USTR says China has done nothing to address 301 investigation; Fiscal policy debate continues; "Xiplomacy" and the correct path for humanity

Hi everyone, today's issue is somewhat truncated as the kids are off from school and we are getting ready for Thanksgiving. For those of you who celebrate it I hope you have a wonderful holiday with friends and family.

As a reminder the newsletter is off Thursday and Friday, back to normal Monday.

Thanks for reading, and for all of your support. 

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The Essential Eight

1. US-China trade

USTR says China has done nothng to address 301 investigation. Nice timing, just before the G20 meeting

USTR Updates Section 301 Investigation | United States Trade Representative:

The Office of the United States Trade Representative today released a report updating information on its Section 301 investigation of China’s acts, policies and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation.

“We completed this update as part of this Administration’s strengthened monitoring and enforcement effort,” Ambassador Robert Lighthizer said. “This update shows that China has not fundamentally altered its unfair, unreasonable, and market-distorting practices that were the subject of the March 2018 report on our Section 301 investigation.”

The report as PDF is here. Some highlights:

USTR has undertaken this update as part of its ongoing monitoring and enforcement effort. In preparing this update, USTR has relied upon publicly available material, and has consulted with other government agencies. As detailed in this update, China fundamentally has not altered its acts, policies, and practices related to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation, and indeed appears to have taken further unreasonable actions in recent months

Section II describes how China continues its policy and practice of conducting and supporting cyber-enabled theft and intrusions into the commercial networks of U.S. companies and those of other countries, as well as other means by which China attempts illegally to obtain information. This conduct provides the Chinese government with unauthorized access to intellectual property, including trade secrets, or confidential business information, as well as technical data, negotiating positions, and sensitive and proprietary internal business communications.

Section III describes how, despite the relaxation of some foreign ownership restrictions and certain other incremental changes in 2018, the Chinese government has persisted in using foreign investment restrictions to require or pressure the transfer of technology from U.S. companies to Chinese entities. Numerous foreign companies and other trading partners share U.S. concerns regarding China’s technology transfer regime.

Section IV describes China’s discriminatory licensing restrictions and how the United States has requested consultations and is pursuing dispute settlement under the WTO in China – Certain Measures Concerning the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights (WT/DS542). China continues to maintain these discriminatory licensing restrictions.

Section V describes how, despite an apparent aggregate decline in Chinese outbound investment in the United States in 2018, the Chinese government continues to direct and unfairly facilitate the systematic investment in, and acquisition of, U.S. companies and assets by Chinese entities, to obtain cutting-edge technologies and intellectual property and generate large-scale technology transfer in industries deemed important by state industrial plans. Chinese outbound investment is increasingly focused on venture capital (VC) investment in U.S. technology centers such as Silicon Valley, with Chinese VC investment reaching record levels in 2018.

U.S. Accuses China of Continuing IP Theft Amid Trade War - Bloomberg:

Derek Scissors, a China expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said the report’s release appeared to be an effort by Lighthizer to influence negotiations ahead of the G-20. “USTR is trying to take some issues entirely off the table for the G-20, in case the Chinese want something in exchange for ‘canceling Made in China 2025’,” Scissors said.

A USTR official told Bloomberg that the report’s release on Tuesday was meant only to document China’s continuing practices and indicated the U.S. still hopes to make progress at the G-20 summit.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro ‘excluded from Xi Jinping-Donald Trump dinner’ | South China Morning Post:

White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in an interview with Fox Business News on Tuesday that Trump was trying to “inject a note of optimism” into trade talks with China.

“He [Trump] believes that China would like to have a deal,” Kudlow said, adding there were “very detailed communications” between China and the US taking place at all levels of government.

With Navarro excluded, other candidates to accompany Trump to the dinner include Kudlow, US National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US ambassador to China Terry Branstad.

