US-China Trade; More on The New Econ & Financial Affairs Committee; Religious White Paper; Boao Promises, 5G; Hong Kong; Cheap Drugs

Happy Tuesday...There is one correction from yesterday's newsletter. 

I wrote "The "Xuanyan 宣言" aka "Manifesto" is pseudonym is back with a signed article on the front page of the April 2 People's Daily. The previous article under this name appeared in January, about China’s global ambitions." In fact there was a second one in People's Daily on February 23, on socialism with Chinese characteristics as social revolution. Thanks to an eagle-eyed reader for telling me I had it wrong. 

As always, comments/tips/corrections and ideas are always welcome.

Thanks for reading. 

The Essential Eight

1. US-China Trade Battle

Donald Trump’s trade endgame said to be the opening of China’s economy | South China Morning Post:

Trump’s demand, according to a former adviser to the US president, is for China to fulfill pledges spelt out in China 2030, which was written jointly by the World Bank, China’s Ministry of Finance, and the Development Research Centre of the State Council.

Comment: China 2030 is a plan that Xi appears to little inclination to follow at this point, especially as he has the Party eating the State...

Looming China Trade Action Divides Industry and Roils Markets - The New York Times:

G.E. and IBM, which operate through joint ventures and other partnerships in China and around the world, have both lobbied against the expansion of Cfius over concerns that restrictions on joint ventures with foreign companies that include the transfer of valuable skills or technology could weaken the position of American companies abroad.

Financial firms, including Goldman Sachs and the Carlyle Group, have also expressed concern about investment restrictions, saying they could provide a drag on the United States economy.

The U.S. wrote the rules for global trade. Now China is using them against Trump. - The Washington Post:

The Chinese government designed its first concrete response to President Trump’s recent wave of protectionist policies to inflict noticeable political and economic pain upon the United States while remaining within the bounds of global trade rules.

China imposed tariffs on a relatively modest $3 billion in American imports. But by hitting numerous products, including fruit, wine, ginseng and pork, that affect congressional districts across the country, China demonstrated that it can exert pressure within the American system.

The goal was to demonstrate resolve without escalation and to encourage disadvantaged farmers and workers to complain to their elected representatives. Beijing is prepared to engage in a slugging match, but its preferred solution to the deepening trade dispute remains a diplomatic outcome, analysts said.

And if the stock market keeps dropping, and China begins to threaten the PRC operations of major US firms, China may be able to threaten and bluff its way to a favorable resolution as disparate interest groups in the US lobby furiously for Trump to back away from anything too tough. Is the Trump Administration really prepared and organized for a protracted fight?

Question: But is the PRC soybean tariff threat actually empty?

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: China's Soybean Retaliation: No Good Options:

While online commentators in China agree that soybeans are the logical target for retaliatory tariffs, several have concluded that the impact on Chinese buyers and consumers makes this an undesirable option....

China imports such a large share of the world's soybeans that there would be nowhere else for China to fill its soybean deficit if it stopped buying U.S. soybeans. Last year China's imports equaled 64 percent of the 151 mmt of soybeans traded in world markets. While China is the world's biggest buyer, it has little bargaining power because there are only two major supplying countries...

There is no other supplier that could fill China's deficit if U.S. soybeans were limited. China's growing demand has already prompted a huge increase in Brazilian production that has reduced reliance on the United States. Blogger Shi Hanbing argues that Brazil already supplies half of China's soybean imports and has reached its limit as a supplier. Moreover, he points to USDA reports that say both Brazil and Argentina are expected to have diminished soybean harvests this year, shrinking potential soybean supplies.

How Will China Retaliate beyond Tariffs? | Center for Strategic and International Studies - Samm Sacks:

It is telling that the USTR report paid far less attention to China’s cybersecurity law than it did to older policies: “Made in China 2025” had over 100 mentions while the cybersecurity law had just 16. Since so much of the law is still pending clarification from Chinese authorities, it is understandable that the report did not go into much detail about its practical effects. Yet, the cursory treatment of the cybersecurity law and its broader framework in the report underscores how the Trump administration’s approach is not calibrated to solve these challenges and likely will only make them worse

U.S. wine industry fears long-term damage of China's tariff on imported U.S. wines - Xinhua:

Currently, Chile, Georgia and New Zealand wines enter China tariff-free and Australian wines will be tariff free starting in 2019, it said.

