US sanctions over Xinjiang; Wang Yi speech on US-China relations; TikTok; 709 lawyer crackdown

The US finally announced long-rumored sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act against Xinjiang Party Chief and Politburo member Chen Quanguo as well as three other Xinjiang officials and the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau. The US State Department also imposed visa restrictions on Chen and others:

These designations and visa restrictions complement the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s announcement today that it is designating the XPSB, as well as four current or former officials of the People’s Republic of China – Chen Quanguo; Zhu Hailun; Wang Mingshan; and Huo Liujun – for their roles in serious human rights abuse. These designations are pursuant to Executive Order 13818, “Blocking the Property of Persons Involved in Serious Human Rights Abuse or Corruption,” which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. Before ramping up the CCP’s campaign of repression in Xinjiang, Chen oversaw extensive abuses in Tibetan areas, using many of the same horrific practices and policies CCP officials currently employ in Xinjiang.

In 2018 the US sanctioned Lieutenant General Li Shangfu, director of the Central Military Commission’s Equipment Development Department, for arms purchases from Russia in violation of US sanctions. Sanctioning a sitting Politburo member is I believe unprecedented.

As of this writing there has not been a response from Beijing to these sanctions. I would be surprised if they blow up the phase one trade deal in response, but it is worth noting that in spite of the trade deal President Trump finally authorized these sanctions.

PRC officials will not be happy but they should not be surprised. Any countermeasures may be tempered by what looks to be a renewed push from leading PRC diplomats to stabilize the US China relationship.

On Wednesday Vice Minister Le Yucheng gave a speech at a video dialogue on Sino-US Relations in which called for finding common ground to stop the downward spiral in the relationship. Today Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave a speech at a different event with US participants echoing similar themes. They seem concerned that the relationship is spiraling out of control, but unsurprisingly they blame the US for all the problems.

They are right to be worried. The new Hong Kong national security law looks to have galvanized US allies, and as President Trump's reelection prospects dim expect to see attempts by his more hawkish-on-China officials to push through much tougher steps on China in the next few months, and to try to make it even harder for a Team Biden to revert to anything even approaching US-China 2016 relations, even if they wanted to.

Today’s Essential Eight:

  1. US imposes sanctions on Politburo member, others

  2. Wang Yi’s speech on US-China relations

  3. Hong Kong

  4. Harvard survey on PRC citizen satisfaction

  5. 5th anniversary of the 709 mass arrest of rights lawyers

  6. TikTok trying to make itself look decoupled from China

  7. Guo Wengui under FBI investigation?

  8. Space Force

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The Essential Eight

1. US imposes sanctions on Politburo member, others

The United States Imposes Sanctions and Visa Restrictions in Response to the Ongoing Human Rights Violations and Abuses in Xinjiang - United States Department of State

I am designating three senior CCP officials under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2020 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, for their involvement in gross violations of human rights:  Chen Quanguo, the Party Secretary of the XUAR; Zhu Hailun, Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Political and Legal Committee (XPLC); and Wang Mingshan, the current Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau (XPSB).  As a result, they and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States...

Global Magnitsky Designations

Global Magnitsky Designations - CHEN, Quanguo (陈全国),; HUO, Liujun (霍留军),; WANG, Mingshan ( 王明山); ZHU, Hailun (朱海仑); The following entity has been added to OFAC's SDN List: XINJIANG PUBLIC SECURITY BUREAU [PSB]

Exclusive: Chinese banks prepare contingency plans over threat of U.S. sanctions - sources - Reuters

In worst-case scenarios under consideration by the Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the lenders are looking at the possibility of being cut off from U.S. dollars or losing access to U.S. dollar settlements, two sources said...

In a milder scenario being looked at by the Agricultural Bank of China (AgBank), lenders would need to find ways to address the problem of clients blacklisted by the United States, especially those who might face a sudden loss of liquidity, a third source said...

China’s top four banks, which also include ICBC, China Construction Bank and AgBank, had a combined 7.5 trillion yuan ($1 trillion) in U.S. dollar liabilities at the end of 2019, annual reports show.

The sources also said that least three state-run leasing firms, including an ICBC unit and CSIC Leasing, are also making contingency plans. Leasing firms are often heavily reliant on dollar borrowing to fund purchases of aircraft, machinery and facilities.

外交部军控司司长傅聪就国际军控与裁军问题举行中外媒体吹风会 — 中华人民共和国外交部

In a press conference Thursday, Fu Cong, director of the arms control department in China’s foreign ministry said China has no intention to join the US-Russia disarmament talks since “the number of China’s nuclear weapons is not in the same level as those of US and Russia, and it is unrealistic to ask China to join at this moment.”

傅聪重申,中方无意参加美俄之间的双边谈判。中国与美俄核武器数量完全不在一个量级,现阶段要求中方参加与美俄的核裁军谈判并不现实。中方呼吁美方尽快积极回应俄方关于延期《新削减战略武器条约》的诉求,在此基础上进一步削减其庞大的核武库,为其他核武器国家参加核裁军谈判创造条件。根据瑞典斯德哥尔摩国际和平研究所及美国科学家联盟等知名智库的统计,美国目前约有5800枚核弹头,相当于中国核弹头数量的20倍。

On Arms Control Negotiations with China - United States Department of State

The United States welcomes China’s commitment to engage in arms control negotiations. As such, prudent next steps will need to include face-to-face meetings between the United States and China. The Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control, Ambassador Marshall Billingslea, will invite the Chinese government to join in good faith negotiations in Vienna, Austria.  The United States also recommends that China meet with Russia at an early date to consider next steps for trilateral arms control negotiations.   We will all bring different perspectives and objectives to the negotiating table and will surely have disagreements.  But it is time for dialogue and diplomacy between the three biggest nuclear weapons powers on how to prevent a new arms race.

Comment: There seems to be a disconnect here?

China refutes Pompeo's accusations on COVID-19 pandemic - Xinhua

Zhao Lijian - "Speaking of facts, I want to ask if the U.S. government could tell the truth and explain to the U.S. people and the international community issues including the Fort Detrick bio-lab, and the EVALI and its biological laboratories worldwide," he said.

团结合作才是人间正道(钟声)

People’s Daily Zhong Sheng attacked the US politicians as “immoral” and “despicable” for pulling out from the World Health Organization at a moment the world needs global cooperation the most.

Full Text: Serious Discrimination Against and Cruel Treatment of Immigrants Fully Expose Hypocrisy of "U.S.-Style Human Rights" - Xinhua

The China Society for Human Rights Studies on Thursday released an article titled "Serious Discrimination Against and Cruel Treatment of Immigrants Fully Expose Hypocrisy of 'U.S.-Style Human Rights'."

US regulator says oversight of Chinese companies remains futile as authorities refuse American ‘principles and practice’ | South China Morning Post

Over the past decade, “there have been near constant discussions with Chinese authorities,” said William Duhnke III, chairman of Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), the group that inspects the audits of the listed foreign companies.

