Trump downplays US-China deal chances; Condemnation for gene-editing babies; Xinjiang; Huawei gets a South Pacific win; Google China

In an interview with Bob Davis of the Wall Street Journal President Trump dampened some of the optimism about a potential agreement with Xi Jinping at the G-20:

Mr. Davis: Do you think that – I know the Chinese – the Chinese No. 1 goal in this G-20 is to get you to delay or suspend that [increase in the tariff rate on some Chinese imports from 10 percent to] 25 percent on January 1. Do you – are you willing to do that?

President Trump: I think it would be highly unlikely...

You know, we don’t even have a deal with – I don’t know if you know. We really don’t have a deal with China. They do whatever they want...

So but what I’m saying is that I am very happy with what’s going on right now. We’ve only used a small portion of what we have to use because I have another $267 billion [in imports] to go if I want, and then I’m also able to raise interest rates. And we have money that is pouring right now, pouring –

Mr. Davis: When you say interest rates, do you mean – do you mean tariffs, as opposed to interest rates?

President Trump: I’m sorry, the rate, the 25 percent rate –...

President Trump: We have money that is pouring into our treasury right now, and on January 1 it’ll become much more so. And here’s the story: If we don’t make a deal, then I’m going to put the $200 -- and it’s really $67 -- billion additional on at an interest rate between 10 and 25 depending...

The only deal that would really be acceptable to me – other than obviously we have to do something on the theft of intellectual property, right – but the only deal would be China has to open up their country to competition from the United States. As far as other countries are concerned, that’s up to them. I’m interested in the United States. They have to open up China to the United States. Otherwise, I don’t see a deal being made. And if it’s not made, we will be taking in billions and billions of dollars.

Read the whole Transcript of President Trump’s Interview With The Wall Street Journal - WSJ 

Perhaps this is posturing before the meeting but I wouldn't bet on it.

Trump's comments also raise the possibility of a real humiliation for Xi at the G-20, which he would probably then use as fuel for more nationalism, calls for self-reliance and anti-Americanism domestically while increasing the rhetoric that China is the responsible upholder of the global trading system. Not a good mix…

I just want the meetings to be over so we can get on with things. The speculation and guessing is driving all of us nuts. Expect that it really will all come down to what Trump is feeling when he gets in the room with Xi.

Thanks for reading. 

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The Essential Eight

1. More US-China

How a History of Discord Fuels Today’s U.S.-China Trade Tensions - WSJ $$:

The key, immediate question is whether the two presidents will launch a new, formal negotiation that prompts Mr. Trump to put on hold the otherwise automatic escalation of current tariffs to that 25% level. It’s safe to assume that Mr. Xi’s first goal in the summit will be exactly that: to avoid higher and broader levies.

That would represent “a victory for China, even though it’s a minimalist victory,” says Michael Pillsbury, a China expert who often advises the Trump administration.

Yet, privately, administration aides aren’t sanguine about significant change. “The view in the administration is, ‘Don’t ease up in the remedies until you see actual progress, not promises,’ ” says one senior official.

Trump-Xi G-20 meeting offers best chance in months to defuse U.S.-China trade fight - The Washington Post:

Domestic political forces — including suddenly wobbly U.S. financial markets and hints of elite disquiet in China — are propelling the two presidents toward a truce.

“The momentum now favors a cease-fire, with a more intense negotiating phase to come after that,” said Michael Pillsbury, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Chinese Strategy and an occasional administration adviser...

There is widespread support within the administration for halting Trump’s tariff threats, according to Derek Scissors, a China expert at the American Enterprise Institute who follows internal deliberations.

“They do not want to escalate to 25 percent on January 1,” Scissors said.

China ‘won’t get away with vague promises this time’ in trade talks with US | South China Morning Post:

“China will not be able to get away with general and vague promises this time. It has become clear that the Trump administration does not want more promises, it wants action,” said Shi Yinhong, an expert on Sino-US relations at Renmin University of China in Beijing.

