ZTE Reprieve; Liu He Coming To DC Tuesday; Growing Crackdown On Islam; New Aircraft Carrier; Ideology And The New Era; Liu Xia
Liu He will be in DC this week to continue the trade negotiations and Trump has declared that he is working on a reprieve for ZTE:
President Xi of China, and I, are working together to give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE, a way to get back into business, fast. Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!May 13, 2018
Trump’s willingness to accede to Xi’s request for leniency towards ZTE — a firm caught repeatedly violating U.S. law — may also signal an increased likelihood of a U.S.–China deal to diffuse the current trade tensions, but I still expect any deal to be only a brief ceasefire in the growing Sino–U.S. tech rivalry.
Meanwhile, the more hawkish members of the Trump Administration are concerned the President may go for a headline deal around the trade deficit while punting on the tougher structural issues, as Jonathan Swan of Axios reported Sunday in Trump's grand bargain on China:
President Trump wants a grand bargain with China. And hardliners in the Trump administration worry Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is leading him down an accommodationist path that — in their minds — would betray the President's economic agenda and capitulate to Beijing...
Sources familiar with Mnuchin's thinking tell me he wants a deal that would have the Chinese buy billions of dollars worth of U.S. products. The idea would be to cut the trade deficit — something Trump is obsessed with — but trade experts say that purchasing products isn't the way to deal with profound structural imbalances.
In exchange, the U.S. would drop the section 301 tariffs designed to stop China from stealing American intellectual property and getting its hands on U.S. technology for nefarious purposes.
Thanks for reading.
The Essential Eight
1. US-China Trade
Several people outside the White House who have Trump's ear — Fox News' Lou Dobbs and Laura Ingraham — are publicly dissenting. And, internally, trade hardliners Peter Navarro and Robert Lighthizer are concerned about a Mnuchin-led deal that could give up on nailing China for its nefarious industrial practices…
And a rare clarification from the White House on Trump's tweet, via deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters:
"The President’s tweet underscores the importance of a free, fair, balanced, and mutually beneficial economic, trade and investment relationship between the United States and China. The administration is in contact with China on this issue, among others in the bilateral relationship. President Trump expects Secretary Ross to exercise his independent judgment, consistent with applicable laws and regulations, to resolve the regulatory action involving ZTE based on its facts."
People briefed on the bilateral discussions say the talks have so far focused almost entirely on the president’s demand that Beijing speedily reduce the $337bn US trade deficit in goods and services with China....
“There is serious concern that Mnuchin and Ross are going to play to the president’s most base impulse, which is to transact”, said one person familiar with the discussions
With Trump’s tweet, some officials familiar with the ZTE issue believe a compromise is possible. “A mini-deal is in sight,” said a person familiar with the matter. “China gets relief for ZTE, and in exchange agrees to return to the status quo for U.S. agriculture,” easing tariffs and implementing other non-tariff remedies.
But the talks have not been amicable. Chinese President Xi Jinping has been irate about the sanctions on ZTE, and his top economic adviser, Liu He, has told U.S. negotiators that there is no chance of a deal without the United States removing the seven-year ban on ZTE, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter...
Nonetheless, the president’s shift on Sunday caught many advisers flat-footed because there had not been a broad agreement to change the administration’s position.
Federal Register :: Notice of Determination and Request for Public Comment Concerning Proposed Determination of Action Pursuant to Section 301: China's Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation:
May 15, 2018: The Section 301 Committee will convene a public hearing in the main hearing room of the U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW Washington DC 20436 beginning at 10:00 a.m. [Somehow I doubt Liu He will testify in person…]
May 22, 2018: Due date for submission of post-hearing rebuttal comments
China’s Ministry of Commerce officials have been asked to hasten the long-delayed review of the purchase and Qualcomm’s proposed remedies to protect local companies
ZTE appears to be a systematically dirty company--Chinese telco ZTE bribed its way to greatness, now focuses on Australia Australian Financial Review
ZTE, a Chinese telecommunications company with a record of systemic corruption, is bidding for major contracts in Australia, including Telstra's 5G mobile network and a transport contract in Western Australia, even after being criminally sanctioned in the United States.
