Xi's PLA; Updated discipline rules for Party members; Much political and propaganda love for BRI's 5th anniversary; DiDi in deep DooDoo; Yuan support; Tencent's strategy

Happy Monday, one of those days where I do not feel like I do not have anything insightful to write, so no commentary up top. 

Thanks for reading.

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The Essential Eight

1. Xi's PLA

A reader who has very deep knowledge of the PLA and CCP politics tells me that the take down of Yang Hui is a very big deal. Jiang Zemin and his folks can not be happy...

President Xi Jinping takes aim at more top Chinese generals as anticorruption drive rolls on | South China Morning Post:

Sources close to the PLA told the South China Morning Post that the latest moves underscored Xi’s determination to eradicate the remaining influence among the troops of two corrupt former top military leaders.

“Xi wants to use the three senior generals’ downfall as a warning to all military officers that the anti-graft campaign has not stopped,” a retired senior colonel said. “It’s foreseeable that more senior officials will be investigated because it takes time to eradicate an evil legacy.”..

One glaring absence from a state television report of the meeting was General Wei Liang, the political commissar of the Southern Theatre Command.

Several independent sources close to the PLA told the Post that Wei, as well as General Xu Fenlin, were demoted to deputy regimental officer as a result of unspecified disciplinary action.

Separately, Lieutenant General Yang Hui, 55, a deputy commander and chief of staff with the Eastern Theatre Command, was put under investigation for alleged corruption on Wednesday, three sources said.

China’s rising military stars take centre-stage as annual promotions pass over old guard | South China Morning Post:

In a break with tradition, no full generals were promoted this year on August 1, the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, but in July some 15 officers were elevated to the rank of lieutenant general.

The youngest of these was Chang Dingqiu, 51, who led the 2015 fighter jet flights over Tiananmen Square to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the second world war.

Comment: A whole class of officers is tainted from corruption...makes sense to skip over the ones who were lucky enough to not be arrested...


2. Updated discipline rules for Party members

Will these updated rules be enough to get cadres to implement policies faithfully, a problem in Chinese governance that long predates the PRC?

CPC publishes regulations on disciplinary action - Xinhua:

The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee has published a revised 142-clause set of regulations on CPC disciplinary action, demanding its full implementation.

A circular issued by the CPC Central Committee said the regulations were first introduced in October 2015, playing a key role in upholding the CPC Constitution and other intra-Party regulations, ensuring intra-Party discipline, and exercising strict self-governance of the Party.

The circular said revisions had been made after the 19th CPC National Congress, which put discipline in the overall strategy of Party building in the new era and content related to discipline in the CPC Constitution was augmented.

Tightening political discipline and rules, the regulations aim at resolutely upholding the core status of General Secretary Xi in the CPC Central Committee and the entire Party, and upholding the authority of the CPC Central Committee and its centralized, unified leadership, the circular said.

The full text: 中国共产党纪律处分条例 

List of the key revisions compared to the 2015 version - 党员干部看过来!新修订的党纪处分条例干货一篇全掌握 

People's Daily Online published a helpful list of the "high tension power lines" in the new regs that all Party members should avoid @全体党员:新版党纪处分条例划出这些“高压线”,千万别碰!

Xi really has taken the fun out of things for many cadres and Party members...

China targets rumors, religion in updated party rules | Reuters:

The updated discipline rules, released late on Sunday by the graft watchdog the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection but in effect from Aug. 18, put into written form many orders that are in practice already in effect...

Party members are not allowed to speak out against central party policies or decisions, and nor can they spread “political rumors or damage the party’s unity”, the new rules say...

Another new clause takes aim at party members who are also religious. While the country’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion the party is officially atheist and party members are supposed to be too.

“Party members who have religious belief should have strengthened thought education. If they still don’t change after help and education from the party organization, they should be encouraged to leave the party,” the new rules say.


3. Commission for Law-based Governance of the CPC Central Committee meets

Xi calls for strengthening Party leadership over law-based governance - Xinhua:

President Xi Jinping on Friday called for strengthening the centralized and unified leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) over advancing law-based governance in all areas.

Xi, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, chairman of the Central Military Commission, and head of the Commission for Law-based Governance of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks while presiding over the first meeting of the commission.

Efforts should be made to unswervingly promote socialist rule of law with Chinese characteristics and enable the rule of law to better play its role of guarantee for a solid foundation, stabilized expectations and long-term interests, Xi said.

