US-China talks; PLA birthday; Politics in command; Taiwan travel restrictions; Nezha

The US-China talks in Shanghai have ended with an agreement to meet again in September. No breakthroughs were announced, though if the Chinese side follows through with more agricultural purchases perhaps we will have a quiet August on the trade talks speculation front. Speaking of speculation, Xi did not show up in Shanghai as had been rumored.

Tomorrow August 1 is the 92nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army. On Tuesday Xi chaired a Politburo study session on military reform and on Wednesday he oversaw the promotion of 10 officers, including Li Shangfu who is under US sanctions for China’s purchase from Russia of Su-35 planes and S-400 surface-to-air missile systems.

Xi has clearly shaken up the PLA with the corruption crackdown and reforms, and through those efforts upset a fair number of people. He has also made a lot of people happy who were promoted into slots opened up by investigations, as well as those who actually want a professional and world-class military instead of a corrupt, rotting institution. We only usually hear about the "enemies" Xi has created but should also keep in mind the many beneficiaries of the changes.

If past years are precedent today may be the last day we see Xi in official media for at least a couple of weeks, as it is assumed he is heading off to Beidaihe. The Beidaihe period usually leads to lots of fun speculation and rumors.

I know the newsletter can run long, if your email reader cuts it off you can click on the headline above to read it online. And at the very least you should always do a quick scan of the Essential Eight.

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. US-China talks

Statement from the Press Secretary | The White House

On July 30 and 31, 2019, the United States trade negotiating team led by United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin traveled to Shanghai, China, to discuss the United States–China trade relationship. Vice Premier Liu He led the Chinese negotiating team, which included Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan and other officials. The two sides discussed topics such as forced technology transfer, intellectual property rights, services, non-tariff barriers, and agriculture. The Chinese side confirmed their commitment to increase purchases of United States agricultural exports. The meetings were constructive, and we expect negotiations on an enforceable trade deal to continue in Washington, D.C., in early September.

China, U.S. hold 12th round of high-level trade consultations in Shanghai - Xinhua

In line with the important consensus reached by the two heads of state in Osaka, the two sides conducted candid, efficient, constructive and in-depth exchanges on major issues of common concern in the economic and trade field.

The two sides also discussed the increased purchase of U.S. agricultural products by China according to its own domestic needs and favorable conditions to be offered by the U.S. side for the purchase.

Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan, Governor of the People's Bank of China Yi Gang, Vice Minister in Charge of the National Development and Reform Commission Ning Jizhe, Deputy Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Financial and Economic Affairs and Vice Finance Minister Liao Min, Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang, Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology Wang Zhijun, Deputy Director of the Office of the Central Agricultural Work Leading Group and Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Han Jun, and Vice Minister of Commerce and Deputy China International Trade Representative Wang Shouwen joined the consultations.

The two sides will hold the next round of high-level economic and trade consultations in the United States in September.

下一轮磋商,9月美国见!-新华网

brief video of the two sides, via CCTV WeChat account, speculation on Wechat that the poem 雁儿落带得胜令·退隐 on the wall, by Zhang Yanghao 张养浩 of the Yuan Dynasty, is a sign from the Chinese side that are Ok with making a deal and Ok with not making a deal

磋商在上海重启 公报精神何以传承?

Another Taoran Notes on the trade talks, discusses the symbolism of holding it in Shanghai where the 1972 Shanghai Communique was agreed upon, says moving the talks from Beijing to Shanghai shows goodwill and to showcases the achievements China has made in the opening and reform, in the hope that the Americans would realize they will miss out many opportunities if they fail to reach a trade deal. It again emphasizes that the Chinese side is sincere and ready to work with the US but that it takes two to tango...

要用诚意磋商,不要无事生非(钟声)

People's Daily Zhong Sheng criticizes Trump's Tuesday tweets, says the US side should be sincere in the talks and should do more to deliver its promises rather than seeking troubles by pressuring China, which will never work.

第十二轮中美经贸高级别磋商开启之际,美国一些人的边鼓又敲了起来,干扰主旋律。说什么中方“总是在最后为了自己的利益修改协议内容”,说什么中方在等待时机“如同过去30年一样达成相当不错的交易以继续掠夺美国”……如此这般反复造势,才是谈成协议的必要步骤吗?答案当然是否定的。

新华时评:真相面前,唱衰之声“不攻自破”-新华网

Xinhua also wrote a commentary responding to Trump’s tweets. It insists Chinese economy is doing well so it does not face pressure to compromise on trade. It urged the Americans to show more goodwill rather than pressuring China.

China makes concession on US farm goods in ‘frank’ and ‘constructive talks | South China Morning Post

“China has started to buy soybeans from the US, which could help Trump to counter domestic political pressure, meanwhile US tech firms have raised their voices to lobby the US administration to loosen export controls on [Chinese tech giant] Huawei,” Peking University international relations professor Wang Yong said.

“Wall Street bankers also hope to invest more in China. If both sides fail to reach a deal, they will lose China’s market which is expected to further open up in the coming years.”

