Xi's inspection tour; Party love for private sector; Infrastructure spending; Where is the evidence of US election meddling?; Xinjiang "vocational" archipelago; Online game approvals

Apologies for the late newsletter today. I got stuck in a meeting this morning, so no commentary up top today.

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The Essential Eight

1. Xi's inspection tour

Xi Jinping tours Guangzhou after highlighting wealth gap on visit to poorer areas | South China Morning Post:

After attending the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge on Tuesday, Xi also visited Guangdong province’s impoverished backwaters, pledging that “no one would be left behind” in his poverty alleviation campaign.

State television reported that Xi had visited an old district of Guangzhou, the provincial capital, and asked about cultural heritage protection works.

A motorcade believed to be that of Xi also visited the campus of Jinan University in Guangzhou in late afternoon, according to a South China Morning Post reporter at the scene. The campus had been under heavy security since the morning.

Earlier on Wednesday, the president was in the tech hub of Shenzhen, where he visited an exhibition commemorating Guangdong’s pioneering part in the reforms, in which Xi’s late father Xi Zhongxun played an early steering role.

Xi stresses building pilot FTZs toward new heights of reform, opening-up - Xinhua:

President Xi Jinping has called for building the country's pilot free trade zones (FTZs) toward new heights of reform and opening-up in the new era.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in an instruction on the development of pilot FTZs.

The development of pilot FTZs is a strategic measure by the CPC Central Committee in advancing reform and opening-up in the new era and has become a milestone in the course, Xi said.

Five years of enterprising and pioneering work in the country's pilot FTZs has seen major progress and breakthroughs, offering the nation copious advances in institutional explorations, Xi said.

习近平:把自由贸易试验区建设成为新时代改革开放新高地 


2. Party embraces the private sector

So many displays of support and affection, has the message gotten through that the private sector was feeling pain and political pressure and needs some TLC to be able to help keep the economy afloat and offset the impact of the trade war?

Workers called on to boost innovation - Xinhua:

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, attended the opening session of the 17th National Congress of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions held in Beijing.

The working class should hold fast to their ideals and faith, give full play to their enthusiasm, advance reforms and innovations, and improve their work skills, said Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

In his speech on behalf of the CPC Central Committee, Wang said that Xi's important discourses on the working class and the work of trade unions have shown the direction of innovations and development for the labor movement and trade unions' work in the new era.

Premier Li vows to brave challenges, bolster economy - Xinhua:

Li promised that China would push for reform and opening-up, and innovation-driven development, rather than resort to massive stimulus.

"Efforts will be made to better the business environment, including measures that cut red tape and reduce taxes to stimulate the market," Li said. "The potential of domestic demand will be further unleashed, and targeted policies will be rolled out to tackle problems that plague the real economy."

China central bank to support private firms seeking financing | Reuters:

Governor Yi Gang said the bank is committed to create favourable financing environment for private enterprises, he said in a statement posted on the bank’s website.

Xu Zhong is director general of the research bureau of the People’s Bank of China--PBoC research director OpEd - Juicing the Engine of China’s Economy - Caixin:

With downward pressure on the economy, and facing a complicated situation domestically and overseas, some private enterprises have encountered difficulties raising money and operating their businesses, and there has been an increase in debt defaults. There is a rising mood of risk aversion among some market institutions toward private companies and we have seen some irrational behavior with regard to financing. Against the backdrop of the deleveraging campaign, private enterprises that relied on “shadow banking” for their financing needs in the past are inevitably experiencing some pain as they are forced to turn to the formal banking system. As a result, there is a need for the central bank to roll out targeted measures to support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises and the private economy...

Once again, it must be emphasized that the establishment of private enterprise bond financing support tools does not mean that the PBOC's monetary policy stance has changed. Liquidity in the banking system remains stable, and the central bank continues to operate a prudent, neutral monetary policy. It will not flood the financial system with liquidity, and will ensure adequate funding by making targeted adjustments. It will also guide reasonable growth in broad money supply and total social financing in order to create a monetary and financial environment that fosters high-quality development and supply-side structural reform.

