organization Commission, takes to page 7 of the People's Daily to explain the reforms outlined in the Third Plenum around central and local government relations. 

统筹优化地方机构设置和职能配置(深入学习贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想)--观点--人民网:

《中共中央关于深化党和国家机构改革的决定》(以下简称《决定》)指出:“统筹优化地方机构设置和职能配置,构建从中央到地方运行顺畅、充满活力、令行禁止的工作体系。科学设置中央和地方事权,理顺中央和地方职责关系,更好发挥中央和地方两个积极性,中央加强宏观事务管理,地方在保证党中央令行禁止前提下管理好本地区事务,合理设置和配置各层级机构及其职能。”这为统筹优化地方机构设置和职能配置指明了方向、提供了遵循...

属于中央事权、由中央负责的事项,由中央设立垂直机构实行规范管理。实行垂直管理是强调由中央负责任,并不是搞“井水不犯河水”。在实际工作中,中央垂直管理机构需要协助和配合地方行使职权,也需要地方的协作和配合,因而要健全垂直管理机构和地方的协作配合机制。

属于中央和地方协同管理、需要地方分级负责的事项,实行分级管理。实行分级管理强调的是地方各级的责任,而不是排斥中央的统一领导。为此,中央要加强指导、协调和监督。


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

How the West Surrendered Global Infrastructure Development to China - Foreign Affairs How the West Surrendered Global Infrastructure Development to China By Bushra Bataineh, Michael Bennon, and Francis Fukuyama

China May Buy $90 Billion More U.S. Goods, Morgan Stanley Says - Bloomberg The world’s largest trading nation will likely seek a “non-disruptive approach” to reducing its record trade surplus with the U.S. by gradually increasing the share of additional goods imported from there, Hong Kong-based economists Robin Xing and Jenny Zheng wrote in a report this week. Other economists say China will have to divert imports from other nations

Foxconn's unit targets raising $4.3 billion in biggest China IPO since 2015 | Reuters The Foxconn unit, which is known as FII and makes electronic devices, cloud service equipment and industrial robots, is offering up to 1.97 billion shares at 13.77 yuan per share in Shanghai, according to a statement it filed to the stock exchange late on Tuesday.

China’s Trade Deal With U.S. Leaves Germany Squeezed in Middle - Bloomberg China’s pledge to buy more American goods as part of a deal to avert a trade war with the U.S. puts Germany on the spot. As China’s biggest European trading partner, with a total volume of some $179 billion last year, Germany is first in line to suffer the impact of any reduction in business. “China will buy more and more products from the U.S. that we might have otherwise bought from Europe or other partners,” said Wang Yiwei, director of Renmin University’s Institute of International Affairs in Beijing, and a former Chinese diplomat in Brussels. “This will certainly have a spillover effect.”

"Improve News and Public Opinion Management for China's Capital Markets": CSRC - China Banking News On 21 May the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) convened the “2018 News and Public Opinion Work Meeting” in Beijing. According to the meeting news and public opinion work is “key work of the party…and a major matter for a stable state and safe nation.” CSRC’s party committees at all levels will “continually raise their understanding of news and public opinion work…strengthen communications and contact with news media and specialist experts, further improve news and public opinion mechanisms, and create an outstanding public opinion environment for the reform, opening and stable development of capital markets.”

China’s Banks Dance with New Risks - Caixin Global structured deposits are now appearing on the radar screen of regulators as they risk running afoul of new asset management rules that prohibit financial institutions from offering implicit guarantees on the principal and returns on all asset management products. Financial News, a newspaper owned by China’s central bank, reported (link in Chinese) on May 21 that some local financial regulators have already started to restrict the issue of structured deposits by smaller lenders, adding that more detailed regulations on the instruments are likely to be imposed due to the significant growth in sales. At the end of April, the outstanding amount of structured deposits issued by commercial lenders was 9.15 trillion yuan ($1.43 trillion), a surge of 50.8% from a year earlier, according to central bank data released last week, up from a growth rate of 46.7% in the first quarter.

