Today is the 12th anniversary of the devastating Wenchuan Earthquake that killed over 69,000 people. I was in our Beijing apartment on the 38th floor of a building in CBD when it struck, and we were shaking so much I thought it was an earthquake in Beijing. I picked up our then 2 year-old twins and carried them down the stairs to the ground floor. Only when I checked Twitter when we got outside did I learn it happened far away in Sichuan.
What an awful day for so many people, and yet the Party was able to turn it into a heroic struggle that united the nation and proved the strength of the people and the Party in overcoming disasters. I imagine the playbook from the aftermath of Wenchuan is being used in Wuhan now.
Xi has finished his inspection tour of Shanxi. Among the key themes from the CCTV report on his trip:
persist with supply side structural reforms as the "main line";
persist with "making progress while ensuring stability" as the "main key" of work;
Restarting the economy;
The “six stabilities” and the“six ensures”;
Ding Xuexiang, Liu He and He Lifang were named as accompanying him.
In what looks like a major move in the NBA’s attempts to fix its China problem stemming from Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s tweet about Hong Kong, the league has hired Michael Ma 马晓飞 as its new China head. Ma is sports royalty in China, the son of the former head of CCTV Sports who until yesterday was also a “special advisor” to Yao Ming. I am skeptical that CCTV will turn broadcasts of NBA games back on, once they are playing again, just because the new NBA China head has great guanxi. Anyone want to take bets on how long until Morey “retires” from the league?
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Xi in Shanxi
Tuesday CCTV Evening News top 16 minutes on Xi's Shanxi visit. -习近平在山西考察时强调 全面建成小康社会 乘势而上 书写新时代中国特色社会主义新篇章_CCTV
Xi called for efforts to overcome the adverse impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic and make greater strides in high-quality transformation and development to ensure that the target of poverty eradication is reached and the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects is completed...
After hearing the work reports of the CPC Shanxi Provincial Committee and the provincial government on Tuesday afternoon, Xi stressed that no relaxation is allowed in epidemic prevention and control, noting that efforts should be made to guard against both imported infections and domestic rebounds, improve regular prevention and control mechanism, and prevent new outbreaks.
Xi called for efforts on more promptly and effectively addressing the difficulties faced by enterprises in resuming production and operation, on solid implementation of all the policies and measures for expanding domestic demand, and on strengthening the competitiveness and quality of the real economy, especially the manufacturing industry.
During the inspection, Xi learned about transformation and upgrading of the traditional manufacturing industry, work and production resumption of enterprises, ecological and environmental protection, and pollution prevention and control
By the end of last year, there were still over 5.5 million people living under the poverty line across the country.
Despite the COVID-19 impact, China is approaching its goal. A number of provinces, including eastern China's Anhui and Jiangxi, announced that all remaining listed impoverished counties have shaken off poverty this year.
As China's traffic network and internet penetration expand, more farm produce becomes available both online and offline, bringing more cash to the growers.
The Yungang Grottoes represent the characteristics of Chinese culture and the history of cultural exchanges between China and other countries, Xi said.
Lauding the Yungang Grottoes as the "treasure of human civilization," Xi said protection of the site should be the top priority, and its research and utilization should be based on good protection
Xi stressed that the CPC has been wholeheartedly seeking happiness for the Chinese people, collecting no agricultural taxes and fees now, helping impoverished rural residents build their own houses, training them with skills and finding ways for them to live a better life.
"For our rural households, it's our top priority to build new houses," Bai said.
"Had it not been for the Party, I would not have lived a happy life now," Bai said. "We villagers sincerely thank the CPC."
Xi made the remarks while visiting an organic daylily farm in Yunzhou District of Datong City Monday afternoon during an inspection tour in north China's Shanxi Province.
2. The outbreak
The Chinese mainland reported one new imported COVID-19 cases on Monday, and no new deaths, according to China's National Health Commission (NHC).
The commission also reported 15 new asymptomatic patients.
The National Health Commission (NHC) has sent a work team to help cope with the coronavirus pandemic in Shulan City, northeast China's Jilin Province, Mi Feng, a spokesperson for the NHC said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
All residents in Wuhan, capital city of central China's Hubei Province, will be required to take nucleic acid tests in the next 10 days, as the city beefs up its measures for preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic, said local authorities.
The decision came after six new cases of coronavirus were reported in Wuhan over the weekend.
Caixin reported that Wuhan won’t have the testing capacity to do this even if they hire private labs. One CDC expert has told CCTV publicly that it is unnecessary to do such test. Another former CDC expert anonymously criticized the decision in an interview with Caixin saying this “campaign-style test” will only “harass the people and waste money”. He said one big test like this won’t be able to track down all infected patients given lots of them will test positive in the test.
China’s CDC chief expert Wu Zunyou confirmed to CCTV that one of the first coronavirus patients in Shulan, Jilin is a laundry worker working in the local police department. Wu said “it is possible” that she contracted the virus when washing the clothes of the police officers who were in close contacts with travelers came from Russia. The city has confirmed 15 cases in the past days.
All passengers planning to take Air China's Moscow-Beijing flights are required to receive nucleic acid testing from one of 24 designated institutions, according to the Chinese embassy in Russia.
Question: Just how bad is it in Russia?
As his team started to spray disinfectant, the officials began taking samples from the stalls, sewers and goods, Mr. Lu says. They got his team to help with the dead animals, picking out feces and fur with tweezers, and sealing them in plastic bags.
More than four months later, Chinese officials have yet to share with the world any data from the animals Mr. Lu and others say were sampled. Beijing now appears to be stalling international efforts to find the source of the virus amid an escalating U.S. push to blame China for the pandemic, according to interviews with dozens of health experts and officials.
"Our lab not only has a high level of biosafety infrastructure, we also have established a set of rigorous biosecurity protocols to ensure the lab operates safely and efficiently," said Yuan Zhiming, president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Wuhan Branch and head of the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory. Yuan spoke in an interview with Science and Technology Daily that was published late Sunday.
