Xi's Ningxia inspection tour; Arm China mess; Telling the Covid-19 story
The propaganda rollout for Xi’s Ningxia inspection tour has begun. The major themes do not seem to be anything surprising, though the inclusion of CCP Organization Department head Chen Xi in his delegation seems interesting, and he did take a picture with a cow.
While the agenda for the June 18-20 NPC Standing Committee meeting does not include the Hong Kong National Security Law, it remains quite possible it may be added to that meeting or an interim one.
I have been trying to ignore the heavily hyped study Analysis of hospital traffic and search engine data in Wuhan China indicates early disease activity in the Fall of 2019 by Harvard researchers claiming to show evidence the COVID-19 outbreak may have begun in Wuhan in August. At first glance there are several obvious issues with it, including relying on sketchy Baidu data for key assertions, that I figured there was no point in wasting your time with it.
But today President Trump retweeted a Fox News report on it:
The US is an information war with the CCP over the virus, but it is shooting itself in the foot when it pushes sketchy speculation like this. Do better.
Today’s Essential Eight:
Xi’s Ningxia inspection tour
China’s Covid-19 Story
Latest economic data
Arm China mess
Presentation on rural China
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. Xi’s Ningxia inspection tour
15 minute Wednesday CCTV Evening News report on Xi's Ningxia inspection tour
The report led with the key themes:
Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, State President, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, recently emphasized in his inspection in Ningxia that we must fully implement the Party Central Committee's decision-making and deployment, adhere to the general tone of stable progress, adhere to the new development concept, implement the national "two sessions" work plan, and resolutely fight the three major battles firmly, do a good job of the "six stabilities" work, fully implement the "six guarantees" task, strive to overcome the adverse effects of the new coronavirus epidemic, give priority to employment and protect people's livelihood, secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society and the fight against poverty, continue to build a beautiful new Ningxia with prosperous economy, national unity, beautiful environment and rich people."
The report named Ding Xuexiang, Liu He, Chen Xi and He Lifeng as accompanying Xi [丁薛祥、刘鹤、陈希、何立峰和中央有关部门负责同志陪同考察]. Ding, Liu and He usually accompany Xi. Chen, the head of the Organization department, is an interesting addition, wonder what it means.
During his inspection trip from Monday to Wednesday, Xi visited places including the cities of Wuzhong and Yinchuan to learn about efforts to coordinate regular epidemic containment with economic and social development, consolidate achievements in poverty alleviation, strengthen ecological and environmental protection, and promote ethnic unity and progress...
Visiting the Jinhuayuan residential community, where people of several ethnic groups live together, Xi said no single ethnic minority group should be left behind in the country's building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
It represents the fine tradition of the Chinese nation and the great strength of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics to enable people of all ethnic groups to walk hand in hand into a moderately prosperous society in all respects, Xi added...
While visiting a vineyard in Yinchuan near the Helan Mountains, Xi said the mountains constitute crucial shields for ecological security in the northwestern part of China. He demanded resolute measures to strengthen the ecological conservation of the mountains.
Xi said the wine industry has promising prospects as the living standards of Chinese people continue to rise
This article explains the picture of Xi with the cow - 习近平宁夏考察，这张照片刷屏了-新华网
In the picture, a cow adorably closes his eyes and stretches his head towards the general secretary. The general secretary reaches out his hand, as if he wants to stroke its head. The picture is vivid and interesting, and everyone laughed.
Cattle are indeed precioius here. According to Xinhua News Agency, the general secretary's inspection of Hongde Village is an ecological immigration village. In recent years, Hongde Village has vigorously carried out labor service export and developed breeding industry. There are 724 households in the village engaged in aquaculture. There are 1481 beef cattle and 5989 sheep. The annual income is more than 7.4 million yuan. In 2019, Hongde Village will be released from poverty, and the per capita disposable income of farmers will be 8,435 yuan.
Photos show Xi at winery Yuanshi, which ranks among the more stunning operations in China.
Comment: Australians may see this as some sort of signal that China does not need Australian wine. Perhaps, may also have visited because the wine industry here is booming.
The inspection tour to the Yellow River by President Xi Jinping reflects the great importance he attaches to the ecological environment amid the country's pursuit of high-quality development.
It is the fourth visit by Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, to China's "Mother River" in a year...
Ecological protection is an important guarantee that comes before development in China. The protection of the Yellow River reflects the concept reiterated by Xi that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets
2. Hong Kong
To accelerate the process of formulating the national security law for Hong Kong, two senior officials - Zhang Yong, vice-chairman of the Basic Law Committee under the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, and Song Zhe, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council - attended a forum held by the Hong Kong Coalition to report public opinions from various sectors in Hong Kong on Wednesday, Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, deputy secretary-general of the coalition, told the Global Times...
"We can't rule out the possibility that the NPC Standing Committee will hold interim meetings in enacting the law, as senior officials have been working day and night in drafting the legislature and listening to public opinion from Hong Kong across a broad scale," Wong said, noting that the law is likely to take effect within a month.
Last month, the NPC adopted a decision authorizing the NPCSC to draft and adopt a national security law for Hong Kong. Since then, there has been a flurry of activities by the central government to seek Hong Kong officials’ opinions on the law. While the bill has been expected to come before the NPCSC this month, the readout of the Council of Chairpersons’ meeting today does not mention it. But that is not the end of the story.
It is possible that the bill has been submitted to the NPCSC, but is kept secret for now. The Chinese character “等” (meaning “et cetera”) in the readout, which concludes the list of items on the session’s tentative agenda, lends support to this scenario. It could also be the case that the drafting process is still underway, but would wrap up soon. Thus, the bill is not on the tentative agenda because it has not been formally submitted yet. The Council of Chairpersons could place the bill on the final agenda before the NPCSC meets in nine days.