Li Keqiang, Li Zhanshu and Wang Huning, members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and deputy heads of the commission, attended the meeting.


4. Belt and Road turning five

On this 5th anniversary the BRI is getting a big propaganda push. At least from a propaganda perspective it does not appear the Xi and the Party have changed their approach to BRI, as some summer speculations suggested. 

Xi pledges to bring benefits to people through Belt and Road Initiative - Xinhua:

President Xi Jinping on Monday underlined thorough and solid cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to benefit people in countries involved and build a community with a shared future for humanity...

"The broad support for the BRI shows aspiration from countries involved, developing countries in particular, for peace and development," Xi said, noting the BRI is an initiative for economic cooperation, instead of a geopolitical alliance or military league, and it is an open and inclusive process rather than an exclusive bloc or "China club."

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, addressed a symposium held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, marking the fifth anniversary of the BRI.

习近平:推动共建“一带一路”走深走实造福人民 

The top ten minutes of the 8.27 CCTV Evening news was a report on Xi's comments-习近平在推进“一带一路”建设工作5周年座谈会上强调 坚持对话协商共建共享合作共赢交流互鉴 推动共建“一带一路”走深走实造福人民_CCTV 

Overseas Chinese ‘have role to play’ in building political trust abroad for belt and road | South China Morning Post:

The call from Xu Yousheng, deputy director of the United Front Work Department, comes as foreign countries are becoming increasingly suspicious of state manipulation of ethnic Chinese on their soil.

Xu said he hoped overseas Chinese would actively promote the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration under the “Belt and Road Initiative” – Beijing’s vast strategy to build infrastructure and trade links around the world.

“[Overseas Chinese] should strive to become active promoters of mutual political trust and mutually beneficial relations between China and neighbouring countries,” he said in a keynote speech at a forum in Hong Kong on Thursday.

China-Europe freight trains make 10,000 trips - Xinhua:

The China-Europe freight rail service network, a crucial part of the Belt and Road Initiative, has expanded rapidly, reaching 10,000 trips.

Sunday's arrival of freight train X8044 from Hamburg, Germany at Wujiashan railway container center station in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, marked the 10,000th trip since its beginning of operation in March 2011.

Climate change cuts the shipping route between China and Europe by 5,000 miles - The Washington Post:

Being able to reach Europe within two weeks would make shipping roughly as fast as the railway route that is increasingly popular among Asian and European companies because of its speed. Cargo trains need about 14 days to go from eastern China to Central Europe. Experts say the journey eventually may take only about 10 days once infrastructure improvements are completed. But sending goods via train is twice as expensive as shipping them.

Time to ramp up the Arctic segment of the BRI...


5. DiDi in deep DooDoo

Beijing Blasts Didi After Another Passenger Killed by Driver - Caixin Global:

Didi’s response didn’t quell public anger as netizens, bloggers and celebrities took to the internet. Eric Wang, a famous movie star popular among China’s youth, posted a screenshot on China’s Twitter-like social media platform Weibo that showed him uninstalling the Didi app. As of Monday, Wang’s post has been forwarded for more than 70,000 times and has been “liked” by more than 1.1 million users.

Furthermore, a Chinese hashtag that could be translated as #DeleteDidi has been trending on Weibo since Friday.

Didi Suspends Carpooling Service in China After 2nd Passenger Is Killed - The New York Times:

Didi said in a statement on Sunday that it had fired Huang Jieli, the general manager of Hitch, and Huang Jinhong, vice-president of its customer service operations. The former executives could not be immediately reached for comment.

50 cases in four years: Didi’s latest scandal is just tip of the iceberg · TechNode:

Over the past four years, at least 50 sexual harassment and assault incidents by Didi drivers were reported by local media and relevant authorities, according to a report by local media Southern Weekly. Of the 50 drivers, at least 3 of them have previous criminal records, but they managed to pass Didi’s driver identity check procedure. All of the 53 victims are female and seven of them were drunk at the time of the incident, the report added. Beijing, Jiangsu, Guangdong, and Zhejiang are the areas that recorded the most cases.

Beijing to Use BeiDou System in Car-Hailing, Set Up Regulatory Platform | Yicai Global:

The capital’s move to monitor cars hailed online follows closely on the rape and murder of a woman passenger of Didi Chuxing’s car-pooling service on Aug. 25 and burgeoning reports of similar and other crimes committed by such drivers.

