Trump wants to inflict more trade pain; Xi's southern tour and soothing words; Officials try to stabilize markets and instill confidence; Wang Qishan goes to Israel

Xi Jinping has arrived in Guangdong for what some seem to be hoping will be a New Era version of Deng Xiaoping's 1992 Southern Tour that unleashed a new wave of reform following nearly three years of repressive policies in the aftermath of June 4, 1989. It is a lot harder to unleash reform now than it was 26 years ago so consider me wary of the coming propaganda onslaught. 

There is no question the government is concerned about the stock markets, confidence and the business environment, and a spate of meetings and pronouncements since Friday popped the stock markets at least on Monday.

Jonathan Swan of Axios had a very important story Sunday about the state of US-China trade relations and the possibility of a meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping at the G20 at the end of November. Swan, who may have the best sources in the Trump White House of any DC journalist, reports that:

President Trump has no intention of easing his tariffs on China, according to three sources with knowledge of his private conversations. Instead, these sources say he wants the Chinese leaders to feel more pain from his tariffs — which he believes need more time to fully kick in.

"He wants them to suffer more" from tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods, said a source with direct knowledge of Trump's thinking, and the president believes the longer his tariffs last, the more leverage he'll have...

Trump's trade war with China is at the "beginning of the beginning," according to a source familiar with Trump's conversations. And his team doesn't expect much from the tentatively planned meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires next month.

The Trump economic team has done no substantive planning so far for the bilateral meeting's agenda, largely because the purpose of the meeting is for Trump and Xi to reconnect, eyeball each other, and feel each other out amid their escalating trade war.

"It's a heads of state meeting, not a trade meeting," a source with direct knowledge told Axios...

All signs suggest the trade war between the U.S. and China is just getting started. I've asked sources close to Trump whether he's ever expressed any private concerns over whether his tariffs could backfire due to Chinese retaliation against American consumers or companies. Nobody I've spoken to has heard Trump express anything along these lines. He's all in.

I spoke with Swan as he was working on his article and gave him my thoughts:

"The trade war is just one dimension of the fundamental resetting of the U.S.-China relationship that Trump and the empowered and unleashed national security bureaucracy is undertaking."

"And even if there is a trade deal some time in the future the other issues, like Taiwan, South China Sea, interference/influence, basically everything Pence laid out — have little prospect of resolution."

"Where I think Trump is wrong is in his belief the Chinese will cave. Xi and the Party have spent years hardening their system to deal with an economic downturn and foreign threats, and they will take a lot of pain before they cave to the U.S., especially since the top of their system has finally come around to believing Trump and the U.S. have as their real goal the thwarting of 'China's rise.'"

"As best as I can tell from my own work and a lot of conversations on this subject, the Chinese expected this kind of broader competition and contention with the U.S., but not for at least another 5-10 years. So they would prefer to find ways to defer and play for time, but they will eat what they have to now if Trump forces them to."

I still think markets are too optimistic about the prospects of some kind of "framework" deal around a Trump-Xi G20 meeting, and in fact if the Chinese side is picking up what Swan is reporting then we should ask why Xi would even agree to a meeting at the G20 without significant changes in attitudes and offers between now and then?

One thing to watch for is an increasingly hard propaganda line towards the US, which may exacerbate an already negative feedback loop between the US and China. I hear it may be coming soon.

Thanks for reading. Please weigh in with your thoughts in the comments.

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The Essential Eight

1. Xi Jinping's southern tour

Chinese President Xi Jinping to visit Qianhai economic test bed as US trade war takes toll | South China Morning Post:

Sources with knowledge of the trip said the visit to the Qianhai pilot economic zone in Shenzhen was part of Xi’s first trip in nearly six years to Guangdong province, the birthplace of the country’s market-oriented reforms.

The trip got under way on Monday afternoon with a tour of a hi-tech industrial estate in Zhuhai and will include the opening ceremony for the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge on Tuesday.

The sources said the president would also head to Qianhai in Shenzhen, a former a sleepy fishing village that became China’s first special economic zone and a thriving manufacturing hub of 13.6 million people.

Not much in PRC media yet, just this brief item that Xi went to Zhuhai - 习近平时隔6年再赴广东考察调研--时政--人民网:

22日下午,中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席习近平来到广东省珠海市横琴新区高新技术片区,考察了粤澳合作中医药科技产业园。党的十八大后,习近平首次赴地方考察就选择了广东。他当时表示,之所以到广东来,就是要到在我国改革开放中得风气之先的地方,现场回顾我国改革开放的历史进程,将改革开放继续推向前进。

And before he left Beijing Xi praised private entrepreneurs, or at least those ones who are aligned with CCP anti-poverty efforts and working to make "greater contributions to realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation".--Xi encourages private entrepreneurs to further innovate, create, develop - Xinhua:

Xi..made the remarks in a letter on Saturday in response to some private entrepreneurs having been awarded for their contributions in a poverty relief campaign.

