US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue this week; Wang Qishan speaks in Singapore; Xinjiang; More reassurances for private businesses; China and Iran sanctions

The US and Chinese governments have confirmed that the US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue will meet this week in DC, as Sinocism told you yesterday. It was supposed to convene last month but was postponed, with each side blaming the other, though from what I hear the Chinese made an October meeting pointless by saying Defense Minister Wei Fenghe would be unavailable, in a fit of pique after the US imposed Russia-related sanctions on the PLA.

The meeting is set for this Friday:

The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Defense today announced that the second U.S.-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue (D&SD) will be held in Washington on November 9, 2018.

Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis will host Chinese Politburo Member and Director of the Office of Foreign Affairs of the Communist Party of China Yang Jiechi and Minister of National Defense General Wei Fenghe for the Dialogue, along with members of the U.S. delegation and Chinese counterparts.

I believe Yang Jiechi arrives in DC today, and as I wrote yesterday one thing to watch will be whether or not Yang gets a meeting or at least a drop by handshake with President Trump.

North Korea and close encounters between the two militaries will likely be at the top of the agenda at the meeting. No matter how well or badly it goes it is not clear what impact these talks may have on the trade dispute and the prospects for the Trump-Xi G20 meeting.

As noted in yesterday newsletter I am also hearing that Liu He may come to DC soon after if it looks like there is progress towards at least a framework deal at the G20. If Liu does schedule a DC visit expect markets to get excited. 

Today is mid-term election day here in the US. The Chinese side should not put much hope in the results changing the Trump Administration’s approach to China. If the Republicans lose the majority in the House (possible) and/or Senate (unlikely), do not expect Trump to blame his China policies, and the Democrats are likely to take at least as tough a line towards China. If the Republicans keep their majorities then expect to see that as validation to Trump that all his policies are working…

The 5th World Internet Conference in Wuzhen starts tomorrow. I know some Sinocism readers are there, if you have anything you would like to share please reach out. And be wary of signing anything shoved under your hotel room door

Thanks for reading.

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The Essential Eight

1. Trade 

Xi Jinping’s market opening pledges fail to impress European firms who have ‘heard it all before’ | South China Morning Post:

“Much of the content in the speech delivered by President Xi Jinping at the opening of the Import Expo echoed what was previously announced at Boao [the economic forum in Hainan] in April 2018,” according to a statement published by European Chamber of Commerce on its WeChat account on Monday night.

The Chamber also warned that lack of details about fulfilling previous promises was rapidly eroding European confidence in Chinese market opening.

“This constant repetition, without sufficient concrete measures or timelines being introduced, has left the European business community increasingly desensitised to these kinds of promises,” it said.

Comment: Xi's credibility gap with the domestic and foreign business community just seems to keep expanding...

China Seeks Allies as Trump’s Trade War Mounts. It Won’t Be Easy. - The New York Times:

We decided to open the door to China probably in a little bit naïve way,” said Patrick Pouyanné, the chairman and chief executive of Total, the French energy giant.

The shift in business attitudes has coincided with a shift in Trump administration policies in recent months toward rallying other countries to oppose Chinese trade policies, and away from unilateralism.

2. Bloomberg New Economy Forum

Booted from Beijing, looks like it is still interesting in Singapore. Wang Qishan's keynote got the most attention, his reaction to words of flattery from Bloomberg apparently caused some to speculate he was obliquely criticizing Xi and his apparent love for flattery...I am not convinced, Wang would not be un-retired and probably not free without Xi's support, would he really take such an obvious stab at the boss in such a public forum?

And are Wang's comments on US-China trade a sign of Wang engaging publicly on the US-China trade dispute, or did he have to say something given the venue and just stuck to the pre-approved script? Did he actually say anything new or interesting?

Why Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan can’t take praise – even from Michael Bloomberg | South China Morning Post:

China’s Vice-President Wang Qishan delivered unusually personal, off-the-cuff remarks in Singapore before his keynote address at a new economic forum after US tycoon Michael Bloomberg introduced him as “the most influential political figure” in China and the world…

“In my lifetime, from growing up to maturing, I have tried to keep calm and have a clear mind,” Wang said from the ballroom at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island. “When I hear words of praise, I fear that it is peng sha (an attempt to cause someone to fail by excessive praise). When I hear words of criticism, I don’t worry so much because these are bang sha.”

Bang sha refers to the intention to defeat through criticising others.

“It is not easy to keep calm and have a clear mind, and people will often lose their head when they hear flattery.”

Comment: Wang then announced he would read 宣读 his speech

“History, the present, and future are closely related, and it is necessary to learn about China’s history and culture to understand its choice of path and system, and how they are supported by Chinese culture,” he said. “To understand the history of [the People’s Republic of China] in the past 70 years, one has to go back to the year 1840 when China was bullied and oppressed by imperialist powers. Since then, the unyielding Chinese people have been fighting to once again stand on their feet and achieve prosperity and strength.”