“These efforts have failed to result in a viable model for cooperation because the Chinese authorities refused our principles and practice,” said Duhnke at a virtual round table organised by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Thursday to review risks posed by lack of oversight on foreign companies in emerging markets, including China.

Is Taiwan the Next Hong Kong? China Tests the Limits of Impunity | Foreign Affairs - By Michael Green and Evan Medeiros

Since the beginning of the republic, the United States has sought to prevent a rival hegemon from dominating the Pacific. The situation in Hong Kong is a reminder that advancing this objective is rapidly becoming more difficult. U.S. pressure must be tempered with skillful diplomacy to ensure that Beijing sees an international coalition moving against it but doesn’t feel so threatened that it lashes out or is able to separate the United States from its allies.

Slouching Toward Phase One | Council on Foreign Relations

On current trends, goods exports to China will struggle to reach their 2017 level—there won't be any big gains from the Phase One deal.


2. Wang Yi’s speech on US-China relations

Stay on the Right Track and Keep Pace with the Times to Ensure the Right Direction for China-US Relations

Remarks by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the China-US Think Tanks Media Forum

China-US relations, one of the most consequential bilateral relationships in the world, is faced with the most severe challenge since the establishment of diplomatic ties. Some in the US with ideological biases are resorting to all possible means to portray China as an adversary, and even an enemy. They seek relentlessly to frustrate and contain China's development, and to impede interactions between China and the US....

How to set things right and get China-US relations back on track toward long-term, sound and steady development? I would like to offer three observations.

First, China and the US should not seek to remodel each other. Instead, they must work together to find ways to peaceful coexistence of different systems and civilizations...

Second, China's US policy remains unchanged. We are still willing to grow China-US relations with goodwill and sincerity...

Third, it is important to have a correct view of the historical experience of China-US relations, and stay the course of dialogue and cooperation.

Some in the US have claimed that the engagement policy over the past decades has been a failure, and that the US has been ripped off in its cooperation with China. That is a comment that disrespects history and conflicts with the fact...

I want to make three suggestions for you to discuss:

First, activate and open all the channels of dialogue. The current China policy of the US is based on ill-informed strategic miscalculation, and is fraught with emotions and whims and McCarthyist bigotry...

Second, review and agree on the lists of interactions. Given the inter-connectedness and complexity of issues, it is useful for the two sides to sit down together, run over them, and draw up the following three lists:

The first is a list of cooperation areas. It should specify all areas, bilateral and global, where China and the US need to and can work together. The longer this list goes, the better. Cooperation on this list should be immune to the impact of other issues.

The second is a list of dialogues. It should itemize the issues of differences that could be solved through dialogues. They should be designated to the existing dialogue mechanisms and platforms as soon as possible.

The third is a list of issues that need proper management...

Third, focus and cooperate on COVID-19 response.

Chinese text of Wang’s speech- 守正不移,与时俱进 维护中美关系的正确方向 — 中华人民共和国外交部

More on the forum, Kissinger, spoke, Kevin Rudd, Kurt Campbell, Fu Ying also spoke, several experts from Brookings were among the participants - 中国公共外交协会举办中美智库媒体视频论坛

China hopes for ‘reasonable’ US - Global Times

Jin Canrong, the associate dean of Renmin University of China's School of International Studies in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday that the foreign minister is offering goodwill, but the problem is "the US wants to remodel us even though we don't want to remodel the US. Washington doesn't believe stopping the confrontation is urgent, and that a crackdown on China is more important for it to maintain its global hegemony."..

Diao Daming, a US studies expert at Renmin University in Beijing, said offering such sincere suggestions while some US senior officials are poisoning China-US ties is not easy and commendable, and it shows China is aware of its responsibility as a major power to fix the most important bilateral relationship in the world.


3. Hong Kong

Is this a first step to ensuring the LegCo elections go as desired by Beijing? - 'Pan-dem Legco primaries might violate security law' - RTHK

The Secretary for Mainland and Constitutional Affairs, Erick Tsang, has said planned primary polls by the pro-democracy camp might violate the elections ordinance and the national security law.

In an interview with Oriental Daily published on Thursday, Tsang said that relevant authorities are investigating after receiving complaints.

He said many people have complained that the polls were allegedly aimed at manipulating and interfering with the Legco election, and added that some candidates vowed to veto the government's budget to paralyse the administration.

香港国安法实施后暴力锐减,防暴警员将分批返回原岗_港台来信_澎湃新闻-The Paper

Beijing Daily says because the new law has reduced protests 3,500 police staffed on the anti-riot team will be reorganized to return to their original work.

國安法│變身國安公署臨時基地 銅鑼灣維景酒店網上圖則離奇消失|香港01|01偵查

One day after the Office to Safeguard National Security opened in HK, the government took the Office’s building off from a public map. According to HK01, the public will not be able to find this building in the public records of properties, while you can find the Central Liaison Office and the foreign ministry office. The records for the PLA barracks and the HK government HQ and the LegCo are also not available.

北京学者:习近平传承毛泽东 国安立法终结香港“无政府”状态|多维新闻|香港

Tian Feilong, a professor of Beihang University in Beijing, told Duowei News that Xi’s decision to pass the National Security Law in HK and his courage to confront the Americans was partly inspired by Mao, who once said China can fight as long as the Americans wish to fight.

Hong Kong National Security Law Will Make Doing Business Harder - Bloomberg - By Antony Dapiran

Hong Kong lawyers are customarily called upon to render “non contravention” legal opinions, which confirm that a client’s transaction does not breach any of the city’s laws. But the new security law, a piece of mainland Chinese legislation transplanted into Hong Kong, is so vaguely defined that no lawyer could opine upon it with any confidence. And mainland officials have already warned that the law could be expanded.

Effectively, to apply Hong Kong laws to their transactions, companies would have to “opt in” to the security law and accept the accompanying legal uncertainty. Many are likely to bristle at that prospect. English and New York laws will be a more attractive alternative.

Global Banks Risk Breaching China Law by Complying With U.S. - Bloomberg

The vast scope of the new security law imposed on the city has taken businesses by surprise, but perhaps no part is more worrying for global lenders than Article 29. It forbids sanctions, blockades or hostile activities against the financial hub and China at a time when the U.S. is inching closer to enacting rules that would require banks to comply with sanctions against Chinese officials and entities. Running afoul of the legislations put companies at risk of fines or losing their license to do business.

Increasing number of HK residents support national security law: poll - Global Times

The Hong Kong Research Association, a nonprofit opinion survey organization, carried out telephone interviews from July 2-5 with 1,097 Hong Kong residents aged 18 or above, and released the results on Wednesday.

Among those surveyed, 66 percent showed "support" or "strong support" for the imposition and enactment of the national security law for Hong Kong.

Sixty-three percent welcome the set-up of the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in HKSAR, and nearly 80 percent said the implementation of the national security law would not have a negative impact on the international financial hub.

