US-China; Hong Kong troop rotation; "People's Leader" politics

Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng’s comments about holding off on further retaliation towards US tariffs excited markets this morning. I am not sure Gao’s comments signal any softening, and maybe the recent RMB drop has mitigated the short-term need for another response from Beijing, but when things look so dark any slight glimmer of hope gets magnified, especially in the days before a major US holiday (Labor Day) when most traders are on vacation and market volume is usually light.

There is still talk that Liu He and Zhong Shan will come to DC in September. Nothing is confirmed but I am hearing the week of September 16 is the likely window for a visit. It is positive if he comes though as we saw with the Lighthizer and Mnuchin’s visit to Beijing in August just showing up does not mean there will be progress. The Chinese have been very clear they see this as a process of fighting and talking, and are comfortable doing both simultaneously.

As for President Trump’s claim of phone calls last weekend, CNN reports they did not happen:

Though Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin insisted there had been "communication," aides privately conceded the phone calls Trump described didn't happen they way he said they did. Instead, two officials said Trump was eager to project optimism that might boost markets, and conflated comments from China's vice premier with direct communication from the Chinese. 

I had heard that when told of Liu He's "calm" comments he confused "calm" with "call".

The annual rotation of PLA troops in and out of Hong Kong last night has triggered jitters. Xinhua called it normal, though there are indications and rumors that there are now more PLA forces, PAP forces and equipment in Hong Kong than there were yesterday. The official statements in previous years specified that the number of forces and equipment had not changed as a result of the rotation (部队轮换后,驻军在香港特别行政区的部队员额和装备数量保持不变). This year’s statement did not include that language and the Ministry of Defense spokesperson dodged a question about the discrepancy.

Folks I know who are paying close attention are worried this weekend’s protests could be a watershed, given the holiday in the US and the time between the weekend and the October 1 celebration. I hope they are wrong.

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. US-China

China Indicates It Won’t Retaliate Against Newest U.S. Tariffs - Bloomberg

“China has ample means for retaliation, but thinks the question that should be discussed now is about removing the new tariffs to prevent escalation of the trade war,” Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing on Thursday. “China is lodging solemn representations with the U.S. on the matter.”..

If Chinese officials go to the U.S. for talks next month, the two sides should work together to create conditions for talks to progress, Gao said 【中方认为,如果中方赴美谈判,双方应该共同努力、创造条件,推动磋商取得进展】. Both sides are currently discussing the trip, and information on that will be released in a timely manner when available, according to Gao, indicating that the schedule isn’t set yet.

Comment: Noteworthy Gao said “if Chinese officials go to the US”

China hopes U.S. will create conditions necessary for September trade talks - Reuters

He did not answer directly when asked if his remarks suggested China would not retaliate against the latest U.S. tariff threat.

Gao Feng's comments: 商务部召开例行新闻发布会(2019年8月29日)

【凤凰卫视记者】:针对美方提出要对5500亿美元的中国输美商品加征关税再提高税率,中方是否打算采取相应的反制措施?

【高峰】:中方的反制手段是充足的。但在当前形势下,我们认为应该讨论的问题是取消对5500亿美元中国商品进一步加征关税,防止贸易战继续升级。中方正就此与美方进行严正交涉。正如中方一再强调,贸易战升级不利于中国,不利于美国,也不利于全世界人民的利益,甚至有可能给世界带来灾难性后果。

[视频]【国际锐评】中国有能力消化贸易摩擦影响

CCTV “sharp commentary” said Beijing’s trade retaliation has been necessary but restrained, and Chinese economy is doing well to absorb all the negativity. It again urged the US side to calm down and work with China, and Beijing will fight till the end if it chooses otherwise.

人民日报人民论坛:应战敢战善战方能止战--观点--人民网

People's Daily Zhong Sheng on the US-China trade war "The only way to stop fighting is to face the fight, fight bravely and fight well"

U.S. underestimates China’s resolve, capability to take countermeasures - People's Daily Zhong Sheng

The tariff threat is a total lose-lose decision that disrupts global industrial and supply chains, and impedes the growth of international trade and world economy.

Even so, some “naïve” U.S. politicians are still thinking that China would not take countermeasures and raise tariffs on American products. But such “naivety” only revealed their misjudgement of the current situation, especially the underestimation of China’s resolve and capability to fight back.

