US-China trade deal; Arsenal's turn in the dog house; Wang Yi speech

This time it looks there may actually be a US-China trade deal. It is however not yet signed and there are risks things could go sideways during the period needed for legal language and translation agreement, but the statements from both sides should give us more confidence that a meeting to sign the documents should happen within the next several weeks.

How good is the deal? It is hard to tell from the limited public details, but my sense is that the Chinese did concede more than the US because Xi wants to try to put a floor, however temporary and narrow it may be, under the rapidly descending trajectory of US-China relations.

The deal will not fix China’s broader economic challenges, but as discussed in the newsletter last Thursday any stabilization in the US-China economic relationship should give at least a bit of upside to China’s base case for its economy in 2020.

Other things on my radar:

  • Xi will be in Macau Wednesday through Friday for the 20th anniversary of the handover;

  • Arsenal’s Mesut Özil spoke out for the Uighurs on social media, prompting online outrage and a blackout of the most recent Arsenal match in China. The Beijing Winter Olympics are barely two years away, how many global sports leagues might China be penalizing over speech by then, and how will the authorities handle Olympic athletes who want to speak their minds?;

  • Carrie Lam went to Beijing for her annual report to Xi and based on Xi’s comments it does not look she is going to be replaced any time soon.

Thanks for reading.

The Essential Eight

1. US-China

Transcript: Robert Lighthizer on "Face the Nation," December 15, 2019 - CBS News

There's a translation period. There are some scrubs. This is totally done. Absolutely...

When we look at this agreement, we have to look at where we are. We have an American system, and we have a Chinese system. And we're trying to figure out a way to have these two become integrated. That's what's in our interest. A phase one deal does the following: one, it keeps in place three hundred and eighty billion dollars worth of tariffs to defend, protect U.S. technology. So that's one part of it. Another part of it is very important structural changes. This is not about just agricultural and other purchases, although I'll get to that in a second. It's very important. It has IP. It has...

--technology. It has- it has currency. It has financial services. There's a lot of very- the next thing is, it's- it's enforceable. There's an enforcement provision that lasts 90 days- it takes 90 days and you get real, real enforcement. The United States can then take an action if China doesn't keep its commitments...

We have an enforcement mechanism. But ultimately, whether this whole agreement works is going to be determined by who's making the decisions in China, not in the United States. If the hardliners are making the decisions, we're going to get one outcome. If- if the reformers are making the decisions, which is what we hope, then we're going to get another outcome... [Question: Can Ambassador Lighthizer name these “reformers”?]

so here's what's in writing. We- we have a list that will go manufacturing, agriculture, services, energy and the like. There'll be a total for each one of those. Overall, it's a minimum of 200 billion dollars. Keep in mind, by the second year, we will just about double exports of goods to China, if this- if this agreement is in place. Double exports. We had about 128 billion dollars in 2017. We're going to go up at least by a hundred, probably a little over one hundred. And in terms of the agriculture numbers, what we have are specific breakdowns by products and we have a commitment for 40 to 50 billion dollars in sales. You could think of it as 80 to 100 billion dollars in new sales for agriculture over the course of the next two years. Just massive numbers.

China, U.S. agree on text of phase one trade deal - Xinhua

The text includes nine chapters: the preface, intellectual property rights, technology transfer, food and agricultural products, financial services, exchange rate and transparency, trade expansion, bilateral assessment and dispute settlement, and the final terms, according to a statement issued by the Chinese side Friday night...

The agreement is generally in line with the main direction of China's deepening reform and opening up as well as the internal needs for advancing the high-quality economic development.

Implementation of the agreement will help enhance intellectual property rights protection, improve the business environment, expand market access, better safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of all companies including foreign firms in China, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese firms in their economic and trade activities with the United States...

Both sides have agreed to complete their necessary procedures including legal review, translation and proofreading as soon as possible, and discuss the detailed arrangements for officially signing the agreement.

United States and China Reach Phase One Trade Agreement | United States Trade Representative

The United States and China have reached an historic and enforceable agreement on a Phase One trade deal that requires structural reforms and other changes to China’s economic and trade regime in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services, and currency and foreign exchange.  The Phase One agreement also includes a commitment by China that it will make substantial additional purchases of U.S. goods and services in the coming years.  Importantly, the agreement establishes a strong dispute resolution system that ensures prompt and effective implementation and enforcement.  The United States has agreed to modify its Section 301 tariff actions in a significant way.

Kudlow: U.S.-China deal 'absolutely' done, U.S. exports to China will double - Reuters

“They’re ... going to double our exports to China,” National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told Fox News Channel.

Parsing the China Deal facts (sheet) | American Enterprise Institute - Derek Scissors

“Fact sheets” are public relations efforts. So it’s telling that the fact sheet [PDF] for the US-China trade deal announced last week is not convincing — phase 1 is in fact a small deal. The twist: small is beautiful in this case. While Chinese concessions will almost surely fall short, the US didn’t give up leverage (as some wanted) and can respond either to meaningful progress by China or the lack.

Despite US-China trade agreement, key details are unclear - CNBC

“That scale of purchases seems implausible and Chinese officials were reluctant to mention any specific target during their press conference,” Nomura analysts, including chief China economist Ting Lu, said in a note released Saturday, Beijing time.

