ZTE Reprieve; US Criticism, Chinese Praise For Trade Deal; Tech Battle To Continue; 13th Five-year Plan For The Financial System; Politico-SCMP Deal

Criticism of the US-China trade deal continues to mount from normally pro-Trump media, pundits and allies. President Trump is always the wildcard and he could change his mind anytime, and especially if the June summit with Kim is a failure. South Korea's President Moon meets with Trump today, to be a fly on the wall in that meeting...

The Wall Street Journal has reported that there is a deal to allow ZTE to purchase US components again. Senator Marco Rubio, an increasingly vehement China hawk, tweeted Tuesday morning that:

Marco Rubio@marcorubio

If this is true, then administration has surrendered to #China on #ZTE Making changes to their board & a fine won’t stop them from spying & stealing from us. But this is too important to be over. We will begin working on veto-proof congressional action https://t.co/LXxihRykqz

May 22, 2018
His threat is good news for lobbyists everywhere, and it does mean that ZTE and its suppliers should not yet open the Moutai, nor should Qualcomm and NXP shareholders. 

Thanks for reading. 


The Essential Eight

1. ZTE Reprieve

U.S., China Agree on Outline to Settle ZTE Controversy - WSJ $$:

The details are still being hammered out, the people said. If completed, the Trump administration would remove the ban on U.S. companies selling components and software to ZTE, a penalty that has threatened to put the company out of business. Instead, ZTE would be forced to make big changes in management, board seats and possibly pay significant fines, the people said.

Beijing has also offered to remove tariffs on billions of dollars of U.S. farm products as part of the negotiations, although one person said the White House didn’t offer any quid pro quo. “The White House was meticulous in affirming that the case is a law enforcement matter and not a bargaining chip in negotiations,” the person said.

U.S., China Edge Closer to Ending ZTE Ban - Caixin Global:

“It’s as if a person’s heart had stopped beating, but there’s still blood flowing through his veins,” a source close to the company previously told Caixin, describing the severity of the company’s condition. He forecast the company could collapse if it were to fail to get the U.S. ban lifted within two months of when it was first imposed.

Comment: But the vulnerability to US technology was made crystal clear to everyone in China and has spurred even more focus on and popular support for ending reliance on US technology. If the US was going to shoot the gun shouldn't it have aimed and used real bullets, not rubber ones?


2. US Criticism, Chinese Praise For Last Week's Trade Outcomes

Axios AM - 1 big thing: Inside Trump’s China cave:

Who knows how the chest-bumping over China ends. But for now, President Trump’s anti-China advisers are right: The president is buckling on his threats to punish China with fundamental, lasting changes to trade tariffs and rules.

The reasons, official tell Jonathan Swan and me [Mike Allen], are threefold: North Korea, Steve Mnuchin and a lack of focus internally. ..

Be smart ... The Chinese have played this beautifully:

They know Trump wants Singapore to work, and that they hold the cards on North Korea.

And they know that Trump is obsessed with one number — the trade deficit.

He wants concrete things to boast about (jobs and buying American products).

No matter their promises, they can’t deliver a meaningful change in the trade deficit. But they can promise to buy billions of politically-useful U.S. products.

China secures core interests in trade talks - People's Daily Online:

The agreement, a turning point in escalating trade tensions between the world's two largest economies, came after the two sides reached a consensus on a number of issues, including China's promise to increase imports of US goods and services to reduce the US' trade deficit with China - something which, some argued, represents China's concession to US pressure.

But Mei Xinyu, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, a think tank affiliated with the Chinese commerce ministry, said such suggestions are "absurd."

"We had already planned to purchase the things we agreed to buy from the US. China said a long time ago that it would expand its imports," Mei told the Global Times on Monday. "So, basically, the US went through all the trouble, including threatening a trade war, to bring us back to where we were before."

Here’s your China commodity checklist - POLITICO:

In November, Ross announced more than $250 billion in business deals between the United States and China. One of those was a $43 billion deal involving the sale of liquefied natural gas from Alaska to China. However, in a Monday morning appearance on CNBC, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin seemed to tout the same transaction as evidence of China’s new commitment to buy more U.S. agriculture and energy products.

"Alaska has signed a [memo of understanding]. It's being turned into a binding commitment right away for about $10 billion a year for a very, very long term," Mnuchin said. "I think we can easily get $40 or $50 billion of energy and if we can produce and send more with infrastructure, they can even take more."

Comment: Of course these guys are double-counting the earlier deals, as I suggested they would in yesterday's newsletter...

