Two meetings; Around 5.5% growth target; Xi on food security and ethnic unity; Ukraine crisis
Perhaps the biggest surprise from the government work report that Premier Li Keqiang delivered to the National People’s Congress was the GDP growth target of “around 5.5%”. That is definitely at the high end of the range most people were expecting, and the setting of the target so high has fueled hopes in some quarters of much more stimulus to come this year. The PRC domestic stock markets did not seem too excited though, as share prices hit a 20 month low.
Remember when there was hope that the government would drop a GDP growth target and that would be a sign of more seriousness about structural reform of the economy?
Foreign Minister Wang Yi had another phone call with US Secretary of State Blinken and gave a press conference on Monday. In response to a question from RT at the press conference, Wang Yi said:
China-Russia relationship is grounded in a clear logic of history and driven by strong internal dynamic, and the friendship between the two peoples is rock-solid. There is a bright prospect for cooperation between the two sides. No matter how precarious and challenging the international situation may be, China and Russia will always maintain strategic focus and steadily advance our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.
As far as I can tell there have been no public signals of a shift on the PRC position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Today’s Essential Eight:
Government work report
Xi on ethnic unity, energy and food security
Xi’s comments to PLA and People’s Armed Police delegates
Wang Yi and Blinken have another call
New Mainland cases highest in almost two years
Sporting events censorship over Ukraine
New open source resource for PRC documents
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Government work report
Key targets for 2022:
The draft English version of the report:
The drop in the fiscal deficit target doesn’t signal shrinking fiscal expenditure, because the central government will use other types of funds to invest in infrastructure and support local governments, experts said. For example, the amount of funds that the central government will transfer to local governments this year will reach around 9.8 trillion yuan ($1.55 trillion), up 18% year-on-year, the highest growth rate in years, according to a report by investment bank China International Capital Corp. Ltd...
In the sole paragraph about housing, the government work report reiterated that China should stabilize land prices, housing prices and market expectations. Instead of directly addressing the bleak property sector, Premier Li underlined “people’s housing needs,” repeating policymakers’ long-standing stance of “houses are for living in, not for speculation.”
The work report also highlighted developing rental housing, accelerating affordable housing, supporting the housing market in better meeting homebuyers’ “reasonable needs,” and applying city-specific policies to promote the benign cycle and healthy development of the real estate sector.
China’s fiscal spending will increase by about CNY2 trillion (USD316.6 billion) this year from 2021 amid large-scale transfer of funds, carryovers, and surpluses...
State-owned financial institutions and specialized organizations will hand over profits of CNY1.7 trillion this year
Infographic of the highlights of the draft NPC work report - 最全！一图读懂2022年《政府工作报告》_图解图表_中国政府网
By changing the wording around employment goals, China is looking to set a higher jobs target amid an unprecedented number of college graduates and a government push to support small businesses. Chinese legislators told the Economic Information Daily that the unemployment rate will be set “within 5.5%,” compared to “around 5.5%” in last year’s government report during the two meetings.
Instead of an annual goal for energy consumption per unit of GDP, one of the nation’s favored metrics for progress on climate action, China will give itself more flexibility to meet targets previously set for 2025 to help support growth...
Li said China’s government will shift from a focus on energy intensity to carbon emissions intensity, and exclude newly installed renewable power from energy consumption accounting.
2. Xi on ethnic unity, energy and food security
Xi, a delegate from Inner Mongolia, once again made the Inner Mongolia delegation his first stop at the NPC.
China’s declining coal industry got a boost on the weekend when Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a “realistic” approach to achieving the country’s carbon neutrality goals.
Addressing deputies from the coal-rich Inner Mongolia region on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress on Saturday, Xi said China’s green transition could not be achieved overnight and its coal-dominated energy structure was unlikely to change fundamentally in the short term.
President Xi Jinping has called for proactive and prudent steps to advance carbon emissions peaking and carbon neutrality initiatives, while also stressing the need to ensure the security of energy, food, and industrial and supply chains in reducing carbon emissions, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
Xi made the remarks when he participated in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region delegation's deliberation
Xi himself is a member of the delegation. He stressed that ethnic unity is the lifeline of all ethnic groups in the country and a strong sense of community is key to ethnic unity. Efforts must be made to strengthen such sense by furthering education on ethnic unity, he added. Efforts should also be made to let people cultivate the awareness that people from all ethnicities are in the same community, where they share weal and woe, stick together in life and death, Xi said. Seeds in a pomegranate are what Xi used to describe how all ethnic groups can stick together as long as the sense of Chinese nation as a community being the foundation for ethnic unity can be laid. Only with ethnic unity will people from all ethnic groups join hands in building our country, Xi said. A stable and healthy economic environment is important, and so is social stability and political integrity. Ethnic unity is essential to all these, Xi said. We must do a good job in all areas to greet the convening of the 20th National Congress of the CPC, he said...