Commentary: Chinese economy dismays naysayers amid trade consultation with U.S. - Xinhua

When the U.S. side holds up the "big stick" of tariffs, some people shout "China's situation is very bad," and even fabricate false statements that "China has lost 5 million jobs." These are just a microcosm of the long-term vision of some foreign institutions or people looking at China's economy through colored glasses. These people either unilaterally exaggerate the difficulties encountered in China's economic development or turn a blind eye to the potential and resilience of China's economic development. Their remarks have been proved untenable...

It is hoped that those Americans who have played and sung the aging tune over and over again will see the reality sooner rather than later. We hope they will rationally view the fundamental trend of China's long-term economic development, seize the hard-won opportunity to restart the Sino-U.S. economic and trade consultation, show sufficient sincerity and action to implement the consensus reached at the Osaka Summit between the two heads of state and meet the Chinese side halfway. The proper attitude is to resolve the issue through dialogue rather than confrontation in order to work together to achieve win-win cooperation.


2. PLA

PLA turns 92 tomorrow, Xi promoted 10 officers, rewarded units and individuals for meritorious service, and chaired a Politburo study session on PLA reform.

Xi stresses focusing on reform to strengthen military - Xinhua

Xi made the remarks while presiding over a group study session of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau on reforming military policies and institutions on Tuesday.

At the session, held ahead of China's Army Day on August 1, Xi extended greetings to all personnel of the People's Liberation Army, armed police, militia and reserve force on behalf of the CPC Central Committee and the Central Military Commission.

Xi noted the historic change to the organizational structure of China's military and the revolutionary shift in its force composition through reforms since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012.

Xi said the reform of military policies and institutions aims to address the incompatibility of policies with the new era, new missions and new institutions.

CCTV Evening News report on the study session 习近平在中共中央政治局第十六次集体学习时强调 凝心聚力实施改革强军战略 把新时代强军事业不断推向前进

Tan Yadong, researcher at the PLA Academy of Military Science, was the lecturer.

10 Chinese officers promoted to rank of general - Xinhua

The promoted officers are Director of the CMC Equipment Development Department Li Shangfu, Commander of the Southern Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Yuan Yubai, Political Commissar of the Western Theater Command of the PLA Wu Shezhou, Political Commissar of the Northern Theater Command of the PLA Fan Xiaojun, Political Commissar of the Central Theater Command of the PLA Zhu Shengling, Commander of the PLA Navy Shen Jinlong, Political Commissar of the PLA Navy Qin Shengxiang, Commander of the PLA Air Force Ding Laihang, President of the National Defense University of the PLA Zheng He and Political Commissar of the Chinese People's Armed Police Force An Zhaoqing.

Wednesday CCTV Evening News report on the promotion ceremony - 中央军委举行晋升上将军衔警衔仪式 习近平颁发命令状并向晋衔的军官警官表示祝贺

Xi signs orders to honor soldier, three military units - Xinhua

The title "Heroic Demining Soldier" was awarded to Du Fuguo, who in an operation last year lost his eyesight and both hands trying to protect his fellow soldiers from a landmine explosion.

The three military units honored are an air force group, an astronautical ground station and a scientific research office.

Xi signs orders to award merit citations to military individuals, unit - Xinhua

Wang Dong, a professor with the Naval University of Engineering, Hou Lijun, a professor and director of the neurosurgery department of the second hospital affiliated to the former Second Military Medical University, and He Yuanzhi, a researcher with the Academy of Military Sciences, were honored with first-class merit citations.

Hu Changhua, a professor with the Rocket Force University of Engineering, was awarded a third-class merit citation.

Troop 96717 of the People's Liberation Army was honored with a second-class merit citation.

中宣部 中央军委政治工作部联合发布9位“最美新时代革命军人”_CCTV

CMC and Propaganda Department announce 9 "Most beautiful revolutionary soldiers of the New Era"


3. Politics in Command

Xi's article on CPC self-reform to be published - Xinhua

The article says the Party's long-term governance requires commitment to its original aspiration and mission, as well as the spirit of self-reform. 

The CPC is a political party armed with Marxism, the article says, noting that the original aspiration and mission of the Party has always been seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation, which is embodied in the Party's consistent endeavors. 

It takes a strong spirit of self-reform to remain true to the original aspiration and keep the mission firmly in mind. And the Party's self-reform is facing arduous and long-term tasks and not any thought of a pause or rest should be allowed, the article stresses.

The article in Qiushi - 牢记初心使命,推进自我革命:

It is from his speech at the June 24, 2019 Politburo Study session It concludes by quoting Mao Zedong in saying that the party should continue to march forward over the bloodstains of martyrs, and that the party should stick to its tradition of criticizing each other and self-criticism.

