Xi's New Year Inspection Tour To Sichuan; Sun Zhengcai Going To Trial, Charge Sheet May Go Back Decades; Building China Into A Maritime Superpower; The Maldives And Sino-Indian Competition

The Chinese government is sticking to the script as the country heads into the Lunar New Year holiday. Xi Jinping made a pre-New Year inspection tour to an impoverished area and condemned, corrupt cadres are heading to trial.

In case you missed my Sunday newsletter, leading Party media have given Xi a new title-“人民领袖” The People's "Leader" Xi Jinping.

Please note that the newsletter will not be daily next week as Monday is a US holiday and China is on vacation for the entire week. I anticipate writing 1-2 issues, depending on what is going on, but I know many of you will be on vacation as well. 

I will be at the PRC embassy New Year's Party in DC tonight, so if you are there please say hello.

Thanks for reading.

The Essential Eight

1. Xi's New Year Inspection Tour To Sichuan

Xi visits BeiDou-3 launch site, extends festival greetings to all servicemen:

Chinese President Xi Jinping visited a satellite launch site in southwest China's Sichuan Province Saturday, ahead of the launch of BeiDou-3 satellites.

Two BeiDou-3 satellites were sent into space Monday...

Noting that technology was a core combat capability, Xi called for intensified work to make breakthroughs in core and key technologies so that China could take the initiative in international competition.

He also emphasized the political loyalty of the armed forces.

Comprehensive and strict guidance and management of the armed forces should be conducted to ensure the absolute loyalty, purity and reliability of the forces, he said.

Xi's visit to the launch center and to meet with officers in Chengdu was the top 12 minutes of the Monday CCTV Evening News- 习近平春节前夕视察看望驻四川部队某基地官兵 向全体解放军指战员武警部队官兵民兵预备役人员致以新春祝福 

The top 27 minutes of Tuesday CCTV Evening News was a comprehensive report on Xi's Sichuan inspection tour. The CCTV report notes that Ding Xuexiang and Liu He joined Xi on the tour.-[视频]习近平春节前夕赴四川看望慰问各族干部群众 祝福全国各族人民新春吉祥 祝愿伟大祖国更加繁荣昌盛_CCTV

Commentary: Xi's Sichuan tour a big push for poverty alleviation - Xinhua

While tens of millions of Chinese are heading home for the Lunar New Year holiday, President Xi Jinping is visiting the homes of villagers in southwest China's Sichuan Province about 2,000 km from Beijing. 

The message is clear: On the nation's way to building a "moderately prosperous society" by 2020, not a single family or individual should be left behind.

"My job is to serve the people," Xi tells villagers - Xinhua:

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks when a senior resident of the Zhanqi Village said with excitement, "You are our good leader and the lucky star of the Chinese people!"

"Thank you. I am a servant of the public. My job is to serve the people," the president replied.

One recurring theme of propaganda photos of Xi is that he stands apart from and in front of other senior officials and PLA officers. The message is clear.

Here is the photo from Xi's launch site visit:

2. CCDI 2nd Plenum Report Released As National Supervision Commission Standing Up

CCDI highlights further reform of national supervision system - Xinhua:

Comprehensively pushing forward the reform of China's national supervision system has been highlighted as a key task of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) in 2018.

According to the work report delivered at the second plenary session of the 19th CCDI by Zhao Leji, secretary of the commission, the CCDI should strengthen its collaboration with the National People's Congress (NPC), and pave the way for the passing of the supervision law, and the establishment of the national supervision commission at the first session of the 13th NPC, scheduled to open on March 5.

The fundamental goal of deepening the reform of the national supervision system is to strengthen the CPC's unified leadership in the anti-graft work, and to modernize the country's system and capacity for governance, according to the report.

The CCDI 2nd Plenum Work report--赵乐际在十九届中央纪委二次全会上的工作报告 

China detention law to roll back legal protections for suspects - FT $$:

Constitutional changes proposed this month would create a National Supervision Commission that would widen the scope of the party’s authority over all civil servants, whether party members or not, without including any of the protections encoded in Chinese civil law. As such, a civil servant suspected of taking a bribe would be entitled to fewer legal protections than an accused murderer.

Jerome Cohen, an expert on the Chinese legal system at New York University, said the changes amounted to a “huge setback” after decades of efforts to professionalise Chinese courts and establish legal protections for defendants, including the right to see a lawyer and the right not to be tortured during an investigation.

