Xi takes a call from Trump; Xi Thought study program; Carrie Lam apology may not be enough

President Trump arranged a call with General Secretary Xi Jinping and they have agreed to meet at the G-20 next week:

As mentioned yesterday, vice foreign minister Zheng Zeguang was recently in DC. I heard yesterday from several people that his meetings did not go well, that he met lower ranking officials than he had asked for, and that he spent much of his time haranguing US officials for being solely responsible for the trade war and breakdown in the relationship. I also heard that regardless of how badly his meetings went, President Trump really wanted to meet Xi next week, so the decider has spoken.

Talking is better than not talking, and US stock markets jumped immediately after the presidential tweet, but at this point I am sticking with what I wrote yesterday:

the anti-American propaganda campaign continues and may be painting China into a corner that reduces the likelihood of any deal unless the US makes major concessions, including around Huawei. That seems unlikely in the near term, so at this point I think the best outcome of a Trump-Xi meeting for those hoping for a cease fire in the trade war is an agreement to restart formal talks and to delay any plans for the next round of tariffs. But even that may be out of reach, and people should be preparing, as the PRC is telling its people seemingly on a daily basis now, to prepare for protracted conflict.

The Party appears to be preparing for protracted struggle as well. I have now heard from multiple sources that PRC embassies, including the one here in DC, have cancelled summer vacation so that staff can participate in a two month study program of Xi Thought. I believe it applies to all PRC embassies globally, and probably other parts of the PRC state bureaucracy. In no credible scenario is this a good thing, for China or the world.

Thanks for reading.


1. US-China

Xi, Trump hold telephone conversation - Xinhua 

Chinese President Xi Jinping held a telephone conversation with his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, on Tuesday at the latter's request. 

Trump said he looks forward to meeting Xi again during the upcoming Group of 20 summit in the Japanese city of Osaka later this month, and conducting in-depth discussions on bilateral ties and issues of common concern. 

Xi said he stands ready to meet Trump in Osaka to exchange views on fundamental issues concerning the development of China-U.S. relations. 

The Chinese leader also stressed that the two sides should solve their trade problems through talks on an equal footing.

CCTV report on the Trump-Xi call - 习近平同美国总统特朗普通电话_央视网

国家主席习近平18日应约同美国总统特朗普通电话。

特朗普表示,我期待着同习近平主席在二十国集团领导人大阪峰会期间再次会晤,就双边关系和我们共同关心的问题进行深入沟通。美方重视美中经贸合作,希望双方工作团队能展开沟通,尽早找到解决当前分歧的办法。相信全世界都希望看到美中达成协议。

习近平指出,近一段时间来,中美关系遇到一些困难,这不符合双方利益。中美合则两利、斗则俱伤。双方应该按照我们达成的共识,在相互尊重、互惠互利基础上,推进以协调、合作、稳定为基调的中美关系。中美作为全球最大的两个经济体,要共同发挥引领作用,推动二十国集团大阪峰会达成积极成果,为全球市场注入信心和活力。我愿意同总统先生在二十国集团领导人大阪峰会期间举行会晤,就事关中美关系发展的根本性问题交换意见。

习近平强调,在经贸问题上,双方应通过平等对话解决问题,关键是要照顾彼此的合理关切。我们也希望美方公平对待中国企业。我同意两国经贸团队就如何解决分歧保持沟通。

Chinese state media accuses US of ‘manufacturing’ idea it poses a strategic threat | South China Morning Post

The 6,000-character front-page article in People’s Daily was the latest in a series of increasingly assertive defences published in state media and argued that the world does not want to see China and America falling into a Thucydides trap – an idea devised by the US political scientist that a rising power challenging an established power can lead to war.

Published under the byline “Guoji Ping”, a pen name that means international commentary, the piece suggested America had “manufactured” the idea of China as a strategic threat.

“Cooperation between China and the US would be a blessing, but confrontation would be a curse,” the piece said.

“The world does not have a Thucydides trap, but if some people repeatedly fall into strategic misjudgment, then they may dig for themselves a Thucydides trap.