最后,我想同大家重温毛主席讲的两段话。一段话是1945年4月24日毛主席在《论联合政府》中讲的:“成千成万的先烈,为着人民的利益,在我们的前头英勇地牺牲了,让我们高举起他们的旗帜,踏着他们的血迹前进吧!”另一段话是1949年3月5日毛主席在中国共产党第七届中央委员会第二次全体会议上讲的:“中国的革命是伟大的,但革命以后的路程更长,工作更伟大,更艰苦。这一点现在就必须向党内讲明白,务必使同志们继续地保持谦虚、谨慎、不骄、不躁的作风,务必使同志们继续地保持艰苦奋斗的作风。我们有批评和自我批评这个马克思列宁主义的武器。我们能够去掉不良作风,保持优良作风。我们能够学会我们原来不懂的东西。我们不但善于破坏一个旧世界,我们还将善于建设一个新世界。”

从延安整风运动说起 - 求是网

The latest issue of Qiushi also has a look back at the 1941 Yan'an rectification movement, article says useful for the current "stay true to the founding mission" to look back...

自延安整风结束至今70多年来,党领导的革命、建设、改革始终贯穿着中国共产党的优良作风。党的作风建设的不懈奋斗,换来的是百年政党的伟大与兴旺。当前,我们党正在开展“不忘初心、牢记使命”主题教育。习近平总书记指出,党的初心和使命是党的性质宗旨、理想信念、奋斗目标的集中体现,越是长期执政,越不能忘记党的初心使命,越不能丧失自我革命精神。认真回顾与总结我们党的作风建设史,对于推动“不忘初心、牢记使命”主题教育意义重大。

一场新整风运动开启 中南海何以此时出手_中国-多维新闻网

In June Duowei said the new campaign is the 4th "rectification movement 整风运动 " under Xi. So far at least these rectification movements are rectification-lite, as not much real blood shed so far, unlike in the Yan'an Rectification Movement

Party, PRC history highlighted in Party education campaign - Xinhua

Party members and officials should learn milestone events, meetings, documents and historic figures throughout the history of the CPC and PRC, said the directive from the leading group of the campaign published Wednesday. 

Studying the 170-year history of modern China, the 98-year history of the CPC and the 70-year history of the PRC will deepen Party members' and officials' understanding of the campaign theme and strengthen their confidence in the path, theory, system and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics, the document said. 

Party organizations at all levels are required to make specific arrangements for the study and establish a long-term mechanism incorporating the study into regular education programs for Party members and officials. 

The directive - 中央“不忘初心、牢记使命”主题教育领导小组印发《关于在“不忘初心、牢记使命”主题教育中认真学习党史、新中国史的通知》

Xi Jinping Evokes the “Original Aspirations” of the Communist Party— While Seeking to Further Consolidate His Hold on Power - Jamestown - Willy Lam

Xi has dropped hints that if his loyalty drive is not entirely successful, he might well launch another rectification campaign to rid the CCP of unqualified (or disloyal) members. Six years ago, Xi unleashed a previous purge by calling upon all cadres to “look [themselves] in the mirror, straighten out their attire, take a bath and cure their sickness” (People’s Daily, June 19, 2013; Ta Kung Pao [Hong Kong], May 5, 2013). While laying utmost emphasis on the Maoist chuxin, Xi has praised the infamous party purification movement that the Great Helmsman organized in the CCP’s Yan’an base during the early 1940s. In Xi’s speech marking the 98th birthday of the CCP in early July, Xi indicated that the question of the “four impurities”—a reference to lax standards in thought, politics, organization and work style—in the Party was still serious and must be rectified.


4. Hong Kong

China mobilises 190,000 police officers to prepare for 70th anniversary celebrations | South China Morning Post

About 190,000 police officers took part in a drill in southern China on Tuesday as part of the preparations for the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic, state media reported.

The exercise was staged in Guangdong province and involved armoured vehicles and helicopters, state news agency Xinhua reported.

It is unusual for such a drill to be held so far from Beijing as police forces in or near the capital are typically used for anniversary events.

The location and scale of the exercise led to concerns that Beijing was preparing for action in Hong Kong, after opposition to a now suspended extradition bill led to violent protests.

White House Eyeing Chinese Forces Gathered on Hong Kong Border - Bloomberg

The nature of the Chinese buildup wasn’t clear; the official said that units of the Chinese military or armed police had gathered at the border with Hong Kong. The official briefed reporters on condition he not be identified.

Outraged Hong Kong's civil servants voice rare dissent - AFP

The letters -- accompanied by photos of civil servant identity cards with personal details obscured -- bemoan Lam's lack of leadership and refusal to compromise as her administration grapples with huge protests rocking the international finance hub.

Civil servants interviewed by AFP said they felt compelled to speak out after nearly two months of chaos that shows no signs of abating, with Lam seemingly unable -- or unwilling -- to find a solution and Beijing continuing to back her government.

