US-China Tech War; "Trade Coalition Of The Willing"; North Korea And China Look Happy Together Again; National Security; New Book On Xi

Good morning from chilly DC, no commentary, just going to get right into it today.

Thanks for reading.

The Essential Eight

1. More On The US-China Tech War

U.S. 'Stifling' Chinese Tech, State Media Says After ZTE Ban - Caixin Global:

The action against ZTE in the midst of those tensions is part of Washington’s broader plan to impede China’s economic development, said the official Xinhua News Agency in an editorial titled “U.S. decision on ZTE stokes up trade tensions with China.” It noted that the U.S. often prohibits exports of its sensitive technology to China, while also complaining about its big trade deficit with the Asian country.

“It is unfair that on one hand the United States restricts the export of high-tech products to China, while on the other it doesn't want China to produce them by itself either,” the editorial said. “Analysts have said that the U.S. punitive measures taken recently against China are not about trade, but about the impediment of China’s development.

如果美方任性妄为,中方必将毅然亮剑--国际--人民网:

新华社北京4月17日电 (记者闫子敏)外交部发言人华春莹17日在回答中美经贸摩擦有关问题时表示,如果美方任性妄为,继续逆潮流而动,中方必将严阵以待,毅然亮剑,打赢这场多边主义和自由贸易的保卫战。

华春莹当天在例行记者会上说,当前中美经贸摩擦的本质是多边主义同单边主义、全球自由贸易同贸易保护主义的斗争。

China Calls For Semiconductor Self Reliance Amid ZTE Import Ban – China Money Network:

“We should reflect on why we are always hit by the weakness,” Zhang Guobin, founder of eetrend.com, an information portal about the electronics industry told Xinhua news service. “It means that China’s semiconductor industry is not strong enough to face the issue of foreign suppliers cutting supplies.”

“China’s telecommunication industry relies heavily on international supplies for key parts, high-end chip processors and some fundamental software. So while we improve our innovation of integrated circuits, we also need to increase our R&D in the key, high-end and fundamental technologies to increase self-sufficiency,“ Xin Pengjun, editor-in-chief of China Telecommunication Newspaper, told Xinhua.

CCTV highlights the many times over the years Xi has said China needed to end reliance on core foreign technologies, says in light of recent developments he looks very prescient--习近平:核心技术靠化缘是要不来的 只有自力更生|核心技术_新浪财经_新浪网:

今年两会期间,中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席习近平在广东团参加审议时明确指出发展是第一要务,人才是第一资源,创新是第一动力。十八大以来,习近平在多个场合都曾强调过科技创新的重要性,他还多次提到要掌握核心技术,并指出核心技术受制于人是最大的隐患,而核心技术靠化缘是要不来的,只有自力更生。这些话语在今天看来,非常具有针对性和前瞻性。

China's ZTE may lose Android license as US problems build - Reuters:

The Commerce Department decision means ZTE Corp may not be able to use Google's Android operating system in its mobile devices, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. ZTE and the Alphabet unit have been discussing the impact of the ban, the source added, but the two companies were still unclear about the use of Android by ZTE as of Tuesday morning. ZTE shipped 46.4 million smartphones last year, placing it seventh among Android-based manufacturers, according to research firm IHS Markit.

U.S. Moves to Block Sales by Chinese Telecom Equipment Makers - The New York Times:

The United States undercut China’s technology ambitions on Tuesday, advancing a new rule that would limit the ability of Chinese telecommunications companies to sell their products in this country.

The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to move forward with a plan that would prevent federally subsidized telecommunications carriers from using suppliers deemed to pose a risk to American national security. The decision takes direct aim at Huawei, which makes telecommunications network equipment and smartphones, and its main Chinese rival, ZTE, sending a message that the government doesn’t trust them.

China’s Huawei backtracks on 5G shift - FT $$:

China’s Huawei, which has long trumpeted its pioneering role in 5G, has poured cold water on the next-generation wireless technology, claiming most consumers would not notice its benefits and that operators would struggle to make money from it.

The reversal comes as 5G has moved on to the political agenda, with key components ensnared in the US-China trade war and fears of Huawei’s supremacy in the technology prompting US president Donald Trump to block Broadcom’s acquisition of Qualcomm.

Speaking at the tech group’s analyst event in Shenzhen on Tuesday, rotating chairman Eric Xu said that while 5G was faster and more reliable, consumers would find no “material difference between the two technologies”.

U.S. Says Huawei Is a Security Threat, So It’s Backing Off - WSJ:

Huawei Technologies Co. said it plans to refocus on existing markets, following a series of setbacks in the U.S. and as the technology industry gets caught up in the spiraling trade spat between Washington and Beijing.

