Trump tweets about "complete decoupling"; Beijing outbreak appears under control; Wang Jisi’s grim view of US-China relations
|Bill Bishop||Jun 18, 2020||8|
The official readouts from the Pompeo-Yang meeting in Hawaii did not make it sound like the conversations went well, and President Trump seems to have confirmed that view with this tweet from an hour ago:
No wonder Professor Wang Jisi said Wednesday that “China-U.S. ties today may be even worse than the Soviet-U.S. relationship because the latter was at least “cold.” There are more details on his comments in item 5 of the essential eight.
The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress did review the draft of the Hong Kong National Security Law, even though it was not on the original agenda. Beijing tweaked the language to criminalize “collusion with foreign forces” and appears in quite a hurry to push it through to promulgation.
Today’s Essential Eight:
Beijing outbreak appears under control
Wang Jisi’s grim view of US-China relations
Foreign money into China
I hope to see some of you in the weekly open thread tomorrow, and thanks for reading.
1. Beijing outbreak appears under control
Chinese health authorities on Thursday said that 28 new COVID-19 cases were reported on the Chinese mainland on Wednesday, of which 24 were local transmissions and four were inbound cases. No new deaths were reported.
Among the local infections, Beijing registered 21, while Hebei Province recorded two cases and Tianjin Municipality registered one, the National Health Commission said in its daily report.
The commission also identified eight new asymptomatic patients.
Beijing's epidemic situation is under control and the number of new cases is expected to drop in the coming days, said Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, on Thursday.
Although Beijing has been reporting confirmed cases every day, this does not mean that all cases are newly infected, Wu told a press conference.
The 21 cases that Beijing reported on Wednesday were basically infected before June 12, Wu said.
More cases are expected in the following days, but the number would dwindle, he said.
The similarity between Beijing's and Wuhan's food market COVID-19 outbreaks offers a new clue, said Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on Thursday, adding that preliminary analysis showed that a cold and humid environment is favorable for the virus.
He told media at a press conference on Thursday that seafood and meat vendors have reported more coronavirus infections and that further investigation is still underway.
One case was also recorded in the neighbouring city of Tianjin and two more in Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing -- prompting travel restrictions to be placed on Anxin county, home to around 460,000 people, banning most traffic going in and out of the area.
Beijing, with its latest outbreak hitting 158 infections as of Thursday, is carrying out large-scale testing on people who have connections with the Xinfadi Market and other key groups.
In addition, there are about 20 million Beijing residents, and they all must have a negative test to leave the city.
A total of 98 hospitals, disease control organs and third-party institutions can collect 400,000 samples a day, a city official said on Wednesday at a press conference. There is also a backlog of samples waiting to be analyzed.
“Unless there is supporting epidemiological information, the sequence data is not enough to determine that the introduction is directly from Europe rather than just being part of a clade that was originally associated with Europe,” he said.
“Covid-19 is a global pandemic of an RNA virus which is constantly mutating, therefore it would not be surprising to see similar strains of the virus detected in Europe as in China, as we did in the early phases of the European epidemic,” Mancarella said.
Suppliers and restaurants are scrambling after an outbreak in Beijing triggered fears that salmon may have spread it. Officials later absolved the fish of blame, but consumers are avoiding it anyway.
Many COVID cases hidden as the flu in the fourth quarter of 2019 is no shame — most countries had similar problems in 2020. But this occurred globally in part because China may have failed to recognize the problem in a timely fashion — flu data should have set off alarms earlier. More definitively, Beijing has lied about COVID’s spread after identification.
The extra million flu cases in December 2019, reinforced by the hospitalization spikes starting late December, almost certainly hid thousands of cases of COVID.
"We believe that guided by the important consensus reached between the two leaders, China and India can properly deal with the current situation, jointly uphold peace and stability in the border areas, and ensure a sound and steady development of bilateral relations," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press briefing.
Ma Jiali, an India watcher at the China Reform Forum, a think tank affiliated with the Communist Party’s elite Central Party School, said the clash was triggered by India’s “forward-moving posture” in the disputed area, including its efforts to develop infrastructure there, which triggered a Chinese response.
The fact that China hasn’t disclosed casualty figures was a sign China was taking a restrained approach to avoid agitating nationalistic sentiment at home, Mr. Ma said.
The recent deaths of at least 20 soldiers along the contested border at Ladakh between India and China represents the largest loss of life from a skirmish between the two countries since the clashes in 1967 that left hundreds dead. It also highlights the tensions that have been building along the Line of Actual Control since early May.
Using this satellite imagery, I will try to illustrate the approximate reality on the ground. My analysis disproves some of the more extreme claims that have been made about the incident, such as that thousands of Chinese soldiers have crossed the LAC and encamped in Indian-controlled territory. The satellite pictures also highlight the obvious threats to a peaceful status quo that exist along the western sector of India’s border with China.
