Xi Party School speech; John Kerry and Wang Yi have a video chat; 6th Plenum; Spavor and Kovrig

Today’s Essential Eight items:

  1. Xi makes annual address to Fall Party School training session

  2. Kerry flies to Tianjin, Wang Yi meets him over video link

  3. Ambassador Qin Gang’s speech

  4. More on the Li Guangman post and the 6th Plenum

  5. New school year starts

  6. War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea and patriotic education

  7. More official details on Spavor and Kovrig cases

  8. Official labor unions are OK, labor activism is not

Thanks for reading.


The Essential Eight

1. Xi makes annual address to Fall Party School training session

Xi calls on young officials to strengthen loyalty, competency for important tasks - Xinhua

Xi Jinping on Wednesday called on young officials to firm up their ideals, stay loyal to the Party, seek truth from facts, shoulder responsibilities, and strive to become the backbone of a society trusted by the Party and people with important tasks.

Xi...made the remarks while addressing the opening of a training session for young and middle-aged officials at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee (National Academy of Governance)...

The CPC has always been a Party harboring lofty ideals and indomitable conviction, Xi said, adding that the ideals and conviction refer to the belief in Marxism, the great ideal of Communism and a shared ideal of socialism with Chinese characteristics....

Xi encouraged young officials to strive for the honor of being stationed in harsh and remote places. "Success rarely comes without arduousness and rich experience," he said.

Stressing reality-based solutions, Xi urged young officials to visit the primary level to learn about development and defect while absorbing both praise and criticism, so that they can gain a thorough understanding of the real situation.

CCTV Evening News on the meeting - 习近平在中央党校(国家行政学院)中青年干部培训班开班式上发表重要讲话强调 信念坚定对党忠诚实事求是担当作为 努力成为可堪大用能担重任的栋梁之才

As the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century and the Great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has entered a critical period, the risks and challenges we face have increased significantly, Xi said. It is unrealistic to expect a peaceful life without a struggle. We must discard illusions, have the courage to struggle, and make no concessions on matters of principle. We must uphold China's sovereignty, security and development interests with unprecedented determination. Communists should at all times have strong character, integrity and boldness that do not believe in evil, fear no ghost and not be spineless.

习近平强调,当前,世界百年未有之大变局加速演进,中华民族伟大复兴进入关键时期,我们面临的风险挑战明显增多,总想过太平日子、不想斗争是不切实际的。要丢掉幻想、勇于斗争,在原则问题上寸步不让、寸土不让,以前所未有的意志品质维护国家主权、安全、发展利益。共产党人任何时候都要有不信邪、不怕鬼、不当软骨头的风骨、气节、胆魄。

Comment: This language about “unrealistic to expect a peaceful life” is new and interesting I think.

As for other terms that may be interesting, in this year’s speech Xi used the term "struggle 斗争" 5 times. In his 2019 speech Xi used the term 58 times, and in the 2020 speech twice.

In this year's speech Xi used the term "Communists 共产党人" 6 times.

He used it twice in the 2019 speech, it did not appear in the 2020 speech. Is that meaningful? I am not sure, but seems worth noting.

2020 speech - 习近平在中央党校(国家行政学院)中青年干部培训班开班式上发表重要讲话_滚动新闻_中国政府网

2019 speech - 习近平在中央党校(国家行政学院)中青年干部培训班开班式上发表重要讲话强调 发扬斗争精神增强斗争本领 为实现“两个一百年”奋斗目标而顽强奋斗_CCTV


2. Kerry flies to Tianjin, Wang Yi meets him over video link

Comment: Wang Yi met the Taliban representatives in person in Tianjin a few weeks ago, but just video for Kerry since Wang is not his main interlocutor and this was more of a courtesy/message-sending meeting?

Chinese FM meets U.S. climate envoy calling cooperation "only option” - CGTN

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a virtual meeting Wednesday with U.S. climate envoy John Kerry, who is in China’s northern city of Tianjin for climate talks.

Both agreed that climate cooperation between the two major powers is critical.

Speaking via video link, the Chinese foreign minister said that China-U.S. climate cooperation will benefit humanity, but such cooperation cannot be isolated from worsening relations. ..

"We have shown our sincerity. Everyone who met with you will have to spend two weeks in quarantine, but we’re willing to pay that price, to discuss cooperation with the U.S. on affairs of mutual concerns," said Wang Yi, Chinese Foreign Minister. "As two major powers, cooperation is our only correct option and the sincere expectation of the international community."

王毅视频会见克里:就当前中美关系提出3个要求_凤凰网

Wang Yi said that in recent years, China-Us relations have taken a turn for the worse, plummeted and faced serious difficulties, and the reason is that the US side has made a major strategic miscalculation against China. As a Chinese saying goes, "The ball is now in the US's court. The US should stop seeing China as a threat and rival, and stop surrounding and suppressing China around the world." We should attach importance to and actively respond to the "two lists" and "three bottom lines" put forward by China, and take concrete actions to improve China-US relations rather than adding new ones to the old scores. Coordination and cooperation at bilateral, regional and global levels should be carried out on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, rather than a one-way street.

Wang Yi said china-U.S. cooperation on climate change not only serves the interests of both sides, but also benefits all mankind and enjoys broad prospects for development. The US hopes that climate change cooperation will become an "oasis" in China-Us relations. However, if the "oasis" is surrounded by "deserts", the "oasis" will be degraded sooner or later. China-US climate change cooperation cannot be divorced from the overall environment of China-US relations. The US should work with China to meet each other halfway and take positive actions to bring China-US relations back on track.