“It is beyond myself to clearly explain what is going on between the two countries,” Eric Xu, one of the Chinese telecom giant’s three rotating CEOs, said at an annual meeting in Huawei’s home city of Shenzhen. He said Huawei will spend more effort serving existing customers.

Unleashing China’s Capital Markets to Build a ‘Cyber Superpower’ - New America:

In one of its first major document releases since the Cyberspace Administration of China’s (CAC) parent body was elevated to a Commission, CAC and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC)—in a rare joint release—last week published “Guiding Opinions on Promoting Capital Markets to Serve [the Strategy of] Building China into a Cyber Superpower.” The document, translated in full by DigiChina here, lays new groundwork for funding China’s information and communications technology (ICT) companies and ties it directly to the Xi Jinping-linked strategy of building China into a cyber superpower (网络强国) on par with the United States.


2. Is There A "Trade Coalition Of The Willing" Against China?

CIA Director Pompeo met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend - The Washington Post:

Larry Kudlow, Trump’s chief economic adviser, played down a rift with Japan on trade and said the administration’s tariffs were aimed at punishing China, which he accused of “acting like a Third World economy.” Kudlow declared that a global coalition stands behind the Trump administration’s strategy.

“This trade coalition of the willing that I’ve been talking about, that others have been talking about, is really aimed at China,” he said. “China is a First World economy behaving like a Third World economy. And with respect to technology and other matters, they have to start playing by the rules.”

The United States does not need the TPP to confront Chinese bad behavior, Kudlow said. He touted a strong U.S. economy as leverage for American ideas on trade around the world and said Trump’s tougher stance on Chinese trade has won wide international backing.

“The rest of the world is with us. The president hasn’t consciously sought this, but it’s happening, and it’s a good thing,” Kudlow said. “So I hope China reads that carefully and responds positively.”

Chinese media likes to keep pointing out the operations inside of China of large US firms--U.S. decision on ZTE stokes up trade tensions with China - Xinhua:

In comparison, American companies have profited to great extent from the Chinese market during China's opening up and reform drive in the past four decades, thanks to improving business environment and preferential taxation policies specially designed for foreign investments.

In its fiscal year of 2017, Apple, the U.S. biggest cell phone maker, sold 44.8-billion-U.S.-dollar products in China, its largest single market overseas.

U.S. Trade Deficit Does Not Reflect Subsidiaries in China - Bloomberg:

General Motors Co. sells more cars in China than at home. There are more Apple Inc. iPhones used in the Middle Kingdom than in the U.S. Overall, China subsidiaries of U.S. companies sold $223 billion of stuff in 2015, reckons Deutsche Bank AG.

Much of that business isn't reflected in the deficit figures reported each month by the U.S. Commerce Department because the goods never actually cross a border. American firms' output is produced in China and sold in China. In the U.S., Chinese firms don't make and sell nearly as much. Deutsche Bank's estimate was just $22 billion.

That's ultimately a weakness in Trump's trade skirmish. U.S. companies are very exposed to retaliation by China that might go way beyond the question of tit-for-tat tariffs on imports.

Whiskey sour? China importers fret over U.S. trade battle - Reuters:

Taytslin and other U.S. whiskey importers say the worsening row is making small traders, as well as big business, very anxious. Some are accelerating shipments through customs to avoid potential tariff hikes. Others report unusual delays at customs they worry are linked to trade tensions.

The uncertainty gripping the niche market - U.S. whiskey imports to China were worth only $8.9 million last year - reflects the wider concern in the U.S. business community in China that the trade standoff could spark major disruption for American products in the world’s second largest economy.

Sino-American Trade: We Know Where This Is Headed - War on the Rocks - Derek Scissors:

Quick, sharp changes in the relationship, as threatened by the Trump administration, would have costs for the United States. Ideally, Washington would articulate a clear strategy and implement it over time, allowing both American companies and trade partners to adjust. Given the administration’s pattern to date, a well-telegraphed adjustment seems unlikely.

But fast or slow, clear or chaotic, the United States will not accept another decade of a much-larger China warping competition in its home market while demanding open markets overseas. It will not tolerate another decade of China mining the relationship for resources to seize technological leadership. There can’t even be misplaced faith that the next leader will be different, given Xi’s chairmanship-for-life. The economic relationship will shrink. We’re just arguing about timing.

Trump China tariffs could hike prices for TVs, batteries by 23%:

That increase is substantially more than the 10% to 15% price hike previously estimated by analysts and economists. It was calculated by Trade Partnership Worldwide, a consulting firm, for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and the National Retail Federation (NRF).

And just in case you thought US-China tensions could not get much worse:

According to Julian Ku, one of the witnesses at Tuesday’s Subcommittee Hearing: Reinforcing the U.S.-Taiwan Relationship at House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Julian Ku 古舉倫@julianku

They floated the idea of inviting President @iingwen to address a joint session of Congress. I was a little taken aback by this idea, which would cause China to go ballistic (maybe even literally).