In his letter, Xi spoke highly of the private entrepreneurs' devotion to the cause of fighting poverty.

"I'm delighted to see an increasing number of private entrepreneurs actively shouldering social responsibilities, eagerly devoting themselves to the arduous battle to eradicate poverty, and helping many impoverished people to live a better life," Xi said...

Supporting the development of private enterprises has been a consistent principle of the CPC Central Committee, which will be unwaveringly implemented, he stressed.

"I hope that private entrepreneurs will grasp the trend of the era, have firm confidence in development, innovate and create without being distracted, and work in a down-to-earth way in developing their businesses, to jointly create a better tomorrow for the private economy, and make greater contributions to realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation," Xi said.

习近平回信勉励广大民营企业家--心无旁骛创新创造 踏踏实实办好企业: 

支持民营企业发展,是党中央的一贯方针,这一点丝毫不会动摇。希望广大民营企业家把握时代大势,坚定发展信心,心无旁骛创新创造,踏踏实实办好企业,合力开创民营经济更加美好的明天,为实现中华民族伟大复兴的中国梦作出新的更大贡献。


2. Efforts to stabilize markets and confidence intensify

The Chinese Communist Plunge Protection Party is out in full force starting Friday to stem the stock market slide and put a floor under collapsing confidence...not sure it will work, but worse case they can always ban selling...

Reassuring Words From Beijing Power Monday Stock Surge - Caixin Global:

The Shanghai Composite Index was up 4.09% to 2,654.88 at close, marking its biggest advance since March 2, 2016. The smaller Shenzhen Component Index surged 4.89%, while the Nasdaq-style ChiNext was up 5.2%....

In a Sunday statement, President Xi Jinping vowed to offer “unwavering support” to the country’s private sector after the Financial Stability and Development Committee (FSDC), the cabinet-level body set up to defuse financial risks, added its voice to a growing chorus of high officials whose pledges of market support sparked the rally that began on Friday.

The meeting, the 10th gathering of the financial crisis team in two months, agreed that China’s economic policy should seek a “triangular support framework,” including a neutral stance on monetary policy, a vibrant corporate sector, and a well-functioning stock market. The government will continue to support the stock market as it plays a crucial role in stabilizing the economy, the financial system, and investor expectations, according to a government statement [刘鹤主持国务院金融稳定发展委员会专题会议] on the meeting.

More enabling business environment to be created - Gov.cn:

The government will do more to resolve the concerns of businesses identified during State Council inspection tours, ensure full delivery of all pro-business policies and build a national Internet Plus regulation system to make government regulation smarter, more standardized and better targeted, the State Council decided during an executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Oct 22...

Market access restrictions on private investors will be further eased. An updated version of the market access negative list will be released and fully implemented by the end of the year. All market access restrictions on foreign investors that are not on the negative list will be eliminated by next March, creating a level playing field for investors from both home and abroad.

李克强主持召开国务院常务会议 - 部署根据督查发现和企业关切的问题进一步推动优化营商环境政策落实 

Policies expected to ease financing pressure - China Daily:

The meeting of the State Council Financial Stability and Development Commission, the country's Cabinetlevel financial regulatory body, was chaired by Vice-Premier Liu He on Saturday...

Maintaining a prudent and neutral monetary policy, boosting the vitality of enterprises and better taking advantage of the capital market's financing function are the three pillars supporting healthy economic development, according to a statement issued after the meeting on the State Council's website...

Some specific financing measures were listed in the statement to ease financing difficulties for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, especially in the private sector. Those measures include support for private companies' bonds and equity financing, encouraging private firms to establish special funds and prompting commercial banks to lend to the private sector.

Deepening State-owned enterprise reforms, especially mixed-ownership reforms, is mentioned as a means of spurring economic growth. The capital market could also play a significant role in stabilizing the economy, it said.

China mulls revising share repurchase terms in draft law amendment - Xinhua:

"The amendment is very necessary in that it will help companies establish a long-term motivation mechanism and improve the quality of listed companies," Liu Shiyu, chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), said in his introduction on the amendment to the legislature.

"It will also offer strong legal support for stabilizing capital market expectations under the current conditions."