Comment: I wound't read too much in Navarro's absence. Lighthizer will be there, he matters far more to this process

Harvesting in a trade war: U.S. crops rot as storage costs soar | Reuters:

Across the United States, grain farmers are plowing under crops, leaving them to rot or piling them on the ground, in hopes of better prices next year, according to interviews with more than two dozen farmers, academic researchers and farm lenders. It’s one of the results, they say, of a U.S. trade war with China that has sharply hurt export demand and swamped storage facilities with excess grain.


2. China trying to be nice in mil-mil relations with the US

USS Ronald Reagan carrier group to visit Hong Kong as China holds out olive branch to America | South China Morning Post:

On Tuesday, Lt Gen Tan Benhong the commander of the PLA garrison in the city, and other officers were invited to land on the deck of the carrier as it sailed towards Hong Kong.

The officers, accompanied on a C-2 military transport plane by a small group of local journalists, were welcomed on board and invited to watch the US navy’s F-18 Super Hornet Fighter jets performing a take-off and landing exercise.

“It is a friendly gesture made by the Chinese side to let the USS Ronald Reagan visit Hong Kong before the scheduled meeting between President Xi and President Trump in Argentina,” Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming said.

No fears about China navy build-up – even after near miss, USS Ronald Reagan commander says | South China Morning Post:

“I had a chance to show [Tan] flight operations, so he had a chance to see the young professional navy sailors and how we conduct flight operations day in and day out on this carrier,” Thomas said. “I think he gained a healthy respect for the capability of this ship.”

"Healthy respect"...

PLA Daily: Make bilateral military ties a stabilizer of China-US relations - China Military

At present, with an increase in international security challenges, cooperation between the two militaries is also expanding in scope. Against a background of China-US trade friction, the two militaries have kept strengthening communication, enhancing mutual trust, deepening cooperation, and controlling risks, making positive contributions to the healthy and stable development of China-US relations, while highlighting the stabilizing role of a bilateral military partnership for such relations.

Isn't this a recurring pattern whenever other elements of the relationship go south? 

US flies B-52 bombers near contested islands in the South China Sea - CNN:

"Two US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress bombers departed Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and participated in a routine training mission" in "the vicinity of the South China Sea," US Pacific Air Forces said in a statement.

"This recent mission is consistent with international law and United States' long-standing commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific," the statement added.


3. "Xiplomacy" and the correct path for humanity

Spotlight: Xiplomacy gaining momentum as inspiration for Asia-Pacific development - Xinhua

As Chinese President Xi Jinping wraps up a three-nation Asia-Pacific tour Wednesday, his proposals on tackling global challenges and promoting win-win cooperation are expected to keep invigorating regional development. 

In the latest round of his diplomatic endeavors, or Xiplomacy, Xi paid state visits to Papua New Guinea (PNG), Brunei and the Philippines, and attended the 26th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting. 

Observers say that the strong messages China sent out during the week-long trip, particularly its commitment to opening-up and international collaboration, matter greatly in today's world.

Wednesday CCTV Evening News 7 minutes on the success of Xi's trip--引领开放合作潮流 开启共同发展新程——习近平主席亚太之行成果丰硕_CCTV 

"钟轩理", pseudonym for the central propaganda department theoretical bureau, has a long piece on page 3 of the 11.21 People's Daily on economic globalization - "Catching the historical trend, walking the correct path for humanity". The comment ends with the confident prediction that in 100 years people looking back on this era will praise China for its efforts in support of economic globalization--乘历史大势 走人间正道--观点--人民网 

再过一百年,当人们评述今天的时候,一定会如是说:那时的中国把握住了历史的趋势,摸清了发展的规律,走稳了人间的正道.

