US-China Trade; China The Focus Of Proposed US Legislation; CPPCC Session Concludes; Will Alibaba Be The First CDR?

Good morning, going to get right into it today.

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. US-China Trade

U.S. pressing China to cut trade surplus by $100 billion: White House - Reuters:

The U.S. request comes as the Trump administration is said to be preparing tariffs on imports of up to $60 billion worth of Chinese information technology, telecoms and consumer products as part of a U.S. investigation into China’s intellectual property practices.

It is also unclear if the requested $100 billion reduction would address U.S. complaints about China’s investment policies that effectively require U.S. firms to transfer technology to Chinese joint venture partners in order to gain market access.

Larry Kudlow, new chief economic advisor to Trump, says China 'has earned a tough response':

"A thought that I have is the United States could lead a coalition of large trading partners and allies against China, or to let China know that they're breaking the rules left and right," he said. "That's the way I'd like to see. You call it a sort of a trade coalition of the willing,"

You mean like TPP, which Trump killed?

Forming an Alliance With U.S. Allies Against Bad Chinese Trade Practices Won’t Be Enough to Bring the Trade Deficit Down | Council on Foreign Relations -- Brad Setser: 

The biggest surpluses globally (and for that matter, the biggest deficits) are now found in advanced economies, and the advanced economies generally have relatively low tariffs. Macroeconomic factors—and currency levels, which themselves are shaped by macroeconomic policy choices—play a much bigger role in determining the overall trade balance than actual trade practices. 

A China that behaved better commercially would no doubt help many companies. And if China lowered barriers to actual imports, overall trade with China might expand. But better commercial practices on their own aren’t enough to assure a smaller Chinese trade surplus. A China that pared back on its macroeconomic stimulus as it liberalized could also provide less demand to the global economy, especially if a slowdown in China led the yuan to depreciate.


2. US Legislation For The "New Era of US-China Relations"

I think the PRC embassy is going to have a hard tine lobbying these bills away. The embassy was able to quash Ted Cruz's bill to rename the street in front of the PRC embassy in DC to "Liu Xiaobo Plaza", but these bills are much more meaningful and I believe have much more support.

GOP Congressman Robert Pittinger has an OpEd in today's Wall Street Journal on the need to modernize CFIUS and the resistance his bill is getting from lobbyists for big US firms like GE and IBM, lobbyists he says "put America's national security at risk".--How China Pushes the Limits on Military Technology Transfer - WSJ:

In November, Senate Majority Whip JohnCo rnyn and I introduced a bipartisan bill, endorsed by President Trump, called the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act [FIRRMA] to modernize the Cfius process and address these national-security issues in a targeted manner. Unfortunately, a handful of U.S. companies that have profited from these technology transfers now aggressively oppose our bill...

These same companies, particularly General Electric and IBM , are working aggressively to defeat the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act and have employed an army of lobbyists to preserve the status quo. Both companies have a history of business activities in China that include extensive transfers of high-tech, military-applicable capabilities...

The status quo, defended by an army of lobbyists, has put America’s national security at risk. The clearest path to addressing these glaring national-security risks is for Congress to pass the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act and strengthen our Cfius review process to prevent further transfers of military-applicable technology to China.

Microsoft, 21Vianet Extend China Cloud Partnership - Caixin Global:

Foreign companies often use similar types of arrangements in China because Beijing largely forbids foreign ownership of domestic telecommunications infrastructure. The government also bars foreign companies from providing accompanying services due to sensitivity about information security. A policy issued in 2017 stipulated that cloud services in the country must be operated by Chinese companies, and foreign firms must partner with qualified domestic players to launch such services.

How many Silicon Valley firms are lobbying against FIRRMA?

Blocked Broadcom deal may stunt Chinese Silicon Valley investment - Reuters:

U.S. venture capital funds are also raising more money from Chinese family offices and investment firms, but legislation introduced last year in Congress that aims to strengthen CFIUS could change that. Language in the bill could require venture funds that have raised money from foreign investors to get government approval for the startup investments they make, a proposition the startup community has called untenable..

“We don’t want to go down the path where they use ‘national security’ as a reason to get us out of their market,” said Steve Hoffman, chief executive of Founders Space, a startup incubator based in San Francisco that has locations in China.

