Trump In Beijing Day One; Holy Xi Tree; Tencent Likes Snap--Sinocism 11.8.2017

President Trump arrived in Beijing Wednesday afternoon. Day One has been mostly pomp and lessons about China's history and culture.

This is the third meeting between President Trump and General Secretary Xi this year.

The Wednesday CCTV Evening News devoted the top seven minutes to reporting on the meeting and tour of the Forbidden City. Somehow the CCTV team had the best access and got the best video--习近平和夫人彭丽媛陪同美国总统特朗普和夫人梅拉尼娅参观故宫博物院. In a funny moment shown just after the five minute mark in the CCTV report,  Xi encourages Trump to pick up a solid gold vase in the museum. Coincidence, or have they really planned for everything in the flattery department?

The $9 Billion in trade deals announced Thursday are mostly nothing-dumplings in the grand scale of things, though Wang Yang said the "good show" would be Thursday and a Bloomberg reporter tweeted that a total of $250 Billion in deals were to be announced during the trip. If correct, there is $241 Billion to go, along with a busy day Thursday talking trade, North Korea and other issues.

So far there are still no indications that on this trip the Trump Administration has any specific asks to deal with the structural issues in the economic relationship.


The Essential Eight

1. Day One Of Trump In Beijing

China Daily with pictures and videos from the first day, including a video from the Peking Opera performance.-Live: US President Donald Trump lands in Beijing, kicking off three-day state visit

Xi, Trump have afternoon tea at Palace Museum - Xinhua:

With a tablet computer, Trump showed Xi and Peng video clips of his granddaughter, Arabella Kushner, singing in mandarin and reciting a part of the Three-Character Classic and ancient Chinese poems.

Xi spoke highly of the child's Chinese skills and said her performance deserves an "A+."

Arabella is already a child star in China, said Xi, adding that he hoped she would visit China in the future.

Comment: Here is the subtitled video

Subject: WH Travel Pool Report #12:

A map of the Forbidden City indicates the leaders sat in the Hall of Character Cultivation...

Next came an acrobatic sequence from the Monkey King, which bore a vague resemblance to the street corner acrobatics one might see in Times Square on a Saturday night.

That drew laughs and smiles from POTUS.

Next up was A Tipsy Beauty, the tale of an imperial consort. It involved the tossing of confetti and flower petals and a fan dance.

Trump visit predicted to be 'historic' - China Daily:

Trump's visit marks the first by a head of state to China after the conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China last month.

Tweeter-in-chief ready to confront China's 'great firewall' - AP:

The White House is declining to comment on the president’s ability to tweet in China or the precautions being taken to protect his communications in the heavily monitored state. It’s about more than cybersecurity. Knowing the president’s penchant for showmanship, some aides are trying to build up social media suspense before Air Force One is wheels-down in Beijing.

It seems doubtful Xi that will take Trump to visit the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution Commemorative exhibition on loan from the Russian National History Museum to China's National Museum - 列宁的皮箱等200余件珍贵文物在京展出 纪念俄十月革命百年 - 图片新闻 - 新京报网

How influential is Steve Bannon on Trump’s views of China? Bannon took to the radio to reiterate his view that China is the enemy.

Bannon: China Is 'an Enemy of Incalculable Power, Not a Strategic Partner and We Have to Understand That' - Breitbart:

Bannon called it “awe-inspiring” and said China is “in your face in doing it.” He faulted the Bush’s and “that whole group” who insisted China would liberalize and become a free market democracy if we gave them favorable trade deals. Bannon called the strategy “dead wrong.” “We have an enemy of incalculable power and they’re not a strategic partner. They are an enemy and we have to understand that,” said Bannon.

U.S. Embassy Weibo Post on Trump Deleted | China Media Project:

“We are working to counter the dangerous aggressions of the regime in North Korea. The regime continues development of its unlawful weapons programs, including its illegal nuclear tests and outrageous launches of ballistic missiles directly over Japanese territory are a threat to the civilized world and to international peace and stability. We will not stand for that. The era of strategic patience is over.” — Trump address at joint press conference with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe . .


2. Trade During The Summit

Trump Is Greeted in China by a Trade Deficit as Big as Ever - Bloomberg:

For the first 10 months of the year, China’s trade surplus with the U.S. was $223 billion according to Bloomberg calculations based on data released by the General Administration of Customs on Wednesday -- just before the U.S. president arrived in Beijing from Seoul. That pace should mean the full-year gap between China’s sales to the U.S. and its imports is about the same as in 2016, at around $250 billion.