3. Sun Zhengcai Going To Trial, Charge Sheet May Go Back Decades

Sun Zhengcai charged with bribery-Xinhua 

The SPP transferred Sun's case to the first branch of Tianjin People's Procuratorate after completing the investigation according to law.

Sun is accused of taking advantage of his posts to seek profits for others and illegally accepted huge amounts of money and property while serving as CPC chief of Shunyi District, Beijing, Standing Committee member and secretary general of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee, agriculture minister, secretary of the CPC Jilin Provincial Committee, Political Bureau member of the CPC Central Committee, and Party chief of Chongqing Municipality, according to the indictment.

It does make one wonder how he was promoted so high if he were that corrupt since the late 90s? Who was his key patron, and Wen will he be held accountable?

The Chinese version--天津检察机关依法对孙政才涉嫌受贿案提起公诉-新华网:

新华社北京2月13日电 记者从最高人民检察院获悉,第十八届中共中央政治局原委员、重庆市委原书记孙政才涉嫌受贿一案,由最高人民检察院侦查终结,经依法指定管辖,移送天津市人民检察院第一分院审查起诉。近日,天津市人民检察院第一分院向天津市第一中级人民法院提起公诉。


Fallen Political Star Faces Bribery Charges - Caixin Global:

According to a recent Caixin investigation, Sun used his status as Chongqing party chief to help two mistresses, including long-time lover Liu Fengzhou, nail down lucrative government contracts.

The Caixin probe found that in August 2016, for example, Sun intervened personally to invalidate the first tender process for the Line 9 subway construction project in Chongqing after the contract was awarded to China Communications Construction Co. Ltd.

Liu asked Sun to make sure the contract was awarded to the successful bidder's rival, China State Construction Engineering Corp., a company with subsidiaries through which one of her associates could get kickbacks.

4. Detained Internet Czar Lu Wei Kicked Out The Party

He too has quite the list of charges against him. Who kept promoting him?

Former Cybersecurity Head Who Sought ‘Personal Fame’ Expelled From Party - Caixin Global:

“Investigations show that Lu Wei has seriously violated political disciplines and rules … deceiving the central authorities, he did whatever he wanted, commenting on central government policies with bias and distortion, obstructing central government investigations, with his growing ambition he used public tools for personal interests and did whatever it took for personal fame,” the statement said.

He was also accused of anonymously lodging false accusations about other people and making forming cliques.

He “selectively carried out strategic work on cyber security arranged by the central government,” the statement said, adding that he traded power for sex, and took huge amounts of money to help other people make profits.




Who can forget this 2014 happy moment Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Lu Wei shared in Palo Alto, CA?

By many accounts Lu was an a$$hole going back decades and few tears will be shed for him. 

5. Bipartisan Consensus Among US Foreign Policy Elites That America's China Policy Has Failed

President Trump may be taking a tougher approach to the PRC but be under no illusion that a President Clinton would have been softer. There seems to be little on the horizon to change the trajectory towards increasing friction if not outright conflict. Two senior Clinton advisors have an essay in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs on what they see is the failure of America’s multi-decade China policy.

The China Reckoning | Foreign Affairs - Kurt Campbell & Ely Ratner:

Neither carrots nor sticks have swayed China as predicted. Diplomatic and commercial engagement have not brought political and economic openness. Neither U.S. military power nor regional balancing has stopped Beijing from seeking to displace core components of the U.S.-led system. And the liberal international order has failed to lure or bind China as powerfully as expected. China has instead pursued its own course, belying a range of American expectations in the process.

That reality warrants a clear-eyed rethinking of the United States’ approach to China. There are plenty of risks that come with such a reassessment; defenders of the current framework will warn against destabilizing the bilateral relationship or inviting a new Cold War. But building a stronger and more sustainable approach to, and relationship with, Beijing requires honesty about how many fundamental assumptions have turned out wrong. Across the ideological spectrum, we in the U.S. foreign policy community have remained deeply invested in expectations about China—about its approach to economics, domestic politics, security, and global order—even as evidence against them has accumulated. The policies built on such expectations have failed to change China in the ways we intended or hoped. ..

