Xi's hard speech; Mixed signals before the reform celebration; PRC ambassador to Canada admits to hostage-taking

Kudos to those who stayed up to watch Xi's speech at the event celebrating the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. I confess I waited until this morning to read it and watch excerpts. 

There is no question the PRC and the Party have much to celebrate given the remarkable progress since 1978.

Xi's speech read to me like a clear extension of the 19th Party Congress report. According to Xi China is absolutely on the correct road, the Party needs to lead everything, and China is returning to its rightful place in the world with a better vision for global governance than the current approach.

Of course the primary audience for this speech is domestic, but the Chinese stock markets did not like it and from what I can tell so far it did not go over particularly well with business and intellectual elite.

If I were sitting in the Trump Administration I would not see this speech as sending positive signals about Xi's willingness to make some of the structural changes and concessions that the US is demanding. Perhaps this is tough talk for the domestic audience while there may be some concessions made under the guise of "deepening reforms", but if I were an bookmaker I would be cutting the odds that a US-China deal happens within the 90 day deadline, unless Xi is able to convince President Trump to accept much less than the US has demanded.

Chris Buckley and Steven Lee Meyers have a good story on the speech for the New York Times - On Anniversary of China’s Reforms, Xi Jinping Doubles Down on Party Power - The New York Times:

The resonant date had inspired expectations among some analysts and investors that Mr. Xi would give clearer priorities to counter economic headwinds and trade tensions that have flared with the United States. But he offered none, referring only obliquely to the economic and diplomatic challenges confronting China.

Instead, he used the meeting, broadcast live on Chinese television, to stress that only the party’s dominance would allow China to continue its stunning transformation into the decades ahead. The first lesson from 40 years of reform, he said, was the need to maintain party leadership “over all tasks.”..

Mr. Xi said that a country of China’s size and influence was right to hold “lofty aspirations.”

“China will never develop itself by sacrificing the interests of other countries,” Mr. Xi said, but he added that China also would not “abandon its own legitimate rights and interests.”

Throughout his speech, Mr. Xi performed similar rhetorical swerves, promising both greater openness and assertiveness, both strong state companies and prospering private businesses.

Mr. Xi’s speech on Tuesday was likely to dampen hopes of a breakthrough, said Ryan L. Hass, a former director for China at the National Security Council who is now a fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Mr. Hass said his Chinese contacts had “described the speech as the place where Xi would send a signal to Trump on his own terms about the market openings and other reforms on the horizon.”

“If those messages were embedded in the speech,” he added, “they appear to have been well concealed.”

I heard similar things as Mr. Hass, and I find it really interesting that there looks to have been a messaging campaign towards various foreign "influencers" about positive moves and messages that might be in the speech, and yet none of those things described were actually in the speech. The folks I heard from I consider quite reliable, so I really wonder where the disconnect is. I doubt they were just making things up, but from the speech itself it does not look like Xi has bent to any of the grumbling or supposed pressure on him.

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The Essential Eight

1. Xi's speech

Xi underscores Party leadership over all work - Xinhua:

The reform and opening-up in the past four decades has shown that leadership of the Party is the most essential attribute of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and the greatest strength of this system, Xi said.

"It is by upholding the centralized, unified leadership of the Party that we have been able to achieve the historic transformation, usher in a new era of reform and opening-up, and embark on a new journey of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," he said.

On the question of ensuring leadership by the Party, a fundamental principle that bears on the future of the Party and the country, all Party members and all the people must maintain a high degree of self-consciousness in terms of thinking, political orientation, and actions, Xi said.

No success of reform and opening-up comes easily. In the years to come, risks and challenges of all sorts are inevitable, he said.

"The Party must guide the overall situation and coordinate the work of all sides, remain committed to practicing scientific, democratic, and law-based governance...and see that China's ship of reform and opening up will break waves and sail on the right course," Xi said.

Xi stresses adhering to path of socialism with Chinese characteristics - Xinhua:

All the theories and practice of the Communist Party of China in the past 40 years of reform and opening-up are based on the theme of upholding and advancing socialism with Chinese characteristics, he said.