April 17, 2018


3. North Korea And China Look Happy Together Again

Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Pyongyang 'soon,' official says - CNN:

Chinese President Xi Jinping is preparing to visit the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, an official with knowledge of the discussions told CNN Wednesday.

It would be the Chinese leader's first official visit to North Korea since he came to power as head of the Chinese Communist Party in November 2012.

The official, who didn't want to be identified, said the visit will happen "soon," possibly after the planned summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which is expected to take place in late May or early June.

People's Daily "Zhong Sheng" on the importance of Song Tao's visit to North Korea and improving PRC-DPRK relations in the New Era --落实历史性会晤共识的重要活动(钟声)--国际--人民网:

此次中国艺术团访朝,就是旨在落实两党最高领导人重要共识,弘扬中朝友谊,推动两党交流合作,促进文化艺术交流。由中联部部长担任中国艺术团团长,体现了党际交往在中朝关系中的政治引领作用,这在中朝两党交往史上也是首次。金正恩委员长强调,在朝中友好关系迈向新的更高阶段的重要时刻,习近平总书记委派中联部部长宋涛率高水平、大规模的中国艺术团来朝访问,充分体现了习近平总书记对落实我们所达成共识的高度重视和对朝鲜人民的友好情谊。希望以此为契机,夯实两国人民友好的基础,携手书写朝中友谊的新篇章。

Mike Pompeo, C.I.A. Director, Is Said to Meet With Kim Jong-un in North Korea - The New York Times:

“Abe put on a surprisingly brave face,” said Michael J. Green, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who advised President George W. Bush on North Korea. “The president of the United States just endorsed a peace treaty with North Korea, a declared nuclear weapons state, and they offered nothing in return.”

China, which is a signer to the 1953 armistice, has long favored a peace treaty. But Japan, which did not sign it, is suspicious of one — as are some foreign policy experts in the United States, who point out that the North has yet to take any tangible steps to give up its nuclear arsenal.

The idea of a peace treaty is not new. The United States and North Korea discussed it in the 1990s and again in 2005. But it has never gone anywhere, largely because North Korea has reneged on pledges to give up its nuclear program.


4. More From The National Security Commission Meeting

Xi calls for efforts to break new ground in national security - Xinhua:

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for efforts to fully implement a holistic approach to national security and break new ground in national security in the new era.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks at the first meeting of the 19th CPC Central Committee National Security Commission, which he heads....

Xi stressed that the CPC's absolute leadership over national security work must be upheld and the Party should exercise a stronger leading role and more effective coordination in this respect.

Moreover, Xi said Party building in national security system should be enhanced to make sure that the personnel working in this system are loyal, reliable and resolute in upholding the authority of the CPC Central Committee and its centralized, unified leadership.

Tuesday's meeting reviewed and adopted a regulation which stipulates the responsibilities of CPC committees and leading Party members groups at all levels in safeguarding national security.

The document requires them to enhance checks and inspections in this regard to ensure that the CPC Central Committee's relevant decisions and policies are properly implemented.

Media are highlighting 7 cases of foreigners caught violating China's national security law, some alleged spies, one a US teacher who criticized the Party in class and was expelled from the country-【澎湃问政】_国家安全教育日青海公安盘点七起案例,三起间谍是高校外教_权威发布_澎湃新闻-ThePaper.cn

5.吉林某大学一美籍教师在研究生外语授课过程中,以中国文化大革命内容的文章为题,讨论中国人权及社会制度等方面的问题,被上课的研究生当场严词拒绝,并报告学校有关部门,后经国家安全机关调查后,对该外籍教师做出限期离境的处理。


5. Elizabeth Economy's New Book On Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping's Revolutionary Ambitions for China - Elizabeth Economy - Foreign Affairsadapted from her timely new book the author of The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State

At the heart of Xi’s revolution is a values-based challenge to the international norms promoted by the United States. The Trump administration must now advance an equivalent challenge to China—one that begins with a forceful assertion of enduring American principles. This means not only maintaining a strong military presence in the Asia-Pacific but also demonstrating a continued commitment to free trade and democracy. At the same time, the United States must mount a vigorous defense at home. Because it can no longer count on China to continue the process of reform and opening up, it should stop sacrificing its own economic and political security. In the past, Washington tolerated a degree of intellectual property theft and unequal market access because it believed that China was making some progress toward market principles and the rule of law. With that logic off the table, there is no reason the United States shouldn’t adopt more restrictive policies toward China...

