Where are China's ag buys?; President Tsai’s US stopovers; US tech coupling with PRC surveillance; PRC-Ireland

The US-China trade talks are clearly still in trouble:

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. US-China

Trump team fears new face on China trade team signals tougher stance - The Washington Post

The Trump administration is increasingly concerned about prospects for a trade deal with China, amid an unexpected reshuffling of the Chinese negotiating team and a lack of progress on core issues since the Group of 20 summit in Japan, according to U.S. officials and senior Republicans briefed on the discussions...

Trump told his trade team before the Tuesday call to secure the new Chinese orders for soybeans and wheat he believed he had been promised in Osaka, Japan. But Zhong and Liu offered no specific commitments, leaving negotiations at a virtual standstill, according to a White House official..

Chinese officials may be delaying any trade concessions until they see how Trump’s G-20 change on Huawei’s purchases from U.S. companies is implemented and how the administration reacts to continuing protests in Hong Kong, according to one Trump supporter who has been briefed by administration officials

China and U.S. Differ Over Agricultural Purchases Trump Boasted About - The New York Times

People familiar with the negotiations say China has denied making any explicit commitment to buy American farm products during those discussions and instead saw large-scale purchases as contingent on progress toward a final trade deal that is still nowhere in sight.

That is raising questions among trade experts about whether the United States gave up more than it got during Mr. Trump’s recent efforts to de-escalate the trade war.

Beijing plays down Commerce Minister Zhong Shan’s inclusion in latest US-China trade war talks | South China Morning Post

While Zhong had previously accompanied Xi at meetings with Trump in both Buenos Aires and Osaka, this was the first time that he had joined in direct conversations with US trade negotiators, a move that put him front and centre in the talks.

At a press conference in Beijing, asked why Zhong was on board, Gao Feng, the ministry’s spokesman, said it was “quite normal” as “the [Commerce] Ministry is in charge of trade negotiations”. Gao did not explain why Zhong had not directly taken part in the previous 11 rounds of meetings between US and Chinese trade negotiators.

CCTV - 商务部:中美双方将在平等和相互尊重的基础上重启经贸磋商

Ministry of Commerce said China and US have resumed the trade talks, but again said the talks must be done in an equal manner with mutual respect. It also said the US must find a way to “take care of China’s core concerns”.

商务部今天举行例行新闻发布会,新闻发言人高峰在回答中美经贸磋商相关问题时表示,双方经贸团队将按照两国元首大阪会晤共识的要求,在平等和相互尊重的基础上,重启经贸磋商。中方对于磋商的立场是一贯的、明确的,中方的核心关切必须得到妥善解决。相信双方可以通过平等对话照顾彼此合理关切,一定能够找到解决问题的办法,这符合两国和两国人民的利益,也符合世界和世界人民的利益。

White House says it will exempt 110 Chinese products from 25% tariffs - ECNS

Trump administration announced it will exempt 110 Chinese products, including medical equipments for cancer, from 25% tariffs which were added on July 6, 2018. The exemption will be valid for a year from July 9.

Risks aside, Trump's team sees China trade stance as strength in 2020 - Reuters

“If people believe that things are moving in the right direction and there continues to be purchases of different agricultural goods - soybeans and other things in those key states ... then the president will be able to rightfully say things are progressing,” said Sean Spicer, Trump’s former spokesman and a former trade official himself.

“It’s just a question of whether it’s moving in the right direction.”

Mnuchin Urges U.S. Firms to Seek Huawei Exemptions - WSJ $$

Treasury Department spokeswoman Monica Crowley disputed assertions that Mr. Mnuchin was advocating action on the part of Huawei suppliers.

“Secretary Mnuchin speaks with CEOs in the private sector on a regular basis,” Ms. Crowley said. “At no point has the Secretary ‘urged’ any company to take any action with regard to Huawei.”

The actions are noteworthy as the Treasury Department isn’t directly involved in determining the parameters of the blacklist, a national-security process run by the Commerce Department.

Scholars call on U.S., China to strengthen cooperation - Xinhua

"This is not a time for confrontation," Stephen Roach, a senior fellow at Yale University's Jackson Institute of Global Affairs, told Xinhua on the sidelines of an international forum themed "U.S.-China Trade and Economic Relations: What Now, What Next" held in Hong Kong.