The Ministry of Commerce told some key foreign companies they can apply for exemptions to the entry ban if they want to get executives back into China, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter has not been made public. They would still serve a mandatory quarantine, one of the people said.
Liu Jingbei of China Executive Leadership Academy Pudong wrote in the latest issue of Qiushi that China’s successful handling of the virus “is a vivid demonstration of the advantages of the party’s leadership”.
China’s ministry of education said more than 100 million students have returned to school for classes. That’s 39% of the total.
3. New NBA China head
The NBA’s China business has named sports management veteran Michael Ma chief executive officer, replacing Derek Chang, seven months after a Twitter post by a team general manager led to a halt of game broadcasts in China.
Ma, who worked at the NBA for more than a decade before becoming CEO of sports and talent agency Endeavor China, starts at the new post June 1, NBA China said Tuesday on its website. The NBA in March suspended the rest of its 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) has appointed a Chinese national as its China branch boss, but prominent commentators and fans noted if it wants to win its way back to the Chinese mainland market, it should properly handle Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey — who tweeted in support of Hong Kong rioters last year, leading to significant disappointment and a boycott by the Chinese public, including major broadcasting partners...
The association of professional teams in the US announced on Tuesday its appointment of Michael Ma Xiaofei as the new CEO for the NBA's China branch, effective in June. Ma would be the first mainland native boss for the NBA's Beijing office since it was established in 2008.
The new executive is the son of Ma Guoli, one of the founding figures of China Central Television's (CCTV) sports channel, who helped break the ice and introduce NBA live games to CCTV in the 1990s.
The new appointment no doubt reflects NBA's belief that Ma can get the league out of the situation, given his background, Su Qun, one of the best-known basketball commentators in China and editor-in-chief of the Basketball Pioneer newspaper, told the Global Times.
Veteran basketball practitioner Ma Guoli has resigned for personal reasons as an advisor to legendary Chinese center Yao Ming, currently serving as president of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), the league announced on Tuesday.
Ma, 67, took over as the president of Infront Sports & Media (China), then commercial operator of the CBA league, after the Beijing Olympics in 2008. The league witnessed a prominent growth in business income and brand image during his stint.
Ma joined CBA in 2017 as an advisor to the company's president. He made huge contribution to the league's overall growth over last three years by assisting the board and management in laying out strategies.
Interesting comments on the news on basketball fan site Hupu. As connected as the new NBA China head is into CCTV and the Chinese basketball world, lots of skepticism the NBA can pull off a return in China without an apology and the removal or Morey.
4. China and Australia
Beijing has accused Australia of launching an inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic for political reasons, declaring that “mutual respect and equality” must form the basis of bilateral relations amid industry fears an escalating trade clash could damage the $153bn export market to China.
Threats from China to impose tariffs on Australian barley exports and the suspension of meat exporters have also fuelled speculation Beijing is preparing a series of “retaliatory measures” to increase economic pressure on the Morrison government.
China’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday night claimed the crackdown on four abattoirs in Queensland and NSW was not linked to the communist nation’s fury with Canberra even as it escalated its attack on Scott Morrison’s calls for a global investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic...
The Australian can reveal that several industries are scrambling to protect their slice of the nation’s export market to China and are urging the Morrison government to consider its rhetoric towards Beijing. China is to decide by next week whether to impose massive tariffs of up to 80 per cent on Australian barley exports.
Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Tania Constable, met China’s ambassador Cheng Jingye in Canberra last week, and argued that Australian minerals and metals had “helped build cities and power growth in China for decades”.
Zhao Lijian: We have noted relevant reports. We have learned that China Customs detected repeated violations of inspection and quarantine requirements agreed by Chinese and Australian authorities in a few Australian companies' export of beef products to China. To safeguard Chinese consumers' health and safety, China has decided to suspend effectively immediately, processing four Australian companies' import declarations for meat products. The relevant Australian department has been informed of this decision. The Chinese side has asked the Australian side to conduct a thorough investigation to find the cause and address the issue. You may get more specifics from the competent Chinese authorities.
As you mentioned remarks by the Chinese ambassador to Australia, I want to stress that China always develops friendly cooperation with other countries based on mutual respect and equality. I suggest you carefully read the full text of the ambassador's interview. He was talking about the concerns that the Australian side's recent erroneous words and deeds have upset the Chinese people and that they may impact bilateral relations. Is there any problem with that? How could it have anything to do with "economic coercion"?
The Australian side has been pushing for a so-called independent international review of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have repeatedly stated China's position on this. As is known by all, the issue of the origin and transmission of the virus needs to be assessed scientifically by medical professionals. Political maneuvers under the context of the pandemic will only disrupt international anti-virus cooperation and won't gain any support.
“If you threaten to shoot someone, no one will believe when you stand over his body a week later and claim he accidentally fell on a bullet — of course it’s linked,” said Jeffrey Wilson, research director at the Perth USAsia Center at the University of Western Australia. “But both sides left an off-ramp. They’ll have to talk their way out of this.”..
“It’s more bluster than reality,” said Peter Jennings, executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute and former high-ranking defense official. “They’re certainly not hinting that they will do anything with coal and iron ore. They need our products.”
If there is gain in the pandemic pain, it comes with a warning and a promise. The pandemic is teaching us that we need to diversify our markets, hold fast to our values and always keep faith in our world-beating producers and workers.
Former foreign minister Julie Bishop is urging Australia to do more quiet diplomacy behind the scenes to convince China to sign up to an independent global inquiry into the handling of the coronavirus.
Ms Bishop said Australia's push for a global review also needed to include other countries' handling of the global pandemic, including the United States and Europe, so it wasn't squarely aimed at the initial outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
“No, not at all. Not even a little bit,” Trump said when asked if he would entertain the idea of reworking Phase 1. “I’m not interested. We signed a deal. I had heard that too, they’d like to reopen the trade talk, to make it a better deal for them.”