NDRC also coming out with policies to support private company fundraising - 发改委:鼓励地方建立民营企业贷款风险补偿机制_中证网:

 中证网讯(记者 刘丽靓)发改委24日就宏观经济运行情况举行发布会,发改委新闻发言人孟玮会中表示,今年以来,我国民间投资持续保持回升态势,增速始终高于整体投资,前三季度民间投资增长8.7%,同比提高2.7个百分点,比整体投资快3.3个百分点,成为稳投资的重要支撑。下一步将巩固民间投资发展势头,抓好相关政策落实,持续激发民间投资活力。

Page 5 People's Daily commentary on reaffirming Xi’s support for unswervingly developing both the state and private sectors--共同发展,“两个毫不动摇”不会变(评论员观察)--观点--人民网 

Page 7 People's Daily piece "Reform methodology of the New Era" by Gao Shangquan, who used to be a very important figure in China’s economic reform during the 80s. He was the deputy director of 国家经济体制改革委员会 in the 80s and also the first director of Zhao Ziyang’s think tank 中国经济体制改革研究所. This article first looks back to what happened over the past 40 years of reform and then acknowledges that Xi is doing the right thing to deepen reform.--新时代的改革方法论(纪念改革开放四十周年)--观点--人民网 

ACFTU releases list of 100 outstanding entrepreneurs in the 40 years of reform and opening, Wanda's Wang Jianlin and JD.com's Richard Liu did not make the list.-这个榜单很重要:改革开放40年百名杰出民营企业家名单发布_10%公司_澎湃新闻-The Paper 

The United Front Wechat account says they released this list to show the CCP's support for the private sector-  释新闻|百名杰出民营企业家名单为何这样的时间节点发布?

Full text of professor Hua Sheng’s speech of Fudan university is a must read. Professor Hua Sheng, along some of his classmates, proposed the dual-track price system reform 价格双轨制 in the 80s. It was adopted by the State Council to reform the planned economic system. In this speech he recapped what happened over the past 40 years in China’s reform and talked about his belief in true Marxism and communism, lessons from the collapse of USSR and the importance of developing private sector in China-华生:从大历史的视角看改革开放40年 


3. Some infrastructure love coming to the economy

China more than quadruples fixed-asset investment approvals in third quarter versus second quarter | Reuters:

China more than quadrupled the value of fixed-asset investment projects approved in the third quarter from the April-June period, Reuters calculations showed, as Beijing accelerated infrastructure spending to prop up the slowing economy.

The state planner approved 45 projects worth 437.4 billion yuan ($63 billion) in July-September, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the value of approvals so far this year, according to Reuters calculations from official data released on Wednesday.

Better outlook for infrastructure projects - China Daily:

"Expectations for next year's infrastructure spending are not as pessimistic as some people have predicted, at least the trend is unlikely to be the same compared with this year's," said the official with the fixed-asset department of the National Development and Reform Commission, who declined to be identified due to lack of authority to speak to the media.

That is because projects in the pool remain "abundant", he said, referring to those expected to commence in the next year and in the next three to five years, mainly in the transportation and urban rail sectors.

In response to concerns over a possible shortage of finance, as funding channels may be tightened as the government is committed to curbing local government debt risks, the official said there is no major shortfall in funds supporting infrastructure projects, as the money mainly comes from special funds allocated by local governments.

In the meantime, project approval may tend to speed up in the near future, after the government released guidelines to accelerate the approval process, the official said.


4. US-China trade

Trump, China's Xi to Meet at G-20 to Talk Trade, Kudlow Says - Bloomberg:

Kudlow told reporters that U.S. “asks are on the table” and that the two leaders “will meet for a bit” in the Argentine capital during the event. He said he anticipated staff-level meetings between Chinese and American officials ahead of the Nov. 30-Dec. 1 leaders’ summit.

But Kudlow also cautioned that he doesn’t expect a major breakthrough between the two leaders, while saying that a broad agreement “on some basic principles and trading rules” -- including intellectual-property theft, forced transfer of technology, and tariffs on agricultural products -- “would be most welcome.”

Podcast - Kevin Rudd on the US-China trade war | Financial Times $$

Companies Say They're Ready to Move Supply Chains From China - Bloomberg:

Earnings reporting season is underway, and analysts are eager to hear from executives about how an escalating trade war between the U.S. and China is impacting their businesses. A common theme is that they are ready to relocate supply chains if the cost of importing Chinese goods becomes prohibitive

No US high-ranking officials to attend China investment fair - AP:

The U.S. will not send a high-ranking official to attend a major investment fair in China next month, an embassy official said Wednesday, in a move underscoring worsening trade friction between the world’s two largest economies.

Speaking on routine condition of anonymity, the official said, “China needs to make the necessary reforms to end its unfair practices that are harming the world economy.”

“The U.S. government has no current plans for high-level U.S. government participation” in the expo, the official said. “We encourage China to level the playing the field for U.S. goods and services.”

US companies determined to cling to Chinese market despite trade tensions - Global Times:

Instead of reducing their dependence on the Chinese market or even giving up on it, many US industrial giants are either speeding up investment in China or reaching out to new potential customers in the country. 

One sign is their active participation in the China International Import Expo (CIIE), which will be held in Shanghai in November. 

Based on information the Global Times has obtained so far, the US companies that have confirmed their attendance range from food producers and makers of common chemicals to carmakers and high-technology enterprises. Many of them are well-known brands among Chinese consumers.