In an exclusive interview with the South China Morning Post on Tuesday, John Lee Ka-chiu said the new unit, under the command of police commissioner Chris Tang Ping-keung, would have intelligence gathering, investigation and training capabilities...
“I’m sure that the mainland authorities have a much wider network of intelligence gathering and also a much higher level of analysis,” Lee said. “They have a helicopter view of the whole thing. So they will let us know the whole picture when we, as a city, may not be able to just using our information.
“And there may be good methods that have been built because of [the mainland authorities’] experience. And how international politics plays in regard to the need for protection of national security will have to come from the national level.”
RTHK’s government-appointed board of advisers has instructed the public broadcaster to produce programmes explaining Beijing’s national security law set to be imposed on Hong Kong, to assuage public concerns.
It was only two weeks ago that Vice-Premier Han Zheng, China’s point man on Hong Kong affairs, revealed that last October’s high-level party meeting proved to be the game-changer.
Meeting Hong Kong delegates to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing on May 23, Han disclosed that it was at the fourth plenum that the central government decided to impose a national security law on Hong Kong...
What finally forced the issue, according to a source, were the violent clashes last November at the campuses of Chinese University and Polytechnic University.
“There is a good chance [the Chinese authorities] will use the national security law as a basis to disqualify the pro-democracy camp in the upcoming election,” Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, a Hong Kong lawmaker, told Asia Sentinel...
The politicians likely to be disqualified include Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, Sunny Cheung and Joshua Wong Chi-fung, said a source who declined to be named. Wong, Chu, and Cheung have been calling for support from Western countries for the Hong Kong protestors, which will likely be an offense under the security law.
American and Taiwanese interference has fanned the flames of the Hong Kong protests and played a role in the evolution of the anti-government movement, according to the city’s security minister.
John Lee Ka-chiu also pointed to the decline in demonstrations since the end of January and street activists’ lack of new equipment as he questioned whether the movement was losing sources of funding.
a person with knowledge of the internal discussions said HSBC had “absolutely no choice” but to back Beijing over the law given its heritage in Hong Kong and the size of the business there. This person, who said the board was not asked for its views in advance, said: “It was symbolic to them [China] that we do it” — especially in light of the political backlash in the UK.
3. China’s Covid-19 Story
China’s unremitting effort to turn the story on Covid-19 around has reached a new distillation point with the government’s release on June 7 of a white paper called, “China’s Actions to Fight the Covid-19 Epidemic” (抗击新冠肺炎疫情的中国行动). This is essentially the authoritative Bible on how China wishes the coronavirus epidemic to be understood and written into the history books.
Fortunately, there is no need at the moment to delve too deeply into the text of this document of self-praise and self-aggrandizement – the “self” here referring to General Secretary Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party. The evolved narrative that the white paper represents was in fact summarized more succinctly – yet still quite grandiloquently – in a commentary published yesterday on page three of the official People’s Daily newspaper...
Another very important feature to note in the “Zhong Sheng” commentary is the way it defines the power of Xi Jinping and the CCP. Included in this distillation of the CCP narrative on Covid-19 is a clear stake to the claim that Xi is responsible for this unambiguous victory, and an elevation of his position as “leader,” or lingxiu (领袖). This, in fact, provides the first and most important of the three “can-be-seens.” The statement begins: “Through the timeline of China’s fight against the epidemic, we can clearly see the enlightened leadership and scientific decision-making of the CCP Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core.” In the Chinese, however, Xi Jinping’s name comes first, and the reference to the Central Committee second.
It is part one of a series. Part 2 is in today's People's Daily- 人民日报钟声：协同作战，诠释生命至上——瞩目抗击新冠肺炎疫情的中国行动② "Working together, expounding on putting lives first -- China's efforts to combat COVID-19 are the focus of attention"
It concludes with:
China’s action composes the heroic paean to the people's lives above all else, highlighting the responsibility of a great power to life, the people, history and the international community. China has always adhered to the concept of a community of a shared future for mankind. It has always worked hand in hand with other countries and fought side by side, making unremitting efforts to fight for an early global epidemic prevention and control.
China has put the people’s interests first – nothing is more precious than people’s lives, done everything possible to protect the lives and health of its people, and demonstrated firm determination to fight and win the battle against the epidemic by mobilizing all resources and blocking the spread of the virus. This has been witnessed by the whole world.
The Chinese people have a high degree of trust for their leaders, the Party and government, and consciously shoulder their responsibilities. Edelman Trust Barometer 2020 reveals that China has once again topped the trust index among major economies in the world. This reflects that the Chinese people, while going through the epidemic, show more support for and trust in the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core, as well as more confidence in the Chinese system.
Many netizens called the comment into question, reminding the spokesperson of Beijing’s tireless track record of tainting reality with lies and misinformation, some of which her department then spreads to the world. CDT Chinese editors have archived exemplary responses to the MOFA spokesperson’s post, several of which are translated below:
4. Latest economic data
The data indicate subdued demand in the world’s second-biggest economy as it continues to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 epidemic, with nonfood inflation rising by just 0.4% year-on-year in May, the same pace as in April which was the lowest since December 2009. The lack of inflationary pressure may make it easier for the central bank to lower interest rates to help stimulate demand...
The price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil, one of the benchmark international oil prices, collapsed from around $53 in February to just over $11 in April before starting to recover. The impact of the slump on the overall PPI has masked narrowing deflation in other raw material sectors such as nonferrous metals smelting. Month-on-month PPI is also showing an improvement, with the decline in the index narrowing to 0.4% in May from 1.3% the previous month and the highest reading since January, suggesting industrial demand is picking up as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 epidemic.
The decline in the producer price index widened to 3.7% in the month from April’s 3.1%, the National Bureau of Statistics said Wednesday. That compares to the median estimate of a 3.3% drop. The consumer price index rose 2.4% in May from a year earlier, following a 3.3% gain in April, and missing the median forecast for a 2.7% increase.