ICBC Fined $6.16 Million by U.S. Regulators for Lax Oversight - Caixin Global The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the self-regulator for the U.S. securities industry, found that the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) inadequately monitored trading in penny stocks – highly speculative stocks valued at less than one dollar. FINRA said the ICBC unit assigned critical monitoring duties to a nonexistent employee title, and no employee actually performed the duties.

Costco Hopes Shanghai Will Buy Into Bulk Shopping - Caixin Global Costco Wholesale Corp. will open at least two Shanghai stores, the retailer’s first physical presence in the world’s most populous country, which it entered with an online store four years ago.

Chinese netizen demands Costco apologize for 2016 apology letter calling Taiwan a country | Taiwan News Comment: very suspicious timing given the openings // In 2016, Washington D.C.-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) requested that Costco stop referring to Taiwan as a "Province of China," in its online job application form. In response, Costco Senior Vice President Patrick Callans sent a letter to the NGO wrote, "The oversight will be corrected. (And it was simply an oversight, not any commentary on Taiwan's status. As you probably know, we have retail locations in Taiwan and very much consider it a country.)"  A Shanghai-born woman surnamed Ma now working the United States somehow found the two-year-old news and forwarded it to Chinese media outlets, including NetEase and Sina, demanding that Costco apologize to all the people of China for its apology letter. Ma wrote, "While it (Costco) is trying to make money off of Chinese people, it shamelessly expresses Taiwan's stance on independence, Costco should apologize to all Chinese people for this."

New campaign opens to intercept solid waste - China Daily Customs authorities recently launched what they said was the most aggressive crackdown in recent years against imported solid waste, as hundreds of suspects were detained on smuggling charges. On Tuesday, customs officers in 17 provinces and regions, including Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Tianjin and Shanghai - which are major centers for the processing of imported recyclables - detained 137 suspects believed to be part of 39 gangs. It was the third operation this year, the General Administration of Customs said.

Why China’s Payment Apps Give U.S. Bankers Nightmares The future of consumer payments may not be designed in New York or London but in China. There, money flows mainly through a pair of digital ecosystems that blend social media, commerce and banking—all run by two of the world’s most valuable companies. That contrasts with the U.S., where numerous firms feast on fees from handling and processing payments. Western bankers and credit-card executives who travel to China keep returning with the same anxiety: Payments can happen cheaply and easily without them.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

微视频:新时代,致敬英雄|界面新闻 · 中国 CCTV short video "The New Era, Pay Respects To Heroes and Martys"//崇尚英雄、捍卫英雄、学习英雄、关爱英雄,这是习近平推崇的民族气质。他每到一个革命历史纪念地,都会献上花篮,身体力行缅怀那些牺牲和奉献的英烈,号召大家铭记历史、崇尚英雄// Comment: If you are paranoid you might see this propaganda surge around heroes and martyrs as trying to prepare and condition a new generation for glorious sacrifice in the service of the Motherland?

Xi stresses auditing's role in Party and state supervisory system - Xinhua  Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on Wednesday stressed the CPC's leadership over auditing work and the vital role of auditing in Party and state supervisory system. Efforts should be made to establish a centralized, unified, comprehensive, authoritative, and efficient auditing supervisory system, so that auditing can play a better role in Party and state supervisory system, he said. President Xi, also chairman of the Central Military Commission and head of the central auditing committee, made the remarks when presiding over the first meeting of the committee.// CCTV Evening News report on the meeting - 习近平主持召开中央审计委员会第一次会议强调 加强党对审计工作的领导 更好发挥审计在党和国家监督体系中的重要作用  Xi is chair, Li Keqiang and Zhao Leji are deputies