China’s finance ministry said in a statement the new waivers will take effect on May 19 and expire on May 18, 2021. The latest list waives tariffs on products including ores of rare earth metals, gold ores, silver ores and concentrates.
The ministry did not disclose the imports value of the products. Beijing in February said it will grant exemptions for 696 U.S. goods including key products such as soybeans and pork based on applications from companies.
State-run buyers have purchased more than 20 cargoes, or over 1 million metric tons, of American soybeans in the past two weeks, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The beans were bought using tariff waivers previously issued, the people said.
The Thrift Savings Plan -- the federal government’s retirement savings fund -- was scheduled to transfer roughly $50 billion of its international fund to mirror an MSCI All Country World Index, which captures emerging markets, including China.
Trump's "ask China" line showed that blaming China has become his trick when facing an embarrassing situation, or questions that he did not know how to answer at the press conference, Sun Chenghao, an assistant research fellow with the Institute of American Studies of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
"Trump has become more grumpy and restless with now everything seems to be going against his will - facing with a bunch of journalists wearing masks who ask provocative questions, the infections inside the White House, and pressure from all sides," Sun said.
Mr. Ang, 63, was the director of the University of Arkansas’s High Density Electronics Center, which was founded with Defense Department funds. The center made technology for use in the International Space Station, Mr. Ang said in an interview with an electrical engineering trade publication.
Writing last June to a researcher from Xidian University in China who planned to travel to the University of Arkansas, Mr. Ang cautioned the associate to stay silent on his involvement in the Thousand Talents program. “Not many people here know I am one of them but if this leaks out, my job here will be in deep troubles,” he wrote. He ended the correspondence with another warning: “After you read this email, please delete for safety sake as any email can be retrieved.”
In the one-count complaint, Ang was charged with one count of Wire Fraud. The complaint charges that Ang had close ties with the Chinese government and Chinese companies, and failed to disclose those ties when required to do so in order to receive grant money from NASA. These materially false representations to NASA and the University of Arkansas resulted in numerous wires to be sent and received that facilitated Ang’s scheme to defraud.
CCTV Evening News commentary today cited the former US ambassador Baucus in saying the US politicians are fanning up the McCarthyism against China and Chinese people, and by smearing China people in Washington are “turning this natural disaster into a man-made calamity”. It said “In the battle against the virus, China is a comrade instead of the enemy. In the 21st century today, if the American people allow a small number of anti-Chinese politicians to manipulate McCarthyism, causing everyone to endanger themselves and harm others, it can only be said that it is the sadness of America.”
If that continues like that, Baucus believes that there are going to have deep, deep problems between the U.S. and China. It's going to get worse. It's going to stir up American people against China unnecessarily, and it's going to stir up Chinese people against America unnecessarily.
"I'm trying to say right-thinking people who want to talk about the facts, who care about relationships, speak up. Then we can have discussion based on facts but not on demagogy."
In an interview with the China Forum of Tsinghua University, Chinese ambassador to US Cui Tiankai said China and US should not seek to get the relations back to what they were in the past and they should look forward instead. Cui also said as ambassador of course he can be upset sometimes when he faced some hostile American reporters, but as the representative of China here in the US, he can’t simply have a nasty argument with the questioners, “I can’t let my emotions dictate what I do.”
Xinhua lists the “9 commentaries” 九评: is has published since April 26 "revealing the true color of the U.S. on trying to blame China" - 新华社九篇时评犀利揭开美式“甩锅”真面目
Prosecutors warned that if the information is released outside the U.S., it “could fall into the wrong hands.” They cited a recent New York Times report that five former Huawei employees were jailed by Chinese authorities after they engaged in a WeChat conversation in which one said he could “prove Huawei sold [equipment] in Iran.”
“If true, the allegations in this news article indicate that the People’s Republic of China government may take actions to intervene on behalf of Huawei in the context of this criminal case,” they said in a letter filed late Monday.
Like octopuses emitting toxic ink as soon as they encounter a threat, U.S. politicians are using their poisonous ideas to shield themselves, besmirch China, and muddy the entire world...
In contrast, during the 100 days when the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases surged from one to 1 million in the U.S., what have the U.S. federal government and its politicians done besides bragging, scapegoating others, and showing their ignorance of science?
How have they treated U.S. whistleblowers Dr. Helen Y. Chu and Captain Brett Crozier, and countless medical workers?
Why has the information on Florida already having 171 infected cases in January simply disappeared?
Why was the main biological warfare laboratory at Fort Detrick, which the U.S. media called "the center of the U.S. government's darkest experiments", suddenly shut down? What kind of shady tricks took place there?
In one account collected by Asian Americans Advancing Justice, activists who organized a video call to discuss discrimination were Zoom-bombed by trolls who flooded the message board with comments like “CHING CHONG EAT BATS.” In the most extreme cases, people have been physically harmed. At a Sam’s Club in Midland, Texas, in March, an enraged man stabbed an Asian American family — including children ages 2 and 6. The victims survived after an off-duty Customs and Border Patrol agent intervened, but suffered wounds that required hospitalization. The children’s faces are now scarred with knife wounds.
Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska), Marco Rubio (R-Florida), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) introduced a bill to rename the street outside the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C. “Li Wenliang Plaza.” The bill honors the late Dr. Li Wenliang, the Wuhan-based doctor who warned the world about the coronavirus before the Chinese Communist Party silenced him. Representative Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives.
Comment: Not sure this will upset Beijing since Li is now officially a martyr. Also doubt it is anything more than grandstanding that will go nowhere on the Hill, though the earlier bill to rename this street Liu Xiaobo Plaza
“Much like the Chinese Communist Party has threatened to cut off the U.S. from life-saving medicines made in China, the Chinese Communist Party could also cut off our access to these materials, significantly threatening U.S. national security,” Cruz, a Texas Republican, said in a statement. “The Ore Act will help ensure China never has that opportunity by establishing a rare earth elements and critical minerals supply chain in the U.S.”