In the face of continuous extreme pressure from the U.S., China has always stayed rational and exercised restraint. Resolving to safeguard its core interests and the fundamental interests of its people, China will never compromise on major issues of principle. The country is determined to counter any provocation and has the capability to fight to the end.

[视频]新华社“辛识平”文章:硬要“撤资中国”坑的是美国企业

CCTV Evening News broadcast the Xinhua commentary by “Xinshiping”. Without naming Trump, it said the idea of having US companies pulling out from China would only hurt these companies, as non-US companies would soon fill their place in the market.

US-China Trade War: The Guns of August | PIIE - Chad Brown

There are a number of contributing factors behind why only 56 percent of US exports to China are currently covered by China’s retaliatory tariffs.[2] But one of the most important is that Beijing had stopped retaliating over most autos and parts—covering roughly $14 billion of US exports—as a goodwill gesture on January 1, 2019.

China’s upcoming retaliation targets relatively few new products. Only $3.2 billion of petroleum products are added to China’s retaliation with its September 1 list (figure 2). Its December 15 list expands the scope of covered products, but mostly through the reapplication of its retaliatory tariffs on autos and parts that had been suspended on January 1. Chemicals ($1.1 billion) and handful of other products are also added to the retaliatory list as of December 15.

China to start new tariff exemption process for U.S. imports - Xinhua

Enterprises, business associations or chambers of commerce in China can file product exclusion applications online starting Sept. 2 until Oct. 18, according to the Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council.

Apple iPhone, Amazon Echo Production Moving From China to India - Bloomberg

In late August, Trump ratcheted up the rhetoric—ordering American companies to start pulling out of China and citing a national security law as justification. He backed off two days later, but many companies have resigned themselves to an inevitable and costly rethinking of their global supply chains. 

“It’s a good business principle not to put all your eggs in a single basket,” says Josh Foulger, who runs Foxconn’s India operations. “We have to find viable and reliable alternatives. Obviously the alternative location has to be competitive. We can’t put a factory in Mexico for manufacturing mobiles. It might have worked 10 years ago, it just won't work today.”

Google to shift Pixel smartphone production from China to Vietnam - Nikkei Asian Review

Working with a partner, Google started work this summer to convert an old Nokia factory in the northern Vietnamese province of Bac Ninh to handle production of Pixel phones, two people familiar with the company's plans said. This is the same province where Samsung developed its smartphone supply chain a decade ago, so Google will have access to an experienced workforce.

Trump’s New Trade War Weapon Might Just Be Antique China Debt - Bloomberg

The Trump administration has been studying the unlikely prospect of reviving century-old claims on Chinese bonds sold before the founding of the communist People’s Republic...

Perhaps the only thing more peculiar than the story of the Chinese debt and the unlikely bid to seek payment on it, is the cast of characters drawn into its orbit. President Trump, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross have met with bondholders and their representatives.

White House slams China's 'highly dubious' infrastructure project as Bolton warns Ukraine | Fox News

“China’s Belt and Road Initiative purports to address the legitimate infrastructure demands of the world’s less-developed economies, but primarily aims to export China’s own economic imbalances – industrial overcapacity, excess labor, large foreign currency reserves – and to convert these into political influence and strategic military access,” a senior administration official told Fox News on Wednesday.

Has America’s China Backlash Gone Too Far? - WSJ - Greg Ip $$

These experts worry that if the U.S. assumes conflict with China is inevitable and thus it should decouple now, that could unleash dynamics that make conflict more likely. “If we treat China like an enemy, they might become one,” says Mr. Paulson.

One reason China’s leaders backed away from a trade deal in May, he says, is that hostile rhetoric from Washington led them to question how it would fit their long-term relationship: “You don’t trade with enemies.”

Comment: The CCP is happy to trade with what it considers its enemies.


2. Hong Kong

Chinese military’s morning move into Hong Kong a ‘routine annual rotation’ | South China Morning Post

State news agency Xinhua reported the rotation at 4am on Thursday. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Hong Kong Garrison has a rotation every year, but on previous occasions state media released a report only when the handovers were completed.