王毅说,近年来,中美关系急转直下,大幅滑坡,面临严重困难,究其原因是美方对中国作出了重大战略误判。“解铃还需系铃人”,现在球在美方一边,美方应停止将中国视为威胁和对手,停止满世界围堵打压中国;应重视并积极回应中方提出的“两份清单”和“三条底线”,采取实际行动改善中美关系,不能旧账未了又添新账;应本着相互尊重、平等互利的原则开展双边、地区和全球层面的协调合作,不能只搞单行道。

王毅说,中美气变合作既符合双方利益,也将造福全人类,有着广阔发展前景。美方希气变合作成为中美关系的“绿洲”,但如“绿洲”周围都是“荒漠”,“绿洲”迟早会被沙化。中美气变合作不可能脱离中美关系的大环境,美方应与中方相向而行,采取积极行动,推动中美关系重回正轨。


3. Ambassador Qin Gang’s speech

Seems like more of the same “it is all America’s fault” theme, perhaps the discussion was more encouraging?

Keynote Speech by Ambassador Qin Gang at the Welcome Event by the National Committee on US-China Relations Board of Directors — Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the United States of America

Now the China-US relationship has come to another historical juncture, and it faces a very severe situation. The extreme China policy of the previous US administration has caused serious damage to our relations, and such a situation has not changed. It is even continuing. It goes against the fundamental interests of Chinese and American people and the wishes of the international community. Some people are trying to deny the achievements of China-US ties in the past 50 years and redefine our relations by strategic competition. They assert that the era of engagement and cooperation is over, and it must be replaced by competition and confrontation.

There are three wrong beliefs on China-US relations in the United States.

Some people believe that China is betting against America, and China's goal is to challenge and displace America. This is a serious misjudgment of China's strategic intention…

We only want to surpass ourselves. We never take surpassing the US as our goal, and we never have the ambition to challenge and displace America, or to seek hegemony in the world...

Some people believe that America needs to deal with China from a position of strength. They think America can win the new "Cold War" against China, just as it defeated the Soviet Union. This reflects a serious ignorance of history and China...

Some people believe that cooperation is being phased out by competition and confrontation. This is a very misleading perception for the prospects of China-US relations.

In fact, the need for China-US cooperation is not decreasing, but increasing. Our two countries should not be enemies, but partners. Over 70,000 American companies have investments in China, and these investments pay well. According to the latest report of the US-China Business Council, 95% of the American companies surveyed made a profit in China last year, and 64% saw their revenue grow in the Chinese market. Before I came to the US, I had discussions with the American business community in China. They all told me that no country can take the place of China in global industrial chain. They value the Chinese market, they are optimistic about the Chinese economy, and they hope to stay in China and expand their investments. They are firmly opposed to the trade war, to decoupling, and to cutting off supplies to Chinese companies. They are most worried about the uncertainty that a worsening China-US relationship may have on them. [Comment: See next item]

In the early 1960s, China's relations with the Soviet Union turned bitter. The Soviet Union withdrew all the experts and assistance from China. At that time, China was caught up in serious difficulties. Terrible droughts caused dire shortage of food, and the people had barely enough to eat. But we met these difficulties head on, and relied on ourselves. Within a few years, we put in place a complete industrial system and national economic system. We launched major scientific and technological programs. In 1964, almost 90% of the main machinery in China was self-manufactured. In 1965, we produced enough petroleum to meet the demands of the Chinese economy at that time. In 1964, China's first atomic bomb was successfully tested. China knows how it feels to have its back to the wall, just like the situation today when we face the threat of cutting off supplies. But we have all made it through. When the US chooses to use state power to bring down Huawei, it can only expect, in the words of many Chinese, not the collapse of Huawei, but the emerging of more companies like Huawei...

First, the two sides should be clear about each other's bottom lines and show mutual respect. In their Tianjin meeting, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi marked out "three bottom lines" of China to Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. They are all about China's core interests. The Chinese side also put forward "two lists" to the US side: a list of US wrongdoings and a list of individual cases of China's concern. The lists are symptoms, and the bottom lines point to the root causes. It is hoped that the US side will exercise caution on issues concerning Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Xizang [Tibet] and the South China Sea, respect China's sovereignty, security and development interests, stop interfering in China's internal affairs, and avoid touching or challenging China's red line..

Second, the two sides should maintain dialogue and manage differences. We need to follow through on the spirit of the telephone call between President Xi and President Biden on the eve of Chinese New Year, enhance communication and exchanges, and promote mutual trust. We are willing to strengthen communication with the US between the departments of foreign affairs, economy, finance, law enforcement and the military, and rebuild dialogue mechanisms...

Third, the two sides should remove disturbances and focus on cooperation. At the bilateral level and on global issues such as climate change, we can build up small steps and address easier problems first, so as to find the entry point to improve our relations and expand cooperation.

Big business scrambles to avert U.S. Cold War with China - POLITICO

The groups say companies abhor the intimidation, forced labor conditions and general atmosphere of repression in China, particularly in Hong Kong and the northwestern region of Xinjiang. But they are also concerned that a trade crackdown could strangle investments U.S. firms have made in the world’s most populous nation.

“There's a huge consumer market in China. Most of the big U.S. companies are selling there. They're not just using it as an export platform. They're integrated into the economy in other ways,” said Rufus Yerxa, a former senior U.S. trade representative and WTO official who is now president of the National Foreign Trade Council...

“I would argue that a lot of [U.S. firms] are probably better forces for good business practices and good governance than maybe the state-owned Chinese companies are,” Yerxa said. “If we do some specific kind of targeted thing that makes it impossible for [U.S. corporations] to maintain their businesses, their foreign and Chinese competitors can continue doing it. How effective has it been in changing China's policies?” [Question: Is it still 1999? Because that is what this quote makes it sound like]

In recent months, the U.S.-China Business Council, which represents more than 250 American firms that do business in China, has reached out to aides for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and anti-war groups like Justice is Global, one of scores of groups that endorsed letters urging Congress to pump the brakes on anti-China provisions and prioritize climate change cooperation with Beijing...