北京大学法学院教授强世功:中国智慧的范例--理论-人民网

Peking University Law School professor Jiang Shigong calls the National Security Law an example of "Chinese wisdom"

Hong Kong security law: Australia offers path to residency, tells citizens to consider leaving Asian hub - The Washington Post

Australia suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and offered an immigration pathway for residents fleeing the city, after several Western countries aligned with Washington, including Canada and Britain, introduced similar measures to confront China's security crackdown in the city.

As Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the measures on Thursday, the Australian government also issued a stark new travel advisory asking its roughly 100,000 citizens in Hong Kong to consider leaving the Asian business hub, citing the risk of arbitrary detention.

China accuses Australia of 'gross interference' after offer of safe haven for Hong Kong visa holders | The Guardian

The Chinese embassy in Canberra responded furiously to the moves, saying China “strongly deplores and opposes the groundless accusations and measures announced by the Australian government”.

“The Australian side has been clanking that they oppose ‘foreign interference’,” a spokesperson for the embassy said in a statement.

“However they have blatantly interfered in China’s internal affairs by making irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong related issues. Its hypocrisy and double standard is exposed in full.”

The embassy spokesperson called on Australia “to immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs under any pretext or in any way, otherwise it will lead to nothing but lifting a rock only to hit its own feet”.

Foreign ministers of Five Eyes group nations discussed HK on call: official - Reuters

Foreign ministers from the Five Eyes intelligence sharing group discussed the situation in Hong Kong during a conference call on Wednesday, a Canadian government official told Reuters.

The official declined to elaborate. The Five Eyes groups Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

After Australia suspends extradition with Hong Kong, Britain is looking at arrangements | Reuters

Britain is looking at the extradition arrangements with Hong Kong, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday, when asked about Australia's move to suspend its extradition treaty.

New Zealand to review relationship settings with Hong Kong | Beehive.govt.nz

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced that the New Zealand Government is reviewing the settings of its relationship with Hong Kong.

“China’s decision to pass a new national security law for Hong Kong has fundamentally changed the environment for international engagement there,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand remains deeply concerned at the imposition of this legislation on Hong Kong.”

Canada not looking to impose China sanctions for now, seeks to avoid escalation - Reuters

“We’re not seeking to escalate any current dispute with China,” said the source when asked about the Canadian measures on Hong Kong. “It’s not a question of trying to do something deliberately provocative, it’s to take a step in response to a step that the Chinese took.”

For the time being Canada is more focused on measures to boost immigration from Hong Kong.

EU in talks over Hong Kong national security law retaliation | Financial Times $$

France and Germany have proposed the first EU countermeasures in retaliation for China’s imposition of a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong.

The three-pronged response would aim to boost the territory’s civil society by limiting exports of equipment used in internal repression, making it easier for activists facing political repression to stay long-term in the EU and expanding educational scholarships for Hong Kongers in Europe, said European diplomats.

Beijing attacks France over Hong Kong national security law remarks - RFI

In response to the French comments, China’s spokesman said he hoped that some countries would exercise "prudence in words and in actions" and behave "in a more positive way for the stability of Hong Kong".

But Jean-Yves Le Drian repeated his remarks during a joint press briefing on Thursday with his Spanish counterpart Arancha Gonzalez: "This security law is a very serious act which in our view questions the 1997 Basic Law which validated Hong Kong's form of autonomy under 'one country, two systems'.

'We cried a lot': Hong Kong family torn apart as protester seeks asylum in Australia | The Guardian

Jay* is a former Hong Kong resident who attended many of last year’s protests including on the frontlines. He was arrested and charged with riot offences, but fled the city when he was being released on bail several months ago. He is now among dozens of Hong Kong residents seeking political asylum in Australia. .

Hong Kong Dollar Peg Defense Tops $13 Billion as Demand Surges - Bloomberg

The city’s de facto central bank sold HK$13.4 billion ($1.7 billion) to purchase the greenback on Thursday, taking the total it has spent this year to keep the local currency from strengthening further to $13.5 billion.

Some Trump aides are considering plans to undermine the peg mechanism in retribution for Beijing’s crackdown on civil liberties in the former British colony, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. Mainland-based investors showed their support for the city through buying more than $1 billion worth of Hong Kong shares on the day.


4. Harvard survey on PRC citizen satisfaction

Understanding CCP Resilience: Surveying Chinese Public Opinion Through Time | Ash Center - Edward Cunningham, Tony Saich, and Jessie Turiel, July 2020

We find that first, since the start of the survey in 2003, Chinese citizen satisfaction with government has increased virtually across the board. From the impact of broad national policies to the conduct of local town officials, Chinese citizens rate the government as more capable and effective than ever before. Interestingly, more marginalized groups in poorer, inland regions are actually comparatively more likely to report increases in satisfaction. Second, the attitudes of Chinese citizens appear to respond (both positively and negatively) to real changes in their material well-being, which suggests that support could be undermined by the twin challenges of declining economic growth and a deteriorating natural environment.

While the CCP is seemingly under no imminent threat of popular upheaval, it cannot take the support of its people for granted. Although state censorship and propaganda are widespread, our survey reveals that citizen perceptions of governmental performance respond most to real, measurable changes in individuals’ material well-being. For government leaders, this is a double-edged sword, as citizens who have grown accustomed to increases in living standards will expect such improvements to continue, and citizens who praise government officials for effective policies may indeed blame them when such policy failures affect them or their family members directly. While our survey reinforces narratives of CCP resilience, our data also point to specific areas in which citizen satisfaction could decline in today’s era of slowing economic growth and continued environmental degradation.

Comment: I am not surprised, and if anything would expect the satisfaction to be increasing given China’s success in managing the pandemic once they got over the initial coverup and missteps, and the disastrous management of the pandemic in the US


5. 5th anniversary of the 709 mass arrest of rights lawyers

Five years after 709: The crackdown from Beijing has never stopped | by William Yang | Jul, 2020 | Medium

On the day of the fifth anniversary of the “709 Mass Arrest” in China, while most human rights lawyers have been freed from prison, Yu Wensheng, who was several lawyers’ defense lawyer, has been detained for almost 1000 days. His wife said five years since the mass arrest across 23 provinces in China, the Chinese government hasn’t stopped cracking down on human rights lawyers.

Five Years of Injustice Following China’s 709 Crackdown - United States Department of State

On July 9, five years ago the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a nationwide offensive targeting hundreds of defense lawyers and human rights defenders for detention, interrogation, and politically motivated criminal charges. The “709” crackdown, named for the date it began on July 9, 2015, was designed to intimidate a generation of lawyers and activists from representing or assisting anyone the CCP perceives as a threat to its absolute power. It showed the world what it means to govern via “rule by law,” rather than a system based on the rule of law.

This wave of repression continues, demonstrated by the secret trial and June 17 sentencing of Yu Wensheng for defending victims of the 2015 crackdown. After detaining human rights lawyers like Wang Quanzhang for years and denying them visits from their families and chosen attorneys, the PRC detained those lawyers’ own defense attorneys — such as Yu and Li Yuhan — without due process. PRC authorities continue to keep some human rights lawyers under house arrest (Jiang Tianyong) and have disbarred others (Wang Yu, Jiang Jitian, Li Jinxing, and Wen Donghai) even after their release from prison.