The article, the second in a series of three “guo ji ping 国纪平 commentaries on us-china relations - 世上本无“修昔底德陷阱”——评美国一些人战略迷误的危险(中) 国纪平--国际--人民网

China’s official magazine says the country is not afraid of clarifying the truth - Global Times

A 12,000-word article in the latest issue was published on the flagship magazine of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Sunday, receiving strong public response regarding the ongoing trade war between China and the US. ..

Titled "Recognizing the essence, clarifying the trend and fighting till the end," the article centers on 10 questions that need to be further clarified in the ongoing trade friction between China and the US.

The article pointed out that China believes in truth, and the truth becomes clearer by debating it. Ever since the Trump government started the trade war, the differences between the two countries have become clear. ...

The article has aroused patriotism among many Chinese people, who believe that unilateralism and trade bullying by the US will fail.

人民日报热点辨析:美国挑起经贸摩擦害人害己--观点--人民网

CASS researcher Li Shuangshuang denounces the US for starting the trade war in a People's Daily piece

新华国际时评:“美国病了”才是真相-新华网

A Xinhua International Commentary says US foreign policy has been quite erratic in recent years because the country “is sick” for domestic problems such as the huge fiscal deficit and the enlarged wealth gap

人民网评:中国“委曲”就能“求全”吗?--人民网

People’s Daily said those Chinese who argued China should compromise with the US on trade are “so silly and so naive” since the US is determined to contain China

Senator Rubio targets Huawei over patents | Reuters

Under the amendment - seen by Reuters - companies on certain U.S. government watch lists, which would include Huawei, would not be allowed to seek relief under U.S. law with respect to U.S. patents, including bringing legal action over patent infringement.

On June 12, a person briefed on the matter said Huawei had told Verizon that it should pay licensing fees for more than 230 of the Chinese telecoms equipment maker's patents and in aggregate is seeking more than $1 billion.

Businesses Plead to Stop More China Tariffs. They Expect to Be Ignored. - The New York Times

“This is all kind of a circus,” said Jean Kolloff, the president of Quinn Apparel, which makes clothes and cashmere sweaters in China. While she is holding out hope that more tariffs will not be imposed, she said her partners in China were “working around the clock” to try to ship their goods to the United States before they would go into effect.

Nothing stiff about this UK politician - Hammond rejects US calls for harder line on Beijing | Financial Times $$

Chancellor Philip Hammond on Monday defied US pressure to take a tougher line with Beijing, describing China as a “crucial bilateral partner” with a “vital role” in championing the rules-based multilateral order.

Speaking on Monday after talks in London with Chinese vice-premier Hu Chunhua, Mr Hammond suggested Britain could make common cause with China to defend the international trading system against the threat of rising US protectionism.


2. Trump sees Taiwan as “bargaining chip”

Trump Administration Is Split Over Arms Sale to Taiwan - WSJ $$

Concerns are growing among some in the administration that China’s president, Xi Jinping, may use the weapons deal as one more excuse not to meet with President Trump later this month on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Japan, according to three White House and administration officials.

One of the officials said there is already only “a 50-50 chance” of those talks happening, given how fragile the relationship has become over Mr. Trump’s escalating tariffs, and the weapons sale may jeopardize even those chances...

[Trump] now sees the value in using Taiwan as a bargaining chip in his talks with China.

Question: What was Chen Yuanfeng 陈元丰, the deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office, doing in DC last week?

Taiwan stiffens resistance to China after Hong Kong crackdown | Financial Times $$

Over the past four months, politicians vying for nomination as the presidential candidate of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) have blamed Tsai Ing-wen — the incumbent who is calmly but stubbornly resisting Chinese pressure to define Taiwan as a part of China — for rising cross-strait tension, and have pledged to bring peace and economic prosperity through better relations with Beijing.

But over the past week, the KMT’s presidential hopefuls have decried police brutality in Hong Kong, criticised the extradition bill, now suspended by that territory’s government, and reiterated that “one country, two systems” — the formula under which Hong Kong was given back to China — is out of the question for Taiwan.