【驻港部队司令员:绝不容忍香港极端暴力事件-Global Times Weibo

Maj. Gen. Chen Daoxiang commander of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Garrison in Hong Kong gives an angry speech at the celebration for the PLA’s 92nd birthday in Hong Kong, says the series of violent incidents can not be tolerated

【驻港部队司令员:绝不容忍香港极端暴力事件】7月31日傍晚,中国人民解放军驻香港部队庆祝建军92周年招待会在中环军营举办。驻港部队司令员陈道祥在招待会上致辞时谈及近日香港发生一系列极端暴力事件,对此表示强烈谴责。他说:“近段时间以来,香港发生一系列极端暴力事件,严重破坏了香港繁荣稳定的大局,严重挑战了香港法治和社会秩序,严重威胁到香港市民的生命财产安全,也严重触碰了‘一国两制’的原则底线,绝对不能容忍,我们对此表示强烈谴责。”

First wave of alleged Hong Kong rioters – including teacher, 16-year-old and Cathay Pacific pilot – released on bail with most handed curfew | South China Morning Post

The curfew exemptions for two accused allowed one to do overnight shifts at a children’s home, and a Cathay Pacific pilot to leave the city for work.

Taiwan, US fanning HK protests: Tung Chee-hwa - RTHK

“Looking at the political storm closely – its severity, scale, and organisation – it’s reasonable to believe that it’s fanned by someone from behind [the scenes]. Various signs are pointing at Taiwan and the US,” he said . 

Tung said that since the handover, foreign politicians and anti-China forces have tried to incite Hong Kong people’s fear of the Communist Party and to turn the SAR into a base to resist the central government. 

Comment: Worth remembering next time someone decides to take money from his foundation. Fine if you take it knowing full well it is part of CCP United Front efforts and disclose it as such, amazed at some who take it who don't understand what it is, or deny it is part of CCP influence efforts. There can be value in listening to what the CCP wants you to hear, as long as as long as there is disclosure, people have full knowledge of its background and goals, and topics are not avoided.

Hong Kong police ‘under investigation’ by corruption watchdog over failure to protect public during Yuen Long attacks | South China Morning Post

Hong Kong’s corruption watchdog has initiated an investigation into allegations of police misconduct over the force’s much-criticised failure to protect the public from mob violence on July 21 in the northern town of Yuen Long, according to sources.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) had set up a dedicated group to handle the investigation, sources told the Post on Tuesday, even as anti-graft officers were seen collecting security camera footage from shops and businesses in Yuen Long.


5. Individual travel to Taiwan blocked

Comment: i will guess it is about the upcoming election, as Beijing does not want its citizens to see successful democratic elections up close. If , as some suggest, it is about stopping information flows about Hong Kong via Taiwan visits then we should expect mainland travel to Hong Kong to be restricted as well

Beijing axes individual travel visas for Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan | Taiwan News

According to Taiwan's Tourism Bureau, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan reached 1.67 million in the first half of this year. This represented an increase of 30 percent over the same period last year.

Ko Mu-chou (柯牧洲), vice president of Taiwan Tourism Development Association, said that the new restriction seems to be affecting freedom of movement and may also affect group tours. Ko estimates that this new restriction could reduce the number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan by 700,000 between August of this year and February next year.

UDN cited Roget Hsu (許高慶), chairman of the Taiwan International Tourist Aid Rescue Association, as saying that this is not the first time China has placed some restrictions on individual travelers to Taiwan, but it is the first time since 2015.

Hsu said he believes that the suspension was implemented with Taiwan's upcoming election in mind. He said that as China places great importance on the 2020 election, it's no surprise restrictions have been put in place again.

The notice - 大陆居民赴台个人游试点8月1日起暂停-新华网

海峡两岸旅游交流协会31日在文化和旅游部官方网站发布公告表示,鉴于当前两岸关系,决定自2019年8月1日起暂停47个城市大陆居民赴台个人游试点

China to halt individual tourism permits for Taiwan amid rising tension - Reuters

People from the mainland need permission to travel to what Beijing regards as a renegade province. Only travelers from 47 cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Xiamen, were allowed to visit Taiwan independently.

Mainland travelers with permits issued before Thursday can follow the original itinerary, but after that date tourists can only go in groups, said China International Travel Service (CITS), a major mainland tour operator.

Beijing’s ban on solo travellers to Taiwan could cost self-ruled island US$900 million by January | South China Morning Post

In the months before the last leadership poll in 2016, Beijing told travel agents that mainland citizens would not be granted solo travel permits as it sought to reduce support for Tsai Ing-wen of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party

Taiwan slams Chinese ban on individual travelers | Taiwan News

Despite the absence of any official announcement, travel agents in Taiwan estimated that the Chinese ban would last until after the elections and lead to a drop of 700,000 visitors. Even with a separate fall in the number of visitors from China already occurring, Taiwan had been able to make up for the shortfall by attracting more tourists from other Asian countries, especially from Southeast Asian nations like Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.


6. Former China Development Bank head under investigation

Former China Development Bank Boss Investigated for Corruption - Caixin

Around a month after Hu’s retirement, allegations of a corrupt network linking Hu and Ye surfaced in the graft trial of former Gansu province party chief Wang Sanyun...

CDB’s lending to CEFC was the result of collusion by people inside and outside the policy bank, rather than a case of unilateral fraud by the company, a source close to CDB told Caixin.

