US to request Meng Wanzhou extradition; More on the seminar about risks

It is about 15 degrees F here at Sinocism HQ but Canada-China relations are colder and about to get even more so. Among the developments we are watching today:

  • Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton has told the Globe and Mail that the US will proceed with a formal extradition request against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou;

  • A group of scholars and former diplomats have written an open letter to Xi Jinping calling for the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor;

  • Beijing’s reactions to the extradition request proceeding could get even nastier, and given the possible months or years long legal process ahead the tension in the Canada-China relationship may now be the new normal;

  • The authorities have detained five more labor activists in a crackdown that appears related to the one that swept up the students who “confessed” recently.

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The Essential Eight

1. More on the seminar about risks

Official English summary, not the full translation but a bit less unwieldy than the Google Translate I included yesterday- Xi urges major risk prevention to ensure healthy economy, social stability - Xinhua

In his speech, Xi analyzed and raised specific requirements on the prevention and defusion of major risks in areas including politics, ideology, economy, science and technology, society, the external environment and Party building.

Xi urged Party committees and governments at all levels to pursue a holistic approach to national security and follow the requirements of the CPC Central Committee to ensure China's political security.

He called for continuous efforts to strengthen the influence of the mainstream tone in public communication and guidance on public opinion, and accelerate the establishment of a system for integrated internet management to promote a law-based cyberspace.

Priority should be given to strengthening the ideological and political education among the young, building up their full confidence in the path, theory, system, and culture of socialism with Chinese characteristics so as to nurture a generation of capable young people who are well-prepared to join the socialist cause, Xi said.

China's economy is generally in good shape while facing profound and complicated international and domestic changes, Xi said, adding that it is inevitable to come across challenges in pushing ahead with supply-side structural reform. 

Commentary: Xi's speech demonstrates CPC's readiness to confront potential challenges - Xinhua:

For a Party that was born and has grown in adversity, the speech has demonstrated the CPC's perseverance and readiness to confront potential dangers.

The CPC has long studied how to forestall and defuse major risks as a perennial theme.

In 1945 at the 7th CPC National Congress, then CPC leader Mao Zedong listed 17 challenges facing the Party. To forestall and defuse major risks was highlighted in a report delivered by Xi to the 19th CPC National Congress and was ranked as the primary among the "three major battles," which also includes targeted poverty alleviation and pollution prevention and control. Xi also expounded on the issue at a study session in 2018.

Practices have proven that thinking about worst-case scenarios and being ready to protect against potential dangers in time of peace is an important method of thinking, working and leading for the CPC to meet challenges and march from victory to victory.

China is still and will long remain in an important period of strategic opportunity for development, and generally, its fundamentals are fine. But it should be admitted that difficulties and risks that lie ahead still abound.

人民日报评论员:坚持底线思维,增强忧患意识——一论学习贯彻习近平总书记在省部级专题研讨班上重要讲话  

People's Daily "blog" Xiake Dao looks at the Monday seminar, notes how local meetings were rearranged and that shows that was a quickly arranged meeting, which underscores its importance and sense of urgency - 侠客岛:开年这场党内高层研讨班 聚焦这个严峻话题_网易新闻

按惯例,每年年初的省部级主要领导干部研讨班都有个主题,一般都是去年年底召开的党内全会精神的传达学习,并未干扰地方两会日程,可见早有安排。但这次中央首度以“防范化解重大风险”为题开办的研讨班,让地方两会纷纷改易时间,也可见研讨主题的特殊和时间的急迫。


2. US to request extradition of Meng Wanzhou

U.S. to proceed with formal request to extradite Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou - The Globe and Mail:

The United States has informed the Canadian government that it plans to proceed with a formal request to extradite Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on allegations of banking fraud related to violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. David MacNaughton says.

Mr. MacNaughton told The Globe and Mail on Monday that he has voiced Canadian anger and resentment to the Trump administration about the dispute that resulted from the arrest of Ms. Meng. Beijing then detained two Canadians and imposed of a death penalty against a third.

"We don’t like that it is our citizens who are being punished,” Mr. MacNaughton said in an interview. "[The Americans] are the ones seeking to have the full force of American law brought against [Ms. Meng] and yet we are the ones who are paying the price. Our citizens are.”..

Canada’s recently appointed Minister of Justice David Lametti will make the ultimate decision on whether Ms. Meng will be extradited. There are several opportunities for Ms. Meng to appeal decisions and this could delay any final decision for many months or even years.