There is also an effort underway to modernize FARA, clearly targeted at China.

House Proposal Targets Confucius Institutes as Foreign Agents – Foreign Policy:

The effort, spearheaded by U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), targets any foreign funding at U.S. universities that aims to promote the agenda of a foreign government....

“The bottom line is transparency,” Wilson tells Foreign Policy in an interview.

The draft bill does not single out Confucius Institutes by name, but according to Wilson it will apply to the Chinese government-run programs...

As currently written, FARA includes an exemption for “bona fide” academic and scholastic pursuits, but what is meant by “bona fide” is not clearly spelled out. The draft proposal would redefine what is meant by a bona fide academic pursuit to exclude any foreign-funded endeavor that promotes the agenda of a foreign government. If enacted, the legislation would, in turn, trigger mandatory registration for the institutes, though it would not interfere with their activities.

“The goal is transparency by the foreign agents themselves and also by the universities,” Wilson says. “The American people need to know that they are being provided propaganda.”

We may have an answer to my question yesterday about the nomination of Susan Thornton to be assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs. It looks like it may dead in the water. 

Without Rex Tillerson’s protection, a top State Department Asia nominee is in trouble - The Washington Post:

“I will not be supporting the nomination of Susan Thornton,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told me. “During her time at the State Department, she has undermined our strategic allies like Taiwan and downplayed China’s human rights abuses and its export of authoritarianism, favoring smooth bilateral relations with Beijing over ‎a relationship grounded in reciprocity and reality.”

Rubio is expected to place a hold on Thornton’s nomination if and when it his approved by the committee. It would not scuttle the nomination outright, but it could delay it long enough for Pompeo to take over at Foggy Bottom and make his own evaluation...

“On every tactical question of consequence on Asia since the inauguration, Susan has been opposed to taking serious action to counter Chinese economic and political aggression,” a senior White House official told me.


3. US Policymakers Hardening Views Towards China While Citizens Have Improving Views Of The PRC

Favorable Views of Japan, China Keep Climbing - Gallup

China's favorability has increased markedly over the past two years, with a majority (53%) now having a favorable view of China for the first time since early 1989. Last year, China's favorable rating rose to 50% from 44% during the previous two years.

More Americans have favorable view of China, despite U.S.' tougher official stance - China Daily:

Americans are feeling more positively toward China a year after Donald Trump became the U.S. president, with 53 percent of them saying they have a favorable opinion of China, the highest in nearly three decades, according to the latest Gallup World Affairs survey. 

Impressed by the Gallup poll, which was conducted in February, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi cited its results at his press briefing on Thursday on the sidelines of the annual session of China's top legislature in Beijing. "Cooperation is the main thrust of China-U.S. relations. Our people enjoy close and extensive exchanges," Wang said. "I hope people will pay more attention to such positive things," he added.


4. CPPCC Session Concludes

China Focus: China's top political advisory body concludes annual session, stressing CPC leadership - Xinhua

China's top political advisory body concluded its annual session Thursday, stressing the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

"Taking a clear political stand is an essential feature of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC)," said Wang Yang, newly-elected chairman of the 13th CPPCC National Committee, when addressing the closing of the session.

The CPC leadership is a fundamental political guarantee for the development of the CPPCC and a basic political principle that the advisory body must observe in the new era, Wang said.

Wang Yang: the ‘down-to-earth liberal’ taking on China’s top advisory job | South China Morning Post

“The CPPCC is an important united front work tool. You need to make contacts with all kinds of people,” the academic said, referring to the party’s outreach efforts.

It will be interesting to see how the "liberal" (whatever that really means in the Xi Era Communist Party everywhere context) Wang Yang pushes United Front efforts… 

China Focus: Wang Yang elected chairman of China's top political advisory body - Xinhua:

Xia Baolong was elected secretary-general of the CPPCC National Committee.

The newly elected chairman and vice chairpersons are aged 64 on average.

Among the vice chairpersons, 11 are CPC members. Four are from ethnic minority groups and two are women.

The Standing Committee members are aged 59.3 on average, 65 percent of whom are not CPC members.

A total of 33 Standing Committee members are from ethnic minority groups, and 39 are women.  

