Xi: Various civilizations are not destined to clash; Weak economic data; Rare earths; US-China

Happy Wednesday, no commentary up top today.

Thanks for reading.

1. Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations

This conference is all about Asian connectivity, Asian prosperity, Asia for Asians and making the argument that China offers an alternative to the unnamed big country on the other side of the Pacific…

Xi Focus: China advocates dialogue, rebuts "clash of civilizations" as conference opens - Xinhua

The Chinese president raised a four-point proposal to consolidate the "cultural foundation" of jointly building a community with a shared future for Asia and humanity: treating each other with respect and as equals; appreciating the beauty of all civilizations; adhering to openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning; and keeping pace with the times.

Xi Focus-Quotable Quotes: Highlights of Xi's speech at opening of CDAC - Xinhua

-- We hope that all Asian countries will respect and trust each other, co-exist in harmony, expand cross-border, cross-time-and-space as well as cross-civilization exchanges, and jointly maintain the peaceful time that is more valuable than gold.

-- Civilizations will lose vitality if countries go back to isolation and cut themselves off from the rest of the world.

-- It is foolish to believe that one's race and civilization are superior to others, and it is disastrous to willfully reshape or even replace other civilizations.

-- Various civilizations are not destined to clash.

The report on the conference took up the first 11 minutes of the Wednesday CCTV Evening News - 习近平出席亚洲文明对话大会开幕式并发表主旨演讲 呼吁坚持相互尊重 平等相待 美人之美 美美与共 开放包容 互学互鉴 与时俱进 创新发展 共同创造亚洲文明和世界文明的美好未来_CCTV. For those reading tea leaves, Xi gave this speech standing up. It seems like Xi delivers speeches to foreigners standing up, to Chinese cadres sitting down. So his sitting may not be a sign of anything health-related but rather one of power?

Xi's speech - 习近平在亚洲文明对话大会开幕式上的主旨演讲

Asian people expect Asia of common prosperity: Xi - Xinhua

Cultural superiority is stupid and disastrous, Chinese President Xi Jinping warns as US tensions persist | South China Morning Post

In a speech at the start of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilisations – designed for Beijing to show its soft power – Xi did not mention any nation by name, but said nobody should regard their race as superior.

The speech came two weeks after US State Department director of policy planning Kiron Skinner described strategic competition with China as “a fight with a really different civilisation and a different ideology”. Skinner said it was the first time the US had faced a “great power competitor that is not Caucasian”.

Chinese officials have rejected Skinner’s remarks, and in his speech Xi appeared to expand on the theme, saying cultures were distinctive but no better or worse than each other.

China’s Xi rallies Asia by appealing to shared culture — with subtle dig at U.S. - The Washington Post

In speeches and a flurry of new cultural exchange programs in the last year, Xi has increasingly called on Asian countries to stand together with self-confidence and promote their culture as the world becomes “multipolar.”

Xi repeated his rallying cry on Wednesday as he addressed dozens of leaders in Beijing, where he hosted an inaugural Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations. Xi did not name the United States, but the subtext was clear as he subtly criticized those who “insist on reshaping and replacing other civilizations.”

Belt, Road, exchanges feted during meeting with Greek leader - People's Daily Online

The Belt and Road Initiative and the proposal to build a community with a shared future for mankind are aimed at promoting exchanges among different civilizations and boosting cooperation between countries, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday.

Xi made the remark while meeting with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Pavlopoulos is making a state visit to China from Sunday to Thursday. He will also attend the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations.

Noting that Greece is an ancient Western country, Xi said that the Greek president's visit has great significance to promoting exchanges of a cultural and civilizational nature between Asia and Europe.

2. US-China

Mnuchin says he expects to go to Beijing to continue trade talks 'in the near future' - MarketWatch: 

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Wednesday he expects to go to Beijing to continue trade talks with the Chinese "at some point in the near future." Speaking at a Senate Appropriations hearing, Mnuchin said talks with China have been "constructive" but there is "still a lot of work to do."