China warns US and Canada of action against any request to extradite Huawei’s Sabrina Meng Wanzhou | South China Morning Post:

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying made the warning after Canada’s ambassador to the US said Washington plans to proceed with a formal request to extradite Huawei chief financial officer Sabrina Meng Wanzhou.

“China will take action in response to measures taken by the US,” Hua said in a press briefing.

“Everyone has to be held responsible for their own actions. Both the US and Canada should be aware of the seriousness of the case and take steps to rectify the mistake.”

Hua said the case was an abuse of extradition convention, and called on the US to withdraw the request.

Hua Chunying's comments on the extradition request-美国将向加拿大正式提出引渡孟晚舟 中方:立即放人-百家号:

华春莹:中方已多次就此事件表示严正立场。任何具有正常判断力的人都可以看出,孟晚舟案不是普通司法案件,加方任意滥用加美之间的双边引渡条约,对中国公民的安全和合法权益构成严重侵犯。我们敦促加方立即释放孟晚舟女士,切实保障她的合法权益。我们也强烈敦促美方立即纠正错误,撤销对孟晚舟的逮捕令,不向加方提出正式引渡要求

Trudeau, Freeland held 19 high-level international talks with allies on China dispute | CBC News:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland have held 19 high-level discussions with foreign heads of government, ministers and diplomats in an effort to rally support for several Canadians being held by China.

According to the Liberal government, Trudeau held nine calls, including conversations with U.S. President Donald Trump, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Council President Donald Tusk.

Freeland's diplomatic outreach included 11 conversations with everyone from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to the foreign ministers of Australia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic.

Oh Great, Now China Hates Us - Canadaland:

With tensions rising, it may be more important than ever for Canadians to understand China. The Star Vancouver’s deputy bureau chief Joanna Chiu takes us through various forces standing in the way — a lack of understanding of Chinese media among English Canada, the misogynistic culture of the foreign press in Asia and government control over Chinese social media, even in Canada.

Plus, she talks about her team’s recent scoop that Karen Wang, the Liberal candidate for the Burnaby South byelection, attacked Jagmeet Singh for being of “Indian descent” on WeChat. Wang resigned after that story.


3. Diplomats and scholars write to Xi Jinping

143 former China diplomats and academics write to Xi Jinping demanding Canadian detainees be freed | South China Morning Post:

The open letter, signed by 116 scholars and 27 former diplomats from a total of 19 countries, called for the release of former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor, who have been detained for six weeks since December 10...

The signatories of the letter, who said they were “deeply concerned” about the detention of the two Canadians, include former ambassadors to China from Canada, the United States, Britain, Australia, Germany, Sweden, and Mexico, two former US deputy assistant secretaries of state, and former foreign ministers from Britain and Australia...

“We who share Kovrig and Spavor’s enthusiasm for building genuine, productive, and lasting relationships must now be more cautious about travelling and working in China and engaging our Chinese counterparts,” it said.

“That will lead to less dialogue and greater distrust, and undermine efforts to manage disagreements and identify common ground. Both China and the rest of the world will be worse off as a result.”

Full text of the letter -Mr. Xi, release these two Canadian citizens - The Globe and Mail 

Scholars and Ex-Diplomats Warn of Chill After Canadians Detained in China - The New York Times:

“Chinese actions are becoming increasingly out of line with international laws and global norms,” said Susan Shirk, an American signatory who served as deputy assistant secretary of state for China and the region.

“If the Chinese government and Communist Party feel they can simply detain people as part of what appears to be a dispute that’s really with the United States and Canada,” she said, “that puts all our bridge building efforts at risk.”

A dedicated website at http://www.kovrigandspavor.com goes online at 5PM EST today and you can add your name to the letter if you want:

Global Times is not pleased with the letter or the extradition, threatens fierce retaliation against Canada is Meng is extradited - 社评:若引渡孟晚舟,只会加剧对抗_评论_环球网: 

可以预见的是,一旦加拿大将孟晚舟引渡给美国,它只会遭到中国的猛烈报复,让中加关系蒙上更大的损失。

星期一有140名西方的中国问题专家和一些国家前驻华大使联名致信中国领导人,呼吁中方释放两名在中国被逮捕的加拿大人。这是对中国内政的直接干涉。加拿大一定以为这样的骚扰和施压可以起作用,动摇中国要求美加无条件释放孟晚舟的立场,但渥太华真的想错了。

中国有自己的法律,并且在按照自己的法律给被逮捕的加拿大人定罪,而加拿大是在帮着美国拘捕孟晚舟。中加的法律是平等的,而中国的国家实力又远强于加拿大。加方希望中国接受它强加给北京的逻辑,它在法律和道义上过于自恋,既误读世界,也高估自己


4. US-China

China’s Plan for Tech Dominance Is Advancing, Business Groups Say - WSJ $$:

Two influential U.S. business groups have issued a report detailing how China is moving ahead with a technology policy set to be a key point of contention in the U.S.-China trade talks that resume next week in Washington.