This was the 22nd rotation since the PLA began garrisoning Hong Kong in 1997, Xinhua reported. Xinhua photos showed that troops in military vehicles had passed into Hong Kong via the Huanggang Port border checkpoint, while marine forces of the PLA Navy arrived at the Stonecutters Island naval base before sunrise.

Later on Thursday morning, a squadron of armed helicopters from the garrison’s air force flew from the Southern Theatre Command to Shek Kong Airfield in Hong Kong. Unlike the arrival of the ground force and navy, which entered Hong Kong before dawn, this was a relatively high-profile move.

国防部回应“驻香港部队轮换”:是例行性安排,时间与往年大体一致

China’s defense ministry dodged the question on whether the number of soldier and equipment has increased after rotation, said only that it is an annual routine. 

Organiser of banned Hong Kong protests attacked by masked men with baseball bats on same day demonstration bids are rejected | South China Morning Post

Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit and his friend were attacked by two masked men with baseball bats at a restaurant in Jordan.

Sham was not hurt in the incident, but the friend, who tried to protect him, suffered injuries to his left arm and was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Yau Ma Tei.

Hong Kong protest organiser Max Chung beaten up in Tai Po, shortly after police grant him unconditional release | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Activist Max Chung was assaulted by four men after leaving Tai Po Police Station on Thursday, shortly after he was granted unconditional release by police.

Chung was walking along Tai Wo Road when four men “attacked him with metal rods and umbrellas,” according to Truth Media Hong Kong (TMHK) reporter Jeffrey Cheng, who was interviewing Chung at the time.

Hong Kong police strongly oppose independent investigation into conduct, says Chief Exec. Carrie Lam in leaked recording | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Lam was speaking with a group of young people on Monday behind closed doors. Following the meeting, multiple news outlets claimed that Lam refused to set up an independent commission of inquiry into the recent protests – a main demand of protesters – owing to opposition from the police. Lam’s stance was cited by multiple unnamed sources, but she denied the claim on Tuesday.

述评:香港乱象背后的教育“病因”

Xinhua comment blames problems in Hong Kong's education system, including not enough patriotic education and proper Chinese history education, as a "pathogen" behind the protests. It says Hong Kong’s regulation over teachers and textbooks have been way too lax for too long and hat some of the “radical” teachers have been encouraging students to join the protests, or “distorting Chinese history” in their class. It said the government has done nothing to review the textbooks or publish uniform textbooks, when it should have confidently done so.

海外版望海楼:美国在港搞“颜色革命”注定徒劳--观点--人民网

People's Daily Overseas edition "Wanghai Lou" column says the US attempts to foment "color revolution" in Hong Kong are destined to fail

人民网评:《苹果日报》就是香港社会的一只“毒苹果”--观点--人民网

People's Daily Online comment attacks Jimmy Lai's Apple Daily, calls it a "poison apple", says it is trying to sow chaos in Hong Kong and split China

US's double standard way out of line - People's Daily

The double standard held by some US politicians can only reveal their sinister intention of destabilizing Hong Kong in order to raise the wave against China.

We sincerely advise these people to stop meddling in other countries’ internal affairs. History will prove that they will only end up in failure if they have a finger in every pie. It will never work to stir up "color revolution" on China's Hong Kong.

London violates commitment of Sino-British Joint Declaration - Global Times

The legitimacy of Hong Kong's governance today comes from the Basic Law, and the Sino-British Joint Declaration has no role in that. The big logic behind the rule of law in Hong Kong today is to implement the Basic Law. The right to interpret the Basic Law is the exclusive prerogative of the standing committee of the National People's Congress of the People's Republic of China. Britain has no right to say anything about it.

Taiwan Urges China, Hong Kong for Answers on Missing Activist - Bloomberg

Morrison Lee traveled to Hong Kong for a vacation on Aug. 18 and attended one of the city’s anti-extradition protests, Archer Chen, chief of Fangliao Township in the southern Taiwan county of Pingtung, told Bloomberg News. Lee serves as an unpaid adviser to the township, according to Chen. Lee was scheduled to travel to the southern mainland city of Shenzhen for business two days later.