China to strengthen support for private companies | Reuters:

China will increase support for companies with financing issues and launch supporting measures for corporate bond issues, as part of wider efforts to ensure the healthy development of the private sector, the State Council said on Monday.

The government aims to roll out more favorable policies to ensure the stable and healthy development of the private sector, such as by easing the tax burden, the State Council, or China’s cabinet, said on its website.


3. Tax cuts

China Issues Draft Plan to Further Cut Household Tax Burden - Bloomberg:

Taxpayers can claim deductions for expenses on health care, education, mortgage interest or rent and supporting elderly relatives, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported, citing the draft plan released by the Ministry of Finance and State Administration of Taxation. The deductible amount under each category ranges from 1,000 yuan ($144) per month to 2,000 yuan per month, according to the plan.

China Drafts Proposal for Personal Income Tax Deductions - Caixin Global

The proposed deductions will help the finances of the majority of taxpayers, according to Gan Li, professor at the Research Institute of Economics and Management at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics. “The tax deduction mostly benefits taxpayers who earn 60,000 yuan ($8,660) to 96,000 yuan a year, or 59.4% of all taxpayers,” Gan wrote. “After the deduction, taxpayers with annual incomes of more than 60,000 yuan will pay 52% less tax, amounting to savings of 3,213 yuan annually.”

Gan's article in Chinese - 甘犁-个税专项扣除比提高起征点更有深意 

China's tax cuts next year expected to reach 1 percent of GDP: PBOC adviser | Reuters:

Next year’s tax cuts and fee reductions are expected to reach the equivalent of, or even surpass, 1 percent of GDP, Ma Jun, a policy adviser to the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), told financial magazine Caixin.

When it comes to tax cuts for companies, will any central government-mandated cuts be offset by improved collections and additional fees assessed at local levels, given the parlous state of so many local government finances? 

China’s slowing economic growth should not be a concern | Financial Times Editorial $$:

Some might believe (or, in some quarters, hope) that the slowdown proves that the US-China trade war is biting. But this hypothesis is inconsistent with the evidence. The value of China’s exports, in US dollars, grew by 14.5 per cent in September, year on year. China also managed to achieve a record $34.1bn trade surplus with the US in that month. Conceivably, trade friction will bite in coming quarters. But it has definitely not done so yet...

The government’s intent is clear. A politburo meeting in August issued a statement calling for the stabilisation of the economy in six key areas because of “changes in the external environment”. These were employment, finance, foreign trade, foreign capital, investment and market expectations. Rightly, Beijing does not intend to unleash a tidal wave of credit, as it did after the 2008 financial crisis. But, quite reasonably, it wants to sustain economic momentum and confidence, despite US pressure.


4. US-China trade

Larry Kudlow accuses China of refusing to engage on trade | Financial Times $$:

In an interview with the Financial Times, Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, said China had offered no sign that it was willing to meet US demands in a way that could lead to a breakthrough between the countries...

“It’s really the president and the Chinese Communist party, they have to make a decision, and so far they have not, or they have made a decision not to do anything, nothing. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Mr Kudlow said.

Kudlow clearly in sync with President Trump.

Beijing finds unlikely anti-Trump weapon in global indices | Financial Times $$:

A trade war is raging between the US and China, but somebody forgot to tell foreign portfolio investors. Surging inflows of foreign capital have headed to the Chinese bond and stock markets and helped to stem the depreciation of the renminbi against the US dollar.

Chinese experts ‘filtered’ trade war advice to Beijing policymakers | South China Morning Post:

In the six months since the US slapped punitive 25 per cent tariffs on US$50 billion of goods imported from mainland China, Beijing officials have been frustrated as the think tank experts being consulted for advice on a response only serve their backers’ interests, people involved in the consultations told the South China Morning Post...

When Beijing attempted to understand the thinking of foreign businessmen, some government ministry-affiliated think tanks were found filtering the information they gathered through the communication channels between foreign chambers of business and their ministries, according to the sources.

Since the think tanks serve their direct supervisors’ interests, top leaders relying on those experts for an accurate analysis of what foreign businesspeople were thinking and feeling about the rising China-US trade tensions were inevitably frustrated, the sources said...

Researchers have told the Post that Beijing has only allowed China’s policy specialists to make brief visits to the US, some as short as one week. The limitation makes thorough investigation and quality communication with American contacts impossible, the researchers said.

Comment: Easy to blame think tanks but I still thinks the odds are decent that senior foreign affairs officials with the America account may end up in trouble for not properly understanding the shift in America...