Basing policy on a more realistic set of assumptions about China would better advance U.S. interests and put the bilateral relationship on a more sustainable footing. Getting there will take work, but the first step is relatively straightforward: acknowledging just how much our policy has fallen short of our aspirations

Retired Ambassador Chas Freeman Jr. has a view outside of the US foreign policy elite mainstream, as he articulated in a recent speech--The United States and China: Game of Superpowers:

China’s rise is a real, not imaginary, challenge to the status quo and to U.S. leadership.  It is mainly economic, not military and it can be peaceful or not, as our interaction with it determines.  At the moment, our approach seems based more on hubris than on a realistic measure of what we are up against.  We are carrying out a series of tactical adjustments in response to changes in our trade and investment relationships with China and others in its region as these occur.  The sum of such tactical adjustments does not a strategy make.

Charles Edel, who worked on the State Department's Policy Planning Staff in the last days of the Obama Administration, offers some suggestions for pushing back--Limiting Chinese Aggression: A Strategy of Counter-Pressure - The American Interest:

Five strategic fallacies are causing us to overlook a range of options for deterring Beijing:

The first strategic fallacy regarding Asia is that at some point America will just pack up and go home.;

The second fallacy in the U.S.-China policy debate derives from the problem of linear extrapolation, which assumes that China’s rise and America’s decline will remain consistent and uninterrupted;

A third strategic fallacy is the tendency to view the Sino-American future as a bilateral issue;

The fourth way that a “China choice” framing leads to a false policy logic is that it suggests an either/or dichotomy in which any American response to Chinese actions is inherently escalatory;

Finally and most critically, it is simply not true that China cannot be deterred and is, sooner or later, bound to dominate the region.

6. Building China Into A Maritime Superpower

More support bases to be built to assist PLA Navy: analyst - Global Times:

It is reasonable and necessary for China to strengthen its maritime power as it is becoming stronger, Chinese experts said after People's Daily published three articles on a whole page to emphasize the importance of building China into a strong maritime country.

"Building China as a maritime power fits China's development, the global trend and is the necessary choice for realizing the Chinese Dream of the national rejuvenation," read one article published on People's Daily on Sunday under the topic "It's about time to build a strong maritime country."

The three articles reviewed China's maritime development since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2012, including promoting marine ecological protection, safeguarding integrity and the national interests as well as launching cooperation on disputed issues.

The authors of the three articles included Liu Jixian, former head of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Academy of Military Science in Beijing.

The three articles:


以强海梦托起中国梦(思想纵横) 张海文

大力推进新时代海上力量建设(势所必然) 刘继贤 

7. The Maldives And Sino-Indian Competition

Doesn't Beijing want to build a naval base in the Maldives?

India, China vie for influence as crisis unfolds in Maldives - AP:

“Until 2011, China didn’t even have an embassy in the Maldives. Coming to 2018, it’s seen as a big player in this whole Indian Ocean region,” said Mahalakshmi Ganapathy, an India-China expert at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

When Yameen visited Beijing in December, the two countries signed a free trade agreement that eliminates most tariffs on Maldivian exports, primarily fish, and opens the island nation to Chinese goods and services, including in finance, health care and tourism.

China is already the Maldives’ primary source of tourists, whose spending largely drives the economy, and Beijing is investing hundreds of millions of dollars in an airport expansion, housing development and other projects.

Maldives faces Chinese 'land grab' over unpayable debts, ex-leader warns- Nikkei Asian Review:

Massive debts threaten to force the Maldives to cede territory to China as early as 2019, former President Mohamed Nasheed said, warning that a flawed presidential election this year would lead to a Chinese takeover of the island nation.

"We can't pay the $1.5 to 2 billion debt to China," Nasheed told the Nikkei Asian Review in an interview in Sri Lanka. He argued that the Indian Ocean country, known mostly as a tourist destination, takes in less than $100 million a month in government revenue.

Nasheed, who held office from 2008 to 2012, fled to the U.K. in 2016 following his arrest and conviction under anti-terrorism laws for ordering the arrest of a judge. He now splits his time in exile between there and Sri Lanka.

8. Harry Harris To Be US Ambassador To Australia

Beijing hates Harris, both for his clear-eyed views of the PRC's ambitions and activities as well has his Japanese heritage. Yes, Beijing has made it about race..

Trump Taps Harry Harris, Known for Being Tough on China, as Australia Envoy - The New York Times:

Born in Japan to a Japanese mother and an American father, he was the first Asian-American appointed to lead a combat command...