Trump and Xi: Are Things Getting Personal? | China Media Project

So far, this “duel” between Trump and Xi is not visible in China’s official state media. This is a dicey time, and a dicey year, full of dicey anniversaries. The last thing China’s leaders want is for things to get personal.

Trump team explores farm bailout options amid trade war with China - The Washington Post

President Trump on Tuesday rushed to placate furious farmers and Senate Republicans about his escalating trade war with China, with lawmakers now considering a package of fresh bailout funds to quell a rebellion in agricultural states.

Op-ed: The US is not losing out to China in the trade relationship - People's Daily Online - Zhong Sheng

The US consumers, ranchers and enterprises are the victims of the US-invoked trade war, rather than the so-called “unfair competition with China”.

It is obvious to all that by claiming the losses in the trade with China, the US is not merely seeking recognition among US citizens. There are hidden reasons for Uncle Sam to make up all the stories.

However, the storytellers miscalculated. Thanks to the huge resilience and potential of Chinese economy, China has the confidence and the capabilities to promote high-quality development, offset the negative impacts caused by the trade friction, and realize long-term and stable growth by a higher level of opening up and the expansion of domestic demand.





China will never surrender to external pressure: FM spokesperson - Xinhua

Geng made the remarks at a press briefing in response to questions regarding China-U.S. trade frictions.

"China doesn't want a trade war, but we are not afraid of fighting one. If someone brings the war to our doorstep, we will fight to the end," he said...

"China welcomes foreign companies to increase investment in the country, and we will continue our efforts to create a more stable, fair, transparent and predictable business environment for foreign investors," he said.

Trade: Parade of Broken Promises : Democracy Journal - Elizabeth Economy

the current period is marked by two significant differences from any previous time in the bilateral relationship. First, Chinese intentions and capabilities have changed...And second, in response to Xi’s initiatives, the United States now considers China a strategic competitor.

US lawmakers want to tighten visas for Chinese students, researchers - Reuters

A group of Republicans in Congress introduced legislation on Tuesday intended to prohibit anyone employed or sponsored by the Chinese military from receiving student or research visas to the U.S.

The bill would require the U.S. government to create a list of scientific and engineering institutions affiliated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, and prohibit anyone employed or sponsored by those institutions from receiving the visas.

3. Rare earths back as a threat?

U.S. leaves rare earths, critical minerals off China tariff list - Reuters

The United States has again decided not to impose tariffs on rare earths and other critical minerals from China, underscoring its reliance on the Asian nation for a group of materials used in everything from consumer electronics to military equipment.

US faces squeeze on rare earths - Global Times

Expected strengthening of environmental enforcement in pursuit of a greener China could indirectly undercut the nation's supply of rare earths, a group of 17 elements that play a key role in products from advanced military hardware to mobile phones, Chinese analysts said...

The US companies using rare earths have reserves in the form of refined minerals that could last for six months, which means China has the upper hand if there's a freeze in rare-earth supplies that lasts for several months, Zhou said.

China lost a WTO case in 2014 when it restricted exports of rare earths.

But the pursuit of a better environment by China will be understood by every country, Zhou said.

4. Huawei

Trump expected to sign order paving way for U.S. telecoms ban on Huawei - Reuters:

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order this week barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms posing a national security risk, paving the way for a ban on doing business with China’s Huawei, three U.S. officials familiar with the plan told Reuters.

Comment: This executive order story has been written several times over the last year, but Trump never signed the order. Is this finally the week? From what has been reported publicly it won't really hurt Huawei as it will not block US firms from selling tech to Huawei, but it is consistent with what the US is trying to convince other countries to do with Huawei.

DOD looks to publish software blacklist -- FCW

The 2019 Defense spending bill banned services and equipment from five companies: Huawei, ZTE, Hytera Communications Corp., Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. and Dahua Technology Co., as well as any of their subsidiaries or affiliates.