The bill would create tax incentives for companies to buy rare earth elements within the U.S. It would also require the Defense Department to do so, and would provide money for pilot programs to expand the American rare earths industry.
Xu Xingtang, a Xinhua reporter based in the US, wrote about all the messes and chaos in the US during the virus outbreak, from the rising death toll and unemployment to the incompetent White House, people refusing to practice social distancing, and governors rushing to reopen the economy.
Wang Yong, a professor of Peking University said Tuesday on a panel that China should use “smart power” to deal with an increasingly hostile America so to slow the decoupling and stabilize the relations. Wang said China should again build a mutually beneficial relationship with the American business community, as well as fix Beijing’s relationship with American media, think tanks and academic, and being more patient and calmer in dealing with these people. He added that China should also do better in communicating to the world its domestic policy and its political system.
China’s top nuclear expert, retired colonel Yang Chengjun of PLA Rocket Force came out to say that people on internet should not be advocating the military to build up its nuclear arsenal just because of the rising threat from America. Yang said these arguments will only stir more mistrust and hostility from America and China’s neighbors, and they can push China into a costly nuclear race with United States.
6. Taiwan and the WHO
WHO Director-General Tedros obviously has the discretionary power to invite Taiwan to observe the WHA based on the WHA rules as well as the past practices (see Art. 3 of the WHA Rules of Procedure and an article about the subject here). But Tedros refuses to do so. Why?
To defend Tedros’ refusal, WHO’s principal legal advisor Steven Solomon has so far cited two main reasons (see e.g. his May 9 briefing). Yet neither of them stand.
“We have got to stand up for ourselves,” Winston Peters, New Zealand’s foreign minister, said at a news conference when asked about China’s response to New Zealand’s position on Taiwan.
Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's remarks came after the foreign affairs department of Taiwan authorities said Monday that the Chinese mainland signed a confidential Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the WHO in 2005 on affairs related to the Taiwan region's participation in the WHO activities.
It is no secret about the MOU signed by the Chinese government and the WHO in 2005, Zhao told a routine press briefing, adding that relevant information could be reached online.
There is only one China in the world, and the Taiwan region is an inalienable part of China's territory, Zhao stressed, noting that China does not need to sign an MOU with any international organization to "return Taiwan to China."
“As the world bears witness to the risks and costs of China’s decades-long efforts to block Taiwan’s participation in the World Health Organization, the United States must do more to reinforce our support for Taiwan’s standing in the international community,” said Ranking Member Menendez. “Securing Taiwan a seat at the WHO’s decision-making table is not only the right thing to do, it is an imperative as we should be learning from Taipei’s responsible and successful response to the coronavirus outbreak. I am delighted the Senate has unanimously approved this legislation instructing the Trump administration to demonstrate our commitment to the well-being of the people of Taiwan by implementing a coherent U.S. diplomatic strategy to support Taiwan’s rightful inclusion in international public health efforts.”
Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO imperils the health of the island’s 23 million people and limits WHO members’ access to crucial public health information, jeopardizing global health.
By a nearly two-to-one margin, people in Taiwan rate the U.S. more favorably than mainland China. There is widespread support for increased economic and political ties with Washington; enthusiasm for similar relations with mainland China is much more muted. Still, even as people are skeptical about closer political relations, half would embrace closer economic ties with mainland China. Younger people are particularly likely to support closer relations with the U.S., and they are less likely to embrace closer relations with China.
Gallagher is a member of the US Congress’ new China Task Force
It’s hard to have a more high-quality friend than Taiwan — a vibrant democracy under intense pressure that deserves our full support.
Unfortunately, support for Taiwan has been inconsistent. Unlike NATO’s crystal-clear Article V collective-defense commitment, the U.S. commitment to Taiwan has been muddled. Since the Carter administration, the United States has adopted a policy of “strategic ambiguity.” Once upon a time, proponents of this strategy may have told themselves that they were calming tensions by deterring both sides from precipitous action: Beijing could not count on our restraint if they opted for invasion, while Taipei could not count on our support if they declared independence...
the U.S. should go farther by establishing a multinational COVID-19 task force in Taipei with U.S. scientific and diplomatic participation. When conditions permit, Secretary Pompeo could visit Taipei to give an address at the new American Institute in Taiwan on Taiwan’s role in helping humanity see through the CCP’s lies and defeat the coronavirus. Congress should also invite President Tsai to address a joint session of Congress. Both Congress and the White House should push for Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations such as the World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization. An early test will come on May 18, when WHO member states are set to vote on Taiwan’s observer status at the World Health Assembly.
Regardless of how that vote turns out, it is time to end our policy of strategic ambiguity with Taiwan, because there is nothing ambiguous about the CCP’s designs on Taiwan...
Now is the time for a declaratory statement of policy committing the United States to the defense of Taiwan. While this approach is not without risk, as we have learned painfully from decades of failed policy toward the CCP, the greatest risk of all comes from complacency.
Comment: Momentum in DC towards recalibrating the US-Taiwan relationship seems to be increasing.
7. Foreign work
Wang and other member states' foreign ministers will discuss in depth issues including global cooperation on fighting COVID-19, international and regional situations, and the future development of the SCO, spokesperson Zhao Lijian told a press briefing.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SCO member states are committed to advocating the "Shanghai spirit," actively carrying out anti-epidemic cooperation and taking concrete actions to put into practice the vision of building a community with a shared future for humanity, he said.
At a 75-minute video conference initiated by United States secretary of state Mike Pompeo, foreign ministers of seven countries including India, Israel and South Korea on Monday evening discussed the coronavirus pandemic, its fallout on the world economy and the way ahead.