5. Taiwan and "stirring up trouble"

Mike Pompeo Warns Panama Against Doing Business With China - The New York Times:

As his plane left Panama City, Mr. Pompeo recounted his talks with Mr. Varela and local journalists. Clearly concerned that Panama could become a beachhead for growing Chinese economic influence in the Western Hemisphere, he emphasized that Panamanians should be cautious when considering business ties with China.

Mr. Pompeo said he intended to tell the entire region that “when China comes calling, it’s not always to the good of your citizens,” and that countries had to watch out for Chinese companies that “show up with deals that seem too good to be true.”

Meanwhile, President Trump this morning threatened to reduce or end aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador because of a migrant "Caravan":

Guatemala and Honduras still have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. America cutting aid to them may be an opportunity for Beijing...

Xinhua commentary on American politicians stirring up trouble around Taiwan - 人民日报刊文:望美国政治人物勿为台海局势制造麻烦 - ​新华社评论员:

3个拉丁美洲国家基于本国长远发展利益和人民福祉,同中国发展正常、稳定的国与国关系,顺应了国际社会潮流,维护了一个中国的国际共识,为台海和平发挥了积极作用。这是中国和3个拉丁美洲国家基于自身利益作出的自主选择。美方对此说三道四,是粗暴干涉别国内政。

Commentary: Stop making waves in Taiwan Strait - People's Daily Online:

…since taking office, the current U.S. administration has constantly used Taiwan as a bargaining chip to contain China.

It intensified arms sales to Taiwan. The U.S. National Defense Authorization Act for the fiscal year 2019 even includes clauses to strengthen Taiwan's force readiness, and expand joint drills, arms sales and high-level military exchanges.

All the moves showed how the U.S. side has tried to manipulate the situation across the Strait and subjected the interests and wellbeing of Chinese people on both sides to its domestic politics. In essence, it shows a cold-war mentality, arrant egoism, and hegemony.

The world needs sound, steady, and sustainable China-U.S. relations. U.S. politicians should play a constructive role in this relations, instead of being a troublemaker for cross-Strait peace and stability.

Two US Navy ships sail through Taiwan Strait in move likely to anger Beijing | South China Morning Post:

Two US Navy vessels sailed through the Taiwan Strait on Monday, the island’s defence ministry said.

A short statement released by the ministry did not give the names of the two US vessels, but said they passed through international waters of the Taiwan Strait and described the operation as “routine”.


6. Japanese PM Abe will be in Beijing later this week

Japan's Shinzo Abe travels to China to meet Xi Jinping - The Washington Post:

“For the first time for a very long time, Chinese leaders are looking for a positive relationship with Japan,” said Yun Sun, a China expert at the Stimson Center in Washington, D.C. “With Trump in power, both Japan and China are feeling the heat coming. It changes their calculations,” she said.

Xi will host Abe at a reception, attended by about 500 Japanese business leaders, in the Beijing’s opulent Great Hall of the People on Wednesday night, for a celebration marking the 40th anniversary of the treaty.

How China plans to use infrastructure projects to build bridges with Japan | South China Morning Post:

Cheng Yonghua, speaking to the South China Morning Post ahead of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Beijing later this week, said China and Japan should join forces to promote globalisation as the trade war with the US escalates.

Abe’s visit, which begins on Thursday, will be the first time a Japanese prime minister has visited China for seven years but comes amid a growing rapprochement between the two sides.

Closer cooperation on infrastructure projects will be a key item on the agenda.

The trip will include a forum of more than 1,000 business leaders and government officials, which Cheng said would discuss policy frameworks and key regions and industries where the two sides could cooperate.

Japan, China to resume fleet visits for 1st time since 2011 - The Mainichi:

The restart is set to be agreed when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his three-day trip to Beijing from Thursday, the sources said, as bilateral tension remains over a group of Chinese-claimed, Japanese-controlled uninhabited islets in the East China Sea.


7. More on alleged hardware hack

Apple CEO Tim Cook Is Calling For Bloomberg To Retract Its Chinese Spy Chip Story:

“There is no truth in their story about Apple,” Cook told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview. "They need to do that right thing and retract it."..

“I was involved in our response to this story from the beginning,” said Cook.

“I personally talked to the Bloomberg reporters along with Bruce Sewell, who was then our general counsel. We were very clear with them that this did not happen, and answered all their questions,” said Cook. “Each time they brought this up to us, the story changed, and each time we investigated we found nothing.”..

“We turned the company upside down,” Cook said. “Email searches, data center records, financial records, shipment records. We really forensically whipped through the company to dig very deep and each time we came back to the same conclusion: This did not happen. There’s no truth to this.”

Super Micro to review hardware for malicious chips | Reuters:

“Despite the lack of any proof that a malicious hardware chip exists, we are undertaking a complicated and time-consuming review to further address the article,” the chipmaker said in a letter to its customers dated Oct. 18.