The deepening in factory gate deflation and the fall in consumer inflation both demonstrate that demand in the world’s second-largest economy remains weak. That’s despite recent government efforts to boost consumption at home and encourage export-oriented firms to tap the potential of the domestic market.
On a monthly basis, consumer prices went down 0.8 percent. Food prices, which account for nearly one-third of weighting in China's CPI, dropped 3.5 percent last month.
In breakdown, vegetable prices fell 12.5 percent from April over rising supplies. Pork prices declined 8.1 percent from a month earlier as hog production continued to recover and warm weather dampened consumption.
Compared with the same period last year, food prices remained the main driver of consumer inflation in May, while its growth rate tapered from April to 10.6 percent.
Banks extended 1.48 trillion yuan ($209.47 billion) in new yuan loans in May, down from 1.70 trillion yuan in April, according to data released by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) on Wednesday.
Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted loans would fall to 1.50 trillion yuan. But the tally was higher than 1.18 trillion yuan in the same month last year...
The monthly lending figures are highly seasonal, so analysts tend to focus on annual changes to gauge underlying trends. As expected, outstanding yuan loans grew 13.2% on-year, edging up from 13.1% in April.
CCTV renews attacks on Pompeo and his "swindler diplomacy"
The reaction to today’s comments will be exciting - Secretary Michael R. Pompeo at a Press Availability on the Release of the 2019 International Religious Freedom Report - United States Department of State
And in China, state-sponsored repression against all religions continues to intensify. The Chinese Communist Party is now ordering religious organizations to obey CCP leadership and infuse communist dogma into their teachings and practice of their faith. The mass detentions of Uighurs in Xinjiang continues. So does the repression of Tibetans and Buddhists and Falun Gong and Christians...
There is no equivalence between our two forms of government. We have the rule of law; China does not. We have free speech and embrace peaceful protest. They don’t. We defend religious freedom; as I just noted, China continues its decades-long war on faith.
The contrast couldn’t be more clear: During the best of times, China ruthlessly imposes communism. And amidst the most difficult challenges the United States faces, we work to secure freedom for all.
In response, Hua told a routine press briefing that it is narrow-minded and ludicrous to take people as "being threatened" just because they are not following suit with the United States in attacking China.
As "living things can flourish without injuring one another" and "roads can run in parallel without interfering with one another," Hua said that countries, parties and individuals are entitled to make independent judgments based on facts and take actions in line with their own interests.
Chinese netizens said they do not welcome the US' decision to reopen its consulate in Wuhan, five months after it suspended operations amid the COVID-19 outbreak, given the continuing rising trend of coronavirus cases in the US and its politicians' repeated "vicious slanders" against China on coronavirus related issues.
"What will they [employees of US consulate in Wuhan] do back in Wuhan, spread more rumors about China? Undermine Chinese and Wuhan people's achievements in containing the virus? Please, just don't come back!" read a Chinese netizen's comment on social media that received hundreds of likes.
Citing Chinese netizens, Global Times suggests Chinese people do not welcome the US reopening its consulate in Wuhan. They said these American diplomats should not come to China if they don’t trust China’s statistics on COV19, and they should be quarantined upon arrival, and that who knows if these Americans are on a mission to spread the virus in China.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought a lot of attention in Washington to the Chinese Communist Party and its behavior, especially its influence operations inside the United States. Lawmakers are now calling for action against Beijing’s “United Front” activities, which are designed to interfere in our politics and society without our realizing it...
On Wednesday, the Republican Study Committee, a group of about 150 conservative lawmakers, will release a report spelling out its national security strategy and calling for sanctions on all top officials in the CCP’s United Front Work Department, the bureaucratic office that coordinates Beijing’s influence operations at home and abroad. The RSC will also call for sanctions on officials responsible for repression of Chinese citizens in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong.
Aerospace, technology, auto manufacturing and a dozen other industries are engaged in a lobbying frenzy ahead of an Aug. 13 deadline to comply with a far-reaching provision that was tucked into a defense spending bill two years ago...
Known by the wonky name of Section 889, part B, of the National Defense Authorization Act, the law would require companies to certify that their entire global supply chain -- not just the part of the business that sells to the U.S. government -- is devoid of gear from Huawei, Chinese telecom giant ZTE Corp., surveillance provider Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co., and other Chinese surveillance companies.
“We have seen clients putting their U.S. IPO plans on hold for now,” said Stephen Chan, a partner at law firm Dechert LLP in Hong Kong. “The underlying reason for the slowdown is the relationship between the U.S. and China,” he added.
David Rubenstein of the Carlyle Group told Caixin that both US and China should tone down their attacks on each other, and that “I hope everyone knows that the long-term US-China relations are far more important than campaigns,” he said, adding that both countries should allow more exchanges of the two people, especially business people.
Sun Lipeng, a senior fellow with CICIR, the think tank affiliated with the MSS, wrote that the Trump administration is now committed to decoupling with the US, and this will hurt both countries. Sun suggested on top of the phase one trade deal Chin should expand economic cooperation with the US while also focus on domestic policies, including investing more in research and industrial upgrades, opening up the financial sector, and internationalizing the RMB.
6. Arm China mess
SoftBank Group Corp.’s Arm Ltd. and its Chinese venture clashed publicly over whether the venture’s CEO had been fired, a dispute that threatens to disrupt a Western company central to the global semiconductor industry.
The conflict erupted after the British firm told Bloomberg News the board of Arm China -- jointly owned by Arm and investors including China’s sovereign wealth fund -- voted to oust Chief Executive Officer Allen Wu. Hours later, Arm China posted a statement to its official WeChat account asserting he was still in charge, a stance repeated across domestic social media. The U.K. firm then fired back to say Wu had been dismissed after an investigation uncovered undisclosed conflicts of interest and violations of employee rules...