BDS is also committed to building a regulatory platform for car-hailing. It has reportedly developed provincial and municipal platforms for interactive oversight information based on internet, big data, and other technologies. These platforms provide location-tracking, tracking queries, alarms and other services. The new system can also interact with the car-hailing platform that China’s transport ministry has established to monitor vehicle operation throughout the city.


6. Non-market moves to stabilize the Yuan

China Reintroduces Measure to Help Defend Yuan Exchange Rate - Caixin Global:

The counter-cyclical factor, firstly introduced in May 2017, essentially gives the government more control over the currency’s daily parity, the midpoint for the allowable daily volatility in the exchange rate. Under China’s managed exchange rate system, the yuan can trade up to 2% above or below the daily parity each day.

“Affected by the recent strong dollar index and trade frictions, there have been some pro-cyclical activities in the foreign exchange market,” the PBOC said in the statement, adding that it had begun “actively adjusting the counter-cyclical factor” since the start of this month to offset the pro-cyclical market sentiment that has weakened the yuan.

“The revival of the ‘counter-cyclical factor’ will help the yuan to remain basically stable at a reasonable and balanced level,” the PBOC added.

PBoC statement: 人民币对美元中间价报价行重启“逆周期因子”

China Central Bank Reintroduces Measure to Bolster the Yuan - WSJ $$:

Even though the latest measures could help stabilize the yuan in the near term, the policy shift means Beijing, once again, is backtracking on its efforts to make the yuan more market-driven. The central bank reimposed heavy controls on the yuan and cross-border fund flows two years ago, and some of those controls were only relaxed early this year.

Yuan hits four-week high as China signals support, revives X-factor for fixing | Reuters:

Monday's domestic closing price was the strongest since Aug. 1. Spot yuan CNY=CFXS opened onshore trade at 6.8080 per dollar and closed domestic trade, at 0830 GMT, at 6.8171, or 19 pips firmer than the previous late night session close.


7. ZTE monitor chosen

He was not the first choice. The first person offered the job had signed the never Trump letter, and once the Commerce Department realized that it rescinded the offer. The list of signatories to that letter is online here, this misfire makes one wonder what else the Commerce Department is failing to do basic due diligence on…

Any idea how much this monitor will be paid? 

U.S. Commerce's Ross picks ZTE monitor after rejecting 'Never Trump' lawyer | Reuters:

Roscoe Howard, a former U.S. Attorney in Washington, will lead a compliance team designed to help ensure that ZTE does not illegally sell products with American parts to Iran and other sanctioned countries.

Howard, who got his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1977, is a partner in Barnes & Thornburg’s litigation department in Washington, and served as associate independent counsel during the Clinton and George H. W. Bush administrations...

Peter Lichtenbaum, a former assistant secretary for export administration at the Commerce Department, received a letter on Aug. 15 offering him the post, sources said.

Ross then learned that Lichtenbaum was among the dozens of former national security officials who signed a letter in August 2016 saying Trump was not qualified to be president and they would never vote for him, the sources said on condition of anonymity.


8. Does Tencent's strategy need a rethink?

ChinAI Newsletter #25: Tencent - A Complete Takedown and Rethinking of China's so-called AI giant

Li Guofei (李国飞) has written a piece titled “A Total Rethinking of Tencent’s Strategy” [全面反思腾讯的战略] that explains how Tencent itself works and doesn’t work through the perspective of the inner workings of its data and algorithms, in comparison to some of its main competitors in China. In contrast to my usual approach of just giving quick takeaways from the translation, because this piece goes through Tencent’s development history and references a lot of apps and competitors that readers may not be the most familiar with, what follows is a lengthier section with more background context and synthesis of the translation


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

Chinese Households Shrug Off Weakness Fears to Embrace Yuan - Bloomberg The yuan has been Asia’s worst performer since the end of March, but there is no sign of the kind of panic exhibited by the exodus of capital after China’s surprise yuan devaluation in 2015. Individual investors are also less keen on holding onto the dollar than they were during that time -- foreign-exchange deposits at banks fell the most since August 2017 last month, according to official data.