[视频]英知名学者:香港暴力示威受外部煽动_CCTV

CCTV Evening News Thursday interviews "famous English scholar" John Ross, who says the Hong Kong protests are stirred up by foreign forces, western media

Faith in Hong Kong leader and gov't dips to lowest point in post-colonial history - survey | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s popularity rating has dipped to 24.6 points out of 100 – a record low among any post-colonial chief executive, according to the latest public survey.

The Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute, the successor of the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme, interviewed 1,023 people between August 15 and 20.

Former Hong Kong leader Tung Chee-hwa nominated for China’s highest title of honour ahead of 70th anniversary of founding of the People’s Republic | South China Morning Post

The first chief executive after the end of British rule, Tung nominated for contribution to city’s smooth transition to Chinese sovereignty

刘sir等10名香港警员受邀参加十一庆典

Global Times said about 10 Hong Kong police would be invited to Beijing to attend the national day gala. That includes one policeman who is hailed as hero in China for aiming gun at the protesters.


3. Good Luck shorting the Hong Kong dollar

Hong Kong Dollar Tempts Hedge Funds Again - Bloomberg

Crispin Odey has some advice for the traders ramping up wagers against Hong Kong’s currency: try something else.

“There are lots of good bets around at the moment,” said Odey, whose penchant for bold trades has made his hedge fund one of the world’s most volatile in recent years. “Hong Kong dollar is not there.”..

Traders including Hayman Capital Management’s Kyle Bass, Crescat Capital’s Kevin Smith and Trium Capital’s Thomas Roderick are betting the unrest will spur capital flight, drive up interest rates and force the abandonment of a currency policy that has underpinned Hong Kong’s economy for more than three decades.

Here is a good Twitter thread on the HKD and shorts by Rodney Jones, now of Wigram Capital Advisors, previously at Soros Fund in the 1990s:


4. People’s Leader 人民领袖

Comment: I have had a lot of problems with Nikkei's reporting on Chinese politics. But given that this newsletter has written about the "People's Leader" twice this week I thought it made sense to include this article. The factional claims I think are a bit too clean and cherry-picked, and the assumption that the 4th Plenum has been delayed over a year because Xi could not convene it is not something I agree with. Regardless, the broader point is that "People's Leader" is a big deal, though why and how it reappeared now we may never really know. 

Xi scores coup and grabs party backing to be 'people's leader' - Nikkei Asian Review

Why the return of the phrase?

The tacit understanding reached at Beidaihe seems to be: China needs a people's leader on a par with Mao to fight the protracted trade war with the U.S. under the unpredictable President Donald Trump and to deal with the Hong Kong situation, which could lead to a crisis for communist rule.

One source said, "For Xi, Trump's endless trade war and the Hong Kong issue have become unexpected gifts from heaven." Said another, "For China to fight a protracted war, it first needs stability and solidarity."

Therefore, the Chinese sources say, what was widely believed to be a double whammy for Xi has turned into a political jackpot.


5. More on  Preparations for October 1 Party

Xi to Deliver Speech as Pressure Builds at Home and Abroad - Bloomberg

The speech on Oct. 1 will be accompanied by a national day parade showcasing China’s advances in military technology, Wang Xiaohui, executive vice minister for the Communist Party’s Publicity Department, said at a press briefing in Beijing. “The purpose is to motivate and mobilize the whole party, the whole military, and all of the people to unite closely around the CCP Central Committee with Xi at the core,” Wang said...

The scale of the parade will be larger than those held to celebrate the 50th or 60th anniversaries of the PRC, Major General Cai Zhijun, who is vice director of the office for parade organization, said at the press conference. Cai said the parade would show China’s “great achievements” in national defense and the “accumulation of power for promotion of national rejuvenation.”

Xi Jinping to give important speech at National Day celebrations - Xinhua

A military parade and mass pageantry will be held following the gathering, said Wang Xiaohui, executive deputy head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee.

Xi to present Medals of the Republic, Friendship, national titles of honor - Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping will present the Medals of the Republic, Medals of Friendship and national titles of honor to outstanding people at an event to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

China to hold grand celebration, military parade on National Day - Xinhua

The military parade is an important part of the National Day celebration and is not aimed at any other countries or specific situations, Cai Zhijun, deputy head of the office of the leading group for the military parade, said at a press conference held in Beijing.

