US-China tariffs; Stimulus measures; Food inflation; Huawei's chip advances; Online gaming policy; Education drives real estate; Beijing's Pacific bullying

The next round of US tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports may take effect as soon as Friday and there are no public signs of any near-term deal to forestall the escalation of the trade war. 

DC has been consumed over the last day with the revelations of chaos in the Trump Administration from leaks of the new Bob Woodward book Fear: Trump in the White House and the anonymous Op-Ed in the New York Times by a "senior administration official" describing efforts to keep Trump in check.

So far I have only seen summaries of the book and the OpEd in Chinese media, but I am dying to know how the system is briefing Xi on the craziness. I specifically worry about several things:

  1. Will Xi take these revelations as further evidence that there is no way to trust any trade deal Trump may agree to, and so there is little point in offering any significant concessions to try to forestall the escalating trade war?;

  2. Will Xi see even more foreign policy opportunity in the US political chaos, and especially to press harder on issues on the PRC's periphery?;

  3. Emerging markets look wobbly. How will the US and China communicate and coordinate in the event of a broader global financial crisis?;

  4. Does Xi agree with Mao that "天下大乱、形势大好 great disorder under the Heavens and the situation is excellent”?

  5. What do Xi and Putin talk and maybe plot about when the chat about the US and Trump? 

Thanks for reading.

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The Essential Eight

1. The next round of US-China tariffs imminent

As next round of U.S. tariffs on China looms, both sides dig in | Reuters:

The United States is negotiating with Canada this week to try and finalize a deal to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, an outcome some in the White House say will allow Washington to turn up the heat on Beijing.

“The hope is that this (NAFTA) puts a lot of pressure on the Chinas of the world to help us negotiate better reciprocal trade deals,” Kevin Hassett, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told Reuters...

Beijing appears to be bracing for a long fight.

Official Chinese media is asserting that Trump’s trade war is aimed at containing China’s rise, a perception solidifying Beijing’s resolve not to buckle under U.S. demands.

In light of such a U.S. agenda, China should “maintain strategic determination” and “take care of our own matters”, Long Guoqiang, vice president of the State Council’s Development Research Center, wrote in the People’s Daily.

China to take necessary countermeasures depending on U.S. tariff action: MOC - Xinhua:

"If the U.S. side ignores the opposition of the majority of enterprises participating in the public comment, and goes its own way to impose additional tariffs on more Chinese imports, China will have to take necessary countermeasures," said Gao Feng, the MOC spokesperson, at a press briefing.

China reiterates that any attempts to pressure China are unreasonable and futile. The trade war will not solve any problems. Equal and sincere dialogue and negotiations are the only correct ways to solve China-U.S. trade disputes, said Gao.


2. Series of measures to stimulate the economy

Central Bank Steps Up Calls for Expanded Credit - Caixin Global:

The People’s Bank of China on Tuesday invited 14 banks and 29 private companies to discuss ways to address the financing difficulties many small firms face amid Beijing’s deleveraging campaign. Company executives at the meeting said they continue to experience pressures from slowing economic growth, government policies to cut debt, higher financing costs and tougher pollution curbs...

Central bank Governor Yi Gang, who hosted the Tuesday meeting, didn’t offer any new policy initiatives to expand credit availability. The meeting also involved officials from the four largest state-owned banks and executives from troubled private companies.

In a statement posted on the PBOC website, Yi said the central bank will treat state-owned and private companies equally on credit and bond issuance policies. The government will coordinate monetary, fiscal and regulatory polices to stimulate incentives for financial institutions and build a sustainable financing model for small enterprises, Yi said.

Banks Reluctant to Obey Calls for More Credit - Caixin Global:

*Since the banking watchdog told banks in August to ‘support for the real economy,’ China’s largest state-owned banks have moderately boosted their lending plans while other lenders have not budged

*Bankers worry that turning on the lending taps will increase their numbers of non-performing loans, with one telling Caixin that they ‘really don’t dare to do this’

Chinese premier chairs State Council executive meeting - Xinhua:

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday presided over a State Council executive meeting, which decided to make supporting measures for implementing a newly revised law on individual income tax.

China will implement the revised law approved last week as scheduled and step up efforts to specify the concrete scope and standards of special deductions to reduce people's burden, according to a statement after the meeting.

The government will also improve policies to ensure that the general tax burden of venture capital funds does not increase, the statement said.

China unveils tax breaks for banks to spur loans to small firms | Reuters:

Interest income from loans by financial institutions to smaller firms, or “micro-loans”, will be exempt from value-added tax (VAT) from Sept. 1 until the end of 2020, the ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

China says will ensure tax burden for companies doesn't rise | Reuters:

China will study how to lower the social security tax rate to ensure the tax burden for all companies - including venture capital firms - does not increase, the state cabinet was cited by state radio as saying on Thursday.