As a reader wrote to me yesterday, the inclusion of Team Xi'er He Lifeng as a CPPCC vice chairman allows him to delay retirement and stay on as head of the NDRC, still a very important job even as the NDRC's power is dramatically reduced. 65 year-old Xia Baolong is also a Team Xi'er, one of the members of the so-called "New Zhijiang Army 之江新军".


5. Another Sign Hong Kong Is Becoming Just Another PRC City

Hong Kong's judges voice fears over China influence in judiciary - Reuters:

At a private cocktail reception with leading judges before the event, one of the topics of discussion was concerns over Beijing’s influence in the judiciary, according to one participant who requested anonymity.

Hong Kong’s judges are increasingly expressing such fears in private, concerned that interpretations and amendments from China’s parliament could soon force them to curb the city’s freedoms, according to interviews with four veteran judges, as well as with sources close to several others.

The judges interviewed said that while they believe the independence and integrity of the judiciary remains intact, such interpretations could effectively mean Beijing is telling them what to do, limiting their authority on key political and security issues.


6. MERICS on China-Europe Relations

If attitudes towards China are hardening among all the Western powers at nearly the same time, is that a problem of Western protectionism and prejudice, or is is it something that Xi and CCP are doing? 

China seems to tone down its 16+1 engagement: three possible explanations | Mercator Institute for China Studies:

News that China plans to reduce the frequency of its summits with Central and Eastern European countries has been interpreted as a charm offensive towards Brussels, where many see the 16+1 as divisive. But it could also be an acknowledgment that many of China’s economic promises to the region have not materialized or even an attempt to further divide Europe...

Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron recently pointed out the importance for European companies to get better access to the Chinese market. They also warned about the risks of state-driven Chinese takeovers of European high-tech companies.

CEEC governments, however, do not consider these issues priorities. They hope that Chinese investment will give their economies a push, and that closer relations with Beijing will increase their leverage vis-à-vis Brussels. It is up to Germany and France to initiate a focused debate among the greatest possible number of EU member states over the corner stones of a European China policy that takes everybody’s interests into account


7. More on China and AI

Deciphering China's AI Dream - Future of Humanity Institute:

This report examines the intersection of two subjects, China and artificial intelligence, both of which are already difficult enough to comprehend on their own. It provides context for China’s AI strategy with respect to past science and technology plans, and it also connects the consistent and new features of China’s AI approach to the drivers of AI development (e.g. hardware, data, and talented scientists). In addition, it benchmarks China’s current AI capabilities by developing a novel index to measure any country’s AI potential and highlights the potential implications of China’s AI dream for issues of AI safety, national security, economic development, and social governance. The author, Jeffrey Ding, writes, “The hope is that this report can serve as a foundational document for further policy discussion and research on the topic of China’s approach to AI.” The report draws from the author’s translations of Chinese texts on AI policy, a compilation of metrics on China’s AI capabilities compared to other countries, and conversations with those who have consulted with Chinese companies and institutions involved in shaping the AI scene

Interesting comment in the Financial Times by Michael Wooldridge, professor of computer science at the University of Oxford and author of ‘Artificial Intelligence: A Ladybird Expert Book’ --China’s bid for artificial intelligence dominance powers ahead - FT $$:

But today American hegemony in AI is being seriously challenged for the first time. One of the most remarkable features of the current AI boom is the sudden and very visible presence of China as a global force...

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that China is now in serious competition with the US for dominance in AI. No European nation remotely competes at these volumes and, even taken as a whole, Europe is not really in competition for gold or silver.

So why is China suddenly so prominent? In a word: scale. The machine-learning techniques behind the current AI boom are seriously data hungry. To recognise human faces, translate languages and pilot driverless cars requires huge quantities of “training data” — the fuel for machine learning algorithms that we generate every time we go online or use our smartphones.

Hikvision's AI roadshow attracts visitors in Bucharest - Xinhua

"Hikvision offers almost all range of surveillance products and all these products can be delivered as an integrated security solution package, so as to help system integrators to save time and money while implementing projects," a local employee of the company told visitors.

"During our roadshow, we want to show people our latest products and customized solutions, with the aim to reflect Hikvision's global leadership in the video surveillance market through innovative products, pioneering solutions and prompt service," Jermy Wang, Romania Country Manager told Xinhua, adding that the company is committed to providing the latest technologies with the best quality products.