The Bloomberg story does not seem to be holding up.


8. Wang Qishan goes to Israel

How close to China is too close for Israel? - Haaretz:

Chinese companies are building and will be operating the new ports at Haifa and Ashdod. If they win the planned tender to build the new rail line to Eilat, it will give China a stake in all three of Israel’s main sea outlets. Not everyone in Israel is overjoyed about this development. Currently serving officials are careful not to go on record, but some of Israel’s most senior former civil servants are speaking out...

Former Mossad Chief Efraim Halevy is even blunter. “Israel’s strategic allies are in the West, the United States and the European NATO members. China is a strategic ally of the Iranians and has sold them nuclear technology,” he says. “We are much too eager to do business with them.”

China has much to learn from Israel and Jewish diaspora about soft power | Wang Xiangwei | South China Morning Post:

Warming ties with Israel are not only good for trade and technological cooperation. At a time when China is trying to increase its soft power on the international stage, the Chinese have much to learn from the Israelis...

Beijing’s decision to task Wang with elevating ties with Israel is believed to have come after a brainstorming session among Chinese leaders, in which they discussed how to boost China’s innovation and hi-tech industries at a time when ties with the United States have deteriorated and the US has taken decisive steps to curb China’s technological advances...

More importantly, what has brought the two countries closer are the commonalities of their ancient civilisations and natural affinity for each other given their arduous paths of growing and thriving against phenomenal odds, despite the sharp differences in the size of land and population. The countries’ citizens share values of family, tradition, and education and the attitude towards adversity and life.

Spotlight: China-Israel innovation cooperation intensifies amid upcoming tech summit - Xinhua:

Israel is attracting more investment from China with a total amount of over 7 billion U.S. dollars. Several Chinese companies have also built research and development centers in Israel, including Huawei, Xiaomi and Lenovo.

"The ultimate measure of Chinese investment in Israel will be when Chinese companies begin establishing development, sales and manufacturing hubs in Israel," said Dorian Barak, CEO of Indigo Global, a private equity investor and fund manager.


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

In Depth: China’s New Household-Debt Fears - Caixin Global For decades, the Chinese people have been known for thrift and persistent saving habits, which analysts see as a significant contributor to the country’s prosperity. But now, the situation is changing. Economists and officials this year have repeatedly warned against a rapid buildup of household debt, fueled partly by a boom of internet financial platforms that provide easy access to credit for people left out of the traditional bank lending system...

China Breaks Six-Month Streak of Accelerating Home-Price Gains - Bloomberg New-home prices gained 1 percent from the previous month, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Saturday. That compared with a 1.5 percent increase in August.

Investors in Peer-to-Peer Platforms Get More Protection - Caixin Regulators have taken another step forward in their efforts to protect investors and borrowers from unscrupulous or cash-strapped peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders by letting them check details of the banks the platforms use to hold their money.

Swiss Bank Discourages China Travel After Banker Is Kept in Beijing - The New York Times The UBS client adviser, a Singaporean woman, tried to check in for her flight at Beijing International Airport last Friday, only for the airline counter employee to give her a phone number to call instead of her boarding pass, said a person with detailed knowledge of the case who insisted on anonymity because of the legal issues involved. When the woman called the number, she was told that the authorities in another Chinese city wanted to talk to her this week, the person said. The woman returned to her Beijing hotel, moved about the city without difficulty over the weekend, and was planning to fly to the other Chinese city early this week, the person said.

China's $195 Billion Debt Splurge Has Less Bang Than You Might Think - Bloomberg analysis of bond data by Bloomberg News shows that about 42 percent of the total special bonds sold since August are earmarked for “land reserves,” which means compensating farmers for property acquisition or preparing the acreage for future development. In short, the economic boost of the debt creation will be less immediate than if it was used to build highways or redevelop sub-standard housing straight away.

Business environment at ports to be further optimized - Gov.cn Business environment at ports will be further optimized to facilitate cross-border trade and promote stable and healthy development of foreign trade, according to a State Council circular on Oct 19. By the end of 2018, the number of documents required to be verified in import and export will be reduced by more than one-third compared with 2017, and all verifications will be operated online except for documents deemed confidential, which will reduce the overall customs clearance time by one-third, according to the circular.