Not Quite China's Century? An Early Appraisal [Part 2] | The National Interest:

One of the most striking features of recent Chinese diplomacy has been the confidence with which China has presented itself as an alternative model for countries in Asia and around the world seeking a path to growth and development. Xi Jinping said at the Nineteenth Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in 2017 that China "offers a new option for other countries and nations who want to speed up their development while preserving their independence." Pointing to the long-standing history of American advocacy for the liberal concepts of democracy and human rights, Beijing emphasizes that its foreign policy is not grounded in either Western values or morality. The proposition is clear, if implicit: American foreign policy, inextricably linked to its values, will always attempt to impose itself on others; China's claimed policy of respect for sovereignty promises non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations. No matter that its actions often undercut this promise, China is proposing a different model.


4. Taiwan election

China’s ‘sharp power’ play in Taiwan | Financial Times $$:

Officially, Lu Aihua retired from politics eight years ago. But as the campaign for Taiwan’s local elections on Saturday reached fever pitch last week, Mr Lu received a visit from government investigators who are probing whether he is helping China interfere in the upcoming polls.

“The investigators are asking if the money the Chinese communists are paying me comes with instructions to back a particular candidate or a particular party in the election,” says Mr Lu, an influential former lawmaker in the southern city of Tainan...

“You have started noticing such tactics in the west since Donald Trump was elected [US president] and since Russia meddled in the US election — you even have a new term for it: ‘sharp power’,” says Chiu Chui-cheng, deputy minister of the Mainland Affairs Council, Taiwan’s cabinet level agency for relations with China. “Nobody knows better about sharp power than we do — we are at the front lines!”

Although Saturday’s election will focus on local issues, politicians and experts say it is likely to predetermine the future of cross-Strait relations because a DPP defeat could block the road to re-election in 2020 for President Tsai Ing-wen, the prime target of Beijing’s wrath

Taipei mayor denies Beijing help in 2020 presidential bid | Asia Times:

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je has again rejected rumors of him receiving Beijing’s help in a bid to become the island’s top leader in the 2020 presidential election.

Ko said no one could envisage what might happen in two years’ time, but for now he will focus on the mayoral election to secure another four-year tenure to lead Taipei. Voters in the capital city head to the polling stations this Saturday.

Despite riding a popularity wave, Ko caused a stir in a recent interview in which he was quoted as saying that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belonged to “one family”.

Lieutenant General: Hope next generation won't wait until hair turns grey to achieve reunification of China - China Military

Lieutenant General He Lei, former vice-president of the Academy of Military Sciences of the Chinese PLA, said in a recent interview that “there is only one thing I still hope for in my 50 years of military service: the reunification of motherland.”

Speaking of the Taiwan question, Lt. Gen. He lamented the separation of Taiwan from the mainland for nearly 70 years caused by the civil war. As a Chinese veteran, He Lei has been looking forward to Taiwan’s return to the motherland and the complete reunification of China.

He regretted to say as one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, China is the only country that has not achieved national unity. “To achieve the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation and realize the reunification of the country, this is one hurdle that we have to cross,” added He.


5. Fiscal stimulus debate ongoing

China should lean more on fiscal policy to spur growth: central bank researcher | Reuters:

“Monetary policy is more effective in curbing economic overheating than stimulating growth,” Xu Zhong, head of the PBOC’s research bureau, said at a finance forum in Beijing...

“Our country should implement more active fiscal policy. There is ample room for fiscal policy. The pro-active fiscal policy should focus on boosting infrastructure investment.”

Sounds like the debate from earlier this year remains unsettled - July 2018 - Debate Over China’s Fiscal Policy Heats Up as Growth Slows 

Will the December Central Economic Work Conference resolve it?

China’s fiscal policy needs to boldly break free of 3% deficit rule - Global Times:

Given the multiple difficulties facing the economy, China is eager to pursue a proactive fiscal policy. According to our view, a large-scale stimulus package ranging from 30 trillion yuan ($4.32 trillion) to 50 trillion yuan is needed. Many officials are skeptical of the feasibility of such a large stimulus, which seems to go against the deleveraging policy pursued in 2018.