Trump’s technology export controls will not hold China back – we’ll work harder: science vice-minister Xu Nanping | South China Morning Post:

Xu Nanping, Vice Minister of Science and Technology, said China will strive harder for innovation as well as seeking technology imports from Japan and European countries if the proposed curbs from the US materialise.

“China has been developing at the medium-to-low end in the global industrial chain,” Xu said at a symposium in Beijing on Tuesday. “If the US decides not to export technology to China, China will be forced to grow its edge at the medium-to-high end.”

Top Beijing official attacks US over WTO reforms, and says China economy is not as developed as claimed | South China Morning Post:

Xie Fuzhan, president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said doubts China was still developing came from a position of ignorance, and, among other things, did not take into account the lower-than-average income of Chinese workers.

In a thinly veiled attack on the United States, just days before President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump meet at the G20 Summit in Argentina, Xie, head of China’s top state think thank, accused “some countries” of “reckless unilateralism and protectionism”...

But the attacks are still “thinly veiled”. When they become much more direct we will know there has been a shift in how Beijing sees the likelihood of any resolution. For now Beijing still believes there is a chance for a short-term salve…

Crop drop: China swine fever outbreak to curb its soybean imports | Reuters:

That and already large soy inventories are curbing appetite for beans in what is by far the world’s biggest importer of the commodity, traders and analysts said, meaning buyers are unlikely to need to return to importing U.S. crops anytime soon.

“Had it not been for the swine fever, China would have faced a shortage of beans early next year,” said a Beijing-based executive at an international trading company.

“Now it seems that soybean processors will be able to do without U.S. beans,” he added, declining to be identified as he was not authorized to speak with media.

Even if there is some sort of G20 agreement between Trump and Xi do not expect a resolution of US-China tensions because There Is No Grand Bargain With China - Foreign Affairs - Ely Ratner:

Any agreement in Argentina will be a tactical pause at best, providing short-term relief to jittery stock markets and beleaguered U.S. farmers, but having no material or long-lasting effect on the slide toward a high-stakes geopolitical competition between the United States and China. The days when the world’s two largest economies could meet each other halfway have gone...

Even if tariffs are put on hold, the United States will continue to restructure the U.S.-Chinese economic relationship through investment restrictions, export controls, and sustained law enforcement actions against Chinese industrial and cyber-espionage. At the same time, there are no serious prospects for Washington and Beijing to resolve other important areas of dispute, including the South China Sea, human rights, and the larger contest over the norms, rules, and institutions that govern relations in Asia. Nothing Trump and Xi agree to in Argentina will substantially alter this course...

When Xi assumed China’s presidency in 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration was willing to test the proposition that Xi was both a reformer and someone the United States could work with...

Yet, at nearly every turn, Xi rejected Obama’s overtures in areas of significant dispute. Instead of seeking to narrow differences, Xi accelerated China’s efforts to develop an illiberal sphere of influence in ways that increasingly undermined vital U.S. interests...

By the 2016 presidential election, Xi had lost the United States. Regardless of whether Trump or Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had taken the helm, Washington was readying to challenge China on multiple front..

One day, it will be time to talk with Beijing about making a deal. But that day will only come once China’s momentum has stalled and Xi or one of his successors is no longer convinced that his country is on the path to regional dominance.

Comment: Then expect the time to talk about a deal to be very very far in the future. Nationalism and exceptionalism run very deep in China and likely would not likely with any change in leadership or ruling Party...


2. Gene-edited baby fallout

The public and official reactions to the gene-editing have been almost unanimous condemnation. 

China orders inquiry into 'world's first gene-edited babies' | The Guardian:

Amid a barrage of criticism, China’s National Health Commission late on Monday ordered officials to “seriously investigate and verify” He’s claims. Shenzhen’s Health and Family Planning commission said it was investigating the ethics committee and review process of He’s work...

On Weibo, He’s findings was one of the most discussed topics on Tuesday, with users worrying about the technology’s potential to be used by wealthy couples to create “designer babies” and “super humans.”

Quoting Stephen Hawking, several users posted: “Once such super humans appear, there will be significant political problems with unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete … Presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant. Instead, there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving at an ever-increasing rate.”