China urges investigation of massacre of Afghans by U.S. - Xinhua

Although the U.S. military has withdrawn from Afghanistan, the massacre of civilians by the U.S. military and its allies in Afghanistan in the past 20 years must be investigated thoroughly, and the murderers brought to justice, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Wednesday.

Spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a daily news briefing in response to a question on the recent civilian killings by U.S. troops during their withdrawal from Afghanistan.

US says new Chinese rule that vessels register for South China Sea access threatens freedom of navigation | South China Morning Post

The Pentagon on Wednesday appeared to dismiss Beijing’s new demand that all foreign ships entering the South China Sea must register with Chinese maritime authorities, calling it a “serious threat” to freedom of navigation and trade.

“The United States remains firm that any coastal state law or regulation must not infringe upon navigation and overflight rights enjoyed by all nations under international law,” said John Supple, a Pentagon spokesman, in response to questions about China’s decree this week.

‘Spiral into crisis’: The U.S.-China military hotline is dangerously broken - POLITICO

former senior U.S. military officials warn that better, and more regular, means of communication are necessary to prevent a possible future confrontation between U.S. and Chinese military forces in the Indo-Pacific region.

Question: How much does the PRC side want this?


4. More on the Li Guangman post and the 6th Plenum

Profound Transformations – China Media Project

It is likely that for months if not years to come, observers of Chinese history and current affairs will weigh the significance of an article making the rounds on China’s internet this past Sunday. Appearing on scores of official Party-state media websites and commercial internet portals, the article is penned by a virtually unknown blogger named Li Guangman (李光满), who claims that revolution is in the air in China, with profound transformations to be felt by all...

This talk of “revolution” quickly dominated discussion on many chatrooms and social media threads through Monday. Such language, appearing on the odd social media account, might ordinarily be dismissed as the ravings of a Maoist outlier. But this post, though attributed to Li’s own public account, “Li Guangman Freezing Point Commentary” (李光满冰点时评), was shared on the websites of eight major Party-state media on August 29, and on scores of commercial sites, all with the same headline: “Everyone Can Sense That a Profound Change is Underway!” (每个人都能感受到, 一场深刻的变革正在进行!)

The re-publishing by Party-state media of an article from so-called “self-media” or “We media” (自媒体), a term referring to digital social media platforms such as WeChat that integrate self-publishing with chat and other services, is a very rare occurrence. The assumption many observers have naturally made, therefore, is that the joint posting of this WeChat article across Party-state media websites must have been coordinated by the Central Propaganda Department and other relevant offices...

Why would such an article be encouraged and supported at this time?

One possible explanation concerns the possibility that we are about to witness the release of a new “resolution,” or jueyi (决议), on the history of the CCP. Given practices within the Party in the past, such a step would seem necessary if Xi Jinping is serious about defining the current period as a “new era” (新时代), which would go further in making the case for his leadership beyond the 20th National Congress of the CCP in 2022.

A Xi Jinping resolution on history would be the third in a century for the CCP.

Full translation of Li’s post - Translation: Everyone Can Sense That a Profound Transformation is Underway! - China Digital Times (CDT)


5. New school year starts

Education Authorities Warn of Punishment if National Policies Aren’t Enforced - Caixin

A document issued by the State Council’s education inspection committee outlines measures to hold entities or individuals accountable if they fail to fulfil their educational duties or violate laws and regulations. The education ministry’s office of national education inspection conducts the day-to-day work of the committee...

Tian Zuyin, head of the ministry’s office of national education inspection, said at a press conference Wednesday that specific measures on accountability have to be formulated to “add teeth” to inspection efforts.

“For a long time, the main reason why education inspection has not been able to give full play to its role is that accountability has not kept pace with it,” he said.

国务院教育督导委员会关于印发《教育督导问责办法》的通知 - 中华人民共和国教育部政府门户网站

New semester begins as China rolls out 'most strict measures in decades' to ease students' burden - Global Times

Since July, the government put a lid on the country's chaotic and massive off-campus tutorial industry, restricting it from offering curriculum subject-tutoring courses during holidays and weekends. At a Monday conference, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said that first and second graders should not be given written examinations. For other grades, schools should give only one final examination every semester, compared with previous practices of jamming multiple exams into a semester...

In order to better implement those rules, the MOE on Wednesday issued the first document since the founding of the People's Republic of China to hold entities, including local governments, relevant departments, schools and other educational institutions, accountable for activities that hamper the development of education, including lack of resolution and commitment in implementing national policies.

Chu Zhaohui, a research fellow at the National Institute of Education Sciences hailed the MOE's move as smoothening the nerves of some parents who were questioning the implementation of the "double reduction" policies. "Holding people accountable for those infringements means the government is serious about reducing burden this time. This effort will help schools and other entities focus on what they should be focused on, which are classes and campuses."


6. War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea and patriotic education

8th batch of remains of CPV martyrs returns home - Global Times

The eighth batch of remains of martyrs of the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV), who sacrificed their lives during the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53), are coming home. Carrying out such a handover as schools across China prepare for a new semester is of great educational significance and offers an important patriotism lesson for society, especially adolescents, according to Chinese authorities who oversee the event...

The MVA [Ministry of Veterans Affairs] stressed in the statement that the Communist Party of China Central Committee attaches great importance to patriotism education for adolescents, and the timing of the event in early September is meant to help youngsters fully understand the great spirits forged by the CPV in the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea in their first classes of the new semester.

That is to "deeply comprehend the struggle that China has undergone to achieve the peace and stable current situation, to build up the willpower of striving to make progress and a strong work ethic, and to cherish the hard-won good life," the ministry elaborated.