Arm Ltd. said the board had appointed Ken Phua and Phil Tang as Arm China’s interim co-CEOs. But Arm China said on WeChat that Wu remained in charge. “In accordance with relevant laws and regulations, Allen Wu continues to serve as chairman and CEO,” the post read.
Citing sources, Caixin reported that both the Chinese shareholder and SoftBank have been long unhappy with how Allen Wu runs Arm China, especially that he made a series of major decisions without notifying them, including to set up research centers and collaboration programs in Chengdu and Nanjing. Allen Wu also reportedly set up an external fund without notifying the shareholders. Caixin added that Wu still has the company official stamp with him and this made the transition impossible.
Comment: How much of Arm’s technology has been transferred to China?
7. The epidemic
All the new confirmed cases involved travellers from overseas, the commission said in a statement. A total of three new confirmed and 21 asymptomatic COVID-19 cases were reported a day earlier.
“The term ‘asymptomatic patient’ is pretty vague,” Lu Hongzhou, a virologist at the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, told Sixth Tone. “Live virus, dead virus, and RNA fragments can all yield positive nucleic acid tests.”
According to Lu, there needs to be a distinction between people who are completely asymptomatic but test positive because of viral remnants and people who have recently caught the virus but not yet developed symptoms.
Employees intending to travel overseas for work can volunteer to be administered shots developed by China National Biotec Group Co. or CNBG, a subsidiary of Beijing-based Sinopharm Group Co., according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified as the offer hasn’t been made public. The proposal was relayed to state-owned companies by the government body that oversees them, the people said.
The number of domestic flights to and from Hubei has been restored to nearly half of that of 2019, according to China Southern, one of the country's major carriers.
Authorities in Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang province, near the border with Russia tested more than 650,000 people in the city in the last week, becoming the second municipality in the country to test all of its residents for the coronavirus.
The city battled an influx of cases as Chinese nationals returned from Russia in April.
Mudanjiang mayor Wang Wenli said on Monday that only 19 asymptomatic cases were found in the thousands of nucleic acid tests.
The symptom-free carriers were aged between 5 and 70 and a total of 1,529 close contacts were traced, Wang said.
The CCP central liaison department held a teleconference with communist parties in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, and said China is willing to provide more help to their fight against COV19. They jointly denounced the US for blame shifting, and voiced support to the “one-country-two-system”.
8. Presentation on rural China
A very interesting discussion, and a good reminder of parts of China we often overlook. Xi Jinping doesn’t.
Five years ago, China’s Communist Party set a goal to completely eliminate the country’s deep and widespread rural poverty by 2020. How could such a staggering accomplishment even be possible? That’s what ICWA Levinson fellow Matthew Chitwood set out to find out during two years in a remote mountain village in southwestern Yunnan province, where he refurbished and lived in an abandoned mud-brick house.
Recently returned to the United States, Matthew joined executive director Gregory Feifer on June 6, 2020 to discuss his close-up observations of drastic rural social and economic change, the latest major transformation of Chinese society since the country first embarked on economic reform four decades ago. In addition to daily life in the village, he spoke about his extensive travels across the country’s most ethnically diverse region, where rapid economic opening is paying major political dividends to President Xi Jinping as the country expands its influence around the world even as it contends with the effects of Covid-19.
Business, Economy and Trade
CBIRC Tells Lenders to Reduce Structured Deposits - Caixin China’s top banking regulator has told some banks to reduce their structured deposits, clamping down on increasing regulatory arbitrage in which lenders provide guaranteed returns to companies in the guise of investment products. This month, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) gave unofficial instructions known as window guidance to several large and midsize banks, asking them to slash the amount of their structured deposits to the same level as the beginning of 2020 by Sept. 30, several bankers told Caixin. The lenders were asked to cut the amount further to two-thirds of that level by the end of the year.
‘Don’t waste the crisis’: EU business group presses China to open markets | South China Morning PostIn its annual survey, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China for the first time asked its member companies about the political environment in the country – after foreign companies were caught up in a string of controversies over Taiwan and Hong Kong. About 43 per cent of the respondents said the business environment in China had become more political and they felt pressured to take action, “sometimes under threat of punishment by authorities”, such as reviewing corporate websites to ensure that Taiwan, Hong Kong and Tibet were identified as part of China. “Similar to censorship in the media, all business decisions are influenced by their perceived or potential impact on local government or party attitude, even if there is no specific action from the government,” the report released on Wednesday quoted a member as saying.
Decoupling Between Washington and Western Industry | Center for Strategic and International Studies - Scott Kennedy and Shining TanAlthough the Trump administration does not openly embrace the idea of decoupling, its various policies – restrictions on high-tech exports to China, expanded investment limits, and efforts to have American companies move production out of China and on-shore manufacturing in the United States – effectively add up to a decoupling strategy. There are some signs that because of the trade war and other risks, some American companies are diversifying their supply chains; however, it appears that the vast majority of companies from the United States – and the broader West – are not heeding this call. Instead, there is a growing gap – or decoupling – between Trump administration aims and Western business behavior...
In Depth: China Eases Off Rules That Have Strangled Mainland’s Offshore Trade After being held back for years by a crackdown on inflows of speculative cash disguised as offshore trade payments, central regulators are loosening their grip on the business to help Shanghai lure multinationals and compete with hubs like Hong Kong and Singapore to reroute global capital through the Chinese mainland.
Yicai - Trust Funds’ Risk Assets in China More Than Doubled in First Quarter to USD91 Billion Chinese trust funds’ assets deemed to carry a degree of risk have more than doubled in the past year to CNY643.1 billion (USD91 billion) due to the economic turmoil caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to new data.
Africa eyes the world’s top trade job — but spars over its candidate - POLITICO Despite Europe's public declarations that it wants to forge closer alliances with Africa, its diplomats are also wary of a trade official who could rekindle feuds over Europe's lavish agricultural subsidies — a long-held grievance in Africa. The European nightmare would be that European farm payments become snared up in talks on reducing state subsidies to Chinese industry.