Chances of China Trade Win Undercut by Trump Team Infighting - The New York Times:

In fact, the Chinese were well aware of the divisions in the administration’s trade team — and set out to exploit them, according to people briefed on the deliberations. They recognized that Mr. Trump’s advisers were split between implacable critics of China, like Mr. Lighthizer and Peter Navarro, the director of the White House national trade council; and free-traders who were more sympathetic, like Mr. Kudlow, Mr. Ross and Mr. Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive...

For months, the Chinese cultivated Mr. Mnuchin as part of a concerted effort to establish him as the primary American interlocutor. And to the dismay of some of his colleagues, he embraced that role — most visibly when Mr. Trump sent his own trade delegation to Beijing early this month...

But after the talks in Washington, the Chinese, too, seemed bewildered by the divisions, saying that even if they were able to secure concessions from Mr. Mnuchin, they were not sure those promises would ultimately hold, according to people briefed on the discussions. 

Interview with Liu He, Chinese Vice Premier and head of Chinese trade delegation | CGTN America with a minute in English from Liu, starting at 1:00

Bannon Condemns Mnuchin’s Trade Truce as China Giveaway - Bloomberg:

Bannon suggested Mnuchin’s views on trade were out of sync with Trump’s populist political base. He compared him to Hank Paulson, who espoused a pro-trade agenda as Treasury secretary under President George W. Bush.

Paulson encouraged Mnuchin to travel to Beijing for a first round to trade negotiations and Mnuchin in turn lobbied Trump to authorize the trip, said a person familiar with the matter.

China to Cut Duties on Select Imported Cars, Auto Parts - Caixin Global:

Starting on July 1, duties on 135 items of imported finished autos will be reduced to 15% from the previous rates of as much as 25%, according to a statement (link in Chinese). Taxes on 79 items of auto parts will be reduced to 6% from as high as 25%.

After the tax cut, China will see its finished-automobile duties average at 13.8%, while those of auto parts at 6%, the ministry said.


3. The Tech Battle Will Continue

How China acquires ‘the crown jewels’ of U.S. technology - POLITICO:

a six-month POLITICO investigation found that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the main vehicle for protecting American technology from foreign governments, rarely polices the various new avenues Chinese nationals use to secure access to American technology, such as bankruptcy courts or the foreign venture capital firms that bankroll U.S. tech startups...

The bills pending in Congress to strengthen the CFIUS review process include provisions designed to make scrutiny of bankruptcy cases easier. The bills would require CFIUS to “prescribe regulations to clarify that the term ‘covered transaction’ includes any transaction ... that arises pursuant to a bankruptcy proceeding or other form of default on debt.”..

lawmakers have been working to address industry complaints, making tweaks to the legislation. And just last week, lawmakers made a breakthrough, agreeing to slightly narrow the bill’s scope, raising the chances the measure will make it to the president’s desk.

The House and Senate are scheduled to mark up their respective CFIUS bills on Tuesday, and lawmakers now are angling to attach the legislation to the annual, must-pass defense authorization bill as a way to guarantee it gets through.

US seeks greater scrutiny of China tech investment - FT $$:

The Senate Cfius bill being considered by the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday and a companion one in the House of Representatives have bipartisan support as well as the backing of the Trump administration. The expectation is that both will pass Congress this summer...

The legislation would give Cfius new powers to review real-estate transactions and the taking of minority stakes by Chinese and other foreign investors in small start-up companies. While the bill has dropped a controversial provision to review outbound US investments, it also would require the administration to draft a list of emerging technologies to protect under the existing export control regime.

Mnuchin Updates Trump on Concerns Over China Investments in U.S. - Bloomberg:

The Treasury Department has considered citing an emergency law to prevent the Chinese from investing in -- and acquiring -- sensitive American technology.

A March 22 presidential memo required Mnuchin to report progress on the matter to Trump.

The Treasury spokeswoman didn’t say whether the results of Mnuchin’s review would be made public. Releasing a report would be a sign that the U.S. intends to hold China accountable for trade behavior the Trump administration considers unfair. It would publicize how the U.S. planned to retaliate should China renege on commitments.

Trump’s next round of trade limits could hurt the U.S. tech industry he wants to help - The Washington Post:

The maker of desktop 3-D printers, which can produce everything from dentures to Tesla car parts, is the kind of company that President Trump once said must be protected from Chinese investors seeking American technology secrets.

But Formlabs’s eagerness to accept funds from a Chinese investment firm backed by the country’s government shows why any attempt to insulate the American technology sector from an economic adversary risks damaging the very industry it seeks to protect.