Rubio: China retaliation can make U.S. stronger - POLITICO:

“When China responds to our protection of strategic industries from their aggression with tariffs of their own on other goods, the net effect can be a more productive U.S. economy,” Rubio said. “At the same time, the administration and Congress should be prepared to help ease the impacts of retaliation on industries and workers by developing novel and innovative ways to maintain total demand for affected products like agricultural goods.”


2. More On First China’s Central Economic and Financial Affairs Committee Meeting

Why China’s new economic commission cements Xi Jinping’s grasp on levers of power | South China Morning Post

China’s Central Economic and Financial Affairs Commission convened for the first time on Monday with President Xi Jinping as the chair, marking the official start of a new command chain in running the world’s second biggest economy...

Xi’s plan to centralise the decision-making powers of the party actually started five years ago, an article published by Xinhua over the weekend disclosed for the first time.

At the first meeting of the team convened by Xi on April 17 2013, he decided to change the role of the team from a consulting group to a “decision-making” one – an approach that would be different from the days of his predecessors of Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin.

The 2013 meeting had been kept as a secret until last Saturday, as were the following four meetings of the leading group under Xi, which took place on a quarterly basis in July, September and December of 2013 and March 2014, covering issues of urbanisation, fiscal reform, water supply security and food supply security.

Here is the Xinhua article-领航新时代中国经济航船——从中央财经领导小组会议看以习近平同志为核心的党中央驾驭中国经济 

Xinhua on 4 signals from the recent meeting--中央财经委员会首次会议释放四大信号-新华网:

1. 信号一:加强党中央对经济工作的集中统一领导 Strengthen the Party's unified, centralized leadership over economic work;
2.  信号二:防范化解金融风险是实现高质量发展必须跨越的重大关口 Preventing and resolving financial risk is a major pass that must be crossed over in order to achieve high-quality development;
3. 信号三:精准脱贫攻坚战“只能打赢打好” The war against poverty will only be won by fighting well and with precision;
4. 信号四:污染防治攻坚战“要打几场标志性的重大战役” Several symbolic battles must be fought in the war on pollution

China Puts Debt of Local Governments, State Firms in Firing Line - Caixin Global:

“Local governments and the corporate sector, particularly SOEs, must lower their leverage ratio as soon as possible, so that the macro leverage ratio can stabilize and then steadily decline,” according to a statement carried by the official Xinhua News Agency after a meeting of the Central Financial and Economic Affairs Commission on Monday. The commission, which is chaired by Xi, is the country’s top economic and financial policymaking body and was holding its first meeting since the National People’s Congress elected top government officials in mid-March.

Xi has highlighted defusing major risks, particularly those in the financial system, as one of “three major battles” that must be fought over the next three years, and Monday’s meeting said the government will focus its resources on problems that may threaten economic and social stability or trigger systemic risks.


3. Xi To Make Big Reform Promises At Boao

I mentioned this in one of the issues last week, word has been going around that he will make big reform promises/announcements, as we enter into the second quarter of the 40th anniversary year of "Reform and Opening". I assume we should expect 2017 Davos-level fawning in reaction? Sorry to be so cynical but talk is cheap and so is making promises that take years and “appropriate preparations” to implement, especially when similar promises have been made for years already. Maybe Xi will surprise and announce big reforms that will take effect immediately, though opening the financial sector quickly may be perhaps in part to have foreign money take on more of the financial risks?

Xi to deliver keynote speech at Boao Asia Forum 2018 - People's Daily Online:

The forum will be held from April 8 to 11.

Since this year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up, the forum is expected to witness a series of new measures, especially for a further opening of the financial sector.