China is eager to restrict opportunities for outsiders to pursue their political and economic interests within its borders, even as it advances its own such interests outside China. Accordingly, it’s time for the Trump administration to take a fresh look at the notion of reciprocity—and do unto China as China does unto the United States. U.S. policymakers have long considered reciprocity a lose-lose proposition that harms relations with China without changing its behavior. Instead, they have acted under the assumption that if the United States remains true to its democratic values and demonstrates what responsible behavior looks like, China will eventually follow its lead. Xi has upended this understanding because he has stalled, and in some respects reversed, the political and economic reforms begun under Deng and has transformed the United States’ openness into a vulnerability...

For the foreseeable future, then, the United States will have to deal with China as it is: an illiberal state seeking to reshape the international system in its own image. The good news is that Xi has made his revolutionary intentions clear. There is no excuse now for the United States not to respond in equally unambiguous terms.


6. EU Is Worried About The Belt And Road Initiative

EU ambassadors to Beijing band against China's Silk Road in critical report - Handelsblatt:

Twenty-seven of the 28 national EU ambassadors to Beijing have compiled a report that sharply criticizes China’s “Silk Road” project, denouncing it as designed to hamper free trade and put Chinese companies at an advantage.

The report, seen by Handelsblatt, said the plan, unveiled in 2013, “runs counter to the EU agenda for liberalizing trade and pushes the balance of power in favor of subsidized Chinese companies.”

The unusually biting contents, which only Hungary’s ambassador refused to sign, are part of the EU’s preparations for an EU-China summit in July. The EU Commission is working on a strategy paper to forge a common EU stance on China’s prestige project to build roads, ports and gas pipelines to connect China by land and sea to Southeast Asia, Pakistan and Central Asia, and beyond to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

Why did Hungary refuse to sign?

China’s gift to Europe is a new version of crony capitalism | Martin Hala | Opinion | The Guardian:

In my country, the Czech Republic, we’ve seen up close how China intends to expand its reach. Central Europe is very much part of China’s ambition to “move to the centre of the world stage” – the expression used by Xi during last year’s Communist party congress. The basic tool China relies on is the Belt and Road initiative, a trade and infrastructure project spanning Asia and Europe which encapsulates the regime’s overarching foreign policy goals, in what Xi has dubbed the “new era”...

I run a project that monitors China’s attempts to build its “smart” power through a nexus of business, political and media networks. In Europe, there’s arguably no fonder ally of Beijing than the Czech president, Miloš Zeman, a populist who was re-elected earlier this year. He is on record calling Xi his “young friend”, and Belt and Road “the most remarkable initiative in modern human history”

Meanwhile, Malaysia may reevaluate BRI as well if the opposition wins in the upcoming elections--Mahathir says he would halt, review China loans - AP:

Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says Malaysia will stop borrowing from China and review Chinese investments if his opposition grouping is elected in May 9 polls.

Mahathir warned in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday that Malaysia has borrowed a large amount of money from China and may not be able to repay it. He noted that Sri Lanka had to give China ownership of a port and other projects in return for debt relief.

“We feel that we will stop borrowing. We will try to renegotiate the terms of the borrowing. In the case of projects, we may have to study whether we would continue or we would slow down or we would renegotiate the terms,” he added.


7. New Report on EU-China FDI

Rhodium Group (RHG) and the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS)--EU-China FDI: Working towards reciprocity in investment relations :

Key findings and recommendations:

Europe continues to be a favorite destination for Chinese investors;

European FDI in China remains lackluster because of slowing growth and persistent market access hurdles;

By all available measures, there is a significant gap in investment openness between the EU and China;

The lack of investment reciprocity harms European interests;

Moving toward greater reciprocity is ultimately in China’s own interest:;

A robust bilateral investment agreement with China should be the EU’s priority but success is uncertain;

Europe needs strategies to build greater leverage to respond if China continues to drag its feet.

Chinese FDI in Europe in 2017 | Mercator Institute for China Studies:

In 2017, China’s global outbound investment declined for the first time in more than a decade. According to China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), outbound FDI by Chinese companies dropped by 29% (Figure 1).1 Other data sources that measure financial flows related to outbound investment record an even sharper drop, for example a 53% decline in SAFE figures on change in China’s FDI assets.


 8. How Do You Not Lose Money In A Government-mandated Fire Sale?

Why Beijing’s plan to break up mysterious tycoon Xiao Jianhua’s business empire hit the buffers | South China Morning Post:

A plan by Chinese authorities to split up the business empire controlled by mysterious billionaire Xiao Jianhua has run into difficulties after the group and potential buyers disagreed on the prices of key assets, according to public corporate filings and sources who are close to those deals.

Beijing has ordered Xiao to divest about 150 billion yuan (US$23.9 billion) worth of assets in 2018 to repay bank loans, the South China Morning Post reported last month. 

Xiao had already divested about 100 billion yuan the previous year. 