China: Wife of detained lawyer Yu Wensheng tells of ongoing fight for justice | Amnesty International

My husband was arrested on 19 January 2018 soon after he had written an open letter criticizing the leadership of the People’s Republic of China and calling for constitutional reform. The authorities said he was suspected of “inciting subversion of state power” and “obstructing the duties of public officers”.

Last month, he was sentenced to four years in prison and deprived of political rights for a further three years. I stayed calm as I received the two-minute phone call from the authorities informing me of this. Afterwards, I just cried.

Yu had represented several individuals who had been arrested and charged under the “709” crackdown that began five years ago today, when the Chinese authorities rounded up more than 200 lawyers and activists. He had been at the forefront of the fight for the rights of individuals affected by the crackdown – until he himself lost his own freedom.

China Change » Flying Against the Wind Amid a Grim Situation — China Human Rights Lawyers Group’s Statement on the 5th Anniversary of the “709” Crackdown

Five years ago, beginning with the seizure of Lawyer Wang Yu and her husband, the Chinese government launched a campaign to wipe out human rights defenders. Human rights lawyers bore the brunt of the attack, and so this day, July 9, is regarded as “China Human Rights Lawyers’ Day.”...

The storm experienced by human rights lawyers was ordained from the day the overseas edition of the People’s Daily put forward five categories of people who the government determined posed a threat to the regime. Immediately dubbed by netizens as the “new black five categories,” the ‘rights defense lawyers’ (weiquan lüshi) category was listed first among the five.

China Change » The Crackdown on Human Rights Lawyers — A Compilation of China Change Posts About the ‘709 Incident’


6. TikTok trying to make itself look decoupled from China

TikTok Considers Changes to Distance App From Chinese Roots - WSJ $$

Senior executives are discussing options such as creating a new management board for TikTok or establishing a new headquarters for the app outside of China to distance the app’s operations from China, said a person familiar with the company’s thinking.

TIkTok, which has shot to global fame over the last two years thanks to its catchy dancing and lip syncing videos, is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, one of the world’s most valuable technology startups. ByteDance, whose secondary shares have valued the firm at $150 billion in recent weeks, counts big-name U.S. investors such as Coatue Management and Sequoia Capital among its backers...

ByteDance’s discussions about changing how TikTok is run are still in their early stages, but setting up an independent TikTok management board would allow a degree of autonomy from the parent company, the person familiar with the firm’s thinking said. This person was not aware of any discussions around a corporate spinoff.

Comment: These moves would not be enough to demonstrate the app has no PRC ties. I stand by my comments from Tuesday:

Perhaps the best route for TikTok is to find a buyer before even more value is destroyed. Such a buyer would have to be one that is palatable to the US government, big enough to buy the entire company and then make the investment to truly separate the entire company from any PRC entanglements, but also able to avoid possible antitrust issues. It is a short list.

The pandemic multiplied TikTok’s audience — and its critics in Washington - POLITICO

The pile-on started in May. Over the course of the month, top E&C Republicans wrote their first-ever letter grilling the Chinese giant; Democrats on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee demanded the FTC investigate TikTok (bipartisan senators did the same); and bipartisan legislation to ban TikTok on government devices — companion legislation to a recent Senate bill — was introduced in the House...

That’s not for a lack of TikTok trying for influence. The company has met with nearly 50 congressional offices since April, according to its vice president and head of U.S. public policy Michael Beckerman. He said the discussions have been a “helpful way to directly hear their concerns and address common myths about our company.”

Comment: Among the major beneficiaries of the increase in US-China tensions are lawyers and lobbyists in DC...

In Australia, concerns mount that China could use TikTok to spy on users | South China Morning Post

An Australian newspaper, the Herald Sun, this week reported that an unnamed federal MP was pushing for the app to be banned.

Following suit, Liberal Senator Jim Molan said TikTok was being “used and abused” by the Chinese government, while Labor Senator Jenny McAllister called on TikTok’s representatives to face the Select Committee on Foreign Interference Through Social Media.

TikTok took down 49 million videos for content violations in just six months last year - The Verge

TikTok’s video removals by and large do not stem from government requests or copyright complaints. TikTok says it only received around 1,300 copyright removal requests and 45 government takedown requests (mostly from India), and it did not comply with all of those requests. Like the first half of 2019, the report indicates that TikTok did not receive any takedown requests or user information requests from China, where its parent company, Bytedance, is based.

TikTok Transparency Report

In the second half of last year (July 1 - December 31, 2019), we removed 49,247,689 videos globally, which is less than 1% of all the videos our users created, for violating our Community Guidelines or Terms of Service. Our systems proactively caught and removed 98.2% of those videos before a user reported them.


7. Guo Wengui under FBI investigation?

FBI Probes Chinese Exile, Including Work With Former Trump Aide Steve Bannon - WSJ $$

The FBI is examining exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui and the money used to fund his media efforts in the U.S., including his work with Steve Bannon, a former senior adviser to President Trump, according to people familiar with the matter.

Federal Bureau of Investigation national security agents in recent months have asked people who know both men for information on Mr. Guo’s activities, including the source of funds of a media company linked to him that hired Mr. Bannon in 2018 as a consultant, the people said.

As recently as last week, the FBI met with one person familiar with the companies tied to Mr. Guo, the people said. The probe has been under way for more than six months, and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn have been involved, some of the people said.

Interesting interview last August:


8. Space Force

It is a comedy with competition with in space with the PRC as a key theme. We watched it over the weekend, entertaining, and a good distraction.

Space Force | Netflix Official Site

A quote from one of the early episodes:


Business, Economy and Trade

Yicai - QuantumCTek Sets China Stock Record, Rallying Up to 1,000% on First Trading Day QuantumCTek, a developer of quantum communications products, notched up China’s biggest ever first-day trading gain by surging as much as 1,000 percent in its Shanghai market debut.

China state media urge investor caution amid torrid stock bull run - Reuters “The tragic lesson of abnormal stock market volatility in 2015 remains vivid, cautioning us that we must promote a healthy and prosperous stock market in a correct posture,” the China Securities Journal said in an editorial, referring to the last crash that sent shockwaves through global markets.

China’s currency hits highest level since March as stocks surge | Financial Times $$ The renminbi, which has strengthened steadily since late May, on Thursday broke through the seven to the dollar level for the first time in four months, when efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak squeezed economic activity.

‘No Way I Can Lose’: Inside China’s Stock-Market Frenzy - Bloomberg Five years after China’s last big equity boom ended in tears, signs of euphoria among the nation’s investing masses are popping up everywhere. Turnover has soared, margin debt has risen at the fastest pace since 2015 and online trading platforms have struggled to keep up. Over the past eight days alone, Chinese stocks have added more than $1 trillion of value -- far outpacing gains in every other market worldwide.