Deputies Zhang Lei, Guo Yanling, Jia Run'an, Wang Xiaohong, Feng Yanli, Zhao Huijie and Shi Yudong shared their opinions with others on how the new development philosophy can be carried out in an accurate, extensive and down-to-earth manner in the conservation of grassland ecology. They also talked about how the philosophy can be materialized in furthering the coal chemical industry to contribute to carbon emissions peaking and carbon neutrality. Cultivating a sense of community for the Chinese nation can be integrated into the entire process of school education, they said...
CCTV on Xi's remarks to the Inner Mongolia delegation -习近平在参加内蒙古代表团审议时强调 不断巩固中华民族共同体思想基础 共同建设伟大祖国 共同创造美好生活_CCTV
Full English translation of Xi's comments at this meeting - Xi visits CPPCC members in sectors of agriculture, welfare and social security-Xinhua
Chinese readout of the meeting - 把提高农业综合生产能力放在更加突出的位置 在推动社会保障事业高质量发展上持续用力
Xi stressed that at present, the international situation is continuing to go through profound and complex changes. The world is experiencing the combined impact of major changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century, as contest between major countries is increasingly intense, and economic globalization is facing countercurrents. The world has entered a new period of turbulence and transformation, the domestic tasks related to reform, development, and stability remain arduous. We should see that China's development still has many strategic advantages...
Xi Jinping pointed out that food security is "a matter of national importance". Eating matters most. Through hard work, China has raised nearly one fifth of the world's population with 9% of the world's arable land and 6% of the world's fresh water resources. From 400 million undernourished people in those years, today more than 1.4 billion people are well fed. This gives a strong answer to the question "who will feed China?" This achievement has not come easily, and we must continue to consolidate and expand it. We should not slacken our efforts on food security. We should not assume that industrialization makes food a dispensable problem, nor should we rely on the international market to solve the problem. We need to be prepared for a rainy day. We need to keep food security as our priority, focus on China, ensure production capacity, import an appropriate amount of food, and support science and technology.
Xi Jinping stressed that the fundamental solution to the problem of food is science and technology. Germplasm resources security is closely related to national security, we must strengthen our seed industry to achieve self-reliance in the sci-tech development of the sector and keep the country's germplasm resources independent and controllable. We will give full play to China's institutional advantages, allocate superior resources in a scientific way, promote the development of a major national innovation platform in the seed industry, strengthen basic and pioneering research, strengthen the collection, protection, development and utilization of germplasm resources, and accelerate the industrialization of biological breeding. We should deepen the reform of the agricultural science and technology system, strengthen the leading role of enterprises in innovation, improve the system of variety certification and intellectual property protection, and promote high-quality development of China's seed industry with the construction of innovation chain as the focus.
Xi Jinping pointed out that it is necessary to set up a "big food concept", to better meet the people's needs for a better life, to grasp the changing trend of people's food structure, and while ensuring the grains supply to ensure the effective supply of meat, vegetables, fruits, aquatic products, and that lacking in any is unaccpetable.
He ordered cadres at all levels of the Communist Party to be responsible for maintaining food safety and stabilising domestic output of grain so that “the rice bowls of the Chinese people are filled with Chinese grain”.
Xi also said long-term goals included raising rural incomes, securing agricultural land and putting a stop to food waste...
He ordered the creation of a national food security production belt and construction of more irrigation and water conservation infrastructure.
The central government would closely monitor local officials and hold them accountable for life for ensuring a base level of safeguarded farmland, he said.
3. Xi’s comments to PLA and People’s Armed Police delegates
Xi...made the remarks while attending a plenary meeting of the delegation of the People's Liberation Army and People's Armed Police Force, at the fifth session of the 13th National People's Congress..
Xi said focus should be placed on fully building revolutionary, modernized and standardized armed forces, and building a Chinese system for law-based administration of military affairs..
Xi said foreign-related laws and regulations in the military field should be improved to better safeguard national interests with legal means
CCTV Evening News on Xi's meeting with the PLA/PAP delegates - 习近平在出席解放军和武警部队代表团全体会议时强调 贯彻依法治军战略 提高国防和军队建设法治化水平_CCTV
At the meeting, six delegates, including He Lei, Xu Xisheng, Liang Yang, Jiang Qingqun, Wang Zhenguo and Gao Buming, made speeches respectively, and put forward opinions and suggestions on improving the system of military laws and regulations, making legal preparations for military struggle [做好军事斗争法理准备 Is this new? What might it mean?], protecting the legitimate rights and interests of military personnel according to law, accelerating the innovation of national defense science and technology, and promoting the innovation and development of national defense mobilization.
China's 7.1 percent increase to its defense budget in 2022 is a restrained move that aims to safeguard the country's national sovereignty, territorial integrity, security and development interests, as well as to provide public security goods to the world, experts said on Sunday..