Some advanced weapons will make their debut in the military parade, the scale of which is scheduled to be greater than the ones commemorating the 50th and 60th founding anniversary of the PRC, as well as the V-Day military parade in 2015.

The military parade is expected to showcase China's achievements in building its national defense and armed forces in the past 70 years and reflect the outcomes of the reform of the people's armed forces, according to Cai.

庆祝中华人民共和国成立70周年 首都北京将举行隆重热烈的庆祝活动-新华

As discussed in yesterday’s newsletter Beijing is heading into lockdown. Even dogs should be worried - Major Crackdown on Dog Ownership Laws Approaching National Week | beijingkids online | beijing-kids

From September 1 – October 1 key areas around Beijing are going to be subject to strict enforcement of current dog ownership laws. The areas that are going to experience the biggest crackdown are Haidian, Fengtai, Chaoyang, and Shijingshan


6. More worries about financial risk

China considers new rules for smaller banks to limit risk - Reuters

China is considering new rules for the country's small-to-medium financial institutions to reduce risk in the wider economy, following a number of state bailouts of smaller lenders, the state-run Economic Information Daily reported on Thursday.

The report, citing a source in the People's Bank of China(PBOC), said the rules could require high-risk financial institutions, local governments and the country's regulators to jointly take on the responsibility of risk resolution for smaller banks.

The PBOC, the country's central bank, would also encourage merger talks, instead of bankruptcies, when dealing with problematic financial institutions, the report added.

The Economic Information Daily report - 中小金融机构风险处置路线图浮现 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站

高风险中小金融机构风险处置路线图日渐清晰。《经济参考报》记者从央行独家获悉,根据防范化解重大风险攻坚战部署,目前在化解和处置中小银行风险时要从压实金融机构自救的主体责任、地方政府的风险处置属地责任和监管部门的监管责任三方面着手。在处置方式上,根据不同风险成因和性质,分类施策精准拆弹。而在处置过程中,始终坚持早发现、早处置和市场化、法治化原则,风险处置坚持依法合规,遵循成本最小化原则,并严格防范道德风险,注重在改革发展中化解风险。此外,记者也从多个渠道获悉,目前相关监管部门正在酝酿制定高风险金融机构风险处置的相关文件。

Exclusive: Regulators Target P2P Lenders’ Payment Service Providers - Caixin

Several local regulators, including in Beijing and Shanghai, have told some third-party payment companies to be more prudent about offering payment and settlement services to P2P lending companies, and in some cases to cease doing so, people familiar with the matter told Caixin.

The first batch of lending platforms to be cut off from such services is likely to be the handful without custodian banks, Caixin understands. Regulators ordered every lending platform to appoint one bank as a custodian of investors’ funds back in 2015. Without payment channels and custodian banks, the platforms’ funds won’t be able to flow in and out, effectively shutting them down.


7. Feminist movement overseas

Thwarted at Home, Can China’s Feminists Rebuild a Movement Abroad? | ChinaFile - Shen Lu

In February, an activist named Liang Xiaowen appeared on the widely-watched American comedy show Patriot Act to talk about China’s battered #MeToo movement. Liang, who now resides in the U.S., talked about her efforts to combat discrimination and sexual harassment in China and the threats from police her family received when she once tried to host a feminist salon. The show’s host, Hasan Minhaj, asked if anyone in China watched his show. “If I’m in it,” Liang replied, “I promise that at least some people will see it.”

Liang’s confidence stems in part from her belief in the importance of her mission. The Guangzhou native is one of the key leaders of a loose coalition of Chinese expatriates organizing what they describe as a “Chinese feminist movement” in the United States. And while Liang and her fellow activists may be little known in the U.S. outside a small circle of sympathizers and women’s studies scholars, in China their activities command large audiences among supporters of the cause who might be championing the same ideals if their political surroundings didn’t make it so dangerous.


8. Mao-era figures die

Nie Yuanzi died Wednesday - 毛泽东拍赞全国第一张马列主义大字报人聂元梓今传逝世 - 中国 - RFI

2006 New York Times profile of her - Hearts Still Scarred 40 Years After China's Upheaval:

Nie Yuanzi was an ambitious college professor whose "big character poster," displayed on the grounds of Beijing University, was said to have ignited the Cultural Revolution, a prairie fire of violent purges and denunciations that quickly spread across the nation.