An investigation by Fairfax Media has found ZTE not only paid $US12.8 million ($17 million) in bribes to secure one contract in West Africa, but had a designated internal department and multiple layers of management to approve these payments, according to a former insider.
Documents show the bribes were meticulously recorded and ran to more than 20 per cent of one contract's value, helping to explain how ZTE rapidly became the world's third largest supplier of telecommunications equipment by 2012.
2. Ideological Underpinnings of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’
Jiang Shigong’s essay is fascinating, thanks to David Ownby and Timothy Cheek for the introduction. What is not clear is how influential Jiang is and whether he wrote this under official guidance or is trying to place himself where he thinks Xi and Wang Huning want to be (aka skating where the puck is going, a worthy analogy given the Washington Capitals may actually win the Stanley Cup...). I guess if he suddenly shows up in Beijing working in some capacity under Wang Huning we will have a good idea. But this goes back to the recent discussion of Marxism and Xi; I still believe just dismissing all these ideological machinations as window-dressing for neo-totalitarianism misses the bigger picture of Xi and his ideological officials actually believing there is a "Chinese Way"...
This essay by Jiang Shigong 强世功 (b. 1967), published in the Guangzhou journal Open Times (开放时代) in January 2018, aims to be an authoritative statement of the new political orthodoxy under Xi Jinping 习近平(b. 1953) as Xi begins his second term as China’s supreme leader. It offers a new reading of modern Chinese history in general and the history of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in particular, arguing that Xi Jinping’s ‘thought’ (sixiang 思想) is the culmination of a century’s historical process and philosophical refinement, produced through the ongoing dialectic of theory and practice. This is ‘Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era’ 习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想, which Jiang defends as the new ideological superstructure to the material base of China’s economy after nearly forty years of ‘socialism with Chinese characteristics’. Although the language bears considerable resemblance to the propagandistic slant of People’s Daily editorials, Jiang’s text is not a specious rant, but an intelligent and penetrating critique of the limits and failures of the liberal democratic system. It also offers a considered case for an alternative way of viewing politics and history that defends the past actions and current legitimacy of the CCP and holds up Xi Jinping as the man of the hour to complete China’s century-long recovery of its dominant place in the world...
He offers his own rereading of modern Chinese history, but one in which the CCP once again plays the leading role. Jiang, like Xi Jinping, wants to put an end to the freewheeling audacity of today’s intellectuals and bring them back to the church of Marxism. His narrative is compellingly simple: China stood up under Mao, got rich under Deng Xiaoping 邓小平 (1904-1997), and is now becoming powerful under Xi Jinping. The details of the essay show why this is so and why ‘the Era of Xi Jinping’ will bring to fruition all of these dreams of Chinese wealth and power by 2049, the centenary of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Jiang goes into some detail to show how the Xi Jinping era fits in the narratives of the history of the CCP, the history of Chinese civilisation, and the history of the international Communist movement. By the middle of the essay this allows Jiang to declare that Xi Jinping’s thought is now the key to China’s contributions to world civilisation. Past and present, China and the world— Jiang integrates everything into a seamless story of how the development and recovery of Chinese agency is bringing about the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.
More importantly, the reintroduction of Marxism is part of Xi’s grand scheme to offer a new governance model based on authoritarianism and economic progress, as compared to that of Western democracies, at a time of profound economic and political upheaval in the world.
The Chinese state media and officials relish portraying the rise of China in this particular context, summarised in a phrase known as the world’s disorder versus China’s successful governance. Translated: Western democracies are on the decline, beset by flagging economic growth, worsening public security, a widening gap between the rich and poor, and the rise of terrorism and populism.
