Xi in Fujian; Xinjiang cotton mess; Yuan Peng on PRC-EU relations
The PRC may have done more in the last four days to damage PRC-EU relations in very deep ways than anything the Biden administration could have done. The destruction of H&M’s China business over Xinjiang cotton likely also kills any chance the EU ratifies the CAI.
The targets of the mass tantrum campaign over whether companies use Xinjiang cotton have expanded beyond H&M to Nike, Adidas, Burberry and likely more firms. This whole thing was manufactured by the Communist Youth League digging up a 2020 statement from H&M and posting about in Weibo just after the EU issued sanctions. The propaganda system, the Foreign Ministry, and the Ministry of Commerce have all joined in, along with the masses online. Tens of stars have publicly renounced their contracts with the targeted firms. So far the protests have stayed virtual, but I would not be surprised to see people burning their H&M and other offending apparel. Those Douyins will be lit.
As this is the 100th anniversary year of the CCP we should expect more of these kinds of campaigns against any foreign provocations.
I do not know what the foreign apparel companies with business in China can do. They can not have different messaging and standards for China and the rest of the world, but if they choose the wrong side on Xinjiang and other sensitive issues to the PRC then their business can be destroyed overnight. As China’s relationship with most developed economy countries deteriorates, companies from those countries with significant consumer businesses in the PRC are increasingly in an impossible situation, one that better PR will not be able to spin away.
This mess is a reminder of how hard it will be for any foreign company that normally sponsors the Winter Olympics to skip advertising at the 2022 Beijing Games. Any company that fits that criteria will likely face similar aggressive and organized boycotts in China if they are absent from those games. If they do advertise at the 2022 Olympics, they may face opprobrium in their home markets but the business impact in markets outside of China would be nothing like the damage that these officially stoked PRC mass attacks cause.
Earlier this week I was critical of the latest round of sanctions on China -
Those sanctions again do not target any of the real decision makers on the Politburo Standing Committee, nor will they have much substantive effect
but did suggest the PRC would overreact:
That said, the coordinated Western effort will likely elicit another response from the PRC government, which may then damage the PRC’s relationships with these countries even more.
Should we be giving more credit to the people who crafted the sanctions, as perhaps they understood there was no need to go too big as the PRC would likely overreact in ways to do even more damage to their interests?
And good luck to the tech firms and their lobbyists in DC trying to get the Biden Administration to loosen the Trump Administration policies around hi-tech exports to China. The events over the last week make that much less likely.
Today’s Essential Eight items:
Xi’s Fujian inspection tour
Use Xinjiang cotton or your China business will be destroyed
Europe - China
PBoC leading in global standards for central bank digital currencies
Wang Yi in Saudi Arabia
Thanks for reading, and I hope to see many of you in the weekly discussion thread that starts tomorrow.
The Essential Eight
1. Xi’s Fujian inspection tour
Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed more efforts to serve and integrate into the new development paradigm in fully building a modern socialist country...
made the remarks during his inspection trip to east China's Fujian Province from Monday to Thursday.
Xi also called on Fujian to make greater progress in developing a modernized economy, take bigger strides in exploring a new way of integrated development on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, and achieve greater breakthroughs in creating a high-quality life.
The inspection trip took Xi to the cities of Nanping, Sanming and Fuzhou...
During his visit to RICOM, an optical lens company, Xi underscored the importance of independent innovation.
"We can only be in the front rank in scientific and technological development through making innovations, while following others will not work," he said. "We must accelerate our pace to achieve self-reliance in science and technology."
On Thursday morning, Xi inspected Fuzhou-based Minjiang University. At a square on the campus, Xi said young Chinese bear the responsibility of realizing national rejuvenation, calling on students to actively devote themselves to building a modern socialist China
In the first stop of the trip in Wuyishan, Fujian province, on Monday, Xi visited a park dedicated to Zhu Xi, a 12th century Confucian scholar, and said the past was central to identity.
“Taking the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, we must continue to adapt Marxism to China’s conditions,” Xi was quoted by state news agency Xinhua as saying...
Xi spent 17½ years in Fujian after he was appointed deputy mayor of Xiamen in June 1985...
Xie Maosong, a professor at the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the themes of Xi’s trip – rural revitalisation, environmental protection, innovation and confidence in Chinese culture – were all the key points of his plan for the country’s future.
“Xi’s message is clear: China is going to focus on its own development schedule, no matter what happens [externally]. Just like Mao Zedong’s poem, ‘despite the wind and waves, it is just like a walk in the park’.”
It is necessary to deeply integrate into the "the belt and road initiative", run a free trade pilot zone, and build a new open economic system at a higher level. It is necessary to highlight the promotion
of financial integration through communication, benefit and emotion, and be brave in exploring new ways of cross-strait integration and development...
Ding Xuexiang, Liu He, Chen Xi, He Lifeng and responsible comrades of relevant central departments accompanied the inspection.
Comment: No report yet of any meeting with local PLA officers, often the propaganda packaging of his inspection tours splits the reports between civilian and military meetings, I am assuming he will have met with them and there will be an official report, in which there may be interesting signals about Taiwan.
2. Use Xinjiang cotton or your China business will be destroyed
Shares of Anta Sports Products Ltd and Li Ning Co surged, while shares in Adidas, Inditex and H&M fell on Thursday.