There is no textbook of golden rules to follow for reform and development in China, a country with over 5,000 years of civilization and more than 1.3 billion people, Xi said.

"No one is in a position to dictate to the Chinese people what should or should not be done," he said.

Socialism with Chinese characteristics provides a broad pathway for China to advance with the times and steer the course of development today, Xi said.

"We will resolutely reform what should and can be reformed, and make no change where there should not and can not be any reform," he said.

Full text of Xi's speech - 习近平在庆祝改革开放40周年大会上的讲话--时政--人民网 

People's Daily calls out "10 golden phrases" from Xi's speech -10个金句速览习近平庆祝改革开放40周年大会讲话要点--专题报道-人民网 

Xi's speech with simultaneous English interpretation--Xi Jinping speaks on 40th anniversary of China's reform - YouTube 

Zhao Leji attended, maybe he has the bug I still have and it caused him to miss the Gala Friday -- -China marks 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up - Xinhua:

Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu, Wang Yang, Wang Huning, Zhao Leji, Han Zheng and Wang Qishan attend a grand gathering to celebrate the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

Xi Jinping: China to stick to Communist rule and its own path to cope with ‘unimaginable’ perils | South China Morning Post:

The stock indexes of Shanghai and Shenzhen, which had both risen in early trading in anticipation of possible policy announcements, retraced their declines soon after proceedings began.

Shanghai’s composite index fell as much as 1.2 per cent, while Shenzhen’s index fell as much as 1.5 per cent to an eight-week low.

China Hails Jack Ma as Innovator, Robin Li's `Sea Turtle' Role - Bloomberg:

Basketball player Yao Ming joined the honorees, as did corporate chiefs of China’s most famous companies, from Li Shufu of carmaker Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd., to Li Dongsheng of electronics maker TCL Corp. Foreigners were given a nod too, including Klaus Schwab, the German founder of the World Economic Forum, and American insurance executive Maurice “Hank” Greenberg. 

Ren Zhengfei of Huawei didn't make the cut

Who are the Communist Party’s 10 favorite foreigners? - Inkstone:

These foreigners were on Tuesday awarded the China Reform Friendship Medal for having played a key role in propelling China’s economic and diplomatic growth.

Overseas Chinese called on to contribute to reform, opening-up - Xinhua:

You Quan, a member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and head of the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks while meeting with representatives of overseas Chinese, returned overseas Chinese and their family members who attended a gathering here commemorating the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up Tuesday.

Overseas Chinese have witnessed, participated in and contributed to China's reform and opening-up, You said, calling on them to play an active role in the country's new round of reform and opening-up, safeguard national reunification and make new contributions to realizing the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

2. The official story of reform

Xi Jinping’s Story of Reform | China Media Project:

Yesterday, on the eve of the anniversary, the People’s Daily ran a special feature extending over five full pages, from page five through to page 19, which we can read as an authoritative summary of the reform period as glimpsed through the lens of the current leadership. The special feature, called “Major Events of Reform and Opening” (改革开放四十年大事记), was prepared for the newspaper by the Institute of Party History and Documentation (中央党史和文献研究院), a Party office created in March this year through the merger (part of the resolution on “deepening reform”) of three bodies, the Party History Research Center, the Literature Research Center, and the Compilation and Translation Bureau. The feature runs to 54,000 characters...

Deng Xiaoping, who is generally known as the “architect” of reform and opening, is mentioned a total of 60 times in yesterday’s special feature. Of these, six mentions are of “Deng Xiaoping Theory,” Deng’s so-called “banner term,” or political brand, while the vast majority of mentions occur in the context of Deng’s various meetings and speeches within the timeline of China’s reform history.

Jiang Zemin is mentioned 47 times in the text, of which 10 mentions are in the context of Jiang’s banner term, the “Three Represents” (三个代表). Jiang’s successor, Hu Jintao, trails the pack, with 39 mentions in total, 13 occurring in the context of his banner term, the “Scientific View of the Development” (科学发展观).