Scientists, officials in China abhor gene editing that geneticist claims | Reuters:

China’s Genetics Society and the Chinese Society for Stem Cell Research said in a statement He had acted as an “individual” and his work posed “tremendous safety risks for the research subjects”.

“We believe the research led by He is strongly against both the Chinese regulations and the consensus reached by the international science community,” the two groups said in a statement posted online.

Rice opens investigation into researcher who worked on CRISPR'd babies - STAT:

Rice University said Monday that it had opened a “full investigation” into the involvement of one of its faculty members in a study that purportedly resulted in the creation of the world’s first babies born with edited DNA.

Michael Deem, a bioengineering professor at Rice, told the Associated Press in a story published Sunday that he helped work on the research in China.


3. Fentanyl fortunes

Secret police study finds crime networks could have laundered over $1B through Vancouver homes in 2016 | Globalnews.ca:

Both mansions appear on a list of more than $1-billion worth of Vancouver-area property transactions in 2016 that a confidential police intelligence study has linked to Chinese organized crime.

The study of more than 1,200 luxury real estate purchases in B.C.’s Lower Mainland in 2016 found that more than 10 per cent were tied to buyers with criminal records. And 95 per cent of those transactions were believed by police intelligence to be linked to Chinese crime networks.

The study findings, obtained by Global News, are a startling look at what police believe to be the massive money laundering occurring in the Vancouver-area real estate market.

They are also an indication of how — according to police intelligence sources — Canada’s narcos are hiding the huge amounts of cash they are amassing from the fentanyl crisis, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Canadians last year.

Fentanyl Flows from China: An Update since 2017 | U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission:

This issue brief provides an update to the Commission's February 2017 report on fentanyl flows from China, examining the progress of negotiations between U.S. and Chinese law enforcement authorities. Although the Chinese government has taken steps to reduce the manufacture and export of fentanyl-like substances, China remains the largest source of illicit fentanyl and fentanyl-like substances in the United States. To combat these flows, U.S. authorities have begun taking legal actions against known Chinese drug traffickers, including announcing the first ever indictments and sanctions against Chinese fentanyl traffickers.


4. Xinjiang

Woman describes torture, beatings in Chinese detention camp - AP:

A member of the Uighur minority on Monday detailed torture and abuse she says she experienced in one of the internment camps where the Chinese government has detained hundreds of thousands of religious minorities.

Mihrigul Tursun, speaking to reporters in Washington, said she was interrogated for four days in a row without sleep, had her hair shaved and was subjected to an intrusive medical examination following her second arrest in China in 2017. After she was arrested a third time, the treatment grew worse...

“The authorities put a helmet-like thing on my head, and each time I was electrocuted, my whole body would shake violently and I would feel the pain in my veins,” Tursun said in a statement read by a translator.

“I don’t remember the rest. White foam came out of my mouth, and I began to lose consciousness,” Tursun said. “The last word I heard them saying is that you being an Uighur is a crime.”

Statement by Concerned Scholars on China’s Mass Detention of Turkic Minorities:

As concerned scholars who study China, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), Central Asia, and other related regions of the world, we issue this statement to highlight our concerns and to call the international community to action in relation to the mass human rights abuses and deliberate attacks on indigenous cultures presently taking place in China’s XUAR.  The signatories to this statement are united in viewing the present situation in this region of China as one of significant international concern. This situation must be addressed to prevent setting negative future precedents regarding the acceptability of any state’s complete repression of a segment of its population, especially on the basis of ethnicity or religion.

Lu Guang: Award-winning Chinese photographer disappears in Xinjiang - BBC News:

An award-winning Chinese photographer has disappeared while visiting China's Xinjiang region, says his wife.

Lu Guang, who lives in New York, was invited to Xinjiang for a talk in October. His wife Xu Xiaoli says she last heard from him on 3 November.

Officials later told her that national security officers in the heavily-controlled region had taken Mr Lu away.