U.S. farmers see crops piling up as trade frictions continue - Xinhua:

American farmers have a long, cold winter to digest their options and see crops piling up as trade frictions continue.

Sales of soybeans to China in 2018 are already down 24.6 percent, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics released last week.

An Iowa State University study last month said Hawkeye farmers alone would lose 2.2 billion U.S. dollars from the trade war, with corn and soybeans dominating field crop output.

"We're getting hit on both ends by the trade war," Montana farmer Matt Flikkema told Xinhua. "Not only are the prices of our crops dropping but we're also paying more for equipment due to the tariff on steel and aluminum."

Wheat, corn and soy prices have fallen across the board since the trade war began early this year; soy fell by more than 12 percent in recent weeks.

Comment: Will this article appear in the ChinaWatch insert the China Daily places in so many US newspapers every month?


5. Looking for US election meddling evidence

Facebook, Twitter Can't Find China Election Meddling Trump Cites - Bloomberg:

Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. haven’t detected Chinese meddling in the 2018 elections, company officials said, casting doubt on claims by President Donald Trump that the Asian nation is trying to interfere.

The social media giants have reported online disinformation campaigns ahead of the Nov. 6 elections that appear to originate from Russia and Iran. But press representatives for both companies, who spoke on condition they not be identified by name, said they haven’t found evidence so far of such activity from China.

People's Daily’s Zhongsheng column weighs in on the US claims the PRC/CCP is interfering in the the US elections, says there is no evidence to show that China is interfering with the mid-term election in the US and that in fact the US itself, on the other hand, is the country that is most enthusiastic about interfering with other countries’ domestic affairs on this planet....--谁是热衷于干涉他国内政的国家(钟声)--国际--人民网 

近日,美国方面在多种场合指称中国试图干涉其下月举行的中期选举。但是,证据呢?美国媒体在采访多家网络安全公司之后得出相反结论——这些公司的情报分析师均表示,没有发现“中国干涉美中期选举”的证据。有目共睹,美国政府歪曲事实、捕风捉影的说辞,完全经不起推敲。中国历来坚持不干涉他国内政原则,一向光明磊落,问心无愧。这是美方任何一张大嘴说破了天都改变不了的事实。
 
谁是这个星球上最热衷于干涉他国内政的国家,国际社会早有公论。最近,来自洪都拉斯、萨尔瓦多、尼加拉瓜等国的无证移民试图经由墨西哥去往美国的消息,又一次将世界的目光引向美国干涉别国内政的过去和现在。

Now might be a good time for the Trump Administration to go public with more evidence if they have it of interference.


6. More on the Xinjiang camps

BBC takes a deep dive into satellite imagery to document the growth of the "vocational" archipelago in Xinjiang.

China's hidden camps - BBC News:

a huge amount of extra activity that has so far gone unnoticed by the outside world.

In remote parts of the world, Google Earth images can take months or years to update.

Other public sources of satellite photography however - like the European Space Agency's Sentinel database - provide much more frequent images, although they're of a much lower resolution.

It is here that we find what we are looking for.

Meanwhile. Hu Xijin of the Global Times has been on a tour of Xinjiang and his using his Twitter feed to support the official narrative. Some examples:

Inside China's internment camps: Tear gas, Tasers and textbooks | AFP:

On state television, the vocational education centre in China's far west looked like a modern school where happy students studied Mandarin, brushed up their job skills, and pursued hobbies such as sports and folk dance.

But earlier this year, one of the local government departments in charge of such facilities in Xinjiang's Hotan prefecture made several purchases that had little to do with education: 2,768 police batons, 550 electric cattle prods, 1,367 pairs of handcuffs, and 2,792 cans of pepper spray.

Question: Is Al Jazeera broadcasting stories like this about Xinjiang in Arabic?


7. No Party fun for game companies

China Halts Special Approval Process for New Games - Bloomberg:

China’s regulators have ended the issuance of game licenses through a stopgap approval process, people familiar with the matter said, closing the last known official path for making money from new titles in the world’s biggest gaming market.

Licenses are no longer being granted through a process known as the “green channel,” used for testing both domestic and foreign games, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. The approval mechanism had been in place since at least August, following the government’s decision earlier this year to restructure how it reviews video games for violence, gambling and sensitive topics...

“It’s interesting how long Steam overseas can remain unblocked, since people are noticing how Chinese gamers are flooding the platform to download games,” said Benjamin Wu, a Shanghai-based analyst at Pacific Epoch. “It might only be a matter of time that they get blocked.”