The figure, which would see the Chinese military receiving a total of 1.45 trillion yuan ($230 billion) funding in 2022, was revealed on Saturday in a draft budget report released
4. Ukraine crisis
Foreign Minister Wang YI head a press conference Monday, once again so signs of a shift on the Russian invasion.
Full text of Wang Yi's press conference. Here is response to a question from RT : 今日俄罗斯国际通讯社记者：西方对俄罗斯日益增长的集体制裁压力将如何影响俄中关系的进一步发展？How will the increasing pressure of western collective sanctions against Russia affect the further development of Russia-China relations?
As permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, China and Russia are each other's most important close neighbors and strategic partners. China-Russia ties are one of the most crucial bilateral relations in the world, and our cooperation not only brings benefits and welfare to our peoples, but also contributes to world peace, stability and development.
Last year marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Russia. In an increasingly complex global strategic environment, the concepts of intergenerational friendship and win-win cooperation carried by this treaty have a very positive and practical significance not only for China and Russia, but for all countries in the world
China-Russia ties are based on non-alliance, non-confrontation and non-targeting of any third party, and are free from interference or discord sown by third parties. This is both a summary of historical experience and an innovation in international relations. Not long ago, the two countries jointly issued a joint statement that focuses on international relations in a new era and global sustainable development, in which we demonstrated to the world, clearly and unambiguously, our opposition to reviving the Cold War mentality and provoking ideological confrontation, the Chinese top diplomat said. In the statement, we advocated the democratization of international relations, and upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter
China-Russia relationship is grounded in a clear logic of history and driven by strong internal dynamic, and the friendship between the two peoples is rock-solid. There is a bright prospect for cooperation between the two sides. No matter how precarious and challenging the international situation may be, China and Russia will always maintain strategic focus and steadily advance our comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era.
Wang put forth a six-point initiative on preventing a large-scale humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
First, efforts should be made to make sure that humanitarian operations abide by the principle of neutrality and impartiality, and to avoid politicizing humanitarian issues.
Second, full attention should be given to the displaced people in and from Ukraine, and efforts should be made to provide them with proper shelter, Wang said.
Wang then called for ensuring the protection of civilians and preventing secondary humanitarian disasters in Ukraine.
Fourth, efforts should be made to guarantee safe and smooth humanitarian aid activities, including providing rapid, safe and unimpeded humanitarian access, Wang noted.
He also called for ensuring the safety of foreign nationals in Ukraine, allowing them safe departure and helping them return to their home countries.
Sixth, support should be given to the UN's coordinating role in channeling humanitarian aid and the work of the UN crisis coordinator for Ukraine, Wang added.
Cui Heng, an assistant research fellow from the Center for Russian Studies at East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Monday that Wang's remarks suggest that China will not bow to the West's pressure to sanction Russia...
"China-Russia ties and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine are two different things, and no matter how much the West provokes, the friendship and closeness between the two sides will not be affected. This has also set the tone for China's position in the current Russia-Ukraine conflict," Cui said.
Paul Haenle, a former China adviser to US presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama, said Beijing might hope that appearing to support diplomatic efforts would “offset” the reputational damage it suffered from its strategic support for Russia.
“If you’re really aiming to have a positive impact you’ve got to do more than simply rhetorically calling for all sides to show restraint and to negotiate. I don’t think China is prepared to do that,” said Haenle, who was a US negotiator with China and Russia as part of North Korean nuclear talks.
Several Russian banks said on Sunday they would soon start issuing cards using the Chinese UnionPay card operator's system coupled with Russia's own Mir network, after Visa and MasterCard said they were suspending operations in Russia.
PRC Embassy in Ukraine asks PRC citizens in the country to leave as soon as possible.
"The embassy told us to find a way to solve the problems we're facing by ourselves," he told AFP from a small town outside Chernihiv where he has sought refuge with a local family.
"They said that fighting is everywhere, they aren't able to do anything... Shouldn't this be a nation's responsibility?" he said via China's WeChat messaging app.
On the night of July 24, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson and Director General of the MFA Information Department Hua Chunying held consultations via videolink with Russian foreign ministry spokesperson and Director of the Information and Press Department of Russia's foreign ministry Maria Zakharova.
There must be some connections between Azov Battalion and the US, especially US intelligence agencies, said Li Wei, an expert on national security at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.
"Supporting Ukraine's neo-Nazis serves the US' own interests," Li told the Global Times. "By inciting conflicts between Ukraine and Russia, the US has weakened Russia and further pushed Ukraine to NATO; it has also improved its relations with Europe, which has become more strategically dependent on the US. The US is really the biggest beneficiary of Russia-Ukraine tensions."
If China wants to remain officially ambiguous about whether it supports Vladimir V. Putin’s war — refusing to call it an invasion and abstaining from a U.N. vote to condemn the invasion — its state-controlled media nonetheless makes very clear where China stands.