Appointed to lead the Pacific Command President Obama, Admiral Harris has taken a hard line against Chinese military action, calling Beijing’s policy to build bases in the South China Sea “provocative and expansionist.”

He has described China’s efforts to build artificial islands in contested waters “a Great Wall of sand.” Since his appointment, he has advocated actively patrolling the South China Sea in so-called freedom of navigation operations.

China uses race to unite and divide - Peter Hartcher - Sydney Morning Herald:

Admiral Harry Harris, announced on Friday as Donald Trump's choice to be US ambassador to Australia, is hailed by all as a great choice. All but the Chinese government, that is...

But it wasn't enough for Beijing to denounce Harris for his views. The Chinese regime imputed motive. And the motive it ascribed to Harris was racial. The second strand of Beijing's attacks on Harris is based on the fact that his mother was Japanese.

The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, in 2016 explained: ''Some may say an overemphasis on the Japanese background about an American general is a bit unkind.

"But to understand the American's sudden upgraded offensive in the South China Sea, it is simply impossible to ignore Admiral Harris's blood, background, political inclination and values."

Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China’s Central Bank Isn’t in a Holiday Mood - MoneyBeat - WSJ The central bank has halted its routine money-market operation for the past 15 business days, effectively draining 1.37 trillion yuan ($216 billion) from the financial system by allowing previously issued loans to commercial lenders to expire. Normally, the central bank offers short-term loans known as reverse repurchase agreements ranging from seven to 28 days to some of the nation’s largest banks, brokerages and fund managers on a daily basis.

New Loans Hit New High in January - Caixin Global Caixin also learned from banking sources that the central bank has given “window guidance” to banks, telling them to keep the total scale of new yuan lending constant from Feb. 11 to Feb. 15, as regulators attempted to curb loan growth ahead of the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday. China’s M2, a broad measurement of the money supply, grew 8.6% in January from a year ago to 172.08 trillion yuan, increasing 0.4% from a historic low in December, when the growth rate was 8.2%.

China ramps up pressure on local governments with new bond rules - Reuters In particular, Chinese authorities are looking to stamp out the idea that there are implicit government guarantees for investors in state firms if they get into trouble. Beijing says the government is not responsible for debt raised by these firms but it is still widely assumed that the government would step in to provide support in the event these firms, known as local government financing vehicles (LGFV), faced repayment issues.--关于进一步增强企业债券服务实体经济能力 严格防范地方债务风险的通知 

Bad-Loan Shareholder Bust-Up Reveals Chaos of Sector - Caixin Global A source close to the Hongyuan Group told Caixin that the AMC has survived by focusing on “channeling” — living on commission fees the company earns from acting as an agent for the resale of bad loans to unlicensed AMCs. Part of the Hongyuan Group’s stake has been used as collateral for loans at a local bank, the source said, without specifying the number and price of the shares it pledged. The Hongyuan Group was controlled by Wang Baojun, one of the 45 lawmakers who were expelled by the country’s top legislature in September 2016 over a bribery and vote-buying scandal. The Changchun Intermediate People’s Court has detained Wang since October over the bribery case, Caixin learned.

Mapping shadow banking in China: structure and dynamics - BIS Banks have been the dominant player in China's shadow banking system. This is why it is sometimes dubbed the "shadow of the banks". In contrast to shadow banking in the United States, securitisation and market-based instruments still play a rather limited role in China. As visualised in a series of maps for the period 2013-2016, the structure of the Chinese shadow banking system has been evolving rapidly.

Security Concerns Slow Canada’s Review of China Construction-Firm Purchase - Caixin Global The deadline for completing the plan of arrangement for China Communications Construction Co.’s (CCCC) CA$1.45 billion ($1.13 billion) takeover of Toronto-based Aecon Group Inc. has been pushed back by 35 days after Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development extended the ongoing national security review of the deal, Aecon announced Monday.

Forget the goodwill, where’s my money? Angry Chinese investors hijack US embassy’s seasonal greeting | South China Morning Post A Lunar New Year goodwill message posted by the United States embassy in Beijing on its social media account on Thursday was hijacked by angry Chinese stock market investors venting their spleens over their recent losses. 

Beijing warns on trade tensions as it aims at US chemical - AFP The commerce ministry said it had found dumping of styrene imports from the US, Taiwan and South Korea, in an initial ruling during a continuing trade investigation into the chemical.