China’s Pause on Videogame Approvals Expected to Drag Into Next Year - WSJ $$:

In the absence of an official explanation, game companies are spinning their own theories. Some think the government is using the delay to bring to heel a lucrative industry with influence over Chinese youth. President Xi Jinping has tightened controls over the internet and wants all media to increase content promoting the Communist Party. Under these conditions, executives said, companies must fall in step with the government.

An update on China’s games licensing freeze – Niko:

China’s State Council is promoting gaming and introducing reforms

China’s State Council posted a notice to reform the approval process for new business creation, effective November 10, 2018, for 106 types of businesses, of which 3 are gaming related. The reforms promote new internet cafés, arcades and gaming entities, by centralizing and cutting the approval process time by a third. The State Council also released a notice on how it plans to promote the online games industry and standardise the approval process as well as improve the approval process for game hardware. This is a positive sign for the industry as it shows China’s government is still very much in favour of developing a healthy games industry.

There is a vacant spot for director of SAPP, extending delay of reforms

China’s State Administration of Press and Publication (SAPP) is the newly minted regulator tasked with game licensing (among other things). Zhuang Rongwen was appointed director of SAPP in May, departed in August 2018. The vacancy appears to be one of the primary roadblocks to resuming game licensing. It is still unclear as to when the SAPP will complete reforms and restart its mission.


8. Cardinal Zen says Pope Francis is too sympathetic to Communists

Opinion | The Pope Doesn’t Understand China - The New York Times - Cardinal Zen:

I know the Church in China, I know the Communists and I know the Holy See. I’m a Chinese from Shanghai. I lived many years in the mainland and many years in Hong Kong. I taught in seminaries throughout China — in Shanghai, Xian, Beijing, Wuhan, Shenyang — between 1989 and 1996.

Pope Francis, an Argentine, doesn’t seem to understand the Communists. He is very pastoral, and he comes from South America, where historically military governments and the rich got together to oppress poor people. And who there would come out to defend the poor? The Communists. Maybe even some Jesuits, and the government would call those Jesuits Communists.

Francis may have natural sympathy for Communists because for him, they are the persecuted. He doesn’t know them as the persecutors they become once in power, like the Communists in China.


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

National per-capita disposable income rises 8.8% - China Daily Data from the NBS show that in the first nine months of this year, the national per-capita disposable income of residents was 21,035 yuan, a nominal growth of 8.8 percent over last year, or an actual increase of 6.6 percent after deducting price factors. Shanghai's residents saw the highest disposable income at 48,339 yuan, followed by Beijing at 46,426 yuan and Zhejiang province at 35,349 yuan.

Chinese dairy giant Yili says former corrupt boss sheltered by public officials | South China Morning Post  State-owned Chinese dairy company Yili Group publicly accused its former president, Zheng Junhuai, of embezzling public funds and defaming the company on Wednesday, saying he was protected for more than a decade by his close ties to government officials. The company said it submitted a report on Tuesday to the Central Leading Group for Inspection Work appealing “for justice”.

Ant Financial to Buy $100 Million in Shares of Brazil Credit Card Processor - Caixin Global Ant Financial, an affiliate of e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., which operates China’s top two mobile payment platforms, has agreed to buy StoneCo’s shares at their initial public offering price within 30 days of the offering, StoneCo said in a regulatory filing to the Nasdaq Stock Market on Monday.

Is the US Treasury Going Too Far in Protecting US Technology? | PIIE While FIRRMA was generally understood to be aimed at investments from countries like China and Russia, the pilot program covers investments from every single foreign country, including those from investors based in allied countries like Canada, the United Kingdom, and France. This may well be necessary at least in the short run to ensure that, for example, a Chinese state-owned military contractor cannot evade the rules by setting up a company in Germany that then makes investments in the United States without triggering scrutiny. CFIUS requires all parties involved in a deal to trace their owners back to the ultimate parent, which should allow CFIUS to gain an understanding of the ways China and other countries use multiple companies to hide investment origin

New US law sends harsh signal to foreign investors - Global Times The discriminatory practices of the US against Chinese investment indicate the possibility of extending this treatment to investment from other countries, which makes people wonder whether the US will adhere to investment openness in the future. In fact, such a deliberately discriminatory policy has also weakened the status of the US as a global business center. In 2017, FDI inflows to the US fell by 40 percent year-on-year, and in the first quarter of 2018, the country's FDI inflows dropped 43 percent compared with the same period last year. Pan Yuanyuan is an assistant research fellow with the Institute of World Economics and Politics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Zhang Ming is chief economist at Ping An Securities

The Right Way to Protect America's Innovation Advantage - Foreign Affairs The Trump administration is right to be concerned, but it is preparing for the wrong kind of technological competition with China. Despite loose talk of a new “tech cold war,” the United States and China are far more integrated than the administration appreciates. As the two leading tech economies, they make up an innovation ecosystem that requires cooperation when it comes to research, supply chains, talent, and investment in the latest technologies. Any attempt to separate the two technology sectors by force would prove counterproductive at best and devastating at worst. This simultaneously competitive and interdependent relationship warrants a completely different strategy—one that exploits the benefits of collaboration while strengthening the United States’ ability to compete.