Inside China’s Re-education Camps – Foreign Policy Podcast:

Gulchehra Hoja, a Uighur journalist with Radio Free Asia, joins us on the podcast this week. Almost two dozen members of her family have been detained by Chinese authorities.

Veteran Editor of Uyghur Publishing House Among 14 Staff Members Held Over ‘Problematic Books’ - RFA:

A 30-year veteran editor is among more than a dozen staff members arrested after their Uyghur-run publishing house in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) released books deemed “problematic” because of improper political content, according to sources.

At least 14 staff members of Kashgar Publishing House in the XUAR’s Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) city have been arrested since last year, a source with ties to the region recently told RFA’s Uyghur Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.


5. Huawei gets a South Pacific win

Huawei to Complete Network Project Despite Fierce U.S. Opposition - WSJ $$:

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co. will complete construction of an internet network in Papua New Guinea despite opposition from Australia, Japan and the U.S., after the South Pacific country dismissed concerns about cyberspying.

William Duma, the state investments minister for the small but resource-rich country, said PNG as a developing economy can’t walk away from a project that is more than half finished.

“Whatever views Australia or the U.S. might have in relation to cybersecurity, as far as Huawei or China are concerned, those are for the big boys to worry about,” Mr. Duma said Tuesday. “We in PNG have no enemies. If there is a proposal on the table for us from any country which will help us in terms of our telecommunications, we would not be that stupid to reject it.”

What's in the secret documents signed by China and Vanuatu at APEC? - China power - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation):

The ABC and the Vanuatu Daily Post newspaper have obtained seven agreements signed by China and the nation of Vanuatu just before the APEC meeting.

They reveal just how much time, money and energy China is throwing into the Pacific as it continues to assert its presence in the region.


6. Jack Ma's Communist Party membership was known

The Global Times says the listing of Ma in the People's Daily was not actually a revelation. 

Concerns over Alibaba founder’s Party membership reflect lack of knowledge of CPC grass-roots functions: experts - Global Times:

Jack Ma Yun, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, was identified as a Party member on Monday, which sparked heated discussions online. Some media reports said it was an example of how the Party penetrates into every aspect of Chinese business.

This is actually not the first time it has been revealed that Ma is a Party member, media reports said. When the Zhejiang Merchants Association was first established in October 2015, Ma was appointed as the first head of the organization and introduced as a Party member.

Those who are worried that growing Party branches and committees inside private companies might jeopardize the interests of shareholders or affect decision-making have no basic knowledge about how grass-roots Party cells operate and what their roles really are, Su Wei, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee, told the Global Times on Tuesday...

Membership of the Party and corporate management are two unrelated things, Su noted. "The board of shareholders is in charge of decision-making and daily operations, while Party cells are set up to make sure the company's operations are in line with the principles and policies of the CPC," he said.

China recently released a trial regulation for Party branches stating that Party cells inside private firms can help guide and supervise enterprises to follow the country's laws and regulations and safeguard the legitimate interests of all parties, according to a document released on Sunday.

Interesting conspiracy theory about Ren Zhengfei's absence from the list - Why is Huawei Out in the Cold? | China Media Project:

How can the Party’s flagship newspaper overlook the “outstanding achievements” made by Huawei and its chairman, Ren Zhengfei, currently ranked 83rd on Forbes’ “China Rich List 2018”?

Some have speculated that this was an intentional act of concealment connected to recent difficulties in the US-China relationship. As a post on the Wechat public account “Zhi Gu Qu Shi” (智谷趋势) argued yesterday:

This makes one think of the previous ZTE crisis, and also strict controls recently announced by the US government on [Chinese] tech exports, and wonder whether the relevant departments [in China] didn’t decide intentionally to hide [Huawei from this list] against the backdrop of US-China tensions? After all, Huawei’s expansion in the US could at any time be seen as “state conduct” and then the US Committee on Foreign Investment might make things difficult.