Central bank researcher calls for ‘matrix structure’ to give super financial regulator teeth | South China Morning Post After “balancing the urgency and complexity of the reform”, Xu Zhong concluded that a matrix organisational structure was the “best” approach for the Financial Stability and Development Committee to make changes to the financial regulatory regime. The head of research at the People’s Bank of China’s made the remarks in an article published on Friday on the WeChat account of the China Finance 40 Forum, an independent think tank whose members include prominent economists and former policymakers.  //  Comment: Amidst a new round of rumors the FSDC will subsume the PBoC and Lie He will head both

China in push to lure overseas tech talent back home - FT $$ Private and state-backed investors in China have set up venture capital funds to target executives and senior researchers at companies such as Google, Apple, Airbnb and Facebook, betting on the rapid development of the domestic tech sector to produce high returns on the investments. Other initiatives include a programme set up by China’s Communist party that focuses on Chinese graduates and academics at foreign universities.

Caixin Global Extends Reach With $180 Million International Data-Provider Purchase - Caixin Global The agreement will see Caixin and local private equity giant Citic Capital Holdings Ltd. team up to buy Global Market Intelligence Division (GMID), a Hong Kong-based company that provides global financial information and data in over 15 languages, with a focus on emerging markets. GMID's two main units are CEIC and EMIS. The purchase is expected to close in the first half of this year.

‘Sensitive’ Outbound-Investment List Finalized - Caixin Global China’s top economic planning agency has added real estate, hotels and entertainment to an official list of “sensitive” industries for outbound investment in 2018, strengthening the regulation of sectors subject to a government crackdown aimed at curbing “irrational” investment.

There’s a Global Race to Control Batteries—and China Is Winning - WSJ $$ Chinese companies dominate the cobalt supply chain that begins at mines in Congo

HNA's Fire Sale Gets Into Full Swing From Hong Kong to London - Bloomberg HNA Group Co., the once-voracious hunter of global trophy assets, is seeking to sell more than $6 billion in properties worldwide as pressure intensifies for the Chinese conglomerate to speed up disposals so it can repay its debts.


Politics, Law And Ideology

Xi visits former senior leaders - Xinhua President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders have visited former senior leaders to offer greetings ahead of the Spring Festival. Former leaders, including Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, received personal visits either from the current leaders or from their representatives.

Police asks Tibetans for Dalai Lama tips - Global Times The public security bureau in Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region has released details on how the public can provide tips on activities of "criminal gangs connected to the separatist forces of the Dalai Lama." It warns local people to be on the lookout for the 'evil forces' of the Dalai Lama that might use local temples and religious control "to confuse and incite" people against the Party and government. The bureau is asking people to report on the activities of 'foreign hostile forces' that may seek financial support for the Dalai Lama."//From ChinaLawTranslate-Notice of the Tibet Autonomous Region Public Security Department on Reporting Leads on Crimes and violations by Underworld forces 

Censors Don't Like TV Host's Tone Toward Xi Jinping - China Digital Times (CDT) During HunanTV’s live Spring Festival Gala broadcast on Thursday, host Li Weijia accidentally mangled the tones for top leader Xi Jinping’s name, referring to him as Xí Jìnpīng instead of Xí Jìnpíng, before quickly correcting himself. Even this seemingly innocuous and understandable mistake—possibly a result of Li briefly slipping into his local dialect—has sparked a broad and intense wave of information control, with discussion deleted and blocked on Weibo, Baidu’s Tieba, and Douban.

Beijing's water diversion official investigated over graft - Xinhua Zeng Fanxin, an inspector with Beijing's south-to-north water diversion project office, is being investigated by the commission. Zeng was previously deputy head of Beijing's Shunyi district government and Party chief of the capital's Federation of Trade Unions.

人大教授狠批张五常、吴敬琏等经济学家鼓吹私有制_新浪财经_新浪网 最近,中国人民大学马克思主义学院教授、博士生导师周新城撰写了《共产党人可以把自己的理论概括为一句话:消灭私有制》一文。   文章批评了张五常、吴敬琏等著名经济学家,称他们鼓吹的“私有制万岁”有问题。   文章被党刊《求是》杂志旗下的《旗帜》栏目官方微博刊发后,引起了热烈讨论,文章的核心内容如下:

New Video of Gui Minhai Fits Pattern of Coerced Statements Made at Behest of Chinese Authorities - PEN America On February 9, bookseller Gui Minhai was featured in a video interview in which he accused Swedish authorities of “sensationalizing” his case and said he felt like Swedish authorities had made him a “chess piece” and that he “would never trust the Swedish ever again.” The release of Gui Minhai’s video comes days before Gui was awarded in absentia the prestigious Prix Voltaire from the International Publishers Association. During his interview, Gui reportedly disavowed the award, saying “I do not want to receive, and will not receive, this award.”