Kering buoys shares in luxury sector with bullish China view | Reuters He added Kering was if anything seeing an improvement in the retention rate of Chinese millennial customers, or those in the roughly early 20s to mid-30s age bracket, and that overall, demand had so far not dipped. That extended into the beginning of the fourth quarter at Gucci, Duplaix s

Ford separates Ford China, names new leader - Detroit Free Press Ford China, under the direction of veteran auto executive Anning Chen, will report directly to Ford global headquarters in Dearborn...Chen, 57, assumes the new role effective Nov. 1. He has experience with alliances and joint ventures and product development. He will lead the company’s operations in greater China, including all import and joint venture operations. Prior to this role, Chen served as CEO at Chery Automobile Ltd., and chairman of the board of directors, Chery Jaguar Land Rover, Automotive, China.

OKCoin office in Beijing vandalized amid accusations of fraud · TechNode Prior to the incident, OKCoin reported that a group of unidentified individuals had been hanging around its office. The company said the individuals refused to identify themselves, but they claimed that they were OKCoin users. The company speculated that they were hired to disrupt their operations. According to 8BTC, a bitcoin and blockchain information platform, the violence is as a result of futures trading provided by the platform, in which users experienced forced liquidations and irregular transactions.

Chinese enterprise giants form association to boost Israel operations - Jerusalem Post A group of major Chinese businesses launched the Chinese Enterprises Association in Israel (CEAI) on Wednesday to promote their operations in Israel and assist them in interactions with local government institutions, authorities and other organizations. Members in the CEAI come from various fields including the food industry, aviation, construction and engineering.

Top legislature reviews state-owned assets reports - Xinhua The National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, China's top legislature, on Wednesday convened a plenary meeting to review for the first time two reports submitted by the State Council on the condition of the country's state-owned assets. Li Zhanshu, chairman of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, attended the plenary meeting held during the ongoing bimonthly session of the NPC Standing Committee. According to the reports, total state-owned assets in non-financial enterprises had reached 183.5 trillion yuan (about 26.4 trillion U.S. dollars) by the end of 2017, while those in financial enterprises had hit 241 trillion yuan.  //  首亮家底!2017年全国国有企业资产总额183.5万亿元 – 中国新闻网 finance.sina.com.cn/china/gncj/2018-10-24/doc-ihmuuiyw7920879.shtml

Ten Ways to Calculate Your China Legal Risks: Do You Feel Lucky? - China Law Blog China is right now in one of its perpetual crackdowns on foreign companies doing business in China. This makes now a good time for foreign companies doing business in China or with China to determine their China risks. The following ten sets of questions are a good starting point for making that calculation.

How Strong Steel Might Kill Off the Next Big Battery Metal Story - Bloomberg Prices have surged more than 800 percent in about two years, driven by Chinese demand for stronger steel. There’s also been speculation that vanadium will become a key metal for the battery industry. But with prices now at extreme levels, it could be too expensive, according to Evraz Plc, a Russian steelmaker and one of the top producers of vanadium


Politics, Law And Ideology

长安街读书会 - 「党建治学」朱佳木:掌握同历史虚无主义思潮斗争的思想武器 Chen Yun’s secretary Zhu Jiamu talks about historical nihilism and how great it is that Xi Jinping is providing the support to ensure ideological security and fight back against historical nihilism and hostile foreign and domestic forces that want "peaceful evolution" and "color revolutions".// 当前,我国正处在实现全面建成小康社会和中华民族伟大复兴奋斗目标的历史关键时期,特别需要维护好国家的意识形态安全。我们要认真学习习近平总书记关于党史国史工作的一系列重要论述精神,把同历史虚无主义斗争的思想武器掌握好,运用好,绝不能让国内外敌对势力用这股思潮对我国搞和平演变、“颜色革命”的阴谋得逞,绝不能让在苏联发生的悲剧在中国重演。这是国史工作者为实现“两个一百年”宏伟目标和中华民族伟大复兴而奋斗的具体任务,也是我们的神圣使命之所在。

中国纪检监察报 - 刑事强制措施与留置措施衔接的思考 Article in the CCDI/NSC newspaper article says police and the national supervisory commission sometimes apply criminal detention and liuzhi (detention in place) at the same time to suspects, which is wrong.