The analysis includes evidence that strongly suggests Peoples’ Liberation Army forces have been regularly crossing into Indian territory temporarily on routine patrol routes.
“Our soldiers will not move back. There will be no compromise on our territorial integrity. China has played this game of cartographic aggression too many times for too long. They transgress into our territory, arbitrarily make claims, keep on repeating them as if they are true, and then paint India as the aggressor,” said a source...
This will no longer be allowed, with the PLA being made to “bear losses” for every attempt it makes to grab territory, he added. This tough new line comes after a flurry of meetings in South Block, which included PM Narendra Modi and defence minister Rajnath Singh reviewing the border situation in Ladakh with the top military brass on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Indian defence establishment is also re-thinking the protocol followed by its soldiers of not carrying firearms in the forward areas along the LAC in the face of the continuing belligerence from the PLA. “The PLA has flouted all bilateral agreements and laid-down border management protocols, including specific provisions in the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement (BDCA) of 2013,” said the source.
Meanwhile the Global Times continues its psyops work:
"and one regionally renowned fight club"…
more on the live-fire exercises in Tibet
In order to prevent the "enemy" reinforcements and ultimately win the battle, the anti-aircraft firepower preemptively seizes the first opportunity to launch a vertical attack on the "enemy" reinforcements, and organizes a special combat team to take an armed helicopter to land at the target point to carry out the attack.
In the days leading up to the most violent border clash between India and China in decades, China brought in pieces of machinery, cut a trail into a Himalayan mountainside and may have even dammed a river, satellite pictures suggest.
Hardline nationalist groups with ties to Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party have stepped up calls for a boycott of Chinese goods and a cancellation of contracts with Chinese firms.
The Indian government will bar Chinese companies from providing any telecom equipment to state-run telcos and may also prohibit private mobile phone operators from using gear supplied by the likes of Huawei and ZTE going forward, a senior official said, marking India’s first major economic reaction to the skirmishes on the border with Chinese troops.
The telecom department will soon also cancel a 4G telecom equipment tender floated by state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. (MTNL) and rework it to keep out Chinese vendors, the official said.
Chinese smartphone brand Oppo cancelled the livestream launch of its flagship 5G smartphone in India on Wednesday, amid calls in the country for a boycott of Chinese products after a violent clash between Indian and Chinese troops along their disputed Himalayas border.
Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL), a public sector undertaking corporation run by the Indian Railways, has decided to terminate project contracts awarded to Beijing National Railway Research and Design Institute of Signal and Communication Group, citing poor work progress.
India’s foreign minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, will join the June 23 meeting, which will be held virtually, ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava told reporters in New Delhi
In May, AIIB approved a $500 million loan to assist India’s emergency response to the pandemic. Both loans are part of a $10 billion funding facility the AIIB has announced to help public and private sectors fight the outbreak.
If the Modi government backs off, allowing the PLA to remain at Galwan, public opinion could well turn against it. Indians are already angry with China over Covid-19, the imbalance of trade between the two countries, and about its “all weather friendship” with Pakistan. To date, Modi has channelled this to his own advantage, orchestrating one-on-one summits with Xi that make it appear like China respects India as a peer, and pointing to his government’s resilience during the 2017 Doklam standoff. Conceding control of the Galwan Valley, even tacitly or temporarily, threatens all of this and Modi’s political authority.
If, on the other hand, the government decides to retaliate in some way, it risks a wider war. Both sides have moved forces to the LAC in recent weeks, to both the western sector, but also to the eastern part. And reports in the last few days suggest New Delhi has ordered the military to step up its preparations on the frontier and at sea, where India’s navy could potentially interdict Chinese ships in the Indian Ocean or the Malacca Strait.
3. Hong Kong
The draft law was submitted to the ongoing session of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) by the Council of Chairpersons, according to the spokesperson's office of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee...
The draft makes explicit stipulations on what constitutes four categories of criminal acts and their corresponding criminal responsibilities. These include acts of secession, subversion of state power, terrorist activities, and collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security -- which occur in the HKSAR and must be prevented, stopped and punished.
Opposition lawmakers have raised concerns about an unexpected change of wording in the draft national security law unveiled in Beijing – which now criminalises collusion with foreign forces – saying the central government could now easily use the legislation against prominent pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong.
The draft submitted before the National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) on Thursday is to cover separatism, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
When the plan for the new law was revealed last month, it was to outlaw the "intervention of foreign forces" in Hong Kong affairs.
Asked about the new wording, Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng said she only learned about this change from the news. She said she cannot comment on the change before she has more information about the content of the legislation.
The change was from 外国和境外势力干预香港特别行政区事务的活动 to 勾结外国或者境外势力危害国家安全
Thursday CCTV Evening News on the HK National Security Law. They are not going to change their minds or slow things down no matter what the rest of the world says...