State tabloid Global Times said Spain’s Inditex, owner of Zara, had “quietly removed” a statement on Xinjiang from its English and Spanish-language websites.
An Inditex webpage stating that the company was highly concerned about reports alleging social and labour malpractice in various supply chains among ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang was live on March 24, a Google cache showed, but now appears to be unavailable.
"The Ministry of Commerce responded to H&M's boycott of Xinjiang cotton: hoping they will correct wrong practices and avoid politicization of business issues"
Gao Feng, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, responded at a regular press conference on March 25 that the so-called "forced labor" in Xinjiang, China, is completely illusory, and the pure white and flawless Xinjiang cotton cannot be smeared by any forces
American apparel brand Gap Inc. confirmed in a statement on its website that it does not source any garments from Xinjiang. “At Gap Inc., we have strict policies against the use of involuntary labor of any kind in our supply chain,” it said...
New Balance previously said on its Canadian website that it did not have any manufacturers of finished products or key material suppliers in Xinjiang. As of Thursday, that statement was no longer accessible.
Ryohin Keikaku, the company that operates Muji, has conducted due diligence on all companies in Xinjiang that are involved in its supply chain, a company spokesperson told Nikkei Asia. The investigation was done by an independent auditing body, based on the Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory from the U.S. government and other guidance issued by institutions and governments such as the OECD.
Internet giant Tencent Holdings has removed two Burberry-designed “skins”, outfits worn by video game characters, from its popular title Honour of Kings on the grounds that the British fashion house refuses to buy cotton produced in the Xinjiang region – a move that signals China’s wider consumer boycott of foreign brands, from H&M to Nike.
The action, announced on Thursday by Tencent’s Honour of Kings team in a post on microblogging platform Weibo, was taken days after the Shenzhen-based company unveiled a deal with Burberry to promote its outfits in online games. The team did not give a reason for the move.
Tencent’s decision, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter, was related to Burberry’s position on Xinjiang-produced cotton as a member of the Better Cotton Initiative
From a CGTN producer:
The BCI - an influential nongovernmental organization (NGO) and even a rule-maker in the global cotton industry - has been found to be "the black hands" behind this "anti-Xinjiang cotton campaign" among those multinational firms, as when the NGO stopped issuing licenses and certificates for cotton from Xinjiang, Chinese suppliers of foreign brands that have to follow the BCI standards need to follow suit by suspending buying cotton from Xinjiang...
While public outrage on Chinese social media targeted certain multinational firms like H&M, Nike and adidas, industry representatives said China should find out which powers behind the BCI are using a political and ideological agenda in manipulating business subjects, as this NGO is also sponsored by some US and European retailers and associations, including cotton associations of the US and Australia.
The ideological conflict between China and the West will be a long-time struggle. The West has various methods to discredit the Chinese government. But it lacks tactics to deal with Chinese public opinion. From the perspective of morality, what they are most fearful about are powerful Chinese grassroots voices...
Many foreign companies have been denounced by Chinese netizens. It is in no way contradictory to China's expanding opening-up. H&M, Nike and others are now suffering heavy losses to their reputations in the Chinese market. Enormous investment in public relations has been destroyed instantly. They need to return to the Western society to complain, because they know that for whatever reason, whether they are active or passive, they have indeed done something that is intolerable to Chinese consumers.
Chinese artists Wang Yibo and Tan Songyun terminated their partnership with sportswear behemoth Nike today after the company said it doesn't source products from Xinjiang over so called “forced labor” concerns.
In separate posts on Weibo, the artists' agencies said they resolutely oppose any speech or behavior slandering China, and will firmly safeguard the country’s interests.
Question: Can the companies sue them for breach of contract?
3. Europe - China
ThePaper interviews CICIR's Yuan Peng on the aftermath of US-China meeting in Alaska. His comments on EU-China are interesting -大外交｜袁鹏：中美共通点与分歧点在高层对话期间都已袒露
Yuan Peng believes that this dialogue is important and necessary for both sides, and has achieved the expected goal. "Through meeting and communicating, China and the United States clearly and accurately demonstrated their respective political positions, and at the same time conducted frank and in-depth exchanges on major issues in their internal affairs, diplomacy and bilateral relations. These are undoubtedly meaningful.”…
In my opinion, the form and content of this dialogue should not be over-interpreted, but should be normalized. At present, public opinion seems to be exaggerated too much by the tit-for-tat reports in the opening stage of the two sides, which offsets or conceals the comprehensive and constructive significance of this dialogue...
On the Taiwan issue, which is our most concerned, core and sensitive issue, the US side has reiterated the "One China" policy which is particularly important. [Yuan used 政策 policy, which is the US term, not 原则, principle, the PRC term]...
The Chinese side is taking the long and broad view towards the future, while it is difficult for the US to jump out of the political cycle...
Therefore, although the United States and Europe are in step on democracy and human rights, issues related to Xinjiang and Hong Kong, Europeans will have their own independent views on global issues such as economic and trade issues, multilateralism and climate change. Therefore, we should keep an eye on the development of US-European relations, and at the same time be full of self-confidence, look at China's relations with other countries in a framework beyond Sino-US relations, and stick to our own principles unmoved. Specifically, with regard to China-EU relations, we should recognize the basic fact that China-EU relations are in a relatively good period in history, and don't lose our basic judgment on the general trend because of a temporary event or because the United States and Europe are approaching again.