In a joint report to the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Chamber of Commerce in China say Beijing’s ambitious plan to become a global technology leader is being widely implemented, casting doubt on efforts by Chinese officials to play down its significance.

There is evidence of “a deep, concerted and continuing effort” by provincial officials to pursue the central government’s Made in China 2025 plan, which seeks to make China a leader in electric vehicles, aerospace, robotics and other frontiers of manufacturing, the two business groups say.

Comment: Shocked, just shocked…and that is the problem. No one who has dealt with China over trade issues believes what the government promises, so any deal without compliance checks, no matter how humiliating the Chinese may say it is, will be worth about as much as the Beijing bridge I will try to sell the signatories…

Pessimism Looms Over Prospect of a Sweeping China Trade Deal - The New York Times:

Last week, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the Republican chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said that Mr. Lighthizer, who is leading the talks, had told him there had been no progress on the “structural” changes that the administration sought from China.

Mr. Lighthizer, a longtime China hawk, has been pushing to ensure that China fulfills promises that Mr. Xi made to Mr. Trump during a meeting in Buenos Aires last year. Mr. Lighthizer has expressed concern to colleagues and business groups that Mr. Trump could accept a watered-down deal that reduces the trade deficit but offers only symbolic structural changes to help end the trade war and lift the stock market.

Comment: Amb. Lighthizer is right to be worried.

China Deal to End U.S. Trade Surplus May Be Illegal - Bloomberg:

In talks earlier this month, Chinese negotiators reportedly offered to eliminate their country’s bilateral trade surplus with the U.S. by buying $1 trillion in American goods over the next few years. It’s unclear whether they were serious, or whether U.S. producers could even meet the additional demand. The biggest problem with such a transactional deal, though, is one no one’s talking about: It would most likely be illegal. - James Bacchus is a former chief judge for the World Trade Organization and former member of Congress

US and China: Trade, Technology Theft and Arrests | RUSI-Charles Parton:

The CCP must accept that Huawei will not be playing a role in the 5G systems of liberal democracies, just as China keeps western companies out of its systems. Issues of national security must not harm wider cooperation, not just in trade and investment, but in a plethora of other areas such as climate change, pollution, global health, humanitarian assistance, peacekeeping.

The CCP must stop acting in a way which undermines the rule of law. The message of politicised imprisonments is chilling for governments and individuals: if there is a crisis between China and your country, you are at risk of being seized. Not only does this lawless behaviour give the lie to its line on ‘a shared future for mankind’, or the China model being good for the world, it will also slow the exchange of people, business and ideas, to China’s loss. ‘Win-win’, anyone?


5. More labor activists detained

Well-known labour activists detained by Shenzhen police | China Labour Bulletin:

At least five Chinese labour activists have been detained in what appears to be a coordinated police crackdown late on the evening of 20 January.

Those detained include the director of the Chunfeng Labour Dispute Service Centre, Zhang Zhiru, well-known labour activist Wu Guijun, plus, Jian Hui, Song Jiahui and He Yuancheng. Some of those detained are now based outside of Shenzhen but all had prior connections to labour groups in the city.

Wu Guijun, Zhang Zhiru and He Yuancheng have been charged with disturbing public order (扰乱社会秩序), according to people familiar with the case. The status of Jian Hui and Song Jiahui is currently unclear.

The reason for the sudden crackdown is also unclear. However, it may well be related to the on-going dispute at Jasic Technology, which attracted considerable media attention and support from student groups across China.

A video interview with now-detained Wu Guijun, form March 2018-Labor Protests Multiply in China as Economy Slows, Worrying Leaders - The New York Times 

And five years ago the Global Times profiled Zhang Zhiru - How Zhang Zhiru became one of China’s top defenders of labor rights:

Zhang's struggles through the decades witnessed the improvement of China's labor rights protection, including the legislation of the Labor Law in 1995 and amendments thereafter. Earlier this year, Chunfeng joined dozens of similar labor rights organizations to condemn a few Hong Kong business chambers for interfering with Guangdong provincial legislation which was designed to empower the workers in negotiating their benefits with employers.

Zhang stressed that his organization fights for workers' rights within the legal framework and using the current laws. The biggest problem with the labor rights protection is the laws are not observed, he said. However, he said there is still a gap between labor rights organizations and the authorities, as the local government views people like him with mistrust as troublemakers for the local economy who might deter investment.