中国特色社会主义不是封闭的社会主义，社会主义建设取得的显著成就也不是关门搞建设的结果。但是，学习借鉴人类文明成果不等于照搬照抄，中国的发展没有复制西方的发展模式，没有重复西方的老路。诸如股份制、按生产要素分配、市场经济等，都不是西方的专利，而是人类社会发展实践中的产物，是发展经济的手段，既可以为资本主义所用，也可以为社会主义所用。更为重要的是，改革开放以来我国经济社会发展的每一项成就都是在马克思主义指导下取得的。实践证明，坚持和发展马克思主义是走中国道路的题中应有之义。--（陈曙光为中央党校习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想研究中心研究员）《 人民日报 》（ 2018年05月14日 07 版）
3. Deepening Crackdown On Islam?
The Uighurs have long been targeted, but is Beijing now cracking down on Hui as well. Is this all part of the renewed "sinicizing" religion campaign in the New Era?
Throughout Ningxia, Islamic decor and Arabic signs are being taken off the streets. They only went up a decade ago, when the authorities were highlighting the Hui ethnic minority culture to lure tourists. Driving south from Yinchuan along the dusty plains of the Yellow River, the roadside is now littered with onion domes – green, gold and white – freshly removed from market buildings, hotels and parks.
Secular buildings were the first target, but the government has also banned new “Arab style” mosques, and there are plans to convert some of the existing ones to look like Chinese temples.
“The whole thing started towards the end of last year ... It’s making everyone here apprehensive,” said a female staff member at the Nanguan mosque, who watched in dismay as the dome-shaped features of her home were smashed to pieces by the authorities a few months ago.
Chinese officials, since early 2018, have imposed regular “home stays” on families in the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang, Human Rights Watch said today. These visits are part of the government’s increasingly invasive “Strike Hard” campaign in the region, home to 11 million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities.
During these visits, families are required to provide officials with information about their lives and political views, and are subjected to political indoctrination. The Chinese government should immediately end this visitation program, which violates rights to privacy and family life and the cultural rights of ethnic minorities protected under international human rights law, Human Rights Watch said.
Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) prefecture, in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), is home to several “open political re-education camps” that require Uyghurs to attend classes during the day and allow them to return home at night, according to sources.
Since April 2017, Uyghurs accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” views have been jailed or detained in re-education camps throughout the XUAR, where members of the ethnic group have long complained of pervasive discrimination, religious repression, and cultural suppression under Chinese rule.
Authorities in Hotan (in Chinese, Heitian) prefecture, in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) have sentenced a prominent imam to more than five years in prison for taking his son to an unsanctioned religious school to meet other children.
Abduheber Ahmet, the imam of the Dongbagh Mosque in Urchi township, in Hotan’s Qaraqash (Moyu) county, was initially detained in May 2017 and handed a five and a half-year jail term a month later, the ruling Chinese Communist Party secretary of Urchi township told RFA’s Uyghur Service.
4. Cardinal Zen Continues To Speak Out About Possible PRC-Vatican Rapprochement
Hong Kong’s Cardinal Joseph Zen, 86, is continuing a one-man fight inside the Catholic establishment to oppose a deal between the Vatican and China over who can appoint bishops in the officially atheist country...
“I had a very special experience. I know China. I know the church in China. I have worked seven years, spending six months a year from 1989 to 1996 in [government-recognised churches] teaching the seminaries,” Zen, born in Shanghai to Catholic parents, said in an interview with HKFP...
“I told him everything. I wrote so many letters,” Zen said. “My last letter was very clear, I have the impression that the Pope now is aware of the worries in the church in China, so I don’t think I need to see him again or say more things.”
“Maybe now there are some other things which may make the Holy Father more aware that he is not receiving good information from people around him.”
The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Beijing-Vatican deal is delayed - Abide in Darkness: China’s War on Religion Stalls Vatican Deal - so maybe the Pope has become more aware of the pitfalls?
5. China's Second Aircraft Carrier
According to the Navy, the commander of the new carrier is Senior Captain Lai Yijun. Lai is reported to have been captain of CNS Lianyungang guided-missile frigate, commander of a frigate flotilla and then executive officer of CNS Liaoning aircraft carrier.
The ship, the largest and most sophisticated naval vessel in China, was designed and built by the nation on its own.