China Steps Up Talks With U.S. on Opening Its Companies’ Books - Bloomberg

U.S. and Chinese officials have held discussions on an agreement that would allow the American audit regulator to review the books of Chinese companies listed there, according to people familiar with the matter, tackling a decades-long point of contention

A Fragile and Costly U.S.-China Trade Peace | Scott Kennedy - Center for Strategic and International Studies

‎Asia Matters: U.S.-China trade war: is the show over yet? on Apple Podcasts

This week, Andrew and Vincent are delving into the ongoing trade war between the US and China, with Lingling Wei of WSJ and Trinh Nguyen of Natixis in Hong Kong.

2. Wang Yi on the International Situation and China's Foreign Relations in 2019

Long excerpt, but worth the time

Braving Waves and Sailing Forward with Resolve - Wang Yi speech At the Opening of Symposium on The International Situation and China's Foreign Relations in 2019

For the world, 2019 is a year of turbulence and mounting challenges. Multilateralism and unilateralism are locked in a bitter contest, protectionism and populism have been on the rise, and the world is seeing a rampage of power politics and bullying. Big power rivalry has intensified, global governance is confronted with more difficulties, and global growth remains sluggish...

That said, we must also see that peace and development remain the prevailing trend of our times. Globalization and multipolarization are moving forward despite twists and turns. And a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation is gathering momentum. Whether countries make the right choice between cooperation and confrontation, multilateralism and unilateralism, openness and isolation will largely shape the future of human society...

[Russia gets a mention just ahead of the US] This year marks the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Russia. During President Xi Jinping's historic visit to Russia, the two Presidents reached important agreement on further deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, and signed a joint statement on strengthening global strategic stability...Under the watch of the two Presidents, the China-Russia relationship is entering a new era of mutual support, deep convergence, continuous innovation and mutual benefit, playing a more crucial role in maintaining world peace and stability...

Wang Yi devotes a significant part of his speech to US-China relations:

In 2019, the state of China-US relations has undoubtedly been the focus of attention both in China's diplomacy and in world affairs. I wish to take this opportunity to further elaborate on China's position. This relationship, which is at its fortieth year this year, has encountered complexities never seen in the past four decades.

The US has arbitrarily acted to restrict exchanges and hold China down in the fields of economy, trade, science, technology and people-to-people exchanges. It deliberately smeared China on Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet and human rights, which concern China's core interests and its territorial sovereignty and national dignity. The US has also used various international occasions to discredit China's social system, development path and mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries, and slander China with trumped-up charges. Such flagrant moves are pushing the boundaries of normal international exchange. They have seriously undercut the foundation of the hard-won mutual trust between China and the US and dented the credibility of the US itself in the world. They have not only exposed the malicious motives of the anti-China forces to the Chinese people, but are also being challenged and resisted by more and more countries.

Erroneous actions are grounded in mis-perceptions. The above US moves originate from its wrong perception of China. Some insist that China will seek hegemony when it grows stronger just like traditional powers, and will ultimately challenge and unseat the United States. Some, out of ideological prejudice, find it hard to come to terms with the success of socialism with Chinese characteristics. They refuse to admit that there are alternative paths to modernization other than the Western model. Some blame China for problems in the US, trying to get China to take medicine for the illness of the US. Some even seek to advance their personal political interests by being tough on China.

While its perception of China has gone astray, the US is also showing a skewed view of the world. Instead of living up to its due international responsibilities and obligations, the most powerful country in the world has opted for unilateralism and protectionism.

He concludes by laying out 6 tasks for PRC diplomacy in 2020:

First, doing our utmost to serve the domestic development agenda;
Second, firmly safeguarding our national interests.;
Third, continuously deepening partnerships;
Fourth, resolutely upholding multilateralism.;
Fifth, actively expanding international cooperation;
Sixth, vigorously modernizing the system and capacity for conducting diplomacy.

Wang's original speech - 乘风破浪,坚定前行 ——在2019年国际形势与中国外交研讨会开幕式上的演讲 — 中华人民共和国外交部

Speech last week by David Stilwell - U.S.–China Bilateral Relations: The Lessons of History - United States Department of State

The title of my remarks is “U.S.-China Bilateral Relations: The Lessons of History.” There is a well-known Chinese idiom, “Seek truth from facts.” Today I’d like to apply this principle to the history of America’s relations with China. This is a subject that unfortunately isn’t always discussed truthfully or factually.

In particular, I’d like to examine a part of U.S.-China history that is hugely important and yet often overlooked: Namely, the vast range of official U.S. contributions, sustained over decades, to empowering the People’s Republic of China and aiding its development...

it was natural that, once the PRC turned to reform and opening forty years ago, America would extend our hand in friendship. And it is altogether bogus that Beijing today claims that America’s new competitive posture toward the PRC betrays a desire to keep China down as a nation. On the contrary, our posture today is based on disappointment that Chinese Communist Party leaders decided to respond to our good faith with such aggressive and consistent bad faith.

3. Economy

China to target around 6% growth in 2020, step up state spending: sources - Reuters

The proposed target, to be unveiled at China’s annual parliamentary session in early March 2020, was endorsed by top leaders at the annual closed-door Central Economic Work Conference this month, according to three sources with knowledge of the meeting’s outcome...