7. Google's China plans

We are Google employees. Google must drop Dragonfly. - Open Letter on Medium:

Our opposition to Dragonfly is not about China: we object to technologies that aid the powerful in oppressing the vulnerable, wherever they may be. The Chinese government certainly isn’t alone in its readiness to stifle freedom of expression, and to use surveillance to repress dissent. Dragonfly in China would establish a dangerous precedent at a volatile political moment, one that would make it harder for Google to deny other countries similar concessions.

Our company’s decision comes as the Chinese government is openly expanding its surveillance powers and tools of population control. Many of these rely on advanced technologies, and combine online activity, personal records, and mass monitoring to track and profile citizens. Reports are already showing who bears the cost, including Uyghurs, women’s rights advocates, and students. Providing the Chinese government with ready access to user data, as required by Chinese law, would make Google complicit in oppression and human rights abuses.

Amnesty International Plans Protests of Google’s China Search Engine - The Intercept:

The human rights group on Monday launched a petition against the search engine and said that on Tuesday, it will stage demonstrations outside Google offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and Spain. Google’s plan for China would “irreparably damage internet users’ trust in the tech company,” Amnesty said in statement, and “would set a dangerous precedent for tech companies enabling rights abuses by governments.”

John Hennessy, Alphabet chairman, on Google China plans - CNBC:

"Anybody who does business in China compromises some of their core values," Hennessy said in an interview this week with Bloomberg. It's true for every company "because the laws in China are quite a bit different than they are in our own country," he said.


8. New rules for systemically important financial institutions (SIFI)

China acts on improving supervision of systemically important financial institutions - Xinhua:

The guideline, posted Tuesday at the website of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, aims to improve China's framework for supervising systemically important financial institutions, prevent systemic risks, and maintain the prudent performance of the financial system.

"[The guideline] specifies the policy orientation for supervision of systemically important financial institutions, improves the areas of weakness in financial supervision, gives guidance to large financial institutions on prudent operations, and forestalls systemic financial risks," the PBOC said.

The guideline was jointly released by the PBOC, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission and the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

The guideline - 央行等三部委联合发布《关于完善系统重要性金融机构监管的指导意见》 

An official explainer - 央行就《关于完善系统重要性金融机构监管的指导意见》答记者问 

Reuters- China sets new rules to reduce 'too big to fail' risk:

Regulators led by China’s central bank will shortlist financial institutions accounting for at least 75 percent of total assets in their respective sectors - or at least 30 banks, 10 securities firms and 10 insurance companies - as potential systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs) for a review each year, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said in an online statement.

Caixin says the SIFIs may include Ant Financial and Tencent Financial--独家|系统重要性金融机构监管规则出台 或有20多家入选_金融频道_财新网 


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

Deep in the Data, China's Bank Funding Squeeze Is Easing Off - Bloomberg “With monetary easing now underway, credit growth has stopped decelerating,” said Logan Wright, director of China markets research at Rhodium Group in Hong Kong. “Softness in the housing market is likely to see an increasing share of credit channeled to corporates, including private sector firms, in the next few quarters.”

China's Insurance Market Opens Wider for France's AXA - Caixin Just one day after German insurer Allianz Group was given the green light to set up China’s first wholly foreign-owned insurance holding company in Shanghai next year, French insurance giant AXA Group announced it will buy out the partners of its China joint venture, AXA Tianping Property & Casualty Insurance Co. Ltd.

China Industrial Profits Growth Hit 8-Month Low - Caixin China’s industrial profits grew 3.6% year-over-year in October, the lowest since March, according to data released Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that imply a continued slowing of China’s economic growth.

Beijing Posts Record Daily Land Sales Amid Cooling Signs - Caixin The municipal government put 13 plots up for auction with 12 of them selling, according to the capital city’s land and resources regulator. The number of plots sold and the total transaction value hit record highs. About 50 developers submitted bids for the parcels, but the biggest players, especially private ones, were absent from Beijing’s Monday auction. State-backed developers ― including China Construction First Building Corp., Beijing China Railway Noble Real Estate Development Co. and Greentown China ― were among the buyers.