Chinese carrier to buy 100 homegrown aircraft - Global Times Chinese carrier China Express announced on Wednesday that it has signed a framework agreement with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) to buy and operate a total of 100 planes - including ARJ21-700 planes, China's first domestically made regional jetliner, and C919 commercial airliner planes - starting from 2020. In addition, the two companies will cooperate in exploring overseas markets, in particular in markets along the route of the Belt and Road Initiative and in Africa.
Chinese firms may halt use of tankers that have transported Venezuelan oil: sources - Reuters Chinese oil companies may soon decline to charter any tanker that has visited Venezuela in the past year to avoid disruption to operations if the United States blacklists more ships for trading with Caracas, four shipping sources told Reuters on Tuesday.
Rare Coupon Hikes Signal China Developers’ Need for Debt Relief - Bloomberg As many Chinese companies take advantage of declining interest rates to slash borrowing costs, some debt-laden developers are doing the opposite -- raising coupons to avoid having to buy back debt.
Average Rent in Beijing Was USD$650 a Month in May – China Banking News In Beijing average rent was 4592 yuan (approx. USD$650) per month, for a month-on-month decline of 2.3%, while in Shanghai average rent was 3516 yuan per month, for an on-month decline of 1.5%.
Foreign Institutional Investors Hold 2.43 Trillion Yuan in Chinese Bonds as of End of May – China Banking News Figures from China Central Depository and Clearing and the Shanghai Clearing House indicate that as of the end of May 2020 foreign institutional investors held 2.43 trillion yuan in Chinese bonds (approx. USD$343.61 billion), for an increase of 114.6 billion yuan compared to the end of April.
China to establish special transfer payment mechanism for fiscal funds - Xinhua China will set up a special transfer payment mechanism to ensure that fiscal funds can directly benefit businesses and people, according to a State Council executive meeting Tuesday. Under the mechanism, the country will increase transfer payments from the central government to local governments, and arrange transfer payments from government-managed funds, said a decision adopted at the meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang. The mechanism will be in place to ensure that funds go straight to prefecture and county governments in a timely manner, the decision said.
1MDB’s Suspected Mastermind Found New Ways to Move Money in Kuwait - WSJ Malaysian investigators say they traced a trail of money from China to a Chinese bank in Kuwait and onward to a Cayman Islands entity partly controlled by Mr. Low that then paid nearly $1 billion for Low-controlled assets in Malaysia to pay some 1MDB debts. The transactions were in Chinese yuan to skirt U.S. attention, the investigators say... Mr. Low spends most of his time in China and was residing in a compound in the city of Wuhan as of six months ago, say the Malaysian investigators. His current whereabouts couldn’t be ascertained... After the Shanghai meeting, Mr. Kiwan said, Mr. Low told him that China Communications planned to wire billions of yuan to Al Waseet, as payment to Mr. Low for helping the company win contracts in Malaysia. Mr. Kiwan said Mr. Low told him that a share would go to Sheikh Sabah.
Politics and Law
求是：在转型发展上率先蹚出一条新路来 Lou Yangsheng, party boss of Shanxi, wrote on the latest Qiushi vowing to fix the “political climate” in the province after a high number of senior officials were put under investigation for corruption following the downfall of Ling Jihua.// 2017年6月，习近平总书记视察山西时作出了“努力实现党内政治生态风清气正”的重要指示。习近平总书记在这次视察期间又强调，要坚持以政治建设为统领，坚持不懈抓好党内政治生态建设。我们要坚持以党建“第一责任”领导和保障发展“第一要务”，以风清气正的政治生态推动形成活力迸发的创新生态，以全面从严治党新成效推进治理体系和治理能力现代化，为推进山西各项事业提供坚强保障。
新华网：陕西省人民政府原副省长陈国强受贿案一审开庭 Chen Guoqiang, former vice governor of Shaanxi, is tried in Tianjin for taking about 35 million RMB (US$ 5 million) in bribes.
深入理解和贯彻坚持以人民为中心（深入学习贯彻习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想）- 王京清 - 《 人民日报 》（ 2020年06月10日 09 版）Deputy head of CASS Wang Jingqing on page 9 of the Wednesday People's Daily on "thoroughly understanding and implementing" Xi's "people-centered" philosophy. Professor Wang reminds readers of the shift in the principal contradiction facing Chinese society that was announced at the 19th Party Congress, from the one between "the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and backward social production" to the contradiction between unbalanced and inadequate development and the people's ever-growing needs for a better life". The epidemic response and the official messaging of "putting people's lives first", in contrast to other major countries, fits with the new principal contradiction. -中国特色社会主义进入新时代，我国社会主要矛盾已经转化为人民日益增长的美好生活需要和不平衡不充分的发展之间的矛盾。这就要求我们更加关注人民群众美好生活需要的多样性、广泛性和高质量要求，更加关注经济发展与社会进步的整体协调，更加关注经济社会的平衡发展、充分发展，始终把人民放在心中最高位置，顺应民心、尊重民意、关注民情、致力民生，让改革发展成果更多更公平惠及全体人民，朝着实现全体人民共同富裕目标不断迈进。
China Daily has put together a handy English infographic on "President Xi's people-centered philosophy" here.
Chinese Sporting Power Couple Issues Rare Rebuke of Ruling Communist Party - WSJ $$ Retired soccer star Hao Haidong and his wife, former badminton world champion Ye Zhaoying—both household names in China—appeared on a video live-stream this month to voice support for a fugitive Chinese businessman’s self-professed campaign to topple the Communist Party. In a Skype interview with The Wall Street Journal from their home in Spain, the couple doubled down on their calls for the party to be “kicked off the stage of history,” while rebuffing critics who accused them of being manipulated by anti-China forces and betraying the state-run sports machine that launched their careers.