第八批在韩中国人民志愿军烈士遗骸装殓仪式在韩国举行_CCTV节目官网-CCTV-1_央视网(cctv.com)

Wednesday CCTV Evening News on the handover ceremony

Chinese-produced War to Resist US Aggression, Aid Korea blockbuster takes aim at National Day box office - Global Times

Chinese-produced epic The Battle at Lake Changjin of the War to Resist US Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-53) is set to be released in the Chinese mainland on September 30, the film's official Sina Weibo account announced on Wednesday, the day before the remains of Chinese People's Volunteers' Army soldiers were set to be repatriated from South Korea to China on Thursday...

The Battle at Lake Changjin was originally scheduled to be released in August but was postponed due the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Chinese mainland.

Trailer on Youtube:


7. More official details on Spavor and Kovrig cases

Exclusive: Canadian Spavor took photos, videos of Chinese military equipment, sent them to Kovrig and outside China, source said - Global Times

Canadian citizen Michael Spavor, who was sentenced in August to 11 years in prison for espionage and illegal provision of China's state secrets to foreign entities, was found to have taken photos and videos of Chinese military equipment on multiple occasions and illegally provided some of those photos to people outside China, a source close to the matter told the Global Times on Wednesday...

The source revealed that during his stay in China, Spavor took photos and videos of Chinese military equipment on multiple occasions and illegally provided some of those photos to people outside China.

The photos and videos have been identified as second-tier state secrets. Spavor was a key informant of another Canadian defendant, Michael Kovrig, and provided him with information over a long period, the source said...

The source said between 2017 and 2018, Kovrig entered China under the guise of a businessman and false pretext of commerce. In Beijing, Shanghai, Jilin and other places, through his associates, Kovrig gathered a large amount of undisclosed information related to China's national security, on which he wrote analytical reports. The information Kovrig gathered included second-tier state secrets and intelligence.


8. Official labor unions are OK, labor activism is not

PhD student researching Chinese labour movements ‘detained for subversion of state power’ | South China Morning Post

The news of Fang Ran‘s disappearance broke on Wednesday after Fang Jianzhong, who said he was the student’s father, posted a plea for his son to be freed on social media.

He wrote that the 26-year-old had been taken away by agents from the Ministry of State Security in his hometown of Nanning in Guangxi on August 26...

“I’m very shocked because Fang Ran is not a criminal who is capable of causing damage to the party. But rather, a young man born with a purpose,” the message said, adding that the student has been a Communist Party member since 2013.

From yesterday's newsletter on the Fang Ran detention:

组织互助平台表达骑手不满 外卖骑手盟主被捕 | 中国劳工通讯

Comment: Fang Ran's work to help food delivery drivers get better treatment may be behind his detention...the nasty irony...on the one hand crack down on the companies exploiting the workers, on the other arrest the people helping the workers...only Party-approved and directed change allowed

Didi and JD.com workers get unions in watershed moment for China's tech sector | Reuters

Didi's union, announced on an internal forum last month, will be initially managed by employees at its Beijing headquarters and will be guided by the government-backed All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACTFU), said two people familiar with matter. They were not authorised to speak to media and declined to be identified...

JD.com established a trade union this week, a newspaper affiliated with the Beijing Federation of Trade Unions said, publishing pictures of the ceremony which was attended by a number of government officials...

In July, the ACFTU and seven other top Chinese government bodies published guidance about safeguarding the rights of gig economy workers and suggested unions could play a role in helping negotiate with firms.


Business, Economy and Trade

Yicai - China’s Factory Activity Contracts in August for First Time in 15 Months, Caixin PMI Shows The Caixin purchasing managers’ index for manufacturing fell to 49.2 last month amid severe flooding and a renewed Covid-19 outbreaks, from 50.2 in July, according to data released today by financial media group Caixin. A mark above 50 indicates expansion. The data echoed China’s official manufacturing PMI released by the National Bureau of Statistics yesterday, which stood at 50.1 in August, down from 50.4 the month before. The NBS figure was the lowest since March last year, but still just above the expansion threshold.

Evergrande Contagion Fear Returns as Bonds Tumble Below 30 Cents - Bloomberg One of the company’s most widely held bonds plunged by 6 cents on the dollar to 28.5 cents on Wednesday, a record low. The rout -- triggered by Evergrande’s warning of a potential default if its asset-sale plans fail to materialize -- accelerated during European market hours as private banks offloaded positions, traders said.

China Offers Funds to Banks to Boost Loans to Small Firms - Bloomberg China’s central bank will provide 300 billion yuan ($46.4 billion) of low-cost funding to banks to help them offer more support to small and medium-sized companies, as Beijing tries to cushion its economy against a growth slowdown. The funding will be offered to banks via the People’s Bank of China’s re-lending facility this year, state broadcaster CCTV reported, citing a State Council meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang.

China Economist Warns of Falling Property Prices, Debt Pressure - Bloomberg Some Chinese cities have already set a floor for property prices in addition to price caps, and the vacancy rate in some regions have topped 10%, Li Yang, chairman of the National Institution for Finance & Development, was cited as saying by the official Economic Daily in a Wednesday report. The institution is a think tank that advises the government under the state-run Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “If one day the value of houses plunged below the mortgage value, people won’t even be able to repay their debt by selling the houses, and that would be a real crisis for the property market,” Li was cited as saying at a forum on Aug. 29. // 李扬:警惕房价下跌风险 防止出现“负资产" _中国经济网——国家经济门户

广州市住房和城乡建设局关于建立二手住房交易参考价格发布机制的通知—广州市人民政府 Guangzhou has introduced reference prices —based on historical prices and new home prices in adjacent areas —for second-hand homes. Real estate agents are warned not to publish prices that deviate too much from official reference prices. 