Politics of anticorruption in China - Paradigm change of the Party’s disciplinary regime 2012-2017 | Ling Li - Academia.edu Abstract
In this article, on process-tracing Xi Jinping’s campaign in 2012 -2017, the author explains how an anticorruption campaign has transformed into a power consolidation feat. The findings are three-fold. First, the power-consolidation process has benefited from the combination of an ideological campaign and a disciplinary campaign, which are not only synchronized but also feed into one another to achieve a shared goal. Second, the campaign became politicized around midterm and intensified afterwards. The progress of the campaign coincides with Xi Jinping’s advancement of power. Third, the more significant outcome of Xi Jinping’s campaign is not the numbers of disciplined corrupt officials but the paradigm-change of the disciplinary regime of the Party: first, the reverse of the depoliticization process of the Party’s disciplinary regime; and second, the retention of temporarily mobilized anticorruption resources, which will multiply the CCDI’s anticorruption investigative capacities and significantly increase Xi Jinping’s leverage to impose political loyalty and compliance upon Party officials in the future

Scoping Critical Information Infrastructure in China | The Diplomat Xi’s not-so-subtle signal pushing for the implementation of CII protection policies will likely be a wakeup call to the slow moving bureaucratic effort of formulating China’s CII Protection Regulation (Regulation). The first draft of the Regulation was published for public comment in July 2017 and was originally scheduled to be finalized by June 1, 2018. However, key drafters of the Regulation have been struggling to agree on the final text due to differing views regarding the scope of CII and competing sectoral authorities’ varying approaches toward CII cybersecurity assurance. It is unclear whether the drafters will finalize the Regulation according to the planned timeline. It’s even more uncertain if outside stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide feedback before its completion. Against this backdrop, it seems Xi is taking note of the lack of progress in developing CII policies and pressing for implementation in an area where a key piece of regulation has not been published.

Liu Xia's Whereabouts Uncertain Ahead of Merkel's China Trip - RFA HOME | NEWS | CHINA Liu Xia's Whereabouts Uncertain Ahead of Merkel's China Trip 2018-05-22 Print Share Comment Email Liu Xia, widow of Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, is shown in an undated photo. Photo courtesy of Liu Xia Pressure is mounting on Beijing to release the widow of late Nobel peace laureate and political prisoner Liu Xiaobo, amid reports that she has "disappeared" from her Beijing home ahead of a trip to China by the German chancellor Angela Merkel. Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since the announcement of her late husband’s Nobel prize in October 2010, has repeatedly asked to be allowed to leave China, possibly for Germany or the United States, but the ruling Chinese Communist Party appears reluctant to allow this to happen.

Confidante of China’s President Xi Jinping told Liu Xia in February she might soon be set free: sources | South China Morning Post The unnamed official met Liu Xia, and her brother Liu Hui, at her home in Beijing during the Lunar New Year holiday, and told her she might be freed after the annual parliamentary sessions, which were held in March. The one condition was that Liu Hui remained in China. One of the sources described the visitor as “a very senior official at the Ministry of Public Security” adding that “he is close to Xi Jinping”.

Top Beijing Official's Suicide Highlights a Bureaucracy Under Pressure: Analysts - RFA ang Xiaoming, deputy secretary-general of the Beijing municipal government, was found dead on Monday after attending a work conference. He was 58. State media said police had ruled out any criminal activity, although an investigation into Wang's death is under way. Hospital diagnostic records show that Wang, who previously served as director of the Beijing municipal tax bureau, had long suffered from depression, media reports indicated.

China Shutters Top Leftist Website | China Media Project the fate of Utopia over the past week is a potent illustration of how determined the Party leadership now is to enforce and maintain ideological unity around the “core” figure of Xi Jinping. It is not acceptable for a liberal Party journal on the right to talk honestly about history and advocate constitutionalism as a means of solving China’s problems. Nor is it acceptable for a website on the extreme left to talk as though the way forward is a return to the ideology of Mao.

中央纪委通报曝光六起生态环境损害责任追究典型问题——中央纪委国家监委网站 CCDI releases details of 6 cases of officials in trouble for not properly protecting the environment in their jurisdictions

人民日报:新时代激励广大干部担当作为的重大举措--观点--人民网 ——一论激励干部新时代新担当新作为 - 仲祖文 

China’s Bingtuan paramilitary force tightens grip on Xinjiang - FT $$ It has become a large agribusiness producing goods such as cotton and tomato ketchup, often for export. It owns dozens of companies, some publicly traded, such as Chalkis, a Shenzhen-listed company that grows tomatoes and exported 90 per cent of its produce last year, according to its annual report. The total value of Bingtuan’s output from Xinjiang has jumped from $23.5bn in 2013 to $36.7bn in 2017 when it exported $6.63bn worth of goods.  //  Comment: FWIW, I found the restaurant in Beijing to be the one in the lobby of the 兵团大厦 at 北京市西城区马连道南街6号院2号楼 100073 is excellent