China is using the Washington swamp against us - The Washington Post

The case of former Obama administration cybersecurity official Samir Jain has sparked a reaction from lawmakers who see his new gig as a lobbyist for Huawei as problematic. After the news broke last month that Jain, who served as National Security Council senior director for cybersecurity policy in the Obama White House, had registered as a Huawei lobbyist, President Trump tweeted: “This is not good, or acceptable!”

But the president didn’t explain why Jain working for Huawei was bad. Lawmakers want to put new rules in place to restrict adversary countries — like China — from gaining access to sensitive U.S. national security information by hiring former officials...

As the Center for Responsive Politics reported, Jain’s contract is just one part of a seven-figure Huawei lobbying and public relations campaign. Jones Day registered under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, which requires less reporting and therefore provides less transparency than registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

Huawei mounts lobbying push for 5G approval, release of Meng Wanzhou - The Globe and Mail

Huawei has hired a slew of public-relations and government-relations experts, including Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada, to help in the campaign to win over Canadians and Ottawa. Some of the people it has brought on board have worked for former Liberal or Conservative governments and also come from a wide array of businesses.

5. Weak economic data

More reasons to expect more policy support and stimuli if the trade war is not resolved soon.

China’s Economy Was Losing Steam Even Before Trump’s New Tariffs - WSJ

Industrial output gained 5.4% in April from a year earlier, slowing from an 8.5% year-over-year increase in March, while investment in fixed assets such as infrastructure and property during the first four months of this year rose 6.1% from a year ago, slower than the 6.3% pace this year through March.

Lackluster Economic Data Suggest Weak Recovery - Caixin

The slower growth in retail sales was mainly caused by the fact that this April had fewer national holidays and weekends than last year, the NBS said in a statement..

Excluding this factor, retail sales would have grown 8.7% year-on-year last month, unchanged from the increase in March.

China's retail sales growth slumps to 16-year low as trade war risks rise - Reuters

Clothing sales fell for the first time since 2009, suggesting Chinese consumers were growing more worried about the economy even before a U.S. tariff hike on Friday heightened stress on the country’s struggling exporters.

Overall retail sales in April rose 7.2% from a year earlier, the slowest pace since May 2003, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed. That undershot March’s 8.7% and forecasts of 8.6%.

China's economy remains stable in April - CGTN

Growth in China's industrial output settled at 5.4 percent in April as compared to 8.5 percent in the previous month, pointing to overall steadiness in the world's second-biggest economy fighting against Washington's hefty tariffs, NBS said in a statement.

In the first four months of 2019, the year-on-year growth rate of industrial output came in at 6.2 percent, in line with a full-year average reading of 2018.

The production and supply of electricity, thermal power, gas, and water went up 9.5 percent year on year in April, while output growth of the mining sector climbed by 2.9 percent, a slight fall of 1.7 percent from March.

Ownership analysis indicated that in the same month, industrial output of state-holding enterprises and share-holding firms went up six percent and 6.3 percent, respectively, compared with a 5.1 percent gain in that of enterprises funded by private investors.

6. Expectations and concerns

Chinese dream readjusted: why uncertainty dims aspirations | Financial Times $$

“Everyone feels that class solidification is coming, but it has not completely happened. Therefore, everyone thinks that they still have the opportunity to get out of their own class,” said Wang Wen, executive dean of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University.

In developed countries, he argues, families have a lower expectation of class mobility — whereas in China, people still feel there is something to play for. That, in turn, leads to anxiety.

…she recently mused over emigrating to the US while on a holiday. “I said to my husband, [how] about we buy a house, and move here?” she said. She dropped the idea quickly, after thinking she would not find work easily.

Her husband, on the other hand, had different reasons for staying put: “Look at China’s technology sector. China will overtake the US, so it’s best for Juanjuan to grow up here,” he said.