Sometimes, problems are more than simply mistrust.

Once in 2011 Zhang tried to run for the district People's Congress in Shenzhen as an independent candidate, with the goal of having more say in labor law legislation. That endeavor ended when he was threatened and told to give up.


6. PLA reforms

Chinese army now makes up less than half of PLA’s strength as military aims to transform itself into modern fighting force | South China Morning Post:

In a feature report on Sunday highlighting the “transformational changes” made by the PLA, China’s official news agency said: “This new data is unprecedented in the history of the PLA – the army now accounts for less than 50 per cent of the total number of PLA troops; almost half of our non-combatant units have been made redundant, and the number of officers in the PLA has been reduced by 30 per cent.”

The statement indicated that the four other branches of the PLA – the navy, air force, rocket force and strategic support force, which is responsible for areas such as cyberwarfare – now together make up more than half of the Chinese military, overtaking the army, which has traditionally been the dominant unit of the PLA.

Shanghai-based military analyst Ni Lexiong said the overhaul marked a significant strategic shift from having a homeland-based defensive force to one with the capacity to allow Beijing to flex its muscles beyond its national borders and to protect its interests overseas.

聚焦强军目标 重塑人民军队——十八届三中全会以来全面深化国防和军队改革综述 


7. P2P industry controls tightened

China To Push Most Peer-to-Peer Lenders Out of the Industry:

Chinese authorities have further tightened controls on the peer-to-peer (P2P) lending industry, aiming to clear out as many P2P platforms as possible, according to an official document seen by Caixin.

Local regulators must classify P2P lending platforms in a way that reflects their respective levels of default risk and take action accordingly, according to a document by government-backed working groups charged with taming the internet finance and P2P industries. The two groups are separately backed by China’s central bank and top banking regulator. Caixin has confirmed the authenticity of the document with regulatory officials with knowledge of the matter. The document was issued in mid-December but never made public.


8. Peppa the Pig movie trailer home run

I tried to resist but this trailer is just too cute, and has been viewed hundreds of millions of times on Chinese streaming platforms

"What Is Peppa?" - Viral Ad Campaign for 'Peppa Pig' Movie Makes the British Pig More Chinese Than Ever | What's on Weibo

A new ad campaign for the upcoming Peppa Pig movie features a grandfather living in rural China who goes on a quest to find out what Peppa is. The commercial is a huge success on Chinese social media, and strikes a chord with netizens for touching upon various societal and cultural issues. Peppa is more Chinese than ever now

The trailer:


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

Top political advisor stresses implementing policies on private sector development - Xinhua China's top political advisor Wang Yang on Monday stressed the importance of well implementing policies introduced by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee to encourage, support and guide the private sector's development. Wang, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), made the remarks at a symposium for private entrepreneurs ahead of the upcoming Spring Festival, the Chinese Lunar New Year....He urged CPC committees and governments at all levels to spare no efforts in helping private enterprises solve problems and create a better "policy and legal environment."...Eight entrepreneurs including Liu Chuanzhi, Zhang Yiming and Lei Jun made speeches at the symposium, which was chaired by You Quan, head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee 汪洋在民营企业家迎春座谈会上强调新时代民营企业舞台宽广大有可为 

China’s State Planner Encourages Banks to Offer Private Sector Long-Term Loans - Caixin China will encourage quality, privately owned enterprises to expand the amount of their bond issuance this year, and banks to offer them medium- and long-term loans with maturity of more than three years, the country’s state planner said Tuesday

China spends $256 billion on shantytown redevelopment in 2018 | Reuters Construction began on 6.26 million housing units in 2018, the ministry said on its website. China set the 2018 full-year target at 5.8 million units. The social project also boosted broader property demand in China as residents were encouraged to use cash compensation to buy a new home when their existing one was demolished, analysts said.

China’s Downturn Hits Industrial Cities - WSJ $$ The downturn that began last year and deepened in recent months is cutting a swath through this dusty industrial city just north of the Yangtze River. The auto-parts, textiles and other industries that drove years of growth in this city of seven million are now sputtering, weighed down by rising costs, heavy debt loads as well as an increasingly uncertain trade outlook. Meanwhile, big-data centers, new energy vehicles and other sectors the city is looking to lead the next wave of growth aren’t picking up the slack. “We face many uncertainties in 2019,” said a commerce official in Yancheng. Its economy slowed sharply last year, expanding about 5%—well short of the city government’s growth target of more than 7% and below the official national level.