4. 13th Five-year Plan For The Financial System

Financial Conglomerates, Shadow Banking Targeted in Regulatory Blueprint - Caixin Global:

China has released a long-awaited blueprint for tackling risks in its sprawling financial system, singling out areas where potential failures could occur and vowing to maintain a tight grip on financial conglomerates and the shadow banking sector...

The country will “actively and steadily” prevent and allay “near- to medium-term” risks, according to the 13th five-year plan for the financial system seen by Caixin.

The document, covering 2016-2020, has been in the making since April 2016 by nine government agencies led by the People’s Bank of China (PBOC). But it was only issued recently after the restructuring of the financial regulatory framework, which resulted in the consolidation of the national banking and insurance regulators last month and the central bank taking on the role of drafting key regulations for the two industries...

Caixin has learned that the central bank has since December been pushing pilot regulations on several major financial holding companies, including Ant Financial Service Group, which is backed by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., to test new rules that may be applied industrywide later this year.

China’s lending bubble is history - FT $$:

This year’s lending data are therefore likely to set a precedent for the future, rather than being a one-off blip. Although some of the shadow lending was reabsorbed in the official sector, TSF actually fell 14 per cent ($110bn) in the first four months of the year. Already the economy is noticing the impact. Auto sales, for example, which at the height of the stimulus programme grew more than 50 per cent in 2009 and by a third in 2010, have seen just 3 per cent growth so far this year.

The downturn also confirms the importance of Mr Xi’s decision to make “financial deleveraging” the first of his promised “three tough battles” to secure China’s goal of becoming a “moderately prosperous society” by 2020, as we discussed in February.


5. The South China Morning Post And Politico Team Up

I hope this new partnership does not put Sinocism out of business...

Politico Moves Into Asia, Joining With Jack Ma’s South China Morning Post - WSJ $$:

The venture will start as a content-sharing partnership involving joint projects between the editorial operations of each publication. If all goes well, the companies intend to further develop editorial ties and business initiatives with the possibility of deeper financial investment on both sides. Initially, Politico doesn’t plan to hire any additional staff.

“This is just the first step,” said Politico publisher and executive chairman, Robert Allbritton. “If it works, we think this has the potential to be one of the biggest things we have ever done.”...

“Politico is deeply seated in the power structure in D.C. and we occupy a similar position in the power structures of Hong Kong and Beijing, and we really think this will enable us to explain both sides of U.S-Sino relations in a way no one else can,” said Gary Liu, chief executive of the South China Morning Post.

Editor’s note: A POLITICO partnership in China - POLITICO:

One part of our expanding coverage involves a content partnership we are unveiling today with the South China Morning Post. SCMP, based in Hong Kong, is the oldest newspaper in Asia and is the only independent English-language publication in the region. SCMP has an editorial staff of 300 in Asia, with about 40 reporters stationed in mainland China. Like POLITICO, the publication has global ambitions. Under the partnership, SCMP editors will have access to POLITICO stories to share with their readers, and POLITICO editors can draw on the SCMP stories we believe our readers will find most relevant. Over time, editors in both newsrooms will look for opportunities to combine resources on original stories produced in combination with POLITICO and SCMP journalists.

Comment: Is the SCMP "the only independent English-language publication in the region"?

Post, Politico announce groundbreaking partnership to expand expert coverage of US-China ties | South China Morning Post:

Tammy Tam, editor-in-chief of the Post, said: “This content partnership represents a milestone for SCMP by expanding our coverage to new audiences, and allowing us to leverage our breadth and depth of expertise on China with Politico, one of the world’s most innovative and ­ambitious digital newsrooms.”

Gary Liu, CEO of the Post, said: “Readers from across the world are realising that China needs to be better understood through journalism that offers a plurality of views.

“This collaboration will ­provide distinctive and contextualised coverage on the interplay between the US and China, a relationship that impacts the entire world.”

Question: What is meant by the phrase "journalism that offers a plurality of views" in the context of reporting about the PRC?


6. Foreign Airlines Erasing Taiwan As A Country

Beijing is succeeding, with no downside other than empty rhetoric from the Trump Administration. Why would they not press even harder?

Airlines caving to Beijing despite White House protest - AP:

Global airlines are obeying Beijing’s demands to refer to Taiwan explicitly as a part of China, despite the White House’s call this month to stand firm against such “Orwellian nonsense.” The Associated Press found 20 carriers, including Air Canada, British Airways and Lufthansa, that now refer to Taiwan, the self-ruled island that Beijing considers Chinese territory, as a part of China on their global websites.