With a theme of "An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity", participants are also expected to discuss key issues related to globalization, the Belt and Road Initiative and innovation.

Is Xi Jinping set to announce plans to transform ‘China’s Hawaii’ into the new Hong Kong? | South China Morning Post:

China’s plan to create free-trade ports as part of its ongoing reform and opening up could be one of the major announcements made by President Xi Jinping at this year’s Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), which gets under way on Sunday, sources said.


4. Beijing Bringing Hong Kong To Heel

Beijing's vision of Hong Kong as just another PRC city appears closer by the day...

Attacks against me may be intended to pave way for a tougher nat. security law, says embattled law prof. Benny Tai | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Law professor Benny Tai has said a wave of recent attacks against him may be intended to pave the way for a tougher national security law to ban discussion of Hong Kong independence. 

Authorities in Hong Kong and the mainland unleashed a wave of condemnation against Tai over the long weekend after he made a speech on the possibility of Hong Kong independence in Taiwan last week.... 

He said he was shocked that a speech made overseas caused the government, the Liaison Office and Beijing authorities to issue statements: “It may be to pave the way for Article 23.”

The Case of Hong Kong’s Missing Booksellers - The New York Times:

Lam was transferred to a new city for the next phase of his detention. There, he was told he would be permitted to return to Hong Kong, but only on the condition that, upon arrival, he report immediately to a police station and tell them his disappearance was all a misunderstanding. He would then go to the home of Lee Bo and pick up a computer containing information on the publisher’s clients and authors, which he would deliver to China. Only then would Lam be allowed to return to work in his bookstore — but as a mole, the “eyes and ears” of the investigation. He would report who bought which books, documenting each client and sale through text and photos. Lam agreed to the proposal immediately. “After being in prison for so long,” he said, “I was used to their way of thinking.”

On a June morning, Lam arrived in Hong Kong and reported to a nearby police station, as directed. Local officers were expecting him. He cleared his case — telling the police that he had never been in danger — and headed to Lee’s home in order to retrieve the computer. There, finally alone, the men spoke freely about their situation. Lam learned that his bookstore had been bought by a man named Chan, who promptly closed it. According to Lam, Lee also described his own capture and how he had been snatched from the parking lot of Mighty Current’s warehouse building. He urged Lam to comply with the investigators’ demands.

As China tightens squeeze, soul searching for Hong Kong's democracy movement - Reuters:

“The opposition always argues for the sake of argument,” said one democracy supporter who gave her name as Feng. In frustration, she cast her ballot for a pro-Beijing candidate in the March 11 elections.

“Confronting Beijing directly is not a good strategy,” the 44-year-old government contractor said. “You have to go about it in softer ways.” She said she did not want her full name published because she works for the government.

That sort of shift by voters like Feng is worrying leaders of pro-democracy parties in Hong Kong who fear an eroding public mandate, which they see as their sole weapon to counter Beijing’s influence in the city.


5. More On The 5G Race

Huawei flourishes despite perennial hurdles in US - FT $$:

The inconvenient truth for the US is that it is a global behemoth, turning over Rmb603.6bn ($96bn) last year and eclipsing Ericsson as the world’s biggest vendor of telecoms equipment. It is the third-biggest seller of handsets and is in a race to lead the development of 5G, the next-generation mobile standard and an essential technology for the era of connected devices. Control over 5G was one reason US President Donald Trump blocked Broadcom’s bid for rival Qualcomm.

“The FBI and the intelligence community just don’t like Huawei,” says James Lewis, senior vice-president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think-tank. There is “compelling evidence” that it [Huawei equipment] can be used for snooping, he adds. “And that’s been true for at least 15 years.”

Trump’s China Concern Adds Pressure in Race to Be First With 5G - Bloomberg:

While fully standardized coast-to-coast 5G networks are at least two years away, the carriers are pushing hard into technology development and waging a fierce marketing campaign through a barrage of press releases. Verizon knows the value of being first, which may explain why it’s issued three times as many announcements touting 5G than its smaller rivals.