Here is an interesting Twitter thread on the WeChat information bubble about Ukraine in an Australian Wechat group.
5. Wang Yi and Blinken have another call
Comment: Once again, no signs of a shift in the PRC position on the Russian invasion.
Wang Yi said, the evolution of the situation in Ukraine up to now is not something China wants to see. The Ukraine issue is complicated, which not only concerns the basic norms governing international relations, but also is closely related to the security interests of various parties. Efforts should focus on not only solving the current crisis, but also maintaining long-term peace and stability in the region. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China always decides its position and policy based on the merits of the matter itself. China believes that the Ukraine crisis should be resolved in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. First, respect and safeguard all countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity. Second, stay committed to peacefully solving disputes through dialogue. We hope that the war will stop as soon as possible, the situation on the ground will be eased, the life and property safety of civilians will be effectively guaranteed, and a large-scale humanitarian crisis will be prevented.
Wang Yi pointed out, the Ukraine crisis can only be solved through dialogue and negotiations. China supports every effort conducive to easing the situation and seeking political settlement. China opposes any moves that fan the flame, add fuel to the flame and escalate the tensions rather than promote a diplomatic solution. China will continue to speak out and do its best for peace. We encourage direct negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. Though talks may not go smoothly, the international community should continue to render collaboration and support until results and peace are achieved. We also encourage the United States, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and the European Union to engage in equal-footed dialogue with Russia, face up to the frictions and problems accumulated over the years, pay attention to the negative impact of NATO's continuous eastward expansion on Russia's security, and seek to build a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism in accordance with the principle of indivisible security.
Chinese version - 王毅应约同美国国务卿布林肯通电话 — 中华人民共和国外交部
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with PRC State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi about Moscow’s premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified war against Ukraine. The Secretary noted the world is watching to see which nations stand up for the basic principles of freedom, self-determination and sovereignty. He underscored that the world is acting in unison to repudiate and respond to the Russian aggression, ensuring that Moscow will pay a high price.
From Wang Yi’s Monday press conference on US-China relations:
Launching the broadside at his annual press conference on the sidelines of China’s legislative session on Monday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said no places should be regarded as US backyards and the world was not a geopolitical chessboard...
“The US still spares no effort to carry out ‘intense competition’ against China in a zero-sum game, constantly attacking and provoking trouble on issues concerning China’s core interests, and successively cobbling together a ‘small circle’ to suppress China in the international arena,” he said.
The real goal of the U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy is to establish an Indo-Pacific version of NATO, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Monday.
The U.S. Indo-Pacific strategy is becoming a byword for "bloc politics." It seeks to maintain the U.S.-led system of hegemony, undermine the ASEAN-centered regional cooperation architecture, and compromise the overall and long-term interests of countries in the region, Wang said at a press conference.
China and the United States must replace the "competitive-collaborative-adversarial" trichotomy with the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, said Wang.
Competition between major countries should not be the order of the day and zero-sum game is not the right choice, Wang said.
The so-called "Summit for Democracy" held by the United States last year excluded nearly half of the countries in the world. That in itself is an assault on the spirit of democracy, and holding such a summit again would be unpopular, Wang said at a press conference.
6. New Mainland cases highest in almost two years
China reported 214 new local COVID-19 cases on Sunday, and another 312 local silent carriers of coronavirus. South China's Guangdong Province, which borders the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region where viral spread is rife, reported 69 confirmed cases, the highest in the Chinese mainland. This was followed by Northeast China's Jilin Province with 54 cases, and the port city of Qingdao in East China's Shandong Province with 46 cases.
Lu Hongzhou, the head of Shenzhen's anti-epidemic expert team and head of the Third People's Hospital of Shenzhen, said the rampant infections in Hong Kong in part triggered the outbreak in Guangzhou, as many truck drivers travel between Hong Kong and Guangzhou and some people illegally cross the border between the two regions...
Experts believed that adjusting COVID-19 policies cannot be interpreted simply as China abandoning the dynamic zero-COVID strategy. "The policy will be adjusted in the future, but it will take time, and the key point is to find the right moment, when conditions are ripe," said the CDC official.
Shanghai, with four “medium-risk” areas, has also temporarily suspended outpatient services and fever clinics in some hospitals for virus control measures.
Qingdao, the coastal city in the eastern Shandong province, emerged as another COVID-19 hotspot over the weekend. The majority of the 251 cases reported Saturday and Sunday were found among students and staff of the Laixi No.7 Middle School, as well as their close contacts.
In Shanghai, almost all of the 48 cases identified there were travelers from Hong Kong who were undergoing a 14-day hotel quarantine.
Wu Jinglei, director of the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told a press conference Sunday that the number of hospitalized cases had hit a record for Shanghai, and that 230 medical staff had been dispatched to treat patients.
