US Sets Tariffs On Solar Panels And Washing Machines; Beijing Wants Latin America To Join Belt And Road; Xi Jinping Thought As A Torch Marking A New Era; Sweden Is Mad About Gui Minhai

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The Essential Eight

1. US Sets Tariffs On Solar Panels And Washing Machines

Comment: A small step but just the beginning...glad I recently bought my solar panels and washing machine...

U.S. Sets New Trade Tariffs, Signaling New Phase in ‘America First’ Policy - WSJ $$:

“If you look at solar closely, you have a clear example of Chinese industrial policy propping up an industry, creating excess capacity in an industry, there being significant harm to the United States and globally as well,” a White House trade official told reporters. “We need to figure out how to deal with that, not just for the solar industry, but for a lot of different industries where you’re going to see the same playbook trotted out.”

How China Can Retaliate Against U.S. Trade Action - Bloomberg:

China’s Ministry of Commerce condemned the tariffs Tuesday, calling them a misuse of trade measures, and said it hopes Washington will show restraint in imposing trade restrictions. The tariffs aren’t directed specifically at China, but it is the world’s biggest producer of solar panels and exported 21 million washing machines last year worth almost $3 billion.

Trump's Import Tariff A Victory For Chinese Solar Panel Maker Shunfeng – China Money Network:

Suniva Inc., which widely advertises its products as “made in America,” was one of two U.S.-based solar panel makers to successfully petition the Trump administration to impose the tariffs, arguing that cheap imports of had pushed the company into bankruptcy.

But while its true that Suniva, headquartered in Norcross, Georgia, was founded in the U.S. and manufactures in the U.S., it is in fact 63% owned by Chinese conglomerate Shunfeng International Clean Energy, which is traded on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

US weighing ‘many billions’ of dollars in sanctions on Chinese items via accelerated probe | South China Morning Post:

Derek Scissors, a trade expert at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, told the South China Morning Post that an announcement of the initial findings of the probe under Section 301 of the US Trade Act could come “a few days” before Trump delivers his first official State of the Union address to Congress on January 30.

2. Re-education Camps And A New "Great Wall" In Xinjiang

Security, stability called top priorities in Xinjiang - China Daily:

The Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will step up border control measures this year to create a "Great Wall" along its 5,700-kilometer border to prevent the penetration of extremism, separatism and terrorism from abroad, the region's chairman said on Monday.

"We will try our best to leave no gaps or blind spots in social security management and ensure the key areas remain absolutely safe," Shokrat Zakir, the chairman, said as he delivered the government work report during the annual session of the 13th Regional People's Congress, which kicked off in the capital Urumqi on Monday.

The region will step up security measures in key areas and border areas as well as enforce internet management to maintain social stability in Xinjiang, which remains complicated, he said.

Around 120,000 Uyghurs Detained For Political Re-Education in Xinjiang’s Kashgar Prefecture - RFA:

The security chief of Kashgar city’s Chasa township recently told RFA on condition of anonymity that “approximately 120,000” Uyghurs are being held throughout the prefecture, based on information he has received from other area officials.

“I have great relationships with the heads of all the government departments and we are in regular contact, informing each other on the current situation,” he said, adding that he is also close with the prefecture’s chief of security.

Tens of thousands of people are detained within Kashgar city alone, the Chasa township security officer said, citing statistics from the city’s subdistricts.

“Around 2,000 [are detained] from the four neighborhoods of Kashgar city, as well as an additional 30,000 in total from the city’s 16 villages,” he said.

RFA is reporting that non-Hans in Xinjiang are having "technical issues" using iPhones and that in some cases local police are taking them for days or weeks to "inspect". If true, any chance it is because PRC authorities have a much harder time surveilling Apple phones than phones of PRC handset manufacturers?-- 新疆少数民族使用苹果手机受阻 - RFA 

3. Beijing Wants Latin America To Join Belt And Road

Chinese president calls for concerted efforts with Latin America on B&R Initiative - Xinhua:

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday called on Latin American countries to actively participate in the Belt & Road Initiative and forge a trans-Pacific path of cooperation that links China and Latin America more closely.