Video of Wang's speech - China VP Wang Qishan Keynote at New Economy Forum – Bloomberg, official Chinese transcript of prepared remarks - 王岐山在2018年创新经济论坛开幕式上的致辞(全文)

China VP Wang Qishan says Beijing is ready for trade talks with the US - Reuters:

"Both China and the U.S. would love to see greater trade and economic cooperation," Wang told the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore.

"The Chinese side is ready to have discussions with the U.S. on issues of mutual concern and work for a solution on trade acceptable to both sides," he said.

"The world today faces many major problems that require close cooperation between China and the United States," he said. "It is our firm belief that China and the U.S. will both gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation."

Henry Kissinger ‘Fairly Optimistic’ China, U.S. Can Avoid Catastrophe - Bloomberg:

Speaking at Bloomberg’s New Economy Forum in Singapore on Tuesday, Kissinger said that U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators should avoid getting bogged down in details and first explain to each other what objectives they are seeking to achieve, and what concessions they can and cannot make.

Who Has the Most to Lose If China’s Trade Ambition Succeeds? - Bloomberg:

Based on an analysis of data compiled by the International Trade Center—an agency of the WTO—Germany, South Korea, and Taiwan stand out as the most exposed. All have a combination of high dependence on exports and a substantial presence in the sectors Made in China 2025 is targeting. German autos, South Korean electronics, autos, and shipping, and Taiwanese electronics all face a competitive threat from China’s push.

Japan, the U.K., France, Italy, and Spain are somewhat less exposed. They have a lower dependence on exports and a smaller presence in the sectors China has set its sights on. Automobiles in Spain and Japan, engines in the U.K., airplanes in France, and electronics in Japan are among the most vulnerable industries.

The U.S. has the least to fear, because of its low dependence on exports and relatively limited presence in vulnerable sectors. One exception is airplanes, but so far China’s plans to incubate domestic rivals haven’t gotten off the ground. Ironically, Trump’s America-first trade policy may end up being a bigger help to China’s other competitors than to the U.S.

3. Xinjiang

Xinjiang's Re-Education and Securitization Campaign: Evidence from Domestic Security Budgets - Adrian Zenz - Jamestown Foundation

Xinjiang’s budget figures do not reflect increased spending on vocational education in the XUAR as the region ramped up camp construction; nor do they reflect an increase in criminal cases handled by courts and prosecutors. Rather, they reflect patterns of spending consistent with the construction and operation of highly secure political re-education camps designed to imprison hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs with minimal due process.

This article supports this conclusion through examination of official PRC budgetary figures, analyzing spending breakdowns at the regional, prefectural, and county levels to produce findings of unprecedented granularity. Among its most striking conclusions:

  • Spending on budget items that explain nearly all security-related facility construction rose by nearly RMB 20 billion (or 213 percent) in 2017;

  • Vocational spending in Xinjiang actually decreased from 2016 to 2017, as widespread camp construction began;

  • Instead, camp construction has largely been funded by the same authorities that oversaw the recently-abolished system for re-education through labor;

  • Spending on prisons doubled between 2016 and 2017, while spending on the formal prosecution of criminal suspects stagnated;

  • Expenditures on detention centers in counties with large concentrations of ethnic minorities quadrupled, indicating that re-education is not the only form of mass detainment in the XUAR.

The Jamestown report is so sensitive it made it into the MoFA briefing:-王岐山称中美将开展对话解决贸易摩擦 外交部回应|新疆|王岐山|东盟_新浪新闻 




West calls on China to close Uighur detention camps | Reuters:

At a debate at the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva — which reports on human rights in each U.N. member state every five years and is reviewing China’s record this week — Beijing said it protected the freedoms of ethnic minorities.

But one after another, Western countries spoke out against what they described as a deterioration in China’s human rights since the last review, especially over its treatment of Muslims in the western province of Xinjiang.

Beijing should “halt massive imprisonment” and “guarantee freedom of religion and belief, including in Tibet and Xinjiang,” France’s ambassador Francois Rivasseau said. Germany called for an end to “all unlawful detention including unconstitutional mass detention of Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang.”

Xinjiang Authorities Detain Prominent Uyghur Philanthropist - RFA:

Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have detained a well-known Uyghur philanthropist who housed the children of political prisoners, according to sources that said he may have been sentenced to nearly two decades in jail. Nurtay Hajim, who is in his 60s, amassed a fortune through an international tourism and shipping firm he set up shortly after China expanded trade relations with the nations of Central Asia in the early 1990s.