The city is now ramping up hospital capacity to tackle the outbreak. Wu Jinglei, director of the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission, said at a Sunday press conference that the city has sent an additional 230 health workers to local hospitals including the clinical center, while setting aside medical staff, treatment facilities and resources in case of emergency.
Last November, Chinese social media users were outraged after anti-epidemic workers in Shangrao killed a pet dog while its owner was undergoing quarantine at a nearby hotel. This week, a similar incident has again sparked outrage on Weibo.
7. Sporting events censorship over Ukraine
The International Paralympic Committee is demanding answers from China’s state broadcaster after an impassioned, anti-war speech by its head appeared to have been censored during the Beijing winter games opening ceremony on Friday evening...
“The 21st century is a time for dialog and diplomacy, not war and hate,” Parsons said, adding that the Olympic Truce for peace during the Olympic and Paralympic Games is a UN Resolution. “It must be respected and observed, not violated.”
The part where Parsons condemned the war was not translated into Chinese in a live broadcast by CCTV. Instead, a Chinese announcer talked over Parsons and read a later part of his translated statement. When it came to the part about the truce, CCTV appeared to have lowered the volume so that Parsons’ remarks became inaudible.
Xibai Xu @xuxibai(1/11) Thread 🧵 to explain how the speech by IPC President Andrew Parsons at the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Paralympics is censored in China to remove any reference to the Olympic Truce. Parsons starts with “Tonight I want, I must begin with a message of peace…” https://t.co/INGv6Uifj4
As the leader of an organisation with inclusion at its core, where diversity is celebrated and differences embraced, I am horrified at what is taking place in the world right now.
The 21st Century is a time for dialogue and diplomacy, not war and hate.
The Olympic Truce for peace during the Olympic and Paralympic Games is a UN Resolution adopted by consensus by 193 Member States at the 76th UN General Assembly. It must be respected and observed not violated.
During an impassioned speech at the Beijing Winter Paralympic opening ceremony on Friday, the Games’ president Andrew Parsons mistakenly addressed People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping as the leader of the Republic of China
And PRC fans couldn’t watch the Premier League as some of the messaging may have contradicted the official line on Ukraine - China to pull Premier League TV coverage this weekend over Ukraine support
Chinese broadcasters will not air Premier League matches this weekend in response to the league's planned support of Ukraine, sources have confirmed to ESPN...
The Premier League announced on Wednesday that a show of solidarity with Ukraine amid Russia's invasion of the country would be visible at all matches from Saturday through Monday.
8. New open source resource for PRC documents
CSIS has just launched a new site for translating. interpreting and analyzing PRC documents. Happy to be a member of the advisory board
Interpret: China was established in February 2022 with generous support from the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The project seeks to transform how policymakers, companies, researchers, journalists, and the broader public understand China by providing access to translated articles, speeches, policy documents, and other important materials.
Translation Matters: Problems of Inference in the 2020 State Department Policy Planning Report “The Elements of the China Challenge” - Interpret: China - Alastair Iain Johnston, on the translation and context of 赢得主动、赢得优势、赢得未来:
this article looks at the November 2020 study on China by the Department of State’s Policy Planning Office, which made key inferences about China’s long-term intentions based, in part, on a problematic translation and decontextualization of key phrases in a speech by China’s leader, Xi Jinping....
the translation used in the State Department Policy Planning Staff report (and in other reports by the Department of Defense) is a probably not an accurate rendition, misses traditions of usage, and has been shaped to make certain claims about the CCP’s strategic intentions that probably can’t be sustained by the “three wins” phrase.
Business, Economy and Trade
China Needs Rate Cuts, Not Just Lower Taxes, Top Official Says - Bloomberg “Reducing taxes and fees is important, but so is reducing interest rates,” Yang Weimin, former vice minister of the Office of the Central Leading Group on Financial and Economic Affairs, said in an interview with the 21st Century Business Herald.
Yicai - China to Boost Coal Reserves as Global Commodity Prices Jump, NDRC Says China will speed up the stockpiling of more than 200 million tons of government-deployable coal reserves, Lian Weiliang, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at a press conference today. The country will also add more than 5 billion cubic meters of gas storage capacity, and lift the national emergency backup and peak power supply to more than 300 million kilowatts, Lian added.