Legislators Say Prosecutors Should Be Able to Investigate Powerful Graft Watchdog Legislators have called for empowering public prosecutors to have the right to exercise oversight not just over the police and courts, but also over a powerful new anti-graft investigator. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) started to deliberate the third draft of an amended bill on law-enforcement procedures on Monday. At the session’s Tuesday hearing, some lawmakers suggested that if workers of the National Supervisory Commission (NSC) or its local branches committed crimes such as abusing suspects during their corruption investigations, then prosecutors should be allowed to investigate them.

中国纪检监察报 - “同志,出国期间请注意遵守纪律” 纪检监察组在书面提醒中,提醒因公因私出国(境)干部做到严禁擅自延长在境外期限或擅自变更路线等“七个严禁”。 //  discipline inspection teams in Jiangxi are warning party cadres to obey party discipline while traveling abroad. Cadres are not allowed to do seven things 七个严禁 including extending their stay overseas by themselves and arbitrarily change travel routes. I wonder what the other five banned things are and if this seven bans is also applied to cadres in other provinces


Foreign and Military Affairs

EDITORIAL: Tough-minded strategy the way to rebuild ties with China:The Asahi Shimbun Japan in recent years has encountered various disturbing examples of China behaving differently from the international norm. Beijing’s actions concerning thorny bilateral issues, including the territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands, come to mind, as do its human rights record. China also acts in a high-handed manner on touchy issues concerning the international order, including sovereignty disputes with neighboring countries over islands and areas in the South China Sea. Japan cannot simply overlook the way China uses its overwhelming power to take advantage. Tokyo should continue to consistently call on Beijing to respect the core values on which postwar Japan and the world have been built. This is about democracy, freedom of speech and the rule of law, no matter how strongly Beijing rejects them.

Abe vows to bolster ties with China day before Beijing trip - AP Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vowed to bolster cooperation and friendship between Japan and China in a key policy speech Wednesday before making the first official trip to Beijing by a Japanese leader in seven years. Abe said Japan and China are both responsible for the region’s peace and prosperity, which he hoped to achieve by boosting exchanges between them. Abe will hold talks with Chinese leaders Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang during his three-day visit. “Tomorrow I will visit China,” Abe said. “As we unflaggingly exchange summit diplomacy, I will also deepen the exchanges between the two peoples in all levels of activities from business cooperation to sports.”

Japan and China, Asian Rivals, Are Trying to Get Along - The New York Times To show that its ties with China can improve, Japan has agreed to sign an accord in Beijing calling for them to work together on infrastructure projects in developing countries. But even that agreement will reflect the two powers’ rivalry. Japan has stipulated that it does not want to be involved in so-called Belt and Road projects — China’s ambitious bid to draw countries into its orbit through infrastructure investment — unless international standards of transparency and fiscal sustainability are applied, said a senior Japanese official, who spoke on condition of anonymity according to diplomatic custom.

Commentary: China-Japan relations expected to enter a new phase - Xinhua As the world is undergoing major development, transformation and adjustment and global free trade system and multilateralism are being challenged by rising populism and unilateralism, promoting Sino-Japan ties will play an even more prominent role in contributing to the peace and prosperity of Asia and improving global governance. China and Japan are the world's second and third largest economies and are deeply involved in the global industrial chain and trade system. Neither of them can isolate itself from the rest of the world. It is a win-win or multiple-win choice for the two countries to strengthen and expand areas of cooperation.

Opponents fear ‘wrecking ball’ Bolsonaro poses threat to Brazilian democracy | Financial Times $$ During a dinner at Taiwan’s foreign ministry earlier this year, Jair Bolsonaro said his trip to Taipei would “demonstrate who we want to get closer to”. Such an overture to what China regards as a “renegade province” is not likely to have gone down well in Beijing, which has watched all year as Mr Bolsonaro has fanned distaste for Chinese investments.  “China is not buying in Brazil, it is buying Brazil”, Mr Bolsonaro has said, repeatedly, of his country’s main trading partner and source of foreign investment. An admirer of the US president Donald Trump, the former army captain has embraced an anti-China discourse during this campaign, at the very time that US rhetoric about Beijing has become more aggressive.

Details of future space station revealed - China Daily The China Manned Space Agency made public on Tuesday some technical specifications of the core module of the country's future manned space station. The core module, Tianhe, or Harmony of Heavens, will have three parts: the connecting section, life-support and control section, and resources section, the agency said in a statement at the Fifth Manned Space Conference, which opened on Tuesday in Xi'an, Shaanxi province. The module will be equipped with three docking hatches reserved for visiting manned or cargo spacecraft and two berthing locations used to connect with space laboratories. There will also be a hatch for astronauts' extravehicular activities, the statement said

Chinese donor's up-and-comers made JPs - Newsroom.NZ Two high profile members of Zhang Yikun’s Chao Shan General Association in Auckland have been made justices of the peace, and one is progressing through National’s candidate college. Zhang Yikun’s business partner Colin Zheng (Zheng Shijia) has taken part in National’s candidate college and was made a justice of the peace last year, after being nominated by Jami-Lee Ross, his local MP. He is a trustee of the Chao Shan General Association, set up by New Zealand Chinese who share the same hometown of Chaoshan, part of the megacity of Guangdong in China.