CDB was a crucial creditor to CEFC. As of September 2017, the bank had granted 42.1 billion yuan ($6.1 billion) of credit lines to CEFC Shanghai, which accounted for 68.3% of the total bank credit the company had obtained...

Hu and Wang have long been acquaintances, sources with knowledge of the matter told Caixin. When Hu was at Bank of Communications, Wang Chang, Wang Sanyun’s son, worked as a secretary to Hu for more than one year; and after Hu took a position at CDB, the young Wang got a job at the policy lender’s Shanghai branch, the sources said.

China’s ex-‘super bank’ chief faces probe as Beijing’s financial sector corruption crackdown continues | South China Morning Post

Hu’s downfall will send shock waves through China’s financial upper crust, given his personal background and the bank’s crucial role in China’s financial landscape.

Ironically, Hu was the disciplinary chief at the China Banking Regulatory Commission when the watchdog was made independent from China’s central bank in 2003, making him the top official overseeing corruption in the banking industry.


7. Crackdown on Jingri 精日分子 “Japanese in spirit”

Chinese Cartoonist, Collaborator Arrested for Unpatriotic Comics - SixthTone

On Sunday, police in the eastern Anhui province said they had arrested a cartoonist surnamed Zhang in May for disseminating content that “humiliates China.” The 22-year-old is accused of producing comic strips that “depict Chinese as pigs” and sharing them on domestic and international social media platforms. Police added she had done so to gain fame in the jingri community.

In China, members of the jingri subculture consider themselves to be “spiritually Japanese,” worshipping that country’s society and history. Though it is unclear how and when the trend started, China’s jingri have repeatedly landed in hot water for provocative behavior — like dressing up as World War II-era Japanese soldiers — that is purportedly aimed at gaining online fame.

Police arrest jingri for insulting China - Global Times

Police said the man surnamed Lu, 36, is heavily affected by jingri, or "Japanese in spirit." Lu posted a series of comics that insulted China or promoted hatred against China with 22-year-old woman Zhang. 

A very small number of Chinese who are supporters of right-wing Japanese forces and disrespect Chinese war victims, are often called "jingri."

They wrote more than 140 posts that incite secessionism and national hatred. The posts also insulted Chinese people and the country, which hurt the people's feelings and caused extremely bad social influence, the announcement said. 

According to media reports, it is one of six similar cases that have been busted recently across the country. 

中共罕见集中逮捕精日分子 女画师辱华惹众怒-多维新闻网


8. Domestic animation blockbuster Nezha 哪吒之魔童降世

Hit Animation Nezha Reveals the 'Shipping' Craze Taking Over China - Pandaily

As of July 29, the Chinese animated film Nezha garnered over 900 million yuan in the domestic box office, and was on track to break the record among all Chinese animations previously held by Monkey King: Hero is Back. The massive success of the film can be mainly attributed to its trendy character setting and the rising popularity of so-called shipping, a desire by fans to put two characters into a romantic relationship. For example, many fans ship Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter franchise, hoping the two characters will end up together...

Nezha, originally a deity in ancient Chinese Taoist mythology, has appeared in numerous TV and film productions including the CCTV animation series Legend of Nezha and Journey to the West.

Trailer on Youtube:


Business, Economy and Trade

人民日报:稳中求进,有力推动高质量发展——论做好当前经济工作 People’s Daily editorial said the steady growth suggests China’s economy is still doing well, thanks to the leadership of Xi Jinping. The editorial urged the officials to remain confident and as long as they implement the reforms as ordered by Xi, China will be able the manage the risks.

人民日报:办好自己的事 下半年这样干(经济新方位)People’s Daily interviewed experts and officials to discuss the economic policies made in the recent politburo meeting. They again reiterated the talking points including that China will continue to cut taxes, boost domestic consumption, and provide supports for manufacturing sector and private companies, and that it will not stimulate the real estate sector to boost growth

State Council meeting stresses further stabilizing employment - Xinhua China will continue to implement an employment-first policy and take measures to further sustain the steady growth of the job market, according to a State Council executive meeting Wednesday chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. China's employment situation has maintained stability in the first half of this year, with newly added urban jobs already reaching two-thirds of the annual target, said a statement released after the meeting. China will take more active measures to further stabilize employment growth and support start-ups as pressure still exists on the job market, said the statement.

China issues regulation on student entrepreneurship and innovation - Xinhua The regulation illustrated the responsibilities of related departments and the project process according to the national innovative project launched in 2007, the ministry said in a statement. The national innovative project, focusing on talent training system reform, stipulated in detail the course content, curriculum system and concrete practice.

Major Indian farm union cautions government over China-backed trade deal - Reuters A team of top Indian government officials will be in Beijing between Aug. 2 and 3 to negotiate the terms of the China-initiated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that has been held up by disputes between Beijing and New Delhi over access to markets and protected lists of goods.