Its construction began in November 2013, and work in the dry dock began in March 2015. The carrier was launched — moved into water — in April 2017. By now its outfitting — during which engineers
It’s not as good as any of the US Navy’s 11 aircraft carriers, which are larger, carry more aircraft, and can launch these aircraft faster and with heavier payloads. US Navy carriers are nuclear-powered, giving them almost infinite range and endurance, and the US has decades of experience, including countless combat operations.
But matching the US may not be the point, at least not yet. These carriers will be useful in the Asia-Pacific, where China already has the biggest navy, with the margin of superiority likely to grow. And in the South China Sea, where Beijing’s potential adversaries have weak air and naval forces, the modest capability provided by this new carrier and its sister ship, Liaoning, may be enough to tip the balance.
6. State Department Report On China's "Debt Trap Strategy
Chinese loans worth hundreds of billions of dollars are saddling Australia's smaller regional neighbours with unsustainable debts and giving Beijing crucial economic leverage to gain strategic and military power, warns a new independent report written for the US State Department...
The latest unclassified report, which has not been publicly released, was written for the US State Department policy planning staff, under the supervision of Harvard's distinguished US-China researcher Graham Allison..
The Harvard researchers, Gabrielle Chefitz and Mr Parker, who was temporarily deployed to PACOM last year, highlight Sri Lanka borrowing $US8 billion from Chinese-controlled firms for infrastructure projects such an airport and upgrade to a port at the hometown of the-now-former-president Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Comment: If anyone has a copy of this report please share it. Thanks in advance. And what happens if many of the debtors default at once?
7. Second Meeting of Central Committee For Deepening Overall Reform
China should make good use of the experience from progress made in the institutional reform of the central and state organs since the third plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, and carefully plan local institutional reform, Xi said.
The meeting reviewed and approved a series of official documents on areas including reform of local institutions, constraints on state-owned enterprises' (SOEs) assets and liabilities, basic pension funds for business employees, and management rules for executives of centrally administered SOEs.
The meeting also reviewed a report on the progress of deepening reform of Party and state institutions, said a statement released after the meeting.
It also said that reinforcing the asset and liability constraints on SOEs is important for reducing leverage ratios and defusing debt risk. ..
Institutions at the provincial or lower levels will be granted greater autonomy, and local authorities will be allowed to set up institutions and design functions based on their own conditions.
Party and government institutions will be subject to strict quota management, with the authorized sizes of institutions serving as a rigid constraint.
The country should pursue a compact and efficient grassroots management system with a view to create convenience for the people.
Xi also called for “the debt-asset ratios of heavily indebted SOE’s to return to rational levels as soon as possible,” as well as “the integration of improvements to internal governance and the strengthening of external constraints, and the strengthening of supervision and regulation via the establishment and improvement of SOE balance sheet constraints.”
The meeting also emphasised the need to “advance concentrated, unified regulatory trials of the state-owned assets of central party and government organs and public institutions…uphold the separation of politics and enterprise, politics and assets, the division between ownership rights and management…establish state-owned capital operating platforms, optimise the structure of state-owned capital, raise the efficiency of the allocation and regulation of state-owned assets, and effectively prevent the loss of state-owned assets.”
8. Liu Xia Still Detained Illegally
Too bad no world leaders see fit to tweet about her, or to make her case in person to General Secretary Xi beyond a mere request. Her case makes another mockery of Beijing's claims that it was governing the country according to the law.
The diplomats, including a European Union, French, Canadian and a German envoy, tried to visit her home on Friday morning but were turned away by officials at the gate to the complex, the sources said.
The guards checked the diplomats’ identities before refusing them entry without giving a reason.
Despite the daily restrictions and surveillance faced by Liu Xia, Chinese authorities still maintain she is free.
An opera about Tu Youyou, the Chinese pharmacologist who received the country's first Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, was staged at the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing on Saturday and Sunday.