Tesla says reported sales fall in China ‘wildly inaccurate’ - Global Times US carmaker Tesla said that a media report of its sales slump in China in October are "wildly inaccurate," after the report claimed that the company saw its vehicle sales sink by 70 percent in October from a year earlier in China. "While we do not disclose regional or monthly sales numbers, these figures are off by a significant margin," Cheryl Zhang, senior communications manager of Tesla, told the Global Times.


Politics, Law And Ideology

Pro-market economist excluded from China’s reform and opening up honours list | South China Morning Post One of China’s most prominent economists has been left off the government’s list of “outstanding contributors” to the country’s transformational economic reforms, reigniting concerns over the direction of the Chinese economy. Wu Jinglian, the 88-year-old “spiritual leader” of the pro-market reformist camp, was not on the preliminary list published by People’s Daily on Monday to celebrate the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up policy, which set the country on a path of unprecedented growth

Unirule Shutdown Announcement Even though the Decision that revoked the license of Beijing Unirule Consulting Co., Ltd. does not influence the status of Unirule Institute of Economics as a secondary research organization, in the current institutional environment in China, unless normal protection by the Constitution and laws is confirmed, Unirule Institute of Economics will cease public activities under its name temporarily.

Chinese courts livestream more than 2 mln trials - Xinhua Over 13 billion accumulated hits were registered since the website for live streaming trials (http://tingshen.court.gov.cn/) was launched in 2013, said the SPC. The record number of viewers on a single trial was more than 33.63 million

《习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想三十讲》课件--理论--人民网 A course on Xi Thought in 30 segments, with video and PPT.

学习时报 - 加快推进社会动员机制现代 - 潘华 Interesting article in Study Times arguing that the CCP should learn from the west and reform and modernize its social mobilization mechanism.

学习时报 - 马克思主义中国化的典范 ——学习习近平同志“论《〈政治经济学批判〉序言》的时代意义”理论札记 Xi Jinping wrote an article about Marx’s A contribution to the Critique of Political Economy in 1997 when he was still the deputy party secretary of Fujian. A professor from the Xi thought center at Peking University writes in Study Times that this article is a paragon of the sinicization of Marxism


Foreign and Military Affairs

China defends holding fugitive businessman's US children - BBC News "As we understand it from the relevant authorities, these people you have mentioned all have legal and valid identity documents as Chinese citizens," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters at a news conference, according to the Agence France-Presse. "They are suspected of having committed economic crimes and have been restricted from leaving China by Chinese police."

Despite South China Sea Tensions, Air Force Commander Sees No Overt Intercept Threat | Military.com As China continues to build up contested islands in the region, U.S. Air Force strategic bombers such as the B-52 Stratofortress have not been overtly threatened during recent patrols, said Gen. Charles "CQ" Brown Jr., head of Pacific Air Forces Command.

Cyber Security Derailed? Recommendations for Smarter Investments in Infrastructure A state-owned Chinese company receives a contract to build and maintain the next generation of railcars that service Metro stations at the Pentagon, near the White House and Capitol Hill, and throughout the Washington, D.C., metro area. What could possibly go wrong? Possibly nothing, but maybe something. Commuter trains have come a long way from the unconnected transit assets that moved through and between cities independently. Modern rail cars are nodes in complex transit communications networks, extensions of a transit authority’s information and operational technology infrastructures, and even WiFi hotspots.  //  Comment: Shades of Commander Ripper in Dr Strangelove? "I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids"

Worldwide calls for Govt to speak up on China - Newsroom.NZ The Government’s lack of response to the matter of China’s influence has added to the global perception of New Zealand becoming the “soft underbelly” for the superpower’s infiltration, a leading China academic says. But Jacinda Ardern says her silence over the issues plaguing Canterbury University professor Anne-Marie Brady are appropriate while a police investigation is carried out. The Prime Minister said if she were to receive a report that attributed the break-ins at Brady’s house, or other alleged intimidation, to China, she would act on it.

Children of North Korean Mothers Find More Hardship in the South - The New York Times More than 32,000 North Koreans have escaped to South Korea since a famine hit their country in the 1990s, and their harrowing journeys are often made worse by having to spend years in limbo in China, according to defectors, human rights researchers and South Korean officials. Some are trapped there for years, forced to work in the sex industry or live with men in the countryside who could not find Chinese wives before the women enlist the help of human rights activists and smugglers to reach South Korea.