Vice-Premier Liu He, the top economic aide to President Xi Jinping, said that Beijing “will adhere to the policy of ‘one country, two systems’, and give support to Hong Kong as it plays the role of an international financial centre”.
“We will ensure that the interests of foreign investors in Hong Kong will be protected and Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity can be achieved,” Liu, who is in charge of China’s financial industry, told the Lujiazui Forum in Shanghai.
Pundits long speculated that Hong Kong would meet its demise if the People’s Liberation Army came out of its barracks, but that no longer seems necessary. History will perhaps judge Lam as the leader who killed her city without needing any tanks.
Children’s clothing chain Chickeeduck has been ordered to remove a two-meter tall version of the iconic Lady Liberty Hong Kong statue from one of its stores by its shopping mall landlord on Wednesday, citing potential violation of the lease and the law...
The management of Tsuen Wan shopping mall D.PARK, under property giant New World Development, issued a warning letter to its tenant Chickeeduck
The more solid the foundation for national security is, the more room "one country, two systems" will enjoy, the spokesperson said, adding that safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests is at the core of "one country, two systems".
No one hopes more for the enduring success of "one country, two systems" than China, and no one cares more about Hong Kong's prosperity and stability and Hong Kong people's well-being and rights than the Chinese government and people, the spokesperson said.
Tokyo has traditionally stayed out of internal Chinese matters, but Beijing’s moves to erode Hong Kong’s autonomy through a new security law have prompted a more confrontational stance by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Last week, he said his government was pushing to get more financial professionals to move to Tokyo from Hong Kong. And Tokyo helped organize an anti-China statement by the Group of Seven industrialized nations released Wednesday.
The spokesman stressed that national flag, national anthem and national emblem are symbols and signs of a nation, and should be respected by every citizen. Fostering students' national identity is one of the key learning goals of primary and secondary education. Moreover, enabling students to understand the development of their own country in different aspects, such as history, culture, economy, technology and political systems and laws, as well as cultivating in them a national sentiment, are the educational obligation of schools. Schools should educate students about the national flag, the national anthem and the national emblem of their own country. This is part of moral, civic and national education, and helps enhance students' sense of national identity.
"We have repeatedly said that the core content of the Sino-British Joint Declaration is China's resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong," Zhao said, adding that China's Constitution and the Basic Law jointly form the constitutional basis of the HKSAR.
China is firmly determined to promote the national security legislation for HKSAR, the spokesperson said, urging relevant parties to thoroughly study China's Constitution and the Basic Law of the HKSAR, view national security legislation for HKSAR in an objective and fair manner, follow the international law and basic norms governing international relations, stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, and stop interfering in China's internal affairs
Comment: And Wechat censored the US embassy post on the G7 declaration:
Question: When Secretary of State Pompeo talks about "fully reciprocal dealings" does he also mean the PRC's policies of information decoupling and information control? PRC and CCP organs and officials have the unfettered ability to post on American social media platforms
The Hong Kong Service and Exchange Office would be set up under the Taiwan-Hong Kong Economic and Cultural Cooperation Council – a semi-official organisation established in 2010, Chen Ming-tong, the head of the Mainland Affairs Council, which handles the self-ruled island’s relations with Beijing, said on Thursday.
The office would be funded by the central government, and work with human rights and civil groups to help shelter seekers with residency, settlement, employment and protection issues, he said, adding that anyone fleeing Hong Kong for political reasons would be entitled to the basic allowance.
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met today with Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Politburo Member Yang Jiechi in Honolulu, Hawaii to exchange views on U.S.-China relations. The Secretary stressed important American interests and the need for fully-reciprocal dealings between the two nations across commercial, security, and diplomatic interactions. He also stressed the need for full transparency and information sharing to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and prevent future outbreaks.
China and the United States agreed to take actions to honestly implement the consensus reached by leaders of both countries and to keep in touch and communication.
The consensus was made during a two-day meeting between Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and the United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from Tuesday to Wednesday in Hawaii, the Foreign Ministry announced. Yang is also the director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs.
The two sides exchanged in-depth views on China-US relations and regional and international issues of common concern, according to a press release.
Both sides have comprehensively elaborated their respective positions and believed that the dialogue was constructive, it said.
Cooperation was “the only correct choice”, according to Taoran Notes, a social media account linked to the Chinese government and affiliated with the official Economic Daily newspaper, which is used by Beijing to manage trade talk expectations.
“Amid the current situation, that China and the US sat together to have constructive dialogue, regardless of any outcome, is a proactive move worthy of recognition,” it said.
Taoran Notes - "Implementation of the first-stage economic and trade agreement requires creating an atmosphere to eliminate interference"
China Daily: Can you confirm that Director Yang Jiechi and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talked about issues on the COVID-19 pandemic during their meeting?