Xi said that in a congratulatory message to the second ministerial meeting for the China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Forum, which opened Monday in the Chilean city of Santiago.

Xi said that he put forward the Belt and Road Initiative four years ago with the aim to build a new platform for international cooperation on connectivity, hoping to boost common development across the world.

Wang Yi meets LatAm leaders in Santiago to boost cooperation - CGTN:

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is currently in the Chilean capital Santiago for the second ministerial meeting under the framework of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Forum. On the sidelines of the meeting, Wang met on Monday several leaders from the region, including the Chilean president and his counterparts from Venezuela, Cuba, and Peru among others.

China invites Latin America to take part in One Belt, One Road - Reuters:

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the region was a natural fit for the initiative, which China has leveraged to deepen economic and financial cooperation with developing nations.

“China will always stay committed to the path of peaceful development and the win-win strategy of opening up and stands ready to share development dividends with all countries,” Wang said at a meeting between China and 33 members of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).

4. Xi Jinping Thought As A Torch Marking A New Era

Page 7 of the January 23 People's Daily runs comments from Zhan Zhanmin 甄占民, deputy head of the Central Party School and deputy director of the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era Research Center, that he gave at a seminar on studying, publicizing and implementing Xi Thought.



"Xi Jinping's light-hearted moments" getting a heavy propaganda push Tuesday. He is a  "Witty interpreter; Travel enthusiast in Australia; Enthusiastic sports fan"-习近平的“轻松时刻”|界面新闻 · 中国 

5. Sweden Is Mad About Gui Minhai

Comment: But China is a big country and Sweden is a small country and knows it can act with impunity...

Sweden summons Chinese ambassador over 'kidnapping' of Gui Minhai | World news | The Guardian

Margot Wallström, Sweden’s foreign minister, told reporters her government had “detailed knowledge” of Saturday’s events and was “working round the clock” on the issue. “The situation has now worsened since Saturday morning,” she admitted...

In an editorial entitled ‘Is there anything China won’t get away with?’ Sweden’s Borås Tidning newspaper said it was time to stand up to a bullying Beijing: “The scariest part of the news about the Swedish publisher isn’t so much that Chinese authorities have caught him again but the arrogance the manner of his arrest demonstrates to the rest of the world.”

The Global Times' "dan renping" attacks western media over reports about the detention of Gui Minhai--单仁平:大陆警方抓人无需向西方媒体“汇报”_评论_环球网 

6. "Beijing Buddhist" A Millenial Trend? 

How ‘Being Buddhist’ in China Morphed Into Ignoring Society’s Pressures - Caixin Global:

Although Chinese millennials have grown up without the level of poverty or political turmoil their parents or grandparents experienced, a string of viral internet memes hint at a growing despondency among those 18 to 35 years old.

The latest catchphrase, trending since December, is “foxi” (佛系, pronounced “fuo-shee”) —­ a twisted take on the Buddhist concept of giving up greed to find contentment. The term literally means “Buddhism,” but in its latest reincarnation, it refers to several things, including not succumbing to social pressure, worrying too much, not being too obsessed with a goal, or simply: “Whatever!”

It also hints at the growing pains of the generation that grew up under the one-child policy. Many who were raised with their parents and two pairs of grandparents doting over them seem to crumble under pressure.

7. No Costs Spared To Improve Beijing's Air?

Comment: The Beijing Winter Olympics are in 2022, expect the air to be much better by then. 

How did Beijing become one of China’s top cities for air quality? | South China Morning Post:

The capital was ranked ninth of 74 Chinese cities in air quality in December, one spot above Kunming in the southwestern province of Yunnan, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said last week.

Beijing’s placing was up from 16th in November and 58th in November 2016. Figures for December 2016 were not available...