Mobilizing for the “China Solution” | China Media Project Over the weekend, Sun Liping (孙立平), a professor at Tsinghua University, posted an article on his public WeChat account, “Social Observations” (孙立平社会观察), in which he discussed one of the most fundamental aspects of China’s form of governance — the “movement method.” This is essentially about the power to mobilize and direct all sectors of society toward a concrete policy objective, even if it means (and it always does) casting procedure aside.

中纪委机关刊:党内有人别有用心 对反腐高级黑_新闻_腾讯网 “全面从严治党必须持之以恒、毫不动摇。”这是习近平总书记在十九届中央纪委二次全会上,从当前我们党管党治党形势的严峻复杂性出发,向全党提出的明确要求。其中,违反政治纪律和政治规矩、对党不忠诚的“两面人”恶性难改,就是这种严峻复杂性的重要表现之一,值得全党警惕。


Foreign and Military Affairs

Xi takes aim at military in anti-graft drive - FT $$  Zhang [Yang]’s death brought home the ferocity of the purge enveloping the ranks of the world’s largest army. Since 2012, 16 first and second-class generals — equivalent to five and four-star in the US military — have been prosecuted for corruption, according to Liu Bojiana researcher at the East Asian Institute of the National University of Singapore. More than 13,000 senior officers have been investigated according to the PLA Daily, the military’s in-house newspaper, and hundreds more in the lower ranks have been sacked or imprisoned.

The 'globalisation' of China's military power - BBC News: China's modernisation of its armed forces is proceeding faster than many analysts expected. Now, according to experts at the International Institute for Strategic Studies - the IISS - in London, it is China and no longer Russia, that increasingly provides the benchmark against which Washington judges the capability requirements for its own armed forces.

China says new stealth fighter put into combat service - Reuters China has put into combat service its new generation J-20 stealth fighter, a warplane it hopes will narrow the military gap with the United States, the Chinese air force said on Friday, making it operationally ready. 央视专家解读】歼-20战斗机正式列装作战部队意味着

Britain to sail submarine-hunting warship through disputed South China Sea next month: minister | AFP A British submarine-hunting warship will sail from Australia through the disputed South China Sea next month to assert freedom of navigation rights, a senior official said Tuesday

Dual suspension on Korean Peninsula takes effect at Olympics - Global Times Beijing proposed a suspension-for-suspension approach last year which was supported by Moscow. Although Pyongyang, Seoul and Washington have not publicly responded to the proposal, they are gradually moving toward this direction. The approach was realized for the first time by the two sides during the Olympics.

China complains to Sweden over ‘interfering’ demand for bookseller’s release | South China Morning Post Sweden’s requests for Gui Minhai’s freedom amount to ‘rude’ meddling in China’s judicial sovereignty, Chinese foreign ministry says


Tech And Media

China appoints veteran journalist to head state broadcaster - Xinhua China's cabinet has appointed a veteran journalist to head the state broadcaster -- China Central Television (CCTV). Shen Haixiong, 51, also takes over the role as deputy head of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, according to a statement issued by the State Council on Friday.

Kai-Fu Lee leads Beijing's new AI research center · TechNode Beijing city officials yesterday launched a new international artificial intelligence research center in Beijing. The center will be led by Kai-Fu Lee, CEO of Sinovation Ventures, who has publicly endorsing China’s potential in AI growth. With guidance from Beijing city authorities, the research center will first establish three innovation centers, focusing on basic AI research, smart societal innovation, and AI patent innovation. The center will also build an AI computing and data application platform in collaboration with Face++ (旷视科技), SenseTime (商汤科技), and Ksyun (金山云). // Comment: must be an interesting story about how lee got back into beijing's good graces after all his weibo troubles...