8. Will Alibaba Be The First CDR?

China Tech Titan Alibaba Plans Stock-Market Homecoming - WSJ:

Technology giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is working on a plan to list on a stock exchange in its home market, China, according to people familiar with the matter, more than three years after its blockbuster initial public offering in New York.

Alibaba is evaluating ways in which its shares could be traded by investors on the mainland, the people said. A secondary listing in China could happen as soon as this summer if the country’s securities rules are changed to allow listings of foreign companies, one of the people added. While the bulk of Alibaba’s business and operations are in China, the nearly 20-year-old company is incorporated in the Cayman Islands.

Will the valuation be much higher inside China? This move may bring even more pain to the long-suffering $BABA short-sellers...

Chinese Depository Receipts Ready for Launch: Securities Regulator - China Banking News:

The deputy head of the China Securities Regulatory Commission has confirmed that Chinese depository receipts (CDR) are on track for launch in the near future.

Yan Qingmin (阎庆民) made the remarks on 15 March at the sidelines of the meeting of China’s two legislative bodies in Beijing


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

HNA Misses Fuel Bill Payments Amid Liquidity Concerns - Caixin Global An employee of a Shenzhen-based aviation fuel company told Caixin that HNA has also missed payments to his company. The company hasn’t stop fuel supplies to HNA carriers, but has sent people to HNA’s headquarters in Haikou to pursue the payments, said the employee. Another source from an aircraft leasing firm said HNA has repeatedly delayed its lease payments.

China's Ctrip Blames Scandal, Business Curbs for Sales Shortfall - Bloomberg Executives lamented the impact of a ban on the default-bundling of services such as insurance and other extras with airfares, instituted by regulators after consumers complained about hidden charges. Ctrip also blamed the backlash from footage posted online of infants getting abused and fed wasabi at a childcare center for employees. Though the center was run by a third-party, video of the incidents went viral and provoked widespread condemnation of the company online.

China Leaps Ahead in Race to Secure Cobalt for Electric Cars - Bloomberg Glencore Plc, the world’s top cobalt producer, agreed to sell about a third of its output of the metal to Chinese supplier of battery chemicals GEM Co., the Shenzhen-listed company said in a filing. The Chinese firm’s shares rose as much as 9.2 percent. The three-year deal is set to shake the car industry as the biggest brands rush to lock down battery supplies essential to their survival in the coming electric-vehicle era

Shakeup Signals Rise of Select Regulators - Caixin Global The regulatory shake-up, along with the handover of the two watchdogs’ power for drafting regulations for the two industries, is a sign that the stars of the cabinet-level Financial Stability Committee and the central bank are on the rise, while the 15-year-old China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) and the 20-year-old China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) will be shut down, sources said. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), although left intact, is also expected to see its power diminish after the official takeoff of the overarching Financial Stability Commission that has been set up within the central bank.

PBOC Outlines Changes to Regulatory System After Banking and Insurance Merger - China Banking News Xu Zhong (徐忠), the head of the People’s Bank of China’s research department, has outlined key changes to the country’s financial regulatory system that will result from the State Council’s proposed merger of the banking and insurance authorities.

Investor Caught Running ‘Pump and Dump’ Scheme - Caixin Global An investigation uncovered that the investor, who was only identified by the surname Gao, had raised more than 2 billion yuan from clients including film and television stars, business owners and company executives to run a “pump-and-dump” scheme targeting the shares of the Shenzhen-listed Jinghua Pharmaceutical Group Co. Ltd., the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said in a briefing on Wednesday.

Moutai Toasts Its Efforts to Tackle Piracy, Pollution - Caixin Global Deputy manager of the Kweichow Moutai Group, Zhang Deqin, told Caixin on the sidelines of China’s ongoing annual legislative meeting — to which he is a delegate — that he has submitted proposals to the National People’s Congress advocating efforts to tackle both intellectual property and environment protection...Laws on intellectual property should be improved, consumer awareness must be raised, and the media is also responsible. Some media organizations endorse counterfeits just to get their advertisement money. Regulators should be stricter. Some government officials, greedy for bribes, have offered shelter for fake products, which does no good for the protection of intellectual property.