Ma Jun, founder of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in Beijing, said Beijing and its surrounding areas had gone to great lengths to improve conditions, including switching heating systems to natural gas, banning vehicles that did not meet emission standards and tackling dust on construction sites.

“The weather had helped a lot this winter but Beijing’s efforts in the last five years have paid off, too,” he said.

8. Expect Lots More Propaganda About Martyrs And Heroes

Comment: This kind of propaganda is a key fuel for nationalism...

People's Republic of China Law on the Protection of Heroes and Martyrs (Draft) - China Law Translate:

Article 17: The departments of culture, press, radio and television, Internet information, and so forth shall encourage and support the production and promotion of excellent literary and artistic, film and television, works as well as publications with the subject of, or carrying forward, the spirit of heroes and martyrs.

Article 18: Media such as radio, television, newspapers and the Internet shall use multiple methods such as broadcasting or publishing works on heroes and martyrs, publishing public interest advertisements, and having special columns,to give widespread publicity to the deeds and spirit of heroes and martyrs.

China solicits opinion on overseas martyr memorials - China Military:

A regulation on the protection of overseas martyr memorials has been put out for public opinion, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Monday. The memorials include cemeteries, memorial halls, monuments and statues, among others. Authorities are tasked with searching for remains, protecting and building memorial facilities, maintenance, and memorial activities.

Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

CFIUS Filing Cleared: Creat Group Corporation (China); Tiancheng (Germany) Pharmaceutical Holdings AG and Biotest AG (Germany) | The Trade Practitioner On January 19, 2018, Biotest AG announced that “approval has been given by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)” for the pending takeover offer by Tiancheng (Germany) Pharmaceutical Holdings AG, the acquisition company of the Creat Group Corporation, and the acquisition “will take place in the next few days.”

Moutai Isn't the Only Mega-Brand That's Brewing in China - Bloomberg A stunning rise in the shares of Kweichow Moutai Co. means the baijiu distiller has a market cap north of $100 billion. Globally, there are fewer than 90 nonfinancial firms in that elite club, and most don't just sell one thing in one place. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, with a similar value, owns dozens of luxury labels, while McDonald's burgers can be found from Sri Lanka to Ecuador.

Huawei, ZTE cut lobbying spending but find other ways to spread influence - Reuters Huawei Technology Cos Ltd spent $50,000 in 2017, down from $348,500 in 2016 and the $1.2 million it spent in 2012, the same year it first registered that it was lobbying, according to its spending disclosure made on Friday to the U.S. Senate... ZTE’s reduction in lobbying expenditures was not quite as sharp as Huawei‘s. The company spent $90,000 for the fourth quarter of 2017, the same as the second and third quarters but sharply down from the $240,000 spent in the first quarter, according to its filing. It spent $130,000 to $250,000 every quarter from 2014 to late 2015.

Beijing Tax Officials Convicted of Bribery - Caixin Global Nearly a dozen employees of a Beijing tax office were found guilty of helping homebuyers evade taxes, costing the government more than 100 million yuan ($15.6 million) in revenue, according to the city’s graft-busting agency. An investigation into the tax office found that from 2011 to 2015 a group of employees took bribes worth 15 million yuan in exchange for waiving or reducing transaction taxes for buyers of existing homes, the Beijing Commission for Discipline Inspection (BCDI) said in a statement earlier this month.

Tencent to Back Carrefour China, Challenging Alibaba in Retail - Bloomberg China’s social media giant, along with local retailer Yonghui Superstores Co., agreed to take a stake in Carrefour China, the companies said in a statement Tuesday. They said they plan to work together on data, smart retail, mobile payments and data analysis. The size of planned investment wasn’t disclosed.