Serbian club denies releasing Chinese player over politics - AP Media in Taiwan said that Hao Runze, the son of former China striker Hao Haidong, has been released by Serbian club Radnicki Nis following his father’s denouncement of the Chinese Communist Party last week during the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown...Radnicki said in a statement that the club parted ways with Hao after his contract, signed earlier this year, expired. He joined the Serbian team from Spanish club Recre Granada.
What Is the Impact of the SPC’s Circuit Courts? | Supreme People's Court Monitor There has been one academic article in English (that I am aware of) (by Professors Chen and Wang) that focuses on the circuit courts, but looking at large scale policy rather than more granular analysis of circuit court decisions, whether in the form of judgments or rulings, or how circuit courts guide the lower courts, the impact on law practice in circuit court cities, and what it means for law students. I’ll set out some quick thoughts on each topic.
Amazon.com: Welfare for Autocrats: How Social Assistance in China Cares for its Rulers - Jennifer Pan What are the costs of the Chinese regime's fixation on quelling dissent in the name of political order, or "stability?" In Welfare for Autocrats, Jennifer Pan shows that China has reshaped its major social assistance program, Dibao, around this preoccupation, turning an effort to alleviate poverty into a tool of surveillance and repression. This distortion of Dibao damages perceptions of government competence and legitimacy and can trigger unrest among those denied benefits. Pan traces how China's approach to enforcing order transformed at the turn of the 21st century and identifies a phenomenon she calls seepage whereby one policy--in this case, quelling dissent--alters the allocation of resources and goals of unrelated areas of government. Using novel datasets and a variety of methodologies, Welfare for Autocrats challenges the view that concessions and repression are distinct strategies and departs from the assumption that all tools of repression were originally designed as such. Pan reaches the startling conclusion that China's preoccupation with order not only comes at great human cost but in the case of Dibao may well backfire.
A Lost ID Card, an Identity Thief, and a Marriage Delayed - SixthTone According to a Guangxi woman’s recent saga, invalidating records made under a fraudulent identity remains an arduous task for some officials.
Female Red Army veteran of Long March dies - China Daily Wang Dingguo, a Red Army veteran who had completed the Long March, died of illness at the age of 107 on Tuesday, leaving the world with one less survivor of the epic military expedition who knew so well about the struggle, and more importantly, the power of determination and faith...Wang from Sichuan province was believed to be the oldest female Red Army veteran before she died in Beijing. She joined the Red Army and the Party when she was 20, five years after she was sold to a local man to be his wife.
Prominent Uyghur Journalist Confirmed Detained After Nearly Three Years - RFA Qurban Mamut, the former editor-in-chief of the official Xinjiang Cultural Journal, went missing around November 2017, several months after he and his wife visited their son Bahram Qurban at his home in the U.S. state of Virginia—the first time the three had seen each other in more than nine years.
Foreign and Defense Affairs
Japan to draft G7 statement on China’s plans for Hong Kong national security law | South China Morning Post “Japan shares the same worries as the US on Hong Kong and ‘one country, two systems’, but it is also concerned about an intensive confrontation with China,” said Liang Yunxiang, an expert on international affairs and China-Japan ties at Peking University. “Japan would be exposed to greater security risks if the stand-off on Hong Kong between the US and China were to escalate, so it is likely to adopt a soft approach compared with the US and, objectively speaking, it might better serve China’s interests.”
Exclusive: In Talks, China Takes Hard Line, Claims All of Galwan Valley, Chunk of Pangong Tso Three days after Indian and Chinese military commanders met on Saturday at Chushul, in Ladakh, to discuss the crisis caused by the occupation by thousands of Chinese soldiers of territory traditionally patrolled by both armies, top army sources in India sought to portray a rapidly improving situation. Claiming that both sides – the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the Indian Army – have “retreated a bit” after the Saturday meeting, the army sources revealed that another Sino-Indian meeting would be held on Wednesday at a more junior level. However, sources on the ground paint a far bleaker picture of Chinese intransigence along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). They say that during the talks, the PLA interlocutors flatly rejected the Indian demand for Chinese troops to withdraw from areas they occupied in May and restore the status quo that prevailed in April.
China’s silent treatment for Australia in beef, barley trade row viewed as new normal under ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy | South China Morning Post Since China imposed tariffs on Australian barley and banned exports of beef from four Australian abattoirs three weeks ago, Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has tried unsuccessfully to get in touch with his Chinese trade counterpart, Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan.
Australia's economy cannot withstand 'Cold War' with China - Global Times We advise Canberra not to be so reckless as to closely follow Washington, or to do whatever American politicians ask it to do. If a new Cold War leads to a China-Australia showdown, Australia will pay an unbearable price. Given Australia's high dependence on the Chinese economy, an all-around confrontation will have a catastrophic effect on the Australian economy.
China refutes report from Australian institute - Xinhua China on Wednesday refuted a report from an Australian institute for strategic policy, which claimed China is collecting intelligence through "thousands" of organizations, affecting overseas Chinese communities and foreign elites and promoting Chinese interests. Spokesperson Hua Chunying told a news briefing that this institute has long received financial support from the United States government and U.S. arms dealers. It is keen on concocting and hyping anti-China topics.
UK looks to wean itself off Chinese imports | Financial Times $$ The planned overhaul will aim to implement the results of “Project Defend” — an internal exercise to ensure Britain retains access to critical goods while diversifying the country’s trading relationships. Those working on the project, which is overseen by foreign secretary Dominic Raab, stressed it was primarily about strengthening the country’s trade links in the wake of coronavirus but would also lead to the production of some critical goods being brought back to the UK, after the pandemic exposed the UK’s reliance on imports.