Next year will be crucial for the ruling Communist Party to fulfill its goal of doubling gross domestic product (GDP) and incomes in the decade to 2020.

Economic growth of nearly 6% next year could be enough to meet that goal given the economy is expected to expand about 6.2% this year, policy insiders said...

Caixin: Growth Rebounds in China’s Consumption, Industrial Production

Retail sales, which include spending by governments, businesses and households, grew 8% year-on-year in November, faster than the 7.2% growth rate in the previous month and marking the highest level in five months [Alibaba Single's Day?]...

Value-added industrial output, which measures production at factories, mines and utilities, rose 6.2% year-on-year in November, up sharply from 4.7% growth in the previous month and marking the fastest expansion in five months...

Fixed-asset investment...increased 5.2% year-on-year in the first 11 months of this year, unchanged from the pace in the first 10 month..

Government-driven infrastructure investment rose 4% year-on-year in the first 11 months of the year, down slightly from 4.2% growth in the first 10 months..

Investment in real estate development rose 10.2% year-on-year in the first 11 months, down marginally from 10.3% growth in the first 10 months


Chinese officials warned not go too far in hitting their economic policy goals | South China Morning Post

Han Wenxiu, deputy director of the Office of the Central Economic and Financial Affairs Commission, warned that financially stretched local authorities should not overstretch themselves and undermine other policy goals.

“Taking the goal of doubling gross domestic product [GDP] from the 2010 level, for example, it’s a requirement on the national level, not a demand that all the regions must double their GDP,” Han told at an event in Beijing on Saturday.

China’s Home-Price Growth Slows to Least in Almost Two Years - Bloomberg

Twenty-one cities reported a drop in values, the most in almost four years. The most evident decline was in second-tier cities, mainly regional economic hubs, even as some of those centers made it easier for people to obtain highly sought-after residency permits

PBOC Tells Property Speculators That ‘Homes Are For Living In’ - Bloomberg

The People’s Bank of China also said it will be “flexible” and “appropriate” in setting prudent monetary policy, and will boost financial support to manufacturers and the private sector, according to a statement after a meeting on Friday. Authorities will increase mid to long-term funding for the manufacturing industry and further lower financing costs for private companies, the PBOC said.

4. Xinjiang

AP Exclusive: China tightens up on info after Xinjiang leaks

The Xinjiang regional government in China’s far west is deleting data, destroying documents, tightening controls on information and has held high-level meetings in response to leaks of classified papers on its mass detention camps for Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities, according to four people in contact with government employees there.

Top officials deliberated how to respond to the leaks in meetings at the Chinese Communist Party’s regional headquarters in Urumqi, Xinjiang’s capital, some of the people said.

Comment: A strange reaction if these documents were "fake"

Japanese manga about a Uighur woman’s persecution in China becomes viral hit - The Washington Post

The manga, drawn by Japanese artist Tomomi Shimizu, has been translated into English, Chinese and Uighur. Shimizu said it has now been viewed on her website more than 240,000 times, and her tweets have drawn more than 2.6 million likes, retweets and other online engagement.

Mesut Özil row: China's Arsenal fans burn shirts in anger at Xinjiang post | The Guardian

Posting the words against the backdrop of the flag of the short-lived East Turkestan republic, an area that is now Chinese-controlled Xinjiang, he wrote: “[In China] Qurans are burned, mosques were closed down, Islamic theological schools, madrasas were banned, religious scholars were killed one by one. Despite all this, Muslims stay quiet.”

His comments have prompted a wave of anger in a country where Arsenal is hugely popular. Özil, who has more than 4 million followers on the Chinese microblog Weibo, is affectionately known as “272”, numbers that when pronounced sound like his name. China’s foreign ministry said on Monday that Özil had been “deceived by fake news.”

“Do you know how Arsenal fans in China have spent the last two days?” one former fan posted on his Instagram profile. “They are struggling to understand how the club and idol they once loved has turned out to be a rumourmonger. Of course, if you intend to attack China, you are as insignificant in our hearts as dirty ants.”

Arsenal match off air amid furor over Ozil’s Xinjiang remarks - Global Times

Rob Fawdon, Senior Communications Manager of Arsenal, distanced the club from Ozil's controversial comments, replying to the Global Times on Saturday: "Following social media messages from Mesut Ozil, Arsenal Football Club must make it clear that these are Mesut's personal views. Arsenal is always apolitical as an organization."..

Arsenal has a huge fan base in China since Arsene Wenger's era in 1990s. It was the first English soccer club to establish an office in China and it is also a frequent visitor to China during the season break.

China censors remarks made by Arsenal's Mesut Özil on Uyghurs — Quartz

Most Chinese media outlets, for example, only describe Özil’s remarks as “highly inappropriate” and “concerning Chinese sovereignty” without elaborating or referencing excerpts of the poem he posted.

Hu Xijin weighs in on Özil’s comments - 胡锡进:这个厄齐尔肯定挺浅薄的,很二百五地干了这事_凤凰网资讯_凤凰网

5. Carrie Lam reports to Xi in Beijing

Xi backs Lam in hard times - Global Times

Xi said 2019 has been the most grim and complex year for Hong Kong since it returned to the motherland.