Now, she is an 85-year-old who survives on the charity of friends. Looking back, she insists that she had no idea that the poster she made would have such terrible consequences. "I didn't know we were heading toward disaster," she said, describing herself as a party loyalist who executed orders. "Once I understood, I stopped following them. I opposed them, and for that I was punished."

Wang Guodong, Who Painted Mao Year After Year, Dies at 88 - The New York Times

Few have heard of Wang Guodong, the Chinese artist who for years was responsible for painting the enormous portrait of Mao Zedong — replaced annually — that gazes down on Tiananmen Square in Beijing.

Mr. Wang, who was 88 when he died on Friday at a hospital in Beijing, was chosen in 1964, when he was in his early 30s, to be the official painter of the 15-by-20-foot oil portrait of Mao that hangs steps from the party’s central seat of power, at the Gate of Heavenly Peace...

In a sign of Mr. Wang’s stature in Communist Party circles, a funeral was held for him on Sunday at Babaoshan, the cemetery in Beijing reserved for party elite, Beijing Youth Daily reported. Mao Xinyu, Mao’s grandson, was said to have sent a wreath.


Business, Economy and Trade

China Banks See Margins Squeezed by Efforts to Spur Economy - Bloomberg In response to government requirements, the big banks increased loans to small businesses by 35% in the first six months, while cutting their financing costs by more than the 1 percentage point that authorities wanted, according to the industry regulator.

Tencent scraps plan to invest $150 million in Chinese education firm VIPKid: sources - Reuters Tencent scrapped the plans after Beijing last month issued regulations targeting online education platforms, stipulating teachers need to hold valid teaching qualifications and the firms must publicize information such as foreign teachers’ certificates and work experience

Enlight Media’s Profits Fade Out on China’s Movie Industry Slowdown - Caixin The Chinese film studio behind the recent animated hit “Nezha” reported plunging profits for the first half of this year as it grapples with a slowdown in the domestic movie industry.

China cuts 91.78 bln yuan in road tolls in 2018 - Xinhua The toll cut increased by 9.61 billion yuan compared with 2017, up 11.7 percent year on year, according to the Ministry of Transport. China saw a net mileage addition of 5,239 km in expressways in 2018, while the country's toll roads reported slower debt growth last year, data from the ministry showed.

Vice premier stresses data authenticity for economic census - Xinhua Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng on Thursday stressed data authenticity and reliability as the country's fourth national economic census makes steady progress.

Hikvision, a surveillance powerhouse, walks U.S.-China tightrope - Reuters Foreign investors who once piled into the company, including UBS AG, have dumped at least 300 million shares of its stock in the last five months, shareholder data shows, with some citing concerns about its involvement in China’s expanding surveillance state in the Xinjiang region. ]

China expands market access to industrial products - Xinhua China's State Council decided Wednesday to further ease market access by scrapping production permits for some industrial products. An additional 13 categories of industrial products including internal combustion engines and brake fluid will be exempted from applying for a permit for production, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

Fiery liquor maker Wuliangye rises to record after Citic Securities raises price target | South China Morning Post Shares of Wuliangye, whose Chinese name means liquor distilled from five types of grains, climbed 1.2 per cent to 133.92 yuan at the close on Wednesday, the highest since the Sichuan province-based company went public two decades ago. Wuliangye is valued at 519.8 billion yuan (US$72.6 billion), placing it behind brand leader Kweichow Moutai with a market cap of 1.38 trillion yuan.

Chinese Central Bank Sources Deny Forbes Report of Digital Currency's November Release - China Banking News Sources from the Chinese central bank have since denied the report, telling Sina that they the information is “inaccurate speculation.”

Politics and Law

China honors outstanding builders of socialism with Chinese characteristics - Xinhua One hundred individuals from the non-public sector of the economy or belonging to new social groups were awarded the title of "Outstanding Builders of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics" Thursday. Wang Yang, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, stressed the importance of promoting healthy growth of the non-public sector of the economy, encouraging those working in this sector to achieve success, and uniting them for the endeavors to revitalize the Chinese nation, while addressing an honoring ceremony held in Beijing.