Yet, based on the current situation, the policy tone is shifting toward a stimulus. Since China rolled out a 4 trillion yuan stimulus package in 2008, the economy has expanded exponentially, exceeding 80 trillion yuan now. The core role of large-scale stimulus policies is to increase demand by expanding market space, so that enterprises have more chances to sell things and make profits. That's more helpful to enterprises than just providing funds and credit support...

Given the unprecedented complexity of the situation, coupled with downward pressure on the economy, and a deteriorating external trade and investment environment, China needs a large-scale stimulus measure to unleash the potential of its huge domestic market. The nation's fiscal policy could "step forward boldly" to break the 3 percent deficit ratio limit.--The article was compiled based on a report by Beijing-based private strategic think tank Anbound.


6. Guo Wengui and Steve Banoon set up "Rule of Law Fund"

Steve Bannon, Chinese Critic Create Fund to Investigate Beijing - WSJ $$:

President Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon is teaming up with one of the Chinese government’s fiercest critics on a $100 million effort to investigate what they view as abuses of power by President Xi Jinping and the Communist Party.

Mr. Bannon unveiled the effort in a lengthy press conference Tuesday alongside exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui, who said he would provide the funding for the so-called “Rule of Law Fund” to investigate deaths and disappearances of Chinese executives, politicians and other public figures.

Mr. Bannon said he would volunteer to serve as the fund’s chairman and oversee its operations, which he said would include hiring a professional staff. Details weren’t provided of how the new organization would operate, what cases it would pursue, or how Mr. Guo would pay for the initiative.

Comment: This is going to be interesting. I really wonder if the $100m is real, Bannon certainly doesn’t have that cash and I am skeptical Guo does

I expect it will feed lots of stories that will probably lead to even more sentiment to take a much tougher line on China.

Guo Wengui and Steve Bannon join forces to imply Beijing involvement in Wang Jian’s death | South China Morning Post:

The much-discussed shock death earlier this year of Wang Jian, the former chairman of Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, was not an accident, according to a fugitive Chinese tycoon known for making allegations about corruption in China...

Self-made billionaire Guo Wengui, who fled to the United States in 2014, made the claim at a press conference on Tuesday in New York. He was joined at the event by Steve Bannon, US President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist.

Wang, 57, died on July 3 during a trip to the village of Bonnieux in the Provence region of France. Law enforcement officials there concluded that he fell off a wall and have ruled out foul play.

Guo sought to support his allegation by presenting footage collected from surveillance cameras in the village, which he claimed contradicted the conclusions of the French investigation. However, the film appeared to show nothing out of the ordinary and included only footage of people moving around in and around the hotel in which Wang was staying. Guo offered no other evidence.

Real Vision - The Kyle Bass Interviews Series includes interviews with Steve Bannon and Guo.

The disclaimer for Guo's is classic:

*Disclaimer: In this interview, Mr. Kwok expresses a number of opinions and makes claims that are solely his opinion, are unverified and/or unverifiable and potentially false. Neither Real Vision nor Kyle Bass endorses these claims and as of publication Real Vision has been unable to confirm or falsify them.

That should be applied to anything Guo says...


7. Sell-side research propaganda 

China's Warning to Market Economists: Toe the Party's Line - Bloomberg:

In early November, Liu Shiyu, the head of the securities regulator, met in Beijing with representatives from more than 30 brokerages and fund firms. His message, according to people with knowledge of the matter: Economists should strive for higher-level thinking and take into account the interests of the Party and the country when publishing research, so as not to mislead market participants. Liu stopped short of urging economists to censor their research, the people said.

Then, in an announcement late Friday, the Securities Association of China said senior economists from brokerages and fund companies had signed a “Chief Economist Self-Discipline Proposal” -- essentially a more formalized version of Liu’s admonition. The association didn’t name the companies.