"This is a time to move away from the confrontation that is practiced by our president in the so-called 'art of the deal' where one nation pushes hard and intimidates the other," Roach said...

Edwin Feulner, founder of U.S. think tank The Heritage Foundation, who also attended the forum, told the media that he was fundamentally optimistic about the two countries working together.

"If we can get rid of some of these nagging, continuing problems, we will be able to help not only people of the two countries, but everybody in the whole world," he said.

Better understanding can lower China-US mistrust - Global Times

Over 100 American experts on Asia, including former government officials and scholars, signed an open letter - "Making China a US enemy is counterproductive" - to oppose the China approach of the administration of President Donald Trump. Michael Swaine (Swaine), a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, one of the writers of the letter, talked to Global Times (GT) reporters Bai Yunyi and Yu Jincui on the motivation behind and significance of the letter, as well as current problems between China and the US, on the sidelines of the Eighth World Peace Forum held in Beijing from Monday to Tuesday.

China will not discriminate against foreign firms: commerce ministry - Xinhua

China will not oppress foreign companies or discriminate against them, and will resolutely protect their legitimate rights and interests, the Ministry of Commerce said Thursday.

Responding to concerns over China's investment environment, Gao Feng, a spokesperson for the ministry, said that he has noticed reports that business confidence in some foreign firms in the country had been affected by the trade friction provoked by the U.S. side, with some worrying about retaliatory measures.

Comment: Of course the key question is who defines what are the firms' " legitimate rights and interests"


2. Hong Kong

China's top official in Hong Kong says Beijing backs city's leader - Reuters

the central government firmly supports Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the Special Administrative Region government continue to govern effectively and actively make a difference in accordance with the law, firmly supports Hong Kong Police to do their duties in accordance with the law.”

Video of assault on Hong Kong activist spurs outrage - Inkstone

Makeshift displays of sticky notes, known as Lennon Walls, have sprung up across the city to support protests against a government plan that critics said could erode the city’s autonomy from mainland China.

In the widely circulated video, a young man guarding one such wall in the city’s Kowloon Bay neighborhood was seen being punched by an older man who complained about the notes and accused the younger man of taking part in a “revolution.”

The activist, later identified as surnamed Mak, 36, did not fight back as the older man repeatedly landed blows to his face. Mak at one point tumbled to the ground.

HK Protests Show Expanding Focus, Sustained Momentum – China Digital Times (CDT)

Long and excellent recap

Hong Kong youth need guidance - Global Times

Foreign forces are deeply involved and even dominate the media and education in Hong Kong, and they select negative information and news about the mainland to mislead the Hong Kong public and students. Objective and positive reports and education about the mainland were excluded by these pro-West forces, said Victor Chan Chi-ho, 33, vice chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Young Commentators.

Plan to let Hong Kong people join Chinese army shelved in wake of extradition bill crisis | South China Morning Post

“Given the current political situation, discussions like enrolling Hong Kong people into the army and the civil service system are going to be very difficult to carry on at the moment,” an official who is close to Beijing policymakers responsible for Hong Kong’s affairs told the South China Morning Post.


3. President Tsai’s US stopovers

Taiwan president leaves for U.S., warns of threat from 'overseas forces' - Reuters

She is spending four nights in the United States in total, two on the way there and two on the way back on a visit to four Caribbean allies. Tsai will go to New York on her way there, and then is expected to stop in Denver on the way back.

Tsai was last in the United States in March, but her stops this time will be unusually long, as normally she spends just a night at a time in transit...

analysts said the extended stopovers served to emphasize the Trump administration’s support for Tsai

Comment: Risky for Taiwan to believe that President Trump cares about the island. Certainly many of his advisors do, as do many on Capitol Hill. PRC officials will not likely to get any more upset than normal so long as she stays out of DC and the Trump Administration does not send any senior officials to meet with her.


4. South China Sea

The Philippines sided with China after a boat was rammed. Critics say it’s all about money.  - The Washington Post

“Cowardly,” the Philippines’ defense secretary said.

Military commanders followed suit, telling reporters it was time for President Rodrigo Duterte to get tough with China after years of increasingly cozy ties.

Instead, the Philippine leader sided with Beijing...