The Globe’s Nathan VanderKlippe recounts surveillance, threats of arrest, destruction of photos while reporting in Xinjiang - The Globe and Mail 

Over roughly 80 hours in Xinjiang, I received three police escorts, had pictures deleted from my camera twice and was threatened with arrest several times. I was accused of fleeing the scene of an accident and, separately, of breaking highway rules before being informed I had done neither. Once, as I typed notes in my car, police advanced on me as if I were a wanted criminal. Two officers held up anti-explosive shields, while a third grasped his gun, ordering me to place both hands outside the window.

Comment: I am surprised Chen Quanguo still allows foreign reporters to travel to Xinjiang, would have expected to lock the XAR down to journalists as Tibet is.

4. More reassurances for private businesses

Central bank governor promises stronger support for private sector - Xinhua:

"There is a lot of water in the monetary 'pool' but we need to channel the funds to cash-starved private businesses," Yi Gang, head of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), told Xinhua in an interview.

Yi cited policies in areas of bond issuance, bank loans and equity financing.

The PBOC has added a new index in the macro-prudential assessment for commercial banks and provided them with long-term, inexpensive credit funds to encourage more loans for private businesses, Yi said.

The full interview - 用好“三支箭”拓宽民营企业融资途径——访人民银行行长易纲 

China's market regulator to secure fair competition between public and private firms - Xinhua:

The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) promised to revamp the policy system for competition and stick to the principle of competitive neutrality for state-owned and private enterprises, that is to be neutral in regulation, tax and debt and to treat all market entities fairly and equally.

"We will strengthen law enforcement to regulate the market and enhance market fairness." Said Zhang Mao, minister of the SAMR.

The SAMR will inspect fair competition in an all-around manner and adopt a new regulation mechanism to concretely reduce the burden of the companies.

People's Daily interview with Zhang Mao, director of the State Administration of Market Regulation, on the steps it will take to support private business -为民营经济营造更好的营商环境(支持民营企业在行动)--时政--人民网 

Top Court Vows to Better Safeguard Private Enterprises - Caixin

The Supreme People’s Court ordered the judiciary system to strengthen protection of private property rights, safeguard legal rights of private entrepreneurs and create a fair legal environment. The court also moved to correct past judicial rulings in which private businesses or individual assets may have been wrongfully expropriated, according to a statement published on the top court’s website after a Monday meeting of top judicial officials.

“Anxiety Pills” in the Party Media | China Media Project:

In recent days, a colorful and unusual phrase, “anxiety pill,” or ding xin wan (定心丸), has gotten a great deal of play both online and in official state media. The reason for the state media’s interest is no mystery – the phrase appeared in President Xi Jinping’s most recent remarks on private and state-run enterprises, amidst concerns that the government will strengthen the state sector and diminish the role of the private sector...

Sharing Wang Mingyuan’s ill-fated post before its deletion, Mao Guochuan (马国川), an editor for Caijing magazine, put his finger directly on this sense of disquiet and suggested several measures he would prescribe:

The true anxiety pill would be: 1) openly and clearly opposing the [political] left-wing; 2) revising the Constitution, fixing term limits; 3) reversing the verdicts in certain unfair cases against private businesses; 4) openly and clearly repudiating the Cultural Revolution. Without these steps, there is always the possibility that the ‘anxiety pill’ is actually a ‘strongman pill.’

Comment: “吃定心丸” I think can be translated as "be reassured"

5. US restrictions for PRC scientists to become the norm?

US medical school Johns Hopkins bars foreign scientists over intellectual property risk | South China Morning Post:

Although the suspension affects scientists from many countries who plan to conduct research at the top medical school, the move is primarily aimed at Chinese scientists and China’s flagship science talent recruitment programme, researchers for Beijing’s Thousand Talents Plan have said.

“Effective immediately, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine is temporarily halting the appointment of visiting scientists due to concerns voiced by the National Institutes of Health [NIH] about threats to biomedical research and loss of intellectual property,” read an email late last month from the Johns Hopkins Hospital to its faculty, the Department of Neurology, which was seen by the Post.

China hides identities of top scientific recruits amidst growing US scrutiny - Nature:

A memo by a prominent official grant-funding agency, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, circulating on social media instructs interviewers of potential applicants to avoid e-mail correspondence, and not to mention the Thousand Talents Plan when inviting candidates back to the country.

Another widely circulated message on social media, claiming to be from the human resources department of an institution that was not named, urges representatives of fellow HR departments to delete information on their websites related to the Thousand Talents Plan, as “required by the Ministry of Education”. The message asserts that the FBI is investigating researchers involved with the plan.