证券基金行业首席经济学家发出自律倡议:

为进一步发挥好首席经济学家的影响力和公信力,维护行业声誉,更好服务资本市场和国家经济建设,近日证券基金行业首席经济学家签署《首席经济学家自律倡议书》。全体首席经济学家表示将遵守《证券法》等规定,恪尽职守,勤勉尽责,认真做好经济金融研究和咨询服务工作,树立廉洁从业良好形象;爱惜在行业形成的良好声誉,客观、专业、审慎发表研究观点,积极传递正能量;加强政策法规和专业理论学习,不断提升研究水平和业务能力,为促进资本市场稳定健康发展积极建言献策,为引导市场预期贡献积极力量。

Will foreign sell-side shops also increase their positive energy "and take into account the interests of the Party and the country"?


8. Dumb marketing by Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana Shanghai Show Canceled by Chinese Government Over “Racist” Campaign | Jing Daily:

On Saturday, November 18, D&G released a now-deleted post on China social media platform Weibo to promote its upcoming November 21 runway show in Shanghai. In that and related videos, a young Asian model in a red sequin D&G dress appears to have trouble eating Italian foods such as pizza, pasta, and cannoli with chopsticks but finally figures it out with tutoring from a male narrator. In a particularly garish error in tone, in the video featuring cannoli, the narrator asks the model “is it too huge for you?”

Following online criticism of the campaign, a racist anti-Chinese dialogue between the designer Stefan Gabbana and an Instagram user named @Michaelatranova appeared online. Gabbana used a feces emoji to describe China and wrote: “we live very well without you.” He also claimed he would never take down the racist campaign in China. The company and the designer have since said the account was hacked.

One of the ads, on Instagram


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

Mixed ownership reform to expand - China Daily China will increase the number of pilot State-owned enterprises involved in mixed ownership reform in key areas and support the development of the non-public sector, a senior State asset regulator said on Tuesday. The government will choose a number of centrally and locally-administered SOEs with a wider range of business categories to enrich the ongoing mixed ownership reform, said Weng Jieming, vice-chairman of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council. "Mixed ownership reform should be a two-way street. The government will not only encourage non-public capital to participate in SOE reform, but also support the development of private business together with SOE resources," he said. // Question: Will the participation by private firms be optional?

A tax cut for the middle class - EIU China's individual income tax (IIT) reform aims to ease the tax burden for China's urban middle class. This in turn will provide a mild boost for consumption, particularly as the economy slows. However, the overall impact on income redistribution will be weak, leaving both lower- and higher-income groups relatively unaffected. In addition, higher allowances for tax exemption will also erode the broader taxpayer base.

China’s Investment Funds for the Rich Shrink for First Time in Four Years The industry’s assets under management dipped by 31.3 billion yuan ($4.51 billion) last month to 12.77 trillion yuan, according to data from the Asset Management Association of China (AMAC), an industry self-regulatory body overseen by the securities watchdog. The number of newly issued funds that trade securities rebounded in October, but stock funds’ assets under management plunged by 109 billion yuan to 2.28 trillion yuan.

China stock exchanges issue revisions to regulations on trading halts | Reuters The exchanges will allow listed companies that are planning on asset restructuring via share issues to suspend trading in their shares for up to 10 trading days, they said in separate statements.

China’s Cosco Puts Long Beach Container Terminal Up for Sale - WSJ $$ China’s Cosco Shipping Holdings Co. is starting the process of selling its large container terminal in Long Beach, Calif., a major gateway for U.S. trade that is expected to bring bids of more than $1 billion from some of the world’s biggest port operators, people involved in the matter said. The sale is part of an agreement with U.S. regulators that gave Cosco the green light to buy Hong Kong-based container-shipping line Orient Overseas International Ltd. for $6.3 billion in July.

China Presses Financial Firms to Swap More Debt for Equity - Caixin China’s central state development planner is pressing reluctant financial institutions to increase participation in market-oriented debt-for-equity swaps as part of the government’s efforts to bring down corporate leverage. The new measures may not go far enough, industry officials said. In a notice issued Monday, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) encouraged insurance companies as well as private equity funds, banks, trusts and securities and fund management firms to step up the pace of market-oriented debt-for-equity swaps.