A senior Philippine Navy official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said he had logged the activities of China’s maritime militia every day for more than a year, but felt the reports he filed went nowhere.

A former senior official at the Armed Forces West Command, the unit monitoring the South China Sea, said his Facebook feed is filled with laments from his contemporaries.

THE SINKING OF GEM-VER: Rappler

On June 9, 2019 Philippine fishing boat Gem-Ver was anchored near Recto Bank, ready for deep-sea fishing in the West Philippine Sea. They planned to remain there for 12 days. On the 9th day, a Chinese vessel rammed, sank, and abandoned Gem-Ver and its fishermen in the open seas in the dead of night. The Philippine government has since downplayed the incident, even casting doubt on the account of the Filipino fishermen. 

Rappler spoke to all 22 fishermen of Gem-Ver who agreed to put their testimonies on the record. This is their story.

China Is Winning the Silent War to Dominate the South China Sea - Bloomberg

“You can call it a silent war,” said Le Hong Hiep, a fellow at Singapore’s ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute. The Chinese “are contesting waters. There is violence. It happens all the time.”

While China appears to be the biggest offender due to its size and resources, it’s not alone in seeking to protect fishing grounds as stocks get depleted and rules remain lax. Other claimants such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam have taken action against fishing crews from China and other nations, sometimes even making a show of destroying vessels that were impounded.

Heads of U.S. And Chinese Navies Discuss Decreasing South China Sea Risks - USNI News

As officials in Washington and Beijing charged each other with ratcheting-up the militarization of the South China Sea recently, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson discussed ways to decrease risk in the region during a video teleconference with his counterpart from China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy, Vice Adm. Shen Jinlong. The call focused on the importance of maintaining regular dialogue between the two sides as a means of reducing the chance either side will make a miscalculation that could quickly escalate a potential conflict, according to the Navy...

Tuesday’s video teleconference was the fourth such call between Richardson and Shen. The two have also met twice in person, most recently during Richardson’s January visit to China.


5. Social security funds

China's social security funds to be replenished with state capital - Xinhua

China will replenish social security funds through the injection of state capital this year to make the funds more sustainable. Policies to reduce employers' contributions to social insurance schemes will be further implemented to ensure that pensions are paid on time and in full...

Large and medium-sized state-owned and state-controlled enterprises at both central and provincial levels, as well as financial institutions, will see 10 percent of their state-owned equity transferred to the National Council for Social Security Fund and relevant local receiving entities who shall, as financial investors, enjoy the right to yields from the transferred equity.

China to Step Up State Asset Transfers to Pension Funds - Caixin Global

The move is a further implementation of a 2017 trial plan that was limited to a small number of central government-owned businesses in selected provinces.

According to the timetable set in 2017, the transfer should be completed in batches and as soon as possible after 2018. But the progress so far has been too slow, said former Finance Minister Lou Jiwei, former Deputy Commissioner of China’s State Taxation Administration Xu Shanda and Zhang Junkuo, vice president of the Development Research Center of the State Council.

State Council meeting stresses implementation of social insurance contribution cut - Xinhua

Authorities should conduct on-site investigations in companies to find out problems during the implementation process, according to a statement issued after the meeting.

In the first half of this year, employers have seen more than 128 billion yuan (18.59 billion U.S. dollars) less paid in basic aged-care insurance contributions, unemployment insurance and work injury compensation insurance premiums, according to the meeting.

While making sure of the cut in corporate burden, authorities should also ensure that the basic pension be paid on time and in full.


6. PRC global business footprint shrinking?

China’s global business footprint shrinks - AEI - Derek Scissors

Key Points:

China’s investment and construction around the world plunged in the first half of 2019 and is unlikely to return to 2016–17 levels in the foreseeable future. The principal cause is fewer large transactions by state-owned enterprises. These firms rely on foreign currency provided by Beijing for global activities, and hard currency may be rationed indefinitely;

There are brighter spots. The raw number of investments held up better than transaction size. The private share of China’s global investment climbed, and the greenfield share rose sharply. Investment in the Belt and Road Initiative outperformed that in traditionally favored rich economies such as Australia;

Chinese investment in the US has been minor in size for two years. Policymakers should shift focus from screening to unwanted activity by Chinese firms, including intellectual property theft and other criminal acts. Enforcement targeting specific firms is superior to tariffs but should go beyond largely empty steps taken to date.