The play tells of how Tu Youyou and her team managed to extract a substance from artemisinin that proved effective in reducing malaria mortality, which won her the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Comment: No word on plans for an opera about that other Chinese Nobel Prize winner, Liu Xiaobo
Business, Economy, Finance And Trade
PBOC Shifts Descriptions of Chinese Macro-leverage and Monetary Policy - China Banking News The “2018 Q1 China Monetary Policy Execution Report” (2018年第一季度中国货币政策执行报告) points out that 2017 saw a a trend of stabilising macro-leverage, and that in future China’s macro-leverage will further stabilise, while the economy will see gradual, structured deleveraging. The official wording used by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) to describe upcoming monetary policy has undergone slight amendment, however. The phrase “effectively control the balance between stable growth, deleveraging and risk prevention” (把握好稳增长、去杠杆、防风险之间的平衡) employed in the previous execution report has since been changed to “effectively control the balance between stable growth, structural adjustment and risk prevention” (把握好稳增长、调结构、防风险之间的平衡), with “structural adjustment” used in lieu of “deleveraging.”
China’s economic growth story will be cut short under Xi Jinping, research firm predicts | South China Morning Post Under President Xi Jinping’s leadership, China may be unable to continue its “rapid climb up the economic ladder” in the coming decades to reach a high income status – a key part of Xi’s vision of becoming a “modern socialist country” by 2035 and a “rich and powerful socialist country” by 2050, according to a research note published by Capital Economics on Monday. “Xi is aiming high ... but the odds aren’t in his favour,” economists Mark Williams and Julian Evans-Pritchard wrote.
China’s private firms default on US$2 billion bond repayments as Beijing’s deleveraging efforts bite | South China Morning Post More than 10 companies, several of them listed, from a variety of industries have defaulted on 15 bonds worth more than 12.8 billion yuan (US$2 billion), according to figures from China Central Depository and Clearing Company, which manages and promotes the sector.
Local Government Debt Swaps Set to Accelerate Following New Bond Rules - China Banking News The use of bonds to swap out local government debt in China is expected to accelerate, with the Chinese Ministry of Finance issuing new rules that extend the maturities of instruments as well as loosen issuance volumes. China’s Ministry of Finance issued the “Opinions Concerning Proper Performance of 2018 Local Government Bond Issuance Work” (关于做好2018年地方政府债券发行工作的意见) (Directive 61) on 8 May. The Opinions extend the maturities for local government bonds to as long as 15 or 20 years, as well as loosen the quarterly issuance volume.
State Council to clear up regulations on property rights protection - Gov.cn The State Council has released a circular regarding clearing up existing regulations and documents associated with property rights protection. This is aimed at protecting economic property rights and other legal rights of various ownerships based on laws and equality, with a favorable legal environment in place, in a bid to boost market entities’ vitality in innovation and entrepreneurship and push forward continuous healthy economic development.
China's electricity consumption up 7.8 pct in April - Xinhua The 7.8-percent increase was faster than the 3.6-percent growth recorded in March. In April, electricity use in the service and agriculture sectors both rose 10.8 percent year-on-year, with the industrial sector seeing an increase of 7.2 percent. Total electricity use in the Jan.-April period totaled 2.1 trillion kilowatt-hours, growing 9.3 percent from the same period last year.
Portugal's EDP jumps 12 percent as Chinese bid faces little resistance | Reuters Shares in Portuguese utility EDP (EDP.LS) jumped as much as 12 percent on Monday, topping the bid price offered by China Three Gorges (CTG), indicating that the market believes there could be a counter offer or a higher price could be extracted from the Chinese state-owned utility. The gains show there is little that could stop the bid as the European Union has no power to block it and the Portuguese government appears to be backing it, despite a call from its allies in the Communist party for EDP to be renationalized.
Insurers Now Required to Disclose Who Controls Them - Caixin Global The new disclosure rules come in the wake of a series of scandals over the past several years stemming from the industry’s opaque ownership structures and the sales of short-term investment products. The new rules (link in Chinese), which take effect July 1, require insurers to disclose more detailed information about their ownership structures, major transactions, and risk management practices and products, according to guidelines released Thursday by the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.