As a result, Tomorrow Group, the flagship corporate vehicle of Xiao, and its hundreds of affiliated entities, have been putting its stakes in banks and trust firms on sale in an act of “self-rescue by downsizing”, sources told the Post.

And how did Xiao end up with so many financial licenses? Did Wen Jiabao know he had so many?


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China’s Central Bank Chief Kicks Off Reign With ‘Very Clever' Move - Bloomberg It was an innovative move that nailed multiple objectives -- even if the PBOC surprised everyone by announcing the decision without warning after office hours. Funding costs were lowered for small banks feeling the brunt of President Xi Jinping’s push to curb debt risk and more credit was freed up for efficient small businesses struggling to access bank loans. And by making it easier for small banks to lend, a squeeze on shadow banks also was maintained. Capping it all, policy aims were met with a net liquidity injection of just 400 billion yuan ($64 billion), nullifying fears of a sharp shift in monetary policy.

China's IPO Pass Rate Plunges to under Half - China Banking News A chief reason for the mass withdrawal of IPO applicants is the heightened scrutiny applied by CSRC, which has required that sponsors serve as “gatekeepers,” and promptly withdraw the applications of any unqualified companies.One Beijing-based investment banker has also told The Beijing News that CSRC is now requiring that IPO applicants post total net profits for the past three years of over 100 million yuan, and at least 50 million yuan in the final year.“Applicants for IPO’s on the main board must post net profits of at least 80 million yuan in the past year, while for secondary boards the requirement is 50 million yuan.”

Old Wall Street Strategies Turn Hugely Profitable in China - Bloomberg Dismissed by many as a casino after its wild boom and bust in 2015, the country’s $7.6 trillion equity market has quietly turned into a place where fundamentals matter. Chinese shares with the most attractive dividends, profit revisions and earnings yields -- metrics used by Wall Street pros for decades -- have trounced the nation’s benchmark index by as much as 46 percentage points over the past three years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

China Builder Kaisa Group Is Said to Discuss Dollar-Bond Sale With Banks - Bloomberg A potential dollar bond sale by Kaisa would be its second offshore issuance since it completed a restructuring following a landmark dollar-bond default in 2015. Kaisa sold $3.45 billion of notes in June last year to replace the securities it issued to repay creditors in that restructuring to extend its debt maturity profile.

HNA’s debt, complex ownership behind NZ’s block of bank deal - FT $$ Concerns over share pledging, high levels of debt and a complicated holding structure led regulators to block HNA Group's acquisition of New Zealand's UDC Finance for NZ$660m ($462m). New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office stopped the deal in December but issued notes on the decision this week. HNA's use of share pledging and its high leverage were factors in blocking the deal.

Opinion: Corruption Charges in Angola May Spell Trouble for Sinopec - Caixin Global Recent allegations of corruption against two children of Jose Eduardo dos Santos, a former president of Angola, and against Manuel Vicente, a former vice president of the African state, may have implications for Hong Kong and China. The former president’s son, Jose Filomeno dos Santos, has been charged with corruption, while there are allegations of corruption against Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ daughter, Isabel dos Santos, which she denies. Vicente faces trial for corruption in Portugal. All these developments may shine the light of transparency on a secretive group of companies based in Hong Kong nicknamed “the Queensway Group,” and poses risks for China Petroleum and Chemical Corp. (Sinopec), a Chinese state-owned oil company.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

Huarong Asset Chairman Lai Xiaomin Faces Corruption Probe - Bloomberg Links have emerged between Huarong and CEFC, and the energy company’s efforts to take a 14 percent stake in Rosneft PJSC, the Russian oil giant. Beijing News reported in December that a unit of Huarong took a stake in the CEFC unit that planned the $9 billion purchase of the Rosneft stake. The day after the investigation of Ye was revealed, CEFC was taken over by an arm of the Shanghai government, the South China Morning Post reported on March 2.

Senior bank regulatory official to be named China Huarong chairman: sources - Reuters The official, Wang Zhanfeng, is the head of the Guangdong branch of China’s banking regulator, the people said.//Caixin also reports Wang will become Huarong Party Secretary, and Chairman and Li Xin will become president 独家|华融任命新高管 王占峰、李欣分别出任党委书记、总裁 

人事观察|中央网信办副主任庄荣文转岗中宣部副部长_政经频道_财新网 Zhuang Rongwen, deputy director of the office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, is now a vice minister of propaganda...setting him to replace Xu Lin as head of the Cyberspace Administration?

他们可能是离中南海最近的一群人,有点话要对你说 A video from People's Daily on the "Red Wall Consciousness" approach t local governance in Beijing. This seems to be a budding thing worth watching, looks almost like includes neighborhood watch committees for the New Era...