The conference, which is being described as ‘experimental online diplomacy’, also discussed resilience in supply chains, diplomatese for dependence on only one country for supplies. In this case, China.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, criticisms towards China have intensified. Martin Jacques, author of "When China Rules the World" and former senior fellow at Cambridge University, shares his take on how to understand these criticisms and how China should cope with them.
The team includes experts from respiratory departments, infectious disease departments, and the fields of intensive medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, infection control, public health and nursing.
They will share experience in epidemic control with the Zimbabwean side and offer training for medics on the prevention, control, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
Speaking during a reception ceremony held at Robert Mugabe International Airport in capital Harare to welcome the team, Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun expressed gratitude to the Hunan provincial government and leading medical institutions in the province for sending the medical team to Zimbabwe.
Djibouti Prime Minister Abdoulkader Kamil Mohamed awarded 12 medals on Sunday to the Chinese medical team helping to fight COVID-19 in the country.
Zeng Yong, the team's leader, was awarded the "Independence Day Medal for Officers,” while 11 other team members were awarded the "Independence Day Medal for Knights.”
The 11 tons of protective equipment were donated by the Chinese government, the provincial governments of Fujian and Guangdong in south China, overseas Chinese and Chinese enterprises, according to the Chinese embassy in PNG.
The equipment was the second batch of materials sent to PNG, which showcased the support from the Chinese side, said Chinese Ambassador to PNG Xue Bing, who attended the donating ceremony with PNG Foreign Minister Patrick Pruaitch.
Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Wei Fenghe on Tuesday talked over the phone with the Indonesian Minister of Defense Prabowo Subianto.
Noting that China has taken resolute prevention and treatment measures against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and achieved major strategic achievements in stemming the spread of COVID-19, Wei said China will firmly support Indonesia’s efforts to fight against the epidemic.
Cardinal Joseph Zen, the retired bishop of Hong Kong, has hit back resolutely at a French theologian who accused Myanmar’s cardinal of “spitting in China's face” when he criticised the China’s communist government for the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Cardinal Zen’s blog, published on UCA news on 6 May, criticised Michel Chambon, and supported Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon. He congratulated The Tablet for reporting Cardinal Bo’s original criticism accurately. “I am happy that The Tablet reported it very positively” he said. In a dig at Chambon, he said “I could not find anything theological in the article of this ‘theologian’”.
“The mindset now is more to coerce counterparts to respect China’s interests as co-operative security is seen as less and less effective,” said Zhao Tong, a senior fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing, a partnership of the US think-tank with one of China’s leading universities.
Mr Zhao described the shift as an “accelerating process” driven by President Xi Jinping’s ambition and US hostility towards China.
China could face isolation from the post-coronavirus global economic order, according to the man who helped secure its place in the World Trade Organization in 2001.
The warning by Long Yongtu, the country’s former chief trade negotiator, adds to a chorus of influential domestic voices who are increasingly concerned about the country being frozen out in the fallout from the pandemic.
As more countries follow the United States in criticizing China for its handling of the virus, some in China are concerned that Washington and its allies will try to exclude Beijing from a new international economic order.
Ma Yong, a historian with Chinese Academy of Social Science said last month in a public panel that the modern history of China shows that progress can only be made when China opens to the world and learn from the West, and that China should seek more integration with the world instead of exceptionalism. He also criticized the young nationalists in Chinese internet and compared them with the red guards during the Cultural Revolution, who didn’t realize how foolish they are given the limited information available.
Comment: It is interesting that there are increasing numbers of academics and former officials publicly criticizing the current diplomatic approach.
8. Japan considering restrictions on chip exports to China?
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, in an interview with Nikkei, stressed the need for greater self-reliance...
Japan's National Security Council established a dedicated economic team in April. A senior official from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry was appointed to a new post within the council's leadership, giving the ministry representation in a body previously dominated by the foreign and defense ministries.
The new team will lead the drafting of a basic strategy for economic security due out this year. It plans to designate pharmaceuticals and medical devices as strategic goods -- taking lessons from the mask shortage -- and include measures to promote domestic production and use of Japanese suppliers.
But this is not its only focus.
The Trump administration in late April tightened restrictions on exports to China of products with potential military applications, including semiconductor-manufacturing equipment and sensors. Given that part of the Japanese economic team's role is coordinating with American agencies, including the U.S. National Security Council, this measure could shape policy in Japan.
"Stricter controls on chip exports could become a topic in the future," a Japanese government insider said.
Business, Economy and Trade
China Factory Deflation Deepens in April as Recovery Slows - Bloomberg The producer price index dropped 3.1% in the month, versus a forecast 2.5% decline. The consumer price index rose 3.3% in April from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday. That compares to the median estimate of a 3.7% increase and a 4.3% rise in March. The fall in consumer and producer prices inflation reflects weak demand both home and abroad and gives policy makers further cause to increase stimulus as the economy faces its worst slump in decades. Consumer price pressure will likely soften further as the effects of an earlier pig disease outbreak fade, while the factory price outlook is darkened by the collapse in global demand amid the pandemic.
Coronavirus: is China prepared to handle an unemployment crisis? | South China Morning Post A research report by brokerage firm Zhongtai Securities in late April put the real jobless rate at 20.5 per cent with 70 million unemployed, while Liu Chenjie, chief economist at fund manager Upright Asset, estimated at the end of March that the pandemic may have pushed 205 million Chinese workers into “frictional unemployment”. Zhang Lin, a Beijing-based political economy observer, said the wave of unemployment stemming from coronavirus is far greater than the previous two – in the late 1990s when 25 million workers at state-owned enterprises lost their jobs and in 2008-09 when the global financial crisis put 20 million migrant workers out of work.
COVID-19 and China’s Household Debt Dilemma | Rhodium Group - Logan Wright and Allen Feng China’s households have been among the world’s best savers—until recently. In only five years, household debt has surged to 128% of household income, and 56% of Chinese GDP. While most of this growth is tied to China’s property market in the form of mortgage debt, consumer credit has expanded rapidly as well: credit card debt in China now exceeds US levels in absolute terms. Economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak now threatens to intensify the financial risks arising from the increase in household borrowing, with implications for financial stability, consumption growth, and the broader economy.