If New Zealand goes with Huawei will Five Eyes become Four Eyes?-- Spark kicks off 5G era in New Zealand with live trial - RCR Wireless

New Zealand telecom operator Spark announced what it claims to be the country’s first live 5G mobile test site in Wellington. The 5G trial used equipment and technical support from Chinese vendor Huawei. It will test speeds, coverage and the parameters of the spectrum in a real-world environment, and run throughout March connecting equipment in a specialized vehicle drive-testing the streets of Wellington.

ZTE announces success in making 1st 5G phone call - Xinhua:

Chinese telecom equipment company ZTE Group has announced its success in making the first phone call enabled by 5G technologies as smartphone makers scramble to work on 5G in hopes of applying this next-generation mobile communication technology to their products as soon as possible, Tuesday's China Daily reported.


6. Religious Freedom And The Vatican

China Focus: China pledges to protect freedom of religious belief - Xinhua:

As a socialist country under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China adopts policies on freedom of religious belief based on national and religious conditions to protect citizens' right to freedom of religious belief, build active and healthy religious relationships, and maintain religious and social harmony, said the white paper published by the State Council Information Office, titled "China's Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief."

Full text in English and 中国保障宗教信仰自由的政策和实践 

Vatican Deal Would Keep China in Charge of Church, Beijing Says - WSJ $$:

Chen Zongrong told reporters Tuesday that the Chinese government is making concerted efforts to conclude the agreement, which would end a decadeslong rift. Under the compromise, China would select bishop candidates, but the pope would have veto power—an arrangement meant to end the appointment of rival clerics.

In most of the world the pope has sole authority to appoint bishops.

Asked at a news conference whether the agreement infringes on religious freedom by limiting the pope’s authority to appoint bishops, Mr. Chen said, “I cannot agree with such an opinion.”

“China’s constitution is clear.… Foreign forces cannot be allowed to interfere with China’s religious environment and religious affairs,” he said.

The Vatican is clearly a "foreign force"…

China Insists on Control of Religion, Dimming Hope of Imminent Vatican Deal - The New York Times:

According to the white paper, China has 200 million believers among the five major religions, which it counts as Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Catholicism and Protestant Christianity. Catholics account for six million of them, the paper said, though that does not include those in the “underground” church. By other estimates, the number of Catholics exceeds 12 million.

“Religion must adapt to the society it is in,” said Mr. Chen, whose department, the State Administration for Religious Affairs, is being absorbed into a branch of the Communist Party as part of a sweeping government reorganization. He went on, “If a religion is incompatible with its society, this religion cannot survive and develop.”


7. Hospitals Do Not Want Cheap Drugs?

Latest Caixin cover story is on hospitals' fight to prevent the spread of cheap drugs

No Room for Cheap Cures - Caixin Global

Liang’s story points to an uncured problem in China’s health care system — expensive prescription drugs largely controlled by cash-hungry public hospitals. Despite crackdowns by regulators, the system is said to be rife with dubious practices that drive up prices. Pharmaceutical companies, for example, are pressured to give equipment to hospitals and trips for doctors to secure sales, Caixin has learned.

An online drug retail industry sprouted up in China to offer a cheap and speedy alternative to people tired of high prices and long queues at hospitals. But the fledgling industry, posing a threat to hospitals’ near-monopoly over prescription medicines, has found itself strong-armed by pharmaceutical companies to raise its prices, Caixin has found. And now regulators are moving to further tighten grip on internet sales of prescription drugs, concerned about public safety.

Original Chinese version is谁在消灭低价药?

China gives preferential tax rate for generic drugmakers - Reuters:

The State Council also said it would draw up new incentives aimed at encouraging the development and production of generic drugs, a move it said would help safeguard public health, reduce medical bills and spur innovation

The document said China would aim to create a system that encourages producers to copy “clinically necessary” drugs, including those in short supply and used to treat children, prevent major communicable diseases, or handle public health emergencies.


8. China The Largest Film Box Office In World In Q1

The recent bureaucratic reorganization and the addition of "core socialist values" to the Constitution should make Hollywood's road in China even more difficult, but even crumbs from such a large market are enough to prevent any pushback.