China's macro leverage to see slower growth: PBOC report - Xinhua China's macro leverage growth will likely continue to slow, said the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the country's central bank. The PBOC said in a report that the country's overall leverage rose to 250.3 percent last year, up by only 2.7 percentage points from a year ago. "The growth rate dropped substantially," it said...In 2017, corporate leverage went down to 159 percent from 159.7 percent a year ago, marking the first drop since 2011 and reversing an annual increase of 8.3 percentage points during the 2012-2016 period. Meanwhile, government leverage fell 0.5 percentage points to 36.2 percent, and household leverage climbed by 4 percentage points to 55.1 percent, slower than a year ago. 年第一季度中国货币政策执行报告
Beijing Moves to Curb Speculation in Chinese Depository Receipts - China Banking News “From the time that official mention of a CDR mention was made, preventing market speculation has been one of several key areas that regulators have focused upon.” “It will be difficult to speculate in CDR’s under a market maker transaction system,” said an executive from one large-scale securities firm in the Beijing area.
Tesla registers Shanghai electric car firm ahead of ownership rule change | Reuters The new company, Tesla (Shanghai) Co Ltd, was registered on May 10, according to a filing with the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System seen by Reuters.
Trump Indonesia project latest stop on China's Belt and Road - AFP A billion-dollar Indonesian real estate development with ties to Donald Trump has become the latest project in China's globe-spanning Belt and Road infrastructure project -- just as Washington and Beijing are tussling over trade. A subsidiary of Chinese state-owned construction firm Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) signed a deal with Indonesia's MNC Land to build a theme park outside Jakarta as part of the ambitious project, the company said in a statement Thursday.....The project includes Trump-branded hotels, residences and a golf course, as well as other hotel, shopping and residential developments.
Politics, Law And Ideology
Anbang: the downfall of China’s global dealmaker - FT $$ At the time when Wu was assembling his business empire, he could consider himself one of the most politically connected businesspeople in China. His third marriage was to the granddaughter of Deng Xiaoping and he also had the backing of another prominent princeling, Chen Xiaolu — the son of Marshal Chen Yi, a Communist hero in the civil war — who was an early member of the Anbang board. “Bad people did bad things precisely because of their perceived backing,” says the head of one investment firm and prominent party member. However, that protection gradually disappeared. The Deng family had long since turned on him, considering him unfaithful to his wife, who has lived apart from him for years, according to numerous bankers, investors and party officials with close ties to the Dengs. Chen died the same week as the charges against Wu were announced.
习近平和母亲-中青在线 Mother's Day slideshow of Xi with his mom...such a filial son
坚持发展“枫桥经验” 谱写新时代人民调解工作新篇章--法制网 法制网温州(浙江)5月10日电 记者陈东升 王春 5月10日至11日,司法部在浙江省温州市召开全国人民调解工作会议。司法部部长傅政华出席会议并讲话,与受到通报表扬的全国人民调解工作先进集体和先进个人代表进行座谈。傅政华在会议上强调,各级司法行政机关、广大人民调解组织和人民调解员要坚持以习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想为指导,学习贯彻中央全面深化改革委员会日前审议通过《关于加强人民调解员队伍建设的意见》,坚持发展“枫桥经验”,深刻理解和把握新时代对人民调解工作的新要求,切实增强调解工作责任感和使命感,谱写新时代人民调解工作新篇章。// Comment" The "Fengqiao Experience" geting more push from the legal authorities. China Media Project wrote an excellent of the Maoist-era "Febgqiao Experience" approach to social manangement in 2013.
Foreign and Military Affairs
Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton Travels to China and Japan On May 14, she will be in Beijing to hold bilateral consultations with Chinese government officials. Acting Assistant Secretary Thornton will visit Japan May 15-16 to participate in the second annual Wall Street Journal CEO Council Conference and to meet with Japanese government officials to discuss regional security issues.
Mekong River nations face the hidden costs of China's dams - Nikkei Asian Review China's controversial dam building -- both on its section of the river upstream and, increasingly, in Southeast Asia -- is dramatically changing the livelihoods of many of the 60 million people living in the region who depend on the Mekong for water, fish, transportation and irrigation. Its control of the water upstream is a particular source of friction and concern to the countries further south. Some experts compare the downstream Mekong countries' water security risk -- which includes risks to their food supplies and commercial activity -- to China's controversial island-building in the South China Sea.