【新时代新气象新作为】平安:落实“红墙意识”的抓手—more on “Red Wall Consciousness"

北京市西城区践行“红墙意识”系列报道_中国经济网——国家经济门户 “离红墙最近,跟百姓最亲。”北京市西城区在推进民生工作中践行“红墙意识”,从老旧楼加装电梯,到居民停车管理;从小区户线修缮,到居民参与社区管理……不断提高保障和改善民生水平。践行以“绝对忠诚、责任担当、首善标准”为内涵的“红墙意识”,就要多谋民生之利、多解民生之忧,在幼有所育、老有所养、住有所居、弱有所扶上不断取得新突破,不断满足人民日益增长的美好生活需要。为此,西城区把“访民情、听民意、解民难”的工作制度落到实处,不断提高群众的满意度和获得感。// And another more on Red Wall Consciousness"

Alipay trials digital replacement of China's ubiquitous ID cards · TechNode The “Resident ID Online Verification Certificate” (our translation: “居民身份证网上功能凭证”) uses the “Internet+ Trusted Identity Authentication Platform”, also known as CTID, (our translation: “互联网+可信身份认证平台”), according to Xinhua (in Chinese). The system has been developed by the Ministry for Public Security’s First Research Institute. CTID is the system behind the trials of digital ID within WeChat late last year. The Alipay integration is now being trialed in Hangzhou and Quzhou in Zhejiang, plus Fuzhou. Registered users in the three cities can make transactions that are fully validated from within Alipay itself, without having to separately supply the details of or show their standard ID card. These include coach and train tickets as well as checking into hotels. The Alipay ID is also valid in local authority service halls.

Chinese Dissidents Under House Arrest During Anniversary of Premier's Death - RFA Authorities in the Chinese capital placed a number of dissidents under house arrest over the weekend, which saw the anniversary of the death of liberal premier Hu Yaobang, which triggered a mass outpouring of grief and the student-led democracy movement on Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Chinese traffic police let offenders off if they post a confession online (and it gets enough likes) | South China Morning Post Traffic police in southwestern China have been allowing scooter drivers who commit minor offences to avoid a fine if they confess online – so long as their mea culpa gets 20 or more likes.

An exchange between Gui Minhai’s daughter and the Post’s Editor-in-Chief | South China Morning Post With regard to your father’s case, I assure you categorically that we did not collaborate with the Chinese authorities to portray your father as speaking freely while in custody, as the report incorrectly alleges. We provided the facts and context, including a photograph showing him between two guards, and our reporter also talked to your father’s friends so as to shed more light on the circumstances. All this allowed our readers to judge for themselves whether he was under duress.

建立健全党对重大工作的领导体制机制(深入学习贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想)--观点--人民网 Mu Hong, executive deputy director of the Office of Deepening Reform and a deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, explains page 7 of the 4.18 People's Daily why the 19th 3rd (Party Eats The State) Plenum decision was needed to ensure the Party's leading role in all important decisions

Government gazettes to meet higher standards - Gov.cn The central government is determined to regulate government gazettes to promote administrative services, as stated in a circular released by the State Council on April 18. As a legal carrier of administrative laws and regulations, the government gazette is an authoritative channel for government organs to issue decrees. However, some governments’ gazettes have not published regulations timely and it’s not so convenient to search documents through gazettes, according to the document. Given that, a systematic mechanism should be worked out to improve government work on gazettes.

Changsha to boost development of AI industry | english.scio.gov.cn - SCIO Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan province, held a press conference on April 16, introducing two new polices on boosting the development of its AI industry. The first aims to accelerate the technological development of AI and set up a production base, and the second details regulations on testing of intelligent connected vehicles (ICVs).

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

US could sanction Chinese officials over Xinjiang abuses - AP Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Laura Stone said Wednesday that the U.S. was deeply concerned about China’s detention of at least “tens of thousands” of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims and could take action under the 2016 Global Magnitsky Act.