Private sector significant to economic growth: Xi - President Xi Jinping said on Jan 22 that China’s private sector has played an important role in bolstering economic growth, promoting innovation, creating jobs, and improving people’s well-being over the past four decades. He made the remarks in a congratulatory letter to the fifth national congress of self-employed individuals. 习近平致信全国个体劳动者第五次代表大会 

China’s Housing Market Is Like a Casino. Can a Property Tax Tame It? - The New York Times 


Politics, Law And Ideology

China Orders Tibetan Pilgrims in India And Nepal to Return Home - RFA A local government in China’s Sichuan Province issued a sudden order this month for Tibetan pilgrims in Bodha Gaya, India and Nepal to return home, forcing hundreds of travelers to cut short plans to attend teaching by their Buddhist spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, sources in the region told RFA. The Dalai Lama has been holding a month-long Kalchakra spiritual teachings in Bodh Gaya, a revered Buddhist site in India’s Bihar state, drawing religious tourists and pilgrims for instructions on Tibetan Buddhism.

Deputy Head of China's Energy Agency Fired in Graft Probe - Bloomberg The probe of Wang Xiaolin, a former longtime executive in the state-owned coal industry, adds to a string of senior officials who have been ensnared in President Xi Jinping's marathon anti-corruption crackdown. Wang is suspected of "serious discipline violations," the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said, using the official euphemism for corruption. It said the case was handed over to prosecutors but gave no details of the accusations against him.

十九大报告的十个为什么--理论--人民网 cartoon series explaining the "10 Whys" in the 19th arty Congress report

Maoists slam Christianity after statue demolition - Global Times China's Maoists have protested the alleged demolition of a Mao Zedong statue in a central Chinese county, while accusing the local government of turning a blind eye to the rapid development of Christianity. "Tearing down Chairman Mao's statue is infuriating," said pensioner Song Ying, an active member of the Mao Zedong Thought promotion team in Zhengzhou, capital city of Henan Province. "Mao is the great leader and the No.1 hero of national rejuvenation," said Song. About 10 members gathered with banners and loudspeakers in the city center on Saturday, attracting more than 1,000 residents, she said.

China Focus: Provincial "two sessions" open after key CPC congress - Xinhua China is entering the local "two sessions" season as annual legislative sessions opened in Anhui, Beijing, Henan, Hunan, Jiangxi and Xinjiang on Monday. Other provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities are scheduled to begin legislative sessions this week.

王双全任浙江省副省长、省公安厅厅长_凤凰资讯 1月23日,省十二届人大常委会在杭州举行第47次会议,会议经投票表决,决定任命王双全为省人民政府副省长、省公安厅厅长。


Foreign and Military Affairs

Eyeing China, U.S. moves to strengthen Indonesian defense ties - Reuters U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday he would explore deepening defense ties during a visit to Indonesia, a country that appears increasingly ready to assert its sovereignty in the contested South China Sea.

As U.S. goes quiet on close naval patrols, China speaks out - Reuters Bonnie Glaser, a security expert at Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, said while the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump had a policy of keeping the patrols regular but low key, China was willing to publicly exploit them to further their military ends. “It is difficult to conclude otherwise,” she said. “Even as it pushes ahead with these (patrols), I don’t think the Trump administration has really come to terms with what it will tolerate from China in the South China Sea, and what it simply won’t accept, and Beijing seems to grasp this.”

Chinese State Media Commemorate 'Diaoyu Occupation', Encourage Netizens to Make It Go Viral | What's on Weibo A commemoration of Japanese “seizure” of the Diaoyu Islands went trending on Chinese social media on Sunday, as state media encouraged netizens to forward the message that the Diaoyu Islands are Chinese, and not Japanese territory.

Brookings’ John L. Thornton China Center announces new collaboration with Yale’s Paul Tsai China Center The Brookings-Yale initiative will leverage the leading roles of each institution in the field of China studies, generating new, creative and influential policy ideas for addressing the challenges and opportunities of the U.S.-China relationship, often considered the most consequential bilateral relationship in the world.  Through this partnership, the expanding Tsai Center will increase its Washington, DC presence and its capacity to inform public debates on U.S.-China relations.  The Thornton Center will build on its reputation for academic depth and policy analysis through deeper collaboration with a pioneering university center focused on China.