房地产离职潮来了,有人宁愿降薪几十万也要转行—一财It’s said that real estate agents could make money while “lying flat.” No longer. An onslaught of regulatory measures to rein in the property market have prompted many to quit to seek employment in “emerging and stable industries.”  “Perhaps many people have had enough of the decline of the tumultuous real estate market. In recent months, a lot of people around me have jumped ship to join internet firms or state companies, many of whom have taken a pay cut of 200,000 to 300,000 rmb.” Yicai quoted an unnamed real estate agent as saying. “也许是受够了地产圈这种没落、动荡的感觉,就最近几个月,我周围很多人跳槽去互联网、央企国企,就算降薪二三十万的也大有人在。”

职业教育频迎政策暖风 强劲增长空间可期—新华通讯社《经济参考报》官方网站Amid an acute labor shortage, vocational training is likely to gain traction in China as it looks to tap into skilled laborers to drive growth, the Economic Information reported. By 2025, China will face a labour shortage of 3 million in “key areas” of manufacturing, according to official data. Today, 70% of “front-line” workers graduate from vocational schools every year.

US says Chinese private equity fund’s acquisition of South Korean chip maker poses a ‘national security risk’ | South China Morning Post The Treasury Department identified such national security risk in the US$1.4 billion deal involving Wise Road Capital The inter-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States will refer the Magnachip review to US President Jose Biden for final decision

Aluminum Halts Advance After Group Warns on Demand Destruction - Bloomberg Aluminum slipped after climbing to the highest since 2011 on Tuesday as a Chinese industry group warned the metal’s dramatic rally wasn’t supported by market fundamentals and could deter buyers. Supply isn’t in a notable shortfall and consumption isn’t strong enough to warrant such high prices, the China Nonferrous Metals Association said in its newsletter.

EXCLUSIVE Chinese state firms to take big stake in Ant's credit-scoring JV -sources | Reuters The partners plan to establish a personal credit-scoring firm, said the people, adding that such a firm and ownership structure was one aspect of restructuring ordered by regulators who put a sudden stop to Ant's blockbuster initial public offering (IPO) in November...Under the plan, Ant and Zhejiang Tourism Investment Group Co Ltd will each own 35% of the venture, while other state-backed partners, Hangzhou Finance and Investment Group and Zhejiang Electronic Port, will each hold slightly more than 5%, said one of the people.

Domestic air traffic volume during upcoming holidays expected to be below 2020 levels: analysts - Global Times China's domestic air traffic volume is expected to continue its rebound during the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays, but is expected to fall short of last year's levels as some anti-epidemic measures limiting inter-provincial mobility are still in place and sporadic coronavirus outbreaks continue to drag down confidence amongst the travelling public, according to industry analysts.  The three-day Mid-Autumn Festival will fall on September 21, and the seven-day National Day holiday, also known as the "golden week," falls on October 1 this year.

Chinese social media platform suspends 52 problematic financial self-media accounts - Global Times China's Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo said on Wednesday that it had suspended 52 financial self-media accounts that were found to be in violation of regulations, as part of its rectification efforts under the country's crackdown campaign against illegal activities by social media accounts focusing on financial information. The 52 accounts, which is said to be the first batch, included two accounts that had more than 1 million followers, and 25 accounts with 100,000 to 1 million followers, Sina Weibo said.

Xi to address global trade in services summit of CIFTIS via video - Xinhua The CIFTIS will be held from Sept. 2 to Sept. 7 in Beijing and the Global Trade in Services Summit will be held on Sept. 2, said MOC spokesperson Gao Feng

Ping An Fintech Unit Denies Offering Bribes to Officials - Caixin OneConnect Financial Technology Co. Ltd., a fintech unit of Chinese financial conglomerate Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. has denied anonymous allegations it had offered bribes to government officials and overstated business performance, which sent its shares tumbling. On Tuesday afternoon, New York-listed OneConnect was accused of the illegal activities in an anonymous letter that was circulating online and seen by Caixin. OneConnect shares fell more than 10% before the market opened in New York.

Yicai - Local Gov’ts Must Make Residential Land Allocations Public, Chinese Ministry Says The specific location, area and the developer of each residential land project must be made public on the local government website and the locations marked on a map, the Ministry of Natural Resources of China said today. This information needs to be updated at least every quarter

Yicai - Tencent Says It’s Not in Talks With J&T Express About USD1 Billion Fundraiser Tencent Holdings has dismissed a report that the Chinese internet titan is in negotiations with southeast Asian courier J&T Express about a USD1 billion round of financing. The report is false, Shenzhen-based Tencent said today, according to the National Business Daily.

First Half 2021 Letter to Co-Investors in Business Owner - RVCapital Regulation is clearly increasing in China (again, where is it not?). This seems to be as much a function of the lack of regulation in the past as a desire to over-regulate today. Overall, the changes to date seem manageable except for companies that are viewed as a having no societal benefit, who can expect little mercy from regulators. The pace of regulation is certainly faster than the West, reflecting the different political system in China. The priorities though seem similar. Ultimately, it will be fascinating to see which model wins through, whereby it is not a zero-sum game, and there is no reason why both cannot be successful (or unsuccessful for that matter). Overall, it is not clear to me that one approach to regulation is unambiguously worse than the other. As such, the conclusion that many seem to be drawing in the West – that China is un-investable - strikes me as wrongheaded. I, for one, will not be deterred from investing further in China.

China Opens Border to Mongolian Coal But Market Remains Tight - Bloomberg China has reopened its border crossing for Mongolian coal imports, but shipments remain limited and so far insufficient to alleviate a persistent supply crunch, particularly of steel-making coal.  The Gashuunsukhait-Ganqimaodu crossing reopened on Tuesday, according to Fengkuang Coal Logistics, after a halt of over a week to prevent the spread of Covid-19 from Mongolia.