Comment: I will hazard a guess that Yuan Peng does not find this campaign over Xinjiang cotton that is hurting European firms constructive.
As I wrote in the March 18 newsletter that included long excerpts of a separate interview with Yuan Peng, he is always worth listening to. Yuan heads the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), a think tank affiliated with the Ministry of State Security, and is an "America hand". He was the lecturer at the December Politburo Study Session on National Security (see the December 14, 2020 Sinocism).
We are directors of diverse European research institutions committed to strengthening knowledge, mutual understanding and exchange between China and Europe. We are deeply concerned that targeting independent researchers and civil society institutions undermines practical and constructive engagement by people who are striving to contribute positively to policy debates. This will be damaging not only for our ability to provide well-informed analysis but also for relations more broadly between China and Europe in the future.
Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe is currently on a visit to four European countries to boost cooperation with their militaries, at a time when some other European countries are sending warships to the South China Sea.
Since foreign analysts will likely connect the two events, Chinese experts said on Thursday that China has a high level of potential regarding military cooperation with European countries, but it will also respond to provocative moves from others.
Hungarian President Janos Ader said here on Wednesday that he hoped Hungary and China will continue to strengthen cooperation on anti-pandemic, economy, trade, tourism and military affairs, and to promote the in-depth development of the Hungary-China comprehensive strategic partnership.
Ader made the remarks when meeting with visiting Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe...
Wei also gave an introduction about the real situation of the construction and development in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and refuted the lies and false accusations created by the United States and some other Western countries.
China firmly opposes and strongly condemns the unilateral sanctions imposed on China by the European Union, the United States, Britain, Canada and some other countries under the pretext of the so-called Xinjiang human rights issue, Wei said.
China appreciates Hungary's firm support and righteous words on Xinjiang-related issues and other issues concerning China's core interests, he noted.
17+1 is now 16+1, and may go even lower?
Interesting item on the Thursday CCTV Evening News - 武契奇：北约轰炸南联盟为犯罪和侵略_CCTV
Serbia held many activities on the 24th to mourn the victims who died in NATO bombing 22 years ago.
Serbian President Vucic attended the main memorial ceremony held in Belgrade. Vucic said that NATO's attack on the sovereign Federal Republic of Yugoslavia without the authorization of the UN Security Council was a "serious crime and aggression".
China is the EU's biggest trading partner. Take a look at how many German cars there are on the streets of China, how many French and Italian fashion products are being used by Chinese women, and how many Chinese travelers have visited Europe in normal years. Then take a look at the momentum of Chinese development in years to come. How could those ignorant politicians in the European Parliament possibly feel they are entitled to threaten China by not approving the CAI? Beijing has not yet suspended the promotion of the deal as a warning toward Brussels!
The draft resolution expressed concerns about alleged human rights violations that occurred in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election in Belarus and in its aftermath.
Chen Xu, head of the Chinese Mission to the UN in Geneva, said China always opposes interfering in other countries' internal affairs or harming other countries' sovereignty under the pretext of human rights issues.
Casting America’s competition with Beijing as the most important front in a generational struggle between democracy and autocracy, Biden reiterated a plan to convene a democracy summit and more than double the amount of investment in science and technology as a percentage of GDP.
“I see stiff competition with China,” Biden said in his first press conference as president. “China has an overall goal, and I don’t criticise them for the goal, but they have an overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world and the most powerful country in the world. That’s not going to happen on my watch, because United States is going to continue to grow and expand.”
Aside from the broad ideological differences, Biden cited the Chinese government’s policies towards Uygurs and Hong Kong as issues that no American president should back down from, speaking out against “as the last one did”, one of several jabs at former president Donald Trump.
CGTN: The charge d'affaires at the US mission to the UN in Geneva voiced hope that the WHO-led mission to Wuhan had access to the raw data and to the people required to make an independent assessment. The US expects the WHO investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus pandemic to require further study, perhaps including a return visit to China. What's your response to that?...
As I said just now, the Chinese side has always been very open, transparent and aboveboard on the issue of origin-tracing and our cooperation with the expert group has been very good. Now that the WHO expert team has concluded their visit to China, including to Wuhan and specifically the Wuhan Institute of Virology and that relevant media, including US media, have also conducted interviews there. I am curious to know when will the US side become as open and transparent as China on the issue of origin-tracing? When will the international expert team be invited to the US for investigation and study? When will Fort Detrick be opened for foreign experts and media to visit, investigate and study? Should the US do something on their part?
The United States should address racism, racial discrimination and police brutality, prohibit the spread of racist and discriminatory speech, and crack down on discrimination and hate-driven violence against ethnic minorities, said Chen Xu, head of the Chinese Mission to the UN Office in Geneva, in a statement at the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council on Friday.
In response to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken's address at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, Hua told a press briefing that labels like "militarizing the South China Sea" should never be pinned on China.
China was not the first one to start construction or deploy necessary armaments in the South China Sea, nor is it the one to deploy the most weaponry. The United States cannot use the so-called militarization to deprive China of the right to defend its own territory, Hua said.
She said it is the United States which has actually militarized the area and threatened freedom of navigation, adding that the country, over 8,300 miles from the South China Sea, has built several military bases with offensive weapons around the area, and frequently sent aircraft carriers and strategic bombers throughout the year.