NATO chief says on Huawei: UK review of 5G security is important - Reuters NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said China was coming closer to the West in various ways - in the Arctic, in cyberspace and in critical infrastructure, including telecommunications.“I trust that the UK government will design their networks in ways that protect the networks and make sure that the UK has secure 5G networks,” Stoltenberg told BBC radio.
Vodafone warns ripping out Huawei would cost UK lead in 5G | Financial Times $$ Scott Petty, chief technology officer of Vodafone UK, told the Financial Times: “The UK’s leadership in 5G will be lost if mobile operators are forced to spend time and money replacing existing equipment.”
Huawei fights back with UK media blitz - China Daily Huawei Vice President Victor Zhang has said a newspaper and internet campaign launched by the company aims to give people the facts amid all the "noise" surrounding the Chinese multinational technology giant. In an open letter to the British public, published as a full-page advertisement in several national newspapers on Monday, the company said it is "as committed as ever" to provide "the best equipment" to the United Kingdom's 5G mobile and full-fiber broadband providers.
South China Sea: US Joins the Battle of Diplomatic Notes – The Diplomat The communication added a voice to the common position of Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia on taking UNCLOS as the sole legal basis for defining, in a comprehensive and exhaustive manner, the scope of their respective maritime entitlements in the SCS. The situation in the SCS can only be controlled when countries restrain themselves and cooperate in resolving disagreements on the basis of goodwill and in compliance with international law, including UNCLOS. Nguyen Hong Thao is a professor of the Diplomacy Academy of Vietnam.
US joins 'lawfare' by diplomatic notes over Chinese claims in S. China Sea - The Straits Times The recent US intervention in the battle of notes verbale is a clear signal that the dispute over the legality of China's claims is not going to go away any time soon
中新网：南海航海保障中心推出17项举措助力海南自贸港建设 China’s ministry of transportation said, as part of the efforts to build the Hainan island into an international free trade hub, it will use a wide range of new infrastructures including new beacons, new satellite surveillance system, to monitor and protect the shipping in South China Sea.
EU calls out Chinese state media for distorting official’s remarks in meeting with foreign minister Wang Yi | South China Morning Post The European Union has warned Chinese state media to stop what it called “selective” and “unacceptable” reporting of remarks its top diplomat made during a video meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi this week. The warning came on Wednesday as the EU introduced new plans to crack down on disinformation campaigns from state-backed actors including Russian and Chinese online sources, which have proliferated during the coronavirus outbreak.
China broadcast my forced confession in Canada — and CRTC does nothing: ex-prisoner | The Star In December 2019, Dahlin filed a complaint to federal authorities about his confession — and those of dozens more people — that he says have been shown in Canada since 2013. Six months later, Dahlin said, it appears as though the Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) isn’t pursuing his complaint — and he says that’s political.
Militia's combat-led training fast-tracked to enhance support capability - China Military The Huaihua military sub-command in Central China’s Hunan province recently organized a combat-led training for a specialized militia detachment. The militia detachment,which is established for camouflage protection, mainly provides logistics support for troops of certain service. “The military sub-command and our detachment jointly explored a string of practical techniques and tactics such as camouflaged hiding, sending false signals, and deception and obstruction, to reduce the exposure of troops on the field,” said Xie Hong, a battalion commander responsible for the training. Xie also noted that such joint training and exercise has significantly improved the militia’s support capability in battles and turned militia detachments into an important part in fortifying the troops’ combat force.
Veterans affairs to focus on retirees' standard of living - China Military The major task for authorities in charge of veteran affairs this year is to help military retirees land civilian jobs and improve their standard of living, according to a senior official. Sun Shaocheng, China's minister of veterans affairs, said in a ministry meeting last week that President Xi Jinping and other top leaders talked about veteran affairs and gave specific instructions during the third sessions of the 13th National People's Congress and the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, both of which were held in late May in Beijing.
Why the Trump Administration Has Helped China | The National Interest The Trump administration mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic and the death of George Floyd has raised the stature of China, which is now perceived as the more competent country in the world. by Kishore Mahbubani
Russia, China build case at U.N. to protect Iran from U.S. sanctions threat - Reuters Russia and China have started making the case at the United Nations against Washington’s claim that it can trigger a return of all sanctions on Iran at the Security Council, with Moscow invoking a 50-year-old international legal opinion to argue against the move.
India and China: How Nepal's new map is stirring old rivalries - BBC News Nepal's parliament is expected this week to formally approve a revised map of the country, including three areas it disputes with its giant neighbour India. The redrawing of the map covers a relatively small region high in the Himalayas but it has stirred simmering tensions between two of the world's biggest powers, India and China.
Why George Floyd protests do not mark the death of US soft power, despite China’s glee | South China Morning Post OpEd - Robert Daly Universalism worries Beijing far more than the revelations of American hypocrisy delight it. In the circular Communiqué on the Current State of the Ideological Sphere, issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party in 2013, not long after Xi Jinping took the helm as party chairman, seven “false ideological trends” were banned from discussion in China. Outlawed thought No 2 was the notion that “universal values” exist at all. They don’t, according to the party. They can’t, lest Chinese citizens’ calls for democracy be legitimised.
观察者网：海军陆战队开始换装星空迷彩 The Chinese navy are now using new camouflage uniforms, according to latest pictures from state media.