Yicai - Local Gov’ts Have Issued Almost a Quarter of China’s USD141 Billion in Special Bonds for May So far in May, six local governments have announced plans to issue CNY238.6 billion (USD33.6 billion) in special bonds, more than the amount released in each of the previous three months, according to Yicai Global’s calculations.
Luckin fires CEO and COO, chairman remains untouched · TechNode In a filing to the SEC, Luckin Coffee has announced that CEO Qian Zhiya (also former CEO of CAR Inc.) and COO Liu Jian have been fired from their positions. This comes after “. . . evidence that sheds more light on the fabricated transactions described in the press release issued by the Company on April 2, 2020.” The Luckin board has appointed Guo Jinyi as Acting CEO. // What about the CFO?
US message to Britain in bilateral trade talks: it's us – or China | The Guardian The US is seeking to insert a clause that would allow it to retreat from parts of the deal if Britain reaches a trade agreement with another country that the US did not approve. The proposed clause made no mention specifically of China, but is seen by British diplomats in Washington as intended to be a lever to deter closer UK-China relations.
Chinese Delivery Giant SF Express Wants to Feed Your Company, Literally- PingWest SF Express's newly established Fengshi (丰食) platform aims to provide food catering services for businesses, filling a hole on the corporate catering scene. Small and middle-sized companies usually can't afford their own cafeterias. Their employees typically rely on app-based take out orders for lunch and dinner when working overtime.
Yicai - China Baowu, Rio Tinto Finish First Yuan Settlement With Blockchain A subsidiary of China Baowu Steel Group has completed its first yuan-denominated cross-border settlement, totaling more than CNY100 million (USD14.1 million), with an Australian unit of global mining giant Rio Tinto by using blockchain technology.
Yicai - American Families Only Half as Rich as Those in Chinese Cities a recent study by researchers at the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) indicates that China has already achieved its objective of building a moderately prosperous society (小康社会) – at least in its cities. The study, published in the latest issue of China Finance, highlights the results of a comprehensive survey of urban families' finances conducted at the end of 2019. It reports that median household net worth stood at CNY1.41 million or close to USD200,000.
Logistics in China: A roundup of a bumpy week · TechNode China’s logistics industry has been in tumult as the country begins a return to normalcy: Hive Box pisses off customers; courier services raise prices; and SF Express launches a food delivery service.
Has COVID-19 Led to Financial Instability in China? | Seafarer Funds While China’s financial system may have performed well during the initial stages of the COVID-19 crisis, it is by no means completely out of the woods. The current stability could give way to volatility if the preceding risks grow beyond the capacity of policymakers to manage. Additionally, this crisis has taught the world that some of the most important risks are the ones that are completely unexpected. As such, vigilance will be required to ensure China’s continued financial stability.
P2P Platform Xiaoniu Online Becomes the Latest in China to Close Shop – China Banking News On 10 May the public security authorities of Nanshan in Shenzhen also announced via its official Weibo account that it would be “guiding Xiaoniu Online in appropriately disposing of risk, and protecting the lawful rights and interests of lenders.” The Shenzhen authorities said that they would “require that borrowers fulfil their repayment duties in accordance with agreements.”
China-focused hedge funds record best month in half a decade | Financial Times $$ The Eurekahedge Greater China Hedge Fund index — which tracks almost 70 hedge funds with about $30bn between them — climbed 9.7 per cent last month, according to new data. That was its best showing since April 2015, and brought its year-to-date performance to a gain of 2.5 per cent.
RCEP will test appetite for open trade in coronavirus era | Financial Times $$ The RCEP negotiators are aiming towards a meeting of Asean economy ministers in early September and a leaders’ summit in November, when they hope to agree a deal. “What I was afraid of in March was that some countries might say we can’t commit to trade liberalisation given the situation with coronavirus,” said the Japanese negotiator. So far, however, that risk has not materialised. National leaders have not changed their negotiating directives, with countries such as China focused on the need to boost exports and foreign investment as a means to economic recovery.
Over 800 Bank Outlets Shut in China Since Start of 2020, 100 Million Yuan in Deposits Needed to Break Even – China Banking News This rate of closures marks a sharp acceleration even compared to 2019, when the big six state-owned banks closed 836 of their physical outlets, with Agricultural Bank of China shutting 232 and ICBC 220...A research report from Lianxun Securities further indicates that interest rate market reforms have led to a sharp drop in overall profits within a brief period, ramping up competition within the Chinese banking sector.
Tim Hortons eyes China coffee drinkers with Tencent investment | TechCrunch Canadian coffee-and-doughnut chain Tim Hortons has secured a heavyweight partner to further its China expansion. The company announced on its social media account (in Chinese) on Tuesday that it has landed funding from Tencent, the Chinese social networking and gaming giant, without disclosing the size of the proceeds.
Chinese companies race to shield executives from investor lawsuits | Financial Times $$ Chinese companies are rushing to protect their executives from potential lawsuits as Beijing deepens its crackdown on corporate misbehaviour. A record number of listed companies in the world’s second-biggest economy have said this year that they will buy insurance policies intended to shield against the possibility of directors and officers being sued by shareholders or customers.