5. PBoC leading in global standards for central bank digital currencies
Global central banks are looking at developing digital currencies to modernise their financial systems, ward off the threat from cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and speed up domestic and international payments. China is one of the most advanced in its effort.
Mu Changchun, the director-general of the PBOC’s digital currency institute, laid out the new proposals at a Bank for International Settlements seminar.
“Interoperability should be enabled between CBDC (central bank digital currency) systems of different jurisdictions and exchange,” Mu said. The PBOC had shared the proposals with other central banks and monetary authorities, he said.
Mu Changchun, director of the People’s Bank of China’s digital currency research institute, outlined four reasons for the central bank’s development of its own electronic yuan:
Safeguard monetary sovereignty. Bitcoin’s popularity in the past posed a threat to capital account management;
As a back-up to Alipay and Tencent Pay, in case they experience problems, either financially or technically. The two together make up 98% of the mobile payment market and if they had a setback, it could negatively affect China’s financial stability;
Improve efficiency of payments system;
Promote financial inclusion
The purpose of this policy brief is to improve baseline understanding of DC/EP’s structural mechanics and place the project in its political and bureaucratic context. The aim is to catalyse and contribute to an informed conversation about what the rollout of DC/EP may mean for China and for the world.
This policy brief is organised as follows: Section 1 is a general overview of digital currencies; Section 2 focuses on the policy drivers behind DC/EP; Section 3 examines DC/EP’s architecture based on patents in order to assess the surveillance capabilities it would embed; Section 4 describes the institutional ecosystem behind DC/EP; Section 5 looks at how DC/EP would affect domestic digital payment systems Alipay and WeChat pay; and Section 6 looks at the implications DC/EP could have for global financial governance.
6. Wang Yi in Saudi Arabia
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Wednesday agreed to oppose any interference in the internal affairs of other countries and defend the interests of developing countries...
China staunchly supports Saudi Arabia's efforts to explore and find a path of development that fits its own conditions, said Wang, adding that China is ready to better integrate the development strategies between the two countries to help Saudi Arabia attain the goals of Vision 2030...
Saudi Arabia, which attaches great importance to its comprehensive strategic partnership with China, is willing to continuously enhance bilateral cooperation in crude oil, petrochemical, nuclear energy and other energy fields, and expand it into new fields such as 5G, telecommunication and digital technologies, the crown prince said...
Saudi Arabia firmly supports China's legitimate position on the issues related to Xinjiang and Hong Kong, opposes interfering in China's internal affairs under any pretext, and rejects the attempt by certain parties to sow dissension between China and the Islamic world, Mohammed told Wang.
Mohammed added that Saudi Arabia is ready to join hands with China to uphold the goals and principles of the UN Charter, and safeguard regional and global peace and stability.
According to Wu Sike, China’s former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, although Riyadh was the last Arab country to establish formal ties with Beijing in 1990, bilateral cooperation has expanded rapidly – including on energy, infrastructure, technology, security and human rights.
China is Saudi Arabia’s top trading partner and biggest oil buyer. According to the Chinese government data, Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, overtook Russia to become China’s top crude supplier last year despite the coronavirus pandemic and global economic downturn...
Li Chengwen, another former Chinese ambassador to Riyadh, said in an article published this month that Washington’s policy shift, especially its attempt to isolate the powerful crown prince, might induce changes in the Saudi attitude towards the US and further complicate the Middle East situation.
Mamutjan said his family, who are ethnically Uyghur, are unable to leave China, while he would be at risk of being detained or imprisoned if he returned. He is now living in Adelaide, Australia.
This week, a CNN team tracked down Mamutjan's 10-year-old daughter Muhlise at her paternal grandparents' home in the city of Kashgar, in southern Xinjiang.
When asked if she has a message for her father, whom she hasn't spoken to since 2017, Muhlise began to cry. "I miss him," she said.
Comment: Heartbreaking, I hope the families they visited in Xinjiang do not get into trouble. CNN clearly did not get the repeated message from the Foreign Ministry about being more like Edgar Snow, Agnes Smedley or Anna Louise Strong when covering China.
For decades, many Uyghurs have experienced systematic ethnic and religious discrimination in Xinjiang. Since 2014, the region has witnessed a greatly expanded police presence and fallen under a heavy blanket of surveillance as part of China’s publicly declared “People’s War on Terror” and its associated efforts to combat “religious extremism”. In 2016, surveillance and social control measures began spreading rapidly. In 2017, things began taking an even more terrible turn for Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim peoples in the region. Since that time, an estimated one million or more people have been arbitrarily detained in “transformation-through-education” or “vocational training” centres in Xinjiang, where they have been subjected to various forms of torture and ill-treatment, including political indoctrination and forced cultural assimilation. This mass detention campaign combined with systematic repression have prevented Uyghur parents from returning to China to take care of their children themselves and made it nearly impossible for their children to leave China to reunite with them abroad.
Li Wei, a counterterrorism expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the trip underlined Beijing’s determination to continue its policies in the region despite the mounting international pushback...
During his visit, Zhao also called for the risk of terrorism in Xinjiang to be tackled with a “sober mind”, and for “high pressure” to be kept up. He called for “terrorism-related” audio and video content to be “cleaned up”, and for law enforcers to achieve a “fundamental shift” in the region’s long-term stability.