6. No room for old Deng in the New Era?

China’s Leader, Hogging Spotlight, Elbows Communist Titan Aside - The New York Times:

The party celebrated the 30th anniversary with great fanfare in 2008, but official plans to commemorate the 40th anniversary this year have been scaled back considerably, according to a veteran journalist with a state news outlet. “Once you dredge up these matters, it’s very easy to lose control and set off new debate,” the journalist said, speaking on condition of anonymity...

“Xi Jinping has been pickpocketing policies from the Deng era,” Geremie R. Barmé, an Australian scholar of China, wrote this summer. “He does so while diminishing the man hailed for decades as the ‘Architect of Reform and the Opening Door Policies.’ At the same, he crucially overrides aspects of Deng’s legacy that might limit his afflatus and sense of mission.”

Response to Denial of Visas for Unirule Delegation | Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies:

The Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies is pleased to host a visiting delegation of leading scholars from the Unirule Institute of Economics this week for a series of roundtable discussions and public events to mark 40 Years of Opening and Reform.

We are disappointed to hear that the delegation leader, Sheng Hong, and other delegation members were prevented from leaving China to attend this week’s events. Conversations like these are an important form of exchange between the United States and China, which is vital in a time of growing tension between our two countries.

Wu Jinglian and His Disciples Were The Key Brains Behind Reform:

In April 1986, Wu was appointed a deputy director of the Economic System Reform Program Design Office of the State Council, a temporary body directly under the cabinet tasked with drafting major reform policies for the next two years. At the office, he led a team of researchers considering the first framework for coordinated reforms, which was supported and highly rated by then-paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, Wu said in a 2005 article.

Economists from that team would later be called members of the “coordinated reformist school,” in contrast with scholars who wanted SOE reforms to be done first and foremost.

Many of those researchers were eventually promoted to top positions at key economic and financial departments, including Zhou Xiaochuan, the longest-serving governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC); Lou Jiwei, an ex-finance minister; and Guo Shuqing, chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission and the PBOC’s current party chief.

7. "The death of Dai Guihua"

How Spiraling Online Debt and an Insurance Scam Pushed a Mother to Kill Her Children and Herself

..on Oct. 11, 2018, the bodies of Dai Guihua and her two young children were hauled out of a fishing pond, the victims of a murder-suicide....

Twenty-two days earlier, He Zhi had gone missing. Unbeknownst to Dai, his disappearance was part of an insurance fraud plan he devised that would enable her to claim 1 million yuan ($144,600) and pay back online loans in excess of 100,000 yuan...

A lie to defraud the insurance company resulted in three deaths and one detention. But behind the scam was a family of four, dragged down by illness and online loans...

Caixin found through inquiries to multiple lending platforms that He Zhi and Dai Guihua first opened accounts on a variety of platforms at the end of 2016. According to incomplete data, He opened accounts on at least 58 lending platforms and took at least 132 loans over two years, mostly through P2P, microfinance companies, and bank-funded consumer finance companies. In the same period, Dai registered for accounts on 14 different platforms, mostly P2P, and had taken out at least 25 loans

The original in Chinese - 戴桂花之死 

8. China profiting from US sanctions on Iran?

China is reaping the rewards of undermining Trump’s Iran strategy - Josh Rogin - The Washington Post

The fact that China is abusing the United States’ Iran strategy to make money is not just smart business on the part of the Chinese; it undermines Trump’s Iran strategy in a crucial way. Beijing increases its leverage while resisting a trade war brought by the Trump administration. And Xi Jinping now has another way to claim China is the responsible global economic power, while Washington is unilateralist and disruptive.

More importantly, China’s actions expose the fact that the Trump team really doesn’t have a plan to cut off Iran’s oil exports altogether. Today’s waivers on China are likely to be necessary again in just six months’ time. That’s one quarter of the time Tehran might need to wait out the Trump administration. Trump’s plan to reach “maximum pressure” is now largely dependent on China, and Beijing is not going to cooperate — at least not for free.

Threat of Clash Could Deter China From Skirting New U.S. Sanctions on Iran - Caixin Global:

China received 24% of Iranian oil imports in 2017, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Yet despite the defiant talk, China has substantially curtailed its Iranian crude oil intake in recent months, from a likely peak of 791,000 barrels per day in August down to an expected 580,000 in November, according to S&P Global Platts...

However, traders involved in buying from Iran also told Caixin that Iranian oil may end up being pumped to the United Arab Emirates and Oman before transshipment to China, bypassing any future U.S. efforts to blockade Iranian oil boats. While this would bring up transit and re-export costs, the pipeline infrastructure is already well-developed across the region, meaning China’s reduction in Iranian imports may be smaller than it appears.

Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

Foxconn Considers Bringing Chinese Workers to Wisconsin as U.S. Labor Market Tightens - WSJ The company, the Taiwanese supplier to Apple Inc., has been trying to tap Chinese engineers through internal transfers to supplement staffing for the Wisconsin plant, according to people familiar with the matter....The company promised the state it would invest $10 billion and build a 22-million-square-foot liquid-crystal display panel plant, hiring 13,000 employees, primarily factory workers along with some engineers and business support positions.

China Top Bond House Sees Private Firms' Funding Woes Easing - Bloomberg China is shifting from derisking the financial system to also supporting the real economy, said Liu Donghai, general manager of investment banking and asset management department of Bank of China Ltd. The number of debt defaults are likely to fall next year as authorities "actively" deploy support tools to assist funding by private companies, he said in an interview in Beijing.

Three major Chinese brokerages in clear over ‘short-selling’ in 2015 market rout | South China Morning Post Citic Securities, Haitong Securities and Guosen Securities,announced on Monday night they had been informed by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC)that the alleged wrongdoing could not be established and the authority had decided to close their cases. The decision to throw out the charges after an investigation lasting more than three years spared the companies having to pay the fines set by the watchdog in 2015, according to a report by

New York Ice Cream Truck, Mister Softee, in Suzhou, China - New York Magazine //Interesting story, sad if unsurprising outcome, lost me a bit at "current premier Xi Jinping", this kind of thing happened before Xi became to General Secretary, but just does show how empty the rule of law talk has been, at least for foreign businesses...

Ivanka Trump's Business Wins Approval for 16 New Chinese Trademarks Despite Shutting Down - CREW Presidential adviser Ivanka Trump’s fashion brand won first trial approval for 16 new trademarks from the Chinese government in October. These approvals come about three months after Ivanka announced that her brand was shutting down, and mark the largest number of new Chinese trademarks she has received in a single month since President Donald Trump took office.

Chinese charities to be banned from buying, selling stocks - Xinhua China's charity organizations will be banned from directly buying and selling stocks, according to an interim guideline on managing charity organizations' investment activities released by the Ministry of Civil Affairs. They will also be prohibited from directly purchasing commodities, financial derivatives, insurance and others.

Boeing, Airbus fret over trade war as China displays aviation ambitions | Reuters Boeing (BA.N) and Airbus (AIR.PA) made their comments on the opening day of the biennial Airshow China, being held in the coastal city of Zhuhai from Nov. 6-11, that is traditionally an event for Beijing to parade its growing aviation prowess.

Plane carries Afghan pine nuts to China, launching air cargo link | Reuters Worth about $500,000, the cargo sent to the commercial hub of Shanghai went by the first of what both countries’ officials hope will be many flights, allowing Afghan companies to expand international trade.

Three New Signs China's Housing Market Slowdown Is Taking Hold - Bloomberg More signs have emerged that China’s housing market is cooling, with sales in the secondary market, land purchases by developers and contracted sales at the biggest builders all falling last month

Offshore investors add fewer Chinese bonds in Oct on wobbly yuan | Reuters Holdings of Chinese government bonds by offshore institutions rose by 20.3 billion yuan to 1.08 trillion yuan ($156.05 billion) in October, according to Reuters’ calculations using data from China Central Depository and Clearing Co (CCDC), China’s primary bond clearing house. While total offshore holdings of government bonds rose for a 20th consecutive month to an all-time high, it was the slowest month-on-month percentage increase since May 2017, the data showed.

One in 10 of China’s Banks Flunks PBOC’s First Risk-Rating Test Four hundred and twenty firms, all rural financial institutions, were deemed extremely risky after scoring eight or higher out of 10, according to the 2018 China Financial Stability Report published by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the nation's central bank. Just two banks received the top rating in the review, the first time the central bank has assigned ratings. None of the institutions were named.

$6.1 Billion Loan Fraud Ends With 13 in Prison - Caixin The scheme was exposed in May 2014 when Liuzhou Bank Chairman Li Yaoqing was sliced up by a man hired by Wu’s sons. The attack took place after Li had replaced the former head of the bank and suspended the granting of credit to Zhongmei Tianyuan because he spotted problems with the loans, according to previous media reports. Liuzhou Bank, a local commercial bank that counted the local government, state-owned enterprises and some private investors among its stakeholders, was the main provider of loans to Zhongmei Tianyuan and its affiliated firms.