China Founds Trademark Office to Protect Domestic Brands China’s first trademark office for helping domestic businesses protect their intellectual property overseas was established Wednesday in Shanghai, according to business news outlet Jiemian. The Shanghai Trademark Overseas Protection Office will support Chinese companies in international trademark disputes by providing guidance, training, and legal services. It will also create a think tank of experts to share their professional suggestions with busines

FF内部邮件:全员降薪并寻求新融资-PingWest 品玩 Pingwest reports that Faraday Future is cutting salaries by 20% and doing layoffs, per an internal email it obtained...the company blames Evergrande for the lack of funds...

Politics, Law And Ideology

Chill and fear in Chinese classrooms as students are recruited to report teachers with ‘radical’ opinions | South China Morning Post In the past three months, several professors and schoolteachers have been sacked or disciplined for “out of line” opinions. The firings have raised concerns among education experts over what they described as a worsening trend of “stifling classroom free speech” that could lead to a lack of critical thinking in education. Liang Xin, a teacher for more than 10 years at a top secondary school in eastern China, is among the educators affected. Last year, the popular teacher was demoted to school janitor after one of his own students turned on him.

Xi makes instruction on work of Party committees' general offices - Global Times Xi, also Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in an instruction to a national meeting of secretaries-general of Party committees, held on Friday and Saturday in Beijing. General offices of Party committees at all levels have been dedicated to serving the overall interests, demonstrated a keen sense of responsibility, worked hard, and made important contributions to the cause of the Party and the country since the 18th CPC National Congress, Xi said. He asked them to maintain political integrity, think in terms of the big picture, follow the leadership core, and keep in alignment with the central Party leadership.

‘WeChat Is Not a Land outside the Law’ | ChinaFile Relapse is Xi Jinping’s signature. And once you understand this principle, you can apply it to better understand the core features of many of China’s ostensibly “new” policies. Which brings me to one of the newest changes in recent weeks: the introduction in August of the second revision of the Chinese Communist Party’s internal discipline regulations in less than three years.

Foreign and Military Affairs

U.S., China Agree to Asia Defense Rules to Avoid Air Crashes - Bloomberg U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and seven other regional military chiefs, including China’s General Wei Fenghe, gave broad endorsement to the rules in Singapore on Saturday, during an meeting hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The non-binding guidelines had been formally adopted a day earlier by defense ministers from ASEAN’s 10 member nations.

North Korea bought at least $640 million in luxury goods from China in 2017, South Korea lawmaker says | Reuters “Kim has bought lavish items from China and other places like a seaplane for not only his own family, and also expensive musical instruments, high-quality TVs, sedans, liquor, watches and fur as gifts for the elites who prop up his regime,” opposition lawmaker Yoon Sang-hyun said in a statement.  //  And a new Rolls Royce

Education Minister: Foreign students a threat to academic independence - Sydney Morning Herald While Mr Stokes does not explicitly name China in the speech, he notes the international student boom comes from Asia and that the countries involved have "divergent views" on freedom and the right to protest.

Canada installs Chinese underwater monitoring devices next to US nuclear submarine base | South China Morning Post The instruments, which use hi-tech sensors to monitor the underwater environment, are connected to the Ocean Network Canada (ONC), a grid of marine observatories stretching from the northeast Pacific to the Arctic. While the network is operated by the University of Victoria in British Columbia, its four new additions are the property of the Sanya Institute of Deep-sea Science and Engineering, a unit of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which also developed and built them. The devices were placed on the Endeavour segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge by a remote-controlled submersible owned by the Canadian Coast Guard on June 27. Now fully operational, they can be used to provide real-time streaming of data to the Chinese institute’s control centres in Sanya, a city on the island province of Hainan, and elsewhere.

Seaplane to boost maritime capability, firefighting - China Daily Developed and built by State-owned aircraft giant Aviation Industry Corp of China, the AG600 carried out its first water-based takeoff and landing at Jingmen Zhanghe Airport, one of China's leading amphibious airports in Jingmen, Hubei province, on Saturday.  President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory message to researchers and engineers of the program to express his congratulations, encouraging them to continue to strive to build a strong aviation industry.

Gov't green lights easier access to 'green cards' - China Daily To qualify for the card, applicants must meet at least one of a number of requirements, including: to have invested at least $500,000 in a Chinese business for at least three consecutive years prior to application and be able to guarantee a good financial record; to be married to a Chinese citizen; to have made or be making a significant contribution to the country; or to possess skills that are especially needed.

US pullout from INF ‘could fuel arms race’ - Global Times "The US's withdrawal from the INF Treaty will set a bad example for some developing countries who want to get rid of United Nations controls so that they can produce their own intermediate-range missiles," Yang Chengjun, a Chinese missile expert and quantum defense scientist, told the Global Times on Sunday.