He Yiting, executive vice president of the Central Party School and chair of the NPC's social construction committee 人民代表大会社会建设委员会, discusses the new book collection "China Dream, China Road", published by the People's Daily Publishing House, on page 7 of the 4.18 People's Daily. He says it is a masterpiece in constructing a Chinese discourse system... I have not read the collection but based on He's comments it is clearly sited within the overall strategy of offering up a "China Model” that compares favorably to the "Western Chaos" as He repeatedly describes the West...—构建中国话语体系的力作(新书评介)--观点--人民网:正如习近平同志所指明的,要成功推进并向世界讲好“中国之治”,就要积极构建中国话语体系。构建中国话语体系,目的是使其与我国国际地位的提高相适应,客观展现中国革命、建设、改革的成果,以理论、经验和事实向世界提供发展方案,为促进各国共同繁荣贡献智慧。构建中国话语体系,需要对西方话语体系进行科学辨析、理性批判,有理有据驳斥西方话语体系对中国和其他发展中国家的偏见,切实改变“西强我弱”的国际舆论格局,消除基于“西方中心论”的话语对中国形象的歪曲,以事实为依据传播真实的中国信息,推动形成健康的国际舆论氛围。“中国梦·中国道路”丛书,从哲学、历史、外交、经济、文化等多个维度,以理性的分析、翔实的数据、雄辩的事实、生动的故事谈中国、论世界,是国内外读者了解中国道路及国际局势的重要参考,有助于传播中国声音、塑造中国负责任大国形象,能为构建中国话语体系、增强中国的国际话语权作出有益贡献。这套丛书的作者包括韩震、王义桅、辛鸣、陈曙光、苏长和等,大都是我国哲学社会科学领域的知名学者,有的是很有潜力的青年才俊。他们的研究和建树,保证了这套丛书的高度、深度和权威性。

'China's Hawaii' Expands Visa-Free Access to 33 More Countries - Bloomberg China has extended visa-free access to Hainan for another 33 -- mostly European and South American -- countries, as President Xi Jinping seeks to boost the tropical province’s popularity among foreign tourists. New regulations expanding the travel privileges to 59 nations come into effect in May, the official Xinhua News Agency said, citing the State Immigration Administration. Tourists from those countries can enter the province as individuals without a visa and stay for as many as 30 days -- shift from previous rules that required people to travel in groups and stay no longer than 21 days.

China leapfrogs New Zealand as Australia's top tourist source - Reuters Some 1.39 million Chinese visited Australia during the period, up 13.2 percent on the year prior and for the first time exceeding travelers from neighboring New Zealand, Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed.

China, Nepal invite India to join trans-Himalayan railway project under OBOR | IndiaToday China and Nepal today said they would take forward plans to build a trans-Himalayan railway and economic corridor. This was decided at a meeting between the foreign ministers of the two countries. They also invited India to join the project.

Latest development of domestically-built aircraft carrier - China Military some pictures

Chinese archaeologists begin first deep sea mission - Xinhua Six archaeologists will board the submersible Shenhai Yongshi (literally "deep sea warrior") and make six dives in waters off Beijiao of the Xisha Islands, according to the State Administration of Cultural Heritage. The dives, ranging from six to eight hours each, will vary in depth from 50 to 200 meters, although they may dive as deep as 1,000 meters if necessary. The manned submersible is designed to reach a maximum depth of 4,500 meters.  //  Comments: Odds they will come up with evidence of Chinese ownership of the islands?

China, Finland to enhance Arctic research cooperation - Xinhua China and Finland have signed an agreement to establish a joint research center for Arctic space observation and data sharing services, the China Academy of Sciences (CAS) announced Wednesday. The agreement, signed on April 8 by Liu Jianbo, deputy director of the academy's Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, and Jouni Pulliainen, director of Space and Earth Observation Center under the Finnish Meteorological Institute, states the research center will be built in Sodankyla, north Finland's Lapland.

Pakistan shuns US for Chinese high-tech weapons - FT $$ “Twenty years ago, China did not have the technology to be able to compete with the west, but now there is not much difference,” says Siemon Wezeman, a senior researcher at Sipri. “Many countries also see Chinese supplies as more secure, as Beijing does not tend to cut them off over awkward issues such as democracy or human rights.”

China’s $1 Billion White Elephant - Bloomberg The eight-year-old Hambantota port -- with almost no container traffic and trampled fences that elephants traverse with ease -- has become a prime example of what can go wrong for countries involved in President Xi Jinping’s “Belt and Road” trade and infrastructure initiative. Sri Lanka borrowed heavily to build the port, couldn’t repay the loans, and then gave China a 99-year lease for debt relief.

China bolsters undersea warfare power through stolen US technology, admiral says - Stripes China is eroding America’s advantage in potential undersea warfare in part by stealing U.S. technology through hacking defense contractors and infiltrating academia, the Navy admiral nominated to lead U.S. Pacific Command said Tuesday. “I believe they are stealing technology in just about every domain and trying to use it to their advantage,” Adm. Philip Davidson said during his nomination hearing before the Senate Committee on Armed Forces.

 

Hong Kong, Macao

China Conducts War Games, and Taiwan Is the Target - The New York Times The war games were the first in the Taiwan Strait since 2016, Chinese state television reported. They were held in a two-square-mile area that includes two islets off the city of Quanzhou in Fujian Province. That area is about 125 miles west of the city of Hsinchu on Taiwan’s west coast.