News Control, In the Palm of Your Hand | China Media Project The Media Oversight Office (传媒监管局) of the Central Propaganda Department announced through a notice on August 23 that online training and testing of news personnel nationwide would now be handled through the “Study Xi, Strong Nation” mobile app, and that testing would take place during the first half of October for the issue of press cards (新闻记者证). The notice has ordered “news units” — meaning in this case central Party media outlets, including top Party-run newspapers, television and radio, as well as 14 central-level news websites authorized to issue press cards — to create and authorize study groups through the app before September 15 in order to prepare staff for study and eventual testing.

Book of Xi's discourses on staying true to founding mission published - Xinhua The book, which was compiled by the Institute of Party History and Literature of the CPC Central Committee and the central leading group office for the CPC education campaign themed "staying true to our founding mission," will be distributed across the country. It contains 362 discourses, extracted from over 130 documents including speeches, reports, articles and instructions given by Xi between Nov. 15, 2012 and July 16, 2019.

加强高校党委对思政课建设的领导--党建-人民网 Party Secretary of Jin University writes in Thursday's People's Daily on "Strengthening the Leadership of College Party Committees on the Construction of Ideological and Political Courses". How are foreign universities with partnerships with PRC schools dealing with this trend, mandated by Xi?

Staff of NGO linked to Hong Kong arrested in southern China | The Guardian On Monday, lawyers for the three staff members of Changsha Funeng, a public welfare organisation focusing especially on disability rights, said the three had been formally arrested on suspicion of state subversion...According to co-founder Yang Zhanqing, now in the US, the group had set up a company in Hong Kong through which it received funds from overseas. Cheng Yuan, who lived in Shenzhen near China’s border with Hong Kong, regularly traveled to Hong Kong for meetings related to the NGO’s work.

Canada Deports Chinese Dissident Yang Wei, Brushing Off Concerns He Faces Jail - The New York Times Mr. Yang had been arrested repeatedly, including for possession of a knife, aggravated assault and various other offenses. He regularly threatened people with violence, including assaulting a bus driver who asked him to produce a transfer ticket and a worker in a mobile phone store who refused him a refund. In another case, he stabbed a bus driver 13 times.

Hengqin breaches the Great Firewall - Greater Bay Insight Hengqin’s moment in the spotlight is coming. Its massive new railway station is around three months from opening, but already the special economic zone opposite Macau’s Cotai district is gearing up to play a leading role on the Greater Bay Area’s main stage: This week it rolled out China’s first experiment with a city internet network that sits outside the Great Firewall.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Xi meets Duterte on bilateral ties - Xinhua "At present, the international and regional situations are undergoing profound and complex changes. However, peace, development, cooperation and mutual benefit are still an irresistible trend of the times," said Xi. Xi said he is willing to work with Duterte to continue to grasp the trend of the times from a strategic and long-term perspective, to lead the sound development of bilateral ties. "This will not only benefit the two countries and their peoples, but will also add positive energy to regional peace and stability."

China sends new naval fleet for escort mission - Xinhua The 33rd fleet from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy on Thursday left the port city of Qingdao in east China's Shandong Province for the Gulf of Aden to escort civilian ships. The fleet is mainly composed of naval forces from the the Northern Theater Command of the Chinese navy, including a destroyer, a frigate and a supply ship

Uighur intellectual nominated for top European rights award - Arab News Europe's top rights body, the Council of Europe, has nominated a jailed academic from China's Uighur minority, Ilham Tohti, for one of the continent's top human rights awards.

Scrapped intelligence pact draws United States into deepening South Korea-Japan dispute - Reuters U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on Wednesday he was “very disappointed” with the decision and hoped Seoul and Tokyo would overcome their differences to face common threats, such as North Korea and China.

China, ROK vow broader cooperation - Global Times Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with ROK Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha ahead of the ninth meeting of foreign ministers of China, Japan and the ROK, the first three-way meeting since August 2016. Wang said China-ROK relations have developed well, expressing the hope that the ROK side could actively participate in the Belt and Road cooperation, jointly develop third-party markets and speed up the second phase of the Sino-ROK Free Trade Agreement talks.