“For any Taiwan politician running for office, proposing a peace agreement with China and one country, two systems policy platform is the kiss of death,” said Ketty Chen, vice-president of the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, a government-backed think-tank.


3. Hong Kong

Hong Kong leader offers ‘sincere apology’ after second massive march against bill to allow extradition to China  - The Washington Post

She also said it was “very unlikely” that the extradition plans, which she suspended last week, could be introduced again before the end of the Hong Kong legislature’s term in July 2020. 

Lam, however, will not fully withdraw the legislation and said she wants to continue to serve the public. 

“I have heard you loud and clear and have reflected deeply on all that has transpired,” she said, her voice shaking at times as she delivered a statement before a packed room of reporters.

Hong Kong protesters unimpressed by Lam’s ‘sincere’ apology | The Guardian

“She is a walking disaster. She really did not respond to any of the demands,” said the veteran politician Emily Lau. Protesters want Lam to prepare her resignation, withdraw the extradition law, apologise both for police brutality at protests last week and for describing one as a riot, and to halt the roundup of activists.

Hong Kong’s Leader Publicly Apologizes for Extradition Bill - The New York Times

The Hong Kong police commissioner, Lo Wai-chung, said on Monday that the government would pursue rioting charges against five people accused of being involved in the violence. Protesters had objected to his earlier characterization of the Wednesday protest as a riot.

On Tuesday, Mrs. Lam did not elaborate on Mr. Lo’s remarks except to say that those who protested peacefully would not face legal action.

The deeper malaise in Hong Kong’s civil service | The Interpreter

What businesses or governments are more likely to ignore, however, is the creeping political capture of the historically apolitical civil service. Speaking on Saturday, Lam defended the police’s decision to brand the unrest of 12 June a “riot”, and referred to allegations of excessive use of force by the police – including numerous instances where police attacked unarmed protesters and demonstrators – as defamatory. Viewed in conjunction with the outrage expressed by rank-and-file officers at convictions relating to brutality against Umbrella Movement participants, the most recent instances of police violence show the extent to which the Hong Kong Police Force – once heralded as “Asia’s finest” – have become partisan political enforcers.

Chinese Military General Claimed that Hong Kong is the Worst Region in China – Chinascope

On June 12, a video of a speech given by a Chinese military general started to circulate on the internet. The video was taken during the 12th National Outstanding Teachers’ Development Forum that was held in Chengdu from November 5th to 7th, 2018. Xu Yan, a military general, professor at the National Defense University, and a “star Internet professor” wore his military uniform while giving the talk. The topic was the Battles of the South China Sea. In his speech, Xu used class analysis to explore the nature of the Hong Kong’s social structure, claiming that the people in Hong Kong are “the worst.”


4. Xi Thought study getting real

Senior CPC official stresses deeper study of Xi Jinping thought - Xinhua

Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks at a symposium on the publishment of a study outline on the Xi Jinping thought.

The publishment of the outline should be taken as an opportunity to deepen the study, further arm Party cadres' and people's thoughts and implement the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee, he said.

Huang stressed a higher political stance to deeply understand the basic principles, content and requirements of the Xi Jinping thought, deeply grasp the scientific system and original contribution of the thought and deeply comprehend the Marxist methods of thinking and working in the thought.

The original Chinese report on Huang’s comments: 黄坤明:把干部群众思想武装起来、把党中央决策部署落实下去--人民


5. More on Xi’s trip to North Korea

China’s President Xi Jinping to Make First State Visit to North Korea - WSJ $$

Mr. Xi’s trip would “remind Washington that China can be very helpful in resolving the North Korean nuclear problem, especially at a moment when the United States seems to have big trouble resuming official dialogue with North Korea,” said Zhao Tong, a fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing...

Mr. Xi’s coming visit marks the first time Beijing has labeled a North Korea trip by a Chinese leader as a “state visit.” Previous trips were mostly labeled as an “official friendly visit.” Foreign diplomats in Beijing say China may have offered the “state visit” label as a diplomatic gesture that characterizes North Korea as a normal nation-state.