In China, Some Fear the End of ‘Chimerica’ - The New York Times

Many also appear worried that the trade war and the government’s tightening control over the private sector could halt or even reverse its progress. In a country only a couple of generations removed from starvation, the possibility doesn’t seem far-fetched to many. One 2017 post online, called “A Guide to Eating Tree Bark,” described how people in the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia survived during the starvation of the Great Leap Forward. It has recently gone viral again, with more than 100,000 page views.

Are rural youth striving harder than the urban middle class? - Side-hustle: China's small-town youth are busting butt for fun and profit - Trivium UB - User Behavior & Market Attitudes in China

though there are huge disparities between the needs and characteristics of urban and rural residents, studies tend to lump the two together, drawing conclusions that are either biased towards urban populations, or are too general to be actionable. But a series of new reports are turning the lens on the attitudes of xiaozhen qingnian 小镇青年, or “small town youth”.

Drawing on big data scraped from its user base of 230 million 18-35 year olds from third-tier cities and below, short video platform Kuaishou 快手 painted a picture of a hard-working demographic willing to roll up their sleeves in the name of self-improvement:

Small-town youth were 8 times more likely than urban youth to watch “how-to” and educational content on the platform;

37% have a side gig to earn extra cash.

A similar study from financial platform Paipaidai 拍拍贷, also targeting rural youth markets, supported those results

7. “China’s Emerging Revisionism in International Organizations”

People’s Republic of the United Nations: China’s Emerging Revisionism in International Organizations | Center for a New American Security:

This report examines China’s approach to seven organs and functions of the United Nations (U.N.): the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Human Rights Council, Peacekeeping Operations, Accreditation for Non-Governmental Organizations, the International Telecommunication Union, UNESCO, and the Office of Drugs and Crime. This examination yields the following insights into Beijing’s emerging strategy in the context of international organizations, which seeks to advance China’s interests and values through:

Promoting a particularist view of human rights, in which governments can cite “unique” local conditions to justify disregard for individual or minority claims. This fundamentally runs counter to the American belief that human rights belong to individuals and cannot be violated on the whims of a single government.

Redefining democracy in terms of so-called “economic and social rights,” rather than inalienable civil or political rights. This privileges the exigencies of state-led development over fundamental rights of association and expression, and it weakens the standing of these rights in international law.

Making state sovereignty inviolable and reestablishing states as the only legitimate stakeholders, with the purported aim of “democratizing” international relations and setting developing countries on equal footing in the global governance system.

Infusing consensus global goals with Chinese ideological terms and foreign policy strategies such as the Belt and Road.

Resolving political issues through bilateral negotiations, where China can use its full panoply of leverage to get its way, rather than through rules-based approaches.

8. Free-thinking in Xian

‘One Seed Can Make an Impact’: An Interview with Chen Hongguo | by Ian Johnson | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books:

Chen Hongguo might be China’s most famous ex-professor. Five years ago, he quit his job at the Northwest University of Politics and Law in Xi’an, publishing his resignation letter online after administrators prohibited him from inviting free-thinking lecturers to speak to his students. After resigning, he decided to keep bringing edgy speakers to this inland metropolis by launching Zhiwuzhi in 2015, a reading room whose name is the Chinese translation of the Socratic paradox “I know that I know nothing.”

Zhiwuzhi is easily the most dynamic public space in China, hosting a dozen book clubs and two to three events a day, including regular appearances by some of China’s best-known public intellectuals, including Guo Yuhua, Hu Jie, He Weifang, and dozens more. While similar bookstores or arts spaces have closed or self-censored themselves into irrelevancy, Zhiwuzhi has remained open, a tribute to Chen’s desire not to preach but to educate the public in critical, democratic thinking—not as an opposition figure but as someone with one foot in the mainstream.

Business, Economy and Trade

Foreign companies in China face cyber security crackdown | Financial Times Beijing is set to implement a strengthened regime of cyber rules under its existing “multilevel protection scheme” (MLPS) in December, according to documents seen by the Financial Times that are yet to be publicly announced. The rules are aimed at fortifying “national information security”, even as US-China commercial tensions flare...The latest strengthening of the MLPS regime — which reinforces the cyber security law — is set to expand supervision over technologies including mobile internet, the internet of things, cloud computing, big data and industrial security systems, according to official documents. They indicate that in future, every link in the life cycle of a piece of equipment’s development will be supervised, checked and evaluated.