Page 9 Thursday People's Daily by 齐扎拉 (西藏自治区人民政府主席) Qi Zhala, Chairman of Tibet Autonomous Region - "Write a Tibetan chapter that casts a strong sense of the Chinese nation community" - 谱写铸牢中华民族共同体意识的西藏篇章（人民要论）
General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed at the Seventh Central Committee Symposium on Tibetan Work that "we should unearth, organize and publicize the historical facts about the interaction and intermingling of various ethnic groups in Tibet since ancient times, guide the people of all ethnic groups to see the direction and future of the nation, deeply realize that the Chinese nation is a community of destiny, and promote the interaction and intermingling of various ethnic groups." In the face of the new situation and new tasks, we should thoroughly study and implement General Secretary Xi Jinping's important remarks on casting a firm sense of community among the Chinese nation, fully implement the Party's strategy for governing Tibet in the new era, write a Tibetan chapter on casting a firm sense of community among the Chinese nation, and promote the sense of community among the Chinese nation to take root and flourish in the snowy plateau.
A new phase of China’s strategy on Tibet was set in place at the Seventh Tibet Work Forum in August 2020. This top-level conclave was presided over by Xi Jinping and established the direction of policy for the next five to ten years. The Forum mapped out an expansion and strengthening of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) coercive capability in Tibet, with the objective of “breaking lineage, breaking roots, breaking connections, and breaking origins”1. To achieve this, the CCP is deploying a pernicious combination of systematic, harsh measures bringing together ideological indoctrination beginning at childhood; the restructuring and dismantling of rural economies through mass relocation, labour mobilization and transfer programmes and other measures, and a systematic intensification of data-driven policing and surveillance.
The intent of these policies is obscured beneath a proactive official discourse of “modernisation”, “economic development”, “poverty alleviation”, “labour skills training” and “bilingual education”. Party chief of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) Wu Yingjie was less oblique when he stated on 31 December 2020 that official priorities were to “control the belly” and to “control the brain”2. In other words, to render the Tibetan population both more dependent upon the state for their livelihoods, in order to ensure complete control, and to embrace Chinese cultural nationalism, the concept of ‘Zhonghua minzu’3. Ding Yexian, a senior leader in the TAR and head of the leading group on education, described this orchestrated campaign imposed from the top down by Xi Jinping, saying that: “Socialist ideology with Chinese characteristics in the new era informs the whole process of shaping the soul and educating people on a grassroots level.”4
The projects, with a total investment of 25.53 billion yuan (about 3.91 billion U.S. dollars), cover industrial development, renovations of old communities and infrastructure, and other fields in the city's Chengguan District, said the local development and reform commission.
The projects are expected to create more than 4,000 jobs for local farmers and herders, with a total annual income increase of 180 million yuan, the commission noted.
It is a section of a line that will eventually connect Sichuan province and Tibet.
"Construction of the (Sichuan-Tibet) line will last for more than 10 years due to the complicated geological and climate conditions and fragile ecology," Wang Yang, the ministry's chief planning officer, said at a news conference in Beijing.
The 1,838-kilometer Sichuan-Tibet railway project has been divided into three parts for construction and operation. The section linking Chengdu and Ya'an in Sichuan opened in December 2018. Construction of the 435-km section linking Nyingchi and Lhasa began in 2015.
Work on the middle and most challenging section, connecting Ya'an and Nyingchi, began in November.
Business, Economy and Trade
"Central Bank: Emphasize the orientation that "the house is for living, not for speculation"." -央行：强调坚持"房子是用来住的、不是用来炒的"定位_经济_宏观频道首页_财经网 - CAIJING
On March 22, 2021, the People's Bank of China held a symposium on the optimization and adjustment of credit structure of 24 major banks nationwide in Beijing...
The meeting emphasized that, in the next stage, the financial system should adhere to the general tone of striving for stability, insist on using reform methods to dredge policy transmission, and further enhance the ability and level of serving the high-quality development of the economy.
First, grasp the word "stable". In terms of the total amount, "steady" should take the lead, keep the loan growing steadily, reasonably and moderately, and grasp the tempo well. Maintain the continuity and stability of credit support policies for small and micro enterprises, strengthen the financial service capacity building of small and medium-sized enterprises, and realize the continuous "increase in volume, decrease in price and expansion in scope" of inclusive small and micro loans. Promote the financial system to continue to make reasonable discounts to the real economy, and to make the comprehensive financing costs of small and micro enterprises steadily decline. Adhere to the positioning of "houses are for living, not for speculation", maintain the continuity, consistency and stability of the real estate financial policy, implement the prudent management system of real estate finance, and increase the financial support for housing leasing.
The second is to grasp the word "progress". Focusing on achieving the strategic goals of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality, we will set up carbon emission reduction support tools to guide commercial banks to increase support for investment and financing activities of carbon emission reduction in accordance with the principle of marketization, and incite more financial resources to lean toward green and low-carbon industries. Commercial banks should strictly implement green financial standards, innovate industries and services, strengthen information disclosure, and adjust the allocation of credit resources in a timely manner. Further increase support for scientific and technological innovation and manufacturing, increase the proportion of manufacturing loans, and increase the credit supply for high-tech manufacturing.