China Says U.S. Should ‘Think Twice’ About Leaving Missile Pact - Bloomberg “China hasn’t signed the agreement and has been producing mid-range missiles and so-called carrier killers to asymmetrically increase the costs of an American-led naval containment strategy,” said Stephen Nagy, a senior associate professor at the International Christian University in Tokyo. “The U.S. is likely withdrawing to send a message to Beijing that the U.S. can and will produce mid-range nuclear weapons that can erode away China’s existing asymmetric advantage.”

Xi meets with Russian defense minister - Ministry of National Defense Xi said that China-Russia relations have continued to maintain a high-level development and political mutual trust has reached the highest level since the beginning of this year.

Hong Kong, Macao

Macau Liaison Joins Long List of Chinese Officials Who Commit Suicide Add another name to the list of Chinese officials who have died in unusual circumstances. According to the State Council Office of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, Zheng Xiaosong, director of the Macau Liaison Office, committed suicide on Saturday evening by jumping off the residential building where he lived. He was suffering from depression, according to a statement released by the liaison office. Zheng was 59...China has had a high rate of “abnormal deaths” of officials at departmental and provincial levels for several years. According to an article published in 2017 by the Psychology Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), 243 Chinese officials committed suicide between 2009 and 2016. In 2014, 59 officials committed suicide, the highest of any of the years studied.

Taiwan

‘No more bullying’: thousands call for Taiwan independence - Inkstone It was the first such rally since President Tsai Ing-wen of the traditionally pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took power in 2016. Formosa Alliance, a pro-independence political group founded in April, said more than 120,000 participated in the Saturday demonstration. Police put the number at a much smaller 6,000.

Taiwan Seeks Cause of Its Worst Rail Crash in Decades - The New York Times The conductor of a train that crashed in northern Taiwan, killing 18 people, had reported problems with the power system multiple times before the accident, the local news media said Monday.

Tech And Media

Chinese broadcaster denies host spent US$865,800 on lavish light show for birthday | South China Morning Post A provincial state broadcaster in eastern China has denied online rumours that its star radio presenter spent 6 million yuan (US$865,800) on a lavish light show to celebrate her birthday in Nanjing last year – even though it said Deng Huang was warned for breaking the rules.

New proposed rules could rock China's blockchain industry. Here's what they mean · TechNode The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has released a set of draft regulations that, in its current form, promises to narrow the scope of blockchain-based services across the country....No date has been given for implementation of the new rules. Renmin University law school vice president Yang Dong, however, told Sina News (in Chinese) that the draft policy would upset the current blockchain industry: “This will only bring undesirable obstacles and difficulties to entities’ innovation activities … Blockchain technology should be neutral. The necessity of the draft policy should be doubted.”

China launches third prototype exascale computer - Xinhua China has launched a third prototype exascale computing machine, the next-generation supercomputer, according to the developer. The Shuguang exascale computer is expected to be put into operation in national supercomputing centers in Shanghai and Shenzhen, said its developer Dawning Information Industry Co. Ltd.

Chinese seniors easy victims of fake online news: statistics - Xinhua   Comment: Yes, have one in the household and see it almost daily.// According to figures released by popular messaging tool WeChat, of those most likely to fall into the trap of rumormongering, 43.5 percent are above the age of 50. As of September, WeChat had a whopping 61 million users between the ages of 55 and 70. WeChat said that as China's mobile internet develops, the growing aging population, many of whom lack the ability to distinguish fake news from genuine news, are easily falling prey to rumors and unknowingly helping to spread them. 

Wang Xiaohui meets with famous Indian actor Aamir Khan | SCIO Wang Xiaohui, executive vice head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and director general of the State Film Administration, met with Aamir Khan, a famous actor, director and producer from India, in Beijing on Oct. 19.

Amid suspicion of trading manipulation, OKCoin founder blames "illegal" media and investor "stalking" · TechNode Investors and local media are chasing after Xu Mingxing, founder of OKCoin and cryptocurrency exchange OK Exchange, for suspected fraud and irregular account management. A recently published story on major portals including Tencent Tech done by ChainTruth media account, suggests a stakeout planned investors and media outside a Marriott hotel in Beijing’s Chaoyang District, where Xu was rumored to be residing.