Chinese Billionaire Indicted in U.S. in Alleged Tariff-Evasion Scheme - WSJ $$ The indictment, which was reached in May but not unsealed until this week, accuses Liu Zhongtian, founder of Chinese aluminum giant China Zhongwang Holdings Inc., of conspiring to defraud the U.S. through a sprawling scheme spanning the company’s headquarters in Liaoning, China, ports in Los Angeles and a remote desert in Mexico. It alleges that the scheme began in 2008 and has continued to the present day.

商务部关于印发《商务信用联合惩戒对象名单管理办法》的通知 China’s ministry of commerce publishes a new rule for an incoming blacklist of individuals and commercial entities with poor credit, it said in the rules that the list could include foreign individuals and foreign entities.

Crisis at Hawtai Motor Deepens as Debt Repayment Missed - Caixin The financial crisis at cash-strapped privately owned carmaker Hawtai Motor Group Ltd. deepened this week as the company, which has a stake in troubled Bank of Jinzhou, failed to repay investors in a 1 billion yuan ($145 million) bond issue who had opted for early redemption and were due to be paid on Monday.

Millions in Crypto Is Crossing the Russia-China Border Daily. There, Tether Is King - CoinDesk Chinese importers in Russia are buying up to $30 million a day of tether (USDT) from Moscow’s over-the-counter trading desks. They use the cryptocurrency to send large sums back to their home country, which has strict capital controls.

China chemical crackdown hurting more than trade war: association official - Reuters A crackdown on the chemical sector by the Chinese government is having a bigger impact on businesses than the U.S.-China trade war, an industry association official said Wednesday, with supply chains disrupted by tough inspections and plant closures.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) Q3 2019 Earnings Call Transcript - Nasdaq.com I'd like to provide some color on our performance in Greater China, where we saw significant improvement compared to the first half of fiscal 2019 and return to growth in constant currency. We experienced noticeably better year-over-year comparisons for our iPhone business there than we saw in the last two quarters, and we had sequential improvement in the performance of every category. The combined effects of government stimulus, consumer response to trade-in programs, financing offers, and other sales initiatives, and growing engagement with the broader Apple ecosystem had a positive effect. We were especially pleased with a double-digit increase in services driven by strong growth from the App Store in China.

Swire Coca-Cola relocates its China headquarters to Shanghai - Xinhua Swire Coca-Cola announced on Wednesday that it will focus its global strategy on China and relocate its China headquarters from Hong Kong to the Pudong New Area in Shanghai.

China Provides $290 Million Incentive Fund to Back Small-Business Financing - Caixin Global China’s Ministry of Finance said it will set up a special incentive fund to provide 2 billion yuan ($290 million) annually for local authorities to support financial institutions’ financial services to small and micro businesses. The pilot program will cover 60 cities across the country and last three years, the ministry said

U.S. and China Set to Sign Singapore Convention on Mediation - Caixin 

Politics and Law

Sign of the times: China's capital orders Arabic, Muslim symbols taken down - Reuters Authorities in the Chinese capital have ordered halal restaurants and food stalls to remove Arabic script and symbols associated with Islam from their signs, part of an expanding national effort to “Sinicize” its Muslim population.

汪洋:坚守初心使命 强化责任担当 把主题教育成效转化为统战工作实效-新华网 Wang Yang visited the United Front department to inspect the study campaign, urging the officials to continue the work in “build the broadest patriotic united front”.

'Communism is a faith' | The Chinese Communist Party | SupChina Does being a member of the Party automatically disqualify an individual from independent thought? With 90 million members, the Party is not a monolith. Even among its top leadership, there are internal struggles among different views and interest factions. On the other hand, for the billion-plus Chinese citizens who do not pay a monthly party due, the continuation of everyday life still relies on the premise of passive submission.

广电总局提要求:从政治高度把握每期节目、每部纪录片和动画片 China’s national radio and televisions administration reviews its work in the first half of the year, vow to be more meticulous in censoring TV programs, documentaries and cartoons.

胡锡进:如何看待这次僵持3个月后的贸易谈判? Hu Xijin, editor in chief of Global Times, took to his personal wechat account to argue that China is not a threat to the United States, and it has no option but to strike to deal with China. Hu explained that China may surpass the US in total GDP, but it will take decades or even longer for China to surpass the US in technology and the quality of the economy. He said it will take so long that he believes none of the adults today will live to see that day.

A Provocateur on the Front Lines of China’s War of Words With the U.S. - The New York Times profiles Hu Xijin Zhan Jiang, a retired professor of journalism in Beijing, said he worried that Mr. Hu was “ingeniously” stoking nationalism in Chinese society. Mr. Hu has managed to stay in his position because he is nimble at anticipating changes in political winds, Mr. Zhan said. “Sometimes, he has small criticisms of the government,” Mr. Zhan said. “But at the crucial moments, he will be there to help the officials.”

Hundreds sign letter to call on China to free Changsha 3

Foreign and Defense Affairs

China and US court Asean members to strengthen Indo-Pacific ties as trade war enters second year | South China Morning Post US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived for a meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Bangkok on Wednesday to promote the US-led Indo-Pacific strategy, while Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi touched down a day earlier to advance Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative.