Politics and Law
Probe into former aircraft carrier program commander unlikely impacts China's naval devt - Global Times Hu Wenming, former chairman of China's shipbuilding conglomerate and former chief commander of China's aircraft carrier program, is being investigated for suspected serious violations of discipline and law, China's top anti-graft agency said Tuesday. Chinese military observers said on Wednesday Hu's case will unlikely impact China's naval development programs despite his significant role in the arms industry. Hu, former Party chief and chairman of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), is being investigated by the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission, according to a statement the commission released on its website on Tuesday. 原中国船舶重工集团有限公司党组书记、董事长胡问鸣接受中央纪委国家监委纪律审查和监察调查 // Unclear if this has anything to do with the case of Zhou Bo, former GM of the company who was sentenced to 12 years in prison last year for taking bribes and abuse of power. Rumors said Zhou was a CIA spy who leaked secrets about China’s aircraft carrier program
Legal Scholar Zhang Xuezhong Briefly Detained After Publishing Open Letter to NPC | China Digital Times (CDT) Zhang called on NPC deputies to turn the legislature into a “transitional authority” to create a broadly representative committee empowered to draft a constitution conforming to “modern political principles”.
【中共反腐】74岁的上海市委原书记陈良宇被曝已出狱｜多维新闻网｜中国 Chen Liangyu, former Shanghai Party Secretary and Politburo member who was sentenced to 18 years in jail for corruption in 2008, is out of jail
What's at Stake in Xinjiang? Panel Discussion - YouTube - USC U.S.-China Institute On May 9, 2020, we hosted a symposium on what is happening in Xinjiang and why it matters. Dru Gladney of Pomona College reviewed the history of China’s policies toward ethnic minorities and the region’s economic and strategic importance
中国新闻网：国家能源局西北监管局原局长王天才接受审查调查 Wang Tiancai, a retired official from the National Energy Administration is now under investigation of corruption, said CCDI, the party’s anti-corruption watchdog. Wang supervised the Northwestern China region when he was with the Administration.
广州日报：全国人大代表朱列玉：建议信赖关系中的未成年女性性同意年龄提高至18周岁 Lawyer and member of the National People’s Congress Zhu Lieyu told Guangzhou Daily that he has submitted a bill to revise the laws and raise China’s age of consent from 14 to 18. This came after the accused in several child abuse cases used “consent” to defend themselves. The law has caused an uproad in Chinese internet.
Xinhua polled about what Chinese people care the most at the two sessions. Currently "social management" 社会治理 is leading, followed by “social welfare”社会保障, “income level”收入水平, and “educational equality”教育公平.
Xinhua Comment: 新华时评：国企扛起复工复产大梁-新华网 SOEs are taking the leading role in resuming production and spurring economic growth. State-owned enterprises are the pillars of the economy. At the critical moment when the party and the people need them, they must be able to stand up, take on responsibilities, and win the game against the pandemic.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
Chinese choppers spotted near Ladakh LAC prompt alert, IAF fighters rushed in: Report - india news - Hindustan Times In what appears to be a multi-front deliberate ploy by China to keep India on its toes the Indian Air Force was forced to rush its fighter jet patrols in Ladakh after Chinese military choppers were found to be flying close to the Line of Actual Control.
What to Make of India and China’s Latest Border Clash – The Diplomat More important than the latest spat are the structural factors that prevent a final resolution of the border issue.
China reveals large destroyer's replenishment training for 1st time - Global Times The Nanchang, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's first Type 055 large destroyer, recently completed its first known maritime replenishment training, an operation that military experts said is crucial for the newly commissioned warship's combat capability. China's most advanced destroyer is soon expected to be put into action and accompany aircraft carriers in far sea operations, experts predicted. The supply ship Taihu and Nanchang recently conducted replenishment training, the PLA Navy announced on its Sina Weibo account on Monday. The post also came with a video of the operation.
Chinese military aircraft spotted at Fiery Cross Reef in South China Sea | Jane's 360 Imagery captured on 11 May shows a KJ-200 anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft, a KJ-500 airborne early warning (AEW) aircraft, and a Z-8 helicopter on the ramp at Fiery Cross Reef, which supports a large Chinese military outpost constructed on reclaimed land, and includes an airfield and a harbour.
Malaysian oil exploration vessel leaves South China Sea waters after standoff - Reuters Three American warships and an Australian frigate conducted a joint exercise near the site of Petronas’ operations amid the standoff last month. The West Capella, the vessel contracted by Petronas, left the waters as it has finished its exploration activities in the area, the sources said. They did not want to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media.
China launches first satellites for new generation space-borne IoT project - ECNS China has successfully launched the first two communication satellites for its new space-based Internet-of-Things (IoT) project into designated orbit on Tuesday, with the first one named after its birthplace Wuhan, a city once hit hard by the COVID-19, according to China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), the developer
Indonesian fishermen who died on Chinese boats faced abuse, 21-hour days, interviews reveal | South China Morning Post Four Indonesian fishermen died while working for Chinese company Dalian Ocean Fishing, in a case that has sparked a police probe and a joint investigation between Jakarta and Beijing
Wang Yi to attend SCO FMs video conference in Beijing | Associated Press Of Pakistan State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend a video conference of the foreign ministers of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on Wednesday (May 13), Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Zhao Lijian announced on Tuesday.
China fires its latest underwater nuclear missile into spotlight with science prize | South China Morning Post Researchers involved in the development of China’s most advanced submarine-launched nuclear missile, the JL-3, have been recognised in one of the country’s top science awards. The team that worked on the “underwater-launched large solid-fuel carrier rocket”, or SLBM, is among the 10 nominated to receive a National Award for Excellence in Innovation.
China’s Space and Counterspace Activities | U.S.- CHINA | ECONOMIC and SECURITY REVIEW COMMISSION "China’s Space and Counterspace Capabilities and Activities," examines China’s military and civil space programs, including the role of military-civil fusion (MCF) and international cooperation in the development of its space program. It also addresses Beijing’s development and fielding of counterspace capabilities. It was prepared for the Commission by the Project 2049 Institute and Pointe Bello.