习近平此时出访朝鲜,有何深意

People’s Daily overseas edition wechat account Xiake Dao interviewed Zheng Jiyong, professor at Fudan University. Some interesting points:

Why now? Zheng seems to suggest it is time for Xi to visit NK after Kim visited China four times in the past year..

Zheng said the top priority for China in the meeting is to confirm Pyongyang’s commitment on denuclearization; Bilateral trade will be another main topic, and the two leaders could discuss how to “substantially upgrade in trade and commerce cooperation” (despite the sanctions are still in place)...

Zheng, obviously well connected, said Kim Jong Un is indeed determined in improving the economy, but he now faces challenges such as corruption and officials who disobeyed him.

弘扬中朝友好 共创美好未来(大使随笔)

Chinese ambassador to North Korea Li Jinjun writes in People’s Daily that the two countries are “good neighbors, good friends and good comrades”, and Xi’s visit will contribute to regional peace and prosperity of two countries. He did not mention anything about denuclearization.


6. AI

China issues principles of next generation AI governance - Xinhua

Xue Lan, dean of Schwarzman College, Tsinghua University and director of China's national professional committee on next generation AI governance, said Monday that the principles are introduced to better coordinate the development and governance of the booming technology and to ensure AI to be secure, controllable and reliable.

The principles highlight the theme of developing responsible AI, addressing eight tenets including harmony and friendliness, fairness and justice, inclusiveness and sharing, respect for privacy, security and controllability, shared responsibility, open cooperation and agile governance, Xue noted.

Translation: Chinese Expert Group Offers 'Governance Principles' for 'Responsible AI' - DigiChina

An expert committee established by China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) today released a document outlining eight principles for AI governance and “responsible AI.” A full translation is below.

The principles, produced by the National New Generation Artificial Intelligence Governance Expert Committee, have been anticipated for several weeks and join several other recent Chinese documents on AI governance and ethics. The committee follows on the MOST-led New Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan (AIDP) released by the State Council in 2017.

MOST established the committee in March to research policy recommendations for AI governance and identify areas for international cooperation, according to the committee’s chairman Xue Lan

Translation: Chinese AI Alliance Drafts Self-Discipline 'Joint Pledge' - Digichina

Emphasizing AI ethics, safety, standardization, and engagement, including internationally

Shanghai to host 2nd AI global conference in August - China Daily

Shanghai will prioritize the development of AI in the realms of autonomous driving, robots, smart hardware, sensors, chips and software, Wu said. The city is planning to draft an AI development roadmap to expand industry influence and leverage the city's Xuhui and Zhangjiang areas as two leading spots.

China is looking to host 10 AI innovation development pilot zones by 2020. Shanghai was chosen as one destination to water-test breakthroughs in AI-related technology, policy, social impacts and governance, said Zhang Xu, vice-director of department of strategy and planning at the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Yicai Global - Shanghai's AI Roadmap Pushes Up Related Shares

The Shanghai Municipal Government announced at a press conference today that it was preparing a roadmap for the development of AI, and forming a hub in Shanghai.


7. Ecological and environmental inspection leading group

China to strengthen inspection of ecological and environmental protection - Xinhua

The document, regulations on central inspection work of ecological and environmental protection, was jointly issued by the General Office of Communist Party of China Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council.

The leading group, with its office set up in the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, will be responsible for organizing, coordinating and promoting the central inspection work of ecological and environmental protection.

The inspection work will include regular and special inspections, as well as “look-back” inspections.

重磅!中办国办印发《中央生态环境保护督察工作规定》-中国长安网


8. A football (soccer) star’s story

On the Pitch, You Are Never Alone | By Wang Shuang. China women's national soccer team

By the time I was 12 years old, I had reached such a high level that I made it to that training camp in Beijing.

What made the school so scary was that I was several years younger than everybody else. I was shy. I missed my parents and my brother. The school was also far outside the city, so we just stayed at the camp all the time. And the schedule was brutal...

There is a World Cup coming up now. People in China always talk about the team that made the World Cup final in 1999, and my dream is that we will do even better and become world champions. It won’t be easy, we have a lot of work to do. But we know what people expect of us. This is our big chance to show the world what we can do.

Until then, I hope that you now understand a bit better who I am.