China’s tax bureau will take over social security collection from the Social Security Bureau in 2019, a move seen enforcing greater compliance by companies as the government frets over an aging population and rising pension deficit.

Comment: The tax bureau taking over social security collection has spooked companies as it is effectively a massive tax increase since it will be much harder for firms to cheat on the payments.

国常会重磅!确保“社保归税”不给企业增负,创投税率仍按原标准_证券时报网:

解读:此前,社保归税引发社会普遍关注。市场认为,社保由税务局统一征管后,原先按最低标准缴交的“灰色操作”将不再可行,这将大幅增加企业尤其是劳动密集型企业的人力成本。根据会议精神,该政策将有一定的过渡期,并且未来社保的缴纳标准有望降低,总体上不会增加企业的负担。针对此前一些地区养老金收不抵支的问题,明确了目前养老金仍有相当结余,可以确保按时足额发放,不会“透支”。

As Market Sinks, China Plans to Boost Stock Buybacks - Caixin Global:

The securities regulator said on Thursday that revisions to the Company Law are being proposed that will broaden the circumstances under which companies can repurchase their shares, and simplify and speed up the process for obtaining shareholder approval for buybacks. The proposals will also give companies more flexibility in how they deal with the shares by allowing them to set up a treasury stock account to hold the equities, according to the statement posted on the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) website.

China continues efforts to spur private investment - Xinhua:

The country will ease restrictions on private investment into sectors such as infrastructure, public services, elderly care and health care, Yan Pengcheng, spokesperson of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said at a press conference.

Yan said the country will encourage local governments to set up infrastructure private investment funds and encourage financial institutions to use big data technology to grant loans to private businesses.


3. Floods and African Swine Fever to spur food inflation?

China’s flood-hit farmers struggle as worries grow about rising food prices | South China Morning Post:

Shouguang, known as the vegetable basket of northern China, was a pioneer in greenhouse agriculture and for years has been one of the main vegetable suppliers for the region, which includes the capital Beijing.

While flooding is not uncommon in China during the summer, the heavy losses suffered by local farmers like Li have shocked the country and triggered a heated debate about the government’s agriculture management...

Shouguang’s troubles began when unexpectedly heavy rainfall from a passing typhoon caused water behind three upstream dams to rise to dangerous levels, threatening nearby dwellings.

Local officials said they had no choice but to discharge water towards the 15 towns downstream in Shouguang, where flooding eventually affected more than half a million residents.

Were officials to blame for the inundation of farms in China? - Economist $$:

For all the ever-tighter controls on public grumbling that have been imposed during the rule of Xi Jinping, flashes of discontent are occasionally visible. The flood on August 20th in and around Shouguang, the city that administers Kouzi village, has triggered one. The outcry is not so much about the number of casualties—13 people were killed in the Shouguang area, compared with an annual nationwide death toll from flooding that is often in the hundreds. Rather, it is about the possibility that the local government may have been partly to blame for the calamity, which caused damage estimated at 9.2bn yuan ($1.3bn). Residents of Beijing feel a particular connection: Shouguang produces many of the fresh vegetables sold in the capital.

China's vast pig market in lockdown as African swine fever spreads | Reuters:

China on Thursday reported its tenth case of the disease in just over a month. Efforts to control its rapid spread by banning transport of live hogs from and through infected areas has left traders idle, farm pens bursting with pigs, and slaughterhouses short of stock.

It has also pushed up pork prices in the country’s populous south as demand rises ahead of a week-long holiday in October, raised the prospect of imports, and underscored the limitations of a government push to promote livestock farming in the northeast cornbelt.

China finds African swine fever on four farms in single day | Reuters:

China reported four cases of African swine fever on Thursday alone, bringing the number of outbreaks to 13 since the virus was discovered in the country just over a month ago.


4. More on the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit

Q&A: South Africa’s President Dismisses Accusations Against Beijing of New Colonialism - Caixin Global:

China’s relationship with Africa “has now entered a golden age,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told reporters after the closing of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit in Beijing on Tuesday...

“There’s no new colonialism,” Ramaphosa told reporters on Tuesday, echoing Chinese President Xi Jinping, who said on the first day of the summit on Monday that China’s investment in Africa came with no political strings attached.

“We were all engaged in struggle against the colonialists from the Northern Hemisphere,” he said, referring to the long-standing relationship between South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party and the Communist Party of China.

In an interview with Caixin and other media outlets after the summit, Ramaphosa talked about South Africa’s historical ties with China, and China’s changing policy toward Africa.