The star of the show, of course, is President Xi Jinping. This is something we might have guessed. But just look at how far Xi Jinping leaves the pack behind. His six years in office account for just 15 percent if the total duration of the reform era, and yet he receives 127 mentions in total in the text, more than double that of Deng Xiaoping.

Xinhua Headlines: Xi Jinping: The man who leads China's reform into a new era - Xinhua:

After the third plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, Xi served as the head of a leading group on deepening overall reform. When it was changed to a committee, he remained as the chair.

In the meantime, he also chairs a number of high-level committees and commissions on areas such as law-based governance, foreign affairs, cyber-security and informatization.
By heading these groups, Xi can have face-to-face discussions with people working in different areas and better learn about actual situations.

Xi went through each version of major reform documents, added his personal insights and pushed for major progress.

Take the market's role as an example. In 2013, the Party decided to let the market play a "decisive" role in allocating resources. It sent a strong signal of policy adjustment as the original wording -- "basic" -- had remained unchanged since 1992.

When drafting the change, some people said it was still too early to make such a big leap. It was Xi who decided to make the change.

"Many of the major reforms would not have been possible if it weren't Xi," said an academic who was involved in drafting the document.

3. Economy weakening

More signs there will be more stimulus in 2019 and that it will be heavily weighted towards a fiscal one?  

China May Move Up Date for Local Bond Issuances - Caixin

The Ministry of Finance typically starts granting quotas for the issuance of new local government bonds in April following the National People’s Congress (NPC), the country’s top legislature, approves the figures at their annual session in March. But in 2019, such quotas are expected to be granted in the first quarter, as early issuance will be discussed at meetings of the NPC Standing Committee, which are scheduled to take place this month, according to a proposed agenda of the legislature...

“The (potential) early issuance of local bonds reflects the government’s mentality of relaxing fiscal policies for 2019,” said Huang Wentao and Li Guang, analysts of China Securities

China's manufacturing powerhouse Guangdong suspends PMI data release as numbers slide | Reuters:

Chinese export hub Guangdong has stopped publishing a monthly economic indicator that gauges growth momentum in its massive manufacturing sector after central authorities claimed local surveying and publication of the data to be “illegal”.

向松祚震撼演讲:四十年未有之大变局 - YouTube:

Economist Xiang Songzuo from Renmen University said in a speech that a research team from an important institute – using two metrics – just concluded in an internal report based on the National Statistics Bureau’s data that the GDP growth this year is either 1.67% or negative

More love for private enterprises, including from the Party secretary of Hebei provincial committee in Study Times 全面提升民营经济发展质量和水平 - 学习时报  

Study Times has also run three pieces by the former editor in chief of Economic Daily Ai Feng on his reflection of how the state should interact with private economy. Some interesting thoughts especially in the latest piece published yesterday regarding how government policies and officials’ understanding of the relationship between the state and private sector need to be synchronized:

怎样认识自己人 – 关于民营经济思考之一 , December 3
怎样认识所有制 – 关于民营经济思考之二 , December 10
怎样认识伪命题 – 关于民营经济思考之三 , December 17

4. Methods for managing activists

China’s Bizarre Program to Keep Activists in Check New Yorker - Jianying Zha:

While President Xi Jinping played host to African dignitaries in the Great Hall of the People, the police played host to my big brother at various scenic spots in the province of Hubei, about a thousand kilometres away. A number of other Beijing activists and civil-rights lawyers, including several whom Jianguo knows well, were treated to similar trips. Pu Zhiqiang headed for Sichuan, Hu Jia to the port city of Tianjin, He Depu to the grasslands of Inner Mongolia, and Zhang Baocheng to Sanya, a beach resort on Hainan Island. Kept busy in the midst of natural beauty and attended to closely, they had no chance to speak to members of the foreign media or post provocative remarks online.