There are just three days left for dozens of foreign airlines to decide whether to comply with Beijing’s orders, or face consequences that could cripple their China business, including legal sanctions. Many have already sided with Beijing.

Multinationals bow to China’s political sensitivities - FT $$:

The climbdowns by multinationals are part of a string of incidents that demonstrate that global groups are finding themselves in an awkward position as they try to balance the demands of a more assertive China and potential damage to their image in their home markets if they are seen to be conceding to Beijing...

Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch, said Beijing had shown an “increasingly long-armed reach” to push self-censorship on companies, performers, organisations and governments.

“The Chinese government’s efforts to impose its world view on other countries are very powerful and organised,” Ms Wang said.


7. Tibetan Jailed For Teaching Tibetan

Tibetan Activist Who Promoted His Native Language Is Sentenced to Prison - The New York Times:

A Tibetan businessman who campaigned to preserve his native language from the encroaching dominance of Chinese was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday, after a controversial prosecution based on interviews that he gave to The New York Times.

The businessman, Tashi Wangchuk, heard the verdict in Yushu, a heavily Tibetan town in Qinghai Province, northwest China, his defense lawyers, Liang Xiaojun and Lin Qilei, said by telephone. Mr. Tashi had warned that there and across many historically Tibetan areas in China, the Tibetan language was threatened by official policies to make Mandarin Chinese the language of schooling and government...

He stood trial in January this year, charged with “inciting separatism” for comments he had made to The Times. His prison term will start from the time of his arrest, meaning that he will be due for release in early 2021, his lawyers said.

China: Activist Convicted for Promoting Tibetan Language | Human Rights Watch:

The discontinuation of Tibetan-medium education in public schools in Tibetan areas of Qinghai and Gansu since 2012, and forced closure of Tibetan-medium private schools, caused a surge of popular protest in these areas and has become an issue of prime concern in the Tibetan community. Tashi Wangchuk traveled to Beijing in May 2015 to explore filing a formal complaint against officials in his home area for failing to support Tibetan language education. On that visit, he met with New York Times journalists and “insisted on doing on-the-record interviews,” according to the paper. In September 2015, the Times’ journalists traveled to Yushu to meet him, and in November 2015, the paper published articles about his efforts in English and Chinese, together with a nine-minute video in both languages. Although this initiative violated no Chinese laws, authorities appear to have treated it as unusually sensitive given the involvement of foreign media...

The prosecution of Tashi Wangchuk violates the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which China ratified in 1981. Under the convention, China is obligated to ensure that ethnic minorities enjoy equal rights, including freedom of expression and “the right to equal participation in cultural activities.” The UN Human Rights Committee has stated in a general comment that “individuals belonging to … minorities should not be denied the right, in community with members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to practice their religion and speak their language.”


8. Chinese Fentanyl Kingpins

Deadly Chinese Fentanyl Is Creating a New Era of Drug Kingpins - Bloomberg 

Among the 5,000 apartments, on a high-rise’s 20th floor, lives Yan Xiaobing, a chemicals distributor with short, spiky hair. His wife, Hu Qi, operates an English tutoring business. Their social-media feed shows the couple and their two young children under blue skies at the beach and posing at landmarks in Europe and Japan. One photo shows Yan reading to pupils in a classroom.

In half-frame glasses, blue plastic house slippers and button-down shirt, Yan could have passed as an ordinary office worker when Bloomberg News reporters found him late last year. Filling the apartment doorway with his 6-foot frame, he expressed soft-spoken bafflement at the portrait the U.S. Justice Department paints of him: not a modest businessman, but a new type of international drug dealer. “This is horrifying,” he said. “Their investigation must have gone wrong.”

Federal prosecutors in Mississippi charged Yan, 41, in September with leading an empire built on the manufacture and sale of drugs related to fentanyl, one of the world’s deadliest and most profitable narcotics


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

Six Ping An Bank Employees Stand Trial for Embezzlement - Caixin Global The Shenzhen prosecutor’s office accused Liu and his subordinates of embezzling 361 million yuan ($56.6 million) of the bank’s money in a deal connected to a private placement in 2015 by the Shanghai-listed state-owned enterprise China Railway Group Ltd.

Troubled CEFC’s First Bond Default Deepens Debt Concerns - Caixin Global A key affiliate of troubled Chinese energy and financial giant CEFC China Energy Co. Ltd. confirmed Monday that it has failed to make principal and interest payments on nearly 2.1 billion yuan ($329.8 million) in bonds. CEFC (Shanghai) Group Co. Ltd., CEFC China’s main business subsidiary, attributed its default to the fact that CEFC China’s founder and chairman Ye Jianming has been unable to perform his duties recently. Ye was placed under investigation by the authorities earlier this year on suspicion of economic crimes.