China’s 2018 financial commitments to Africa: Adjustment and recalibration - Brookings - Yun Sun:

There is still a long way to go for the diversification of African exports to China. In brief, judging from the volume and composition of China’s 2018 FOCAC financial pledges to Africa, China’s commitment remains strong, but appears to be more cautious and calculating than its pledges from the past summit. The concessional side of Chinese financing is being moderated, while China has grown visibly more focused on the commercial and viability aspects. From the traditional model of “resources for infrastructure,” China appears to be morphing toward the next stage: equity investment by a more diverse group of investors supported by state development finance. Meanwhile, Africa still has major catch-up to do to attract more Chinese investment and to diversify its trade relations with China.

Local Kenyan police did not seem to get the happy summit memo - Police Raid CGTN Media House Headquarters in Nairobi - Kenyans.co.ke:

Heavily armed police officers on Wednesday raided China Global Television Network (CGTN) Africa Headquarters in Nairobi.

According to reports, about a dozen police with automatic weapons raided the media house rounding up staff members and demanding identity/alien cards and work permits from mostly expatriates working there.

However, some of the foreigners working at CGTN had not carried their IDs and were arrested and taken to the Kilimani Police Station...

Police stated that the 13 Chinese nationals who were arrested on Wednesday morning at CGTN/CCTV were freed after the Immigration Department confirmed they were in Kenya legally.


5.Beijing embarrasses itself at the Pacific Island Forum

Forum to demand apology from China | RNZ News:

Baron Waqa, the president of Nauru, warned China and other global powers seeking to use the Pacific as their playground to compete with each other - that the Pacific will no longer tolerate any interference.

"From this meeting in Nauru, going forward, we will not allow this kind of behaviour in our Pacific meeting space," Mr Waqa said...

"Look at him, he is a nobody. He is not even a minister and demanding to be recognised and to speak before the Prime Minister of Tuvalu. Is he crazy?

"We will go further than that. We will not only ask for a formal apology, we will actually take it up to the United Nations. Not only that I will mention it at the UN and every international meeting to raise our concerns about this incident.

"Never mind they are bigger than us, but they should not disrespect us," Mr Waqa said.

Video of Waqa's remarks, he is refreshing.

There are some clauses in here Beijing will not like—Forty-Ninth Pacific Islands Forum: Communiqué:

(ii) We recognise an increasingly complex regional security environment driven by multifaceted security challenges , and a dynamic geopolitical environment leading to an increasingly crowded and complex region;

(iii) We affirm our stewardship of the Blue Pacific and aspire to strengthen and enhance our capacity to pursue our collective security interests given our responsibility to sustain our Pacific peoples and our resources;

(iv) We respect and assert the sovereign right of every Member to conduct its national affairs free of external interference and coercion;

(v) We reaffirm the right of Members to individually and collectively address security issues and concerns;

(vi) We reaffirm the importance of the rules-based international order founded on the UN Charter, adherence to relevant international law and resolution of international disputes by peaceful means;


6. Huawei's chip advances

Huawei unveils world's most advanced chip to counter Apple - Nikkei Asian Review:

Huawei's new chipset is designed by the Chinese company's semiconductor arm, HiSilicon Technologies -- China's top chip designer by sales. It marks an advance to the 7-nanometer size, which allows more electronics to be packed into each device. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's biggest contract chipmaker, employs advanced and costly 7-nm production technology and will supply Apple's A12 core processor for the new iPhones...

HiSilicon trails Apple as TSMC's No. 2 customer, but has led Qualcomm, MediaTek and Nvidia in recent quarters, according to an executive in the industry.

The emerging chip powerhouse boasts more than 6,000 engineers, whose salaries can exceed those offered by Apple and Qualcomm, according to people familiar with the matter.

"We only benchmark chips from global leaders like Apple, Samsung and Qualcomm," a HiSilicon engineer told the Nikkei Asian Review. "Our goal is to design chips better than the front-runners, and cost is not a factor."

Huawei Guns for Nvidia With Potential Microsoft AI Chip Deal in China — The Information $$:

For the past several months, Huawei executives have been pitching its new AI chip and other offerings to Harry Shum, Microsoft’s executive vice president in charge of the U.S. company’s AI strategy and research, according to one of the people. Mr. Shum is on the list of keynote speakers for the Chinese company’s Huawei Connect conference, which will be held next month in Shanghai. At the annual event, Huawei is expected to discuss its AI strategy in front of its business partners and suppliers, as well as industry analysts and reporters...

Huawei already is one of China’s largest chip developers, as the company’s HiSilicon semiconductor unit designs chips for mobile phones, surveillance cameras and telecom base stations.

Related: Liu He chaired a meeting of the National Science and Technology System Reform and InnovationSystem Construction Leading Group--

Government Should Assist, Not Dictate, High-Tech Development: Report - Caixin Global:

The comments came in a government report published Wednesday after the first meeting of a new central technology group under the leadership of Liu, one of China’s top economic strategists. The report cited “profound changes in the external environment” — a reference to growing Western resistance to selling sophisticated technology to China...