Inside Cambridge Analytica’s Virtual Currency Plans - The New York Times Documents and emails obtained by The New York Times show that Cambridge Analytica’s efforts to help promote another group’s digital token, the Dragon Coin, associated the firm with a famous gangster in Macau who has gone by the nickname Broken Tooth...Last summer, Ms. Kaiser’s team began working with Dragon Coin, a new virtual currency that was designed to be used by gamblers. The coin was supposed to make it easier for people to get their money to casinos in Macau

 

Tech And Media

China removes 370 live-streaming apps, cracks down on online games · TechNode In addition to live-streaming apps and platforms, 50 online games are also being inspected by the ministry as part of the government’s ongoing efforts to police China’s gaming industry and protect Chinese children from Internet addictions. Games that fail to implement procedures to curb juvenile addiction, neglect to enforce real-name registration among its users, or contain content that “celebrates violence, incites crime” and include “illicit advertising” will be severely punished, according to the ministry’s inspectors.

Tencent, JD.Com, Suning, Sunac Said To Invest $478M In LeEco TV Maker – China Money Network According to unconfirmed Chinese media reports, property developer Sunac China Holdings Limited has teamed up with Tencent Holdings Limited, Suning Holdings Group and JD.com to invest RMB3 billion (US$478 million) in television maker New Leshi Smart Home, an affiliated of Leshi. The companies had not confirmed the news at press time. It’s not the first time these four corporations have formed an unlikely alliance to invest in a financially troubled Chinese conglomerate. In January, the four teamed up to acquire around 14% of Dalian Wanda Commercial Properties Co. for approximately RMB34 billion (US$5.4 billion).

Pedro Domingos on the Arms Race in Artificial Intelligence - SPIEGEL ONLINE Comment: Xi had his book The Master Algorithm on his bookshelf behind him during his New Year's speech  //  Domingos: It was both exciting and scary. Exciting because China is developing rapidly, and there are all sorts of ways the Chinese and the rest of the world can benefit from AI. Scary because this is an authoritarian government, going full tilt on using AI to control their population. In fact, what we are seeing now is just the beginning. Like any technology, AI gives you the power to do good and evil. So far, we have been focusing on the power to do good, and I think it is enormous. But the power to do evil is there, too.

Pear Video Secures Funding From Tencent, Baidu - Caixin Global Pear Video has secured 616 million yuan ($98.1 million) in series A funding, paving the way for the short-video platform to supply content to investors including Tencent and Baidu, Caixin has learned. The cash infusion will value Pear at around 3 billion yuan, sources familiar with the matter told Caixin on Monday

DJI to Raise $1 Billion in Innovative Bidding Process - Caixin Global Chinese drone-maker DJI Technology Co. Ltd. is selecting investors for its $1 billion funding round through a bidding process. The second round of bidding is set to close on Friday, Caixin has learned from people close to the matter.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

The quiet revolution: China’s millennial backlash - FT $$ “There are more nationalists among the younger generation, because of the influence of Communist party education, and because of the increasing social and economic pressures they face,” says political commentator Qiao Mu. A study by think-tank Merics found that nationalists, who love to vent their opinions as part of China’s growing army of online trolls, were more likely to be dissatisfied with their personal economic situation compared with other online tribes.

How Long-Unpublished Press Photos Bring Life to Chinese History - Sixth Tone Feng Keli is the founder and the editor-in-chief of “Old Photos,” a bimonthly series of photography books.

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

China's terrestrial ecosystems play key role in carbon sink: research - Xinhua A study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) of the United States on Wednesday, found that China's forests, shrubs and croplands sequestrated 201.1 million tonnes of carbon every year from 2001 to 2010, which offset 14.1 percent of the carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels in China during the same period.

Will China beat the world to nuclear fusion and clean energy? - BBC News Around the globe, they are trying to master nuclear fusion - in the United States, Japan, Korea, Brazil and European Union - but none can hold it steady for as long as the team in Anhui. Right now that's 100 seconds and it gets longer every year. Here they're already talking about goals which are 10 times as long, at temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius.

 

Agriculture And Rural Issues

China's pig farmers hit brakes on expansion as prices plunge - Reuters Two medium-sized companies have told Reuters they have either reduced expansion plans or are holding off on future expansion of breeding pigs, while an industry analyst said some small farmers have already begun slaughtering sows. The moves are the latest sign that years of frenzied investment to boost hog production has been overdone, with output well beyond stagnating domestic demand at a time when global pork supplies are already at record levels.

 

Beijing

Beijing’s skyscraper arms race cut short thanks to new CBD height restrictions | South China Morning Post LL said the height limit has been capped at no more than 180 metres. Previously, developers would consult the CBD Managing Committee, which sets zoning restrictions in the most prosperous district of Beijing, on height restrictions on a case-by-case basis.  Future office buildings in the area are expected to range from 100 to 200 metres in height, according to CBRE. The affected buildings were originally planned to be 190 to more than 300 metres, the consultancy said.