Billions filed in unpaid taxes by film and TV industry - China Daily A total of 11.75 billion yuan ($1.73 billion) of unpaid taxes have been filed to tax authorities by Dec 31, 2018, after the film and TV industry examined its taxpaying practices, according to Xinhua News Agency. Among the filings, 11.55 billion yuan have been paid, Xinhua reported, citing the State Administration of Taxation. Previously, the tax administration released a statement demanding all levels of taxation authorities to inform film and TV firms to conduct self-examinations of their tax payments since 2016 from Oct 10. Those who made remedial payments to taxation authorities before Dec 31 would be exempt from administrative punishment and penalties, according to the notice.

China’s overseas investment set to slow, says Sinochem | Financial Times $$ “The Chinese are getting quite confused. They thought they are welcome to invest in other countries, but now they realise they are not being welcomed all the time,” Sinochem’s Ning Gaoning told an opening session of the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday. “You will see there will be less investment going abroad.”

Chinese demand driving investment in New Brunswick's lobster industry | CBC News New Brunswick's lobster industry is drawing closer to China as the apetite for the premium Canadian seafood grows in that country. Newly released figures show the volume of Atlantic Canada's lobster sold to China jumped 50 per cent in 2018, to 12 million kilograms. And businesses with ties to Asian markets have been investing in Atlantic Canada

Foxconn Looks Beyond China to India for iPhone Assembly - WSJ $$ Executives at Foxconn, a contract manufacturer that assembles a large portion of the world’s iPhones in China, are studying whether to include an India project in budget plans, one of the people said. Senior executives, possibly including Chairman Terry Gou, plan to visit India after next month’s Lunar New Year to discuss plans, the people familiar said.

China UnionPay expands services to 174 countries, regions - Xinhua Its mobile payment services are available in 46 overseas countries and regions, the company said in a statement. The company saw a record high of network transactions last year, totaling 120.4 trillion yuan (17.69 trillion U.S. dollars) and up 28.1 percent year on year.

Commentary: LV should not blame China for quality issues - People's Daily Online In Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang province, a man surnamed Wang recently purchased a Louis Vuitton (LV) bag but was quickly inundated with problems. He noticed the handle was losing its color, which rubbed off and stained when he wore a white shirt. However, LV headquarters in Shanghai attributed the issue to the Chinese climate. Such a response reflects a lack of basic professionality at the LV Shanghai headquarters, which has not only disappointed its customers, but has also tarnished the image of LV as a high-end luxury brand.

Burberry fiasco another lesson for foreign labels - Global Times After Chinese netizens came down heavily on the "creepy" family portraits by Burberry, the luxury British goods giant quietly removed the ad from its latest WeChat campaign.  Following incidents in which reputed labels like Balenciaga and Dolce&Gabbana found themselves in hot water, Burberry became another "tone-deaf instance of the Western luxury brand" in China.  Shot and directed by famous American photographer Ethan James Green, Burberry's Chinese New Year campaign starred Chinese actress Zhao Wei and Zhou Dongyu. The advert, which aimed to celebrate family traditions and togetherness, spooked the Chinese who reacted to it like a "horror" film. It was way off the mark from portraying Chinese culture.

How Huawei Wooed Europe With Sponsorships, Investments and Promises - The New York Times: When new employees join Huawei, they are given books about the Chinese telecommunications company’s achievements. One featured accomplishment is how the company has thrived in Europe. A chapter in one of the books describes the hard work of Huawei employees to win over European telecom providers and sell them equipment that forms the backbone of mobile wireless networks. It says little about how the company has also subtly lobbied, promised jobs and made research investments to ingratiate itself with European governments over the last 15 years... Yet despite the careful cultivation, Huawei’s position in Europe is now at risk of unraveling

France's reported block of Huawei is "almost a scandal" - Global Times France's reported intention to block out Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, by empowering its security and defence watchdogs is "almost a scandal" and "very unfair," a domestic economist told the Global Times on Tuesday.  "It's up to France to change their own laws and regulations, but to do that just to target one overseas company is really absurd and violates basic international commercial fairness," said Xiang Ligang, chief executive of telecom industry news site cctime.com.  Xiang made the comments after a report in the France based Les Echos newspaper, which noted that France is considering extending the accreditation power of National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (ANSSI) to pass an amendment that will in effect be "anti-Huawei."

China's property tax plan could emerge for 2019: top expert - ECNS Property tax legislation could be submitted for review by China's top lawmaking body, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), said Liu Jianwen, a law professor at Peking University and head of the Fiscal and Tax Law Research Institute at the China Law Society, during a forum in Beijing on Monday.