The third is to grasp the word "reform". Adhere to the principles of marketization and rule of law, comprehensively consider factors such as capital investment, assets and liabilities, profits and risk indicators in a forward-looking manner, and continuously enhance the capabilities of financial service entities. Improve business philosophy, enhance the level of financial science and technology, and strengthen the judgment of enterprise's real credit risk. While managing and controlling risks, optimize internal assessment and incentive measures, increase credit supply in economically disadvantaged provinces according to local conditions, and support regional coordinated development.
Banks Urged to Lend More to China’s Loan-Starved Private Sector - Caixin The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) has urged banks to make more loans to healthy private companies, mentioning in particular those in advanced manufacturing and strategically important industries, according to an official statement seen by Caixin on Wednesday. The document indicates that financial regulators are trying to reassure the markets amid concerns about the financing difficulties facing a number of private companies, especially small businesses, whose prospects have fallen with the outbreak of Covid-19.
国务院：强化反垄断和防止资本无序扩张 9月底前出台相关政策 _ 证券时报网 The State Council issued opinions on the implementation of the division of key tasks in the Government Work Report: upholding and improving the basic socialist economic system. We will unswervingly consolidate and develop the public sector of the economy and unswervingly encourage, support and guide the development of the non-public sector of the economy. Strengthen anti-monopoly and prevent disorderly expansion of capital, and resolutely safeguard a fair competitive market environment. (The National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Commerce, the People's Bank of China, the General Administration of Market Supervision, and the National Federation of Industry and Commerce are responsible for the division of responsibilities. Relevant policies will be issued before the end of September and will continue to advance during the year // 国务院发布关于落实《政府工作报告》重点工作分工的意见：坚持和完善社会主义基本经济制度。毫不动摇巩固和发展公有制经济，毫不动摇鼓励、支持、引导非公有制经济发展。强化反垄断和防止资本无序扩张，坚决维护公平竞争市场环境。（国家发展改革委、科技部、工业和信息化部、财政部、商务部、人民银行、市场监管总局、全国工商联等按职责分工负责，9月底前出台相关政策，年内持续推进
严查资金违规流入楼市 监管风暴扩至“新一线”城市-新华网 After regulators in big Chinese cities have stepped up scrutiny over housing loan practices, second-tier cities have heeded official calls to curb illegal lending. In a sign that underscores the urgency of the problem, China’s housing watchdog has dispatched officials to visit cities like Chengdu and Xi’an to coordinate with local regulators in stemming illegal lending.
唯利是图！贷款中介仍强推“经营贷”入楼市_周刊财经理财_北京商报_财经传媒集团 Some “loan agents” have been circumventing home lending rules by extending credit to borrowers who then use the money to invest in properties. One unnamed agent told Beijing Business Today that 30% of its clients ended up buying homes with the loans.
北京海淀区严查学区房炒作 重申多校划片政策_财新网_财新网 Housing prices in the good school districts in Beijing's Haidian District remain high, regulators say they will crack down on speculation
Yicai - Chinese Used Car Dealer Kaixin Auto Is Accused of Being a Sham Chinese second hand car dealership Kaixin Auto Holdings is fighting off allegations that its used vehicle sales network in China is bogus and that it has forged its auto inventories as well as sales contracts, financial media outlet Securities Times reported today. Beijing-based Kaixin Auto is accused of setting up 14 fake joint ventures between May 2017 and March 2018 to extend its second-hand car sales network nationwide, the report said.
China central bank says to deepen exchange rate reform | Reuters In a statement issued after its first-quarter monetary policy committee meeting in Beijing, the People’s Bank of China also said it would keep yuan exchange rates basically stable at reasonable and balanced levels, and keep liquidity reasonably ample.
Jack Ma’s Ant demands bigger fees to rebuild valuation after pulled IPO | Financial Times $$ Multiple lenders told the Financial Times they had agreed to allow Ant’s Alipay, China’s largest mobile payment service, to increase its share of the processing fee from transactions conducted on its platform by up to 80 per cent since the beginning of this year.
Canada tightens foreign investment rules to protect security of critical mineral supply chains | South China Morning Post The updated guidelines mean proposed takeovers of companies specialising in critical minerals and sensitive personal data, as well as investments by “state-owned or state-influenced investors”, could trigger a national security review.
Fallen Star Anxin Trust Goes After Debtors to Recover 5.5 Billion Yuan - Caixin Anxin Trust Co. Ltd. (600816.SH), which is facing 60 lawsuits from investors seeking to recover 25 billion yuan ($3.82 billion), is taking legal action of its own against three companies who owe it money, including two with links to its boss who has been detained by police on suspicion of issuing illicit loans.
Smaller Cities Reach for the Sky With New Airport Construction - Caixin The country will add 30 new civilian-use airports through 2025, bringing its total annual transport capacity to 2 billion trips, said Wang Zhiqing, deputy at the Ministry of Transport, at a briefing Wednesday. That would represent a 43% increase from last year’s level.
Alibaba Beijing office sets up a CPC committee - Global Times Alibaba (Beijing) Software Services Co has established a corporate CPC (Communist Party of China) committee on Wednesday, according an article published on the official WeChat public account of Beijing's Chaoyang district. According to the article, the number of Chinese Communist Party members have accounted for more than 30 percent of the overall employees at Alibaba's Beijing headquarters.
Politics and Law
State Council specifies priorities in government work report - Xinhua The State Council, China's cabinet, has issued a guideline on implementing key tasks in this year's government work report. It puts report tasks into 44 priorities in 38 aspects and assigned them to relevant State Council bodies and local authorities with detailed responsibilities and timeframes.