Politics, Law And Ideology

Retired Deputy Governor of Changchun Under Investigation - Caixin Global Wang Xuezhan, the former deputy governor of the northeastern city of Changchun, is under investigation on suspicion of severe discipline violations, the commission of discipline inspection of Jilin province announced today – even though he left his post in 2014.

Massive Statue Unveiled in Hometown of Reform Hero - Caixin  The news was initially reported only by local TV and newspapers. But the new monument in Hu’s hometown, the central Chinese city of Liuyang, has attracted national attention, as Hu has lately been recognized as one of the most important reformists in the party’s history, after he had to resign in 1987 from his top position as party secretary. Wu Lan, vice party chief of Hunan province; Hu Henghua, party chief of Hunan’s capital city of Changsha; and Hu Yaobang’s family members and former colleagues participated in the unveiling ceremony on Sunday, the province’s official newspaper, Hunan Daily, reported...Commemorations of Hu reached the highest level of government in 2015, when President Xi Jinping touted his efforts during the Cultural Revolution and praised his efforts to push forward the country’s economic reforms.//胡耀邦塑像在湖南落成,纪念这位“让中国回归常识”的人民领袖 - 南周 法政人文读书会 

[视频]习近平结束对巴布亚新几内亚独立国 文莱达鲁萨兰国 菲律宾共和国国事访问 并在巴新同建交太平洋岛国领导人会晤 出席亚太经合组织第二十六次领导人非正式会议回到北京_CCTV节目官网- Xi Jinping has returned to Beijing

Account Unmasks Its Powerful Backing | China Media Project On November 20, the Wechat public account “Chang’an Jian” (长安剑), which translates as “Chang’an Sword,” openly confirmed through a simple act of rebranding what many have long suspected — that it is in fact an official account operated by the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission (中央政法委), the body directly under the Chinese Communist Party taking charge of political and legal affairs. More specifically, the purpose of the commission, and its local and regional affiliates, is to implement Party policy in and among legal institutions — and its operations have been most visible in major initiatives such as crackdowns on organised crime.

List of Officials Who Took Over 100 Million Yuan in Bribes Just Got Longer - Caixin Global Wei Minzhou was found to have abused his office and accepted bribes over his 20-year political career in Shaanxi. He accepted bribes personally and through family members in exchange for assistance in matters including land bidding, project contracting and promotions, the court found.

Senior State Council officials pledge allegiance to Constitution - Xinhua Fifty-nine senior officials of the State Council took an oath of allegiance to the Constitution at a ceremony Tuesday. The ceremony was held in the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in downtown Beijing and overseen by Premier Li Keqiang. The officials were appointed to 40 State Council departments from April to October.


Foreign and Military Affairs

Joint Statement between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of the Philippines - People's Daily Online 24. Both sides exchanged views on issues regarding the South China Sea, and reaffirmed that contentious issues are not the sum total of China-Philippines bilateral relations and should not exclude mutually beneficial cooperation in other fields. Both sides also reaffirm the importance of maintaining and promoting regional peace and stability, freedom of navigation in and over-flight above the South China Sea. Both sides stay committed to addressing disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations and the 1982 UNCLOS.

What Xi did and didn't give Duterte | Asia Times China is angling for closer defense cooperation with the Philippines, seen in the multiple visits made by Chinese warships and military aircraft to Duterte’s hometown of Davao over the past year. The newly announced strategic partnership could allow Beijing to consolidate a strategic presence in the country...Xi’s visit, however, failed to produce any major breakthroughs on areas of concern, including simmering territorial disputes in the South China Sea and China’s still unrealized vow to provide as much as US$24 billion for infrastructure and other development projects across the Philippines.