China's Bankers Are Most Upbeat on the Economy in 12 Years - Bloomberg A gauge of banker confidence in the economy rose for a ninth-straight quarter to 81.9 percent in January-March, according to survey results from the People’s Bank of China. That’s up from 79.1 percent the prior quarter and near a record high in data since 2004, according to PBOC’s survey of 3,200 bankers across the nation.

央视3·15晚会曝光:大众途锐发动机进水,山寨杏仁露露霸占农村市场... | 每经App VW gets hit on the annual CCTV 3.15 Consumer Day Show, show doesn't seem to have the impact it once did though, especially this year

4 provinces to launch pilot standardization reform - Gov.cn The State Council has approved launching national pilot standardization reforms in Shanxi, Jiangsu, Shandong and Guangdong provinces, according to a document released on March 15. The document asked the four provincial governments to implement a standardization strategy and offer replicable experiences for the comprehensive standardization reform.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

State Council releases legislation plan for 2018 - Gov.cn The State Council released a circular laying out the legislation tasks for 2018 to build up a modernized economic system; strengthen governmental construction; promote prosperous culture; improve people’s lives; accelerate ecological civilization system reform, and promote modernization of the national defense and army. According to the circular, a number of draft laws, amendments, regulations and provisions will be proposed for deliberation to the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee. These legislation projects include a revised draft for patent law, revised laws on the administration of tax collection, draft for foreign investment laws, and formulating governmental investment regulations, to name a few.

房地产税、个税未列入国务院今年立法计划_经济频道_财新网 Caixin reports that property tax and personal income tax are not on the State Council's 2018 legislative agenda

A Guide to 2018 State Council Institutional Reforms – NPC Observer In this post, we present our own summary of the 2018 State Council Institutional Reform Plan (国务院机构改革方案), along with information that we think would help our readers better understand the Plan. The NPC is scheduled to approve the Plan on Saturday (March 17).

A revered rocket scientist set in motion China’s mass surveillance of its citizens | Science | AAAS In the 1990s, the Chinese government even spearheaded a "learn from Qian Xuesen" movement. Popular discourse now acknowledges that modern China's first leader, Mao Zedong, "was a human being," says Zhichang Zhu, a systems scientist at the Xiamen University Malaysia in Sepang. "But to a circle of scientists in China, Qian Xuesen is now, in their mind, the new god." The traditional, or "hard," brand of systems engineering that Qian pioneered has lately come under attack from Zhu and other scholars, both inside and outside China. They contend that it discounts the experiences of everyday people affected by systems models and values state power above all else. They are trying to carve out an alternative vision for systems science, one less reliant on mathematical formulas and more attuned to civic participation. But that could prove an uphill battle in a country where maintaining stability trumps scholarly debate.

A Mysterious, Debt-Laden Oil Company Draws China’s Scrutiny - The New York Times The American government’s complaint against Mr. Ho, 68, includes references to CEFC executives as well as the chairman, without naming Mr. Ye. The complaint also describes emails between Mr. Ho and CEFC’s chairman about the suspected bribes. In court hearings, prosecutors have said the company and Mr. Ye are not targets. But, they have added, the investigation proceeds. To add to the mystery, the court in New York recently appointed a special officer to deal with documents that are expected to be classified.

深化党和国家机构改革是加强党的长期执政能力建设的必然要求--中国人大新闻--人民网 陈希 Chen Xi in People's Daily on the Third Plenum decision and the importance of these instituional reforms to the construction of the long-term governing capacity of the Communist Party--一、加强党的长期执政能力建设,要求从机构职能上解决好党对一切工作领导的体制机制问题; 二、加强党的长期执政能力建设,要求顺应党和国家事业发展需要、健全完善“优化协同高效”的党和国家管理体制; 三、加强党的长期执政能力建设,要求党和国家机构更好适应我国发展新的历史方位、推动解决我国社会主要矛盾; 四、加强党的长期执政能力建设,要求通过深化党和国家机构改革,推进国家治理体系和治理能力现代化

China Focus: "New type of party system" serves interests of all - Xinhua China is showing the world how a "new type of party system" can work in the best interests of the people. While attending a panel discussion at the ongoing session of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), President Xi Jinping called the system of multiparty cooperation and political consultation led by the Communist Party of China (CPC) "a new type of party system." Combining the Marxist political party theory with Chinese reality, China created the "new type of party system" which is mainly carried out through the CPPCC.