New trends in Spring Festival travel rush - Xinhua From Jan. 21 to March 1, nearly 3 billion trips are to be made via China's transport system, as people set off for family gatherings or tours...In Shanghai Municipality as well as Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces in eastern China, 464 ticket checking machines in railway and coach terminals allow swift passage with facial recognition technology to verify passengers....Ctrip, China's leading online travel agency, forecasts that some 7 million Chinese tourists will travel to over 500 tourist destinations in more than 90 countries and regions during the upcoming week-long Spring Festival holiday.

China's Distrust of Local Milk Lingers a Decade After Crisis - Bloomberg Foreign milk labels are still viewed by consumers as safer, higher-quality and a mark of affluence, but domestic suppliers are fighting back with savvy branding and lower prices. The prize is clear: With only a quarter of Chinese moms breast-feeding, China’s infant-formula market will expand 21 percent to about $32 billion in 2023, according to Euromonitor International.

China’s top movie ticketing app Maoyan postpones Hong Kong IPO, names Xiaomi as cornerstone investor | South China Morning Post The Beijing-based company, with Tencent Holdings as its second-biggest shareholder, will put off the Hong Kong IPO period to between January 23 and January 28, according to a renewed term sheet obtained by the South China Morning Post. Previously, the retail sale was expected to hit the market between January 21 to January 24. Meanwhile, it will extend its IPO book close date to “on or about January 25” from the original date of January 24, after which it will stop taking orders from international institutional investors. The book opened on Friday.

Chinese desire for Kyoto ‘villas’ pushing up prices in city:The Asahi Shimbun Japan’s ancient capital has increasingly become a hot market for wealthy Chinese looking to buy villas and other properties while they are still available. As a result, real estate prices in Kyoto have soared to levels that are out of reach of the locals, many of whom have already expressed resentment over changes to their city made to accommodate the ever-growing stream of overseas tourists.


Politics, Law And Ideology

Beijing dismisses CNN's Xinjiang report as false - Xinhua "Accuracy is the lifeblood of news reporting," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular news conference in Beijing. In the CNN piece on Monday, a Uygur woman, Mihrigul Tursun, claimed that one of her sons died in a hospital in Urumqi, Xinjiang, in 2015, and she claimed she had been detained by local officials for three months in that year. She told CNN she was never given any reason why her children were admitted to the hospital. "This is absolutely not true, and it is a lie with ulterior motives," Hua said.

Inspection tours deliver key signals - People's Daily Online According to people.com.cn, Xi's first annual inspection tours after the 18th National Congress of the CPC, from 2013 to 2019, have covered regions including undeveloped villages in Gansu, Shanxi and Hebei Provinces, autonomous regions for ethnic minorities such as Inner Mongolia, Ludian county in Southwest China's Yunnan Province where there was an earthquake in 2014, and Jinggangshan, a holy land of China's revolution located in Jiangxi Province.

中华民族伟大复兴的三大里程碑(深入学习贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想)--观点--人民网 - 高 翔 Gao Xiang, head of the new CASS History Institute,  writes in the 1.22.19 People's Daily Theory Section (now on page 9 in the new year it seems) about the three milestones on the road to China's national rejuvenation--founding of the Communist Party in 1921, founding of the PRC, and Reform & Opening // 内容提要:建立中国共产党、成立中华人民共和国、推进改革开放和中国特色社会主义事业,是五四运动以来我国发生的三大历史性事件,是近代以来实现中华民族伟大复兴的三大里程碑。三大历史性事件、三大巍然屹立的里程碑,贯穿的一条鲜明主线就是实现中华民族伟大复兴,揭示的一个伟大真理就是中国化马克思主义是实现中华民族伟大复兴的科学指南,昭示的一个基本结论就是中国共产党领导是实现中华民族伟大复兴的根本政治保证。

Man arrested for intentional homicide in Beijing school attack - Xinhua The 49-year-old suspect, surnamed Jia, attacked a group of students with a hammer on a campus of the No. 1 Affiliated Elementary School of Xuanwu Normal School in Xicheng District on the morning of Jan. 8. Local police had put him under criminal detention for intentional homicide. Police have said the attacker was a disgruntled former maintenance worker of the school. Nineteen students had been discharged from hospital by Sunday, according to the Xicheng district government. The only victim still hospitalized was recovering

Chongqing Dissident Detained Over Public Speech Calling on President to Resign - RFA Zhang Jilin, known online by his nickname "Yue Family Gun," was taken away by police from Chongqing's Guanyinqiao Square after making a political speech, in which he called on Xi to resign. According to an audio recording of the speech obtained by RFA, Zhang says that the time has come for the president to be forced to step down.