Passion and patriotism: China releases videos to mark astronaut programme’s anniversary | South China Morning Post The Chinese authorities have released two videos to mark the 20th anniversary of the founding of the country’s astronaut training programme.

China’s Strategic Pivot Towards the South Pacific Island Nation of Tonga | Journal of Political Risk The aim of this research is to critically examine the refocusing of Chinese aid, economic involvement and diplomatic attentions towards the small South Pacific island nation of Tonga.  The research seeks a deeper understanding of China’s behaviour towards Tonga and promotes a reevaluation of how the US and its allies should respond to China’s strategic calculus. China’s actions in Tonga, although appearing benign, represent a cloaked threat to Tonga’s independence, democracy and U.S. regional aspirations.

中国西北反导雷达基地首曝光 南亚次大陆一览无遗|雷达|晴报|印度_新浪新闻 official media for first time reports on missile defense radar system in northwest China, right after India tests a missile



Taiwan president says does not exclude possibility of China attack - Reuters “No one can exclude this possibility. We will need to see whether their policymakers are reasonable policymakers or not,” Tsai said in an interview on Taiwan television broadcast late on Monday, when asked whether China could attack Taiwan. “When you consider it (Taiwan-China relationship) from a regional perspective, any reasonable policymaker will have to very carefully deliberate as to whether launching war is an option,” Tsai said.


Tech And Media

China's New Ruling on Marriage Law May Save Late Media Tycoon's Wife from Debt | China Film Insider A Beijing court ordered Jin Yan, the widow of Chinese media tycoon Li Ming, to pay $31.12 million to an investor who lent 450 million yuan to her late husband’s Beijing Galloping Horse Film & TV Productions, the first Chinese company to invest in Hollywood. The new interpretation of the Marriage Law may free Jin from debt

Beijing to launch campaign to root out 'low taste' video games: Xinhua - Reuters The month-long campaign that began Monday will seek to identify games that “have severe deviation in value, distort history, smear historical figures, violate government policies on ethnicities and religions, promote content that are lurid, violent or related to gambling,” Xinhua said.

Video sites told to clean up cartoons targeting kids - China Daily Beijing authorities, including the public security bureau and cyberspace administration, also asked search engines on Monday to block related keywords. Chinese video companies Tencent video, iQIYI and Youku, announced on Saturday that they have started the cleanup campaign and welcomed tips from the public. The recent action was sparked by the translation of an English article titled "A group of perverts are targeting kids on YouTube. I used to work for them," which was published on social network Reddit in November and went viral on Chinese social media 

Huawei founder says it’s ‘all hands on deck’ to fight on after US market snub | South China Morning Post In the comments posted on Wednesday under the title “Birds that don’t die from fire are phoenixes”, Ren called on Huawei employees to subject themselves to self-criticism and purify themselves of “impurities” through hardship, likening the process to how iron ore is forged into steel by searing heat. He also asked the company’s staff to venture forth “bravely on the broad avenue of revolution”.

State Media App Customizes News, But Needs Your Calendar Info - Sixth Tone Chinese news agency Xinhua’s new English-language app appears to be as much about gathering user data as about explaining China to the world. Launched on Tuesday, Xinhua’s app features a flashy, video-heavy interface and carries the slogan “Window on China.” The app promises to deliver a personalized news feed — which in the Android version apparently requires access to users’ calendars and photos. 

China’s Young Journalists Are Giving Up Before They Even Begin - Sixth Tone Aside from income, China’s journalists-to-be also worry about the diminishing social value of their future profession. Another student at the talk lambasted what she perceived as the lack of authenticity present in many Chinese media outlets and the dearth of public willpower to restore it. What was the point, she asked, of spending vast amounts of time on an important investigative news story when people care more about sensational headlines on one of the country’s countless WeMedia accounts, online content creators who operate outside the traditional media framework? “People do not read news for the facts,” she claimed, “so why bother publishing facts at all?”