The latest meeting headed by Liu stressed the urgency of transforming the government’s role in fostering technology development, saying it needed to focus less on making decisions and more on providing better assistance. Rather than provide money and goods and choose projects, it should focus on “making policies, creating environments and providing better services,” the report said.

The meeting reaffirmed the “determining role technological innovation will play in the country’s national power and global competitiveness,” according to the report.

刘鹤主持召开国家科技体制改革和创新体系建设领导小组第一次会议 


7. New measures to address online gaming addiction

Addiction to online games has been a problem since online games became popular in China. In a previous career I ran an online game developer and operator in Beijing (we failed miserably and expensively...) and we had to build in an anti-fatigue system. Perhaps this time is different. The real-time querying of the Ministry of Public Security national ID database is a very interesting move. It has been technically feasible for years but companies lobbied against it for a variety of reasons, including the per query expense. I wonder if that fee has gone away, or if a related firm is still going to make a nice "tax" off the game companies...But at the end of the day I do not believe the government wants to materially harm the online game industry, as it is a very powerful distraction and escape from daily reality for tens of millions of PRC citizens. This latest round of regulatory pain for the gaming industry may also have the added benefit of reminding Tencent and its executives to be careful about getting too big for their britches in the eyes of the Party Center.

Gaming addiction under spotlight in China as regulators tighten control on industry | South China Morning Post:

“Indulging in online games is a huge hazard – the whole society should act to establish a protection net and wall for youngsters,” the official Xinhua News Agency said in a commentary published on Tuesday. “For the nation’s future, we can never allow gaming companies to hunt for wealth by inducing teens to get addicted [to games].”

The article came after authorities published a document last week outlining how China, under the direction of Chinese president Xi Jinping, would improve myopia among minors.

A section in that document said the State Administration of Press and Publications – a newly formed gaming regulator – will restrict the number of new online video games, limit the amount of time minors spend on games and establish an age-appropriate reminder system for games.

Tencent launches new checks to weed out underage gaming amid China crackdown | Reuters:

Tencent said on Thursday it will introduce from around September 15 a real name-based registration system for new players of its Honour of Kings game to identify minors.

The system would be linked to China’s public security database and would be the first of its kind in the Chinese gaming industry, it said. It will be able to accurately identify underaged players and impose the relevant play time restrictions it had set previously, it said.


8. Education drives real estate

Educational resources are best in Beijing and Shanghai and very concentrated in certain areas in each city. Given the dearth of private education options that will allow your child to excel within the PRC system and especially succeed in the Gaokao, the logic of paying a huge premium to be zoned into the top schools is quite sensible. 

Chinese Parents Are Paying a High Price for Free Education - SixthTone:

It’s been an exhausting summer for Yu Xi and her son, Fengfeng, but ultimately a successful one. The 6-year-old will start his first year at one of Shanghai’s best public primary schools this month...

Like many middle-class parents in China’s big cities, Yu and her husband prepared for this summer years in advance. In 2015, they paid 2.6 million yuan (then around $400,000) for a 30-square-meter apartment in Lujiazui, an area of Shanghai better known for its glitzy waterfront skyscrapers than for its decades-old housing. It was an extortionate fee for a small, dilapidated property; a few streets away, more comfortable apartments sold for much less money. But Yu’s flat boasted one crucial advantage: It was located in the school district where the family hoped to enroll Fengfeng.

China’s middle class is expected to rise from 430 million people today to 780 million people by the mid-2020s. A substantial proportion of them are young, urban families anxious to guarantee a bright future for their children. ..

In April, families in Dongcheng — an area of Beijing — were informed that they could no longer apply to a single school if they bought property in the school district after June 30 this year. Instead, they must register interest in several schools of varying quality, to which their children will be randomly assigned. The drastic change prompted local parents to protest to the Dongcheng education bureau in May; under pressure, the bureau decided to delay the rollout of the initiative until next year.


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China's $29 Trillion Ball of Money Rolls to a Long-Ignored Haven - Bloomberg The rush into deposits by Chinese savers -- whose wealth has swelled to an estimated $29 trillion -- represents both a challenge and a relief for authorities in Beijing. The short-term risk is that money will flood out of higher-yielding assets too quickly, bringing unwanted turbulence to local financial markets that already face pressure from slowing economic growth and an escalating trade war with U.S. President Donald Trump. Yet in many ways, the changing mindset of savers like Teng is exactly what Chinese policy makers want to see. It suggests that faith in a government backstop for risky investments is fading after an 18-month campaign by regulators to reduce moral hazard and clean up the nation’s freewheeling asset-management industry.