Should Mahathir Mohamad’s Malaysia election win worry Chinese investors in Johor’s Forest City? | South China Morning Post The project on reclaimed land has been popular with middle-class Chinese looking for a second home abroad but it has also been the target of the new prime minister’s ire
The Chinese Company Selling Iranian Sniper Gear Around the World - DailyBeast All this time, Iran has told the world that the RU60G is an indigenous product only made by Rayan Roshd Afzar, an Iranian defense company that, according to U.S. sanctions designations, supports the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ drone and aerospace programs. The firm also produces software to help censor social media in Iran. Chinese business registration documents, however, tell a different story. In 2013, the chairman of Rayan Roshd, Mohsen Parsajam, registered a business, Most Outstanding Beijing Technology Developing Company Globally Ltd, to room 1724 on the 14th floor of a Beijing hotel
A Catch-22 from China that could derail Indonesia’s Widodo | This Week In Asia | South China Morning Post As China has stepped up investment in Indonesia – and more Chinese have taken up jobs here – resentment has driven some locals to protest. That has left Widodo to balance his country’s appetite for trains, ports and power plants with protecting local workers as he eyes re-election next April.
Veteran Chinese scientist takes an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ journey deep under the sea | South China Morning Post Wang Pingxian, a senior marine geologist with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, boarded Deepwater Warrior, China’s newest vessel for deep sea exploration, and spent more than eight hours on an uncharted seabed near the Paracel Islands, known as Xisha in China, on Sunday. The mission reinforced the belief that there are valuable natural reserves in the area, with evidence suggesting there are large reserves of liquefied natural gas on the seabed, some of which was seen seeping through the cracks and rising from the sea floor.
Hong Kong, Macao
Xi supports HKSAR to contribute to national sci-tech development - Xinhua President Xi Jinping has called for enhanced cooperation in science and technology between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the mainland, vowing support for the region to become an international center of innovative technology and for HKSAR scientists to contribute to national strength building in this regard. 习近平对在港两院院士来信作出重要指示
Tech And Media
Short-video maker Ergeng Shitang shut down for low-taste content - ECNS Chinese short-video startup Ergeng has dismissed a senior manager and permanently closed its social media account amid outcries over a sensational post it published about the victim killed by a Didi Chuxing driver.
Toutiao sues Zhihu for defamation · TechNode Jinri Toutiao has filed a lawsuit against Zhihu and Liu Yiming—the Zhihu user who posted an article on the Q&A site about how Toutiao is like a Trojan Horse virus—for infringement of reputation rights for RMB 1 million
China's Leshi warns of severe cash crunch, possible loss of key unit's control | Reuters Leshi, once the main listed entity of the LeEco conglomerate founded by Jia Yueting, was questioned by the Shenzhen Stock Exchange last week about its faltering business and financial performance that could trigger a share trading halt and a possible eventual delisting.
Chinese hackers defy government warnings on Beijing Def Con - FT $$ “The hacking community is about sharing everything,” said a Chinese attendee. “But in China, there are restrictions on what can be shared, for perhaps political reasons.” Def Con, which has been held in Las Vegas for the past 25 years, came to Beijing in the partnership with the internet security arm of Baidu, China’s search engine giant.
Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History
China: security guards assault women attending LGBT event | World news | The Guardian On Sunday, two women wearing rainbow badges were blocked from entering Beijing’s 798 art district, according to witness accounts posted online. Videos showed police punching and knocking down one woman, after which another woman attempts to hit a guard before she is also punched and knocked down. An LGBT activist had been handing out rainbow badges to mark the International Day Against Homophobia when security guards employed by the district told the organiser to stop and barred those wearing the badges from entering. The organiser, who only gave an online alias, Piaoquanjun, told Chinese state media Global Times that the two women had been hospitalised.