Beijing Urges Gov’t to Get Ball Rolling on China-Myanmar Economic Corridor - The Irawaddy China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Vice Chairman Ning Jizhe held talks with State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyitaw on Monday, according to Myanmar state media. According to a press release, their discussion focused on the details of a working plan to implement the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor (CMEC), which will stretch 1,700 km between the two countries from Kunming, the capital of China’s Yunnan Province, to Myanmar’s major economic centers.

President Xi Jinping's Special Envoy and Minister of Culture and Tourism Luo Shugang Meets with President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih of the Maldives Luo Shugang conveyed President Xi Jinping’s warm greetings and best wishes to Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, congratulated Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on his assumption of office as President of the Maldives, and wished that the Maldives will achieve new development under the leadership of Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. Luo Shugang expressed that the Chinese side attaches importance to China-Maldives relations, and is willing to make joint efforts with the Maldivian side to consolidate traditional friendship, strengthen the alignment of development strategies, well plan bilateral practical cooperation and advance the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, in a bid to inject fresh impetus into the future-oriented comprehensive friendly and cooperative partnership between China and the Maldives.

Xi-Duterte deals stir a furor in the Philippines | Asia Times The 29 new agreements, many of them vague or otherwise opaque, have thus emerged as a new political lightning rod, as the country’s chief magistrate, vice president and opposition senators all calling for greater caution, probity and assertiveness in Duterte’s dealings with Beijing.

Chinese premier meets former British PM - Xinhua Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with former British Prime Minister David Cameron in Beijing Tuesday, saying China stands ready to work with Britain to strengthen bilateral ties in order to benefit both countries and peoples Cameron said with both sides' efforts, Britain-China relations entered into a golden era while he was in office. Hailing the enhanced bilateral cooperation and increasing growth of two-way investment and trade, Cameron said Britain will firmly support rules-based multilateralism and free trade as always.

Full text of Xi's signed article on Spanish newspaper - Xinhua A signed article by Chinese President Xi Jinping titled "Joining Hands for New Splendor in the New Era" was published Tuesday on Spanish newspaper ABC ahead of his state visit to the European country.

China develops Y-20 variants to perform aerial refueling missions: military insider - Global Times China is modifying its domestically made strategic transport aircraft Y-20 to take on new missions like aerial refueling, a military insider said. A tanker variant for the Y-20 is now under development, the expert who is familiar with the matter, told the Global Times on Sunday on the condition of anonymity.


Taiwan

Taiwan, China agree to share hosting of Asia rugby games | Cross-Strait Affairs | CNA  China attempted to prevent Taiwan from hosting an Asian rugby tournament, but after negotiations the two sides agreed to take turns hosting the annual event for the next six years, Chinese Taipei Rugby Football Union (CTRFU) Secretary General Jeremy Pai (白維文) said Tuesday.


Tech And Media

China citizens are proud the country can compete with the US on AI, venture fund manager says - CNBC "Chinese people are aware of it (data protection) but in general if you talk to most of the normal people they understand there could be big platforms that have access to their data but they're OK with it because of the national pride of wanting to help to be the number one in AI for the whole of China. That mindset is even greater then 'hey I just want to protect my data'," she said at East Tech West in the Nansha district of Guangzhou, China.

Popular Chinese news app Jinri Toutiao offers rewards to stories that quash rumours amid government campaign to 'clean up' online content | South China Morning Post Jinri Toutiao, the popular Chinese news aggregator, is offering cash rewards of up to 3,000 yuan (US$432) for articles that refute rumours. Dubbed “100”, the project was launched on Monday and will reward 100 best articles that debunk rumours, Toutiao said. The app is operated by Beijing-based Bytedance, one of the most highly valued start-ups in the world.