Trump’s Visit to China: More Business Deals Than Trade Pacts - The New York Times:

…planning for Mr. Trump’s Beijing trip has largely focused on finding deals he can announce, like high-profile orders for Boeing jets and other American goods. By contrast, the two sides have engaged in little of the back-and-forth shuttle diplomacy by lower-ranking officials that can pave the way toward new trade agreements...

Several financial firms were interested in attending the trip to discuss Chinese restrictions on bank ownership, but they decided to pull back when they learned that the Trump administration was focused on making deals rather than pushing for structural reform

Here are the 29 business leaders headed to China with Donald Trump:

A few of those attending include Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, Steve Mollenkopf of Qualcomm, Shane Tedjarati of Honeywell, Andrew Liveris of DowDuPont, and Kevin McAllister of Boeing, according to a list obtained by CNBC.

China's JD.com Commits to Buy $2 Billion U.S. Goods Amid Trump Visit - Bloomberg:

JD.com, China’s second-largest online mall, will buy more than $1.2 billion of beef from the Montana Stock Growers Association and pork from Smithfield Foods Inc. over the next three years, the company said in a statement released after a signing ceremony in Beijing

Trump visit to China gets going with US$9bn in trade deals as Beijing hints there is more to come | South China Morning Post:

The signing ceremony in the Great Hall of the People was overseen by Wang Yang, China’s vice-premier in charge of economic issues, and US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Wang, a new member of the powerful Politburo Standing Committee, told commercial delegates from both countries that the contract signing was just a “warm-up” and there would be more “good things” on Thursday. 

Comment: Bloomberg reporter Peter Martin wrote on Twitter that "deals to be announced during Trump China visit will total 250 billion dollars". So $241 Billion more to come Friday?


3. North Korea

‘Nuclear nightmare’: Trump’s speech to the South Korean National Assembly, annotated - The Washington Post:

We call on every nation, including China and Russia, to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions, downgrade diplomatic relations with the regime, and sever all ties of trade and technology.

Comment: Is he calling on China to shut off Internet access, which would deprive North Korea of its capacity and illicit cyber gains?

China imposes ban on tours to North Korea: sources | NK News:

While three tourism sources confirmed the ban to NK News on Tuesday and Wednesday, there are varying accounts of the exact scope of the measures from their Chinese counterparts.


4. Holy Xi Tree

Chinese officials pay homage to tree planted by Xi Jinping as Communist Party chiefs get in touch with their roots | South China Morning Post:

The Henan party committee members’ visit to the site in Lankao county was just one example of the recent phenomenon of Communist Party pilgrimages to “red sites” around the country.

The local party’s website report on the visit said the cadres gazed at the Paulownia tree, while thinking carefully about the mission of the Communist Party.

After visiting the tree, the group, led by provincial party boss Xie Fuzhan, listened to a poem composed by Xi about Jiao Yulu, the county’s former party chief whose death in the 1960s was attributed to overwork in official propaganda.

Comment: Expect more on Jiao Yulu and Lankao. Xi tool "personal responsibility" for Lankao in 2014 as part of a program that linked standing committee members with impoverished areas.

Jiao Yulu - Wikipedia:

Jiao Yulu was a symbol of the honest Party cadre who devotes himself tirelessly to the Communist State.[1] Jiao Yulu was considered to be a glorious example - Mao Zedong's good student during the period of personal worship. After his death, a campaign to study Jiao Yulu's example was started in 1966. The aim of the campaign was to boost morale and to rally the people to work harder to overcome difficulties. Party members in particular were called upon to follow Jiao Yulu's example by conducting more research and investigations into local conditions, and learn from his leadership style


5. An Iowa Farm Project in Hebei

Transplanted Iowa farm a model for modernizing China's agriculture - Des Moines Register:

The demonstration farm in China is a partnership between the Kimberleys and fellow Iowan Luca Berrone, an Italian immigrant who was the founding director of Iowa Sister States and an “old friend” to Xi who welcomed him to Iowa in 1985

They formed Iowa China Farm LLC to consult on the project with Chinese developer Risesun...

The Kimberley farm is just the first of six phases of a broader 3,300-acre complex expected to include everything from fruit groves to livestock research and yet another homage to rural Midwest life: China's own Disney-style approximation of a quintessential Iowa small town.


6. Made in China 2025 Plan Is Not Your Friend

China’s Technology Ambitions Could Upset the Global Trade Order - New York Times:

Made in China 2025 seems to reject all notions of comparative advantage and future opportunities for high-value-added manufactured exports from the rest of the world to China,” said Jeremie Waterman, president of the China Center at the United States Chamber of Commerce.