China Expands Its Peace and Security Footprint in Africa | Crisis Group At the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and China-Africa Defence and Security Forum, Beijing showcased an increasingly strategic approach to its defence relations with African countries and its role in managing challenges to peace and security on the continent.

INF Withdrawal: Bolton’s Tool to Shatter China-Russia Military Ties? | The Diplomat there is reason to assume that one of John Bolton’s strategic calculi in his push for a unilateral U.S. treaty withdrawal is its possible detrimental impact on burgeoning China-Russia military relations. The rationale here is simple: Despite a recent uptick in military cooperation between the two countries as, for example, seen during the Vostok (Eastern) 2018 military exercise this September, Beijing and Moscow continue to eye one another with suspicion when it comes to the deployment of military assets in proximity to the Sino-Russian border. This mistrust in particular could potentially be amplified if one side were to suddenly deploy longer-range precision-strike capabilities near the border—a move that the Russian military has reportedly time and again been contemplating to offset Chinese growing military strength in the region.

China Copied One of Russia's Top Jet Fighters (And They Keep Crashing) | The National Interest With a barely disguised touch of schadenfreude, Sputnik News delved into the woes of the J-15. "Love for the fourth-generation J-15 jet is seldom shown in Chinese circles," said the Russian news site. "The Asia Times noted that Chinese media has disparaged the plane in numerous ways, including referring to it as a 'flopping fish' for its inability to operate effectively from the Chinese carriers, which launch fixed-wing aircraft under their own power from an inclined ramp on the bow of the ship. The J-15's engines and heavy weight severely limit its ability to operate effectively: at 17.5 tons empty weight, it tops the scales for carrier-based fighters. The US Navy's F-18 workhorse, by comparison, is only 14.5 tons."

Chinese VP Wang meets Israeli, Palestinian officials - AP Wang Qishan visited the West Bank on Tuesday, where he met Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, laid a wreath on the grave of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and toured Bethlehem’s Nativity Church. Later, he met Israel’s largely ceremonial president, Reuven Rivlin, in Jerusalem. Rivlin said relations between the two countries were “excellent.”

学习时报 - 用全新理念讲好新时代的“中国故事” Study Times story about how Chinese media should correctly tell the China story in the "New Era"...looks to be inline with the more active role overseas propaganda/media workers have been told to take

Gray Zones in a Blue Arctic: Grappling with China’s Growing Influence: In this article, we examine two major gray-zone techniques employed by Chinese state-affiliated actors in the Arctic region: strategic investment in infrastructure and resources that may serve military or security as well as commercial purposes (but which often make little economic sense), and scientific research that advances both military and commercial interests.


Hong Kong, Macao

‘Historic’ first day on Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge gives top businessman Allan Zeman feeling of being ‘reborn’ | South China Morning Post The chairman of gaming firm Wynn Macau and founder of entertainment precinct Lan Kwai Fong called it a “historic day” as he rested comfortably in his black Mercedes-Benz, embarking on a tour from his office in Central to Macau and Zhuhai through the world’s longest sea crossing.


Taiwan

Australia abandoned plans for Taiwanese free trade agreement after warning from China - Sydney Morning Herald Australia walked away from plans for a free trade agreement with Taiwan after China warned any deal would hurt relations between Beijing and Canberra. Taiwan was on a list of economies the Coalition government was considering for bilateral trade deals but, in a series of meetings over 2017 and 2018, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi conveyed directly to former foreign minister Julie Bishop that China was opposed to Australia boosting formal ties with the government of President Tsai Ing-wen. "The Chinese government made it clear to me that circumstances had changed between Taiwan and mainland China and that China would not look favourably on Australia seeking to pursue a free trade agreement with Taiwan, as New Zealand had done some years ago," Ms Bishop told Fairfax Media.

Taipei mayor emerges as contender for Taiwan presidency - Nikkei Asian Review With just a month or so left until islandwide local elections, which are widely seen as a warm-up for the 2020 presidential poll, Ko is gaining support from a growing number of independent voters even as the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which traditionally favors independence from China, and the more China-friendly Kuomintang, or the Nationalist Party, struggle. Beijing, some DPP related sources pointed out, appears to be throwing its weight behind a Ko presidential run, perhaps hoping to split the vote among Kuomintang opponents, putting the unpopular Nationalist Party back in power.