Video of the assault here on youtube:
China forming acceptance of LGBT people on own pace - Global Times Compared with decades ago, Chinese society's openness and acceptance toward LGBT people are much improved. There is no persecution against them like in the Islamic world, or bullying or humiliation toward them like in some parts of the US. Their lives are safe and can hardly be interrupted by strangers. For a country, where Confucianism and the idea of carrying on the family line are deeply imbedded in its culture, progress is not easily achieved.
The feminist author who is changing China’s perception of its ‘leftover women’ | South China Morning Post Luo Aiping became a catalyst for change by co-writing a book that exposed the mainland media’s stigmatising of unmarried women
If You’re Collecting Rocks, Might as Well Find Ones That Look Like Meat - WSJ Chinese collectors love them, and regions are competing over who has the best; ‘just like pieces of pork freshly plucked from a pot’
Energy, Environment, Science And Health
Sources of Beijing PM2.5 pollutants mainly local - ECNS Two-thirds of Beijing's hazardous PM2.5 fine particle matter came from the capital itself with major local polluters identified as "moving sources" like diesel powered vehicles that contribute 45 percent, according to Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau. The bureau worked with Tsinghua University, Peking University and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Chinese Academy of Science to investigate the sources of Beijing's small and breathable particles.
Recycling, Once Embraced by Businesses and Environmentalists, Now Under Siege - WSJ China early this month suspended all imports of U.S. recycled materials until June 4, regardless of the quality. The recycling industry interpreted the move as part of the growing rift between the U.S. and China over trade policies and tariffs. The changes have effectively cut off exports from the U.S., the world’s largest generator of scrap paper and plastic. Collectors, processors and the municipal governments that hire them are reconsidering what they will accept to recycle and how much homeowners will pay for that service...
Agriculture And Rural Issues
Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: China Adjusts "Go Global" Agriculture Program China's foreign investment and cooperation in agriculture must recognize the "deep changes in the domestic and foreign environment," "seize opportunities" and "take the initiative" according to exhortations issued at a Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs meeting of officials responsible for international cooperation held last week. Officials were instructed to guide industries to shift investment to "belt and road" countries and the Indochina region of Southeast Asia
How The ‘Gaokao’ Rewards Students for Being Rich - Sixth Tone Back in March, China’s Ministry of Education eliminated a number of preferential programs that allowed students to earn bonus points on the gaokao, China’s college entrance examination. Now, students are no longer eligible for extra marks based on standout performances in athletic, artistic, or scientific competitions. Bonus points for being granted the title of “provincial-level outstanding student” have also been abolished.
Food And Travel
Co-Pilot Sucked Partway Out Plane After Cockpit Window Breaks Off - Caixin Global A Sichuan Airlines flight had to make an emergency landing on Monday after the cockpit’s windshield broke off at 32,000 feet, causing a co-pilot to get sucked partially out of the plane...According to Variflight, an aviation data provider based in China, the aircraft was an Airbus A319 that had been in service for about seven years.
China's world-class aviation hubs gear up to surpass 100 million-passenger mark - People's Daily Online After two previous rounds of expansion, Xi'an Xianyang International Airport of Shaanxi province, is planning for a phase-3 project that will enhance its annual passenger capacity to 110 to 120 million...Kunming, Yunnan province is another city that plans to expand its airport. The passenger traffic of Kunming Changshui International Airport will see an estimated increase to 120 million by 2030, with a cargo capacity of 1.2 million tons and 820,000 aircraft movements. In addition to the above two cities, Chengdu and Chongqing in southwest China are also preparing to build secondary airports. The aviation passenger traffics of the two cities are estimated to surpass 100 million respectively.
China to ease 'one route, one airline' policy for Chinese carriers | Reuters The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), in a statement on its website, said it has revised rules in response to a changing aviation market as well as the 2019 opening of a second international airport in Beijing, which in turn is aimed at creating the world’s largest aviation hub in the city. The CAAC introduced the policy in 2009 for long-haul international routes to prevent mainly China’s state-backed airlines from competing too aggressively on routes deemed difficult to profit from.