PH-China deal on oil, gas dev't creates body to study joint exploration - Rappler The memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Philippines and China on oil and gas development in the West Philippine Sea creates a body that will study how the two countries can pursue joint exploration and development. A government source privy to the MOU told Rappler that the MOU does not mean the immediate conduct of joint exploration or joint development of marine resources. But it does pave the way for the crafting of a program on how such joint ventures can happen in the future.

For South China Sea observers, claim of 'useless' Hague ruling is baseless | Philstar.com As Chinese President Xi Jinping was conducting his state visit to Manila, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo dismissed the Philippines' victory over China in a 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling as "useless," but experts disagree.

China Quietly Upgrades a Remote Reef | Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative Recent satellite imagery of Bombay Reef in the Paracel Islands shows that China has installed a new platform at the largely untouched South China Sea feature, which is also claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam. The modest new structure appears to be anchored on the north edge of the reef and is topped by a radome and solar panels. The development is interesting given Bombay Reef’s strategic location, and the possibility that the structure’s rapid deployment could be repeated in other parts of the South China Sea.

The Communist Party’s Crackdown on Religion in China | Congressional-Executive Commission on China The hearing will look at conditions faced by religious believers in China, explore State Department religious freedom efforts, and seek recommendations for Congressional action. - 11.28 in DC

China Has More Nuclear Subs Than the West Believed - Defense One Western observers have likely underestimated the number of Chinese nuclear submarines in development, but overestimated how many are operational, a new analysis suggests. In particular, only half of China’s nuclear-armed SSBNs appear to be in operation.

Case dropped against Chinese journalist who allegedly slapped Tory delegate | Politics | The Guardian Kong Linlin had been due to appear before Birmingham magistrates on Wednesday to answer the charge. But the case was discontinued on the advice of the Crown Prosecution Service. A CPS spokeswoman said: “This case was originally charged by the police. The CPS subsequently reviewed the available evidence and determined it was insufficient to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and therefore discontinued the case.”

Foreign military attaches invited to discuss peacekeeping - Xinhua Foreign military attaches from nearly 60 countries have been invited to visit the Ministry of National Defense's peacekeeping center, a military source said Wednesday. The foreign military attaches, stationed in China, were invited by the office for international military cooperation of the Central Military Commission (CMC). They also shared the experience and discussed UN peacekeeping operations with the Chinese side, according to the military source.

Axios Future - November 20, 2018 - U.S. military chief admonishes Big Tech Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, is unhappy with the readiness of Big Tech to produce products for China while many company employees insist on not working with the U.S. military. Dunford, speaking in Halifax on Saturday, said that the American military needs the help of Big Tech companies to master artificial intelligence, which he said will lead to a battlefield advantage... "I have a hard time with companies that are working very hard to engage in the market inside China ... then don't want to work with the U.S. military," he said. "I just have a simple expression: 'We are the good guys.'"


Tech And Media

Illegal student labour fuels JD.com ‘Singles Day’ sale | Financial Times $$ “We worked overtime for Singles Day,” said Zhang Yingjin, a student from the Rizhao City Science and Technology School in the eastern province of Shandong, who said he was paid Rmb14 ($2) per hour at a JD logistics park in Kunshan.  The minimum hourly wage in the city is Rmb18.5, and vocational school interns should be paid at least 80 per cent of a “regular worker’s” salary, according to the education ministry.

Chinese Government Increases Hikvision Ownership - IPVM However, continued and increasing Chinese government ownership has risks. Global scrutiny of Hikvision over possible espionage and human rights is increasing, particularly due to its Chinese state backing. Global media and governments have focused on Hikvision's government ownership as a potential national security issue. This contributed to the US government banning federal purchases of Hikvision equipment and the Australian military's promise to remove all Hikvision cameras on its bases. Meanwhile, Dahua has no qualms about promoting the fact that it is not China government-owned, in an attempt to shake off concerns over its products.