7. US tech coupling with PRC surveillance

How U.S. Tech Giants Are Helping to Build China’s Surveillance State - The Intercept

The OpenPower Foundation — a nonprofit led by Google and IBM executives with the aim of trying to “drive innovation” — has set up a collaboration between IBM, Chinese company Semptian, and U.S. chip manufacturer Xilinx. Together, they have worked to advance a breed of microprocessors that enable computers to analyze vast amounts of data more efficiently.

Shenzhen-based Semptian is using the devices to enhance the capabilities of internet surveillance and censorship technology it provides to human rights-abusing security agencies in China, according to sources and documents. A company employee said that its technology is being used to covertly monitor the internet activity of 200 million people...

Semptian employee sent documents showing that the company — under the guise of iNext — has developed a mass surveillance system named Aegis, which it says can “store and analyze unlimited data.”…

Aegis can provide “a full view to the virtual world,” the company claims in the documents, allowing government spies to see “the connections of everyone,” including “location information for everyone in the country.”...

By 2013, Semptian had begun promoting its products across the world. The company’s representatives traveled to Europe, where they appeared at a security trade fair that was held in a conference hall in the northeast of Paris. At that event, documents show, Semptian offered international government officials in attendance the chance to copy the Chinese internet model by purchasing a “National Firewall,” which the company said could “block undesirable information from [the] internet.”

Just two years later, Semptian’s membership in the OpenPower Foundation was approved, and the company began using American technology to make its surveillance and censorship systems more powerful.

Read the whole infuriating piece here.


8. PRC-Ireland “Emerald Age” coming?

China's NPC delegation visits Ireland - Xinhua

A delegation headed by Zhang Chunxian, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, on Wednesday wrapped up a visit to Ireland, which aims to further promote the bilateral relations between the two countries....

The Irish side told the Chinese delegation that the current relationship between Ireland and China is growing strongly. They also said that Ireland firmly supports multilateralism, views China's development as a significant opportunity for Ireland, and is willing to actively participate in the international cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative and serve as a gateway for Chinese businesses to enter the European Union.

Comment: Head of the United Front Work Department You Quan visited in June. From the PRC embassy readout of You's visit:  

Mr. Coveney and Mr. Ó Fearghaíl both expressed their esteem for China’s great development in various fields under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and emphasized that Ireland cherishes its traditional friendship with China. Ireland supports the Belt and Road construction and is ready to join hands with China to deepen the cooperation in fields of economic and trade, investments, education, tourism and so on. Ireland is committed to work together with China to uphold multilateralism and free trade. As a partner of China and member of EU, Ireland could be a gateway for the cooperation and exchanges between EU and China. The Irish political parties are also ready to strengthen exchanges and mutual understanding with the Communist Party of China.

Question: Does Brexit mean more PRC love and attention for Ireland? Are we on the cusp of a PRC-Ireland "Emerald Age"?

Ireland-China business booms as 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations marked

While relations can be complex, business between the two nations was booming and bilateral trade hit €17 billion in goods and services last year, according to Eoin O’Leary, Ireland’s ambassador to China.

“That figure has more than doubled over the past five years,” he told The Irish Times, “and we are one of the few countries to enjoy a trade surplus with China.”


Business, Economy and Trade

China completes exchange of NCDs issued by Baoshang Bank - Xinhua A total of 249 holders of NCDs issued by the Baoshang Bank have exchanged the short-term debt instrument with combined face value of 43.59 billion yuan (6.33 billion U.S. dollars), the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said. The principal and interest on the new NCDs are guaranteed by the PBOC, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission and the central bank-backed deposit insurance fund management company, the PBOC said, adding that the new NCDs had started trading Wednesday.

规则明确 融资平台存量隐性债务处置或提速_经济频道_财新网 Caixin says the central government has issued a new guideline on how to handle local government debts, and those financial companies, through which local governments borrow heavily, will be able to borrow new credit to roll over the old debts, if certain conditions are met.

China to introduce more measures to stabilize foreign trade - Xinhua To stabilize foreign trade, the key is to further expand opening up and focus on enhancing the endogenous power of enterprises through market-oriented reforms and by economic means, according to a statement released after a State Council executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. China will improve its fiscal and tax policies as the meeting studied how to further lower the country's overall import tariff level, refine export tax rebate policies and speed up the tax rebate process, the statement said.