Didi Chuxing Partners With SoftBank to Drive Into Japan - Caixin Global Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing and Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp. are setting up a venture to tap into the urban transport market in Japan, the companies said on Friday. The two firms will develop a ride-haling platform for Japan’s taxi fleet, leveraging Didi’s artificial intelligence know-how to create “deep learning-based demand predictions and smart dispatch systems.” Meanwhile, SoftBank will offer its “local resources and expertise,” they said in a stateme

Didi Chuxing took on Uber and won. Now it's taking on the world | WIRED UK Backed by investment from some of the biggest global tech companies – including Apple, Tencent and Alibaba – Jean Liu’s Didi Chuxing defeated Uber in China. Now, the firm is leading the way for Chinese tech giants – by taking on the planet

Tencent and Baidu in China censor’s crosshairs for allowing disturbing children’s videos | South China Morning Post The anti-pornography office, a unit of China’s state media censor – the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), is investigating Youku, iQiyi and Tencent Holdings for allowing content from a Guangzhou-based video producer that depict well-known cartoon characters, such as Peppa Pig and Frozen’s Princess Elsa, in bloody and horrific scenarios.

Chinese smartphone shipments slump 16.6% in Q1 2018 · TechNode After witnessing its first ever annual decline in shipment 2017, the Chinese smartphone market, once the world’s engine for smartphone growth, continues to slow down. The country’s smartphone shipment dwindled by a drastic 16.65% to 39 million handsets (in Chinese) in the first quarter of 2018, according to a report released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

China to pick 5,000 movie theaters for propaganda screenings - AP China plans to select 5,000 movie theaters to screen propaganda films and will boost their box office with group sales, discounted tickets and other financial backing.

文化部开展网络表演市场专项规范整治,将封禁一批违法主播_中国政库_澎湃新闻-The Paper Minstry of Culture leading crackdown on Internet performances/live streaning  //  人民日报客户端2月13日消息,为进一步规范网络表演市场经营秩序,促进网络表演行业健康发展,文化部决定即日起至2018年4月底,在全国范围内开展网络表演市场专项规范整治行动。 本次网络表演市场整治行动主要分为自查自纠、全面整治、总结宣传等三个阶段,以北京、天津、上海、江苏、浙江、湖北、广东、四川、重庆等网络表演经营单位较多、网络表演市场发展较快的地区为重点地区。


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Catholic Bishop Says He’s Willing to Step Down for Vatican Deal With Beijing - The New York Times A Chinese Catholic bishop at the center of a dispute between the Vatican and China said on Sunday he would respect any deal worked out between the two powers. But he cautioned that Chinese authorities still had a hard time accepting the idea that Catholics should not be completely under their control. The bishop, Guo Xijin, 59, is one of at least two “underground” bishops — those recognized by the Roman Catholic Church but not by Chinese authorities — who have been asked by the Vatican to step down in favor of Communist-approved bishops.

Open letter calls on Vatican to rethink China deal, calling it a "regrettable mistake" A group of mostly Hong Kong-based academics, lawyers and human rights activists has warned that regularizing seven illicitly ordained bishops in mainland China would cause Catholics in the country to “be plunged into confusion and pain, and schism would be created in the Church in China.”

Why I Went to Experience 'Gay Conversion Therapy' | WAGIC After Chinese New Year in 2014, I went to a psychological clinic in Chongqing, a city in Western China, to receive electric shock treatment as part of ‘gay conversion therapy’. I was not forced by my family, even though I was born in a very patriarchal cultural area in China. Instead I went to be ‘cured’ by my own willing because I felt that this was the only way I could stop the harm being done to the LGBT community in China.

Ducking Out: Beijing‘s Greatest Expat Stephon Marbury Retires From Basketball | the Beijinger Emotionally moved during the retirement ceremony following Sunday's game, Marbury displayed his gratitude to Chinese fans and the sport by kneeling down to kiss the basketball court in an act of humility while adoring fans cheered and held up signs like "Marbury MVP".

First Rule of Chinese Fight Club: No Karaoke - The New York Times The fight club in Chengdu, a city with about eight million urban residents and a reputation for spicy food and laid-back living, is a testament to entrepreneurial young Chinese trying something new, even when numerous obstacles, licenses and official jitters stand in the way.


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

China Mulls Fishing Ban on Yangtze River - Sixth Tone Fishermen and environmentalists alike have long complained fish are dying out in the Yangtze, China’s longest river. On June 1, the Ministry of Agriculture published a draft plan to ban fishing on the river from 2020. The ban is part of a blueprint calling for “opinions on strengthening Yangtze aquatic organisms,” and will have to be approved by the State Council, China’s cabinet, for it to become effective. The document went largely unnoticed until Chinese media reported on it earlier this week.