Tech And Media

ByteDance rumored to reach $75 billion valuation after closing pre-IPO financing round · TechNode ByteDance, parent company of content aggregator Jinri Toutiao and short video platform Douyin (known as TikTok internationally), is rumored to have closed a pre-IPO funding round valuing the company at $75 billion, reports local media.

Baidu Research Announces Breakthrough in Simultaneous Translation Today, we are excited to announce STACL (Simultaneous Translation with Anticipation and Controllable Latency), the first simultaneous machine translation system with anticipation capabilities and controllable latency. It is an automated system that is able to conduct high quality translation concurrently between two languages. STACL represents a major breakthrough in natural language processing due in large part to the challenges presented by word order differences between the source and target languages, and the latency requirements in real-world applications of simultaneous translation or interpretation.


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

1871 Chinese massacre - California Sun One of the worst episodes of anti-Chinese violence in the country’s history happened in Los Angeles on this day in 1871...."Trembling, moaning, and in some instances wounded Chinese were hauled from their hiding-places, and forced into the street, where the unfortunates were instantly seized by others outside, and ropes quickly encircled their necks, and with a run they were dragged to the nearest improvised gallows at hand."

Hospital blog post of dog attack victim sparks animal rights debate in China | South China Morning Post Images of six-year-old boy mauled by dogs goes viral...An animal rights blog called Asia Animal Radio reposted the images on the social media service Weibo, calling the case “a medical dispute between dogs and doctors” and claiming that “some animal rights advocates were unhappy that the hospital was creating tension between people and dogs”.

China to Abandon Population Target as Birth Policies Loosen - Bloomberg China won’t set a population target in the future and give people more freedom around childbirth, a health official said, in the next step a gradual loosening of decades of tight population-control policies. A senior official overseeing birth policy explained the changes last week to a United Nations conference held in Beijing, Chinese media Caixin reported Tuesday, without elaborating. Wei Yunpeng, deputy director of the Population Monitoring and Family Development Division of the National Health Commission, was speaking at a conference hosted by his administration and the United Nations Population Fund. // 卫健委官员:未来生育政策不设数量目标 给人民更多自由和权利 – 财新 

Credit Score for Canines Keeps Dog Owners on a Short Leash - SixthTone Luckily for Zhang, unleashed dogs have become a rare sight in her hometown of Jinan. Early last year, the city launched its “Civilized Dog-Raising Credit Score System,” a first in China that has since been copied elsewhere. Reminiscent of other point systems introduced throughout the country that aim to improve people’s behavior, its stated goal is to make dog owners more responsible.


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Chinese demand for durians poses grave threat to ‘critically endangered’ Malayan tigers | South China Morning Post Forests in the region of Raub in Malaysia, which has become a popular destination for Chinese and Singapore tourists on “durian tours”, are being burned and cleared to make way for plantations to grow the Musang King variety of the spiky but stinky fruit. The land is home to the Malayan tiger, which is considered “critically endangered” with fewer than 300 left in the world. Environmental groups have said destroying their habit could have a “devastating” impact on the tigers’ survival.

Herbal Chinese Toothpaste Brand Accused of Using Western Drugs - Sixth Tone Du Xuanjian and his fiancée — both medical practitioners — said Yunnan Baiyao Toothpaste doesn’t entirely use Chinese herbal products to prevent bleeding gums, as it claims. Instead, as the couple wrote on the now-deleted Weibo post on Sunday, the toothpaste’s ingredient includes tranexamic acid, which the company hasn’t mentioned in its promotional campaigns, but lists on its packaging. Tranexamic acid is used to treat excessive bleeding during surgeries and tooth-removal, among other cases.


Agriculture And Rural Issues

China blames feeding kitchen waste to pigs for African swine fever spread | Reuters China’s agriculture ministry said on Wednesday it would ban the feeding of kitchen waste to pigs after linking the practice to the majority of the early cases of African swine fever.


Education

Chinese Universities Give ‘Lazy’ Students Rude Awakening - Caixin Last week, 18 students at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Central China’s Hubei province didn’t have enough credits to graduate. Instead, they received certificates from a less prestigious polytechnic program, comparable to a degree from a community college in the U.S. The news went viral on social media in China, where it is rare to see university students struggle so much. The average rate of students who fail to finish their degree courses at top-ranked universities in China is around 5%, compared to 20% in Ivy League schools in the U.S., said Zhang Duanhong, associate professor in Tongji University’s Higher Education Research Institute.

Hao Ping appointed president of Peking University - Xinhua The State Council, China's cabinet, on Tuesday announced the appointment of Hao Ping as the new president of Peking University. // Comment: Funny how the English report focuses on the President but the Chinese report lists the new Party Secretary first...makes it obvious who really runs the show... 北京大学迎来新书记和新校长--教育--人民网