Tencent Snapped Up by China Traders After Two-Month Selloff - Bloomberg Traders from China bought a net HK$5.8 billion ($745 million) of the Hong Kong stock via trading links, snapping two months of outflows, according to Bloomberg calculations based on exchange data. The purchases helped the mobile gaming giant climb 0.5% in August, the first gain since April.

China Quants Pay $300,000 to Beat Wall Street to Graduates - Bloomberg When computing major Garen Zhou deferred his studies in the U.S. because of the pandemic, he applied for internships at China’s biggest internet companies. In the end, the Peking University graduate chose Ubiquant, a local hedge fund managing $8 billion of assets which is offering top college leavers like Ph.D.s annual salaries of as much as $300,000. After a year, Zhou became a permanent employee, giving up his enrollment at Johns Hopkins University.


Politics and Law

China says nearly 180,000 cadres caught in blitz as Communist Party tightens grip | South China Morning Post Of those, some 1,985 people working in the courts, prosecutors’ offices, prisons, police and in national security had been charged as of the end of July, the leading group in charge of the campaign said on Monday. Another 3,466 were disciplined within the ruling Communist Party, and most of the others were reprimanded for their actions. They were targeted in a continuing “rectification” campaign that began in February, after a trial in late 2020, and will run until at least the end of the year.

总书记“公开课”|青年时代,选择吃苦也就选择了收获 _光明网 新的征程需要每一个中华儿女鼓足干劲。央视网《人民领袖习近平》栏目推出特别策划《总书记“公开课”》,与您一起从总书记的“知”与“行”中感悟、收获、成长。// The new journey requires every Chinese son and daughter to work hard. CCTV's "People's Leader Xi Jinping" column launched the special plan "General Secretary's" Open Class ",and together with you, we can feel, gain and grow from the general secretary's" knowledge "and" behavior ".

Journalist-Turned-Rights Attorney Held Incommunicado in China's Liaoning — Radio Free Asia Rights lawyer Zhou Xiaoyun, who formerly worked as a senior editor at the cutting-edge Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper in Guangzhou, remains incommunicado after being held under "residential surveillance at a designated location (RSDL)," RFA has learned. Zhou was initially detained by police in the northeastern province of Liaoning around six months ago on suspicion of "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble," a charge frequently used to target peaceful critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Why Xinjiang is an internal settler colony – SupChina This essay is adapted from Darren Byler’s forthcoming book, Terror Capitalism: Uyghur Dispossession and Masculinity in a Chinese City, published by Duke University Press (December 2021).

中国石化原党组成员、副总经理曹耀峰接受审查调查————执纪审查——中央纪委国家监委网站 Cao Yaofeng, former deputy general manager of Sinopec, put under investigation

Chinese leaders watch gala featuring ethnic minority cultures - Xinhua President Xi Jinping and other senior Chinese leaders watched an opening gala of the sixth ethnic minority art festival in Beijing on Tuesday evening...The festival will run until Sept. 24, during which time 42 performances will be staged online

Minxin Pei | China Leadership Monitor - The CCP’s Domestic Security Taskmaster: The Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission The Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission (CPLAC) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is among the most powerful organizations of the party-state…Secretary-general of the commission, Chen Yixin (陈一新), 62, is a rising star who once worked under Xi in Zhejiang. Chen oversees routine operations of the commission as Guo’s righthand man. Since 2007, the party has promoted the minister of Public Security to head the CPLAC (Guo and his two predecessors, Zhou Yongkang and Meng Jianzhu, all served as minister of Public Security before heading the commission). But because Zhao Kezhi, at 67, may be too old to be promoted to the head of the commission after Guo’s term expires late next year at the party’s 20th National Congress, Chen Yixin is now seen as a favorite to lead the commission when Guo steps down in late 2022. As deputy director of the Leading Group on Education and Rectification of the Nation’s Political-Legal Ranks (全国政法队伍教育整顿领导小组) and the director of the Office of the Leading Group in charge of its daily operations, Chen is Xi’s point-man leading the ongoing purge of the CCP’s coercive apparatus. [Comment: Regular Sinocism readers know I frequently include items about Chen, and this is why]..


Foreign and Defense Affairs

Axios from Tel Aviv - Biden surprises Bennett with lack of emphasis on China in Bennett's meetings with Biden as well as with Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and national security adviser Jake Sullivan, China was only mentioned in passing, according to two Israeli officials, one who attended those meetings and another who received a full briefing.

Watching China in Europe Newsletter | Watching China in Europe with Noah Barkin officials say that the space for Europe to get cozy with Washington has narrowed. A concrete example of this: on August 16, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was due to give a speech in Hamburg on Germany and Europe’s relationship with China that, according to people familiar with the planning, was going to highlight the importance of stronger transatlantic ties. “This is not a speech that is likely to please the Chinese side,” I was told beforehand. But Maas was forced to cancel his appearance on August 15 as the Taliban rolled into Kabul, and it is unclear whether he can or will deliver the same address now. For the time being at least, making the case for a robust partnership with Washington is not good politics.

Research on link of COVID, cold chain urged - China Daily "The cold-chain industry inherently spans the globe. As we are seeing a large amount of science-based evidence pointing to the virus' spread via cold chains, we suggest the next phase of origin-tracing work involve concerted cold-chain studies under a global framework," Liu Jun, a professor at the National Institute for Viral Disease Control and Prevention of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Friday.

China envoy visits Myanmar as new route to Indian Ocean opened | Reuters China’s special envoy for Asian Affairs Sun Guoxiang visited Myanmar last week for talks with its military rulers, as a new route spanning the Southeast Asian nation opened up connecting Chinese trade flows to the Indian Ocean.