“If Made in China 2025 achieves its goals,” he said, “the U.S. and other countries would likely become just commodity exporters to China — selling oil, gas, beef and soybeans.”


7. Tencent Snaps Up More Snap

China's Tencent takes a 10% stake in Snapchat parent Snap - CNBC:

Tencent purchased the 145.8 million non-voting shares over the last quarter. China's largest messaging app has invested in Snap before, in 2012 and 2013, in private rounds.

Comment: Will this move pique CFIUS' interest? Tencent says it will be a passive, public markets shareholder, but Snap has a lot of data on Americans and given everything else Tencent is doing it may be seen in government circles as problematic.

Unmanned AI Police Station to Open in Wuhan | Radii China:

This Wuhan station will partner with Tencent to build the facial recognition tech, out of a presumable mutual eagerness to amass a large database of facial scans connected to photo IDs.

Comment: Selling US tech firms and Internet firms to Chinese firms will only get increasingly problematic

China’s Toutiao Tried to Buy Reddit — The Information:

The Chinese startup couldn’t reach a deal with Reddit’s shareholders, including Condé Nast, the people said. One reason was general skittishness among Reddit’s investors about selling to a Chinese internet company whose user and revenue numbers were tough to assess, according to one person. Another issue was the price, another person close to the situation said. Toutiao was offering private company stock, which can be hard for outsiders to value.


8. DiDi Brain: DiDi Chuxing CEO Talks Big Data, The Power And Scale of His Firm

Interview with Founder and CEO of DiDi, Cheng Wei. Part I: Understanding DiDi and Data - The Harbinger China

We process 200TB of data every day. For each order, we carry out 57.6 billion times of computation for route planning…The core of our platform is an artificial intelligence brain, called DiDi Brain. It studies each individual user’s pattern of commuting, collects data on road and traffic conditions in real time...

...every intersection constantly has vehicles with the DiDi app passing through. With the data sent back from those vehicles indicating traffic volumes in every intersection day and night, we can make reasonable predictions and give suggestions to the transport department for better-coordinated traffic light cycles. And we’re actually doing this already.

The first batch of big data-based traffic lights has been installed on one road in Jinan City. Many intersections on that road have seen a traffic decrease of 10-20%. And through the coordination of the dozens of traffic lights in the most congested area, the overall traffic congestion has been reduced by 20-30%. We have improved the traffic efficiency this much merely leveraging the data without any extra cost on the infrastructure. That’s why we call it smart transport.


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

Foreign payment card firms not required to establish JVs to enter local market: China central bank - Reuters Reuters reported on Tuesday that China was pressing foreign payment card companies to form local joint ventures for onshore operations, a move that would counter a pledge on market access that Beijing made to U.S. President Donald Trump.

How Does Ppdai Work? - Caixin Global Like other P2P platforms, Ppdai connects lenders with short-term borrowers. Around 80% of the loans it facilitates are standard loan products that have periods of one month to one year; the remaining are shorter-term cash loan products and consumption loans, which allow customers to pay retailers in installments.

HNA’s Top Owner Is Said to Name Ex-German Minister as Chief - Bloomberg The largest shareholder of HNA Group Co., the Chinese conglomerate that’s been buying stakes in companies including Deutsche Bank AG, is set to appoint former German Vice Chancellor Philipp Roesler as its chief executive officer, according to people familiar with the matter. Roesler, who will step down from his current post as the World Economic Forum’s head of government relations, is poised to take the helm at New York-based Hainan Cihang Charity Foundation Inc. in the coming weeks, said the people

Chinese Auto-Glass Magnate Faces Union Challenge in Ohio - The New York Times Now, in a factory with more than 1,500 employees in Moraine, Ohio, 7,600 miles away, Mr. Cao’s paternalistic attitude is facing a deep test. Workers at the plant — owned by Mr. Cao’s company, Fuyao Glass — will vote on Wednesday and Thursday on whether to unionize. Officials at the United Automobile Workers union say that frustration with highhanded and arbitrary treatment by supervisors has generated support for a union.


Politics, Law And Ideology

‘Sing for the new era’: Chinese journalists told to spread the word on Xi’s ideology | South China Morning Post China has marked Journalists’ Day by reminding its 228,000 reporters of their duties as propaganda workers and to promote the country’s achievements in its “new era”, a centrepiece of President Xi Jinping’s national ideology.-习近平致中国记协成立80周年的贺信 - 中国军网

[视频]王沪宁会见新闻工作者代表并讲话_CCTV // Comment: Wang Huning meets and gives a speech to "news workers" at the ceremony

China Focus: China publishes draft supervision law to solicit public opinion - Xinhua The draft has made clear regulations on China's new detention system, which will replace the "shuanggui" system. Shuanggui was an intra-party disciplinary practice that required a member of the Communist Party of China being investigated to cooperate with questioning at a set time and place. The practice was monitored by Party disciplinary officials, but its largely informal process caused tricky legal issues. The new detention system will safeguard the rights of those under investigation with several measures.