China Box Office Biggest In The World So Far In 2018 – Variety:

Gross theatrical revenues in China amounted to RMB20.2 billion in the three months to the end of March, according to data assembled by Variety from official and industry sources. Using a conservative exchange rate of RMB6.30 to the U.S. dollar, that equates to $3.17 billion. In comparison, North American theaters (comprising those in the U.S. and Canada) enjoyed aggregate revenues of $2.89 billion in the same period, according to data tracking and consultancy service ComScore...

Patriotic war action film “Operation Red Sea” was the top-scoring film in China in March, with close to $175 million (RMB1.1 billion) earned in the month. Released at Chinese New Year in February, “Operation Red Sea” has a cumulative total in China of $574 million, according to Chinese data service Ent Group. Disney’s “Black Panther” was second in March in China with $105 million (RMB659 million). It was followed by “Pacific Rim: Uprising,” a Hollywood sci-fi fantasy produced by China’s Dalian Wanda group.

Trump’s Trade War Could Slow China Film Quota Talks – Variety// Comment: making Hollywood another industry that may lobby against overly tough actions against China. 


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China moves its factories back to the countryside - FT $$ Once famous for exporting labour, Henan now wants it to return. So authorities are building factories in its villages to counter migration that has thinned its population, leaving crops untended and many children to be brought up by their grandparents. The move reflects a stark shift in government focus. After decades of urbanisation and rural neglect, China’s Communist party is seeking to revitalise the countryside, where wages and standards of living have stagnated compared with those of big cities.

China’s Big Banks Are Turning to Short-Term Financing - Bloomberg The banks are rushing to sell negotiable certificates of deposit, an instrument that sounds like a saving account but is actually more like a bond. Issuance of these by the five largest lenders more than doubled to 424 billion yuan ($68 billion) in the first quarter from a previous record in the three months ended Sept. 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Banks are taking this approach as deposit growth dwindles and the government curbs the sale of wealth management products. While new lending in China rose to an all-time high of 2.9 trillion yuan in January, deposits increased at the slowest pace ever last year and WMPs rose just 1.7 percent.

New Asset Management Rules Will Boost Fortunes of Net Asset Value WMP's - China Banking News Analysts say the absence of a fixed return means that Chinese banks are very likely to switch to net asset value WMP’s under the new asset management regulations.One analyst from Rong360 said to Securities Journal that “the formal implementation of the new asset management regulations means banks must change models…removing implicit guarantees and switching to a net asset value model has been mooted for many years now.”

理论网_苗圩:加快制造强国和网络强国建设步伐 这九个方面的重要论述,是习近平总书记制造强国和网络强国战略思想的核心要义,是习近平新时代中国特色社会主义经济思想的重要内容,是习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想的有机组成部分,是工业和信息化战线一切工作的根本遵循和行动指南。习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想特别是制造强国和网络强国战略思想,已经并将继续引领我们开拓一个制造强国和网络强国建设的新时代,必须更加自觉、更加坚定地始终坚持。

China's CDB holds creditors meeting to discuss CEFC debt: sources - Reuters CDB told participants at the meeting, comprising CEFC’s lenders and major bondholders, to examine their exposure to the group, the people said. CDB advised creditors not to file any lawsuit and asked them not to recall loans to the group to help it maintain normal operations, the people said, who could not be named as the discussions were confidential.

China's CEFC hit by legal action, as creditors review exposure: sources - Reuters State-backed China Everbright Bank Co has filed multiple lawsuits against CEFC (Shanghai) International Group Co, a CEFC subsidiary, in a Shanghai court as it seeks to limit its exposure to the troubled group, said a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

Foreign Investors May Fail to Gush Over New China Oil Futures - Caixin Global “Domestic enthusiasm is high, but foreign institutions have been conservative as this is the first time that commodities contracts denominated in yuan have been offered to them,” a trader from a large foreign crude oil trading company told Caixin. Foreign customers currently hold a “wait and see” attitude, a manager at a futures company’s sales department told Caixin.