China Readies Rules to Bring Financial Conglomerates Into Line - Caixin The coming regulations — 16 years in the making — aim to stem the expansionary tide of the county’s financial sector, whose growth over the last few years the central bank has characterized as “barbaric” in a new report. “We have to establish a supervision system for financial holding companies as soon as possible to control the risks created by these rapidly expanding firms and prevent systematic financial risk,” the PBOC said in its 2018 China Financial Stability Report

Evergrande Health Looks to Force Out Jia From FF | Yicai Global Evergrande Health Industry Group is looking to coerce Jia Yueting into giving up control over his company Faraday Future, two managers at FF, a luxury electric car startup, have revealed. Evergrande Health, a Hong Kong-based investment holding company principally engaged in media and healthcare businesses, is refusing to pay contracted supplementary fund for two reasons. On one hand, Evergrande Health wants to delay mass production of the FF91 sedan, so Jia will have to hand over ownership. On the other, this will lead to FF’s bankruptcy, after which Evergrande Health can easily take over the company and force Jia out, the senior manager of the two told today.

Cloudy Skies in China for Small U.S. Aircraft Makers - WSJ $$ China slapped a 5% levy on small and medium aircraft in September, leaving aerospace giant Boeing Co. BA +1.11% unscathed but affecting smaller players such as Robinson Helicopter Co. of Torrance, Calif. Wilson Liao, chief executive of PTE Systems Ltd., a Chinese dealer of Robinson light helicopters, expects to sell just one or two of the manufacturer’s aircraft this year, down from about 20 normally amid trade tensions and China’s economic slowdown.

Chinese Insurer Overtakes BlackRock to Become HSBC’s Biggest Shareholder - WSJ $$ A major Chinese insurer has overtaken BlackRock Inc. as the biggest shareholder of U.K.-based HSBC Holdings, with its nearly $12 billion stake demonstrating China’s growing appetite for offshore equity investments. Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd.’s stake in the Asia-focused bank rose to more than 7% after a small purchase last week, a late Monday filing showed. That is up from about 5% in December, when its investment was unveiled.

Politics, Law And Ideology

Promoted from ‘clerks’ to top executives at Chinese state firm, now they’ve been suspended | South China Morning Post Xian Hi-tech Holding – an SOE run by the Xian Hi-tech Industries Development Zone management committee – is under fire after it promoted the three young, inexperienced staff to executive roles in September. Li Tian, 34, was named chairman, general manager and legal representative of the firm, while Zhao Xueying, 25, and Zhu Yue, 23, became board members of the company is Shaanxi province. All three women were previously clerks in the company’s accounts department, according to a source with knowledge of the matter.

Social Credit Overview Podcast - China Law Translate The thing is that over the last year I’ve spent a good amount of time looking at China’s social credit systems, writing articles and translating lots of relevant legal authority, and the reality of social credit that I found through that research, and by living in China, just isn’t that exciting. It’s pretty mundane regulatory law with only a few new wrinkles. So for me the question now has become how did social credit get to be so interesting to Western audiences? I mean let’s face it there’s a lot of bad stuff going on in the world today and most of it commands our attention for just a day or two; and I’m talking about mass shootings here. So, what does it mean that this story has continued to capture people’s attention for so long?

Insights into the Social Credit System on Chinese Online Media vs Its Portrayal in Western Media | What's on Weibo In many international media, China’s nascent Social Credit System is presented as a gloomy sci-fi storyline with clickbait titles. In Chinese mass media, the story is not nearly as ‘sexy’.

习近平在上海考察_新改革时代 Xi also went on an inspection tour of full propaganda rollout yet, just snippets

Chinese 'gait recognition' tech IDs people by how they walk - AP Already used by police on the streets of Beijing and Shanghai, “gait recognition” is part of a push across China to develop artificial-intelligence and data-driven surveillance that is raising concern about how far the technology will go. Huang Yongzhen, the CEO of Watrix, said that its system can identify people from up to 50 meters (165 feet) away, even with their back turned or face covered. This can fill a gap in facial recognition, which needs close-up, high-resolution images of a person’s face to work.

Detained, Ailing Chinese Activist Faces Neglect, Death in Police Detention: Groups - RFA Citizen journalist and rights activist Huang Qi, the founder and director of the Tianwang rights website, has deteriorated to the extent that there is "an immediate threat to his life," the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) network said in a statement on its website. "Huang Qi ... is not receiving adequate medical care in detention and his health has seriously deteriorated," the statement, which was co-signed by 13 other rights groups, said.

Foreign and Military Affairs

Beijing and Canberra aim for diplomatic reset | Financial Times $$ Canberra aims to reset frosty relations with Beijing on Wednesday when Marise Payne becomes the first Australian foreign minister in almost three years to visit the Chinese capital for talks with her counterpart Wang Yi.  The invitation for Ms Payne to attend an Australia-China Foreign and Strategic Summit comes amid a bruising trade war between China and the US, which has prompted Beijing to improve ties with several countries, including Japan.