Red opera at NCPA tells story about China’s early revolutionary pioneers - Global Times An opera about the first female party member of the Communist Party of China, Miu Boying, and her husband He Mengxiong was staged at Beijing's National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Both Miu and He sacrificed their lives for China's early revolution efforts in the 1930s. Their stories inspired Xiao Hongbin, director of the Zhuzhou City Opera Heritage Center, to create the opera - Hero.
党史学习教育官方网站 Official website for the Party history study campaign
Foreign and Defense Affairs
Facing similar kinds of assertive foreign policy, the West reacts differently to what comes from within itself, and what comes from outside the Western world. One netizen commented on the obvious double standard, saying that assertive US diplomacy is never called "Rambo" diplomacy.
Indeed, when the Trump administration imposed tariffs on Europe, nobody used the term "Rambo" diplomacy. Only when China introduced tariffs on some goods from countries like Australia, some Western media began to question: is China adopting "Wolf Warrior" trade diplomacy?
Wang Yiwei, director of the Center for European Studies at Renmin University of China, believes that the West's labeling of China is an unconscious outpouring of white supremacy. Western countries think they are superior, and that non-Western countries should only do what they are told. And if non-Western countries want to follow Western countries' style, this will be considered as a provocation.
Comment: the Global Times is increasingly framing things as a racial and civilizational contest. And regular readers know that my preference for months know has been “Xi Jinping Diplomatic Thought Warriors”.
Iron ore tycoon pleads with west to mend its relationship with China | Financial Times $$ Andrew Forrest, founder of Fortescue, the world’s fourth biggest iron ore miner, accused populist politicians of dividing people, ripping nations apart and destroying humanity’s ability to leave the world in a better place than they found it. If asked by the Australian government, he would play a role in helping to heal the worst breakdown in diplomatic relations between Beijing and Canberra in generations, he told the Financial Times in an interview.
Anger grows ahead of Chinese consulate opening in Adelaide - The Australian The formal opening of Adelaide’s Chinese consulate is becoming a flashpoint against Beijing, with no fewer than six ethnic community groups denouncing next Tuesday’s launch by South Australian Premier Steven Marshall. It comes as Australia’s most senior diplomat said national security concerns over the controversial consulate were a matter of “active consideration” for the federal government.
Uyghurs in Turkey protest Chinese foreign minister's visit - AP Hundreds of Uyghurs staged protests in Ankara and Istanbul on Thursday, denouncing Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Turkey and demanding that the Turkish government take a stronger stance against human rights abuses in China’s far-western Xinjiang region.
Czechs Delay $7 Billion Nuclear Reactor Tender, Leave China Out - Bloomberg The Czech government postponed a tender to build a $7 billion nuclear reactor until after October elections and said it won’t invite Chinese companies to participate in a security assessment of potential bidders.
China's J-16 fighter jet is flawless and much superior to the Su-30: pilot - Global Times China's J-16 multi-role fighter jet is flawless and is much superior to other similar aircraft including, the Su-30, revealed a pilot who has experience flying it as well as other types of aircraft.
China nuclear reprocessing to create stockpiles of weapons-level materials-experts - Reuters "To reduce international concerns about the potential plutonium diversion issues, China needs to keep its plutonium recycling programs more transparent including timely reporting of its stockpile of civilian plutonium like they did before 2016," Hui Zhang, a senior research associate at Harvard University's Project on Managing the Atom, said in an email. Zhang, a contributor to a Nonproliferation Policy Education Center report called "China's Civil Nuclear Sector: Plowshares to Swords?", said China should also offer to have its plutonium recycling facilities monitored by the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency.
PLA Army to participate in snowfield competition of int'l army games - Xinhua The PLA Army will head abroad and participate a snowfield combat and march competition from April 4 to 20 at the invitation of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, a Chinese military spokesperson announced Thursday. The competition known as “Sayan Range March” is an event of the 2021 International Army Games, said Ren Guoqiang, a spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense.
Xinhua Commentary: Surging anti-Asian hate crimes and America's inherent human rights sins - Xinhua With mounting pressure from nationwide protests against anti-Asian hate, the U.S. government is likely to take some perfunctory measures. But one thing is clear: without sweeping reforms and an earnest attitude, Uncle Sam can hardly clean up its mess in human rights protection, let alone act as a beacon.
CCP Think Tanker on China’s Strategy to Win Global Hegemony and Put the U.S. under CCP Control – Chinascope On July 23, 2016, Jin Canrong, Professor and Associate Dean at the School of International Studies of Renmin University and a senior fellow at the Institute of American Studies (IAS) at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), gave a two day talk at the Southern Club Hotel in Guangzhou...A country will grow through three stages to become a superpower: ensure its own survival, sustain growth, and gain respect. For China and the US, however, there is a fourth stage which is to win global hegemony. In China, Mao Zedong solved the survival issue. Deng Xiaoping enabled China to grow. Xi Jinping is trying to gain respect in the world. Once China gains equal power with the U.S., it will be the CCP’s next generation leader’s responsibility to put the U.S. under China’s control...Another strategy is called “Go Deep into the U.S.” Our goal is to make business investments in every congressional district, so that we can hold a thousand or several thousands of votes in each congressional district. This will affect the representative’s position. In fact, we can control U.S. House of Representatives. // 中美战略哲学-20160723讲座-金灿荣
Ethical Dilemmas of the China Scholar — U.S.-Asia Law Institute This panel will explore the diverse ethical challenges that may arise when teaching and researching about China from outside China. Concerns about ethical field research and censorship pressures are not new but have been heightened by China’s authoritarian turn and recent events in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Not since the Vietnam War has China scholarship been so politicized. At the same time, visiting students and scholars from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the PRC on Western campuses are increasingly at odds with each other and vulnerable to censorship and doxing on social media.