"In the face of various difficulties and pressures, you have stuck to the bottom line of the 'one country, two systems' principle, governed in accordance with the law, scrupulously fulfilled your duty, and done a great deal of hard work," Xi told Lam...

"We have unswerving determination to safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests, implement the 'one country, two systems' principle and oppose any external force interfering in Hong Kong affairs," Xi said.

"We will continue to firmly support you in leading the SAR government to govern in accordance with the law, firmly support the Hong Kong police in strictly enforcing the law, firmly support all people who love China and Hong Kong, and hope Hong Kong people from all walks of life will unite and work together to bring Hong Kong's development back on track," Xi told Lam.


Monday CCTV Evening News report on Xi's meeting with Lam

Hong Kong mall protests flare with leader Lam in Beijing - Reuters

On Sunday in the peak shopping season ahead of Christmas, groups of masked protesters, clad in black, marched through several malls chanting slogans including “Fight for freedom” and “Return justice to us”.

Revolution 101: The hardened teens of the Hong Kong protests - Reuters

Fiona joined her first march on June 9, a schoolgirl making her way to the city’s financial district on a sunny day as people called out for freedom. It was now November 16, and she was one of more than 1,000 protesters swarming around and barricaded inside Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Because of their young age and the danger of arrest, Reuters is withholding the full names of Fiona and her comrades.

6. Xi’s PLA

Chinese President Xi Jinping promotes 170 PLA officers in move to streamline ranking system | South China Morning Post

The move came after the release on December 8 of a circular aimed at providing clearer procedures for the promotion of officers with the rank of major general or above across all branches of the armed forces.

The mass promotion was the biggest ever carried out by Xi, who also chairs the Central Military Commission.

A long-running problem within the PLA has been the lack of correlation between rank and status. For example, a corps commander with the rank of colonel would have seniority over a division leader with the rank of major general – a situation that would be impossible in most other militaries around the world...

Antony Wong Dong, a military observer based in Macau said that Xi had been planning the streamlining of the ranking system for many years but had faced resistance from other senior officials.

“That’s why Xi targeted senior officers with the circular,” he said, adding that the move, if implemented successfully, was likely to improve morale among middle-ranking officers.

China to reform military ranks promotion system - China Military

China’s Central Military Commission recently issued a Notice on Adjusting the Policy Concerning the Promotion of Military Ranks of Officers at and above the Corps Level (hereinafter referred to as the “Notice”). This is an important measure taken by the Chinese military to promote its professionalized reform of military officers and advance its military human resources system.

The notice - 先行调整军级以上军官军衔晋升有关政策

China’s armed police sees leadership overhaul under reform designed to tighten Communist Party control | South China Morning Post

A recent shake-up of the top ranks of the armed police in China suggests that a restructuring designed to tighten the Communist Party’s control over the paramilitary force is reaching its conclusion.

Two years ago the force was placed under the direct control of the party’s Central Military Committee as part of a wider reform of the military initiated by President Xi Jinping.

7. Pork production restored by 2021?

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: China's Plan to Restore Pork Supplies by 2021

Chinese officials plan to restore normal pork production by 2021 via a crash farm-building campaign and other measures that include ordering local officials to ensure local pork self-sufficiency, reconfiguring the slaughter industry, and setting up rigid pork supply pipelines. At the same time, officials plan to address chronic problems by shoring up disease prevention and dotting the countryside with tanks to collect millions of tons of manure and diseased carcasses.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs circular, "Three-year plan to speed up recovery of hog production" issued on December 4 calls for achieving a small rebound in pork output by the end of 2019, rebuilding production capacity by the end of 2020, and restoring normal pork supplies in 2021...

Officials are also asking everyone to forget the series of laws, initiatives and action plans to close polluting pig farms that were the focus of hog industry policy during 2013-18 as a part of an environmental clean-up program--one of Xi Jinping's signature policies--and to build pig farms everywhere, as fast as possible.

And, of course, the news media are tasked with reporting nothing but good news about pork, so news media and statisticians have doubled down on their propaganda function and can no longer be believed. Rare honest assessments of the actual supply and demand situation are swamped by a flood of propaganda.

China Gangs Spreading Rumors to Exploit Pork Crisis, Report Says - Bloomberg

The healthy animals are sometimes smuggled across provinces and resold at a higher price, the investigative report said. In some cases, drones would be used to drop infected feed into farms in a bid to buy pigs for cheap.

The criminals would sometimes transport animals or meat to other parts of China where prices are higher to profit from arbitraging the difference across provinces. Others are forging quarantine certificates. Moving livestock or pork across provinces is banned as authorities try to prevent the disease from spreading.

Comment: "Mal-innovation" is still innovation...

8. Xi on development economics

What Xi Jinping thinks about development economics | Andrew Batson's Blog

In September 2001, when he was still merely the governor of Fujian province, Xi Jinping published an article on development economics in the journal of the Fujian Academy of Social Sciences. This is not perhaps as unusual as it might sound: Chinese leaders are expected to be scholars as well, and to make their own contributions to Marxist-Leninist ideology. The article has recently been recirculated on the Chinese internet, and makes for fascinating reading...

All told, this article could not be a clearer statement of the view that China’s model will not and cannot converge with that of Western developed countries. And Xi had all this worked out all the way back in 2001, at the height of the euphoria surrounding China’s entry into the World Trade Organization and its integration with the global economy. You can’t say he didn’t warn us.