视频｜2022年新基建投资重点在哪？国家发改委回应21记者 - 21经济网 Technology and green investments will dominate China’s next phase of infrastructure push in 2022, the National Development and Reform Commission said on March 7. The agency also said it would further relax restrictions in hopes of attracting more “social capital” in “new-type of infrastructure” investment. 新型基础设施主要由市场主体投资建设，我们将进一步放宽准入领域，降低投资门槛，让社会资本在这个领域充分发挥作用。
专访全国政协经济委员会副主任刘世锦：坚持高质量发展可带来汇率升值效应，未来15年中国要跨过三个台阶 - 21经济网 China’s economic rebound in 2021 is partly attributable to the renminbi’s rising value, Liu Shijin, deputy director of the Economic Committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said in an interview with the 21st Business Herald. He said the previous research by the Committee showed that Japan and Germany’s economic growth stemmed partly from the appreciation of their currency after both economies hit the 10,000 USD GDP per capita. He said China is following a similar path. On GDP target, he said the “around 5.5%” will be a flexible goal and achieving that will require much work. 今年中国GDP增速设为5.5%左右，是有一定弹性的。5.5%左右的目标，是在高基数之上的中高速增长，是有难度的，需要积极努力才能够实现。
两会|刘世锦：货币政策短期重在稳房地产，坚持高质量发展可获取汇率升值带来的增长效应 _ 证券时报网 China’s short-term monetary policy will focus on “stabilizing the real estate market” while its fiscal measures will tilt toward “stabilizing the building of infrastructure,” Liu Shijin, deputy director of the Economic Committee of the CPPCC, told the Securities Times. He acknowledged that the days of the real estate investment boom is long gone, yet the sector will remain one of the driving engines of various sectors and industrial chains. 不过，即便如此，房地产行业在未来很长一段时间内，依然会是产业链最长、产业带动能力最强的行业之一。
China's trade off to uplifting start despite complex external environment - Global Times US dollar-denominated exports rallied 16.3 percent year-on-year in January-February to $544.7 billion, while imports rose by 15.5 percent to $428.75 billion, both exceeding market estimates. The trade surplus spiked 19.5 percent to $115.95 billion. Total trade grew 15.9 percent during the first two months, according to customs data. In yuan terms, exports were up 13.6 percent, while imports jumped 12.9 percent. Total trade grew 13.3 percent to 6.2 trillion yuan.
China cobalt mine deal was ‘injustice’: my country did not get anything, ex-DRC leader says | South China Morning Post President Felix Tshisekedi stirred up a storm last year, accusing his predecessors of having signed lopsided contracts with mining companies – most of them Chinese – and saying he wanted to renegotiate them. President Tshisekedi’s campaign has further received rare support from Congolese opposition politician Adolphe Muzito, who said the DRC had not benefited much from mining deals signed with Chinese companies.
Amazon suppliers linked to forced labor in China, watchdog group says The report from the Tech Transparency Project, a research group that is run by the nonprofit Campaign for Accountability and is often critical of large tech companies, found that Amazon’s public list of suppliers includes five companies previously linked by journalists and think tank researchers to “labor transfer” programs in China. The suppliers help produce Amazon-branded devices and products sold under house labels like Amazon Basics.
‘They took my world’: fashion giant Shein accused of art theft | Art and design | The Guardian Dozens of people have posted about their designs being stolen online, sometimes using the slogan #ShameOnShein. One illustrator, who claimed to have their skeleton artwork lifted, tweeted: “Shein stole my art and slapped it on a phone case, not sure if I should be flattered or mad.” // Comment: My teeneage daughters may not be the target market for Shein but when I asked them about the brand earlier this year their responses were along the lines of “poor quality, steals other people’s designs”.
China’s Papermaker Price Hikes Add to Inflation Worries - Caixin The average price of ivory board, a paper product used for printing and product packaging, rose to 6,203 yuan in the week of Feb. 18 to 24, up 1.5% on the previous week, Sinolink Securities analysts wrote.
Yicai - China NPC Deputy Puts Forward Expat Tax Proposal for Rich Chinese Abroad Loopholes in China’s tax system for wealthy Chinese expats need to be addressed, as some move abroad to evade taxes but still make money in China, Chen Jingying, a deputy to the National People’s Congress and a counselor to the Shanghai government, told Yicai Global.
China Reassures Role of Venture Capitalists After Tech Crackdown - Bloomberg “We will promote the development of venture capital,” Premier Li Keqiang said in prepared remarks Saturday at the opening of the National People’s Congress. “New financial products and services” will be developed to support research and development, he said.
Evergrande Founder Denied Access to National People's Congress - Bloomberg Hui Ka Yan was told not to attend the annual convention of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, or CPPCC, people with knowledge of the matter said. As a result, he requested personal leave from the week-long meeting as Evergrande tries to defuse operational risks. // Comment: Does he still have freedom of movement, or is he already "under control"?
Ambassador Qin Gang Has a Dialogue with Tesla CEO Elon Musk - PRC Embassy in US China's Ambassador to the U.S. Qin Gang visited the Tesla factory in Fremont, California, and had an in-depth dialogue with Tesla CEO Elon Musk last week...Musk said that in the universe, human consciousness is like a little candle in the vast darkness. Life cannot just be about solving problems every single day. There must be reasons that you're excited to be alive, that move your heart. Human beings live on the same planet and should get along. Faced with global challenges, we must work together to deal with them. China and the United States have great potential for cooperation in green and low-carbon development, such as new energy utilization and electric vehicles. The Chinese people are hard-working and intelligent, good at getting things done. Tesla’s cooperation with China has been smooth and successful.