Zhao Lijian: We have released information on the dialogue between Yang Jiechi, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee and US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo in Hawaii. With regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, Yang Jiechi stressed that as facts show, China’s prevention and control measures are open, transparent, rapid and effective. Amid the ongoing pandemic, China and the US should strengthen anti-epidemic cooperation, support WHO’s leading role, help developing countries fight the virus, and contribute to cooperation in global public health security.
AFP: You mentioned that China firmly opposes the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act and the US will face consequences. Can you give details on what these consequences might be?
Zhao Lijian: How the situation will develop depends entirely on what the US will do.
“Every indication is that in spite of this Covid-19, they are going to do what they say,” Mr. Lighthizer said of China in a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee. “We have an excellent agreement.”
“Implementation is critical. COVID-19 has unquestionably slowed progress for both governments, and it will be critical for the pace of implementation of purchases to accelerate markedly,” it said in a statement after a virtual meeting of top U.S. and Chinese business leaders on Wednesday.
Mr. Trump said China might have had economic motives for letting coronavirus spread beyond its own border. Asked if that was to extend economic consequences, Mr. Trump said: “Correct. They’re saying, man, we’re in a mess. The United States is killing us. Don’t forget, my economy during the last year and a half was blowing them away. And the reason is the tariffs.”
The president said he had no intelligence to support that claim, only an internal sense. He said there was a better chance it was incompetence or a mistake. “I don’t think they would do that,” Mr. Trump said about the possibility of Beijing letting coronavirus spread beyond China. “But you never know. But it has had an impact.”
President Donald Trump in some respects embodies the growing U.S. concern about China. He appreciates the key truth that politico-military power rests on a strong economy. Trump frequently says that stopping China’s unfair economic growth at America’s expense is the best way to defeat China militarily, which is fundamentally correct.
But the real question is what Trump does about China’s threat. His advisers are badly fractured intellectually. The administration has “panda huggers” like Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; confirmed free-traders like National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow; and China hawks like Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, lead trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro...
Trump was particularly dyspeptic about Taiwan, having listened to Wall Street financiers who had gotten rich off mainland China investments. One of Trump’s favorite comparisons was to point to the tip of one of his Sharpies and say, “This is Taiwan,” then point to the historic Resolute desk in the Oval Office and say, “This is China.” So much for American commitments and obligations to another democratic ally...
Will Trump’s current China pose last beyond election day? The Trump presidency is not grounded in philosophy, grand strategy or policy. It is grounded in Trump. That is something to think about for those, especially China realists, who believe they know what he will do in a second term.
Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) fighter jets on Thursday again approached Taiwan island, media reported, citing Taiwan's defense authority, leading Taiwan media to speculate that the PLA aircraft were monitoring a US plane flying near the island around the same time.
Not only was it the fifth such time in 10 days, but also the third consecutive day the PLA had sent warplanes near the island, which shows that the PLA has normalized this kind of operation, Chinese mainland analysts said.
The White House issued a statement on Wednesday saying U.S. President Donald had signed the so-called Uygur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 into law.
"It is a serious interference in China's internal affairs and a gross violation of international law and basic norms," the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, the country's top political advisory body, said in the statement issued on Thursday.
The foreign affairs committees of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, and National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) on Thursday issued statements expressing strong indignation over and firm opposition to a Xinjiang-related bill signed by U.S. President Donald Trump.
7 items on the Thursday CCTV Evening News attacking the US over the Uighur Human Rights Act- 《新闻联播》 20200618, including these four:
Commentary on Thursday CCTV Evening News also criticizes the Uighur Human Rights Act and US hypocrisy:
Terrorism is the common enemy of mankind, and the current global anti-epidemic is also at a difficult time. Whether it is anti-terrorism or anti-epidemic, China and the United States should have stood together. But nowadays, some politicians in the United States have blatantly cheered for the terrorists' platforms because of political self-interest. In fact, they have become the accomplices of the terrorists, undermining the global anti-epidemic cooperation and the development and stability. If the U.S. attempts to interfere with China’s Xinjiang affairs by conniving at the support of violent terrorist forces, it will surely taste its consequences
Thursday CCTV Evening News previews a People's Daily commentary in the Friday paper criticizing the signing of the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act. The commentary is titled "Resolutely oppose US interference in China's internal affairs"
Full test of that Xinhua commentary, trigger is the Uighur Human Rights Policy Act
[视频]新华时评：美干涉中国内政是“双标”把戏_CCTVThursday Evening News also reports on a Xinhua commentary accusing the US of double standards and interfering in China's internal affairs
The U.S. Congress should also move quickly to pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, to counter the rapidly increasing threat of such products illegally entering the U.S. market. This legislation requires sanctions on officials and companies responsible for Uyghur forced labor, and shifts the burden of proof to importers, which must provide “clear and convincing” evidence that imported goods from East Turkistan are free from forced labor.