Alibaba Beats Estimates as Recommendations Boost Sales - Bloomberg Revenue at China’s biggest e-commerce company rose 51% to 93.5 billion yuan ($13.6 billion) in the three months ended in March, above the 91.7 billion-yuan average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Adjusted earnings-per-share was 8.57 yuan, topping projections for 6.5 yuan. The Hangzhou-based company predicted revenue in the current financial year of more than 500 billion yuan, short of projections for 509 billion yuan.

Tencent Profit Tops Estimates, Reassuring Skittish Investors - Bloomberg “Missing consensus top-line estimates is not ideal, but the bright spot is growth came where it mattered -- in games, which is their most profitable segment,” said Vey-sern Ling, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “The 11% sequential jump in mobile game sales bodes well for the sustained recovery of the business over 2019, especially with the addition of new games.”

Oracle’s Severance Compensation Has Taught Chinese Tech Firms a Great Lesson - Pandaily According to leaked information from the company, Oracle China will reduce its staff number by more than half and will offer its employees N+6 packages to their departure. That is, the number of years working for the company, plus 6 months’ worth of salary. Such compensation package would seem impossible in the Chinese tech industry. In early rounds of massive layoffs in companies such as DiDi, Meituan, no such packages were given to affected employees. It is an industry norm to offer employees an N+1 package in the case of downsizing, yet such standards were often not respected by Chinese tech businesses.

Alibaba-Backed Former Smartphone Highflyer Gets Government Lifeline - Caixin A fund backed by three state-owned entities has provided new money to Alibaba-backed smartphone maker Meizu Technology Co. Ltd., throwing the former highflyer a lifeline as it struggles with plunging sales in an oversupplied global market.

Wanda to Plow Billions Into China After Dumping Assets Abroad - Bloomberg Wang’s Dalian Wanda Group Co. on Wednesday unveiled plans to spend 80 billion yuan ($11.6 billion) in the northeastern city of Shenyang, the biggest of the mainland investments it announced in the past six months. The money will be used to build a cultural tourism project, a hospital, an international school and five Wanda Plaza commercial complexes, the conglomerate said in a statement on its website.

Boeing 737 Max: Chinese Airlines May Seek Compensation Together - Bloomberg Air China Ltd., China Southern Airlines Co. and China Eastern Airlines Corp. are exploring their legal options on how to coordinate their claims, according to the people, who asked not to be named discussing private deliberations. The talks are preliminary and may not result in an agreement, the people said.

Exclusive: Liaoning Brokerage in Trouble Over Shady Bond Business - Caixin The government’s securities-industry watchdog initiated an on-site inspection after N-Securities showed up on the regulator’s radar for its risky dealings in bond repurchase agreements, Caixin learned. N-Securities holds more than 20 billion yuan ($2.9 billion) of assets in repurchase agreements, which sharply increased the company’s leverage and exposed it to default risks, analysts said.

World Bank debars Chinese electric power company - The FCPA Blog - The FCPA Blog The World Bank debarred a Chinese electric power technology company Tuesday for fifteen months for "fraudulent practices" involving a project in West Africa. Shanghai-based Sieyuan Electric Co., Ltd, (Sieyuan) is ineligible to participate in World Bank-financed projects during the fifteen-month debarment.

Kai-Fu Lee Sinovation Ventures retreats from U.S. amid trade dispute - CNBC The head of Sinovation’s Silicon Valley office, Chris Evdemon, departed in recent months and informed at least some portfolio companies that the firm was halting investments in the U.S. as it restructured its fund, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the conversations were confidential.