Off the Scale: S&P’s China-Ratings Plan Spurs Worries of Too Many Triple-A’s - WSJ The credit-rating company, which is setting up an independent business in China, recently said it will tailor a system for rating bonds from businesses, local governments and other issuers there. “We believe that considering the size, dimensions and extent of diversification of China’s domestic capital market, there needs to be a set of special rating standards and rating methodology that fit the local situation,” S&P said in a document written in Chinese. One result, though, is that a triple-A rating from S&P in China won’t be equivalent to a triple-A in the U.S. or other developed markets.

Zhou Qiren Opinion: If Reform Stalls, Chinese People Will Play by Their Own Rules - Caixin Global  Reform is difficult, by definition. Present circumstances have made it even harder. But delaying reform is not a solution. Reform not only has to race against corruption and defeat, it must also keep up with the aspirations of younger and younger generations. It must also be able to incorporate a large volume of extralegal activities into the official system. If China does not achieve these things, it will face major problems.--Zhou is a Caixin columnist and a professor at the Peking University National School of Development. This piece was translated and adapted from Zhou’s preface to his book “The Logic of Reform.” The Chinese version 周其仁:既然改革这么难,干脆不改了行不行 

Tencent Bets $1 Billion on China Housing Boom With Stake in Property Brokerage - WSJ One of China’s largest real-estate brokerages is planning to raise about $2 billion from investors including Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY -3.93% and private-equity firm Warburg Pincus LLC, according to people familiar with the matter. The private fundraising round is likely to value the Beijing-based company known as Lianjia at about $13 billion, the people said.

China Is Becoming a Coffee-Drinking Nation | Alizila.com: While China still ranks relatively low in coffee consumption on a per-capita basis (at three cups a year versus 250 cups in the UK and 363 cups in the U.S.), total consumption grew at an average annual rate of 16% in the last decade, significantly outpacing the world average of 2%, according to figures from the International Coffee Organization. International coffee chains like Starbucks are rapidly expanding their footprint: the company tripled its store count in China to 3,300 in 2018 from 1,017 in 2013.  Online data shows a similar growth pattern: On Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms, including Taobao and Tmall, more than 18 million Chinese consumers bought RMB 2.5 billion worth of coffee products in the past 12 months, up 18% year-over-year...

China’s coffee war moves up a notch as Luckin and Tencent ink strategic agreement · TechNode: Bejing-based Luckin Coffee and internet giant Tencent have entered into a strategic agreement, according to 36Kr (in Chinese). The two will reportedly collaborate on the marketing side of their businesses—which includes promoting the adoption and user engagement of WeChat Pay and exploring more ways to leverage WeChat mini program intelligent marketing tools as well as developing new retail solutions.

China's Dalian Wanda seeks to reduce AMC stake - sources | Reuters Wanda is exploring a deal in which AMC would borrow hundreds of millions of dollars through a convertible bond, and then use that money to buy back some of Wanda’s 60 percent stake, the sources said on Wednesday. Wanda controls AMC though its ownership of Class B shares, and aims to retain control after any deal, the sources added.

Taiwanese netizen declares artist 'pro-Taiwan independence' to get pirated works off Taoba | Taiwan News To help out a frustrated Taiwanese artist whose pirated works were being sold on Taobao despite his requests to have his artwork taken down, a Taiwanese netizen declared the illustrator to be "pro-Taiwan independence," spurring the online vendor to immediately take down the unauthorized content.  Taobao and other Chinese online e-commerce platforms are notorious for selling pirated artwork which originated from Taiwan, but because of strains in Cross-Strait relations, originators of the art have little legal recourse. On Aug. 26, a netizen on the popular online forum PTT posted an account of how they convinced a Chinese Taobao vendor that the artist behind the pirated illustrations they were selling was in favor of Taiwan officially declaring independence from China.

Bloomberg Forum in Beijing for Business Elites Is Put Off, Chinese Hosts Confirm - The New York Times In a statement released on Wednesday, the China Center for International Economic Exchanges said the forum had been changed because of scheduling conflicts with “a number of large-scale events.” The group, which is made up of former senior Chinese government officials, including former Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan, made the announcement with Bloomberg L.P., the financial data and news company founded by Mr. Bloomberg. The two organizations said they planned to hold the second iteration of the forum in Beijing in November 2019.

Consumption Emerges as Primary Driver of Chinese Economy: Stats Bureau - China Banking News The NBS released the “7th Report in the Series on Economic and Social Development Accomplishments in the 40th Year of Reform and Opening” (改革开放40年经济社会发展成就系列报告之七) points out that social consumer good sales have seen average per annum growth of 15% during the period from 1978 to 2017, rising from 155.9 billion yuan to 36.6262 trillion yuan. The rapid growth of China’s consumer market has transformed consumption into the primary driver of growth. NBS data indicates that end consumption expenditures made a contribution of 58.8% to GDP growth in 2017, as compared to just 38.3% in 1978, for a rise of 20.5 percentage points in a forty year period.