Xi’s essay - “Development Economics And Developing Economies: On The Theoretical Lessons From Development Economics For Developing A Socialist Market Economy” (the Chinese citation is 习近平, “发展经济学与发展中国家的经济发展—兼论发展社会主义市场经济对发展经济学的理论借鉴” 福建论坛 (经济社会版) 2001年09期4-9)

"Xi Jinping Economic Thought" is definitely a thing. Guangdong recently held a seminar on it, Guangdong Party Secretary Li Xi and vice minister of the Central Propaganda Department Xu Lin spoke at it - 习近平新时代中国特色社会主义经济思想研讨会在深圳举行

And Qiushi just published Xi's article on regional economic development to be published - Xinhua

An article by President Xi Jinping on promoting regional economic planning featuring complementary advantages and high-quality development will be published Monday in the 24th issue of the Qiushi Journal this year....

The structure of economic development is undergoing profound changes, with central cities and city clusters becoming the major vessels for development, the article pointed out, adding that policy framework for regional development should be improved to adapt to the new circumstances.

The article 推动形成优势互补高质量发展的区域经济布局

Business, Economy and Trade

Life after tariffs - Trade war? China’s exporters have expanded their global market share | The Economist According to data from cpb World Trade Monitor, China’s share of global exports has reached 11.9%, slightly higher than in July 2018, when the first American tariffs hit. Sluggish imports—in part because of a domestic slowdown—mean the trade surplus is set to be about a quarter bigger in 2019 than in 2018.

Chinese ambassador accused of threatening German car industry if Huawei is frozen out | South China Morning Post On Saturday the ambassador said: “If Germany were to take a decision that leads to Huawei’s exclusion from the German market, there will be consequences. The Chinese government will not stand idly by.” Wu told the event hosted by Handelsblatt newspaper that it was important that Chinese companies were not discriminated against, and insisted that the tech giant was under no obligation to hand over data to the authorities in Beijing...“Can we also say that German cars are not safe because we’re in a position to manufacture our own cars? No, that would be pure protectionism,” he said.

Huawei Finds Some Friends in the U.S. Senate - Bloomberg The bill includes a provision that the Commerce secretary cannot remove Huawei from the list unless he certifies that Huawei is in compliance with sanctions and no longer poses a threat to national security — but he does not have to show that the company has been compliant for five consecutive years. The compromise also says the Commerce Department must provide relevant committees in Congress with an annual report on U.S. companies that receive licenses to trade with Huawei.

China Orders Banks to Cut Financing Costs for Small Business Even More - Caixin The State Council, China’s cabinet, called on banks to lower overall financing costs on loans to small and micro businesses — those with credit lines under 10 million yuan ($1.4 million) — by 0.5 percentage points next year, according to a statement (link in Chinese) published after a Thursday meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. It also instructed five of the country’s largest state-owned commercial banks to increase the value of loans made to these companies by at least 20% next year.

China's BAIC raising Daimler stake to unseat Geely as top shareholder - sources - Reuters Daimler’s main China joint venture partner BAIC Group has set in motion a plan to double its stake to around 10% and win a board seat in the German luxury car maker, as it aims to upstage rival Geely, two sources told Reuters.

The Video-First Future of Ecommerce - A16Z report On Taobao, China’s largest ecommerce platform, 42 percent of product pages already include short videos and live streaming is growing quickly. From January to August 2018, the company generated more than $15 billion in sales through livestreams, up nearly 400 percent over the year before.

China’s State Grid to buy 49% stake in Oman Electricity | Financial Times $$ State Grid said in a statement on Monday that the purchase — by far the largest Chinese investment on record in the small Middle Eastern country — would promote China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a controversial $1tn plan to build and invest in infrastructure across the Eurasian landmass and on to the fringes of Europe.

China's marine economy sees steady growth - Xinhua China's gross ocean product rose 6.3 percent to nearly 6.4 trillion yuan (about 909.1 billion U.S. dollars) in the first three quarters, official data showed

Rail systems in 3 U.S. cities press Chinese train maker after NBC News report on child labor The transit authorities in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Chicago have taken action after an investigation on mica mining in Madagascar.

张军:健全支持民营经济发展法治环境--新闻报道-人民网 要充分认识到平等保护民营经济在保障经济社会发展中的重大意义,把平等保护落实到“四大检察”中,健全支持民营经济发展的法治环境。// Zhang Jun, Party Secretary of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, stresses the importance of treating private businesses equally and fairly

China grants immunity to executives to bolster private sector | Financial Times $$ Chinese prosecutors have abandoned 8,565 cases while 10,973 lawbreaking private company workers, mostly business owners, have been spared jail in the first nine months of this year, according to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, a government agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes. That is a year-on-year rise of 42 per cent and 24 per cent respectively.

China detains CEO of U.S.-listed P2P firm Fincera for suspected financial crime - Reuters Li Yonghui, a Canadian national, is suspected of illegal acceptance of public funds, Shijiazhuang police in northern Hebei said in a post on its official social media account.

China’s Hebei province imposes total ban on P2P platforms | South China Morning Post Only 427 P2P companies were still in operation at the end of October, compared with a peak of 6,000 in 2015, according to the latest data from China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.