This practice is known as bei lüyou, “to be touristed.” The term is one of those sly inventions favored by Chinese netizens: whenever law enforcement frames people, or otherwise conscripts them into an activity, the prefix bei is used to indicate the passive tense. Hence: bei loushui (to be tax-evaded), bei zisha (to be suicided), bei piaochang (to be johned), and so on. In the past few years, the bei list has been growing longer, the acts more imaginative and colorful. “To be touristed” is no doubt the most appealing of these scenarios, and it is available only to a select number of troublemakers. In Beijing, perhaps dozens of people a year are whisked off on these exotic trips, typically diehard dissidents who have served time and are on the radar of Western human-rights organizations and media outlets. Outside the capital, the list includes not just activists but also petitioners (fangmin)—ordinary people from rural villages or small towns who travel to voice their grievances to high government officials about local malfeasances they have suffered from.

The whole article is fascinating, and really captures well the interplay between the security services and some of their charges.

5. New white paper on the EU

Full text of China's Policy Paper on the European Union - Xinhua:

As major participants in and contributors to world multi-polarity and economic globalization, China and the EU share extensive common interests in upholding world peace and stability, promoting global prosperity and sustainable development and advancing human civilization, making the two sides indispensable partners to each other's reform and development. The EU has been China's largest trading partner for 14 years in a row and China the EU's second largest trading partner. Developing a sound relationship with the EU has long been a foreign policy priority for China.

The two policy papers on the EU issued by the Chinese government in 2003 and 2014 provided important guidance to the development of China-EU relations. The year 2018 marks the 15th anniversary of the China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the 20th anniversary of the China-EU Summit. Based on past achievements and in keeping with the times, China's third policy paper on the EU aims at identifying the direction, principles and specific measures to deepen the China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in the new era and promote greater development of China-EU relations.

China publishes economic and political wish list for its relationship with the European Union | South China Morning Post:

In a policy paper, China said it had no fundamental strategic conflicts with the EU, but demanded the bloc “explicitly oppose Taiwan independence in any form”, not interfere in Hong Kong affairs or support separatist movements in Xinjiang...

“[China and the US should] handle disagreements and frictions in a constructive manner, avoid politicising economic and trade issues, and ensure the sustained, steady and win-win progress of China-EU economic and trade relations.”

The paper said China would import more high-quality goods from the EU, but demanded the EU ease its controls on hi-tech exports to China.

6. Google may have shelved China project

Google's Secret China Project "Effectively Ended" After Fight - The Intercept:

According to two Google sources, engineers working on Dragonfly obtained large datasets showing queries that Chinese people were entering into the 265.com search engine. At least one of the engineers obtained a key needed to access an “application programming interface,” or API, associated with 265.com, and used it to harvest search data from the site. Members of Google’s privacy team, however, were kept in the dark about the use of 265.com...

Under normal company protocol, analysis of people’s search queries is subject to tight constraints and should be reviewed by the company’s privacy staff, whose job is to safeguard user rights. But the privacy team only found out about the 265.com data access after The Intercept revealed it, and were “really pissed,” according to one Google source. Members of the privacy team confronted the executives responsible for managing Dragonfly. Following a series of discussions, two sources said, Google engineers were told that they were no longer permitted to continue using the 265.com data to help develop Dragonfly, which has since had severe consequences for the project.

Comment: Beijing might be interested to find out if Google violated PRC privacy laws in its use of the 265 data

7. Huawei and Canada

Huawei’s New Playbook in Washington: Drop PR and Hire Lawyers - WSJ $$:

Huawei reshaped its strategy for dealing with the U.S. government this spring, as Washington intensified its campaign to blacklist the world’s biggest manufacturer of cellular-tower equipment and No. 2 smartphone maker, behind Samsung Electronics Co.

In recent weeks that campaign included a classified briefing held by Sens. Richard Burr and Mark Warner, who lead the Senate Intelligence Committee, for representatives from the four major U.S. wireless carriers to share concerns about Huawei, according to people familiar with the meeting...

It laid off four people who worked in the U.S. on government and public relations, said people familiar with the matter. It hired two law firms, Jones Day and Morgan, Lewis and Bockius LLP, to focus instead on potential legal challenges to U.S. courts, the only government branch Huawei considers impartial, one of the people said.