China turns to Japan as surprise source of advice for handling Donald Trump’s ‘tough and relentless’ top trade negotiator | South China Morning Post A diplomatic source who has dealt with Lighthizer said Chinese officials and academics have reached out in recent months to foreign diplomats and former officials of American trading partners for wisdom on handling the US trade representative. The irony of China looking to its neighbour and rival Japan for insight has been brought about by the pivotal role Lighthizer played in the US-Japan trade battles of more than three decades ago, with severe consequences for Japan.

China stock regulator vows more environment focus, green finance | Reuters The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said it will look to strengthen environmental responsibility and disclosure by listed companies, promote green finance and focus more on environmental issues when reviewing share market listings and mergers.

Beijing orders utilities, miners to help cool red-hot coal market: sources | Reuters China’s state planner ordered utilities this week to stop stockpiling thermal coal and told miners to slash prices, two sources familiar with the matter said, the government’s first direct intervention to cool coal prices since mid-2016. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) asked miners at a meeting to bring spot coal prices back under 570 yuan ($90) per tonne by June 10, from current levels of as much as 650 yuan per tonne, the sources said.

China State TV: Token Sales Still 'Rampant' After Central Bank Ban - CoinDesk During its "Financial News" program aired on Monday night, the state media outlet said that the ICO ban issued by the People's Bank of China last September had not deterred local investors. Instead, a get-rich-quick mentality is driving a rush into the cryptocurrency space. CCTV went on to blast the emergence of what the Chinese crypto community calls "air coins" - a reference to token projects that are not backed by legally registered business entities - claiming that the number of air coins has increased by 30 times since the ICO crackdown.

China Baby Stocks Surge as Government Considers Lifting Birth Limit - Bloomberg "The removal of birth limits won’t necessarily bring about a baby boom, so it’s likely a speculative trade that won’t last long," said Zhang Gang, Shanghai-based strategist with Central China Securities Co. "Big funds wouldn’t want to engage in such short-term trades, and the sector is just not big enough to handle the inflows."

Nation vies to lead in adopting blockchain technology - People's Daily Online China is likely to take the lead in adopting blockchain — a type of technology originally developed as a digitized public ledger for cryptocurrency transactions — in the real economy, an industry white paper says. The government has expedited the first national standard for such technology and a complete industrial chain has emerged, the white paper said.

China moves to offer easier access for foreign investment - Xinhua China is quickening preparations for the introduction of new practices to cut red tape for business filing and registration of foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) as part of efforts to attract more investment inflows, authorities said Tuesday. Starting June 30, China will adopt single form and one-stop services to allow FIEs to conduct business filing and registration online free of charge, without the need for paperwork or presence in person.

Chinese premier stresses higher level of opening-up - Xinhua | Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has stressed higher level of opening-up to drive forward reform, stimulate market vitality and optimize the development environment. Li made the remarks during an inspection tour to the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) and the General Administration of Customs (GAC) Monday.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

China’s facial recognition cameras apprehend third fugitive Jacky Cheung concertgoer in two months | South China Morning Post Man spotted entering stadium was wanted since 2015, having fled after dispute over alleged non-payment for US$17,200 worth of potatoes

习近平的英雄情怀 People's Daily app on "Xi's Hero feeling", and a call to Serve the country with unreserved loyalty

公安部长赵克志首次在人民日报撰文 为何强调锻造过硬公安队伍? 南都记者关注到,近一年来,公安执法形象正悄然发生着变化:类似被网友点赞的“教科书式执法”视频已有多例,规范执法、习惯在“镜头”下执法逐步成为常态。这种变化,还出现在公安办事窗口、公安民警的作风、公安办案思路理念等多个方面。 有公安系统人士向南都记者透露,自去年5月19日,习近平总书记对新时代公安工作、公安队伍建设提出“对党忠诚、服务人民、执法公正、纪律严明”的总要求以来,公安系统一系列“革命性的变化”正在发生。这4句话16个字,出现在全国各公安局、派出所最醒目的地方,成为公安工作的“行动指南”。

China makes first use of law banning defamation of national heroes | Reuters Chinese prosecutors have filed a lawsuit against an individual accused of insulting a fireman who died in the line of duty, the first such case since the country adopted a law in April that bans the defamation of heroes and martyrs, state media said.