Mahathir Bans Foreigners From $100 Billion Property Project - Bloomberg The Forest City project near Singapore had targeted buyers from China for its mixed-residential development, as well as investors from Indonesia, Thailand and Dubai. Malaysia’s My Second Home program allows wealthy foreigners to live in the Southeast Asian nation on a long-stay visa, with Chinese nationals being the largest group of participants. “Our objection is because it was built for foreigners, not meant for Malaysians,” Mahathir said to reporters. “Most Malaysians are unable to buy those flats.”

Top Financial Regulator Unveils Organizational Plan - Caixin Global The CBIRC restructuring plan outlines steps to consolidate several departments of the previous CBRC and China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) that will trim more than 100 jobs. The CBIRC will also set up new departments to enhance the regulator’s capacity to inspect and investigate market misconduct, reversing a 2015 restructuring plan initiated by Yang Jiacai, a former assistant chairman of the CBRC who was sentenced to 16 years in prison last month for accepting tens of millions of yuan in bribes. Caixin learned that the CBIRC set up a five-member team led by Chairman Guo Shuqing to decide major personnel changes as the restructuring unfolds. Guo will have four deputies, meaning that some of the current seven deputy chairmen will face retirement or reappointment, Caixin learned. The CBIRC will also install four chief officers, overseeing risk control, inspection, legal affairs and accounting, according to the plan.

Art Laffer's Chinese Curve Ball | Spengler Art vastly overestimates American economic strength and Chinese economic weakness, and his mistakes amplify the Administration’s mistaken view that tariffs will occasion intolerable economic pain for China. This is a strategic error of potentially fatal magnitude, on the order of the Russians at Port Arthur, the British at Singapore, or the French at Dien Bien Phu. Western observers speak ignorantly of a “Chinese economy,” when there really is no such entity: There is a past economy and a future economy which are quite different from each other. What we observe at any given time is the destruction of the old and the creation of the new. Averaging the two together is pointless.

Who Greased Palms of Felled Insurance Regulator? - Caixin Global A fugitive business tycoon and the boss of a property-turned-insurance company have emerged as key figures in the downfall of Xiang Junbo, the former head of China’s insurance regulator who pleaded guilty to corruption charges at his trial in June, Caixin has learned. Although details of the allegations against Xiang and the scale of the bribes he admitted to taking have not been disclosed by the court, Caixin has learned that Guo Wengui, the billionaire businessmen who fled China in 2014 as he was being investigated for graft, and Zhang Jun, the now-detained founder of insurance upstart Funde Sino Life Co. Ltd., were involved in the case.

China's higher inflation not big problem: state planner vice-chairman | Reuters “There are only a few commodities that we have to import from other countries, but there are many places we can source them,” Ning [Jizhe] said, stressing that the supply of agricultural and industrial consumer goods was “absolutely sufficient”.

Japan Auto Makers, Facing Uncertain Road in U.S., Look to China - WSJ $$ China, the world’s biggest car market by sales, is becoming a critical part of Japanese companies’ growth plans for both gasoline-powered and electric vehicles, while uncertainty clouds their U.S. business because of possible tariffs by the Trump administration on imported cars and car parts.

China warns investment may weaken further, to make 'good use' of fiscal policy | Reuters “The decline reflects the many barriers that our country’s infrastructure construction faces, and the stiff competition in low-end manufacturing while middle- and high-end sectors have relatively high bar for entry,” NDRC said in a monthly monitoring report published on its website. Among these newly registered projects, the investment value of infrastructure projects fell 35.2 percent in January-July from a year earlier, with the most significant drop in sectors such as pipelines, railways and air and road transport. Growth in registered manufacturing investments slowed to 12.4 percent.

Beijing to take action to tackle P2P lending, stock market leverage risks | South China Morning Post Following a special conference of officials in Beijing, the Financial Stability and Development Commission (FSDC), the country’s top financial regulator, called for urgent steps to clean up inadequately capitalised internet-based lending platforms as well as prevent a potential massive sell-off of listed company shares due to the government crackdown on excessive lending-based risks in the financial system, state-run Xinhua reported on Monday.

Missing Bosses Add to Risks of Investing in China: QuickTake - Bloomberg Evergreen headline  //  At least three this year from Hong Kong-listed Chinese firms. The latest was Yang Zhihui, the chairman of casino operator Landing International Development Ltd. The company said on Thursday it had been unable to reach Yang. Chinese financial publication Caixin reported the next day that Yang is a target of investigators looking into China Huarong Asset Management Co., a state-owned bad-debt manager whose former chairman is being probed for alleged corruption.