Huawei calls on US, others to show proof of security risk - AP:

Talking to reporters who were invited to Huawei Technologies Ltd.’s headquarters, Ken Hu complained accusations against the biggest global maker of network gear stem from “ideology and geopolitics.” He warned excluding Huawei from fifth-generation networks in Australia and other markets would hurt consumers by raising prices and slowing innovation...

Hu, who appears at industry events but rarely gives interviews, talked for two hours and 20 minutes with American, European and Asian reporters.

“If you have proof or evidence, it should be made known,” said Hu. “Maybe not to Huawei and maybe not to the public, but to telecom operators, because they are the ones that buy Huawei.”

Czech cyber watchdog calls Huawei, ZTE products a security threat - CNBC:

"China's laws ... require private companies residing in China to cooperate with intelligence services, therefore introducing them into the key state systems might present a threat," Dusan Navratil, director of the Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NCISA), said in a statement.

No way to cut corners and avoid arrest of Huawei executive at U.S. request: Freeland | Montreal Gazette:

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Freeland said that type of tactic would erode Canada’s commitment to the rule of law at a time when it is under threat across the globe.

“I think people need to be very careful when they start to suggest that corners be cut when it comes to the rule of law and when it comes to international treaty obligations,” said Freeland.

“That is one of the core foundations of everything that’s great about our country, one of the core foundations of our democracy,” she added.

China is holding two Canadians as hostages. It’s not even denying it. - The Washington Post:

In this case, official and quasi-official Chinese sources have been clear. The Chinese ambassador to Canada has not just admitted it; he has also proclaimed it in an op-ed in the Globe and Mail, saying that those who object to the Kovrig detention should reflect on Canada’s actions. Obviously, if there were no connection, those who object should no more reflect on Canada’s actions than they should reflect on the actions of, say, Saudi Arabia...

When China responds to criticism of the Kovrig/Spavor detentions by raising the Meng case, that is an admission that it’s all about retaliation. Assertions of equivalency are lazy and false. Both the United States and Canada host thousands of Chinese students who are the children of China’s rich and powerful, but neither they nor their parents need to worry that they will be held hostage. Neither government has the legal power to do it even if it wanted, and that lack of legal power matters.

On China, has Canada lost its sense of justice? - The Globe and Mail OpEd - Lu Shaye , Chinese ambassador to Canada:

Those who accuse China of detaining some person in retaliation for the arrest of Ms. Meng should first reflect on the actions of the Canadian side. It is both ignominious and hypocritical to revile China with double standards.

As a Canadian reader of The Globe and Mail wrote: “I am ashamed our government would participate in the kidnap and ransom of a leader of a foreign company.” In the past few days, many Canadians have made phone calls to the Chinese Embassy or posted their views online, expressing their indignation at the unfair treatment of Huawei, especially at the detention of Ms. Meng by Canadians.

The Chinese people used to have a favourable impression of Canada. But Canada’s behaviour this time has chilled their feelings.

8. Guo Wengui wins a US court victory

Roger Stone Admits Spreading Lies on InfoWars - WSJ $$:

The settlement resulted from a lawsuit filed in Florida federal court in March by exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui. Mr. Guo sued Mr. Stone for falsely accusing him of being a “turncoat criminal who is convicted of crimes here and in China.” Mr. Stone also accused him of violating U.S. election laws by making political donations to Hillary Clinton, according to the lawsuit. ..

Mr. Guo became a target of Mr. Stone’s a few months after launching his campaign, according to the lawsuit. In an interview last month Mr. Guo claimed that Mr. Stone was paid to make the defamatory remarks about him on InfoWars. He said the payment ultimately came from a Chinese-American media tycoon named Bruno Wu, whom Mr. Guo previously accused of being a spy for the Chinese government. Mr. Wu has filed a defamation lawsuit against Mr. Guo for these and other claims.