党的领导是机构改革的关键(侠客岛·两会观察)--中国人大新闻--人民网 也就是说,无论今后如何改革,党的领导只能加强不能削弱。这次党和国家机构改革,首先要明确的,也是这么一条。但这种“加强”绝不是有些人担心的回到之前党政不分的老路上去。中共是有着强烈历史记忆的政党,一些历史的经验教训已经成为党内共识。另一方面,一个时期内,片面理解和执行党政分开,导致一些领域党的领导弱化,这些实践中的挫折教训同样会成为这一次机构改革中的问题意识。通过这次全面的机构改革,解决中共对一切工作领导的体制机制问题,从制度上保证中共的长期执政和国家长治久安,使中共的政治角色更突出“把方向、谋大局、定政策、促改革”。从这些天中共高层陆续在《人民日报》上刊发的论党和国家机构改革的署名文章看,这点已经成为党内的共识。所以,这次党和国家机构改革必定是向前的,绝不是左右摇摆,更不会是“翻烙饼”。

Social Security Fund to Become More Market-Driven, Chief Says - Caixin Global Lou Jiwei, sitting head of the National Council for Social Security Fund (SSF) and an outspoken senior official who previously served as finance minister, said the institution will be managed in a more market-oriented way after it gets merged into the Ministry of Finance. The SSF is currently affiliated with the State Council, China’s cabinet.

Consolidating Xi’s Position and China’s Direction: A Readout of China’s Annual Legislative Session | Center for Strategic and International Studies A good discussion this morning, video should be up soon

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

Chinese crackdown separates Pakistani husbands from Uighur wives | The Guardian Like many traders in Pakistan’s northernmost region of Gilgit-Baltistan, Ahmed fell in love with a Chinese woman on a work trip across the border. And like dozens of others, he has now been forcibly separated from the woman he married – and the child they had together – for months. Last week lawmakers in Gilgit-Baltistan demanded that authorities in China’s Xinjiang province immediately release from detention at least 50 Chinese women married to Pakistani men, some of whom have been held for a year on vague charges of extremism.

Another Scene in the Fight Against Islamophobia – anthro{dendum} In early March 2018 the influential Uyghur poet Tahir Hamut gave a series of readings in Seattle. Unlike in years past when Uyghur celebrities had come to the city, only a handful of Uyghurs—Turkic Muslims native to what has become Northwest China—came to hear Tahir speak. This was not because they did not know he was in town or because they did not care, it was because they were afraid to be seen in public with a man who had been framed as a dissident by the Chinese state. They were afraid because since the beginning of 2017 Chinese authorities have sent more than 500,000 Uyghurs to fortified “re-education” camps in the Uyghur homeland of Northwest China.

Uyghur Teenager Dies in Custody at Political Re-Education Camp - RFA A teenage Uyghur boy detained for traveling overseas has died of unknown causes at a political “re-education camp” in Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) prefecture, in northwest China’s Xinjiang region, according to local authorities. Police officers delivered the body of 17-year-old Yaqupjan Naman to his family in Yekshenbe Bazar township, in Kashgar’s Yopurgha (Yuepuhu) county, after the young man died last week, a source recently told RFA’s Uyghur Service, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Ethnic Uighurs protest Chinese security crackdown - AP Overseas Uighur activists said Thursday they plan demonstrations in 14 countries including the U.S., Australia and Turkey. Video on social media showed hundreds of Uighur women with blue veils and blue flags chanting in Istanbul and Sydney. Organizers said they would march at the U.N. headquarters in New York on Thursday.

Rivals for Authority in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan | Crisis Group The prevailing calm in Gorno-Badakhshan in Tajikistan's remote east does not rule out the prospect of a clash between local powerbrokers and Dushanbe authorities. To mitigate the risks of a local flare-up and regional power rivalry, China and Russia should communicate with each other and nudge President Rahmon toward a smooth transition of power.

Policing the Contour Lines – China Channel One new area of contestation appears to be maps in academic journals, as anecdotal examples emerge of cases where non-Chinese academics are pressured to ensure their maps show territorial boundaries which align with Beijing’s worldview. Three examples, cited by John Zinda, an environmental sociologist at Cornell University, illustrate how pressure is brought to bear. In the first case, a Chinese co-author was harassed online after their name appeared on an article bearing a map presenting Taiwan as a different colour from China. In the second case, a Chinese scholar, citing possible professional repercussions, pressured a Western co-author to change a map because it presented disputed territories between China and India as disputed rather than as Chinese territory. In the third case, bitter disagreements between Chinese and Western scholars broke out about how Chinese boundaries should be represented, almost leading to their collaboration breaking down.