Victoria’s BRI deal with the Chinese government stays secret - The Australian The Victorian government will keep secret the detail of its memorandum of understanding with Beijing for China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The Andrews government yesterday said it would not be making public the terms of its agreement with China, announced last month, that make it the first state to sign up to the program. It comes as federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham welcomed the deal between China and Victoria, although he has not seen the detail of the agreement.

Scott Morrison rebukes Victoria for signing up to China's Belt and Road initiative | World news | The Guardian Scott Morrison has rebuked the Victorian government for signing up to China’s Belt and Road initiative, saying he was “surprised” it had not been more “cooperative” by consulting the commonwealth first. Morrison’s remarks, made on the campaign trail in Queensland,put him at odds with the foreign minister, Marise Payne, who downplayed the significance of the secret memorandum of understanding earlier on Tuesday.

China’s Newest Bid for Influence Runs Through the West’s Backyard - WSJ $$ Deal by deal, applying experience honed in Asia and Africa, China is constructing parallel financial and commercial networks in Central and Eastern Europe to challenge the global order. It has taken footholds in more than a dozen nations on the periphery of the European Union. Some, such as Hungary, are smaller, more marginalized members. Others, including Serbia, are on the runway for admission.

Senior PLA officials meet foreign representatives at 4th China-Latin America High-level Defense Forum - China Military BEIJING, Nov. 5 (ChinaMil) -- General Xu Qiliang, Vice Chairman of China’s Central Military Commission (CMC), met with foreign representatives attending the Fourth China-Latin America High-level Defense Forum in Beijing on November 2, 2018. General Wei Fenghe, Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister, met with the visiting Bolivian Defense Minister Javier Zavaleta and Michael Soto, Minister of Public Security in Costa Rica, at the forum respectively on the same day.

Media urged to reinforce goodwill - China Daily Chinese and Russian media outlets should focus more on aligning the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union to forge even closer connections between their peoples, a senior Communist Party of China official said on Sunday. In the keynote speech delivered at the Fourth China-Russia Media Forum held in Shanghai, Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, urged the media to further promote cultural exchanges and mutual learning between China and Russia. Huang, also head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, said media from the two countries should enhance relations and offer comprehensive, objective and truthful coverage of events in both nations.

China and Singapore have concluded talks on upgrade of FTA: MTI, East Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times Singapore and China have concluded negotiations on an upgraded free trade pact (FTA) between the two countries, said Singapore's Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Monday (Nov 5). This was announced after a meeting between Mr Chan Chun Sing, Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry and Mr Fu Ziying, one of China's Vice Commerce Ministers and its International Trade Representative, on the sidelines of the inaugural China International Import Expo in Shanghai.

Chinese premier to visit Singapore - Xinhua Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will pay an official visit to Singapore at the invitation of Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and attend a series of meetings from Nov. 12 to 16, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying announced here Tuesday. Li will attend the 21st China-ASEAN (10+1) leaders' meeting, the 21st ASEAN-China, Japan and Republic of Korea (10+3) leaders' meeting and the 13th East Asia Summit during this visit, the spokesperson added

Hong Kong, Macao

Police to investigate unregulated mainland tour groups arriving via mega bridge, as residents complain of overcrowding | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP More than 100,000 people used the newly opened Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge last Sunday. With little time allotted for a visit to the city, many tourists remained in the nearby area of Tung Chung, sparking complaints from residents about overcrowding.  The Travel Industry Council said hundreds of mainland tourists came to the city as part of tour groups that did not liaise with their local counterparts. Hong Kong travel agents are usually required to guide such groups as they enter the territory. The tourism sector lawmaker has urged the police to arrest illegal mainland tour guides.

SCMP 115th Anniversary | South China Morning Post

Young Hongkongers sceptical about city’s integration with mainland China, study finds | South China Morning Post Scholars behind the study said the Hong Kong government, which has been promoting the city’s development opportunities in the Greater Bay Area – the Chinese government’s scheme to link nine cities in Guangdong province with Hong Kong and Macau into an integrated economic hub – could not encourage local youth to seek opportunities across the border by promoting the mainland’s economic strength alone. “Hardselling the idea of integration may cause a backfire,” said Ho Lok-sang, dean of the business faculty at Chu Hai College of Higher Education, on Tuesday.


Is Taiwan’s Drive to Legalize Gay Marriage Descending Into Chaos? | The Diplomat On November 24, Taiwanese will vote on a series of referendums meant to determine whether the country will become the first in Asia to legalize gay marriage. The upcoming ballot measures are not what LGBTQ advocates had in mind when, in May 2017, Taiwan’s constitutional court ruled that the existing civil code definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman was unconstitutional and gave the country’s legislature two years to enshrine same-sex unions into law.