China Factory Deflation Eased in June With Recovery on Track - Bloomberg The decline in the producer price index narrowed to 3% last month from May’s 3.7%, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday. The consumer price index rose 2.5% on year following a 2.4% gain the previous month. The statistics bureau earlier published statements dated 2019 which were then withdrawn. The improvement in factory gate deflation indicates the recovery continues to make slow progress, while the rise in consumer inflation is mainly due to a rebound in food prices rather than stronger overall demand.

Chinese Economy Is Showing Signs of Remarkable Turnaround - Bloomberg The Asian giant, felled by Covid just months ago, appears to have pulled off a remarkable turnaround and may be set to drive another economic cycle. // Comment: The bulls are snorting and stomping again, careful getting in front of them

Chinese vice premier stresses stabilizing foreign trade, investment - Xinhua Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua on Thursday called for efforts to keep the overall performance of foreign trade and investment stable...Hu stressed that government policies must be faithfully implemented and services to businesses must be improved to help enterprises tide over difficulties in the context of grave and complicated international environment and COVID-19 pandemic situation.

Cover Story: Anxin Trust’s $7 Billion Investment Black Hole - Caixin The dramatic reversal took place over less than two years, but the risks have been quietly brewing for much longer. The collapse of Anxin brought to light a dark corner of China’s 20 trillion yuan ($2.8 trillion) trust industry where billions of dollars of investments were misappropriated to benefit the biggest shareholders and their affiliates. The effects of Anxin’s troubles may ripple through the industry as financial regulators focus on risks linked to trust companies’ loosely regulated financing activities, a market of 6 trillion yuan. In June, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) ordered several trust companies to halt businesses involving loan-like trust plans while asking others to reduce the volume of such businesses by no less than 20%

China Industrial Firms in Refinancing Fix as Debt Wall Looms - Bloomberg Offshore bond sales from high-yield energy and other industrial companies hit a two-year low in the first half of 2020, with no sales from April to June, according to Bloomberg-compiled data. It couldn’t have come at a worse time for them as $3.1 billion of bonds, or more than a quarter of their debt, need to be repaid or refinanced over the next 12 months, the data show.

Credit Suisse Seeks Major Revamp of Chinese Securities Venture, Sources Say - Caixin A new management team is being installed at Credit Suisse Founder Securities Ltd. (CSFS), mostly from the Zurich-based group’s Hong Kong unit. Credit Suisse announced the appointment of veteran investment banker Janice Hu, who has been with the firm for almost two decades, on June 1, the same day the company closed the transaction giving it a majority stake in the venture. // Comment: Janice Hu is Hu Yaobang's granddaughter

Former ‘Amazon of China’ Finds New Role at Center of B-List Divorce Drama - Caixin In the latest episode of the ongoing fight for control of the company, co-founder Li Guoqing was detained by police in Beijing’s Chaoyang district for questioning on Tuesday. His estranged and possibly former wife Peggy Yu — no one is sure if their divorce has been completed — was spotted by Caixin at the station later that day with several other Dangdang employees presenting various documents and giving their account of events.

Ferrari, McLaren and $15M in Crypto Seized as Chinese Police Bust Arbitrage Scam - CoinDesk In an article published Thursday, China’s Ministry of Public Security, which oversees the country’s police forces, said police in the city of Wenzhou has arrested 10 individuals suspected of operating the fraudulent scheme. The criminal case is the first in China where victims were allegedly scammed using blockchain smart contracts to generate fake cryptocurrencies, the ministry said.

China's market euphoria trumps political risk in Hong Kong - Reuters Investors in China’s soaring stock market are increasingly turning to Hong Kong for bargains, egging on an investment boom on the back of large tech listings and shaking off fears of political risks in the bruised financial hub.

Hidden Harbors: China’s State-backed Shipping Industry | Center for Strategic and International Studies Chinese companies are increasingly dominant across the maritime supply chain, aided by a complicated and opaque system of formal and informal state support that is unrivaled in size

Coronavirus slows China-funded $100bn city in Malaysia - Nikkei Asian Review A member of the Forest City sales team told the Nikkei Asian Review that development of the project has slowed dramatically and that it is having trouble in attracting buyers due to the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic.

China’s statistics agency admits mistakenly publishing year-old monthly inflation, producer price data for June | South China Morning Post China’s national statistics agency caused mild confusion on Thursday after mistakenly releasing year-old inflation and producer price data for June. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) initially published the regular monthly data on its website showing the producer price index (PPI) was unchanged in June from the same month last year, while China’s consumer price index (CPI) was up 2.7 per cent in June.

Ucommune Achieves NASDAQ Backdoor Listing at 75% Off - Mingtiandi The company led by former China Vanke executive Mao Daqing, said in the statement it had agreed to merge with NASDAQ-listed Orisun Acquisition Corp. in a reverse takeover deal that values the combined entity at $769 billion — down from the $3 billion valuation that the Beijing-based firm achieved at two years ago.

China hires Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs to advise on pipeline asset transfers: sources - Reuters Top Chinese energy firms have mandated investment banks Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs to act as advisers for multi-billion dollar deals transferring oil and gas pipeline assets into a national energy infrastructure giant, four sources said.

Politics and Law

In Echo of Mao Era, China's Schools in Book-Cleansing Drive - Reuters A directive from the Ministry of Education last October called on elementary and middle schools to clear out books from their libraries including "illegal" and "inappropriate" works. Now teachers have removed books from schools in at least 30 of mainland China's 33 provinces and municipalities, according to a Reuters review of social media posts, publicly available school and local government documents, and interviews with teachers.// “焚书坑儒” "Burning books and burying Confucian scholars alive", by Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of qin. So far no scholars have been literally buried alive at least...

湖北荆门市委秘书长在老市委大院坠亡 警方介入调查_网易新闻 Liao Mingguo, the secretary general in the Jinmen CCP committee in Hubei apparently committed suicide on Wednesday. The reason is unknown and local police is investigating his death.

China’s Chongqing halts release of monthly birth data due to ‘unfair’ foreign media coverage | South China Morning Post Chongqing’s data had come under heavy criticism after a sudden spike in new births in June last year, when the municipality reported that 66,862 children had been born.

Part 2: Geolocating Growth of Suspect “Boarding” Facilities in Xinjiang China RAND has identified 55 facilities suspected of housing young children the construction of which coincided with a publicly stated policy to build “boarding schools” in Xinjiang. Western researchers and press allege that Xinjiang authorities are using repurposed and newly built schools to board Uighur youth as part of a policy of intergenerational separation.

高举伟大思想旗帜 坚决打赢战略主动仗 _光明网 作者:中共河南省委理论学习中心组

Foreign and Defense Affairs

TIM Excludes Huawei From 5G Core Equipment Tender in Italy, Brazil - Reuters Telecom Italia (TIM) has excluded China's Huawei Technologies from a tender for 5G equipment for the core network it is preparing to build in Italy and Brasil, two sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday. The list of invited suppliers comprises Cisco, Ericsson, Nokia, Mavenir and Affirmed Networks, a company recently acquired by Microsoft, one of the two sources said.