The Overseas Expansion and Evolution of Chinese State-Owned Enterprises - Wendy Leutert Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) involved in infrastructure projects abroad are quietly evolving from contractors to become operators, investors, and owners. Since Xi Jinping launched the ambitious but still ambiguous Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2013, more than 80 of the 97 companies owned by China’s central government have undertaken 3,100-plus projects worldwide.

Yicai Global - S&P Is First Foreign-Owned Firm to Rate Chinese Bonds in China S&P Global China Ratings has given a triple-A rating to bonds issued by ICBC Leasing with a stable outlook, marking the first time a foreign-owned agency based in China has officially rated local bonds, the Beijing-based subsidiary of Standard & Poor's Financial Services said today.

China Still Biggest Industrial Robot Buyer Even as Purchases Dip - Caixin The country bought 135,000 robots used across industries such as electronics and automobiles, down 3.8% from 2017, according to a report released by the China Robot Industry Alliance (CRIA) on Tuesday.

Four Things to Know About the Fund Bailing Out Anbang Insurance - Caixin Since becoming Anbang’s biggest shareholder in April 2018, CISFC has been the vehicle for regulators to restructure the troubled insurer and sell off its assets. A new company, Dajia Insurance Group, was set up in June with registered capital of 20.4 billion yuan ($3 billion) to deal with the assets and operations of Anbang. CISFC holds 98.2% of the shares of Dajia.

One of China’s most successful investors is quietly leaving - Inkstone Large South Korean firms have historically been among the most successful investors in China. But, they’ve been gradually withdrawing from the country, in order to avoid tariffs on exports of their China-made products to the US and to head off a repeat of a major political crisis.

China’s War Horse Hunkers Down for Epic Trade Battles in Geneva - Bloomberg Most people would view reading the 34,000-word General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the legal backbone of the World Trade Organization, as a tedious chore. Zhang Xiangchen proudly claims to have memorized it.

Politics and Law

Former China defence minister Chang Wanquan ‘given military demotion over link to corruption case’ | South China Morning Post General Chang Wanquan, 70, who was also a member of the CMC from 2007 until his retirement in March 2018, was demoted two grades to a deputy regional commander-level officer because of his close relationship with former commission vice-chairmen Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, one source close to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) told the South China Morning Post...Another military source said Chang’s demotion and suspected involvement in corruption had dragged Lieutenant General Qian Weiping, a deputy head of the CMC’s equipment development department, into trouble.

反腐七年首现“豪华私家园林” 北京原副市长陈刚被“双开”_政经频道_财新网 Chen Gang, former deputy mayor of Beijing who once helped Guo Wengui in real estate deals, is expelled from party for corruption. Chen was in charge of the urban planning of Beijing, and he was responsible for planning the CBD, the Olympics park and etc. Caixin notes that including Chen four people who were on the Beijing Municipal Party COmmittee at the same time have gone down for corruption - Lv Xiwen, Lu Wei and Li Shixiang

中国中信集团有限公司原党委委员、执行董事赵景文严重违纪违法被开除党籍-新华网 Zhao Jingwen, former CITIC executive director, is put under investigation for corruption.

紧扣外交中心工作 统筹推进确保实效——外交部、中联部扎实开展“不忘初心、牢记使命”主题教育-新华网 Foreign Ministry and CCP’s international liaison department said they are serious about the “staying-true to the CCP founding mission” study campaign, and Chinese embassies overseas are also asked to properly conduct the study campaign.

Senior legislators study Xi's speech on Party building in central Party, state institutions - Xinhua The leading Party members group of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee held a meeting Wednesday to study a recent speech made by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on Party building in central Party and state institutions, as well as to make arrangements for strengthening Party building in the NPC.

把带头做到“两个维护”作为首要任务 People’s Daily front page reiterated that the primary goal of the recent party building campaign is to make sure officials adhere to the "two upholds"-- stay loyal to Xi and the CCP central committee.