Wu Guguang | China Leadership Monitor - The Emergence of the Central Office of Foreign Affairs: From leadership Politics to "Greater Diplomacy" This essay examines how the Central Office of Foreign Affairs (COFA) has risen within the Chinese party-state system to become an institutional lynchpin overseeing all Chinese foreign conduct, and it takes this institution as a window to peer into Chinese leadership politics involving the party chief’s control of foreign affairs and the recent proposed program of “greater diplomacy.” It argues that both leadership politics and the program of “greater diplomacy” have driven the concentration of foreign-affairs power from the PRC state system to the Communist Party (i.e., the party chief) and, accordingly, to the COFA on behalf of the CCP to coordinate a transfinite diplomatic strategy that goes beyond Western-centric international norms to manage foreign relations.

Pope defends deal with China, says dialogue necessary | Reuters In an interview with Spanish radio network COPE broadcast on Wednesday, Francis compared the Vatican's dialogue with China to those with East European countries during the Cold War which eventually resulted in many freedoms for the Church there. "China is not easy, but I am convinced that we should not give up dialogue," he said in some of his most comprehensive comments to date on the issue.

People's Daily Online launches versions in Swahili, Italian, and Kazakh (Cyrillic script) - People's Daily Online The move further lays a foundation for People’s Daily Online to build a multi-language, multi-terminal, all-media, full-coverage, world-class news outlet that is global in scope. The launch of the three new versions is an important step by People’s Daily Online to further bolster and improve its international communications capacity, which always strives to adopt communication methods targeting audiences from different regions, countries and groups, in this way better telling China’s stories, and presenting a true, multi-dimensional and panoramic view of China to the world.

Chinese Communist Party Sees U.S. Campuses, Think Tanks as Ideological Battlegrounds many academic institutions have simply refused to disclose their CCP funding while others have closed their Confucius Institutes or renamed them to work around governmental pressure and keep the cash flowing. Tufts University and the University of Michigan shuttered their Confucius Institutes but continue to receive funds from China’s Ministry of Education. Because federal laws single out Confucius Institutes, the Asia Society simply changed the name of its K-12 version of the Confucius classroom to “Chinese Language Partner Network” and kept the money.

Update on Asia Society's Chinese Language Program | Asia Society The Asia Society is an independent institution which has no affiliation with any government. Funders of our work do not influence its content. If an external funder sought to bring influence to bear on an Asia Society project or program, our policy would be to suspend that project or program immediately.

Chinese hackers disguised themselves as Iran to target Israel | MIT Technology Review When hackers broke into computers across Israel’s government and tech companies in 2019 and 2020, investigators looked for clues to find out who was responsible. The first evidence pointed directly at Iran, Israel’s most contentious geopolitical rival. The hackers deployed tools normally associated with Iranians, for example, and wrote in the Farsi language. But after further examination of the evidence—and information gathered from other cyber-espionage cases across the Middle East—analysts realized it was not an Iranian operation. Instead, it was conducted by Chinese operatives posing as a team of hackers from Tehran.


Hong Kong

There's no crackdown on civil society: Carrie Lam - RTHK Chief Executive Carrie Lam has denied claims that the government is cracking down on civil society, saying the police have simply been ensuring that no groups or individuals are able to endanger national security.

Concerts nixed, activists sentenced in Hong Kong crackdown - AP The Hong Kong Arts Centre cited a public safety clause in canceling Denise Ho’s venue reservations for her concerts, according to a statement posted Wednesday on Facebook by the singer’s company, Goomusic. Separately, a court sentenced seven pro-democracy activists to between 11 and 16 months in jail for an unauthorized assembly during anti-government protests in 2019. The cancellation of Ho’s concerts came days after pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao accused her of being “anti-China” due to her involvement in the 2019 pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong

Hong Kong national security police eye foreign collusion case against fund that paid out HK$243 million to protesters | South China Morning Post The 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, and the Alliance for True Democracy, which provided its bank account to the fund’s trustees for holding donations, have been targeted by officers of the National Security Department, one source said on Wednesday. They said police had obtained court orders under the national security law to require the two groups to provide information within a specified period of time. “The source of the donations, the information of the donors and the purpose of the donations were among the details officers demanded to investigate whether there was collusion with foreign forces,” the source said.


Taiwan

Taiwan plans new defence agency to better prepare military reservists to step up in a war | South China Morning Post Taiwan will launch a new defence agency next year to boost the combat readiness of its much criticised military reserve force amid a growing threat from Beijing, which claims the self-ruled island as its territory. It will also send officers to the United States for training and exchange visits as part of its efforts to improve the mobilisation and build-up of the Taiwanese reserve force, according to a budget proposal submitted by the island’s defence ministry to the legislature on Tuesday.

Taiwan Warns of China’s Ability to ‘Paralyze’ Island’s Defenses - Bloomberg China was able to neutralize Taiwan’s air-and-sea defenses and counter-attack systems with “soft and hard electronic attacks,” the Defense Ministry in Taipei said in an annual report to lawmakers seen by Bloomberg News. The document offered a more alarming assessment than last year’s report, which had said China still lacked the capability to launch an assault. While Beijing wasn’t believed to possess the transport and logistical capacity necessary for an invasion of Taiwan’s large and mountainous main island, the ministry recommended monitoring Chinese efforts to expand training and preparations for complex landing operations. China already has the ability to seize Taiwan’s surrounding islands, it said.


Tech and Media

ByteDance Workers Take a 20% Pay Hit as Sunday Overtime Ends - Caixin The pay cut was expected after the company decided last month to end a weekend overtime policy known as “big/small weeks,” a common work system adopted by many big tech companies. It required staff to work every other Sunday, some employees told Caixin.