Sam Dastyari told Kaila Murnain to 'cover your arse' about dubious NSW Labor donation, Icac hears | The Guardian The former Labor senator Sam Dastyari said he advised NSW Labor boss Kaila Murnain to “cover your arse” when she told him of potential fundraising misconduct and mentioned the name of Chinese billionaire and banned donor, Huang Xiangmo. Murnain broke down on Thursday morning while explaining to the Independent Commission Against Corruption that she kept quiet about potentially illegal donations because she was “scared” for the “reputation of the party”.

China’s state broadcaster set for UK launch | Financial Times $$ The broadcaster has about 100 journalists in London, who will from late September be expected to produce around one hour of programmes for its global 24-hour channel. The channel currently broadcasts 13 hours of content from Beijing, seven from Washington and four from Nairobi each day. A tech programme and a weekend talk show will be among the first programmes produced by CGTN Europe. One person briefed on its plans said production would be expanded in October and again in early 2020.

What Would a Larger Chinese Presence Mean for the Middle East? | ChinaFile Conversation

Bridging Perceptions: China in Mozambique - MacroPolo

Taiwan

President Tsai's video address to the 101st American Legion National Convention As we all know too well, the struggle for domination and control has played out throughout human history, even though it has taken on new forms. Today, just across the Taiwan Strait, we struggle with a giant that has chosen to use new tools of technological advancement not for the greater good, but to sow disinformation, division, and discord in free and open societies.

Tech and Media

Huawei's next flagship phone blocked from using Google apps | The Guardian The Chinese telecoms firm is expected to launch its Mate 30 line of smartphones in the autumn. Google has said that, under the US restrictions on trade with Huawei, the phones cannot be sold with licensed apps such as Google Maps or Gmail, which form part of Google’s Android operating system.

Huawei Boosted Research Spending at Berkeley Before Sanctions, Documents Show — The Information $$ Huawei sharply increased its spending on research projects at the University of California, Berkeley last year and this year, immediately before the university cut ties with the Chinese telecom manufacturer amid U.S. government sanctions, according to documents obtained by The Information.

Tianma Gets Government Boost for High-Tech Flexible Display Plant - Caixin Tianma is one of several Chinese companies aggressively building such lines for display panels that are a major component of TVs, smartphones and a growing number of electronic devices. Such efforts have been strongly encouraged by Beijing and local governments as China tries to move away from its roots as a low-end manufacturer and into higher-tech, bigger-margin products.

China Adds Huawei, Hikvision to National AI Innovation Platform - Caixin China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has added 10 companies including telecommunications giant Huawei and surveillance-technology maker Hikvision to a major national artificial intelligence (AI) development program, the state-run People.cn reported.

The Time a Jet-Lagged Musk Made Alibaba’s Jack Ma Sound Grounded - Bloomberg Ma, the more polished and down-to-earth speaker, also invoked familiar stances on education and the need for “Love-Q” or LQ in addition to IQ to survive the future. But overall, the Alibaba honcho came across as more reasonable than the erratic Musk, who several times trailed off into poorly articulated tangents such as the timeline of civilization or pace of technological change

West’s attempt to slander Huawei will fail - Global Times - He Wenping The Wall Street Journal published on August 15 an article, not only accusing China's telecom giant Huawei of selling "security tools that governments use for digital surveillance and censorship" in Africa, but also alleging that Huawei employees have personally "helped African governments spy on their political opponents." Such absurd accusations were soon denied by the countries and Huawei...China is cooperating with Africa wholeheartedly. The West's scheming is bound to achieve nothing.

The author is a senior research fellow of the Charhar Institute and China Africa Institute

After blacklisting, U.S. receives 130-plus license requests to sell to Huawei: sources - Reuters But the Trump administration has not yet granted any licenses for sales to the blacklisted company, said the people familiar with the process who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

China’s Newest Cram School Craze: Sex Ed Camps - Sixth Tone Many parents are turning to extracurricular cram schools to give their kids a more thorough grounding in the facts of life, and this is opening the door for lecturers like Jiang who advocate a radically different approach. Last year, the national government began issuing certifications to sex education lecturers, and it has already issued more than 330 licenses.

This Chinese Startup Is Bringing AI to Heart Disease Treatment — The Information $$ Shukun uses software, a database of millions of images of healthy and diseased hearts and machine learning algorithms to make heart CT scans more accurate. The company hopes its product will help doctors diagnose a heart patient’s condition and plan surgery faster than they can now.