Kyle Bass Exits Longtime Yuan Short Bet Amid US-China Trade War - Bloomberg “I don’t have a vested interest in China’s currency anymore,” the Dallas-based hedge fund manager told Bloomberg Television in an interview Tuesday. “I think this is such an important moment in time for U.S. national security that all the work that I’ve done over the last seven years is moving more into the political sphere than the financial sphere.” // Working with Steve Bannon, Guo Wengui and the The Committee on the Present Danger: China?

Hedge-Fund Honcho Kyle Bass Takes Aim at Hong Kong ‘Time Bomb’ - WSJ Mr. Bass said he felt compelled to act now due to a combination of macroeconomic and geopolitical headwinds. In the letter, he raised concerns that China’s central government was “impinging on the autonomy of Hong Kong.”In a March filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Hayman reported $423.6 million in discretionary assets under management. That is down from $770 million in mid-2016 and $2.3 billion at the end of 2014.

Politics and Law

Senior official calls for deepening belief among Party cadres - Xinhua Senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official Chen Xi on Wednesday called for conscientious efforts to maintain deep belief in and faithfully practice "Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era." Chen, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and president of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks while attending the opening ceremony of the school's 2019 spring semester for the second intake of students.

Islamophobia in China | ChinaFile Conversation In March, when 50 people were massacred at two mosques in New Zealand, many Chinese people voiced support for the shooter—in the words of one commentator—for his “heroic revenge.” What are the roots of popular fear of Islam in China today, and how is it connected to the actions of the Chinese government in Xinjiang?

Anhui Man Detained 10 Days for Naming Dog ‘Traffic Warden’ | Sixth Tone According to media reports, the man, surnamed Ban, was served 10 days’ detention on Monday over naming his canine companions Chengguan and Xieguan — meaning “city management official” and “traffic warden,” respectively. Ban was accused of disturbing the peace after he posted several playful messages on social app WeChat, one of which read: “Chengguan went to steal shoes; when Xieguan showed up, they began fighting.

Foreign and Defense Affairs

Putin looks forward to Xi's Russia visit in June - Xinhua The Russian president asked Wang to convey his cordial greetings to Xi and congratulated China on the success of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) held last month in Beijing. The comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination with China is Russia's diplomacy priority, Putin said, adding that during his meeting with Xi in April, the two sides reached a new consensus on dovetailing between the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road Initiative. Putin also noted that he and Xi exchanged views on major international and regional issues and further cemented strategic and political mutual trust between the two countries during the April meeting.

How the Russian-Chinese Partnership Threatens U.S. Interests - Foreign Affairs - Andrea Kendall-Taylor and David Shullman the depth of relations between Beijing and Moscow has exceeded what observers would have expected just a few years ago. Moreover, the two countries acting in concert could inflict significant damage on U.S. interests even if they never form an alliance. In fact, whether Russia and China are becoming formal allies is not really the relevant question today. Rather, the questions policymakers should be asking are how deep their partnership will grow, how it will affect U.S. interests, and what Washington can do to shape its trajectory and ameliorate its negative effects on the United States and other democracies.

US naval chief says ‘freedom of navigation’ exercises in South China Sea get more attention than they deserve | Reuters Admiral John Richardson says the US has been as consistent in number of its operations across the South China Sea as Beijing has in criticising them

Bannon confronts China with fringe theories - Global Times To rational analysts, Bannon is not just radical, but a bit insane. He is obsessed with certain resentful suspicions that the US is on a razor's edge. // The original 社评:歇斯底里的班农煽动美国陪他发疯_评论_环球网 

Exclusive: Malaysian Negotiator Reveals the Story Behind Controversial Rail Deal’s Resurrection - Caixin Global As far as Malaysia was concerned, our principles were straightforward. We cannot afford to spend MR66.7 billion on the ECRL project — the cost would just not have been worth it. We knew we had to find ways to bring down the cost — this included through relooking at the specifications of the ECRL. The former BN government took real liberties with how they were spending on the ECRL. We found that if the BN government had conducted the negotiations in a proper manner, the final sum would have never reached RM66.78 billion.