China's Huawei says Italy should not act on 'baseless allegations' - Reuters China’s Huawei Technologies defended its record as a private sector infrastructure group on Thursday following reports Italy was considering excluding it from building its planned 5G network over security concerns.

MPs slam Huawei bosses over claims of being 'independent' of Beijing | Daily Mail Online 'Are employees and directors of Huawei in the UK free to express their views?'  Mr Thompson replied: 'Yes. Very much so. We have a management team in the UK like any other UK organisation and we are free to express our views, yes.'    Mr Clark said: 'So what is your view of the new security law in Hong Kong?' Mr Thompson replied: 'Ok. I am a telecoms executive. I have worked in telecoms all my life. My role is to enable our customers who are the carriers to provide communications faster and cheaper. I don't have a view.'

BT, Vodafone Need 5 Years to Drop Huawei Without ‘Blackouts’ - Bloomberg BT Group Plc and Vodafone Group Plc told U.K. lawmakers they would need at least five years to swap out China’s Huawei Technologies Co. if the government decides on strict rules that would ban the company’s products from being used in 5G networks. It would cost Vodafone on the lower end of “single-figure billions” to swap out its thousands of Huawei stations and antennas across the country, according to Andrea Dona, Vodafone’s head of U.K. networks, speaking to the U.K. Parliament’s Science and Technology Committee on Thursday.

US inches closer to federal contract ban for firms that use Huawei, others | Reuters The Trump administration plans to finalise regulations this week that will bar the US government from buying goods or services from any company that uses products from five Chinese companies including Huawei, Hikvision and Dahua, a US official said.

German intel warns against giving data to Chinese tech firms - AP The head of the BfV, Thomas Haldenwang, said German’s data isn’t safe with Chinese companies because they are required by law to provide the data to their government.

Germany′s reluctance to speak out against China | DW | 07.07.2020 Much of Germany's hesitation stems from its desire to maintain harmonious relations, built largely on economic ties. With trade volume between Germany and China hitting €206 billion ($233 billion) in 2019, China is easily Germany's biggest trade partner. At the same time, the European Union as a whole is China's second largest trade partner after the United States. But when it comes to human rights abuses, Berlin has often been slow off the mark — whether on the mass internment of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang or China's new national security law, imposed on Hong Kong since July 1.

The Guardian view on Britain and China: fasten your seatbelts | Editorial | The Guardian The international change has been driven to some degree by the US turn against China, and its keenness to make others pick a side. But it is above all the result of Beijing’s own actions. Its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, its crackdown in Hong Kong, the deadly clash on the India-China border and confrontational “wolf warrior” diplomacy have all forced other countries to think again: “The last six months have revealed more about China under President Xi Jinping than the previous six years,” the former MI6 chief Sir John Sawers wrote recently.

Taiwan, 'Quad' alliance top of agenda as Morrison and Abe hold virtual meeting - Sydney Morning Herald Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Japanese counterpart, Shinzo Abe, have talked up the importance of having Taiwan as an observer at the World Health Assembly, months after China successfully blocked the island nation from participating in the forum. In a virtual meeting on Thursday afternoon, the two leaders also hit out at "coercive and unilateral actions" in the East China Sea and South China Sea during the coronavirus pandemic and reafirrmed the importance of the "Quad" alliance between Australia, the United States, Japan and India.

UK universities comply with China internet limits - BBC News UK universities are testing a new online teaching link for students in China - which will require course materials to comply with Chinese restrictions on the internet. It enables students in China to keep studying UK degrees online, despite China's limits on internet access.

Harvard’s Chinese Community Must Speak Against China’s Atrocities | Opinion - Rayhan Asat | The Harvard Crimson In search of a ray of hope and optimism, I picked up a pen two months ago and shared with The Crimson the Chinese government’s brutal treatment of my brother Ekpar Asat, a Uighur tech entrepreneur and philanthropist...I call on Harvard’s Chinese community to stand in solidarity with the Uighurs. Carry the “Veritas” torches of Harvard to shed light on racial injustice and fight against the unfolding genocide in China.

Chinese biotech giant BGI's U.S. subsidiary received PPP loan - Axios BGI has also said it is building a gene bank in Xinjiang, a northwestern region in China where the Chinese government is currently engaged in cultural and demographic genocide against local ethnic groups and where Chinese police have explored the use of genetic surveillance of minorities.

At top panel meet on China border, India reviews troop pullback and possible red flags - india news - Hindustan Times The top panel assessed the deployment of Chinese troops close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC). A point made at the meeting more than once was that the PLA needs to withdraw from all areas along the 1,597 km LAC in Ladakh as well as along the 1,126 km LAC in Arunachal Pradesh.

What the History of Modern Conquest Tells Us about China and India’s Border Crisis - War on the Rocks Modern conquest aims small. Although there have been only four attempts to conquer entire countries since World War II ended in 1945, my research identified 65 — now 66 — instances of one country seizing part of another country’s territory. Aiming small begins with the size of the “land grab” — typically no more than one province and often much less. The strategy is to seize territory while minimizing the risks and consequences of doing so. By aiming small, conquest without war is very possible. Avoiding inhabited areas — taking land but not people — further reduces the probability of provoking violence. China stuck to the script of modern conquest, doing both in Ladakh.

Why Ukraine is a secret weapon for China’s airpower | Middle East Institute “Russia was not at all interested in providing the assets and technical support that Ukraine could offer the Chinese. The initiative by the PLA to engage Ukrainian industry goes back to the early 1990s – for the simple reason that it was not in Russia’s interest to provide these capabilities to Beijing,” said a leading Ukraine defense industrial enterprise director.

Academics told not to sanitise views on China | The Times Academics must not censor themselves over fears that Beijing may try to punish UK universities that address sensitive issues such as Hong Kong, a leading expert on China has said. Kerry Brown, professor of Chinese studies at King’s College London, said that “offending China was never difficult”. In the era of President Xi it had become “extremely easy”.

China’s Confucius Institutes rebrand after overseas propaganda rows | South China Morning Post In a directive to lower-level agencies, the Ministry of Education said the Confucius Institute Headquarters, or Hanban, had changed its name to the Ministry of Education Centre for Language Education and Cooperation.

China’s Silent Axis on Human Rights | China Media Project it certainly appears that the sovereignty and non-interference frame on the Hong Kong national security law is China’s frame alone (and Russia’s), and is not shared beyond the political manoeuvre of the Cuban HRC statement, which no other government has mentioned or otherwise echoed independently.

Pope strays from script to avoid mention of Hong Kong in Sunday address | South China Morning Post Embargoed version of Angelus speech shows omission of a paragraph expressing ‘worries’ over city’s religious freedom Holy See declines to comment on reason for change but some believe it is tied to renegotiation of China-Vatican agreement

Vast majority of US research institute disclosure violations related to China | South China Morning Post Since 2018, the National Science Foundation found all but two of 16 to 20 disclosure violations were related to China

US upgrades defensive ‘buffer’ in Pacific as China’s military capabilities increase | South China Morning Post The images taken by US-based Planet Labs show how existing infrastructure on Wake Island – an incorporated territory between Guam and Hawaii that is run by the US Air Force – is being improved and new facilities are being built.