China will precisely retaliate against Czech Republic Senate speaker who plans to visit Taiwan - Global Times A Beijing-based expert on Taiwan affairs who requested anonymity said that Taiwan is definitely China's domestic affairs, and Czech politicians like Vystrcil are rudely imposing interference over China's internal affairs, but they still dare to accuse China of interference in the Czech Republic's "internal affairs" while Beijing expressed reasonable opposition and anger over their acts to support separatism in Taiwan. This is truly "gangster logic" and China will surely retaliate against Vystrcil's moves as there is no room for China to tolerate provocations regarding its sovereignty, he noted. // Comment: there seem to be a lot of experts in "gangster logic" in the pages of the Global Times
Tech and Media
国家网信办指导北京网信办约谈处罚新浪微博：热搜榜停更一周_10%公司_澎湃新闻-The Paper 6月10日，“网信中国”微信公号发布消息称，当天，国家互联网信息办公室指导北京市互联网信息办公室，约谈新浪微博负责人，针对微博在蒋某舆论事件中干扰网上传播秩序，以及传播违法违规信息等问题，责令其立即整改，暂停更新微博热搜榜一周，时间自6月10日15时至6月17日15时，暂停更新热门话题榜一周，时间自6月10日15时至6月17日15时，严肃处理相关责任人，同时，要求北京市互联网信息办公室对新浪微博依法从严予以罚款的行政处罚。
China punishes microblog platform Weibo for interfering with communication - Reuters The CAC said that the violations related to a case involving a person with the surname Jiang, without going into further details. It was not clear whose communications Weibo is being punished for interfering with but it comes after a senior Alibaba Group executive’s relationship with a prominent social media influencer came under scrutiny by Sina Weibo users in April, some of whom complained at the time that their posts were being censored.
TikTok Faces Scrutiny From EU Watchdogs Over Data Practices - Bloomberg Wednesday’s announcement by a panel of EU authorities follows the decision last month by the data-protection commission in the Netherlands to open an investigation into the company’s policies to protect children’s data, saying the app is “clearly loved” by Dutch kids.
Huang Wei Dead: Bona Film Group VP was 52 – Variety Huang Wei, the VP of China’s Bona Film Group who managed its cinema division, has died by suicide, jumping from the 18th-floor offices of the company’s Beijing headquarters today, according to multiple Chinese reports. He was 52.
独家| 内部员工揭秘：TikTok 竟然这么审核内容 PingWest does a deep dive on TikTok's moderation and content management systems
Google removes TikTok clone Zynn from Play Store after accusations of plagiarism - The Verge Chinese video app Zynn, a clone of the hugely popular Chinese video app TikTok, has been removed from Google’s Play Store following accusations of plagiarism. As reported by Wired this week, a number of high-profile TikTok users say their content has been uploaded to Zynn without consent. Some say their accounts have been cloned entirely, with profiles appearing on Zynn, including their name, picture, and months of back-dated content. In some cases, these videos appear to have been uploaded to Zynn before the app even officially launched in the US.
Tencent Targets Japan Anime, Manga to Jump-Start Global Growth | China Film Insider The Chinese social media giant has in recent months scooped up slices of two prominent local studios, the brains behind smash hit Nier: Automata and Marvelous Inc. Those outlays are just the start of a spending spree designed to extend Tencent’s foothold in a key creative hub while imbibing Japan’s expertise in console game making and hit franchise creation, according to people familiar with its strategy. The Chinese firm is in negotiations with several other studios on potential investments, they said.
Society, Arts, Sports, Culture and History
Are Chinese Rappers Doing Enough to Support Black Lives Matter? – Variety One might expect Chinese rappers, whose music is rooted in an art form born of the Black American struggle, to engage more deeply with these events, but reactions to Black Lives Matter within the Chinese hip-hop scene are not far from the Party line. A handful of underground figures have taken to Twitter-like social media site Weibo to explain why their fans should care about what seem like distant, distinctly Western problems. Yet while a small number have posted donation receipts and personal calls to action, the Chinese artists who have profited the most from rap culture have had far less to say about the current moment.
IOC to work with Beijing 2022 organizers through "peak to peak" approach from Tokyo to Beijing - Xinhua The International Olympic Committee (IOC) will join hands with Beijing 2022 organizers in adopting a "peak to peak" approach from the Tokyo Games to the Beijing Games, which will be held only six months apart, the IOC said on its official website on Tuesday
Beijing 2022 continues to meet milestones despite global pandemic - Xinhua Beijing 2022 has maintained a high standard of preparation efforts despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zhang Jiandong, Beijing vice mayor and executive vice president of the Beijing 2022 organizing committee (BOCOG), said on Tuesday. Zhang made the remarks at the fifth meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission held online to discuss updates on the preparations for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games,
Two-husband strategy may be a remedy for China?s one-child policy, professor posits - The Washington Post “I wouldn’t suggest polyandry if the gender ratio was not so severely imbalanced,” Yew-Kwang Ng, who is Malaysian, wrote in his regular column on a Chinese business website this month. The headline asked: “Is polyandry really a ridiculous idea?”
China tightens int'l students' application for universities, colleges - Xinhua The circular, issued by the Ministry of Education, noted that students whose parents are both Chinese nationals or one parent is a Chinese national and who have acquired foreign nationality at birth are qualified for admittance to undergraduate programs of Chinese universities and colleges on the condition that they have a record of actually living abroad for more than two years in the last four years, in addition to other application requirements prescribed by the universities and colleges. Those who have immigrated and acquired foreign nationality are qualified for admittance into the undergraduate programs of Chinese universities and colleges on the condition that they have held valid foreign passports or nationality certificates for at least four years and have a record of actually living abroad for more than two years in the last four years, in addition to other application requirements prescribed by the universities and colleges. // Comment: This is in response to public outrage over rich Chinese have been using this loophole to get their children admitted to places like Peking Un, simply by getting some Caribbean/African country passports for their children through investment.
侠客岛：【岛叔说】高考的羹，不能让“假留学生”来分 The Wechat account of People’s Daily overseas edition Xiakedao also weighed in to criticize the loophole that give advantages to rich kids and said the move by the ministry of education is timely and needed.
Rural and Agricultural Issues
China says clinical trials show African swine fever vaccine safe so far - Reuters In a paper published in March, Chinese researchers at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute, part of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), said a live attenuated vaccine they had developed was safe and effective against African swine fever in laboratory tests. Clinical trials were approved in March and have been underway since on 3,000 pigs in three locations, said Xinhua, which cited a CAAS news conference