With energy high on agenda, China's no.3 leader visits Norway - Reuters The four-day visit by Li Zhanshu, who heads the National People’s Congress, is the most high-profile by a Chinese official since the two countries restored full diplomatic ties three years ago.

Development as Imitation: Can the East Asian Model Become the East African Model? - MacroPolo China’s economic engagement with Africa is far more than state behemoths building roads and bridges. It is a bold experiment in whether the East Asian development model, having produced prosperity in Japan, then South Korea, and now China, can be transplanted to Africa. (This model may already have found favor in East Africa, particularly Ethiopia, which has embraced aspects of the East Asian model via China’s sizable presence in the country.)

Baloch versus Beijing: how Chinese investment in Pakistan has energised a violent separatist movement | AFP analysts suggest Chinese investment appears to have infused the nationalist movement with new energy, inflaming the long-running grievance over resources and giving sometimes disparate groups a common focus. At the same time, Pakistan’s determination to protect Chinese investment prompted the military to further intensify its stance, deepening resentment among the Baloch people.

Sri Lanka to receive Chinese military aid | Jane's 360 China has agreed to provide aid worth USD14 million to Sri Lanka to procure Chinese-made counter-insurgency equipment, it was announced on 14 May. The funding – pledged during Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s visit to Beijing – is intended to boost the capability of Sri Lanka’s security forces, the president’s media division said.

Hong Kong and Macao

A Hong Kong Doctor’s ‘Nefarious Network’ Sparks Market Inquiry - Bloomberg Hong Kong’s markets are plagued by stock manipulation, share pledging, cross-ownership and margin lending. Regulators say they’re going to take action.

Tech and Media

Wikipedia blocked in China in all languages - BBC News Internet censorship researchers found that Wikipedia had joined thousands of other websites which cannot be accessed in China. The country had previously banned the Chinese language version of the site, but the block has now been expanded.

iMessage users in China flooded with spam - CRI Chinese users of the iMessage app are complaining about a recent rise in advertisements of grey industries such as gambling and lotteries, reports influential Chinese media observer who goes by the online name dongdong-note. Users are questioning how spammers are able to access their phone number, and also why Apple ID and why the company has failed to offer effective filtering measures beyond reporting the spammers' number.

Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History

Shen Yun: Fighting Communism - and making a stack on the side - Asia-Pacific - RFI To facilitate what today is a multi-million dollar dance extravaganza, Li Hongzhi set up the “Fei Tian (‘Flying Sky’) Academy of the Arts” in the Dragon Springs center in 2006 to prepare students to become “professional artists.” A phone call to the Academy reveals that "a fair percentage" of graduates go on to perform in the movement’s flagship propaganda tool: Shen Yun Performing Arts, set up in the same year and, like Fei Tian, registered as a non-profit organisation. Today, Shen Yun has six fully equipped dance troupes and orchestras of about eighty people each touring the globe...

Japanese Writer Haruki Murakami Speaks Up on His Family's Involvement in the Sino-Japanese War - Pandaily On May 10, Japanese writer Haruki Murakami published an article that immediately went viral on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media platform. The famed novelist spoke up for the first time about his father’s involvement in the Second Sino-Japanese War. The latest edition of the Japanese magazine BungeiShunju published an article titled “Abandoning a Cat: What I Talk About When I Talk About My Father.”, a lengthy 28-page memory piece written by Murakami.

Gallery: Over 14,000 Evicted for New Train Station - Caixin Global To make way for a new high-speed rail station in Hefei, capital of Anhui province, a so-called “urban village” home to more than 14,000 people will be demolished in three phases

Uncivilized behavior in Beijing metro will affect personal credit record - ECNS 

Energy, Environment, Science and Health

China Prepares Safeguards Against Wasting Renewable Energy - Caixin Global The government will reduce the waste, known as curtailment, by setting levels of renewable energy consumption for the country’s provinces and regions, according to a notice from the National Energy Administration and state planner the National Development and Reform Commission.

China starts first round of intensified anti-pollution checks - Reuters