Ningxia man held in detention for insulting martyrs - China Military According to the police, at 23:00 p.m. on May 17, a netizen surnamed Jiang posted on social media Sina Weibo insulting comments on martyrs including Dong Cunrui and Huang Jiguang, and said "I'll wait and see whether I'll be arrested for posting these comments". The post caused great indignation online. After receiving the report, Yinchuan police soon brought Jiang, who was then living in downtown Yinchuan, to the police station, where he admitted to the act of posting the illegal comments and accepted the penalty decision made by the police. In accordance with related laws, Jiang was fined 500 yuan and kept in administrative detention for 10 days for insulting others.

Chinese company’s vice-president sacked for eating endangered pangolin and civet on holiday | South China Morning Post Shen Jianping, vice-president of Yintai in77, a luxury retail company based in the Hubin district of Hangzhou, posted photos from his personal account on Weibo, China’s Twitter, last Friday of him eating pangolin and civet while in Vietnam, reported ThePaper.cn on Sunday. “The best was the pangolin blood fried rice!” Shen wrote, sending the post from the coastal tourist city of Da Nang, it stated.

New crop of Chinese war movies focuses on present-day geopolitics - FT $$ Operation Red Sea has all the ingredients of a Hollywood blockbuster: a $70m budget, high-tech ships and planes on loan from the People’s Liberation Army, and an exotic foreign location — it was shot in Morocco. But the American-style plot — heroic tales set in current conflict zones — is a new dimension in Chinese movies. “Contemporary themed war movies are still a sensitive area,” said Dede Nickerson, founder of Infinity Pictures in Beijing, adding that censors have recently relaxed limitations on which wars can be depicted on the screen.

Chinese Lecturer Fired For Raising Presidential Term-Limit in Class - RFA Authorities at a university in the central Chinese province of Hubei have fired a university lecturer after her students reported her for making ideologically "incorrect" comments in class, RFA has learned. Zhai Juhong, a former associate professor at the Zhongnan University of Economics and Law in Hubei's provincial capital Wuhan, was reported by students for remarks she made in class on Apr. 25, leaked official documents reveal. Zhai, 52, was reported for comments about recent changes to China's constitution allowing President Xi Jinping to remain in post indefinitely, property rights for state-owned companies, and about the country's rubber-stamp parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC

China Shutters Maoist 'Utopia' Website, Social Media Account - RFA The leftist ideology website Utopia issued a statement on Saturday confirming that its WeChat account had been permanently deleted because the website had previously published multiple articles that "disclosed the capitalistic media’s suppression of left-wing voices." WeChat, China's hugely popular social media platform, said Utopia had "violated relevant laws and regulations."Utopia's main website was also unavailable at its usual address on Monday. The site's organizers have previously said they believe that permanent closure is only a matter of time.

Senior legislators study Xi's thought on people's congress system - Xinhua The Leading Party Members' Group of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee held a meeting Monday to study Xi Jinping's thought on the system of people's congresses. Li Zhanshu, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, presided over the meeting and made a speech. Xi's thought on the system of people's congresses is an important part of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, said a statement issued after the meeting.

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

Is China’s investment in infrastructure projects driving Western Balkan nations into debt? | South China Morning Post Western Balkan nations are facing a growing debt risk, and China-led infrastructure development projects are partly to blame, the International Monetary Fund warned this week.

CMC vice chairman Zhang Youxia visits Pakistan to cement ties - China Military Gen. Zhang said that President Xi Jinping attaches great importance to China-Pakistan relations and works together with Pakistani leaders to push forward the all-weather strategic partnership of cooperation between the two countries, China thanks Pakistan for its staunch support in issues concerning China's core interests.

Political donor Chau Chak Wing behind UN bribe scandal, Parliament told - Sydney Morning Herald Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Send via Email Normal text sizeLarger text sizeVery large text size One of Australia’s most generous political donors has been named in Parliament as funding the bribery of a senior United Nations official, and as being closely associated with the lobbying arm of the Chinese Communist Party. In a dramatic move that may further inflame diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Canberra, Liberal MP Andrew Hastie has used parliamentary privilege to identify billionaire businessman Chau Chak Wing as an unindicted co-conspirator in an FBI bribery case... Mr Hastie, who chairs the joint intelligence and security committee, told Parliament on Tuesday that he had recently learned from US authorities that Mr Chau – a big donor to both main Australian political parties – was the co-conspirator identified in a New York court indictment as "CC-3".

Xi calls for enhanced SCO security cooperation - Xinhua During the meeting, Xi suggested that the SCO member countries continue to uphold the common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security concept, and promote a security governance model that addresses both symptoms and root causes, so as to push forward the SCO security cooperation to a new level.