DJI faces patent-infringement complaint in US market from rival Autel Robotics - Global Times China's SZ DJI Technology Co, the world's largest maker of non-military drones, is at risk of not selling its products in the US as a smaller rival filed a patent-infringement complaint in Washington on August 30. The rival, Autel Robotics, a US subsidiary of Chinese technology company Autel Intelligent Technology Corp, sought an investigation invoking Section 337 of the US Tariff Act of 1930 toward DJI, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said on Tuesday.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

Peak Xi Jinping? | ChinaFile An old Chinese adage holds that “keeping the company of a ruler is as perilous as lying with a tiger.” For all of his extravagant praise for Mao, Lin Biao himself learned the perils of sycophancy: he died in mysterious circumstances after having failed in an attempt to foreshorten Mao’s “longevity of ten thousand years.” Henceforth, Xi Jinping will be just as worried about those who are too lavish in their praise as he is about those who have too little to say. //Comment: I think we are closer to “foothill Xi” than “Peak Xi”…it could a lot more intense before it is over..

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

Nuclear impasse behind Xi Jinping's decision not to visit Pyongyang for founding day celebrations, Asia News & Top Stories - The Straits Times "If he goes, there is a need to have positive results," said Professor Jia Qingguo of Peking University. The Straits Times last month obtained credible information that Mr Xi would make the trip at the invitation of Mr Kim. However, on Tuesday (Sept 4), the Chinese Communist Party announced that Mr Li Zhanshu, the third-ranked official in the party and chairman of the National People's Congress, China's parliament, would be travelling to Pyongyang on Saturday (Sept 8) as Mr Xi's special representative to the event.

Special Representative Biegun Travel to the Republic of Korea, China, and Japan Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun will travel to Seoul, Republic of Korea; Beijing, China; and Tokyo, Japan from September 10–15. The Special Representative will meet with his counterparts and continue diplomatic efforts to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea as agreed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore.

China complains over British warship sailing through disputed South China Sea | Reuters China has expressed anger after a British Royal Navy warship sailed close to islands claimed by China in the South China Sea late last month, saying Britain was engaged in “provocation” and that it had lodged a strong complaint. The HMS Albion, a 22,000 ton amphibious warship carrying a contingent of Royal Marines, passed by the Paracel Islands in recent days, two sources, who were familiar with the matter but who asked not to be identified, told Reuters.

U.S., India sign security accord as Pompeo and Mattis hail strong partnership in New Delhi meeting - The Washington Post The United States and India signed a major communications security agreement Thursday during a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to New Delhi, highlighting the growing partnership between the world’s two largest democracies. The agreement, which had been under discussion for more than a decade, will allow India to receive military-grade communications equipment from the United States and permit the exchange of real-time encrypted information on platforms used by theIndian and U.S. armed forces.

Comcasa: US’ Comcasa assurance: Won’t share India data without consent - The Economic Times: During the Dokalam face-off, informed sources told ET that India did encounter difficulties in obtaining latest information on troop reinforcements and deployments deep inside Chinese territory. While the US did help with some information, it came with a certain time-lag as it had to be physically passed through different security layers to reach India. This sort of exchange will technically now be possible electronically and on a real-time basis. Given the way China has revamped its battle communication systems and strengthened its electronic warfare capabilities, sources said, access to US data will make qualitatively significant impact on Indian military planning against China.

Tajikistani President meets with CMC Vice Chairman Xu Qiliang - China Military Rahmon said China is the greatest neighbor to Tajikistan. China has been giving its firm support and assistance to Tajikistan and the two countries have been enhancing cooperation in various fields and deepening their relationship of comprehensive strategic partnership since Tajikistan's independence. Tajikistan is highly concerned about the changes of the situation in Afghanistan and the regional security, and is willing to work closely with China on regional affairs, strengthen military security cooperation under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and deepen cooperation in the field of defense and security.

Afghan troops to train in China, ambassador says | Reuters China will train Afghan troops on Chinese soil, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Beijing said, describing the military cooperation as an effort to fight al Qaeda and Islamic State militants bent on attacking China from its western neighbor.Afghanistan has also requested that China provide Afghan security forces with combat helicopters, Ambassador Janan Mosazai told Reuters in an interview.

High failure rate of conscription physical examination requires improvement of Chinese adolescents' physical fitness - China Military According to this year's conscription physical examination in a Chinese city, the proportion of candidates who were eliminated due to unqualified physical conditions is as high as 52.98 percent. Poor eyesight and obesity rank at the top two among the health risk factors. It is reported that the failure rate of applicants for the conscription physical examination remains constantly high in recent years.