5. Wang Jisi’s grim view of US-China relations
Caixin has published an edited version of Wang Jisi’s comments from the World Peace Forum. Wang is always worth listening to.
I recently published an essay in the Global Times in both Chinese and English. The essay argues that three bottom lines should be upheld in China-U.S. relations. First, the two countries must avoid a war. Second, they must maintain a certain scale of economic relations and technological engagement, and sustain global financial stability. It is necessary for China to hold a certain amount of U.S. Treasury bonds, and China should also respect the status of the U.S. dollar as the world’s main reserve currency. Third, the two countries must maintain humanitarian communications and educational exchanges...
People tend to draw a comparison between China-U.S. ties today and Soviet-U.S. ties in the Cold War period. In my view, China-U.S. ties today may be even worse than the Soviet-U.S. relationship because the latter was at least “cold.” Moscow-Washington relations remained essentially stable for more than four decades despite a few sporadic “hot” moments like the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Those two superpowers were separate from each other politically, economically, and socially and were actually unable to influence each other’s domestic affairs. The contact between Washington and Moscow was rather superficial and involved little love-hate emotion.
In contrast, the China-U.S. relationship is now suffering from forceful disengagement after steady progress in engaging each other for four decades. The sentimental and material losses caused by the heated quarrels and grudging decoupling between the two sides, in particular during the pandemic period, are sensationally more distressing than the analogy of the Cold War...
In conclusion, it is certain to me that China-U.S. relations, with or without the end of the pandemic era, will continue to deteriorate. The pace and scope of the downward spiral are uncertain. I don’t think I can offer any sensible and practical recommendations for stabilizing the bilateral ties. I only hope that people like us participating in this panel discussion will continue to engage and inform each other of where things are moving and get better prepared for future risks.
Here is the video of his comments, in English, which start at 44:20. This video was in the Wednesday newsletter as well:
6. Huawei hurting
Huawei Technologies has told some suppliers to delay production for its newest flagship smartphone as the Chinese tech company weighs potential supply-chain disruptions from an escalating U.S. crackdown, several sources familiar with the situation told the Nikkei Asian Review.
Huawei has asked for halts to production of some components for its latest Mate series of phones, and has also trimmed orders of parts for the coming quarters, as it tries to assess the impact on its smartphone business of Washington's tightening export controls, sources said...
"One of the reasons to pause is that Huawei is reviewing the inventory level of its HiSilicon mobile chips and is busy verifying other mobile platforms by [Taiwanese chip designer] MediaTek and Qualcomm [of the U.S.]. But verifying other mobile platforms could lead to redesigns of the mechanical parts of the smartphones, which will take time," the executive said.
Semiconductor fabrication plants, or fabs, like TSMC have little choice but to abide by the U.S. sanctions, as they rely on U.S. suppliers to operate, said Dan Wang, a technology analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics.
“Any modern semiconductor fab requires U.S.-origin equipment,” he said.
Huawei has been quiet on the new sanctions, beyond a statement in May saying its business would be “inevitably affected.” It declined last week to comment further.
Ex-Google boss Eric Schmidt has warned that Huawei poses a national security threat and claims “there’s no question” information from its routers have “ultimately ended up” in the hands of the Chinese government.
Mr Schmidt, current chair to the Defence Innovation Advisory board for the Pentagon, said the telecoms firm had engaged in acts that are not acceptable in national security.”
7. Credit increasing
The country's new yuan-denominated loans are expected to reach nearly 20 trillion yuan (about 2.82 trillion U.S. dollars) this year and the total amount of social financing is poised to exceed 30 trillion yuan, according to Yi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China.
The figures would represent a 19-percent expansion compared with 16.81 trillion yuan worth of new loans in 2019, and an annual increase of at least 17.28 percent for total social financing.
"China's economic fundamentals remain sound, and its monetary policy is within the normal range," Yi said via a video conference of the Lujiazui Forum.
“China cherishes normal monetary and fiscal policies and we will not engage in a flood of strong stimulus measures, let alone deficit monetization and negative interest rates,” Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said in a speech delivered at the Lujiazui Forum in Shanghai today.