Mr. Stone’s settlement identifies Mr. Wu as “the apparent source of the information” about Mr. Guo and says it was conveyed to him by a former member of Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign. [Sam Nunberg]

Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China simplifies approval rules for new auto joint ventures - Xinhua The longstanding practice of checking and ratifying for administration of auto joint ventures will be changed into the management mode of filing for record or registration only, according to a source of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

U.S. confirms China soybean sale, but size disappoints - Reuters China's meager first purchase of U.S. soybeans since its trade war with the United States began in July disappointed farmers, grain traders and a U.S. government official hoping for larger sales to lift slumping prices and absorb a huge surplus across the U.S. farm belt, they said on Thursday. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced private sales of 1.13 million tonnes of U.S. soybeans to China, confirming sales Reuters reported a day earlier. But additional buying by the world's top soybean importer has yet to materialize, traders said, even after U.S. President Donald Trump told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday that China is buying a "tremendous amount" of U.S. soybeans

Sino-Japanese cooperation thrown off track over Thai rail project - Nikkei Asian Review The high-speed rail is expected to cost 220 billion baht ($6.71 billion), with most of that burden shouldered by the private sector and weak forecasts for demand. "Large deficits would be inevitable," said a source close to the matter. The Japanese side proposed a semi-high-speed rail to shrink construction costs, but the Thai government insisted that the three airports be connected in one hour.

Opinion | How to Make the Trade War Even Worse - The New York Times The United States is on the verge of major victories at the W.T.O. for American farmers in challenges to Chinese agriculture subsidies and to discriminatory restraints on American exports of wheat, corn and rice. All China needs to do to prevent those rulings from becoming binding obligations is to appeal them to the soon-to-be nonexistent appellate panel, potentially setting off another trade war.

Swine Fever Fallout Could Stoke Inflation in 2019 - Caixin If African swine fever can’t be controlled, farmers will be reluctant to breed the animals, causing a shortage of pork which could trigger a big jump in prices in the summer or second half of 2019, Lu Yanchun, head of the Price Monitoring Center of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said at a conference on Saturday. Pork accounts for around 60% of China's meat consumption, he said.

Chinese internment camp factory sends sportswear to US - AP The Associated Press has tracked recent, ongoing shipments from one such factory inside an internment camp to Badger Sportswear, a leading supplier in Statesville, North Carolina. The shipments show how difficult it is to stop products made with forced labor from getting into the global supply chain, even though such imports are illegal in the U.S. Badger CEO John Anton said Sunday that the company would source sportswear elsewhere while it investigates.

Politics, Law And Ideology

Wives of detained rights lawyers protest with shaved heads and a pun - Inkstone The four women accused the Chinese government of “lawlessness” and failing to carry out due process in their husbands’ cases. The protest is based in part on a pun: the Chinese words for “hair” and “law” sound the same in Mandarin except in their tones.

Popular Uyghur Singer And Parents Held in Xinjiang Political Re-education Camp - RFA Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) are holding a popular Uyghur singer and his parents in political re-education camps, according to local officials and his brother. Zahirshah Ablimit, an entertainer from Atush (in Chinese, Atushi) city, in the XUAR’s Kizilsu Kirghiz (Kezileisu Keerkezi) Autonomous Prefecture, regularly toured cities throughout China while singing modern pop music and traditional Uyghur folk songs over the course of a 15-year career.

Minitrue: Approved Sources on 1989 Spokesman’s Death – China Digital Times (CDT) All websites: on the death of Yuan Mu, only republish information from authoritative media such as Xinhua and People’s Daily. Delete all other information without exception, and remove harmful messages

New Self-Immolations, Protest Reported in Sichuan’s Ngaba - RFA In a new surge of opposition to China’s rule in Tibetan areas, two young Tibetans have set themselves ablaze in Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) county in Sichuan province, with another teenager launching a solo protest in the county town calling for Tibetan freedom, sources say.