全国最年轻正厅级干部上任 曾获多项发明专利_网易新闻 a list of all the division level cadres born in the 80s


Foreign and Military Affairs

Xinhua Commentary: Globalization at crossroads of critical choice - Xinhua timed for Davos// One key reason is that while global trade has created a lot of human wealth, many Western countries have failed to fairly distribute the dividends among their citizens. As a result, the wealth gap has been widening year by year. The boisterous Yellow Vest protests demanding lower taxes, higher household incomes and better public service on the streets of Paris over the recent weeks are just the tip of the populist iceberg of discontent in the wealthy West. Also, the growing prevalence of social media has made it possible and more convenient for people from all walks of life to express their grievances openly and form new identity groups along racial or religious divides. That rise of identity politics has further promoted populism, fractured societies, and made it increasingly difficult for Western politicians to push through necessary domestic social reforms. To win elections, those poll politicians have become more prone to pandering to the populist demagoguery, and accustomed to trying to shift blame for the domestic problems overseas. They claim that the economic emergence of the developing countries has been the result of abusing the global trade playbook and taking advantage of globalization at the expense of the West.

[视频]中央军委举行慰问驻京部队老干部迎新春文艺演出 习近平向全军老同志祝贺新春_CCTV Xi meets with retired PLA officers in Beijing, attends New Year's show for them...extra points for readers who can identify all the people shown on CCTV shaking hands with Xi..if you can please let me in the comments

China President Xi Jinping plans talks with PM Modi to counter US on trade, Indo-Pacific - India Today China President Xi Jinping is planning to visit India in as early as February. This is being seen as a move to counter Washington's increasingly antagonistic trade policy and aggressive Indo-Pacific diplomacy. Xi is expected to discuss with Prime Minister Narendra Modi measures to defuse border tensions, as well as propose deals to expand imports of Indian farm products and increase cooperation in advanced technologies, according to local media rep

After years fighting terrorism, the SEALs turn their eyes toward fighting big wars | Defense News | SOFX There have been indications that the SEALs are looking at operating more in environments similar to those in the South China Sea. A recent environmental assessment obtained by the Honolulu Star Advertiser revealed that the SEALs were looking to triple the amount of training time they spend in the Hawaiian islands, expanding from Oahu and Hawaii island to Kauai, Maui, Molokai and Lanai.

Jaw-Jaw: How America Got China Wrong - War on the Rocks How did American analysts seem to get China so “wrong”? Why wasn’t there more of a debate until fairly recently inside the halls of power? What concerns drove the Obama administration’s China policy? What would a Chinese-led international order look like? Ely Ratner discusses these issues and many more in the fifth episode of “Jaw-Jaw.”

Cambodian leader, in Beijing, says China pledges nearly US$600 million in aid - Channel NewsAsia Hun Sen is on a three-day visit to China, his most important regional ally, and held bilateral talks with President Xi Jinping in Beijing in which he asked for more aid and investment in his Southeast Asian country's crucial textile industry. Xi pledged the 2019-21 grant in response, Hun Sen's official Facebook post said. The Chinese leader also promised to import 400,000 tonnes of rice from Cambodia, vowed to push bilateral trade to US$10 billion by 2023 and encouraged more Chinese investment, the post said.


Tech And Media

The Wandering Earth - Ultimate Trailer - YouTube Chinese Sci-fi movie, opening Feb 5:

BitTorrent giving Tron holders billions of free tokens - Asia Times Airdrops, as they are known in the crypto industry, are when free tokens are issued to holders of another token and the airdrop story of the moment is Chinese-facing blockchain network Tron. Crypto markets have been in the doldrums for the best part of a year, but that has not deterred blockchain teams from pressing on with new partnerships to build out their ecosystems. When Chinese crypto foundation Tron acquired digital file sharing network BitTorrent last year it made big headlines in the industry.

Young Chinese internet video host falls to her death after botched plastic surgery | South China Morning Post Identified only by her surname, Liu, the vlogger from Anhui province had made several previous attempts after unsuccessful cosmetic facial surgery, according to local media reports. Online news site Guancha reported that she had been rescued by firefighters from the 18th floor of a building on Saturday morning, the day before her death. A video of the rescue was shared on social media, in which the woman could be heard shouting that she did not want anyone to see her face.