Beijing Has Built Thousands of Cheap Apartments No One Wants - Bloomberg Buyers balked at the quality -- some units were delivered with cement-clad walls, leaving purchasers to do the tiling and occasionally even the electrical wiring themselves. Many are also on the outskirts of Beijing, with the nearest metro line three kilometers (1.9 miles) away, a struggle for young families reliant on public transport.

China NEV sales decline extends in November · TechNode NEV sales fell 43.7% year on year to 95,000 units in November after October marked the steepest rate of decline for the year, according to figures from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) released Monday.

Prosecutors Sign Off on Arrest of Founder of Major Cryptomining-Machine Firm - Caixin Yang Zuoxing, founder of one of the world’s largest cryptomining-equipment makers, MicroBT, has been subject to an arrest order on suspicion of embezzling about 100,000 yuan ($14,340), Caixin has learned. His arrest comes after years of civil and criminal patent disputes with his former employer and industry rival, Bitmain Technologies Ltd., though it is not clear if the arrest is linked to those disputes.

Ant Financial, Vanguard to start retail investment advisory service · TechNode The two companies will advise Chinese investors on fund investment, a service for which it has obtained approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission, through a joint venture

Meituan Dianping shows route to food delivery profits | Financial Times $$ it has started to charge more for ads, take larger commissions and its main food delivery business is now profitable.

SoftBank-backed Oyo faces restive Chinese hoteliers | Financial Times $$ It says it has contracts with 19,000 hotels in 338 Chinese cities. But a letter signed last week by 172 hoteliers across China, and seen by the FT, accuses the company of imposing “unclear bills and arbitrary deductions” and threatens legal action if Oyo does not “promptly” resolve the complaints.

High-speed rail connects major cities in southwest China's mountainous regions - Xinhua Due to the mountainous terrain of the region, about 85 percent of the 648-km-long railway tracks were built on elevated bridges or through tunnels. "In terms of geological conditions, the Chengdu-Guiyang high-speed rail line is one of the most complicated passenger rail projects in China's mountainous regions," said Zheng Tao, a designer with China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group.

Local Government Said to Take Stake in Anbang-Controlled Bank - Caixin Chengdu Xingcheng Investment Group Co. Ltd., an investment vehicle controlled by the city government, is expected to lead the purchase of a 35% stake in Chengdu Rural Commercial Bank Co. Ltd., according to sources familiar with the matter. The deal will likely be announced before the end of the year, they said.

Politics and Law

China Jails Guangxi Publisher For Corruption After Books Banned - RFA He Linxia was handed a 10-year sentence by Guangxi's Guanyang County People's Court, the rights website Weiquanwang reported. Prior to his arrest, He was a celebrated figure in China's publishing industry and had been nominated as one of its Top 10 People of the Year.

China publishes revised code of ethics for journalists - Xinhua The English report left out the bits about using Xi Thought to arm their minds..坚持用习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想武装头脑 // 中国新闻工作者职业道德准则

Refinitiv used filter to block Reuters reports on Hong Kong protests - Reuters The article was removed by Refinitiv, the financial information provider that distributes Reuters news to investors around the world on Eikon, a trading and analytics platform. The article was one of a growing number of stories that Refinitiv – which until last year was owned by Reuters’ parent company, Thomson Reuters Corp – has censored in mainland China under pressure from the central government. // Have the Refinitiv execs been arming themselves with Xi Thought too?

China issues guideline to strengthen ethics, virtue of educators - Xinhua With 15 measures in five aspects, the guideline puts professional ethics as the most important criterion in evaluating teachers, in an effort to raise teachers' ethics and virtues, and encourage public respect for educators and public support for education, said Ren Youqun, an official with the MOE, at a press conference.

19 sentenced for ties to Sun Xiaoguo crime case - Xinhua Nineteen defendants, mainly civil servants, were Sunday sentenced to jail terms of various lengths for ties to a high-profile organized crime case, the Sun Xiaoguo case in southwest China's Yunnan Province. Sun's stepfather Li Qiaozhong, former head of the urban management bureau of Wuhua District in Kunming, capital of Yunnan, was sentenced to 19 years while Sun's mother Sun Heyu was sentenced to 20 years.

Language Log » "National Language" in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region The increasing use of the term guoyu 国语 for what was once generally called Hanyu 汉语 (even, in Xinjiang vernacular sometimes, 汉话)and putonghua (common speech) 普通话 fits into a broader ideological shift in China: the rise of the Xi / CCP centered party-state cult, and the deemphasizing of the former minzu system, rhetorically but now even institutionally) in favor of the pan-Chinese national identity Zhonghua minzu 中华民族 .

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Xi holds talks with Micronesian president - Xinhua Xi welcomed Panuelo's visit to China as the two countries celebrate their 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties, and spoke highly of Panuelo's commitment to developing bilateral ties and firmly upholding the one-China principle...The Micronesian side spoke highly of China's important role in global issues like tackling climate change, Panuelo said, hoping to continue strengthening coordination and cooperation with China and playing an active role in promoting ties between China and Pacific island countries.

Why is this tiny Pacific Ocean nation getting VIP treatment in Beijing? - NBC Micronesia, along with the Marshall Islands and Palau, are bound by a "compact of free association" with the United States which gives Washington exclusive military control of the countries’ land, airspace and surrounding waters in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance and other privileges. But in recent years, Micronesia has increasingly turned to Beijing for much needed investments and economic aid...But the pact and its funding program are set to expire in 2023-2024, and the outcome of negotiations to extend it is uncertain.