Philippine Online Gaming: Hostage to China - Asia Sentinel Gaming and diplomacy are not obvious bedfellows, but between China and the Philippines their relationship has added further murk to the shady world of the Philippine Offshore Gaming Organizations, or POGOs, which cater to Chinese gambling online from the safety of their living rooms.

Sweden’s ex-ambassador to China awaits verdict in historic trial – POLITICO On Friday, a Stockholm court will rule on whether Sweden’s former ambassador to Beijing, Anna Lindstedt, was guilty of “arbitrariness during negotiations with a foreign power” at a January 2019 meeting she arranged in Stockholm between two businessmen with links to China and the daughter of jailed Swedish publisher Gui Minhai.

PBS NewsHour Presents China: Power and Prosperity | PBS NewsHour PBS NewsHour Presents China: Power and Prosperity explores the future of the communist country’s relationship with the U.S.

New concept and old advice: Zheng Yongnian's analysis on U.S.-China relations and Chinese foreign policy; Lesson from the Korean War - Pekingnology We fell into the agenda set by the West. Early on it was the battle of the [political] systems, followed by the so-called battle of influence - and we got nothing in the end. Some of our officials, our social media, and our people, are so nationalistic. Whenever the West criticized us, we came right back at them. It's okay to do tit-for-tat with the U.S., but it's a problem to do an-eye-for-an-eye against every other country. Our messaging agenda in the coronavirus pandemic has always been set by the West and we were always responding - falling into the trap of others.

构建人类命运共同体是人间正道(人民要论)Yang Jiemian of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, and brother of Yang Jiechi, wrote on page nine of People’s Daily today praising Xi Jinping’s concept of “community of shared destiny”. Yang said the concept has been popular among the world audience given the COV19 outbreak and this global governance to combat the virus is exactly what the world needs

吴心伯:论中美战略竞争Wu Xinbo of Fudan University wrote in a new article that the US-China competition is inevitable, but both sides should do more to build trust and mange this competition and not turn it into a hostile confrontation. Wu said even though this rivalry has military elements, in the end of the day, this will be a competition of the two’s capacity of social governance. Both side should turn make sure this competition remains a healthy one and that their cooperation in other areas will not stop.

论大国经济外交的战略目标:美国经济外交与大英帝国的崩溃In a new journal article, Zhao Ke of the Central Party school compared the US-China rivalry with the US-UK, and US-USSR competition, and he concluded by saying that the US-China rivalry will focus more on their economic statecraft and their influence on international organizations like the IMF, and Beijing should be ready for that.

李志永:中国引领全球治理的国际定位 Li Zhiyong, a professor at University of International Business and Economics, wrote that China should do more in global governance but it must also understand the importance of “韬光养晦hide and bide”. Li insisted that China is still a developing country and should understand its limits and avoid an overstretch.

Researcher Charged with Illegally Using U.S. Grant Funds to Develop Scientific Expertise for China | OPA | Department of Justice A rheumatology professor and researcher with strong ties to China has been ordered held without bond to face a charge of grant fraud for not disclosing that he was engaged in a sophisticated scheme to use approximately $4.1 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop China’s expertise in the areas of rheumatology and immunology.  He is also charged with making false statements about maintaining employment in China at the same time he was employed at universities in the United States, including The Ohio State University. Song Guo Zheng, 57, was arrested Friday, May 22, 2020, after he arrived in Anchorage, Alaska, aboard a charter flight and as he prepared to board another charter flight to China.  When he was arrested, he was carrying three large bags, one small suitcase and a briefcase containing two laptops, three cellular telephones, several USB drives, several silver bars, expired Chinese passports for his family, deeds for property in China and other items.

Hong Kong and Macao

White-collar Chinese in Hong Kong face shock tax bills from mainland - Nikkei Asian Review Several employees at state-owned banks told the Nikkei Asian Review they had been urged by management to file tax returns to mainland authorities by June.

Some senior executives were later told to pay hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong dollars to make up for the shortfalls caused by the difference in tax rates (100,000 Hong Kong dollars equals $13,000), according to these people.

The policy change -- which is similar to practices in the U.S. and other advanced economies, yet took many here off guard -- is part of China's personal income tax reforms.

Tech and Media

我们不愿承认,华为海思可能真走投无路了 - 哔哩哔哩 An analysis by Chaping TV said whether you like it or not, Huawei’s chip design branch Hisilicon will have to shut down due to the US sanctions. Even though Hislicon has purchased some latest chip design from Britain’s ARM, because of the US sanctions, the company now has no contractor that can manufacture the chips. TSMC has to pull out, Samsung won’t help a competitor, China’s SMIC won’t be able to make 5nm chip until 2024.

中科院五纳米光刻技术获进展?官网发文后又删除_联合早报 Chinese researchers at the China Academy of Science said they made breakthrough in developing a laser direct writing (LDW) lithography technique with ∼5 nm feature size, but then this news release disappeared from from their website.

Sequoia Capital Opens Its First Tech Incubation Center in Shanghai - Caixin Global The incubation center aims to support tech startups in areas of corporate development, resource sharing and industrial cooperation as part of its broader plan to help Shanghai become an artificial intelligence powerhouse in China, according to a WeChat post by Sequoia Capital China on Wednesday.

Yicai - Microsoft, Baidu, Xiaomi's Virtual Idols Perform at WAIC Video sharing platform Bilibili, which promoted its virtual star Yousa at the conference, is an ideal platform on which to promote the virtual celebrity industry, said Fan Yibai, director of the virtual idol business department of Chaodian, a subsidiary of Shanghai-based Bilibili.

Elon Musk: Tesla is Building a Chinese Autonomous Driving Team and Very Close to L5 Autonomy - Pandaily CEO Elon Musk disclosed Tesla’s plan for its autonomous driving China team and Shanghai factory in his Q&A formatted video message during the 3rd World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC). Musk opened his remarks with a recruitment message for Tesla’s autonomous driving team in China. Musk noted that the Chinese local team will not simply move things from the United States, but also conduct original development, design and engineering in China.

Jack Ma Calls for Wisdom and Innovation at World AI Conference | Alizila.com Speaking at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference, Ma said that humans should strive to better understand themselves and the Earth, especially in the face of a global crisis like the Covid-19 outbreak.

Sony Is Said to Weigh Bid for Chinese Gaming Firm Leyou - Bloomberg The Japanese tech giant is working with a financial adviser on the potential offer for Leyou, said the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. In May, the Chinese gaming firm confirmed it had received a non-binding takeover offer from Shenzhen-listed rival Zhejiang Century Huatong Group Co., after months of buyout talks with other bidders including iDreamSky Technology Holdings Ltd.