Politics and Law
China mulls giving more seats to people from grassroots, women in top legislature-Xinhua The draft decision on the quota and election of deputies to the 14th National People's Congress (NPC) was submitted on Saturday to the ongoing fifth session of the 13th NPC for deliberation. The proportion of grassroots lawmakers in the 14th NPC, especially frontline workers, farmers and professional technicians, should be higher than that in the 13th NPC, according to the draft.
Chinese police nab suspects involved in illegal surveillance, recording-Xinhua Police have so far cracked more than 160 related criminal cases, seized around 11,000 pieces of bugging or surveillance equipment, and busted 15 illegal workshops that manufactured such devices, the ministry said, adding that about 30,000 hacked webcams have also been discovered.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
New U.S. ambassador Nicholas Burns arrives in China | Reuters The new U.S. ambassador to China, Nicholas Burns, has arrived in the country and will be in quarantine for three weeks, the U.S. embassy said in a tweet on Saturday.
EXCLUSIVE: The reason behind China's surprise South China Sea drills close to Vietnam coast According to my exclusive sources, a Chinese maritime patrol aircraft Y-8 lost contact in the southwestern area of Sanya on the afternoon of March 1. Soon after, China launched a SAR operation and concealed it with drills from March 1 to March 2...China's announcement of conducting drills from March 4 to March 15 suggests that the earlier SAR operation has not been successful. And the search area has been expanded to the southwest.
Fake news driving wedge between Chinese and foreigners, top Beijing adviser says in call for ban | South China Morning Post The rampant spread of fake information in China is fuelling hostility against foreigners and polarising public opinion, according to a top Chinese political adviser and former academic. Such information had further intensified confrontation between China and other countries, said Jia Qingguo, former dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University, as he called for laws against their dissemination.
The China-built ship that pulled a US Navy jet wreck from the South China Sea | South China Morning Post Personnel pulled the wreckage of the fighter jet from 3,780 metres (12,400 feet) below the surface on Wednesday using lift lines from the crane of the diving support construction vessel (DSCV) Picasso, the US Seventh Fleet said last week. The Picasso, owned and run by Ultra Deep Solutions (UDS), a Singapore-based deep diving heavy construction vessel operator, was built by China Merchants Heavy Industries, one of China’s top three state-owned shipbuilders.
Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng Holds New Round of China-New Zealand Foreign Policy Consultations with New Zealand's Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade Chris Seed Xie Feng said, China is ready to work with New Zealand to make good preparations for celebration events marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, make full use of the protocol on upgrading the China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement, continuously consolidate political mutual trust, expand practical cooperation, enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges, so as to elevate China-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership to new heights. In the face of increasing uncertainties and mounting challenges in the current international landscape, China and New Zealand, both important members of the international community, should stay committed to independent foreign policies, strengthen communication and coordination in multilateral affairs, actively promote regional economic integration, and join hands to tackle climate change and other global challenges, so as to make more positive contributions to world peace, stability and prosperity.
张文木：乌克兰为什么纳粹化？ - 昆仑策 - Tuvia Gering summarizes this noxious article by Zhang Wenmu:
Chinese state leader slams Hong Kong private hospitals over reluctance to admit Covid-19 patients | South China Morning Post Vice-Premier Han Zheng criticised the private hospitals during a meeting in Beijing on Sunday with Hong Kong delegates to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the nation’s top advisory body. According to CPPCC deputy Thomas Pang Cheung-wai, Han, the state leader overseeing Hong Kong affairs, accused the hospitals of going against the medical sector’s mission of saving lives because of their reluctance to open their doors to more coronavirus patients.
Covid-19: Hong Kong riot police will return to the streets to assist with citywide compulsory testing - reports - Hong Kong Free Press HKFP Authorities will reportedly deploy riot police to assist in the city’s upcoming mass Covid-19 testing as Hong Kong continues to battle a growing outbreak. Local media said over the weekend that at least 4,000 riot police will escort virus patients to the hospital or community isolation facilities and enforce building lockdowns.
Chinese state leader tells Hong Kong politicians to support local government in tackling problems, but is there a hidden message for city chief? | South China Morning Post A mainland Chinese state leader has urged Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing camp to support the local government in tackling deep-seated problems and boosting the economy, as well as in further integrating the city with the nation’s development plans. Analysts and lawmakers said that while these were requirements for pro-establishment politicians, Vice-Premier Han Zheng, the state leader overseeing Hong Kong affairs, had also effectively updated Beijing’s expectations of the city’s leader.