Foreign and Military Affairs

Philippines, Seeking to Appease Beijing, Halts Construction in South China Sea - The New York Times  Mr. Duterte’s decision to halt work on the project, which was to include a shelter for Philippine fishermen, signals an effort to improve ties with China before a regional summit meeting in Vietnam this weekend. China complained in August about the work on the sandbar at Sandy Cay, the Philippine defense secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, said. The sandbar is near Thitu Island, which Manila calls Pag-Asa island and claims as its own. // Comment: Remarkable. Has China ever stopped work when Manila complained?

China's future satellite navigation will be millimeter accurate | Popular Science Plus, thanks to a new, more accurate atomic clock, the Beidou 3 satellites will also be able to send more precisely timed radio pulses

Indian border tunnel building further provokes China: expert - Global Times India plans to construct 17 highway tunnels totaling 100 kilometers along its line of control, some of which are under construction, the Economic Times reported on Monday.

Aces now in China’s hands: why Nye’s view is mistaken - FT && Comment: Oped by Wang Wen, formerly of the Global Times now executive dean and professor at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China (RDCY). I attended a dinner with him in Beijing a few years ago, if Xi listens to his views then we are all in trouble //  China is increasingly confident in dealing with such occasions. In recent years, its ability to shape the future of Sino-American relations has caught up with and even exceeded that of the US on such issues as human rights, trade and the Taiwan strait, where the US is deliberately obstructive.


Tech And Media

Zhou Yuan: Chinese entrepreneur has answer to forum’s success - FT $$ Zhihu, which is today valued at $1.25bn, publishes online books, many written or edited by its top users and often based on trending topics, and sells podcasts and text explainers. Zhihu Live, a pay-per-view platform for livestreamed talks by celebrities and experts, attracts 4m viewers. In four years, Zhihu has generated 100m registered users and 780m unique monthly visitors, surpassing Quora’s 200m monthly visitors.

China News Aggregation Giant Jinri Toutiao Said Seeking To Buy Insurance Broker – China Money Network China’s news aggregation giant Jinri Toutiao appears to be the latest Chinese media platform looking to get into financial technology. According to local news reports, the five-year-old company with a valuation estimated at US$20 billion is looking to acquire an insurance broker to break into insurance business, but without having go through the time consuming process of obtaining an insurance license

Paramount Loses Slate Financing Deal With China’s Huahua – Variety The deal, once valued at $1 billion, was intended to finance a quarter of the films that Paramount produced over a three-year period. Paramount cited recent changes to Chinese foreign investment policies as the reason for the dissolution.

Katy Perry, Academic Publishers, and Self-censorship in China - China Digital Times (CDT) On Monday, CDT Chinese reposted a letter circulating on Weibo which purportedly shows singer Katy Perry’s pledge to behave harmoniously during a prospective Chinese tour. "Fruit Sister" has performed in China in the past, but occasionally stumbled on moral or political sensitivities there. The letter includes promises to "observe the laws and regulations in China, comply with the management of the regulators," and not to "add or change any content without authorization," "do or say anything religious or political," or "participate in any activities that jeopardize China’s unity and integrity."


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

UCLA players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill arrested in China for shoplifting - ESPN The players are being questioned about stealing from a Louis Vuitton store that is located next to the team's hotel in Hangzhou, where the Bruins had been staying before moving on to Shanghai on Wednesday.

Exhibiting the Cultural Revolution, Part 1: Reading “Big-Character Posters”-Fairbank Center As part of the Fairbank Center’s exhibition of dazibao (大字报 “big-character posters”) and woodcuts from 1960s China, we present a four-part series on Cultural Revolution-era artworks. Denise Ho, Assistant Professor of History at Yale University, presents part 1: an introduction to dazibao and their impact on Maoist China and beyond.

How China’s Trans Icon Just Fuels More Patriarchy - Sixth Tone On Nov. 1, the BBC published its “100 Women 2017” list, a record of the most inspirational and innovative women today. Perplexingly, the Chinese dancer and talk show host Jin Xing received a mention — a strange choice not because she is transgender, but because she has a track record of supporting male chauvinism.


Books And Literature

Audible.com Launches Dedicated Chinese Content Offering | Business Wire a tailored listening destination where US and other international Chinese-speaking audiences can discover Chinese audiobooks and audio dramas