Business, Economy and Trade

新版负面清单缩减力度或超预期 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站 Xinhua's Economic Information reports that the reductions in the forthcoming new negative list may exceed expectations

Wider, deeper opening up on the agenda - China Daily Meng Wei, spokeswoman for the National Development and Reform Commission, said China will continue to widen market access for foreign investment, and the nation is set to soon release the revised negative list on market access of foreign investment and the catalog of encouraged foreign investment industries.

China turns again to infrastructure to support growth | Financial Times $$ This is the fourth time since 2004 that rules have been tweaked to increase the ability of local governments to invest in infrastructure. Not coincidentally, this includes adjustments in 2009 and 2015, when China’s economy faced the threat of a hard landing.  Allowing more special bond funds to flow to infrastructure would have a more meaningful impact on economic growth in the short term, whereas incremental steps to give back more money to households and business through tax cuts have not.

Chinese Central Bank Sheds Further Light on Baoshang Bank Takeover - China Banking News A senior executive from the takeover team for Baoshang Bank said to PBOC’s Financial News that starting from 24 May “personal deposit operations have been handled as usual, and executed in accordance with new preferential interest rates.”

China's home prices growth fastest in five months, raises policy challenge - Reuters Average new home prices in China’s 70 major cities rose 0.7% in May from the previous month, picking up from a 0.6% rise in April and the quickest pace since December, according to Reuters calculations based on National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data on Tuesday. That marked the 49th straight month of price gains. Sixty-seven of the total 70 cities surveyed by the NBS reported higher prices in May, the same as April.

China's electric vehicle sales grew 126% a year ago. Now they're at 2% — Quartz Sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) were only up 1.8% in May—or 104,000 units— compared with a year earlier, according to data released (link in Chinese) today by the government-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. It’s the slowest growth rate since at least January last year, when China’s annual auto sales fell for the first time since the 1990s.

China's Cold Storage Almost Full as Meat Shipments Pile In - Bloomberg China’s scramble to import as much meat as possible to compensate for the drop in pork supply from a pig-killing disease has left it with a big problem: Cold storage space at its major ports is running out.

China to suspend pork imports from Canadian company Frigo Royal - Reuters China will also strengthen inspections for the residue in all pork imports from Canada, the notice from the General Administration of Customs said. Canadian government officials said this month they had been warned by China that it would step up inspections of meat imports after “recent cases of non-compliance” in pork shipments.

U.S. Colleges Worry Trade War Imperils Flow of Chinese Students - Bloomberg Over the last decade, U.S. colleges and universities have turned to students from abroad to make up for rising costs and shrinking funding. And no country has been more eager to import American higher education than China: More than 360,000 Chinese students studied at such schools in the 2017-18 school year, making up one-third of the overall international student body.

World’s Top Bike Maker Says Era of ‘Made in China’ Is Over - Bloomberg “When Trump announced the plan of 25% tariffs, we took it seriously,” Chairwoman Bonnie Tu said in an interview at Giant’s Taichung City headquarters in Taiwan. “We started moving before he shut his mouth.”

Debt-Saddled China Railway Restructures in Line With State Sector Reform Push - Caixin CRC, which has built the world’s largest high-speed rail network, has been criticized for accruing massive debts while doing so. These amounted to 5.27 trillion yuan by the end of March 2019, according to CRC’s financial reports.

Home Appliance Firm Claims Alibaba Hid Its Products After Pinduoduo Partnership - Caixin One of China’s leading microwave manufacturers has accused Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. of blocking traffic to its products and demanding it choose between the e-commerce giant and up-and-coming rival Pinduoduo Inc. The claims made by Guangdong Galanz Group Co. Ltd come around two months after Pinduoduo’s founder complained of a practice in the sector that he described as “forced exclusivity.”

Trade war: will US espionage fears scupper Chinese rail group? | Financial Times $$ Leading US politicians from both parties have accused the company of using its links with the Chinese state to compete unfairly for contracts and of being a vehicle for possible Chinese espionage. Some have called for CRRC’s exclusion from upcoming tenders for the Washington and New York subway systems. Such criticisms have been greeted with bemusement in Springfield. John Scavotto Jr, the leader of the local chapter of the sheet metal workers union, says the CRRC facility is a “godsend” — with high-paying jobs including benefits — but is worried about its future and is angry at the hostility coming from US President Donald Trump and Washington.