List of Re-education Camps in Xinjiang 新疆再教育集中营列表 – Shawn Zhang – Medium

Senior CPC official stresses ethnic, religious work in Tibetan areas - Xinhua Senior Communist Party of China (CPC) leader Wang Yang has called for better work regarding ethnic and religious affairs as well as poverty relief in the country's Tibetan areas. Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), made the remarks during an inspection and research tour to Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwest China's Gansu Province

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

State Department warns U.S. citizens in China after employee suffers possible sonic attack - The Washington Post The U.S. State Department has issued a health alert on Wednesday for U.S. citizens in China, after a government employee reported unusual “sensations of sound and pressure” and was later diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury. A health alert said a U.S. government employee in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou reported “subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure.”.. Though the department has not linked this case to any other incident, news of unusual symptoms hitting U.S. government employees abroad will no doubt draw comparison to a rash of mysterious “sonic attacks” on U.S. and Canadian diplomats stationed in Cuba.

US Rejects China’s Request For UN to Cut Ties With NGO Linked to Exiled Uyghur Leader - RFA In a letter dated May 17, China’s permanent mission to the U.N. urged the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations under ECOSOC to remove consultative status for Germany-based Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), after the group named World Uyghur Congress (WUC) President Dolkun Isa as its representative during the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in April....In response to the request, Ambassador Kelley Currie, the U.S. Representative for Economic and Social Affairs to the U.N., said she was saddened to see the committee “indulging in the Chinese delegation's Islamophobia, in which they conflate the efforts of an individual to advance the religious and human rights of a persecuted minority in China with terrorism, without providing any substantiated evidence.”...Currie said that reports of mass incarcerations in the XUAR were documented by looking at Chinese procurement requests on Chinese websites requesting Chinese companies to tender offers to build “political re-education camps,” and that Beijing was seeking to prevent Isa from speaking out about the issue, as well as other rights abuses there. “This is what this is about today—let’s please not make any mistake about what we’re talking about,” she said.

Policy Roundtable: Are the United States and China in a New Cold War? - Texas National Security Review 1. Introduction, by Iskander Rehman 2. Beware the Cold War Trap — It's a Geopolitical Competition, Instead, by Michael Auslin 3. Competition Aplenty, but no Cold War, by Robert Ayson 4. Beyond Cold War: Paradigms for U.S.-China Strategic Competition, by Elsa B. Kania 5. Are the United States and China Really in a New Cold War? A View from the Region, by Sheryn Lee 6. A New Era of Major Power Competition, Not a New Cold War, by Tiffany Ma and Brian O'Keefe 7. America Faces the Stakes and Style of a Cold War in Asia, Kori Schake

China says eastern European summits are good for EU | Reuters Annual summits between China and central and eastern European countries are beneficial to the European Union as a whole, the Chinese government’s told Bulgaria’s foreign minister, brushing off concern that Beijing is seeking to divide the continent

India, Pakistan entry into SCO increased potential for cooperation: Xi Jinping | India News - Times of India In his address to the representatives to the 13th meeting of Security Council Secretaries of the SCO here yesterday, Xi said maintaining regional security and stability has been the top priority of the bloc since it was founded. "The SCO members have fought the 'three evil forces' of terrorism, separatism and extremism; prevented the overflow of negative effects from hot issues; and made important contributions to keeping regional peace, development and prosperity,"

Pakistan turns to China to avoid foreign currency crisis - FT $$ Pakistan has again turned to China for help in avoiding a foreign currency crisis, deepening the two countries’ economic ties by borrowing $1bn from Chinese banks in April, Pakistan’s central bank governor has revealed. In an interview with the Financial Times, Tariq Bajwa confirmed the loans were made by Beijing-backed banks, at what he said were “good, competitive rates”. The money strengthens the financial, political and military ties between the two countries and underlines the increasingly assertive role Beijing is playing in south Asia and beyond.