Chinese AI teams win big in global facial recognition competition - Xinhua Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms developed by Chinese researchers have swept the top five places in a global competition in facial recognition technology, said the organizer. Two algorithms developed by YITU Technology have taken the top two places in the Face Recognition Vendor Test (FRVT), held by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) under the U.S. Department of Commerce. It is the third consecutive time that the Shanghai-based AI start-up has won the top prize.

Feng Xiaogang Announces New Film, Denies Tax Fraud Rumors – Variety Chinese director Feng Xiaogang is busy bolstering his patriotic credentials, revealing that his next film will be about Communist Party history even as he aggressively seeks to douse rumors that authorities plan to fine him 2 billion yuan ($288 million) for tax evasion. His next venture will be a movie about the 70th anniversary of the founding Of the People’s Republic of China, Feng wrote late Tuesday night on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform. Construction for the new set has begun in Movie Town Haikou, a production site and tourist theme park on the tropical island of Hainan, jointly owned by Feng and his producer, Huayi Brothers Media Corporation. - 冯小刚筹拍建国七十周年影片 搭建一座老北京城_手机新浪网 


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

China Football Association to set caps on player salaries - ECNS Caps on capital injection, player salaries, bonuses and transfers will be set to curb blind investment in professional clubs, as well as contract fraud and tax evasion...The maximum salary of a foreign player for Chinese Super League and Chinese League will not exceed 45 million yuan ($6.5 million), while a domestic player will not exceed 20 million yuan ($2.9 million).

Jiang Jinfu: Chinese star admits assaulting Japanese girlfriend, sparking heated debate - CNN iang Jinfu, a pin-up model turned leading man in movies and TV dramas, on Tuesday admitted to committing domestic violence, and apologized to his Japanese girlfriend Haruka Nakaura and her family for hurting them with his "impulsive behavior." "Whatever the reason, I should never have raised my hand," the 27-year-old actor wrote to his more than 17 million followers on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. "I'm ashamed of my action and won't defend it in any way. I stand to bear the consequences for my behavior and accept the punishment." The confession and repentance from Jiang, who was studying in Japan before the story broke, came after Nakaura posted pictures of her badly bruised face and body on Instagram, which quickly went viral in China after being reposted on numerous Chinese social media platforms


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Officials toss chemicals in river to mask pollution, waste $6.8 million - Global Times Officials in Weifang city, East China's Shandong Province, have been caught throwing millions of dollars worth of chemicals into a river ahead of a government inspection to mask a pollution problem. Weifang city and its Binhai Economic and Technologic Development Zone mainly relied on throwing chemicals into the Weitan River in order to tackle the pollution, which basically did not show any effect, the central environmental inspection group found over the weekend, according to a statement sent to the Global Times by the Ministry of Ecology and Environmental (MEE) on Monday.

Chemical Plants Had Swallowed Up Villages Affected by Chemical Spill - Caixin Global To locals who farm and catch fish for a living, the Nov. 4 leak that dumped nearly 7 metric tons of petrochemicals into a harbor in Quanzhou, Fujian province, was inevitable. The villages of Quangang district, where the spill happened, have depended on the sea for generations. But they have faced increasing encroachment by the area’s growing petrochemical industry in recent decades. Fujian United Petrochemical Co. Ltd. opened up Quangang’s first plant in 1989. Since then, millions of tons of refinery capacity have been installed in the area, along with transportation terminals and dozens of storage tanks.


Agriculture And Rural Issues

Across china: Mobile loans bring easier financial access to Chinese farmers - Xinhua "I have successfully applied for a loan totaling 80,000 yuan on my phone, in only 10 minutes," said Bai Haijun, a farmer in Linhe District near downtown Bayannur in Inner Mongolia..."The whole process include several major steps including registration, online credit assessment and signing of a contract. Meanwhile, the information of bank account and ID cards, as well as facial recognition are also needed to complete the apply," said Xi Wenjun, president of the Longsheng Branch with Hetao Rural Commercial Bank.