A Nearly Invisible Oil Spill Threatens Some of Asia’s Richest Fisheries - The New York Times Unlike the crude oil in better-known disasters like the Exxon Valdez and the Deepwater Horizon, condensate does not clump into black globules that can be easily spotted or produce heart-wrenching images of animals mired in muck. There’s no visible slick that can be pumped out. Experts said the only real solution is to let it evaporate or dissolve. Absorbed into the water, it will remain toxic for a time, though it will also disperse more quickly into the ocean than crude oil. Experts say there has never been so large a spill of condensate; up to 111,000 metric tons has poured into the ocean. It has almost certainly already invaded an ecosystem that includes some of the world’s most bountiful fisheries off Zhoushan, the archipelago that rises where the Yangtze River flows into the East China Sea.

Major China regions see smog worsen, adding to fears polluters are moving south = Reuters The Yangtze River Delta region near Shanghai saw a key smog measure rise by a fifth in January, making it more polluted than Beijing and raising fears that the pollution crackdown in the north has forced heavy industries to head south.

Risky Blood-Donation Curbs Leave Some Patients in Limbo - Caixin Global Health authorities in China’s capital have barred patients from enlisting family and friends to donate blood for them amid concerns that abuse of the system by “blood brokers” has put people at risk of transmittable diseases. But the restriction comes during a seasonal blood shortage that has left needy patients in limbo.

China launches big Earth data project - Xinhua China has launched a scientific project on big Earth data, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). The project of cloud service platform aims to establish an open international center for big Earth data. It is one of the 19 A-class strategic high-tech research project launched by the CAS since 2011.

China denies changing height of Mount Everest, as row leaves Beijing, Kathmandu 12 feet apart | South China Morning Post In an interview with Xinhua, an unnamed official from the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation said China had not “at any time or under any circumstances given up its findings from 2005 that the height of Mount Everest is 8,844.43 metres, or 29,017.2 feet”. The statement was made in response to a report by The New York Times, which cited Nepal’s former top mountaineering official as saying that Beijing adjusted its figures last year.

How Tencent’s medical ecosystem is shaping the future of China’s healthcare · TechNode In 2014, Tencent launched WeChat Intelligent Healthcare (微信智慧医疗). The platform allows users to book appointments, make payments, and more at hospitals and other medical facilities through WeChat public accounts. As of 2017, over 38,000 medical facilities in China have WeChat accounts (in Chinese). 60% of those provide online consultation and guahao, and 35% support medical bill payment by WeChat pay.

Coal Inventories Grow After Rough Winter - Caixin Global As temperatures gradually rise, and with factories stopping work during the long Lunar New Year holiday, electricity usage across China is expected to fall in the coming days, and the coal supply should be secure, National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) spokesperson Wei Meng said at a press conference Sunday.


Food And Travel

U.S.-China Flight Additions in Holding Pattern: Executive - Caixin Global United Airlines Inc., the leading carrier in routes between the U.S. and China, is pulling back the thrusters on new flights between the countries, following major additions over the last two years that have led to excess capacity. Walter Dias, managing director of the airline’s Greater China and Korea operations, told Caixin that the carrier is also pulling back from second-tier Chinese cities for the moment, following the recent cancellation of flights between the U.S. and Hangzhou in eastern China and Xi’an in the nation’s interior.

London’s Heathrow airport, duty-free shop sorry over ‘Chinese discrimination’ controversy | South China Morning Post Chinese customers at a World Duty Free store had to spend over US$1,300 to earn discount coupons, while their counterparts from other countries needed to buy as little as US$110 to qualify



Beijing mounts holiday security blitz after fatal shopping centre knife attack | South China Morning Post Beijing has deployed an estimated 700,000 official and volunteer civilian security monitors to the streets of the capital to ensure stability before the biggest holiday of the year, following a fatal knife attack in a busy downtown shopping centre on the weekend.

Shared bikes help ease Beijing traffic congestion in 2017 - Xinhua raffic congestion eased in Beijing in 2017, partly due to the increase in shared bike use, figures show. A third-party evaluation found the number of medium or high congestion days, days with a traffic index above 6, reduced by 16 days in the capital last year compared with 2016. The average traffic flow speed rose by 10 percent, according to the city's transport commission


Jobs And Events

Job Opportunities | Executive Director, U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission DC-based