Tencent boosts global investments as Beijing cracks down on gaming | Financial Times $$ The social media, gaming and fintech group struck a record 16 deals in Europe, bringing its total number of international investments to 34 for the first six months of 2021, according to data from Refinitiv. That compared with four overseas deals in the same period in 2020 and three in 2019.

Chinese pop singer Cai Xukun's new album suspected of violating law - Global Times Chinese pop singer Cai Xukun's studio on Tuesday issued an apology for a controversial method of selling his new album and called on fans to halt irrational abuse. The apology came after some fans took to social media to criticize Jimu News based in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, which reported that the pre-sale method for Cai's new album is suspected of violating consumer rights.

Trending in China: Common Prosperity Is ‘in Our Genes,’ Tech Titans Insist - Caixin Social media users in China made fun of internet giant Meituan’s founder and CEO Wang Xing after he posted a transcript of his company’s latest earnings call in which he said that the tech giant’s name was proof that the company had always strived for “common prosperity.”

China’s GPS Alternative Gets Regulatory Roadmap in Push to Boost Adoption - Caixin The guidelines, which were published on Friday by the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR), come a year after China launched the final satellite of the BeiDou network..In an effort to ensure the large-scale application of BeiDou across industries, SAMR said that it will design unified product catalogues, criteria and logos for the certification of chips, modules and antennas. The Beidou guidelines - 市场监管总局关于开展北斗基础产品认证工作的实施意见

Tron Founder Justin Sun Purchases Joker Tpunk NFT for $10.5 Million – Bitcoin News Justin Sun, the founder of the smart contracts-enabled Tron blockchain, announced today the purchase of an NFT avatar for $10.5 million dollars worth of tron. The NFT purchased, identified as #3442 but called “Joker,” ostensibly due to its resemblance to the popular Batman villain, is part of the Tpunks series

Adam Sandler says Netflix asked him to rewrite his new movie so it wasn't set in China because the company doesn't do business there In the forthcoming comedy "Hustle," Sandler plays a basketball agent who attempts to revive his failing career by recruiting an extraordinary overseas talent to the NBA. In the final version of the film, Sandler's character recruits a promising player from Spain, played by the real-life Memphis Grizzlies forward Juancho Hernangómez. During an interview on "The Dan Patrick Show," though, Sandler said: "It was written originally that I find a player in China and somehow, Netflix is not in China. So they were like, 'Would you guys please make it so we find someone in Latin America or Europe?'"

China Internet Report | South China Morning Post Following a period of rapid growth and innovation, the China internet sector has entered a new phase of development with both push and pull factors driving internet companies to evolve, including tightening regulations, an increasingly saturated domestic market with changing demographics, and geopolitical tensions. The 4th edition of the China Internet Report looks at how these factors are influencing companies to look outside their established markets, pivot business models, focus on new customer segments, and adapt to shifting dynamics to remain competitive.


Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Volleyball legend Lang Ping bids farewell to her wondrous sports life ‘without regret’ - Global Times "May the spirit of the Chinese women's volleyball team remain young forever," Chinese netizens said as they bid farewell to the legendary Chinese volleyball star Lang Ping on Wednesday and cheered for the spirit Lang represented, as she announced her retirement from the head coach of the national women's team

"Scar Literature" by Sabina Knight This video tells the story of “Scar Literature,” a gut-wrenching literary movement that bravely confronted the wounds of China’s Cultural Revolution. Dozens of evocative images illustrate the movement’s significance, its key stories and their historical contexts. The video invites viewers to consider Scar Literature’s legacy for healing trauma in China and beyond.


Energy, Environment, Science and Health

Exclusive: China’s Fosun Pharma Borrows $300 Million for Covid Vaccines - Caixin Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Co. Ltd. secured $300 million of loans from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the International Finance Corp. (IFC), the private-sector arm of the World Bank, to expand Covid-19 vaccine output and distribution. Proceeds are expected to finance capital investment in Fosun’s Covid-19 vaccine supply plan, including setting up cold chain logistics infrastructure and expanding and upgrading manufacturing facilities for vaccine and test kits

China Records First Anthrax Death This Year After Dozens of Infections - Caixin A 14-year-old student has died after contracting anthrax in East China’s Shandong province, the first death from the infectious disease in the country since dozens of local infections were detected earlier this year, China CDC Weekly reported. The case was revealed in a weekly report issued by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) on Friday. The patient was one of the two people infected with anthrax in the city of Binzhou and reported to Shandong’s health authorities as of Aug. 15, the report said.


Education

Shenzhou-12 crew to tutor Chinese students from space to mark new semester - Global Times Shenzhou-12 crew currently boarding China's Tianhe space station core module are ready to share their first lesson from space with Chinese students on Earth in the state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) special program to be aired on Wednesday evening to mark the first day of new semester in China.

Juren says it will close, becoming the latest tuition school chain to buckle under China’s crackdown of off-campus education | South China Morning Post Juren Education, one of China’s oldest tutoring companies, said it is closing down for good after 27 years of providing courses in mathematics, English and examination preparation for students from kindergarten to secondary schools, becoming the latest victim in the country’s crackdown on off-campus education. The company, based in the Haidian district in the Chinese capital, said in a post on its official WeChat account that it is “deeply sorry” because it is unable to continue its services, and it is running out of money to refund customers who have fully paid for their courses. Phone calls failed to reach the three telephone lines listed for Juren

Private Out, State Further “In” as Chinese Education Focuses on the Family | 高大伟 David Cowhig's Translation Blog On Further Strengthening the Implementing the Policy on Strengthening Family Oriented Education 2021-08-28 The Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party Central Civilization Office Communist Party Central Commission for Discipline Inspection organs Chinese Communist Party (CPC) Organization Department Ministry of Education National Women’s Federation