Chinese real estate investment in US declines by 55% - China Daily Chinese investment in US commercial real estate in 2017 plunged an estimated 55 percent from 2016, according to a report, but participants in the sector still expect Chinese capital to be a factor in the US. The 2017 China-US Inbound Investment Capital Watch report from real estate company Cushman & Wakefield put the estimated decline at $7.3 billion in 2017 from $16.2 billion in 2016.

Home Loan Rates Rise, Lending Quotas Expected to Tighten Further - China Banking News Major cities around China are raising home loan rates further as regulators continues to put pressure on urban real estate markets.The state-owned Xinhua News Agency reports that Shanghai’s discount home loan rate increased from 90% to 95% of the benchmark rate at the start of April, while Jiangxi’s banking regulator has just revealed that the rate for first home loans has risen to 10% above benchmark, and the rate for pre-owned home loans lifted to nearly 20% above benchmark from 10% in 2017.

Chinese vice premier demands improved economic research, macro-management - Xinhua Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng Tuesday said the country's top economic planner should strengthen research and macro-management to ensure steady growth and sustained development. Han, also member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks during an inspection at the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

公安部2副部长履新 简历显示,许甘露现任公安部党委委员、副部长,国家移民管理局党组书记、局长;孙力军现任公安部党委委员、副部长兼一局二十六局局长、港澳台办公室主任。Xu Ganlu and Sun Lijun are vice ministers of public security

Six officials suspended in $250m highway scandal - People's Daily Online As reported by CCTV, the Kaole Tunnel on the highway was originally designed to be constructed with two-layer reinforced steel bars, but it was built with only one layer, leaving a severe safety loophole. It had to be reinforced after the problem was discovered and the revamping was planned to be finished by Nov 28. But the latest investigation reveals that the tunnel was only painted over by coating instead of being reinforced with steel bars.

中共中央党校 - 学习时报网_把握精准要义 决胜脱贫攻坚 Ironic that the Gansu Party Secretary has a piece in Study Times on fighting the war on poverty, while the tunnel scandal is in the news. He must be sweating a bit. Xi is looking for high profile examples to make of bad officials messing up the war on poverty…

China unveils state immigration administration - Xinhua The state immigration administration and exit-entry administration, which are attached to the Ministry of Public Security, formally started operations on Monday.

国务院发展研究中心领导班子成员职务调整--组织人事-人民网 New leadership team for State Council Development Research Center--Li Wei, Ma Jiantang, Wang Anshun,Zhang Junkuo, Zhang Laiming, Long Guoqiang, Wang Yimin, Yu Bin //  中国共产党新闻网北京4月3日电   (记者姚茜)近日,国务院发展研究中心网站“中心领导”栏目更新,马建堂已任国务院发展研究中心党组书记、副主任,他此前担任国家行政学院党委副书记、常务副院长。王安顺已任国务院发展研究中心副主任、党组成员(正部长级),他此前担任国务院发展研究中心党组书记。

中央政治局委员陈希的新兼职 Chen Xi named head of the Chinese Academy for Governance //  据中国政府网消息,国务院任免国家工作人员:陈希兼任国家行政学院院长;任命何毅亭为国家行政学院分管日常工作的副院长(正部长级),王东京、甄占民、李季为国家行政学院副院长,陈立、黄宪起、谢春涛为国家行政学院院务委员会委员;任命杨春光为国家邮政局副局长;任命李朋德为中国地质调查局副局长。

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

China tells N. Korea official Beijing supports its US summit - AP The ministry described Ri as saying that North Korea would maintain close strategic communications with China as outlined at last week’s surprise meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Un. Kim’s visit to China made clear that Beijing, North Korea’s only major ally and chief provider of energy and trade that keeps the country’s broken economy afloat, will have a major role in any effort to rein in the North’s nuclear program. Earlier Tuesday, Wang told reporters that China hopes a planned meeting between North Korea and the U.S. would be able to avoid “disruptive factors” and stick to the pursuit of dialogue between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Zimbabwe's leader thanks China's Xi, pledges to boost ties - AP “You are an old friend of China and I appreciate your efforts to develop relations in all areas,” Xi said in opening remarks. Xi praised Mnangagwa’s efforts to “improve people’s lives” in Zimbabwe, though he did not go into specifics. “As Zimbabwe’s good friend and partner, we are very happy about this,” Xi said.