Fears Antarctic is the new frontier for China’s military - The Australian China’s installation of satellite systems on the Australian Antarctic Territory could be used to guide strike weapons and help Beijing develop superior technology over the US within two years, the ­Morrison government has been warned. The former head of the Australian Antarctic Division, Tony Press, also told The Australian the government must step up its diplomatic efforts in Antarctic affairs to hold together the Antarctic Treaty System and avoid militarisation.

 

Hong Kong, Macao

RSF concerned about the presence of Chinese officials at Hong Kong daily SCMP’s editorial meeting | RSF As media in Hong Kong faces increasing pressure from Beijing, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) expresses concern over the presence of three officials from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the daily South China Morning Post (SCMP) editorial meeting last Thursday. South China Morning Post (SCMP)’s staff had the unpleasant surprise last Thursday, August 30th, to discover that three officials from China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs were attending their editorial meeting as observing guests. Their “visit” was part of a farewell tour for Sun Zhen, the spokesperson of the Ministry, who was accompanied by his successor, Lee Hua.

Is calling a white guy ‘ghost man’ racist? - Inkstone If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re a ghost man. That’s “gweilo” – Cantonese slang used to refer to westerners. Now a British man has filed a discrimination lawsuit against his ex-employer in Hong Kong, alleging that he was excluded in the workplace – and put down as a “gweilo.”

Hong Kong Passes New York as Home to the Most Ultra-Rich People - Bloomberg Hong Kong surpassed the Big Apple as the city with the highest population of people worth at least $30 million, according to a new report. The former British colony saw its number of ultra-wealthy increase 31 percent last year, to about 10,000, research firm Wealth-X found, higher than the nearly 9,000-strong population of the U.S.’s largest city. Tokyo came third, while Paris beat out London to take the European crown as Brexit weighed down the U.K. capital.

 

Taiwan

Taiwan: Spies, Lies and Cross-straits Ties | China | Al Jazeera We investigate increasing military and diplomatic pressures on Taiwan from the People's Republic of China.

Taiwanese evacuated from Typhoon Jebi only if they agreed they’re Chinese – mainland media | South China Morning Post Taiwanese tourists stranded in Japan by Typhoon Jebi were asked to state whether they identify as Chinese before being allowed emergency help, Chinese state media reported in an apparent attempt to reinforce Beijing’s claim over Taiwan.

 

Tech And Media

JD.com Founder Attended Boozy Dinner on Night of Alleged Rape, Caixin Told - Caixin Global The group, several of whom were women, racked up a $2,000 bill, drinking around 18 bottles of red wine and 20 bottles of beer, the restaurant worker told Caixin. A woman around 170 centimeters (5 feet 7 inches) tall had to be carried out of the restaurant because she was so drunk, the employee told Caixin. The group left around 9.30 p.m.// Sohu has posted the receipt from the dinner 刘强东性侵事件目击者独家爆料!受害女生被灌大量红酒 

JD.com’s Board Couldn’t Meet Without Its Billionaire Founder - WSJ the Chinese e-commerce giant’s bylaws say the board isn’t allowed to hold a formal meeting without Mr. Liu being present, or unless he recuses himself. JD.com even spells out that “any confinement against his will” wouldn’t merit an exception to this rule, although permanent mental or physical incapacity would.

Meituan’s chief billionaire-in-waiting hopes for ‘no war or black swan’ during IPO book building | South China Morning Post It was 9.44am on Tuesday and Wang Xing, chairman and chief executive of Meituan Dianping, sent out a message to his 204,780 Fanfou social media followers: “Hope war does not break out or other black swan events in the next nine days.”

China to improve govt domain names - Gov.cn According to the circular, a government website should have only one Chinese-language domain name and one English-language domain name. Registered domain names are banned from being transferred to others, and idle domain names should be closed in a timely fashion. Authorities in charge of government websites should make domain name management one of their major tasks, carry out regular inspection and investigate irregular registration, canceling, renting and transfer of domain names, the circular said.

How China’s top smartphone brands are waging war in India - TechInAsia According to IDC data, China’s big four – Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo – shipped a collective 16 million smartphones in India in Q2, accounting for nearly 55 percent of India’s smartphone market. Compare that to Apple, which didn’t even manage to sell one million phones in India over the first half of this year. India’s fast-growing market looks ripe for the taking, and Chinese smartphone companies even beyond the “big four” are coming to India to do battle.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Trafficked Myanmar woman faced heart-wrenching choice on son - AP Six years earlier, Marip Lu had been drugged, kidnapped and trafficked to this place far from her native Myanmar. She had been beaten and abused, forced to “marry” a mentally disabled man, and repeatedly raped, she said. Now the people organizing her rescue had warned it was too dangerous to take her son. But how could she go without him? “What if he never has someone to call ‘mama’?” Marip Lu kept asking herself, as the clock ticked down to her escape. “What will they do to him if I’m no longer there?”