Tech And Media

Crazy Work Hours and Lots of Cameras: Silicon Valley Goes to China - The New York Times “I’m not worried so much about my portfolio companies not working as hard as the Chinese companies,” said Mr. Chan, now a partner at Felicis Ventures. “I’ll worry when they’re less creative and less efficient.” While China is becoming more innovative, many members of the group said they believed — and some of their Chinese counterparts agreed — that the United States still led in some areas. Although some Chinese tech companies can look very Silicon Valley-esque — with sprawling campuses that include dining halls, gyms and nap rooms — their preferred management style is still top down and results driven. Unlike Silicon Valley, smart underlings have less freedom to start something new.

Prices of China’s third-party payment licenses plunge by half · TechNode the price drop is also the result of tightening regulation on third-party payment service providers. China’s central bank has written over 60 fines to payment services operators for breaching financial regulations. The cost for such violations is skyrocketing. In August this year, four companies including Alipay were fined a combined RMB 100 million by the Shanghai branch of the Chinese central bank.

Chinese karaoke silences 6,000 songs including Hong Kong, Taiwan, K-pop artists’ music | South China Morning Post KTVs and their video on demand service providers were ordered by the state-sponsored China Audio-Video Copyright Association (CAVCA) to remove 6,609 songs by artists from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea by October 31...Only certain versions of the songs will be removed, however, such as those performed for television programmes or from different record labels, according to the list provided by CAVCA on its website.

Xiaomi, China Resources Buy USD391 Million Beijing Plot to Build New Offices | Yicai Global Units under Xiaomi and China Resources Land have purchased a Beijing residential plot for CNY2.7 billion (USD391 million) to build offices for the tech giant. Xiaomi Communication Technology and Runzhi Business Operations and Management bought the 46,848 square meter parcel in Changping district at the auction starting price, CNY19,356 (USD2,845) per square meter, the capital’s city planning commission said online yesterday.

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Most Chinese employees overworked: survey - ECNS More than 80 percent of Chinese employees are overworked and under mental and physical stress at an average or higher level, according to a survey by a team at Wuhan University of Science and Technology. Zhang Zhiyong, director of the Institute of Labor Economics at the university, and his team recently released the survey on workplace behavior and fatigue. About 12.9 % of employees work more than 10 hours of overtime a week, and often work 47.56 hours a week, higher than the national standard working hours of 40 hours a week, according to the data.

China’s Cell Block Tango: the revenge tale music video putting violence against women in the spotlight | South China Morning Post So goes the start of a hit contemporary Chinese take on Cell Block Tango from the musical Chicago, a revenge tale that has racked up more than 50 million views since going online on China’s Twitter-like Weibo service on Wednesday, reigniting discussion over violence against women. In the video, five women characters stare in the camera and tell their tale of how they each killed a man and why the men “deserved” it. Another tells how she was framed by her drug-using boyfriend.

Le Tour de France brings cycle racing to Beijing - Telegraph More than 2,000 cycling enthusiasts raced in Beijing’s first ever Tour de France-class event as the world's most prestigious cycling tour enters its second year in China after inaugural races in Shanghai and Changsha last year. L'Étape Beijing by Le Tour de France on 21 October, a challenge race for amateur cyclists, got world attention as it was charted along the Yanxi lakeside in suburban Beijing’s Huairou district, where Apec leaders met in 2014.

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

China to Speed Up Construction of Ultrahigh Voltage Power Lines - Caixin A year ago, Liu Zhenya, the then-chairman of State Grid Corporation of China, was complaining about insufficient government investment in the national power grid, saying the current power grid wasn’t meeting demand. Liu said there would be few construction projects this year apart from an ongoing ultrahigh voltage (UHV) electricity transmission project from Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to Anhui province in the country’s southeast. His concerns seem unnecessary in retrospect — authorities will accelerate the construction of cross-regional and electricity transmission and build more UHV lines, according to a guide released Wednesday by the State Council, China’s cabinet.

In China, Bill Gates Encourages the World to Build a Better Toilet - The New York Times Bill Gates believes the world needs better toilets. Specifically, toilets that improve hygiene, don’t have to connect to sewage systems at all and can break down human waste into fertilizer. So on Tuesday in Beijing, Mr. Gates held the Reinvented Toilet Expo, a chance for companies to showcase their takes on the simple bathroom fixture.


In China’s Public Schools, Kids With Asperger’s Are Cut Adrift - SixthTone While behavioral therapists are relatively commonplace at American public schools, they are virtually nonexistent in China. And although China had around 2,000 public special-needs schools in 2014, the vast majority catered to the audiovisually impaired and severely intellectually disabled. Children like Junjun, whose conditions significantly affect everyday life but are too mild to be addressed at special-needs schools, rarely receive the care they need. In the public-education system, they are frequently ostracized by classmates and teachers who don’t understand how to interact with them.