How China helped Venom become an $822 million box office success - Vox In the three weekends since Venom opened in China on November 9, the film has made an estimated $243 million in the country alone. That number is already higher than Venom’s domestic take of $211 million since its US debut, and it brings the movie’s worldwide total to about $822 million — over $600 million of which comes from its foreign haul, and over a quarter of which comes from China.

'Crazy Rich Asians' Beijing Premiere Gets Surprise Appearance From Jackie Chan The movie, which was earlier feared to miss a lucrative release date in China, is finally set to go on general release there on November 30.


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Melania Trump Wears Dolce & Gabbana Despite China Racism Row: Report According to the quoted source by Hollywood Life: "She did so as an act of solidarity and support for D&G"

40 years of China’s economic reform sounds like Pinggu’s violins - Inkstone “There was a big state-owned company – the Beijing Violin Factory – here. Thousands of people produced violins there until it went bankrupt, two decades ago,” says Geng Guosheng, owner of a violin workshop in Pinggu. “Some of the workers left. But others decided to make the best out of their know-how and took a chance in the booming private sector,” he says. Today, his workshop produces some of the finest violins in China that charge up to $20,000 apiece. While they’re no Stradivarius, this represents a stunning rise up the value chain not unlike that of much of China’s manufacturing sector in the past four decades.

'They’ve Got the Lambo-Mentality': Tonino Lamborghini CEO on Why China Loves Italian Style | Jing Daily The Lamborghini name enjoys worldwide acclaim, and that includes within China, but it’s not just sports cars that are enchanting Chinese consumers these days. The luxury carmaker’s impeccable Italian style has led the company to grow a lucrative luxury lifestyle brand over the years — one that now produces everything from watches, eyewear, and smartphones to perfumes and 5-star hotels, and the booming Chinese market can’t seem to get enough of the “Lambo” lifestyle.


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

China Pours Money Into Research, Luring U.S. Scientists And Students : Shots - Health News : NPR The flow of researchers abandoning labs in the United States for academic positions in China is still more trickle than flood. But China is working hard to make itself an attractive destination for top international scientists.

Smog war casualty: China coal city bears brunt of pollution crackdown | Reuters “Everything was covered in dust, and it’s cleaner now,” said Zhang Haibin, a 44-year-old farmer living in a largely abandoned hamlet on the edge of a defunct coal deposit that once attracted migrant workers from across the country. But Jincheng has paid a heavy price, Zhang said. Factories and coal mines have shut down, sending shockwaves through the local economy. The migrants have drifted away, and jobs are hard to find even for locals.

China to end import tax exemption for advanced second-generation nuclear reactors | Reuters China said on Tuesday that advanced second-generation nuclear reactors will lose their import tax exemption from Jan. 1, 2019 as Beijing seeks to support domestic suppliers and promote technological development. China is expected to triple its nuclear power capacity to reach 120-150 GW in total by 2030 as part of Beijing’s push to boost clean energy consumption.

Qinghai-Tibet Artificial Rainfall Project ‘Delusional,’ Experts Say - Caixin The project, dubbed “Sky River,” aims to boost China’s declining water supply by directing rain onto the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, which is home to the headwaters of major Asian rivers that include the Yangtze and Mekong. Researchers from Tsinghua University and Qinghai University are leading the project, with government funding and support from the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC), a state-owned company that has also played a major role in the country’s space program.

China’s Mixed Messages on the Global Trade in Endangered-Animal Parts - The New York Times Environmentalists suspect that captive-breeding facilities in China have been pressuring Beijing for years to reverse its ban and open a regulated trade in tiger bones and rhino horns. 


Agriculture And Rural Issues

Facial scanning introduced to track livestock as China modernizes pork industry - Global Times Swine farms across China may soon be empowered by new pig face recognition technology, allowing farmers to track, feed and manage their livestock. Yingzi Technology, a Guangdong-based company, is using face recognition on pigs to track their growth, manage their health and increase their traceability as they move throughout the pork supply chain.


Food And Travel

In China’s Land of Buddhas and Fortresses, Kindness Prevails - The New York Times Traveling Gansu Province along the ancient Silk Road, our columnist gets by with a little help from her friends.