Peer-to-Peer Lenders in Beijing Ordered to Uncover Own Problems - Caixin Global *Beijing’s financial authorities have become the country’s first to demand P2P platforms under their jurisdiction compile a report on their regulatory compliance *The reports, which must include user numbers and information related to loan risks, are part of a 10-step program to tackle problems in the sector issued by a national watchdog

In Depth: China’s Social Security Balancing Act - Caixin Global the central government is preparing an overhaul of the mechanism for collecting social insurance levies. China’s pension funds are controlled by provincial-level governments, but the responsibilities for collecting the levies are inconsistently distributed between taxation and social security authorities. Under the new system, power to collect the funds will be consolidated in taxation departments to seal loopholes enabling evasion and make collections more transparent and efficient.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

Senior CPC official calls for better international communication - Xinhua Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks at a national meeting on publicity work. Huang stressed the implementation of the spirit of a national conference on publicity and ideological work, which closed Wednesday. The official said work should be done to tell China's stories well, make the voice of China heard, and present a true, multi-dimensional, and panoramic view of China to the world.

China leader calls for 'anti-separatism efforts' in Tibet - AP Wang Yang, the ruling Communist Party’s No. 4 ranking official, was quoted Monday in state media as stressing the importance of tight control over Tibet’s Buddhist institutions, urging “preparedness and precautions for danger in times of safety.” Religious figures must “be courageous to battle all separatist elements” in the name of preserving national unity and social stability, Wang was quoted as saying in Tibet’s regional capital of Lhasa during a visit there on Sunday. // Comment: Right, Wang Yang the great “reformist” hope…

人民日报评论员:把“九个坚持”作为根本遵循--理论-人民网 ——论学习贯彻习近平总书记在全国宣传思想工作会议重要讲话精神

China Accelerates Establishment of Immovable Property Registration Network - China Banking News The State Council recently called for a range of local governments to fully implement an “internet + immovable property registration”  (互联网+不动产登记) system before the end of June 2019, including directly administered municipalities, sub-provincial municipalities and provisional capitals. The announcement was accompanied by the launch of a slew of measures by China’s local governments to improve property registration procedures, including the release of the “Guidance Opinions on ‘Running Once at Most’ Reforms to Advance Immovable Property Registration” (关于推进不动产登记“最多跑一次”改革的指导意见) by Hebei province and the “Special Action Plan for Optimisation of Immovable Property Registration” (优化不动产登记专项行动方案) by Shandong province.// 不动产登记信息实现了全国联网 下一步:开征房地产税?  Another sign a property tax may be finally coming?

Big Changes Ahead?! Draft of China's Civil Code No Longer Includes "Family Planning" | What's on Weibo The Procuratorial Daily, that attended the meeting while posting about it on Weibo, wrote that regarding marriage & family, there are “five big changes”(五大变化) in the Code.

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

Three Chinese naval tech experts drown trying to save research platform during typhoon | South China Morning Post The three men drowned off the coast of Dalian on Monday after being swept out to sea by big waves brought by Typhoon Rumbia. The platform’s developer, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), confirmed the deaths in a statement on Thursday. They were identified as Huang Qun, deputy director of CSIC’s No 760 Institute in Dalian, Song Yuecai, chief scientist of the experimental programme, and Jiang Kaibin, its chief electromechanical engineer. The institute – also known as the Dalian Institute for Measurement and Control Technology – specialises in underwater acoustic engineering, and vibration and noise testing technologies, which are important for submarine development.

Xi hails late comrades from research institute, stresses patriotism - Xinhua Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on all members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to learn from three late comrades from a research institute, stressing patriotism. The three comrades -- Huang Qun, Song Yuecai and Jiang Kaibin -- who worked for the 760 Research Institute of the China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation, sacrificed their lives to protect a national experimental platform during Typhoon Rumbia, when it passed through Dalian, a coastal city of northeast China's Liaoning Province, on Aug. 20. // Comment: It must have been a very important project// 习近平对中船重工第七六〇所黄群等3名同志壮烈牺牲作出重要指示强调 要坚定理想信念 不忘初心牢记使命 履职尽责许党报国_CCTV 

China's Xi Jinping to visit PH in Nov - PTV News Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to visit the Philippines in November as a follow-up to the recently held high-level economic meetings between Philippine and Chinese economic and infrastructure managers in Beijing, the Department of Budget of Management (DBM) said in a statement on Friday.