China warns outsiders not to 'sow distrust' in South China Sea - Reuters “We think non-regional countries should not deliberately amplify such differences or disputes left from the past,” said Wang, responding to a question on the involvement of U.S. and other non-Asian countries in the discussions. “Non-regional countries should also not make use of these differences to sow distrust between China and ASEAN countries.”

Beijing’s South China Sea Optimism at Odds With Regional Worries - Bloomberg Southeast Asia’s foreign ministers warned that continued incidents in the South China Sea have “eroded trust” and may undermine regional stability, the 10-nation bloc said in a joint communique on Wednesday. Their concerns were aired the same day China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi touted a preliminary draft on a code of conduct between the two sides meant to end the decades-long conflict over the disputed waters.

Interview: Chinese envoy hails "golden decade" in partnership with Russia - Xinhua The past ten years was a "golden decade" for China and Russia's comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era, outgoing Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui has said. The past decade saw "extraordinarily frequent" mutual visits by Chinese and Russian presidents and other top officials as well as the establishment of cooperation mechanisms at all levels, Li told Xinhua in a recent written interview.

Joint Bomber Patrol Over the Pacific: The Russo-Chinese Military Alliance in Action | RealClearDefense Recently, the Russian government issued a directive indicating the conduct of negotiations with Beijing about preparing a new agreement on military cooperation. Notably, this agreement is to contain proposals from the Russian Ministry of Defense—a known proponent of this nascent alliance with China. That revelation coincided with the two sides’ first joint air patrol over Northeast Asia (see above), strongly suggesting that the air patrols are connected with this plan. Indeed, a 2017 Russian initiative created the legal basis for the expansion of the volume of Sino-Russian military cooperation through 2020

Major Themes in China’s 2019 National Defense White Paper - Jamestown - Elsa Kania, Peter Wood This white paper links Xi Jinping’s discourse on the “China Dream” (中国梦, Zhongguo Meng) with this vision for a new world order. The “strong military dream” (强军梦, qiang jun meng) is often characterized as an essential element to secure the China Dream; that narrative is now expanded to argue that a more powerful Chinese military is equally essential to this global dream (Qiushi, December 1, 2013). The paper attempts to reframe the trajectory of  Chinese military modernization by claiming: “A strong military of China is a staunch force for world peace, stability and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.” This assertion attempts to reframe the trajectory of Chinese military modernization, which has progressed at a speed that has often provoked regional concerns, as instead a boon for China’s neighbors. The Chinese military is characterized as playing a role that is constructive, directed to  “actively participate in the reform of [the] global security governance system.”

Chinese, Colombian presidents pledge to promote ties - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping and visiting Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez on Wednesday pledged to promote bilateral relations to a new high

China's top legislator Li Zhanshu meets Colombian President - Xinhua Li voiced his expectation that the NPC and the Colombian Congress will jointly implement the consensus reached by the two countries' presidents and facilitate parliamentary exchanges at all levels, including special committees and friendship groups. The two sides' legislative bodies should play a positive role in boosting law-making and governance experience sharing, so as to provide support to bilateral relations, Li added.

Cheaper fees, easy admissions: Indian medical students shift gaze towards China | Education News, The Indian Express Sowmiya Ashok visits campuses and finds that this journey to a medical degree comes with its share of anxieties — language hurdles, uncertain career options back home. Besides, a lingering concern: how much noodles can one eat?

The U.S. is entering a new Cold War with China | Interview with Niall Ferguson | Dallas News It may not be obvious to the lay observer, but in some ways we are already in Cold War II, and it has the potential to escalate. There are a whole bunch of different areas in which the U.S. and China can clash, including old-fashioned geopolitical theaters like the South China Sea, North Korea and Taiwan. These are Cold War flashpoints. And let's not forget that China and the United States fought a hot war in Korea during the Cold War. So I do sense that we have gone quite a long way down this road. Of course, it's not the same exactly. We are far more intimately bound up with China economically and even culturally than we were with the Soviet Union. We are doing a Cold War with a massive trading partner. We are doing the Cold War with an economy that was once so close to us that I used the phrase "Chimerica" to describe it. // Comment: gave a history lesson to US VP Pence at a lunch pence convened a couple of months ago to discuss China, hear this was one of his themes

DOD workers bought thousands of Chinese electronics vulnerable to hacks, spying The auditors also wrote that the Pentagon has a pattern of buying products from companies such as Huawei, ZTE or Kaspersky Lab long after other federal agencies have identified the companies as posing cybersecurity risks and right up until the point that Congress outlaws purchases from the companies.

China’s Intelligence Gathering Ships Change the Equation |RealClearDefense The real problem is whether China will come to understand that the rules apply in both directions. All nations know that such operations are illegal inside another country’s 12 nautical mile territorial sea, but China has its own interpretation of other elements of the Law of the Sea. Chinese units should not freely enter the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of other nations to gather military intelligence if China will not accept that the same activities may be conducted by foreign units inside China’s own EEZ.