Apple's China problem isn't going away, JPMorgan and Credit Suisse warn in a pair of cautious reports (AAPL) | Markets Insider Analysts at JPMorgan and Credit Suisse addressed China's posture in the critical market amid declining iPhone sales and trade tensions with the US, updating their clients on this quarter's trends. JPMorgan's analysts, for their part, slightly lowered their price target and iPhone shipments outlook, while Credit Suisse said trade uncertainty and "deeper structural issues" would render Apple's stock price rangebound.

Politics and Law

CCTV to dedicate channel to military affairs to promote national defense education - China Military China Central Television (CCTV) Channel 7 is to refocus its coverage solely on military affairs in a move to expand national defense publicity and education. Currently, the channel specializes in both military and agricultural reporting. From August 1, the CCTV-7 Military and Agricultural Channel will become the CCTV-7 National Defense and Military Channel. An insider at CCTV told the Global Times that the Chinese national broadcaster is setting up an agricultural and rural channel.

Inside China's 'thought transformation' camps - BBC News The BBC has been given rare access to the vast system of highly secure facilities thought to be holding more than a million Muslims in China’s western region of Xinjiang. Authorities there insist they are just training schools. But the BBC’s visit uncovers important evidence about the nature of the system and the conditions for the people inside it.

Investigators Target Retired Bank Chief Linked to Disgraced Senior Official Sichuan province’s top graft busting agency on Monday announced the investigation (link in Chinese) into Fu Zuoyong, former Communist Party chief and chairman of Chengdu Rural Commercial Bank Co. Ltd. Sources with knowledge of the matter said Fu was placed under investigation primarily because of the corruption case of Pu Bo, an official who worked in Sichuan for 36 years before getting promoted to a vice governor of southwestern China’s Guizhou province in January 2018. Pu was put under investigation in May the same year.

海南84个不规范地名要改:“珊瑚宫殿”名不副实有封建色彩 Hainan government asked hotels, residential areas, and local governments to fix some of their names. “Vienna Hotel” and “Victoria Garden” have to go for “worshiping foreign country”, and “Anti-Revisionist Bridge” and “Anti-Capitalist Bridge”also have to be renamed for being “weird and convoluted”.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Xi meets with PLA Air Force Party Congress delegates - Xinhua The 13th Party congress of the PLA Air Force opened on Monday in Beijing, during which the delegates discussed how to thoroughly implement Xi's thinking on strengthening the military and the military strategy for the new era. They reviewed the work related to the Party building and military building of the Air Force over the past five years, and drafted major plans for the next five years. The congress is aimed at mobilizing service personnel to push forward the building of a strong and modern air force, and to accomplish the missions and tasks of the new era.

China urges US not to open ‘Pandora’s box’ by putting more pressure on Iran | South China Morning Post On Tuesday Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urged Washington not to escalate tensions further, calling on all sides to “remain rational and exercise restraint, and not take any escalatory actions that irritate regional tensions, and not open a Pandora’s box”. “In particular, the US side should alter its extreme pressure methods,” he said. “Any unilateral behaviour has no basis in international law.”

Taliban militants ‘in talks with Chinese officials’ - Arab News An Afghan Taliban delegation is visiting Beijing for talks with Chinese officials just days ahead of the group’s seventh round of talks with US officials in Qatar, a former Taliban spokesman told Arab News on Sunday.

外交部部长助理张军会见有关国家常驻日内瓦代表和主要外交官 — 中华人民共和国外交部 Zhang Jun, assistant foreign minister is on a lobbying trip in Geneva: he met foreign diplomats from more than a dozen small countries to talk about China’s human rights. These diplomats praised China’s human rights record, and they will later go to Xinjiang for a trip.