03/23/2021 China MFA Press Conference also gone are the days when several so-called scholars and state media could unscrupulously malign China in collusion without being punished. We urge them not to underestimate Chinese people's firm determination to defend national interests and dignity. It's a courtesy to reciprocate what we receive. They will have to pay a price for their ignorance and arrogance.
This comment sparked a very interesting and worrisome Twitter thread by foreign China scholars:
Bill Bishop @niubi“days when foreign powers could force China to open its doors with cannons are long gone; also gone are the days when several so-called scholars and state media could unscrupulously malign China in collusion without being punished.” https://t.co/oSc6obVnth
Rory Truex @rorytruexThis does constitute a real shift in rhetoric and has implications for China studies. The Party is now making it explicit that if you study the wrong thing, you will face consequences. https://t.co/ZVACwtfI9U
Hong Kong and Macao
Exclusive: Hong Kong tells foreign governments to stop accepting special British passport | Reuters The Hong Kong government on Thursday confirmed a Reuters report that it had told 14 countries to stop accepting a British travel document that many of its young people use to apply for working holiday visas in Europe, North America and parts of Asia.
In a move seen by some envoys as a diplomatic affront, the government informed the foreign consulates in a letter that it no longer considered the British National Overseas (BNO) passport a valid travel document as of Jan. 31.
The letter, seen by Reuters and confirmed by the Hong Kong government after the story was published, demanded that its Hong Kong passport should be used instead...
Another envoy described the move as “bordering on belligerent” and said it was not the way the Hong Kong government, generally mindful of the city’s standing as an international financial hub, has traditionally behaved.
Hong Kong Court Rules That People Who Message About Protests Can Face Charges — Radio Free Asia A Hong Kong court on Thursday ruled that public order charges of the kind frequently used to target participants in the 2019 pro-democracy protest movement can be extended to people who weren't present at the scene. In a landmark ruling using the common law notion of "joint enterprise," the Court of Appeal found that anyone who encouraged or promoted an "unlawful assembly or riot" could be held liable under the Public Order Ordinance, even if they weren't physically present.
Taiwan says has begun mass production of long-range missile | Reuters Taiwan has begun mass production of a long-range missile and is developing three other models, a senior official said on Thursday, in a rare admission of efforts to develop strike capacity amid growing Chinese pressure.
Tech and Media
China’s $6 Billion Social E-Commerce App Hires CFO as It Eyes US IPO — The Information $$ Xiaohongshu—which means “little red book” in Chinese—has hired Ruo Yang, Citigroup’s Hong Kong–based managing director, to be its CFO. The previously unreported hiring better equips the startup for an IPO, the people said.
The Hit Indie Flick China’s Film Snobs Love to Hate - Sixth Tone If there’s one thing Qiu Sheng can’t stand, it’s “elitists.” The word has a special meaning for the young director. It refers to a certain kind of Chinese movie fan: educated, snobbish, but intolerant of challenging, experimental cinema. In other words, the kind of viewer who hates “Suburban Birds” — Qiu’s debut feature.
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
A Basquiat Painting of a Warrior Just Fetched $41.8 Million at Christie’s Hong Kong, Setting a Record for Western Art in Asia A 1982 painting of a warrior by Jean-Michel Basquiat sold for $41.8 million at Christie’s Hong Kong on Tuesday, setting a new record for a work of Western art in Asia.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
China sets up nuclear safety committee to boost 2060 carbon neutral efforts | South China Morning Post The committee will establish “a strict and high nuclear safety standard” and “further improve the level of legalisation of nuclear safety”, according to a government press release on Wednesday. Set up by the ecology and environment ministry, the new body will be responsible for the formulation of national standards in fields including nuclear power plant safety, nuclear fuel cycle facilities safety, nuclear material safety and radioactive waste safety.
After a dusty spring, China seeks further cooperation on sand control with Mongolia - Global Times China and Mongolia have always cooperated in managing sand and dust, but China could also aid Mongolia with experience and technology. Every year, funding from national departments and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification is applied for this work, the Global Times learned from the Chinese Academy of Forestry.
Analysis: China’s Power System Needs More Flexibility to Hit Carbon Goals - Caixin The movement to a “new power system” means coal’s role will likely transition to a complementary source for peak periods from its current role as a main power source at all times. In practical terms, that could see operating time for a typical coal-fired power plant that once ran 5,000 hours a year slashed to 1,000 hours or less.
China Aims to Grow Tech-Savvy Workforce With New Vocational Training China’s education ministry has updated a national list of vocational courses to include subjects like 5G, big data and cloud computing, as the government looks to equip the workforce with the necessary skills to transform the country into a technology superpower. The new catalogue (link in Chinese) published Monday includes a total of 1,349 majors to be taught at the nation’s professional and technical colleges, a network of higher education institutions for people who do not attend universities.