China, Zimbabwe agree to establish comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation - CGTN He recalled his military training experience in Nanjing back in the 1960s, adding that China has witnessed tremendous development.

Breaking the ice: China’s entry in the Arctic region - People's Daily Online "In order to promote Arctic shipping from Europe to China, it is necessary to build stronger icebreakers that can withstand the rigid environments found in the Arctic," Gunnar Snorri Gunnarsson, Icelandic ambassador to China, told People's Daily Online. In an effort to tackle such issues, China has been actively seeking opportunities for icebreaking cooperation, especially with Finland which built about 60 percent of the world's icebreakers. According to statistics from Finnish icebreaking giant Aker Arctic, Finland and China have agreed to build a double acting polar research vessel equipped with icebreaking abilities usable while the vessels are both moving forward and backward. These are expected to be built in the shipyard of Shanghai in 2018. China is also building its second icebreaker the Snow Dragon 2. The domestically-built icebreaker is due to hit the water and ice in 2019.

Can debris of fallen Tiangong-1 space lab reveal secrets of China’s space programme? | South China Morning Post “We only retrieve assets of high value, or those that contain sensitive technology or intelligence that would cause harm if falling into the hands of another country,” a space scientist familiar with the operation told the South China Morning Post on condition of anonymity. Tiangong-1 was not such an asset, he said.

In response to Chinese incursions, Japan plans new radar system in western Pacific | Taiwan News Osagawara is located south east of Tokyo, and far north of Papa New Guinea. After the first island chain of Japan, Taiwan, and the Philippines, the second island chain consists of Papa New Guinea, and several smaller islands like Guam, the Marianas and the Osagawara islands, which includes the islands of Iwo Jima. Currently, a preliminary survey and security team has been dispatched from Saitama Prefecture by the Ministry of Defense to examine current conditions and determine the best potential sites for the radar facility’s construction.

Duterte's elusive Chinese investment bonanza - Nikkei Asian Review Beijing has lured Manila with promises that are so far unfulfilled

Western political elections degraded to taking power instead of actions: experts - People's Daily Online William Jones, Washington Bureau chief for the news magazine Executive Intelligence Review, said instead of falling back, the Western democratic system is tearing apart, and the process has been taking place for a relatively long period. //  Comment: The CCP propagandists love the Lyndon LaRouche mouthpieces

China warns against "Cold War mentality" in Skripal case - Xinhua Comment: Xi has chosen to stand by Putin  //  Currently, the international community is confronted with multiple challenges, Geng said. "All parties should discard their Cold War mentality, refrain from confrontation and make concerted efforts to uphold world peace, stability and tranquility, and remain committed to fostering a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation."

 

Tech And Media

Meituan to Buy Big Stake in Mobike - Caixin Global China’s largest online booking platform Meituan Dianping has agreed to acquire a big stake in shared-bike startup Mobike, Caixin has learned. The deal was brokered by Pony Ma, CEO of Tencent Holdings Ltd., which is a big backer of Meituan, sources close to the matter told Caixin. The sources added that Meituan expressed interest in investing in Mobike as early as late 2017, but the deal was put on hold due to objections from Li Bin, Mobike’s chairman and an angel investor in the company.

China punishes Sina and iQiyi video sites for spoofs on ‘Communist heroes’ - AFP Major video sites iQiyi and Sina were handed undisclosed fines for “distorting or mocking” classic works, the culture ministry said, less than two weeks after new rules were issued to ban online spoofs.

The ministry did not describe the offending videos, but another company in southwest China’s Sichuan province, Sichuan Shengshi Tianfu Media, was given “the highest fine according to law” for creating a popular parody of a revolutionary ballad, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.