PUBG Mobile Doubles Lifetime Revenue to $3 Billion in Just Seven Months This landmark comes from combined player spending from Game For Peace, the title’s Chinese localization, and global revenue for PUBG Mobile. In 2020 alone, the two games have accumulated $1.3 billion, with revenue peaking at a record $270 million in March during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns.

China’s Pinduoduo Is Nipping at Alibaba’s Heels — The Information $$ Pinduoduo’s monthly active users climbed 40% in May from a year ago to 471 million, narrowing the gap with Alibaba’s Taobao app, whose users increased 20% to 695 million, according to research firm QuestMobile. Some of Pinduoduo’s growth came as the app, known as a marketplace for cheap goods like $1 pairs of shoes and $2 handbags, began to sell iPhones and other popular brand-name items at significant discounts.

Social media site Weibo to heavily restrict external links · TechNode Weibo, a Twitter-like microblogging platform, on Wednesday announced (in Chinese) that its link-shortening service t.cn will block all web sites except those included on a new whitelist. The company said it made the decision because the free service is heavily abused by scammers, as well as pornography and gambling sites.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

China cancels all international sports events for the year - AP China says it will not stage any international sports for the rest of the year, apart from trials for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing and the neighboring city of Zhangjiakou. The order from the General Administration of Sports affects at least six WTA tennis events, including the WTA Finals in Shenzhen in November. China also has four ATP tournaments lined up. // Comment: Too much risk of imported COVID-19 cases

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

国家核安全局通报宁德核电站运行事件-中新网 On Wednesday, the National Nuclear Security Administration said workers in the Ningde nuclear plant in Fujian made a mistake in operating the reactor, and the temperature of the cooling water rose briefly. But everything is safe and the workers corrected the mistake.

Electrifying: How China Built an EV Industry in a Decade The EV market grew on the back of Chinese industrial policy 101: a reliance on subsidies and explicit and implicit local government protections. Yet what’s remarkable is that MIIT, the arbiter of industrial policy, announced the 2025 EV target amid a significant shift in the government’s approach to this emerging industry. That is, Beijing seems to be deliberately moving away from a subsidies regime to one that is more market based—a shift that began around 2016.

China to build 6-8 nuclear reactors a year from 2020-2025: Report - Reuters The China Nuclear Energy Association said the country's total installed nuclear capacity is expected to stand at 52 GW by the end of 2020, falling short of a 58 GW target.

China stresses flood control, advancing water conservancy projects - Xinhua China will make all-out efforts in flood control and disaster relief work while advancing the construction of major water conservancy projects, according to an executive meeting of the State Council Wednesday. The meeting, presided over by Premier Li Keqiang, stressed that people's lives are the top priority, and decided to increase material and funding support to help local authorities relocate disaster-hit residents. The meeting also decided to repair damaged projects, and restore production to the parts of the country most severely affected by floods.

China urges implementation of Yangtze River fishing ban - Gov.cn China called for solid efforts to implement the fishing ban in the Yangtze River basin, and ensure the livelihoods of affected fishermen after they bid farewell to nets and boats, according to a circular released by the General Office of the State Council.

Neuroscientist Speaks Out Against Chinese Alzheimer’s Drug, Again - SixthTone In an article published Monday by the scientific journal Cell Research, Rao Yi, a renowned neurobiologist and the president of Capital Medical University in Beijing, questioned a research paper published in the same journal last September explaining the sodium oligomannate product GV-971, the breakthrough Alzheimer’s drug. Specifically, Rao — who is also on the editorial board of Cell Research — urged the scientific community to vet the past research of Geng Meiyu, the corresponding author for the GV-971 paper and lead researcher behind the drug. Rao listed 12 academic papers related to GV-971 that had been authored by Geng and argued that the research in them was inconsistent with the September paper.

In Depth: CATL Loses Electric-Car Battery Crown as Foreign Firms Muscle In - Caixin Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL) has seen its spark fade this year, losing its position as the world’s No. 1 electric-car battery producer after foreign rivals started to take a share of the country’s massive market. CATL’s luck has turned amid changes to China’s industrial policies, which helped the company’s rapid rise to the top in the first place.

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: No Covid in China Food Market Testing; Exporters Still Asked to Certify Products Chinese officials found no Covid-19 virus during several days of nationwide testing of food markets in mid-June. Despite the absence of virus contamination, Chinese customs authorities stepped up monitoring of imported fish and meat, and Chinese importers began requesting overseas suppliers to certify that shipments bound for China were virus-free.

An estimated 49,000 deaths in Beijing and Shanghai this year were caused by smog, say pollution trackers | Reuters Air pollution has caused an estimated 49,000 deaths and US$23 billion in economic losses in the cities of Beijing and Shanghai alone since January 1, 2020, according to a “clean air counter” launched by environmental groups on Thursday. The online tool, launched by the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), Greenpeace Southeast Asia and IQAir AirVisual, measures smog in 28 major cities worldwide and uses models devised by the Global Burden of Disease research programme to estimate the health impact.

Beijing reports no new confirmed domestically transmitted COVID-19 cases for 3rd consecutive day - Xinhua No new suspected cases and one asymptomatic case were reported, and 32 were discharged from hospital after recovery on Wednesday, the commission said in a daily report.

Beijing building support platform for scientific research - Xinhua The platform, located in the northern Huairou District of Beijing, will provide support for scientific research and experimental technology training, public academics, sci-tech service, as well as operation and maintenance, for a national science center in Huairou. The construction of the facility will be completed in 30 months, said the newspaper.

Over 11M people in Beijing receive COVID-19 tests since June 11- China.org.cn The number of nucleic acid testing institutions in Beijing has expanded from 98 in early June to 184 today, and more than 11 million people in the city have been given nucleic acid tests since June 11, local authorities said at the city's regular press conference on July 7.

Even Donkeys Are Being Threatened By Poaching Chinese demand has created a huge underground market for African donkey hides.

Chinese embassy warns of deadly ‘unknown pneumonia’ in Kazakhstan | South China Morning Post While the Chinese embassy described the illness as an “unknown pneumonia”, Kazakhstani officials and media have only said it is pneumonia. It was not clear why the Chinese embassy had described the illness as “unknown” or what information it had about the pneumonia

Food and Travel

Sister Gao is YouTube's breakout Chinese cookery star - Nikkei Asian Review Xiaogao Jie, or Sister Gao, is from northwestern China's Shaanxi Province and now lives in Canada with her family, from where she hosts a YouTube channel called Sister Gao's Magic Ingredients. It has attracted 1.8 million subscribers and 214 million views since its launch in 2016.

Education

Trending in China: Should Internet Celebrities Be Part of the School Curriculum? - Caixinl Sprawling fields, adorable baby lambs, mouthwatering food, handmade bamboo furniture… Chinese vlogger Li Ziqi became an internet sensation thanks to her videos of idyllic rural life. Recently, a story about her appeared in a reading comprehension exam at a primary school in Zhejiang, triggering concerned parents to question her suitability in a school curriculum.