华谊、唐德们的“钱荒”时刻-虎嗅网 Do the Huayi Brothers have a share pledge collateral problem?  //  虽然没有明确消息,但巧合的是,近期华谊兄弟公告显示,公司两位大股东王中军、王中磊,先后于10月11日、12日、15日、16日、17日,分多次质押了合计超过其所持股比例12%的股份给国民信托等信托机构。而在今年上半年,华谊共发布了8份和股权质押相关的公告,涉及超过30次质押操作,仅有两次的质权人为信托,其余均为券商。有业内人士向毒眸指出,“现在像华谊这样的影视公司,想找券商做质押确实很难”。

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

China’s #MeToo claim costs university professor his job | South China Morning Post Jilin Agricultural Science and Technology University fired computer science lecturer Wang Donglai after an internal investigation found him guilty of “violating a teacher’s professional code of ethics”, according to an official Weibo announcement on Sunday. The incident allegedly took place at a student entertainment night at a karaoke bar the previous Sunday, which Wang attended against staff guidelines, the university said.

In China's Catholic heartland, Vatican deal brings Communist Party closer | Reuters Last month’s secretive deal with the Vatican, which gives the Holy See a long-sought and decisive say over the appointment of new bishops, sets the stage for Beijing to recognize some underground congregations. Details of how and when this process might happen have not been released. Interviews with five underground priests and two dozen believers in Hebei suggest previously stark divisions between underground Catholics loyal to the Vatican and churches officially registered with the Chinese authorities have blurred in recent years.

Billionaire issues denials of polygamy online posts - Global Times Chinese internet services company NetEase has been forced to issue a statement to clarify polygamy rumors about a former executive at the company. NetEase said on Saturday that "although society allows existence of different values and opinions, we should stick to our bottom line on certain moral values." Former NetEase executive Xu Bo denied he was the owner of the baobaolaoshi account with more than 370,000 followers on China's Twitter-like service Sina Weibo.

Uprooting Paradise: How Foraging Is Transforming Shangri-La - Sixth Tone Tibetan foragers like Wangdak are common in Diqing, an autonomous prefecture in northwestern Yunnan province known to most Chinese by the name of its largest city, Shangri-La. Until a few decades ago, Tibetans here generally used local flora to augment nutrient-poor diets and concoct traditional medicines. Today, a commercial market for Shangri-La’s edible plants and fungi is thriving. More and more people are turning to foraging and selling their spoils at local markets where they can earn thousands of yuan a month, a handsome windfall in a formerly impoverished, isolated area.

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

China-backed dam in Indonesia rainforest to cut through home of world’s rarest orangutan | South China Morning Post The site of the dam in the Batang Toru rainforest on Sumatra island is the only known habitat of the Tapanuli orangutan, a newly discovered species that numbers about 800 individuals in total.

Melting glacier in China draws tourists, climate worries - AP For years, scientists have observed global warming change Jade Dragon Snow Mountain in the Chinese province of Yunnan. One research team has tracked Baishui’s retreat of about 30 yards (27 meters) per year over the past decade. Flowers, such as snow lotus, have rooted in exposed earth, says Wang Shijin, a glaciologist and director of the Yulong Snow Mountain Glacial and Environmental Observation Research Station, part of a network run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

China regions accused of faking pollution compliance in new probe | Reuters The provinces of Henan and Yunnan, as well as the region of Guangxi, were accused of “superficial”, “fake” or “perfunctory” rectifications, according to the latest reviews published by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE). Parts of Guangdong province near Hong Kong were also castigated for failing to take responsibility for violations.

Fallout From Harvard Research Scandal Could Affect Hundreds of Chinese Medical Studies Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital called for retractions of 31 papers by former researcher Dr. Piero Anversa due to fabricated or falsified data, the institutions announced last Monday. Most of these problematic papers focused on so-called cardiac stem cells. China has been especially active in this field, and it is presumed that some 300 Chinese cardiac stem cell studies used misleading findings from some of Dr. Anversa’s work in their own investigations, Caixin reported.

Agriculture And Rural Issues

China finds African swine fever in country's south, fuelling supply worries | Reuters Two new cases reported in the southwestern province of Yunnan on Sunday came as China enters its peak pig production period ahead of the country’s most important festival, the New Year holiday, which will be held in early February 2019. “The thing that we worried about the most has now happened,” said Feng Yonghui, chief analyst at industry portal Soozhu.com, referring to the spread of disease from northeast to southwest.

Education

China's 1st private university inaugurated, borrows fundraising model from Harvard, Yale - Global Times Five Nobel laureates including physicist Chen-Ning Yang and more than 70 representatives of domestic and overseas universities attended the founding ceremony of Westlake University in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang Province. Westlake has 68 research group leaders, 139 students under joint supervision at the top Chinese institutes of Fudan University and Zhejiang University and 159 key researchers, according to the school's website.

Jobs And Events

Job Opportunities - MacroPolo We are seeking highly qualified undergraduate and graduate students to constitute our inaugural cohort of Summer Associates.