Foreign and Military Affairs

Death penalty may await Chinese aircraft carrier builder boss for alleged spying role | South China Morning Post Sun Bo, former general manager of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), has already been found guilty by the country’s anti-corruption watchdog of taking bribes, but at least three sources familiar with the issue have said investigators were looking into allegations that he had passed on confidential information about the Liaoning, China’s first aircraft carrier. It is unclear what level of confidential information about the Liaoning Sun may have given to foreign intelligence agents, but the sources said he “could even face the death penalty” or “at least a suspended death sentence”.

Xi's Vision for Transforming Global Governance: A Strategic Challenge for Washington and Its Allies - Texas National Security Review - Liza Tobin Xi’s description of his concept in two speeches to the United Nations, at the General Assembly in September 2015 and in Geneva in January 2017, is a good place to start.16 In the 2017 speech, Xi likened the community of common destiny to a Swiss army knife — a Chinese-designed multifunctional tool for solving the world’s problems. On both occasions, he proposed the concept as a better model for global governance in five dimensions: politics, security, development (economic, social, technological, etc.), culture, and the environment. In sum, the five dimensions reflect the extraordinarily wide range of arenas in which Beijing believes it must restructure global governance to enable China to integrate with the world while at the same time achieving global leadership. If Beijing succeeds in realizing this ambitious vision, the implication for the United States and like-minded nations is a global environment with striking differences from the current order: A global network of partnerships centered on China would replace the U.S. system of treaty alliances, the international community would regard Beijing’s authoritarian governance model as a superior alternative to Western electoral democracy, and the world would credit the Communist Party of China for developing a new path to peace, prosperity, and modernity that other countries can follow.

Q&A: Obama’s Top Asia Adviser Daniel R. Russel Explains Where U.S. Went Wrong on China That said, what is radically different in the Trump administration’s approach from that taken by Obama or even by President (George W.) Bush is that previously there was not the aggressive, ad hominem vilification of China. At present, there appears to be a determination to paint China as a strategic rival and in fact an enemy, and I believe this is a profound mistake. It’s one thing to object to and respond to behavior that we believe is inconsistent with international rules and norms, but it is very different to label the Chinese nation as bad and as an enemy. If we take China as a strategic rival, then we are condemned to live in an era of strategic rivalry. There is a world of difference between competition that brings out the best of both sides and rivalry that brings the worst.

China’s Reach Has Grown; So Should the Island Chains | Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative The addition of a fourth and fifth chain in the Indian Ocean would better describe emerging Chinese maritime strategy. Chinese naval planners hope to deny adversaries the ability to operate within the first island chain during a conflict, contest control of the second island chain, and operate as a blue water navy within the third island chain. A new fourth island chain through the middle of the Indian Ocean would reflect China’s ability to challenge its geostrategic neighbor India with dual-use facilities in Gwadar, Pakistan, and Hambantota, Sri Lanka. A fifth island Chain, originating from China’s base at Doraleh, Djibouti, would reflect Beijing’s ability to pursue its developing commitments afar, such as harnessing economic resources, conducting anti-piracy operations, and protecting Chinese living abroad.

NSW Labor Party headquarters in Sydney raided by ICAC - Sydney Morning Herald The Labor Party’s Sydney headquarters has been raided by the Independent Commission Against Corruption over a fundraising dinner for Chinese supporters. More than 600 people attended the dinner at The Eight restaurant in Sydney’s Chinatown on March 13, 2015, two weeks before the NSW election.

Hong Kong, Macao

Hong Kong tabloid with China links tails visiting US-Australian academic | Australia news | The Guardian When Kevin Carrico landed back in Australia on Monday after spending a week in Hong Kong, his friend sent him a link to the front page of a Hong Kong tabloid. It was covered with pictures of Carrico and details of his trip. It seems reporters for the paper, Wen Wei Po, which is believed to have close ties to Beijing, had been following him all week, reporting details of who he met, where he went, even when he returned to his hotel to change his shirt.