Chinese military launches exam recruiting "civilian personnel" for first time - China Military More than 140,000 participants sat the exam in 42 cities in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. Around one in 15 candidates will be recruited, a military source said. The People's Liberation Army started recruiting "civilian personnel" in July. The recruitment drive, approved by the Central Military Commission, is the first of its kind since deeper reform was introduced to the national defense and armed forces in late 2015.

New carrier sets out on second sea trial - China Military China's first domestically designed aircraft carrier embarked on its second sea trial on Monday from its shipyard in Dalian, Liaoning province. Videos and images published by Chinese media and weapons enthusiasts showed that the giant ship, which has yet to be officially named but is widely believed to bear the name CNS Shandong, left the port of Dalian Shipbuilding Industry, its builder, assisted by several tugboats.

China pressures family of Australian-based corruption suspect to ensure his return China's corruption watchdog has admitted to placing pressure on the family of a suspect living in Australia to get him to return to China. Former bank official Lai Mingmin, 67, migrated to Sydney where he had been living for 17 years, but returned to China to face corruption investigators in June. At the time, state media reported his return to China, and his refund of the bribe he had taken, was voluntary.

China: Marisa Payne's new role means 'Australian hawks' control foreign affairs, says Chinese media The Chinese media has called Marise Payne's move from defence minister to the foreign affairs portfolio a signal that "Australia hawks" will have a bigger impact on foreign policy.

Marise Payne defends 5G ban on Chinese telcos Huawei and ZTE |The Guardian The incoming foreign affairs minister, Marise Payne, has defended a decision that shut Chinese telecommunications giants out of Australia’s 5G network, saying it was necessary to protect national security.

Putin, Xi to hold talks next month in Russia's Vladivostok - Kremlin | Reuters Russia is expecting some Asian leaders and companies to attend to the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok from September 11-13.

Sold and separated: the trafficked North Korean women trying to bring their Chinese children ‘home’ to the South | South China Morning Post China is the main way out of North Korea for people fleeing the country but for many of the women who make it across the border, human traffickers are waiting to kidnap and sell them to Chinese men. Those who later make it to the South must endure the torment of leaving the Chinese children they have with these men behind. In this instalment of a four-part series, Josephine Ma looks at how a lasting reunion proved elusive for one woman who had already suffered a lifetime of struggle

Is China Undermining Efforts to Disarm North Korea? Not Yet, Analysts Say - The New York Times “I very much expect this visit could happen, and it would greatly improve bilateral relations,” Lu Chao, director of the Border Study Institute at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, said of Mr. Xi’s trip. Sept. 9 is a particularly meaningful date for North Korea, and Mr. Xi’s presence would further strengthen a relationship that is warming but still not secure, he said.

Beijing Summit to elevate Africa-China economic ties, diplomats | The New Times Speaking to the media, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia Tan Jian said the summit would be a historic event of grand family gathering between China and African countries, following the previous summit held in 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa. “It will be a historic event, providing a valuable opportunity for Chinese and African leaders to gather in Beijing, to discuss about fraternity and cooperation, as well as joint efforts to map out a new blueprint for China-Africa friendly cooperation,” said Tan.

South China Sea: A view from the air of one of the world's most contested regions-CNN special interactive feature

 

Hong Kong, Macao

Pro-Democracy Party Slams Communist Party 'Brainwashing' in Hong Kong Textbooks - RFA A pro-democracy party in Hong Kong has hit out at newly published school textbooks backed by the Chinese government as "biased," and aimed at "brainwashing" students. The books and teaching materials published by Educational Publishing, which is wholly controlled by Beijing's Central Liaison Office in the city, contain a biased account of the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy Central movement, according to activists who led the movement. The account of the 79-day civil disobedience movement for fully democratic elections offers only quotes from four opponents and relegates movement co-founder and Hong Kong University law professor Benny Tai to the status of "supporter."

Hong Kong activist group says two members were detained during China visit | Financial Times $$ A leading Hong Kong democracy activist has said two members of his political group were detained in mainland China, raising concerns that the separation between the police systems of Hong Kong and the mainland were being blurred. Joshua Wong, founder of Demosisto, said two members of the group were questioned by Chinese police during personal visits to the mainland over their involvement in political activities in the territory.