Southern Metropolises Tell Bluegogo to Stay Off Didi’s Platform - Caixin Global On Friday, Shenzhen, followed by Guangzhou on Monday, announced that it would be “illegal” for Bluegogo, which just formed an alliance with car-hailing firm Didi Chuxing Technology Co. Ltd., to offer any of its services on the other firm’s platform until “it has dealt with the deposit and debt issue.”


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

China’s Propagandists Wanted a Hero. ‘Frost Boy’ Fit the Bill. - The New York Times: David Bandurski, co-director of the China Media Project, said the government was using Fuman as an “antidote” to criticism of its treatment of impoverished citizens. He noted that Fuman’s struggle was depicted as one against the harshness of winter, rather than the “social and political roots of his condition.” “The invitation to Beijing essentially fuses this narrative of personal struggle with the ruling party’s narrative of national struggle,” Mr. Bandurski wrote in an email.

Excavation confirms ruins of China's largest Taoist temple - Global Times Photo taken on Jan. 21, 2018 shows the site of the Great Shangqing Palace at the foot of Longhu Mountain in Yingtan, east China's Jiangxi Province. After a four-year excavation, archeologists have confirmed the location of the Great Shangqing Palace, which is China's largest Taoist temple built in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and used continuously until it was destroyed by fire in 1930.

Peking Duck Soup – China Heritage Peking Duck Soup is a unique document in the annals of China-Watching. Made by a group of China specialists — Francis Deron, Jean-Paul Tchang and René Viénet — this 1977 film is also known under the title Chinois, encore un effort pour être révolutionnaires (Once again, people of China, if you really want to be revolutionaries!).

Remote sensing captures ancient Silk Road cities - Xinhua Using remote sensing, Chinese archaeologists believe they have located a city of the Protectorate of the Western Regions, a major city on the Silk Road, in Koyuk Shahri of Luntai County in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. "Thanks to remote sensing, we can start our excavation of the Protectorate of the Western Regions this year," said Li Wenying, deputy director of the Xinjiang Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute. 

‘We are both FILTH’: former Post editor on meeting Chris Patten, and how the new Hong Kong governor was not amused | Post Magazine | South China Morning Post Author and journalist Jonathan Fenby reflects on cheating death multiple times, his eventful editorship of Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post and how he accidentally ended up feeding the West’s appetite for China books


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

China’s Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Idle 85% of Time - Caixin Global The country’s total number of stationary charging points — ports for plugging in electric vehicles — reached 450,000 in 2017, including around 210,000 publicly accessible units, according to Liu Baohua, deputy director of China’s National Energy Administration. But this large network suffers from low technical standards, and needs greater industry-wide coordination, said Liu, who spoke Saturday at the China EV100 industry forum.

GlaxoSmithKline Rolls Out All-in-One HIV Drug in China - Caixin Global British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK) has officially launched its blockbuster triple-therapy HIV drug on the Chinese mainland, pricing it lower than in neighboring markets. Triumeq is being sold at 2,880 yuan ($450) for a one-month supply, according to GSK, lower than in South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong



More than 10,000 teachers to be sent to Xinjiang, Tibet - Global Times China's education regulators have released a plan to send more than 10,000 experienced teachers to Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region and Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, a move experts said could improve education in the regions. A group of exceptional teachers will be dispatched to Tibet and Xinjiang from other regions in China each year to guide and train local teachers and help upgrade the quality of local education, according to a plan posted by the Ministry of Education on its website on Monday.


Books And Literature

Chinese Literature Lovers to Flock to Canary Islands - Sixth Tone Twenty-seven years after Taiwanese writer San Mao’s suicide, an archipelago off the coast of Morocco is mapping a pilgrimage route for Chinese readers who would travel thousands of miles to trace her footsteps. At an international travel fair in Madrid, the tourism authority of the Spanish-controlled Canary Islands announced that in March, it would open a route in memory of the novelist who lived there from 1976 to 1979, China’s state news agency Xinhua reported Sunday.