Beijing calls for greater global role for G20 - China Daily State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi emphasized on Monday the importance of upholding multilateralism amid rising anti-globalization sentiment and protectionism, and he called for a bigger role for the G20 in global governance. Wang made the remarks in a speech at the G20 Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers on Monday in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

中印对峙解放军前沿阵地首度曝光 士兵荷枪实弹-腾讯网 “这里和印度领土近在咫尺,挡墙西南侧就是印度。”日前,《我爱你,中国》播出第四集《雪域雄鹰》,不但介绍了驻扎在洞朗地区之北乃堆拉山口的边防部队,还首度曝光了我军在中印对峙前沿阵地升国旗的画面 //  TV show shows scenes from PLA encampments by Doklam

Senior CPC official meets Pakistan's national security advisor - Xinhua Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, met here on Wednesday with Pakistan's National Security Advisor Naseer Khan Janjua. Yang, who is also director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, said that since Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Pakistan in 2015, the China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership has made great progress.

China Reveals Advanced Military Stealth Tests For First Time Ever, Joining U.S. and Russia For the first time ever, China has openly discussed its testing of advanced stealth technology, potentially propelling the country's armed forces to a category shared by leading military powers, the U.S. and Russia. Official Chinese Communist Party outlet The Global Times reported Tuesday that the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation successfully tested Radar Cross-Section (RCS) technology for use on Chinese aircraft, citing a report by the Ordnance Industry Science Technology magazine on social media website WeChat. The magazine reportedly said that the technology had been applied to China's fifth-generation J-20 fighter jet and could be applied to other aircraft.

China’s military top brass gather to hone modern warfare preparations | South China Morning Post Senior officers and commanders from the People’s Liberation Army’s Ground Forces began a four-day training session in Korla city in the northwestern region of Xinjiang on Tuesday, according to a report from state news agency Xinhua published on the same day. Xinhua’s report said the officers present at the exercise had “experienced a simulated future war, war-zone scenarios, and lived a combat-ready routine”. “The focus is on centralising teaching, encouraging reflection and review … and to discuss and exchange thoughts.” 陆军8支新质作战力量沙场砺兵 近400名将校集智攻关 

 

Hong Kong, Macao

Don’t be demoralised by Occupy failure – change gonna come, acclaimed Korean news anchor tells Hong Kong | South China Morning Post Sohn Suk-hee, whose investigative reporting led to the impeachment and prosecution of former president Park Geun-hye, urges democracy activists to persevere

 

Tech And Media

At Beijing Accelerator, Israeli Startups Adapt to China - Caixin Global Hundreds of Chinese delegations come to Israel yearly, leading to an increased participation of Chinese companies in Israel-based venture funds, and to direct investment deals in Israeli startups. In May, Alibaba founder and Chairman Jack Ma visited Israel at the head of a large delegation, meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and local venture capital firms and tech entrepreneurs. In October 2017, the e-commerce giant announced plans to set up offices in Tel Aviv as part of a $15 billion global research and development push.

Pony Ma: Tencent is building networks to connect people, things, and intelligent devices · TechNode At today’s Tencent 2018 “Cloud + Future” Summit in Guangzhou, CEO Pony Ma introduced his new vision for the Tencent Cloud platform, dubbed the “three-net” concept (三张网), local media is reporting. The essence of the concept is to build up the “three nets”—IoP (Internet of People), IoT (Internet of Things), and IoI (Internet of Intelligence)—within the Tencent ecosystem.

China Mobile Sees First-Ever Drop in 4G Users - Caixin Global Industry-wide data from China’s telecom regulator (link in Chinese), the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), showed that China’s overall 4G subscribers grew by about 19 million in April to 1.08 billion, as subscriber gains from Unicom and China Telecom more than offset the decline at China Mobile.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Chinese province introduces 'divorce test' for couples planning to split | The Guardian Couples who score above 60 on the exam, which also asks for the dates of anniversaries and birthdays, still “have hope”, according to a post by the Lianyuwang city government on Weibo. Those who score below can conclude their marriage is “about to break.”