Tech And Media

大江大河 01(王凯、杨烁、董子健、童瑶 领衔主演) - YouTube "Like a Flowing River", new TV show on people's experiences and struggles from the start of Reform and Opening, highly recommended by my mother in law...on Youtube with English subtitles

Chinese rappers hit back at Lil Pump’s racial slurs amid backlash | South China Morning Post Lil Pump’s 40-second preview clip for his new single Butterfly Doors includes the lyrics, “Smokin’ on dope, they call me Yao Ming ’cause my eyes real low! (Ching chong!)”. As he raps, the 18-year-old pulls the corners of his eyes. Both “ching chong” and the slant-eye gesture are racist caricatures of Asians.

Apple releases iOS update to resolve Qualcomm patent dispute · TechNode Apple has released an update to its mobile operating system iOS in an effort to settle a patent dispute brought to a Chinese court by US chipmaker Qualcomm. The company released iOS 12.1.2 on Monday, which aims to address Qualcomm’s concerns. It also forms part of a broader update to resolve eSIM issues.

Twitter tumbles on concerns about hacking activity | Reuters Twitter said in a blog that it discovered suspicious traffic to a customer-support forum while investigating a security bug that exposed data, including users’ phone country codes and details on locked accounts. It said the bug was fixed Nov. 16 Twitter observed a large amount of traffic to the customer support site coming from individual internet IP addresses in China and Saudi Arabia.

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Married with children - LSE Western reporting of China’s population controls has tended to focus on the higher probability of sex selective abortions and female infanticide. But a new paper by Dr Timothy Hildebrandt of the Department of Social Policy examines the ‘latent’ effects of the policy, focusing on the challenges it has brought for China’s LGB citizens, an area he has studied for the past decade. Dr Hildebrandt shows how the one-child policy has intensified family pressure for gay men and lesbian women. Such pressure is explained in part by the dominance of Confucianism, a system of social values, institutions, and ideals of traditional Chinese society.

China urgently needs ‘politically reliable,’ ‘religiously knowledgeable’ bishops as 50% of Catholic dioceses face vacancies - Global Times China has ordained 203 bishops since the country followed the religious independence and self-management principles in late 1950s. However, among the current 98 dioceses in the country, nearly half of them have no bishops and several older bishops are about to retire, said Bishop Ma Yinglin, chairman of the Bishops' Conference of the Catholic Church in China (BCCCC). China's Catholic community urgently needs to select bishops who are politically reliable and with good ethics and religious knowledge, Ma said at a seminar on Tuesday in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province. The seminar is the first to bring together Catholic clergies across China, following a historic bishop appointment agreement between China and the Vatican in September and last week's rare visit by a Vatican delegation.

Chinese underground bishop in Shantou diocese to retire, replaced by govt-backed cleric - Global Times Chinese bishop Huang Bingzhang on Tuesday vowed to earnestly fulfill his duties as the diocesan bishop of Shantou, South China's Guangdong Province after he received a mandate. The mandate was issued on December 7 and delivered to Huang last week at a meeting between a visiting Vatican delegation and several Chinese bishops. The 88-year-old underground bishop Zhuang Jianjian will retire, a source from China's religious sector confirmed with the Global Times on Tuesday. "The mission now is to unite Catholics in the diocese and reduce divergence so as to achieve the common goal of better serving church members," Huang told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Researcher Dodged Questions on Ethics of Gene-Editing Experiment Three weeks after news broke that the world’s first gene-edited babies had supposedly been born in China, questions still swirl around the success of the experiment, its ethics, and the scientist responsible. Now, Caixin has found that China’s Clinical Trial Register rejected the experiment’s application due to holes in the informed-consent process and research design, as well as questions over trial implementation and funding. Scientists have also cast new doubt on the effectiveness of the experiment

Agriculture And Rural Issues

Yuan Longping expects 6.6 million hectares of saltwater-tolerant rice in 10 years - ECNS Renowned Chinese agricultural scientist Yuan Longping said saltwater-tolerant rice will be planted on 100 million mu (6.6 million hectares) of saline-alkali land in eight to 10 years. At the third International Saline-Alkali Tolerant Rice Forum held in Sanya City of Hainan Province, Yuan said the average yield will be 300 kilograms per mu, meaning China can harvest an additional 30 billion kilograms of rice a year, enough to feed 80 million people.