Mainland Chinese university bars two Hong Kong human rights lawyers from teaching regular course there | South China Morning Post A source said the two barristers Peking University objected to were human rights lawyer Hectar Pun and Cheung Yiu-leung, vice-chairman of the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group. They were not allowed to teach the common law course and asked to be replaced, despite having done so for several years. Both have not replied to Post requests for comment.

 

Tech And Media

Alibaba’s Dilemma: Bargain Basement Shoppers — The Information $$ Alibaba became the dominant firm in China’s $1 trillion ecommerce market initially by focusing on cheap goods sold through Taobao, China’s largest online marketplace where millions of small merchants sell virtually anything. But its recent growth has come by going upscale, encouraging middle-class consumers to spend on major brands like Nike and Apple. The rise of Pinduoduo, whose offerings include $3 sneakers and $8 suitcases, suggests there is a growing segment of Chinese consumers who aren’t fully served by Alibaba.

Dutch high-tech firm denies banning Chinese hires - Global Times In a statement sent to the Global Times on Monday, ASML, one of the few suppliers of lithography, a type of chip-making equipment, in the world said the company "can hire and is still hiring Chinese nationals who can work on ASML's high-tech products in development, engineering and services, also in the Netherlands."

Xu Lin Takes the Helm at Information Office | China Media Project In recent days, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has held numerous forums and conferences to promote the “building of positive energy content” in the field of online short video, pressing the need to offer greater intensity of “authoritative” and “positive” content — and to use the visual strengths of short video to explain to the masses the importance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and the spirit of the 19th National Congress of the CCP.

Bitmain: IPO and Technical Challenges – THE LION'S DEN During the market’s best two years, Bitmain did not roll out any new chips or new mining hardware to update its core Bitcoin mining product line, which can be fatal for a chip company in this fast-growing industry. This article takes you through the twists and turns of the path the king of hashrate took to climb – from a startup, to the top of the industry, before its product line fell behind. In the face of other uprising competitors, can Bitmain be reborn by branching out into the AI field and launching an IPO?

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Shower Business – China Channel Big bathhouses these days are expected at the least to have some upstairs massage rooms, with special services, rotating buffets and flat screen televisions showing sports. Sweating in the nude, next to a shrewd investor, crooked cadre or blubbery cop, comrades are all rendered equal (there’s less risk of being recorded and blackmailed afterward, too). It costs over 200 yuan to visit one of new-fangled bathhouses – where hot-spring pools are decked out with fake trees, ornate footbridges, uniformed attendants and fish that nibble on your dead skin – and less than ten yuan to get the full Monty at historic joints like Shuangxingtang.

The legend of China’s Bigfoot - Inkstone Like the fabled Sasquatch of North American folklore and the mythical Yeti of the Himalayas, the legend of the yeren – meaning “Wild Man" in Chinese – is alive and well in Shennongjia.

University lecturer’s career on hold while China #MeToo claims are investigated | South China Morning Post The latest person to be accused in China is Non Arkaraprasertkul, a Harvard-trained anthropologist who has worked at the University of Sydney and New York University Shanghai – a joint venture between NYU and East China Normal University. He denies the claims. One of his alleged victims is a Chinese woman who spoke to the South China Morning Post on condition of anonymity about an encounter she said occurred a year ago at the University of Sydney.

 

Agriculture And Rural Issues

Human Error Worsened Deadly Shandong Flood - Caixin Global Flooding that was made worse by a rush to release water from upstream reservoirs has caused widespread devastation in the eastern province of Shandong, an area responsible for much of China’s farm produce. The flooding, triggered by tropical storms Yagi and Rumbia earlier this month, led to 13 deaths and another three missing in the Shandong city of Weifang. About 173,500 people in the city of 9 million were displaced, according to the city government. Direct economic losses have exceeded 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion).

 

Education

Effectiveness of education outlay to be strengthened - Gov.cn In recent years, the State’s expenditure on education has accounted for over four percent of GDP, but the fundraising, usage and supervision methods still are not mature. Therefore, China decided to adjust fiscal expenditure on education, with more funding tilting towards poverty-stricken areas while maintaining the proportion of education outlay to GDP. A fundraising mechanism featuring governments at the core and multichannels as supplements is to be improved.