The country's fiscal revenue totaled 7.77 trillion yuan (about 1.1 trillion U.S. dollars) during the January-May period, according to data released by the Ministry of Finance
8. Foreign money into China
Recent deals offer clues about what is driving foreign appetite for Chinese assets. First, Chinese consumption. While consumption has taken a hit – as it has everywhere else – firms are still betting on the secular rise of China’s middle class. One example from 1Q 2020 is Pepsi’s $700 million acquisition of Chinese snack brand Be & Cheery. Second, policy liberalization. Foreign firms are buying shares in their own joint ventures, after China lifted foreign equity thresholds. Volkswagen announced it would take control of its joint venture with Anhui Jianghuai Automotive Group in a $1.1 billion deal, and JP Morgan is acquiring full control of its Chinese mutual fund joint venture for an estimated $1 billion. Third, Chinese firms have matured (through entrepreneurialism, industrial policy and other means) to become leaders in some industries. For the first time, therefore, it is attractive for foreigners to buy technology and industrial assets rather than build from scratch. Volkswagen’s plans to acquire a 26% stake in Chinese battery maker Guoxuan High-Tech for $1.2 billion is a prime example.
Foreign investment into China via mergers and acquisitions totaled $9 billion in the first five months of the year, surpassing Chinese outbound M&A activity in both volume and value terms for the first time in a decade, law firm Baker McKenzie said in a report Thursday with Rhodium Group. European and U.S. multinationals have been major drivers behind this trend, according to the report.
JPMorgan reportedly sought full control of its China futures joint venture last December as Beijing moved to scrap caps on foreign ownership. The futures industry in China is dominated by local players.
“We firmly believe China will be one of the biggest opportunities for BlackRock,” Fink said via video conference at the ongoing 12th Lujiazui Forum.
Another challenge for overseas investors centers around shareholding restrictions. Under current regulations, a single foreign investor cannot hold more than 10% of the total issued shares of a mainland-listed company, and the total holdings of foreign investors in its A-shares cannot exceed 30% of its total issued shares.
These limits are increasingly becoming an issue as foreign investment in domestic listed companies has surged with the opening up of the market.
Business, Economy and Trade
Angry Sichuan Trust Customers Told $3.56 Billion of Investments Are at Risk - Caixin Investors who poured billions of yuan into financial products sold by troubled Sichuan Trust Co. Ltd. are unlikely to get all of their money back after the company’s president said there may not be enough funds to repay everyone on time and a senior regulator said investigators had found evidence of embezzlement by shareholders.
Rural Bank Targeted in Regulator’s Crackdown on Risk - Caixin A rural bank in Northeast China’s Liaoning province has been penalized for illegal shareholder activity and affiliate transactions, in the latest example of China’s banking regulators tightening up on small and midsize banks to defuse growing risks. Liaoning Jianping Rural Commercial Bank Co. Ltd., based in the city of Chaoyang, was fined 2 million yuan ($282,466) by the Liaoning provincial branch of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission for a series of rule violations
Trending in China: Former Didi Exec Fired for Corruption But People Want to Know How Deep the Rot Goes - Caixin A former senior Didi Chuxing executive surnamed Yu has been fired after an internal investigation found he took “huge bribes,” shopping vouchers and even cars in return for his “help” in securing contracts with external suppliers, both Chinese and non-Chinese.
Goldman Warns of Declines for U.S. Stocks With High China Sales - Bloomberg “U.S. stocks with high China sales exposure have outperformed as equity investors have focused more on the growth outlook than the political environment,” the strategists said. “However, these companies face downside risks as the U.S. presidential election nears.”
U.S.-China tech war bigger risk than coronavirus, EU chamber chief says - Reuters “When two elephants dance it’s hard to stand aside and not be impacted,” said Jörg Wuttke, who is also the chief representative in China of German petrochemicals giant BASF.
Is Vietnam Eating into China’s Share of Manufacturing? - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - Trinh Nguyen A successful coronavirus response and liberalized trade policies have given Vietnam a production boost, but its demographics and import dependence will limit its gains from a reshuffled supply chain.
The future of cars is electric—and Chinese | Fortune China’s ability to reopen its economy quickly doesn't just provide global automakers a chance to salvage profits in China; it may let Chinese automakers accelerate long-held ambitions to expand globally and become an electric vehicle manufacturing hub by 2025, says Michael Dunne, the chief executive officer at ZoZo Go
Exclusive: China Never Barred Companies From Handing Over Audit Working Papers to U.S., Securities Watchdog Chief Says - CaixinChina has never banned or stopped Chinese companies from providing audit working papers to overseas regulators, Yi Huiman, the country’s top securities regulatory official, told Caixin in an interview Tuesday...“As long as the U.S. side is truly willing to solve the problem, we can definitely find a way for China and the U.S to cooperate on audit regulation,” Yi said in the interview. //Comment: So he still wants different treatment for PRC firms to list in the US
Politics and Law
China Cracked Down on $212 Million of Financial Corruption in 2019 The inspection team of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) at the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) reviewed more than 1,500 complaints last year, of which 178 were formally investigated, deputy team leader Li Yanru said in a video posted on the CCDI’s website. That was an increase of 48% from the previous year
斯伟江：王振华的罪责与辩护人的良心 More fallout from the Seazen chairman child molestor Wang Zhanhua case. HI lawyer Chen Youxi is criticized for his defense of Wang by Si Weijiang, another well-known attorney.