A NEW Look at the Chinese Communist Party with Oriana Skylar Mastro - YouTube Last week, after being named to Congress’ new China Task Force, Rep. Gallagher said, “Today we find ourselves in the midst of a generational struggle that threatens not only our national security, but the freedoms and values we hold as Americans.” While we’ve taken a NEW look at how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seeks to dominate critical industries, or undermine allied countries like the United Kingdom and Australia, we need to go deeper: why has the threat posed by China grown so quickly, and how does it threaten our freedoms as Americans? Why should we be concerned about actions the CCP takes to restrict political freedoms, and how does that impact Northeast Wisconsin? To explore these questions, Mike is joined by his good friend Oriana Skylar Mastro, an assistant professor of security studies at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and incoming Center Fellow at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
Dissidents project anti-Xi Jinping images onto Chinese consulate building in Los Angeles - Mothership.SG - Calling themselves the Anti-Totalitarian Chinese Alliance, members of the group projected onto the exterior of the building the words "CCP virus", along with a graphic of Chinese President Xi Jinping with viral spike proteins growing from his head.
How Will China Shape Global Governance? | ChinaFile Melanie Hart - The current global governance system is a problem for Beijing. It privileges liberal values over authoritarian ones. It recognizes limits to state authority, respects universal rights, and prioritizes broad public interests over the interests of any single political party. That is the opposite of how the Chinese Communist Party operates. In China’s system, the Party is above the law, collective national interests are more important than individual interests, and the Party gets to define China’s national interests and pursue them as it sees fit. Beijing is working to export elements of that model to the global governance system, and the Trump administration’s multilateral retreat is providing Beijing with unprecedented maneuvering room to do so. When Chinese leaders describe their global governance reform ambitions to an international audience, they often use fuzzy terms intended to hide their true agenda.
Hong Kong and Macao
Hong Kong to prioritize passing of contentious anthem bill - AP Hong Kong’s government will give “priority” to a contentious bill that seeks to criminalize abuse of the Chinese national anthem, the city’s leader said Tuesday, days after a pro-Beijing lawmaker wrested control over a key committee that vets bills.
How Hong Kong Is Beating the Coronavirus - The Atlantic The secret sauce of Hong Kong’s response was its people, and crucially, the movement that engulfed the city in 2019. Seared with the memory of SARS, and already mobilized for the past year against their unpopular government, the city’s citizens acted swiftly, collectively, and efficiently, in effect saving themselves. Crucially, the organizational capacity and the civic infrastructure built by the protest movement played a central role in Hong Kong’s grassroots response.
Tech and Media
In China, Zoom no match for Alibaba's videoconference app - Nikkei Asian Review DingTalk, developed by Alibaba, won the crown for most downloads in China during the first quarter of the year, U.S. analytics firm App Annie said. Not only is DingTalk used for videoconferencing, teams can share documents via the all-in-one telecommuting platform. Tencent Meeting, released in December, came in second place. Zoom placed sixth by downloads in China during the January-March quarter.
Yicai - China’s Kuaishou Accuses Rival TikTok of Foul Play, Sues for USD706,000 in Damages for allegedly impersonating it on a third-party app store and diverting customers away, a Chinese court said today.
Marbridge Consulting - China Telecom, Mobile and Internet Research A total of 41.73 mln mobile handsets were shipped in China in April 2020, up 14.2% YoY and 91.8% MoM, according to new figures released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), a department of China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
Huawei Struggles to Get Along Without Google - WSJ Without the search-and-software giant’s apps, smartphone fixtures around the world, the once-relentless march of Huawei’s phones is faltering. Overall smartphone demand globally suffered a record fall in the first quarter, as the coronavirus ravaged the world economy and upended supply chains. But Huawei’s smartphone shipments outside China dropped 35%, more than twice rival Samsung Electronics Co. ’s decline and four times Apple Inc.’s, according to data tracker Canalys.
财新：万达59亿减值再遭问询, 影视公司“三高”并购后遗症集中爆发 The Shenzhen Stock Exchange is making inquiries into Wanda Film after the company reported a 4.7 billion RMB loss in 2019, its first loss in five years. Among other things, the Exchange needs the company to explain the 5.5 billion RMB in “goodwill impairments”.
GizChina: Ren Zhengfei: Huwei cannot completely expunge US chips Huawei Community recently published the full report of an interview with Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei in South China. Ren Zhengfei once again talked about the US ban and Huawei’s supply chain. He believes that it is impossible for Huawei to completely remove the US chip from the supply chain. According to him, this is impossible because American companies must also survive.
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
Papi Jiang Receives Online Backlash for Giving Son Her Husband's Surname | What's on Weibo China’s favorite online comedian and Weibo superstar Papi Jiang (papi酱) has received online backlash for giving her baby her husband’s surname. The online controversy erupted on Mother’s Day, when Papi shared a photo of her and her baby on her Weibo account, that has some 33 million followers.
Energy, Environment, Science and Health
China Names and Shames Metals Behemoth for Environmental Violations - Caixin The disclosures come as China’s top environmental compliance watchdog, which falls under MEE’s direction, conducts a new round of inspections around the country. Beijing has placed the environment high on the agenda in recent years by tightening emissions standards, incentivizing the green industry and cordoning off areas for conservation. // 中央生态环保督查组：五矿集团环保工作落实不力
Beijing Releases Handy and Comprehensive English Guide to Recycling | the Beijinger On May 1, Beijing officially began rolling out its long-awaited recycling plan, with a steady influx of recycling bins popping up around housing complexes, hotels, and schools, etc. Now, it's up to individuals and business owners in the city to sort their trash accordingly, lest they want to incur a fine of up to RMB 200.
新京报：郴州再现“大头娃娃”，疑固体饮料充特医奶粉，调查启动 The local government in Chenzhou, Hunan is investigating another fake milk incident that has made at least five children sick. A Local TV report said doctors were recommending this milk to the parents. This is the second such incident in Chenzhou in just two years.
China bans teachers from pushing young children to learn ahead of curriculum | South China Morning Post Primary and middle schools have been issued with a detailed list of what not to teach, in the latest effort to stop the widespread practice of getting young children ahead of the curriculum in the hope of giving them a head start in the all-important National Higher Education Entrance Examination, or gaokao.// Good luck with this policy