Trump and Kim Jong Un should form an alliance - The Washington Post If Trump has a shrewd eye on the chessboard, he should be able to discern North Korea’s deeply rooted anti-China sentiment. Trump should use his supposedly forthcoming meeting with Kim Jong Un as a golden opportunity to maintain U.S. influence in Northeast Asia. It’s no secret that Kim is already an avid NBA fan. Trump should embrace Kim and make him pro-American.During the Cold War, North Korea conducted equidistant diplomacy with China and the Soviet Union, but with the fall of the Soviet Union, it became economically dependent on China. If Trump embraces North Korea and can switch Pyongyang’s economic dependence from China to the U.S., he will go down in history as the leader who dramatically improved the economic and security landscape of the region// Hong Seok-Hyun is the owner of JoongAng Holdings, South Korea’s largest media group. He served as President Moon Jae-in’s special envoy to the U.S. in 2017 and was the South Korean ambassador to the U.S. in 2005

Andrew Chubb-Assessing public opinion’s influence on foreign policy: the case of China’s assertive maritime behavior: Asian Security: Vol 0, No 0 English-language analysis of Chinese foreign policy has often cited nationalist public opinion as a key driver of Beijing’s recent assertive maritime conduct. Yet these important conjectures have not been systematically tested. How can we know whether public opinion has been driving an authoritarian state’s foreign policy? What are some cases in which concern about popular nationalism may have influenced Beijing’s behavior in disputed maritime spaces? To answer these questions, this article constructs a methodological framework for assessing the likely impact of public opinion on particular instances of state action. Applying this to five cases typical of China’s on-water policy in the South and East China Seas since 2007 indicates that popular nationalism has had little to do with China’s assertive turn on its maritime periphery.

中共军队疑推“习主席语录” 民众吐槽高级黑_中国-多维新闻网 is there a book of Chairman Xi Quotations for the PLA?

China irons out high-altitude jet fighter engine faults in boost to defences against India, analysts say | South China Morning Post Footage of Chinese warplanes on drills in the country’s mountainous southwest suggest the military has overcome engine problems plaguing the aircraft at high altitudes, sounding a warning to regional rival India, military analysts said. Video of Chengdu J-10 and Shenyang J-11 jets flying low over snow-capped mountains was posted on the People’s Liberation Army’s official website on Monday...Military observers said the engines had previously lost power above 3,000 metres, leading to a string of accidents.

郭伯雄之子曾收百万帮人上军校 称反腐意思下得了|郭正钢|郭伯雄|全军_新浪新闻 more details about the corruption of Guo Zhenggang, Guo Boxiong's son

Beijing-Vatican communication ‘necessary’ on bishop shortage - Global Times The communication channels between China and the Vatican are necessary and must be enhanced over the severe bishop shortage in China's Catholic parishes, a bishop warned Thursday.  "Among the 98 parishes in the Chinese mainland, 40 of them have no bishops. There is an urgency to fill the vacancies to maintain parish stability and must be addressed during negotiations between China and the Vatican," said Bishop Guo Jincai, secretary general of the Bishops Conference of the Catholic Church in China.

 

Tech And Media

‘Thunder Road,’ ‘People’s Republic of Desire’ Take Top Honors at SXSW Awards - SFGate “People’s Republic of Desire” examines China’s fast-evolving culture, looking at the triumphs and challenges faced by performers earning a living from the middle kingdom’s young live-streaming industry.

How two documentary films hitting US are opening windows on modern China in the age of Trump | South China Morning Post Maineland by Miao Wang, about Chinese students attending a boarding school in a rural town in the US state of Maine, begins its theatrical release in New York City on March 16. People’s Republic of Desire by Hao Wu, recently screened as a world premiere at the annual South by Southwest festival of film, music and interactive media, reveals a dystopian present at the intersection of capitalism, social media and social alienation.