Why did H-6K choose Yongxing Island for its first S. China Sea landing? - China Military First, the airport on the Yongxing Island has existed for many years with complete facilities. Its runway is about 3,000m long, which is convenient for the takeoff and landing of large planes like the H-6K. Boeing 737 passenger planes used to take off and land there. Second, by taking off from there, the H-6K gains certain strategic advantages. When it takes off fully loaded with conventional bombs, it is able to cover all of Vietnam in the west and the entire Taiwan Island in the east, and still include all the Nansha islands in the south. The scope of coverage is even larger if it takes off with a full fuel tank. Third, the Yongxing Island is located in the Xisha Islands, so the H-6K taking off from there wouldn’t draw too much attention from the South China Sea claimants, thus minimizing objections from the international community.

西藏军区原政委王建武中将已调任中央军委政治工作部副主任 Gen Wang Jianwu has moved from post as Political Commissar of Tibet Military District to deputy head of the CMC political work department

What's Behind Belt and Road? | Altamar with Peter Schechter and Muni Jensen Altamar’s 20th episode takes a close look at China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global infrastructure plan that promises to connect the nodes of world trade, but is raising a few key questions in the process. Peter joins us this week from Shanghai, where he sat down with NYU Shanghai professors Rodrigo Zeidan and Ivan Rasmussen, to get a sense of what Belt and Road is, the motivations behind it, the potential impact, and the potential risks.

China's foreign minister to visit Washington: Beijing - Channel NewsAsia "China and the US will exchange views on bilateral relations and issues of common interest," said foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, announcing the visit Tuesday. Wang is stopping over in the US capital on his way home from Argentina, where he is attending a G20 foreign ministers' meeting and has reportedly discussed contentious South China Sea issues with some of his counterparts.

China Blames Australia for Strained Relations - Bloomberg China has issued a fresh rebuke to Australia as tensions between the two nations continued to simmer, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi blaming its trading partner for the spat and saying it was up to Australia to get their relationship back on track. “Due to the Australian side’s reasons, the relationship between China and Australia has encountered some difficulties,” Wang said in a statement on Tuesday. “If Australia is genuinely hopeful for getting the bilateral relationship back on the right track, Australia should discard its traditional thinking and take off its tinted glasses to take a proactive approach towards China’s development.”

China’s navy and coastguard stage first joint patrols near disputed South China Sea islands as ‘warning to Vietnam’ | South China Morning Post China expelled at least 10 foreign fishing vessels in the first joint patrol staged by the Chinese navy and coastguard in the disputed waters of the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea, state media has reported.

Expert says China needs to build at least six aircraft carriers - People's Daily Online At least six aircraft carriers need to be built by China to safeguard national security and protect interests overseas, said Chinese military expert Liang Fang, after China's second aircraft carrier completed initial sea trials on May 18.

U.S. urged not to overreact on S China Sea training - China Daily Pentagon spokesman U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Logan said China's "continued militarization of disputed features in the South China Sea only serves to raise tensions and destabilize the region", The Associated Press reported. Lu rebuked the Pentagon's comments, saying the training exercise is not what the U.S. has called "militarization". "The South China Sea islands are China's territory. The training is a normal exercise conducted by the Chinese military. It's not necessary for other parties to make an over-interpretation," Lu said.

 

Hong Kong, Macao

Alibaba’s newest initiative aims to make Hong Kong a global AI hub | TechCrunch Alibaba is teaming up with SenseTime, the world’s highest-valued AI startup, to launch a not-for-profit artificial intelligence lab in Hong Kong in a bid to make the city a global hub for artificial intelligence. Alibaba, which is SenseTime’s largest single investor thanks to a recent $600 million round at a valuation of $4.5 billion, is providing financing for the “HKAI Lab” through its Hong Kong entrepreneurship fund.

Xi Jinping cash route sure to pay off for Hong Kong scientists | South China Morning Post By appealing to the president for financial support, Hong Kong’s leading research scientists barely paid notice to the city’s government and the non-track record of Science Park start-ups

 

Tech And Media

Internet finance breeds the largest number of Chinese unicorns · TechNode Over 15% of all unicorns fall within the category “Internet Finance.” Seven of China’s top 20 unicorns provide financial services. These include Ant Financial, OneConnect, JD Finance, and WeBank.

Xiaomi's IPO Will Make Dozens of Lucky Workers Millionaires - Bloomberg Silicon Valley is known for its secret millionaires who were early joiners at companies like Facebook Inc. Among the more famous examples is Bonnie Brown, the massage therapist who bargained for stock options to accompany the $450 a week she was making at her part-time job at Google. She retired a millionaire after five years at the company. In China, such riches are virtually unknown. “These employees already had enough risk working for a small, untested startup and it showed this great enthusiasm," said Tung. "They turned out to be right."