辛识平:“娘炮”之风当休矣-新华网 Xinhua commentary comes out against the increasing online popularity of "effeminate men"  //  “油头粉面A4腰,矫揉造作兰花指”,这句顺口溜描述的正是时下某些所谓“小鲜肉”偶像令人错愕的形象与做派。当越来越多的“娘炮”及其言行刷屏霸屏,成为一些人热捧、哄抬的对象,人们对这种“辣眼睛”的反常现象不断表达担忧和反思。 与出于艺术表现考虑的“反串”“异装”不同,当下流行的“娘炮风”,是一种刻意强化并扭曲呈现的“人设”:他们看起来性别模糊却妆容精致,长身玉立却如弱柳扶风,动辄把“讨厌”“吓死宝宝了”“小拳拳捶你胸口”挂在嘴边;他们既在电影电视中这样演,在综艺节目和日常生活中也同样“入戏”……

Leading Nip-Tuck App Becomes China’s Latest ‘Unicorn’ - Caixin Global SoYoung is essentially a social networking site that allows users to share anything about plastic surgery — from writing reviews, comments and journals about their treatments, to posting before-and-after selfies. Among its features are a location-based search function for clinics, and a link for users to connect with doctors for live-video consultations and payment services.

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Q&A: China's waste ban debate is 'misinformed' and 'one-dimensional' | China Dialogue China faces a shortfall of millions of tonnes of raw materials after placing restrictions on foreign waste imports at the start of this year. But rather than drown in rubbish rejected by China’s port authorities, neighbouring countries in the region – such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia – could in fact be benefiting from the increased availability of cheap recyclable materials. At first glance, China’s decision to restrict imports of 26 types of foreign plastic and paper seemed like a boon for the environment, when announced at a World Trade Forum in July 2016.

ExxonMobil Wants Its Own Multibillion-Dollar Plant in Guangdong - Caixin Global ExxonMobil has signed a provisional agreement to build the plant at the Huizhou Dawayan Petrochemical Industrial Park in the Pearl River Delta, it announced in a statement on Thursday. The plant will include facilities for developing petrochemicals used in goods manufacturing and as well as a stream cracker, which produces finer hydrocarbon fuels, capable of producing 1.2 million metric tons of ethylene per year. Ethylene has many uses, including being a key ingredient in polyethylene, the most common plastic in the world.

China's submersible Jiaolong to have new mothership - Xinhua Shenhai Yihao, 90.2 meters long and 16.8 meters wide, has a cruising capacity of 14,000 nautical miles and will carry Jiaolong to launch a global oceanic scientific expedition in 2020, according to the center.

Tibet looks to stars with new telescope - Global Times Science and technology authorities in Tibet are promoting the construction of a sub-millimeter-wave telescope which would have the world's largest caliber, as well as a series of astronomical programs on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.  The projects are expected to be useful in many fields, including military use.

Sustainable development of natural gas urged - Gov.cn According to the circular, natural gas, a premium low-carbon energy source, should be better developed and utilized. Natural gas production is a mainstay of constructing a modern energy system as well as advancing the restructuring of energy production and consumption. But there is an array of pressing matters that the industry faces, such as domestic output falling short of consumption, lack of diversity in importation, unbalanced consumption structure, and infrastructure facilities lagging behind. // Comment: The problems that plagued the mandated switch last year that left so many with ho neat in the middle of the winter have still not all been solved

Harvard Doctors Backed by Billionaire Try to Revamp Cancer Care - Bloomberg A pair of Harvard-trained American oncologists, backed by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, are attempting to harness technology to revamp cancer care. They’re taking some of their earliest steps in China -- cancer’s ground zero...Driver’s solution? The startup’s labs in San Francisco and Southern China analyze patient tumors, DNA and other medical records. Then an app shows patients the best treatments and clinical trials globally that match their specific tumors. Driver works in both countries. Yet, the information shortfalls it’s focused on are particularly visible in China: There are just 18 oncologists per 1 million people in China compared with 161 for the same number in the U.S., according to a paper in the Journal of Global Oncology.// Driver 

 

Beijing

The average Beijing commute starts at 5 a.m. - CGTN Statistics show Beijing's rush hour starts at 5 a.m., as there's already a high demand for taxis, according to recently gathered big data on what apps are used on mobile phones at certain times. People living in Beijing face longer commutes, in both distance and time, especially for those living on the outskirts of the city. The average distance and time spent commuting in the capital city ranks the top in China, according to the 2018 study on commute in Chinese cities.