China dismisses 'irresponsible actions' accusation by US in Djibouti - China Military US media's report claiming that China tried to "constrain international airspace" by barring aircraft from flying over the Chinese military base in Djibouti, flashed lasers at the US pilots and deployed drones to interfere in US operations is completely inconsistent with the facts, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas DiNanno to Travel to China - United States Department of State Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense Policy, Emerging Threats, and Outreach Thomas DiNanno will travel to Beijing from June 18-20 for meetings and events focused on outer space security, international security, and arms control.

Wang Qishan meets Syrian deputy prime minister - Xinhua He stressed China firmly upholds the basic norms governing international relations as well as the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and opposes interference in other countries' internal affairs. China supports Syria in safeguarding its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and pursuing a path of development chosen by the Syrian people, Wang said, adding China stands ready to consolidate and develop friendly relations with Syria in all areas.

Tech and Media

Alibaba puts CFO in charge of investment in major management reshuffle - Reuters Chief Financial Officer Maggie Wu will oversee Alibaba’s strategic investments unit, taking over that responsibility from Executive Vice-Chairman Joe Tsai who will support Wu in her expanded role, the firm said on its official WeChat account.

Alibaba Makes Major Changes to Culture and Entertainment Unit Amid IPO Rumors - Caixin Global

E-Commerce Live Streaming: A New Hit to China- PingWest As the traditional live streaming industry is declining, the e-commerce live streaming form is a hit to China. Integrating live streaming on e-commerce platforms drives exponential growth in sales. Taobao live streaming is the top-ranked platform. Although started operation three years ago, it did not exert a conspicuous influence on the public until last year, 2018, that sales began to soar.

Tencent Pictures’ Lineup Includes Hollywood Films, Chinese Propaganda – Variety Its lineup kicks off with involvement in “Me and My Motherland,” a film tribute to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, jointly directed by seven of the country’s top directors. It was followed by the announcement of drama serials about a wartime university famous for producing prominent intellectuals, ethnic unity between Mongolians and Han Communists, and the efficacy of China’s court system and rule of law, among others.

Secretive Magic Leap Says Ex-Engineer Copied Headset for China - Bloomberg In a lawsuit filed Monday, Magic Leap alleges that Chi Xu, who left in 2016, exploited its confidential information to “quickly develop a prototype of lightweight, ergonomically designed, mixed reality glasses for use with smart phones and other devices that are strikingly similar” to the Florida-based startup’s designs.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

The gamification of social values: Alibaba experiments with behavior modification - Trivium UB - Usability, sociology and market research Last week, commemorating National Credit Day (June 6), Alipay kicked off another 24-hour cross-provincial trial, placing four unmanned public sharing cabinets in cities across the country, including an umbrella-borrowing station in Chengdu, and a toy-borrowing cabinet outside of a kindergarten in Zhengzhou. The cabinets saw an average 95% return rate – 100%, in the case of Zhengzhou. Ali’s marketing machine released a video insinuating that the numbers were proof that their Sesame Credit platform is raising conscientiousness among the general public.

Obituary: The Professor Who Reintroduced Western Political Thought to China For those studying Western politics in China, the five-volume Chinese-language “History of Western Political Thought” is a must-read. The books, widely used as university textbooks, were the work of renowned scholar Xu Datong, who died June 9 of an illness in his hometown of Tianjin in northern China. He was 91. The books are significant because they were the first Western political science reading material that authorities approved after the Cultural Revolution ended in the 1970s. Xu started working on the books in 1985, paving the way, as some said, for the study of Western political science in China.

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

Warning System Gives Heads-Up on Monday’s Deadly Sichuan Earthquake - Caixin Global residents of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces were given between 10 to 60 seconds lead-time before a 6.0-magnitude quake hit their areas Monday night. At least thirteen people died in that disaster, and 200 were injured. It’s not known how many were saved by the alert system, but a minute is a lifetime when seconds matter.

Rural and Agricultural Issues

Company Dismisses Own Swine Fever Vaccine Claim as ‘Typo’ - Caixin Global A Chinese pharmaceutical company has called its previous claim to be working on an African swine fever vaccine the result of a “typo” — after China’s agricultural ministry dismissed the “vaccine” as having “no scientific basis.”