Critical Fans: Weibo Superstar Xie Na Under Attack By Her Own Supporters | What's on Weibo For a couple of days now, host of Happy Camp, actress and no. 1 star Weibo superstar Xie Na (谢娜) has come under attack from her fans for her performance in Chinese hit reality show Viva La Romance (妻子浪漫旅行), where four famous couples go on holiday together. According to Xie Na’s fans, she mentioned her husband, famous singer Jason (张杰), too often during the show despite several warnings from fans in the past to keep her affection under wraps.

China’s ability to make computer chips still ‘years behind’ industry leaders | Financial Times $$  When Huawei released its latest chip set in Shenzhen this month, the state-run Global Times newspaper hailed the “groundbreaking” development as a “boost” for China’s domestic chipmaking industry, “often portrayed as overly reliant on foreign suppliers”. But the new server chip set, just like the telecoms company’s similarly feted advanced processor for smartphones, was only designed in China. It is manufactured in Taiwan, in the latest example of a persistent technology gap that hampers China’s efforts to become self-sufficient at manufacturing chips.

China approves third batch of video games; Tencent still absent | Reuters The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television approved 93 games in its third list since December, with Tencent’s domestic rival NetEase Inc (NTES.O) also absent for the third time.


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Language Log » Sinographs by the numbers Most great works of Chinese literature, both modern and premodern, are written within a range of around 3,000 characters or less. I've never met a single person, no matter how learned, who could actively produce more than 8,000 characters by handwriting, without the aid of any electronic device


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Beijing Won’t Strengthen 2019 Pollution Target - Caixin Beijing will focus on maintaining the PM2.5 concentration average reached last year rather than reduce the target this year, the Ministry of Environment and Ecology announced on Monday. China’s capital surpassed its target last year when the average PM2.5 concentration dropped to 51 micrograms per cubic meter, said Liu Bingjiang, director of the ministry’s Department of Atmospheric Environment.

Despite Green Push at Home, Chinese Lenders Continue to Back Coal Overseas The IEEFA found that Chinese financial institutions had committed $21.3 billion towards developing 30 gigawatts (GW) of coal-power capacity across 12 countries as of July. In the same period, Chinese institutions proposed funding a further 71GW of coal projects in 24 countries.

Gu Fangzhou, Who Eradicated Polio in China, Dies at 92 - Caixin In 1955, U.S. virologist Jonas Salk finalized the first polio vaccine, which was “inactivated” (or a “killed” vaccine, which uses dead pathogens, unlike a “live” vaccine). But the U.S. had imposed a technology blockade on China at the time. In 1959, the Ministry of Health appointed Gu to lead a team to the Soviet Union where they could research Salk’s vaccine. During this period, American-Polish virologist Albert Sabin developed a “live” vaccine, which came to be regarded as safer and more reliable. In 1959 Gu brought back a sample of Sabin’s vaccine, working with a team in Beijing to develop a first full batch of it

Chinese polar research ship Snow Dragon hits iceberg in Antarctica | South China Morning Post Collision happened in Amundsen Sea, breaking the ship’s mast and leaving 250 tonnes of snow and ice piled up on its prow and front deck


Food And Travel

Xiabu Xiabu Sues Tencent After Rat-in-Hot-Pot Article - Caixin When a pregnant women found a rat in her broth at fast-food chain Xiabu Xiabu in September, video of the soupy creature went viral. Xiabu Xiabu’s stock tanked, but recovered within weeks. Tech giant Tencent later published a finance article titled “Rat found in hot pot broth — is Xiabu Xiabu still worth buying after its valuation drop?” All seemed quiet thereafter. But it emerged today that Xiabu Xiabu is in fact suing Tencent over the article.


Beijing

Beijing Nanyuan Airport to end public services in September - ECNS Beijing Nanyuan Airport, the oldest airport in China, will end public services on September 30 when China United Airlines moves to the newly built Beijing Daxing International Airport.  Located in Fengtai District, Beijing Nanyuan is a public and military airport that has long served as the capital's secondary airport. It opened in 1907 and was the main hub of China United Airline

Beijing new airport conducts first test flight - China Daily Beijing Daxing International Airport embraced its first test flight, as a plane for inspection landed steadily at the West One Runway at 10:10 am on Tuesday. It means the construction of Daxing Airport will enter the acceptance and handover stage


Jobs And Events

China-US Relations and the Global Economic System | Event | PIIE January 23, 2019, 10:30-12:30 in DC and webcast - XIAO Gang (Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference), Caroline Freund (World Bank), Chad P. Bown (PIIE), LU Feng (CF40 and Peking University, National School of Development) and Jeffrey J. Schott (PIIE)

"Pig" Out and KTV: A BCNY and China Supper Club New Year's Celebration Tickets, Fri, Feb 1, 2019 at 6:30 PM | Eventbrite New York