China issues new guideline to quicken building of public legal service system - Xinhua 

‘What I’m Always Doing Is Escaping, Escaping, Escaping’ | ChinaFile A Conversation with Liu Xia and Ai Weiwei

Chinese Grassroots Rights Activist Dies of Cancer in a Fujian Hospital - RFA Award-winning Chinese human rights activist Ji Sizun has died of cancer, weeks after the end of his prison term. He was 71...His family members were denied permission to visit or speak with him until he was unconscious, and Ji's body was sent directly for cremation after his death by the authorities.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Newly Unsealed Federal Indictment Charges Software Engineer with Taking Stolen Trade Secrets to China | OPA | Department of Justice A software engineer at a suburban Chicago locomotive manufacturer stole proprietary information from the company and took it to China, according to an indictment unsealed this week in federal court in Chicago. Xudong Yao, also known as “William Yao,” 57, is charged with nine counts of theft of trade secrets. Yao is currently at large and believed to be residing in China.

A Spy Case Exposes China’s Power Play in Central Asia - WSJ $$ The arrest of Konstantin Syroyezhkin—a former Soviet KGB agent accused of passing classified documents to Chinese agents, according to people with knowledge of the investigation—comes as Kazakhstan’s leaders struggle to balance a hunger for Chinese investment with fears of encroachment by their giant eastern neighbor. “By making this story public, the Kazakhs are sending China a message—not to get too bold in Kazakhstan or go too far,” said Vasily Kashin, a China expert at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics.

Is Vanuatu’s deportation of six Chinese nationals an erosion of its democratic rights at Beijing’s bidding? | South China Morning Post The five men and one woman, reportedly accused by Chinese authorities of running an internet scam, were charged with no crime in Vanuatu, a collection of about 80 islands scattered across more than 1,000km of the South Pacific. Their deportation has earned criticism from Vanuatu’s legal experts and human rights activists, who say it is an erosion of democratic rights done at China’s bidding.

Slovakia's new president takes aim at China's rights record - Reuters Slovakia’s new president, a former activist lawyer, used a meeting with China’s top diplomat on Wednesday to criticize Beijing’s human rights record, in a rare departure for an east European politician in a region hungry for Chinese investment.

China Stirs Suspicion With Unusual Maritime-Threat Alert - WSJ $$ The security-status change raised concerns that China might send military escorts into strait. A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said such suspicions were “nothing but rumors fabricated out of thin air.”

China holds military-civilian cross-sea transport drills in Yellow Sea - Global Times China recently conducted a joint military-civilian cross-sea transport drill in the Yellow Sea, as naval and civilian ships carried troops and armored vehicles across the sea, leading Chinese military experts to say on Thursday that China will be ready for a potential landing mission, be it on the island of Taiwan or islands in the South China Sea.

DPRK state media praises relations with China on anniversary of friendship treaty - Xinhua The Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance Between China and the DPRK, signed in 1961, "has made a great contribution to developing the DPRK-China friendly and cooperative relations, advancing the socialist cause of the two countries and defending peace and security in Asia and the rest of the world century after century," Rodong Sinmun said in a report.

China refutes joint letter criticizing Xinjiang policies - Xinhua "It has slandered and smeared China with unwarranted accusations, flagrantly politicized human rights issues and grossly interfered in China's internal affairs," Geng said.

建设海洋强国,习近平从这些方面提出要求--独家稿件-人民网 Thursday is China’s “National Maritime Day”. People’s Daily reviewed all the quotes from Xi urging to build China into a “maritime major power”.

我国首艘自主建造的极地科学考察破冰船“雪龙2”号交付-新华网 Xuelong 2, China’s first domestically built icebreaker, is formally delivered to China’s Polar Research Institute. Xuelong 2 will join Xuelong 1 on China's 36th Antarctic expedition in the second half of 2019.

中国外交部新闻司司长料近日交棒 | 早报 Zaobao reported Hua Chunying will soon replace Lu Kang as new head of the foreign ministry information department. Lu will be the new director of the ministry’s department of North American and Oceanian Affairs.

China’s new aircraft carrier set to miss 70th anniversary parade as sea trials continue | South China Morning Post China’s first home-grown aircraft carrier will not be ready in time to take part in the naval parade planned as part of the celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, military sources said.

Government seeks designer for new Beijing Embassy residence | News | Building Design Despite calling for a design that showcased Britain and its values, the FCO said the winning proposals should be “easily maintainable in Beijing” and should respect “Chinese sensitivities”, such as feng shui.