Recent PRC influence operations to counter public demands for a more effective response to the Chinese régime’s political interference in Canada - Sinopsis In August 2018 the author of this paper was invited to a meeting with Canada Desk officers of the Chinese Ministry of State Security. Over several hours of stimulating discussion, it was most evident that the MSS officers attending had a very detailed and sophisticated grasp of the minutiae of Canada-China relations across a multitude of dimensions based on Chinese language materials they indicated that they were able to access in Beijing. Indeed the MSS officers clearly had a much more comprehensive grasp of matters relating to China’s interests in Canada than the Chinese diplomats posted to Canada and officers on the Canada Desk of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Americas and Oceania Division encountered by the author across two postings to the Canadian Embassy in Beijing and periodic interactions since. So it is apparent that the Chinese régime does have strong reporting from Canada to the MSS in Beijing.

Professor, Chinese generals co-authored defence research - The Australian Professor Xue Jingling has been named by Beijing as an elite “Thousand Talents Scholar”, and maintains ongoing links to China’s National University of Defence Technology. NUDT, which operates under the direct leadership of China’s Central Military Commission, has been blacklisted by the US ­because its supercomputers are “believed to support nuclear ­explosive simulation and military simulation activities”.

MAVNI program: The U.S. military is kicking out foreign recruits it sought, with inconsistent reasoning - The Washington Post In the past month, the Pentagon booted two Chinese recruits from the enlistment process because of their dead grandfathers, who lived very different lives. One recruit’s grandfather, whom he never met, served in the communist military. Another recruit was removed from the program after drilling for three years because of the polar opposite — Zicheng Li’s grandfather fought against, and was tortured by, China’s Communist Party, defense officials wrote.

Chinese students are welcome in America, US education official Marie Royce says, calling China’s negative reports propaganda | South China Morning Post  “Contrary to what you might have heard from the government of China, the number of Chinese student visa applications refused has declined in each of the last four years,” Royce told an audience of 500 international education professionals from US universities and colleges.

China to fund costs so bridge to North Korea can open to traffic:The Asahi Shimbun During the visit, Xi also promised that China will promote construction of an economic development zone on North Korea's Hwanggumpyong Island in the Yalu River, which forms a natural border between the two countries, the sources added. Construction of the bridge and the economic development zone were agreed on when former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was still alive.

What’s in it for China? A Beijing Insider’s Surprising Insight on Nuclear Arms Control - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace “That is one of the reasons I think China should join talks with the United States and Russia. I don’t think our leaders will do this: they worry that if China agrees on one issue, the United States will then just keep making more demands. But I think they are missing an opportunity. We could show the world where the real nuclear problems are and who holds the keys to solving them.”

火箭军地下长城”基地细节曝光,官兵全副武装枕戈待旦 - 西瓜视频 video from inside the "underground great wall" of PLA rocket forces

Tech and Media

In Depth: A Year After It Went Public, Investors Aren’t Buying the Xiaomi Story - Caixin Huawei itself has also become more aggressive at home amid weakness overseas stemming from the U.S. clash, adding to Xiaomi’s China difficulties. Ren acknowledged in May that Huawei’s international smartphone shipments this year would fall by as much as 60%. A distributor told Caixin that Huawei pulled back “almost all of its overseas shipments” for its Honor 20 model from its lower-end brand and marked them for China instead. Huawei had originally planned to ship 10 million Honor 20s internationally this year, the source added.

After Industry Chill, Chinese Games Sales Return to Double-Digit Growth - Caixin A report published Tuesday by gaming industry database CNG says that Chinese game studios’ revenue in the first half of 2019 jumped 10.8% year-on-year to 116.3 billion yuan ($16.9 billion).

Are Chinese Online Novels the McDonald's of Literature? - Pandaily The term “Wang Wen”, literally translated from Chinese as internet literature, was once specifically used to describe low quality writing. In most people’s eyes, it was fast food content with cheap plots and stereotypical characters. Usually mass produced by unknown niche writers, online literature was often seen as inferior to traditional literature.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

In Depth: How China’s Emissions Trading Scheme Faltered - Caixin The development of China’s emissions trading market has hit a number of hurdles. The only industry included in the NDRC’s 2017 plan was the power sector. Though that industry alone makes for a larger emissions trading market than the EU’s, the limited scope and low price of emissions quotas has limited the actual cost to companies of their carbon dioxide emissions. The coal and electricity industries have not seen an impact.

Pricing Reforms Take Juice Out of Power Transmission Investment - Caixin Investment in China’s power transmission infrastructure dropped nearly 20% in the first half of this year, accelerating a slowdown, as operators squeezed by electricity pricing reforms become more selective in their investments.

Jobs and Events

Sign Up: Belt, Road, and Beyond | Reconnecting Asia CSIS will host a three-day Master’s-level introduction to China’s BRI. The course will explain what the BRI is, what it is not, and how it is impacting commercial and strategic realities on the ground. - September 11-13, 2019 in DC