Ctrip Poses Latest Challenge to Didi’s Ride-Hailing Dominance - Caixin Global Ctrip.com International Ltd. has obtained an online ride-hailing license from the transport authority in Tianjin, a northeastern port city outside Beijing, allowing it to operate such services nationwide. “This license will add to our ground transportation capability for our travel user base,” a company official told Caixin on Tuesday. “It will be one of the products we bring to our customers as a one-stop travel shop.”

Ministry investigates WiFi squatting apps - ECNS Some mobile apps that help people squat on WiFi connections may involve violations such as revealing other people's personal data, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said. Mobile apps "Wifi Master Key" and "Wifi Key" can provide smartphone users free WiFi connections by linking to the networks of other users, according to media reports. These connections were suspected of intruding on people's personal networks and filching user information.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Cosmopolitan Colonialism – China Channel A sequel to his 2013 book The Scramble for China: Foreign Devils in the Qing Empire, 1832-1914, in Out of China Bickers picks up the story of foreigners and foreign influence in China from the end of the first World War through the wars and upheavals of the mid-20th century to the rise of a resurgent China – and a resurgent Chinese nationalism – in the post-reform era. The focus of the book is still the foreign presence in China, but this book is also about China’s search for national and individual dignity and the quest for a new national identity, one which is both fully modern and fully Chinese.

100 Shanghai cleaners stage four-day rally over pay cuts as labour protests grow across China | South China Morning Post As sanitary workers stopped work, internet censors scrambled to scrub social media clean of photos, videos and comments documenting the industrial action

Web Worship Is Better Than Nothing on Tomb-Sweeping Day - Sixth Tone There is, of course. Online tomb sweeping — also called “cloud tomb sweeping” — allows family and friends to upload the deceased’s life stories, photos, audio files, and videos. Platforms like Netor.net, whose website boasts more than 20 million visits, charge you to give virtual “offerings,” burn cyber-incense, or send flower emojis over the web to honor your dead. Some people even attach a scannable QR code to their ancestor’s real-life tombstone so that friends or family who come to pay their respects can take part in the ongoing online memorial.

 

Agriculture And Rural Issues

“大包干”带头人的新生活 - 图片新闻 - 新京报网 岁月的年轮刻过了四十年寒暑,小岗村的大包干带头人们也都老了。如今,18位大包干带头人健在的还有10人,最年轻的也到了70岁,他们有的开启了新事业,有的踏实享受着儿孙绕膝、颐养天年的幸福。图为小岗村部分“大包干”带头人旧照  //  slideshow of ten of the villagers from Xiaogang, Anhui who started the 1978 unauthorized pilot of dividing the land into family plots (dabaogan)

Across China: New infrastructure links rural China to prosperity - Xinhua Over the past five years, the central government has earmarked 400 billion yuan and mobilized 1.6 trillion yuan of social investment in rural road construction. A total of 1.27 million km of roads were built in the countryside during the period, bringing the total length of rural roads to 4 million km, according to government figures. Transport Minister Li Xiaopeng said more efforts would be made to ensure asphalt road access to all qualified townships and villages by 2019 and to guarantee passenger transport services covering all qualified villages by 2020.

 

Education

Chinese woman admits to cheating on U.S. college admission exam - Reuters Leyi Huang, who had been attending Pennsylvania State University using a student visa, pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston to conspiring to defraud the United States, according to court records. Prosecutors said Huang in March 2016 arranged to have a paid test taker sit in her place and take the TOEFL, the English-language exam used to assess foreign applicants, after she failed to achieve the minimum score needed to attend Penn State.

 

Beijing

Beijing Proposes Special Bicycle Charging Zones as E-Bike Fire Kills 4; Unsafe Bikes to Be Banned by 2021 | the Beijinger Though the official cause of the Zhongguancun blaze is still under investigation, firefighters said fires caused by electric bikes are usually caused by aged power cords, shortcircuiting batteries, mismatched third-party battery chargers, and overcharging.