What Does Beijing Want from the Pacific Islands? | ChinaFile Conversation

China launches campaign to redefine human rights | New Europe The country recently organised a human rights summit and invited representatives from North Korea, Pakistan and Syria, countries who have also been accused of major human rights violations. “I believe China can, with the help of all developing countries, redefine human rights,” said Bouthaina Shaaban, the political adviser to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, as one of the speakers.

Syria in 'serious dialogue' with China about joining Belt and Road initiative, says Assad - The Telegraph Assad said he has proposed a number of projects to Beijing in the hope of securing investment for reconstruction in the war-torn country.  “There are mutual interests: it is beneficial to China, Syria and all the countries on this Road,” told Chinese Phoenix TV station.

毫不动摇坚持党对人民军队的绝对领导 - 求是网 PLA Political Work Department in the latest Qiushi on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the Gutian Conference - "We will unswervingly uphold the party's absolute leadership over the people's armed forces"

Xi signs order to release regulations on military safety management - Xinhua中央军委主席习近平签署命令 发布《军队安全管理条例》

中央军委主席习近平签署命令 发布新修订的《军队档案条例》 - 中国军网

Chinese warplanes take South China Sea exercises to new level | South China Morning Post China’s military has stepped up its exercises in the South China Sea to prepare for “unexpected confrontations”, according to a report in Sunday’s PLA Daily....“Different from the exercises conducted last year on early warning reconnaissance, this drill was much longer in time span, put in a confrontational mode from the start and had an emphasis on night-time training,” said Yan Liang, commander of an unspecified division, according to the report.

Japan’s defence chief hits out at Beijing on South China Sea, military build-up | South China Morning Post Japan’s Defence Minister Taro Kono has criticised China for its actions in the contested South China Sea and waters close to Japan, days before visiting Beijing to meet his Chinese counterpart, Wei Fenghe. “China is engaging in unilateral and coercive attempts to alter the status quo based on its own assertions that are incompatible with the existing international order,” Kono on Sunday at the Doha Forum

PLA takes new steps in building of training bases and simulated enemies - Ministry of National Defense Over one hundred officers-in-charge and experts related to military training gathered in a naval joint training base to talk about the macro-design on building of Chinese military training bases, aiming to promote the construction of military training bases and mock enemies, from the perspectives of long-term development, warfare readiness and overall strategy.

BeiDou Navigation Satellite System completes deployment - Global Times Wu Di, a scholar with the satellite positioning technology center of Wuhan University in Central China's Hubei Province, said that hopefully BDS could replace GPS in countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative route, as the application of GPS there still remained at a basic level.

China, EU partners rather than competitors: Chinese FM - Global Times "China firmly supports the European integration process, firmly supports the unity and growth of the EU, and firmly supports Europe to play a greater role in international affairs," Wang said after meeting with the EU High Representative ­Josep Borrell on the sidelines of the Asia and Europe Meeting Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Madrid, Spain. Wang also suggested the two sides should treat each other as opportunities rather than threats, urging them to respect and learn from each other, and settle differences through dialogue.

Russian weapons were illegally copied 500 times abroad over 17 years, says Rostech - TASS China alone has copied aircraft engines, Sukhoi planes, deck jets, air defense systems, portable air defense missiles, and analogues of the self-propelled medium-range surface-to-air systems Pantsir,"

19 striking findings from 2019 | Pew Research Center Six-in-ten U.S. adults have a negative opinion of China, up from 47% in 2018 and the highest share since Pew Research Center began asking Americans this question in 2005. Americans also increasingly see China as a threat.

Montreal’s Power Corp. deepens ties with China’s prominent Bo family by hiring Bo Guagua - The Globe and Mail For Power Corp., Mr. Bo is the third generation connection between a wealthy Canadian lineage and a Chinese family that has wielded national influence for nearly a century. Paul Desmarais, Sr., whose family has controlled Power Corp. since 1968, established an early relationship with Mr. Bo’s grandfather, Bo Yibo, who is said to have visited the Desmarais home in Canada in the late 1970s.

Air China refuelling in North Korea raises sanctions suspicions | Financial Times $$ Photographs showing Chinese aircraft refuelling in Pyongyang have raised suspicions over where North Korea is sourcing its fuel and whether China is defying international sanctions.// refueling or de-fueling?

Senior Chinese diplomat to visit Uganda, Congo, Senegal - Xinhua Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, will pay an official visit to the Republic of Uganda, the Republic of Congo and the Republic of Senegal from Dec. 17 to 22

U.S. Secretly Expelled Chinese Officials Suspected of Spying After Breach of Military Base - The New York Times The base intrusion took place in late September on a sensitive installation near Norfolk, Va. The base includes Special Operations forces, said the people with knowledge of the incident...American officials said they were skeptical that the intruders made an innocent error and dismissed the idea that their English was insufficient to understand the initial order to leave. It is not clear what they were trying to do on the base, but some American officials said they believed it was to test the security at the installation, according to a person briefed on the matter.