China’s controversial love guru Ayawawa suspended on Weibo over ‘comfort women’ comments | South China Morning Post A controversial love-advice blogger has been banned from China’s largest social network for saying Chinese “comfort women” possessed a “gender advantage” over men that boosted their chances of coming out of the second world war alive.

Pope to China Catholics: Make gestures showing communion - AP Pope Francis urged Chinese Catholics on Wednesday to show they are in full communion with the Holy See, amid what appears to be another stall in the Vatican’s longstanding attempts to reach a deal with Beijing over bishop nominations. Francis made the comments during his general audience, noting that many Chinese Catholics will be marking a feast day dedicated to the Virgin Mary this week in Sheshan, near Shanghai.

We’ve Got to Stop Calling Taoism a ‘Superstition’ - Sixth Tone But perhaps the most offensive response to the foundation-laying ceremony came from the commentator Jiang Meng in Party mouthpiece People’s Daily. In an eviscerating piece, Jiang dubbed the Taoist priest who led the ritual “just some local farmer,” called him and his ilk “fraudsters,” and equated their religious practices with pagan “spirit-dances.” Yet all Jiang demonstrated was his own lack of basic understanding.  I lament the ignorance and disrespect that many of my fellow Chinese people continue to demonstrate toward Taoism. But I also fear that Taoist conservatives — the kind who head up the country’s religious associations — will grow tired of reacting to public suspicion with openness and warmth, and will instead try to defend Taoism from a purely nationalist standpoint. As China’s sole homegrown religion, Taoism is fertile ground to be claimed by hyper-patriotic revivalists of traditional Chinese culture. It is essential that Taoists remain level-headed and oppose radical and exclusionary political attitudes.

Dates initiated by communist youth leagues preferred by Chinese youth: survey - Xinhua A total of 73 percent of Chinese youth prefer to find their future partner via dates initiated by communist youth leagues and social organizations, according to a survey. The dating and marriage survey, with 3,082 respondents from different regions and fields, was released by the Central Committee of the Communist Youth League.

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

China could meet emissions pledge ahead of schedule: climate envoy | Reuters Xie Zhenhua, who was China’s chief negotiator on the Paris climate agreement in late 2015, made the comments at a seminar on global climate governance and the Sino-American climate relationship in Beijing.

Middle Tennessee State, Chinese group eye ginseng institute - AP An MTSU news release Tuesday says the institute will study, develop and promote Tennessee-grown herbal products to sell in Asia and other emerging markets. MTSU President Sidney McPhee and Miao Jianhua, director of the Guangxi Botanical Garden of Medicinal Plants, signed an agreement during McPhee’s trip through China.

China’s Prescription for Overburdened Hospitals — Medical Malls - Caixin Global The latest project in Guangzhou city, planned by the Guangzhou International Medicine Port and a Chinese unit of the International Hospitals Group, involves an investment of 1 billion yuan ($160 million). Medical malls, which emerged in the U.S. in the 1980s, are a collection of independent clinics that share space, equipment, operating theaters and other resources. They can also accept some retailers so that customers can have diversified experiences under one roof.

 

Education

Three former Chinese students join lawsuits against U.S. university amid gynecologist scandal - Xinhua hree former Chinese students of the University of Southern California (USC) filed lawsuits against damages caused by Dr. George Tyndall, a longtime gynecologist at the university, said their attorneys in a press conference here Tuesday.

 

Beijing

CEO Reignites Debate on Beijing’s Restrictive Residency Rules - Caixin Global Zhang Xiaolong, who heads Beijing-based software firm Fenbi Lantian Technology Ltd., said in a strongly worded Weibo post — since deleted — that his daughter faces rejection by a private school in the capital if she does not officially register as a Beijing-based student by the end of the month. Zhang said he found it strange that a private school would require this, and that it was pointless to go through the complicated student registration process because without an official Beijing “hukou” (household registration) document, his daughter would still be ineligible to take the national university entrance exam in Beijing in her final year of high school.