The Ties that Bind: How Xi Jinping Got his Politburo - MacroPolo This analysis uses The Committee to examine the composition of the Central Committee’s 25-person Politburo, with a focus on the origin and evolution of their shared experiences with Xi. The Politburo is the second-most important decision-making body in China, as power is further centralized in the 7-member Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC). The foremost finding is that, since becoming CCP General Secretary in November 2012, Xi has been remarkably successful in elevating politicians with whom he has professional, educational, or personal ties.
社交大数据如何助力社会风险治理？--舆情频道--人民网 interesting article on the people's daily online "public sentiment" channel on using data from social media for srisk management
Trailer for latest CCTV documentary on counterterrorism in Xinjiang on Youtube, interesting choice of a theme song:
Foreign and Defense Affairs
President Xi sends message to conference on Belt and Road int'l cooperation - Xinhua China will work with its partners to develop the Belt and Road into a model of cooperation for meeting challenges through unity, President Xi Jinping said Thursday in a written message to the High-level Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation…The video conference is "a highly important meeting that gives Belt and Road cooperation partners an opportunity to discuss a collective response to COVID-19, advance Belt and Road cooperation, and strengthen international solidarity and cooperation," said Xi...Foreign ministers or officials at ministerial level from 25 countries attended the video conference. Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and UN Development Programme Administrator Achim Steiner also participated in the event.
Xi Focus: Xi stresses improving strategic management of armed forces - Xinhua Xi...made the important instruction at a teleconference on strategic management training of the armed forces. Noting the significance for the armed forces to hold strategic management training, Xi said efforts should be focused on objectives, problems and results to update the management concept and improve the system and mechanism of strategic management. Xi demanded efforts to fully implement the 13th five-year plan for the building of the armed forces and to carry forward the formulation of the 14th five-year plan for military development.
China’s failing foreign policy needs a reboot to avert a US cold war | South China Morning Post - Chi Wang The more Xi doubles down on his foreign policy strategy, the more it is failing him. China needs real foreign policy expertise. It is unclear who, if anyone, is advising Xi on his strategy, but there is a dire need for new eyes, and a new approach, if China is serious about preventing a new cold war.
Russia accuses leading Arctic researcher of spying for China - CNN Watchers of Russia-China relations believe the spying allegations against an Arctic researcher could highlight a burgeoning competition between the two countries in the region. Moscow and Beijing have built a strategic partnership in the Arctic amid rising tensions with the West, but Russia has been careful about any military cooperation in that area, said Alexander Gabuev, chair of the Russia in the Asia-Pacific Program of the Carnegie Moscow Center. "China really shows that it has military ambition by the way its intelligence are looking into these things," Gabuev said. "Subs operate in neutral waters and we are probably seeing a new front of Chinese global navy development. And subs that could operate in the Arctic are part of that."
China Just Botched a Monumental Opportunity With the Philippines – The Diplomat - Derek Grossman To be sure, Chinese policymakers privately may never have fully believed the VFA would end. For example, according to Dai Fan, director of the Center for Philippines Studies at Jinan University, “This week’s [June 2] reversal does not surprise us. However, we just did not expect to happen so soon… China still has a long way to go in replacing the U.S. in this region.” Indeed, as I have argued previously, there were many good reasons to be suspicious of the commonly held view that Duterte would never reverse course on VFA termination because of his anti-American stance.
Assessing Chinese Reactions to New U.S. Visa Policies on Chinese Students and Researchers - Center for Security and Emerging Technology This report summarizes Chinese reactions to a May 29th White House proclamation forbidding entry to the United States of graduate students or researchers with past or current affiliations with entities supporting China’s military-civil fusion. It draws on sources ranging from government ministry statements and state-owned media to blog posts.
Forced to Leave China—and My Family - WSJ $$ “Tell Lingling to quit. What’s so good about the United States these days?” That’s what I overheard a family friend tell my mother in late March, as I was packing nearly a decade of my life in Beijing into boxes marked “keep,” “donate” and “toss.” The friend knew I had been expelled from my homeland, along with other journalists from The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Washington Post. Only U.S. reporters were targeted. As a naturalized American citizen, I was one of them.
Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council Open VTC Meeting on Syria We are deeply concerned by recent reports of the economic situation in Syria. Years of economic blockade have caused tremendous hardships to the Syrian people, in particular women and children. The sufferings caused by devaluation of Syrian currency and soaring prices of commodities including food, fall heavily upon civilians across the country. We heard briefings from the Special Envoy on the poverty and possible famine in this country, and are very much concerned. We urge the United States to respond actively to the urgent appeals of the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy and lift unilateral sanctions immediately. What is even more worrying is that new rounds of sanctions will be imposed against Syria. These sanctions will inevitably further hinder the economic and social development of Syria, as well as the livelihoods of ordinary Syrians.