The Right Way to Deal With Huawei - Foreign Affairs The United States is rightly worried about China’s technological ambitions. But in order to successfully counter them, Washington must recognize that by adopting Huawei telecommunications technology, policymakers in Africa, Europe, and Latin America are making a reasonable calculation. For many countries, the benefits of fast, cheap 5G outweigh the security risk that Huawei poses.

China to Hunt: Don't use us in your leadership bid - Reuters I’ve noticed the competition for the leadership of the Conservative Party at the moment in Britain,” the spokesman, Geng Shuang, told a daily news briefing in Beijing....This an internal affair for Britain. But I hope that certain people in Britain, including Mr Hunt, during the election don’t speak unduly about China, hoping to use this to get votes for their election, or in service of it.”

Chinese maker of drones wins US clearance for new high-security models | South China Morning Post DJI, based in Shenzhen, said that its high-security drones, intended for government use and known as Government Edition, had received clearance from the US Department of the Interior, which is responsible for evaluating and approving drone technology for use across a wide range of applications.

China helps Mongolia build first expressway under Chinese standards - Global Times  The construction project between China and Mongolia is part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The visiting Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and Mongolian Prime Minister Ukhnaa Khurelsukh attended the opening ceremony of the expressway on Wednesday.

Poland Frees Ex-Official Accused of Spying for China - WSJ $$ Piotr Durbajlo, former deputy director of Poland’s Internal Security Agency, was set free on Tuesday on a bail of 120,000 Polish zloty ($31,480) following a ruling on July 5, the prosecution said in an email. The end of Mr. Durbajlo’s pretrial detention came within hours of a visit by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who arrived in Warsaw to talk about Chinese-American relations and closer cooperation with Poland on technology, according to a press release.

Chinese state broadcaster hires former Ofcom director | Financial Times $$ The Chinese broadcaster responded to the investigation by hiring Nick Pollard, a former Ofcom board member, one month after Mr Humphrey formally made his complaint.  Mr Pollard, who previously ran Sky News for a decade, sat on the regulator’s board for more than two years and chaired its content committee, which advises on complaints against broadcasters such as those filed against CGTN...The Chinese broadcaster has been called a propaganda arm by some critics

Tech and Media

Chinese EV startup Seres Lays Off 90 People in Silicon Valley - PingWest startup formerly known as SF Motors

Meituan Dianping Reports Biggest Loss Among Fortune China Top 500 - Caixin Global Services and food delivery platform Meituan Dianping, a newcomer to the Top 500 list, lost more than all 29 other money-losing companies put together, Fortune China said. Meituan reported a net loss of 115.5 billion yuan since the publication of last year’s list, which only included 10 money-losing companies.

Vipshop Announces Strategic Acquisition of Shan Shan Outlets | Vipshop Holdings Ltd 

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

侠客岛:因为是外国留学生,妨碍公务就可以“批评教育”了事? Foreigner in Fuzhou pushes a traffic cop, gets off with punishment criticism and education, netizens and now Peoples Daily Xiake Dao ask why such a lenient punishment?

Portrait of the Qianlong Emperor in Court Robes, A Commanding Vision of Qing Dynasty Power | The Most Famous Artworks in the World | Sotheby’s

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

China's top legislator hears advice on drafting biosecurity law - Xinhua Chinese top legislator Li Zhanshu has called for a new law to define the boundaries of biotechnological development in the country.

China to continue efforts to tackle climate change: Premier Li - Xinhua 

Guangdong aims high for nature reserves - Greater Bay Insight As we reported yesterday, four of the province’s cities are now in the top 10 for air quality nationwide. Shenzhen, once the capital of smog, today ranks behind only Lhasa and Hainan for clean air. As the saying goes, we ain’t seen nothing yet. There is not a challenge that the provincial government cannot throw a multi-year plan at, and the latest is the construction of forests.

Education

College ‘buddy system’ sparks suspicion of 'foreigner privilege' - Global Times Controversy over international students' "privilege" in China has returned to the spotlight on Chinese social media after a university in East China's Shandong Province was reported to have "allocated" three study buddies for each international student.

Rural and Agricultural Issues

China taps mobile game to aid poverty relief - China Daily