Review: ‘Maineland’ Considers America With Help From Chinese Students - The New York Times The China that Ms. Wang depicts is a megalopolis of gleaming skyscrapers and breakneck economic growth. Maine moves at a slower pace. It’s a landscape of woods and quiet lakes, with a few buildings nestled among the hills, notably the dormitories and classrooms of Fryeburg Academy, a private school founded in 1792.

  

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Neither Black Nor White in the Mississippi Delta - The New York Times “The Chinese have been in the Delta for more than a hundred years,” said Frieda Quon, a retired librarian who speaks with a southern drawl. “When we came initially, we didn’t have rights. We couldn’t go to the white schools, couldn’t even get a haircut, could not go to the hospitals. We were second-class citizens. After the civil rights era, we gained more rights. I think the communities realized, ‘Hey the Chinese are really making a contribution.’”

The Legacy Of The Mississippi Delta Chinese : NPR March 2017 another great story

Hit-and-run ... and bury? Chinese motorist covers car in sand to evade police after traffic accident | South China Morning Post A motorist who hit three people with his car and then buried his vehicle in his backyard to evade capture has been detained by police in central China, a Chinese news website reported on Thursday

Beijing may ease regulations for foreign domestic workers as demand grows for their services - Global Times According to a notice on Beijing municipal government's website in January, Beijing Municipal Commission of Commerce said they are weighing a proposal to offer work and residence permits to foreign maids of high-end foreign talent as well as high-end talent from Hong Kong and Macao

China’s peasants left for the cities to seek their fortune, and it made them miserable - The Washington Post A new study shows that migrant workers who moved from villages to cities were rewarded with higher incomes, but actually ended up less happy than the people they left behind. The findings, say authors John Knight, an economics professor at Oxford University and Ramani Gunatilaka, director of Center for Poverty Analysis in Colombo, “pose an interesting and socially important puzzle,” and with significant policy implications for developing countries all over the world.

Born to Be Tamed: The Biker Gangs Revving on China’s Roads - Sixth Tone Yang Hancheng, 37, is the president of Red Devils Motorcycle Club China, the Shanghai chapter of a multinational motorcycle club represented in nearly 20 countries. Membership is restricted to adult males who own motorbikes with a 600cc engine or higher. Club membership numbers are kept secret, but more than 10 men aged 26 to 50 were at the clubhouse when Sixth Tone visited, some tattooed with the club’s motto: the English-language phrase “love and respect.” Members must follow club rules, including wearing their club vests while riding and showing up to meetings on time. If they violate regulations, the sergeant at arms, who’s in charge of enforcing discipline, could strip them of the right to wear the club logo — or even ban them outright.

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

China develops rocket tech-powered artificial heart - Global Times The heart was developed jointly by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology and the Teda International Cardiovascular Hospital in North China's Tianjin. The artificial heart uses magnetic and fluid levitation from a rocket system, and the "aerospace heart" is expected to move to clinical trials during the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), the report said.

China’s ministry in charge of tobacco control had ties to the tobacco industry. Not anymore | South China Morning Post As part of a sweeping reshuffle, a new health commission will take over from the industry ministry as the government body responsible for tobacco control, implementing a set of international rules from the World Health Organisation. Beijing signed the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2003 and it took effect in China in 2006. But compliance has been limited, and China is still a bad example on smoking more than a decade after Beijing decided to implement the rules

 

Education

Peking University's 'celebrity' professor resigned - CGTN China's top academic institution Peking University has confirmed that National School of Development Professor Xue Zhaofeng has resigned for personal planning concerns. The resignation has drawn widespread attention online in the past few days as Xue is a star teacher, best known for his economics class, at one of China's largest online paid knowledge-sharing platforms, iGet. Since the class was launched, Professor Xue has attracted the largest audience - more than 250,000 - ever on the platform. Every subscriber has to pay 199 yuan (about 31.6 U.S. dollars) a year and the class has generated close to 50 million yuan (about eight million US dollars) for iGet, and Xue is also expected to earn millions from it, according to reports.

 

Food And Travel

Fuxing trains to cut Hangzhou-Beijing travel time to 4.5 hours - ECNS Named "Fuxing," meaning rejuvenation, the trains will run at a top speed of 350 kilometers per hour, reducing the travel time between the two destinations to less than four and half hours. Up to this point, the fastest train on the network took five hours and two minutes