Introducing Noema, Issue I: The Great Acceleration - NOEMA Berggruen Institute launches a magazine. Some China-related content from the first issue// To consider what new paths may open ahead, Chinese philosopher Yuk Hui steps back from current events to examine how technological development is informed by a founding cosmology or civilizational worldview...The singularly effective response of Taiwan is the subject of an essay by Nils Gilman and Steven Weber... Kishore Mahbubani examines how the coronavirus crisis has exacerbated the rivalry between the U.S. as a waning power and China as a rising power...French philosopher Régis Debray and Chinese philosopher Zhao Tingyang exchange views on whether the ancient Chinese idea of tianxia — “all under heaven,” living in harmony — suits today’s interdependent world or is just a cover for the next hegemonic power. Former Portuguese diplomat Bruno Maçães sees a new global contest between “civilization-states” like China, Turkey and Russia and the liberal world order led by Western powers. In this context, British philosopher John Gray examines the correspondence between digital surveillance capitalism in the West and the surveillance state in China.
U.S. Files Charges Against Chinese Mask Manufacturer - WSJ $$ Prosecutors alleged that Shenzhen, China-based Crawford Technology Group (HK) Co. sold masks that claimed to meet regulations which require them to filter out at least 95% of very small particles, including droplets containing viruses. The company claimed the masks were KN95s, which are similar to N95 masks in the U.S., according to the 13-page complaint. Such masks are widely used by health-care workers. According to tests conducted by the main U.S. mask regulator, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the masks had filtration efficiency of 22%, well below the 95% filtration called for in N95 masks.
Debt Relief with Chinese Characteristics — China Africa Research Initiative By: Deborah Brautigam, Kevin Acker, and Yufan Huang (Working Paper 39/2020) - As China is poised to become the world’s largest creditor, concerns about debt sustainability have grown. Yet considerable confusion exists over what is likely to happen when a government runs into trouble repaying its Chinese loans. In this paper, the authors draw on CARI data to review the evidence on China’s debt cancellation and restructuring in Africa, in comparative and historical perspective. Cases from Sri Lanka, Iraq, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Angola, and the Republic of Congo, among others, point to patterns of debt relief with distinctly Chinese characteristics.
United States and Canada Forge Ahead on Critical Minerals Cooperation - United States Department of State he United States and Canada reviewed progress of the five Sub-Working Groups implementing the countries’ Joint Action Plan for Cooperation on Critical Minerals and set priorities for the next phase of bilateral collaboration. Officials across both governments explored opportunities for joint action in priority areas such as rare earth elements, materials for next generation batteries, and minerals essential to semi-conductor development and production.
Tech and Media
Yicai - ByteDance Sets Up New E-Commerce Division Aimed at Its TikTok Users Its creation on the same day as China’s mid-year 6.18 Shopping Festival has led to speculation that the Beijing-based company is intent on starting to develop its own e-commerce business. To date, ByteDance’s revenues have mainly come from advertising, with e-commerce just an auxiliary business.
Apple to Require Game License for Non-free Games on China’s App Store in July - Pandaily In July, Apple will implement a new game review process for China’s App Store that requires all new games to obtain approval from the country’s game regulator, tightening regulations for the largest app marketplace in China in terms of revenue
TikTok Parent ByteDance Dispels Rumors Around Acquisition of BlueFocus - Pandaily Beijing-based ByteDance Thursday has clarified rumors regarding the acquisition of Chinese marketing and brand management services provider BlueFocus.
WeChat Introduces Renaming, Nudge Features - Pandaily Prior to the update, users were only allowed to change their account ID once during the lifetime of their account. Adults who chose an embarrassing handle during their teenage years had no alternative but to register a new account.
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
Father Tells His Coming-Out Story in Daughter’s Documentary - SixthTone Chen Yujun knew her father owned a bar — she just didn’t know what kind of bar...Chen’s journey of staking out her father’s business and stumbling upon his sexuality is the topic of her upcoming documentary “1001 Nights.” What started as an amateur project born of curiosity and some speculation about her father’s private life has turned into a film that’s now scheduled to premiere on June 25, with an eventual online release
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
China Raises Renewable Power Subsidies 7.5% to $13 Billion - Bloomberg Solar power is the big winner, with incentives set to rise 14% compared to last year’s level, while wind payments will be 3.2% lower, the Ministry of Finance said on its website on Wednesday. The subsidy budget would cover existing projects plus any new developments that meet eligibility criteria.
Rural and Agricultural Issues
Chinese researchers construct high-quality soybean genome - Xinhua Genome resources that can represent different soybeans are key for China's efforts in the molecular design breeding of soybeans, according to the research team