Tencent leads $50M investment in NewsDog, an app vying to be India’s Toutiao | TechCrunch NewsDog was launched in 2016 by CEO Forrest Chen Yukun, a computer science graduate from Tsinghua University graduate, and Yi Ma, who holds a PhD from Princeton University and previously worked at Baidu and Goldman Sachs . Data from App Annie shows that NewsDog is the top news app in the Google Play Store in India — Android is the country’s dominant operating system — ahead of Dailyhunt and NewsPoint in second and third, respectively. NewsDog plans to use this new funding to pull further ahead of the competition by focusing on adding more languages and deepening its content library.

Tencent buys majority stake in Path of Exile's Grinding Gear Games Grinding Gear Games is based in New Zealand and it has been around for 11 years. The founders are Wilson, Jonathan Rogers, and Arik Olofsson. The company will report financials to Tencent, but the new ownership will have “minimal impact on our philosophy and operations.”

Lenovo Under Fire for Alleged Opposition to China's Domestic Operating Systems - China Banking News Tech giant Lenovo has been forced to defend itself against allegations that it opposed the pre-installation of domestically developed operating systems onto personal computers. Rumours recently spread that Lenovo voted against the pre-installation of domestic operating systems onto personal computers at a meeting conducted by China’s government procurement centre. Lenovo has reportedly accounted for around 60% of PC’s purchased by the Chinese government over the past several years.

WeChat's closed beta redesign hints at the future of the app's look · TechNode The update of Android’s 6.6.7 beta version displays an overhauled user interface of Moments, Official Accounts, and chat windows. Most changes come in the form of redone status bars. Traditionally, these bars have been a solid gray, but have now been made transparen

Major short video app blocked from WeChat - Global Times WeChat, a social messaging platform developed by Tencent Holdings, issued a revised version of rules on external links on Monday, deleting a "requirement for government certificates before disseminating content containing audiovisual programs through external links."  The rules, first issued on Friday, were intended to manage content to protect users' privacy, but they posed a threat to dozens of short video platforms including Douyin, Kuaishou and huoshan, as users were unable to share their content on WeChat's platform.  The rules came after a video from Douyin, developed by Beijing-based news and entertainment company Beijing Bytedance Technology, also known as Jinri Toutiao, was banned from being shared on WeChat on Friday. The video went viral on Friday, which was also the 42nd International Museum Day.

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Beijing issues digital health cards on WeChat · TechNode Beijing has begun issuing electronic health cards to residents through WeChat in a pilot program facilitated by Tencent and Sinosoft Technology. Currently, patients at Peking University Hospital and Beijing Friendship Hospital can benefit from the service.

Chinese salamanders facing near extinction - Shine.cn The world's largest amphibians, Chinese giant salamanders, were once thought to be widespread but now face imminent extinction due to illegal poaching and hunting as a luxury food, researchers said yesterday. “The overexploitation of these incredible animals for human consumption has had a catastrophic effect on their numbers in the wild over an amazingly short time span,” said co-author Samuel Turvey, a researcher at the Zoological Society of London.

 

Food And Travel

China’s Average Flight Delay Soars 50% to 24 Minutes in 2017 - Caixin Global Flights in the world’s second-largest air travel market were delayed by an average of 24 minutes last year, a year-on-year increase of eight minutes, with the Chinese aviation watchdog arguing bad weather was the main culprit.

Hot water revolution: how Chinese tourists are changing the world - People's Daily Online Bearing backpacks loaded with thermoses, sipping their steaming-hot refreshments with satisfaction, Chinese tourists' unquenchable thirst for hot water, though odd for many Westerners, is having a huge impact on destinations worldwide, causing a “hot water revolution” in the global tourism industry.

Michelin-starred chefs team up with Tmall for fresh recipes - SHINE Recipes designed by Michelin-starred chefs will be available on Tmall's fresh food section as the e-commerce platform strengthens its fresh food and ingredient services.   Michelin-starred chefs will design easy-to-follow family recipes for Tmall users, while miao.tmall.com will provide the ingredients required, allowing users to prepare a delicious banquet at home with a simple click.

 

Beijing

Beijing metro looks to support mobile payment via face recognition - Technode One day after Beijing metro realized citywide support for QR-code payment, the city is looking to power its metro system with face recognition. A representative from the Beijing Transportation Committee told local media that the capital is going to test out its face recognition system by the end of this year