China lodges stern representations with U.S. over expelling Chinese officials - Reuters “The U.S.accusations against Chinese personnel severely disregard reality,” said Geng.

Hong Kong and Macao

‘Hong Kong remains free’: city launches new PR blitz overseas after six months of protests | South China Morning Post Full-page advert appearing in newspapers across the world touts the freedoms granted under ‘one country, two systems’

Five Hong Kong teens arrested over death of 70-year-old man hit with brick | AFP The three males and two females aged 15 to 18 were arrested on Friday on suspicion of murder, rioting and wounding and had been detained pending further investigation, police said in a statement.

Hong Kong’s Top TV Broadcaster to Cut 10% of Staff Amid Protests - Bloomberg “Recession is a foregone conclusion,” Lee said in the email. “No business sector including advertising, television, newspaper and other media will be spared.”

Hong Kong protests force expats to rethink life in the city | Financial Times International schools in Singapore — a potential alternative location in the region where many companies that have offices in Hong Kong also have a presence — have been flooded with inquiries from Hong Kong-based families.

China police confirm Hong Kong man's arrest on mega bridge to Macau over alleged 2012 crime | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP Chinese police in Zhuhai have confirmed that a Hong Kong man was arrested last Friday on a cross-border mega bridge for a crime he allegedly committed in 2012


Taiwan is battling a wave of online disinformation from China - Los Angeles Times Thousands of lies flood social media every day in Taiwan, a new frontier of information warfare. Scholars say the island, which China claims as part of its territory but has been functionally independent since the 1950s, is the target of a Russian-style disinformation campaign by China to exploit social divisions and undermine democracy in the lead-up to the presidential election in January.

Taiwan?s tea party aims to burst Beijing?s one-China bubble ahead of elections - The Washington Post To show their solidarity with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and their commitment to Taiwan’s self-rule, many consumers here are boycotting bubble tea chains that support the “one country, two systems” formula that China uses to rule Hong Kong and that it hopes one day to extend to Taiwan.

YouTuber Draws China Fire for Calling Taiwan Leader ‘President’ - Bloomberg A YouTuber in Taiwan said his Chinese talent agency is demanding he remove a video in which he addressed Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen as president, the latest clash over China’s assertions of territorial control in Asia.

The World Bank demanded that Taiwanese staff get Chinese passports - Axios After being contacted by Axios, the World Bank expressed regret for its actions regarding Taiwanese staff. "When senior management was recently made aware, steps were immediately taken to revise the guidance," a World Bank spokesperson told Axios. "Staff who are not nationals of a member country or a country where the World Bank group operates will retain their current employment status."

Tech and Media

Google, Apple asked if apps like TikTok must disclose foreign ties - Reuters Rep. Stephen Lynch, chairman of a subcommittee of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee, said in a statement that he had asked both Google and Apple to tell Congress whether they required app developers to disclose any non-U.S. ties.

ByteDance unit establishes venture with Chinese state media firm - Reuters Under the latest deal, Beijing Liangzi Yuedong Technology Co Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of ByteDance, will own 49% of the new company, Pengpai Audiovisual Technology (Jinan) Co Ltd, with Shanghai Dongfang Newspaper Co Ltd holding the remaining 51% majority stake, the documents from the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System showed.

ChinAI Pod #3: The Worldwide Web of Chinese and Russian Information Controls with Valentin Weber Our guest today is Valentin Weber, a DPhil Candidate in Cyber Security at the Centre for Doctoral Training in Cyber Security, University of Oxford. He joins the ChinAI Pod to discuss his latest report, “The Worldwide Web of Chinese and Russian Information Controls,” supported by the Open Technology Fund.

Beijing to allow passenger rides in robotaxis · TechNode The move signals that nationwide legalization of autonomous vehicle (AV) testing could be forthcoming

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

She Accused a Tech Billionaire of Rape. The Chinese Internet Turned Against Her. - The New York Times Liu Jingyao, a college student, describes what it’s like to be slut-shamed by 800 million people.

Chinese drillers dying from silicosis after building Shenzhen boomtown - The Washington Post Many Hunanese worked for years, even decades, boring into the bedrock to build subway lines and the foundations of Shenzhen’s whole cityscape. But they didn’t know the inadequacy of the $1.50 cotton masks they were given, or the irreversible harm of inhaling silica dust that caked their faces once their drills bit into granite-streaked crust.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

建设国家公园示范省 促进人与自然和谐共生 - 求是网 Qinghai Provincial Party Secretary Wang Jianjun writes in the latest issue of Qiushi about making Qinghai a "model province" for the new national parks system

China plans ‘paradise for physicists’ with particle colliders that will test the strongest forces in the universe | South China Morning Post They said two ring-shaped electron-ion colliders – one 2km (1.2 miles) long – will be built in Huizhou, a city in Guangdong province, beginning in 2025 and they will be designed to accelerate electrons to close to the speed of light. The project – known as the Electron-Ion Collider of China, or EICC – will see electrons being fired at the nuclei of heavy elements such as iron or uranium at high speeds.


Wuhan University Expels 92 Delinquent International Students | Sixth Tone An unnamed representative from the admissions office of the university’s international department told the outlet that most of the students had low grades, “violated school discipline,” or didn’t pay their tuition fees. The representative added that the school had warned the students a year ago and repeatedly tried to get them to comply with the rules.