Central gov't aids Hong Kong to build emergency hospital-Xinhua Around 6 a.m., more than 200 administrative staff and more than 1,700 workers from China State Construction Engineering Corporation arrived at Lok Ma Chau Loop area, where the hospital with 1,000 beds will be built.
National security law: Hong Kong activist arrested on suspicion of violating bail conditions with online comments | South China Morning Post A Hong Kong activist hospital worker has been arrested on suspicion of violating her bail conditions by making comments online that could endanger national security, the Post has learned...Winnie Yu Wai-ming
Tech and Media
‘Two sessions’ 2022: China’s video game crackdown shows no signs of easing as delegate proposals reflect harsh stance | South China Morning Post Multiple delegates at this year’s “two sessions”, China’s largest annual political gathering, have suggested the government tighten its control over video games to keep minors away from such content
Chinese lawmakers, advisors call for cleanup of internet environment, crackdown on cyber violence - Global Times Several Chinese lawmakers and political advisors proposed during the ongoing two sessions to further clean up the internet environment and crack down on cyber violence, such as including serious cyber violence incidents in public prosecution cases and imposing stricter punishment on violators.
Technology That Could Shakeup Wireless Market Still Years Away, Official Says In a recent interview with Caixin, Wei Leping, deputy head of the Communications Technology Committee of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said that while open systems will be the biggest trend in the communications industry, it will take at least five years for OpenRAN technology to achieve mass adoption.
Coveting Genshin Impact's success, ByteDance invests in open-world gacha game - PingWest An unidentified employee posted screen captures from ByteDance's remote collaboration app Feishu, showing the internal discussions between the company’s CEO. Zhang Yi Ming, and other employees about the development of an open world gacha game similar to Genshin. ByteDance has not yet made an official announcement regarding the investment move; however, Zhang Yi Ming's interest in developing an open-world gacha game has been known for a while.
ByteDance moved Douyin's senior managers to virtual reality unit after Qualcomm partnership - PingWest ByteDance has decided to assign senior managers from its short video app Douyin to its virtual reality (VR) subsidiary Pico Interactive, a Beijing-based VR that TikTok owner acquired in August last year, as it shifted resource and focus to the emerging technology that power the Metaverse.
TikTok Suspends Livestreaming in Russia on ‘Fake News’ Law - Bloomberg TikTok says it’s suspending livestreaming in Russia amid the country’s new “fake news” law that’s aimed at silencing dissent and limiting information about its invasion of Ukraine.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
New carrier rocket, Moon and Mars missions… lawmakers reveal China's forthcoming space programs - Global Times Wu Weiren, chief designer of the country's lunar probe program and member of the Standing Committee of the CPPCC National Committee, revealed on Sunday that China also plans to retrieve samples from Mars by 2030 and explore the edge of the solar system. "The sun is about 150 million kilometers away from Earth, which is one astronomical unit. We plan to achieve the goal of 'double 100' in 2049. That is, to complete 100 astronomical units, or 15 billion kilometers of travel in deep space, for the centenary of the founding of the People's Republic of China," Wu said.
Top scientist suggests plan on traditional Chinese medicine development to avoid external blockade at two sessions - Global Times Citing a lesson from the Iraq war in which the full embargo launched by the US seriously hurt ordinary people's lives in Iraq, a deputy to the National People's Congress suggests China formulate a scientific plan on its traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) development and encourage other disciplines, such as biological information technologies, artificial technologies, chemical and material sciences, to better integrate with TCM development to prevent a scenario where the country's medical field would be "chocked from the neck" one day.
Initium on Lianhua Qingwen, the traditional Chinese medicine that the PRC says is useful in relieving Covid-19 symptoms - 連花清瘟膠囊真的有效麼？——抗疫「特效藥」與中成藥的全球化之路｜香港疫情大爆發｜評論｜深度｜端傳媒 Initium Media
Why is this drug with questionable effectiveness so sought after? In fact, Lianhua Qingwen is a microcosm of China's comprehensive promotion of Chinese medicine, especially proprietary Chinese medicines, at home and abroad in recent years, and its root lies in the political economy: first, nationalism and lack of welfare supply capacity in history led the government to support Chinese medicine even in the era of the Cultural Revolution; Secondly, the interweaving of the state-led marketization, selective globalization and economic nationalism gave birth to Chinese patent medicines with questionable effects; Third, the belt and road initiative participates in globalization and expands the export of Chinese medicine.
Photo Essay: The Lessons of After-School Education Reform for Three Beijing Families - Caixin Caixin has compiled the stories of three middle-class families in Beijing, to learn how the campaign has impacted their lives, starting from 2019 until the sweeping education overhaul last year. These parents, who are alumni of China’s top universities, have made efforts to prevent their children from falling behind amid the fierce competition in further education, including sending their children to international schools to escape the public system and adding more extracurricular nondisciplinary classes.