I am experimenting with a new format for The Essential Eight. I am not happy with the result but ran out of time today.
The Dragon Boat festival is next week and so the PRC is on holiday Monday and Tuesday.
Publishing next week will be very spotty. I have to go to Arizona to help my Dad. The silver lining is that until things stabilize with the parents I will not switch over to a fee-based service.
The Essential Eight *
1. Did The Trump Administration Undertake It’s First South China Sea Freedom of Navigation Operation (FONOP)?
The New York Times:
A United States Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island claimed by China in the South China Sea on Wednesday, an operation that showed a new firmness by the Trump administration in its dealings with Beijing.
The warship, the guided missile destroyer Dewey, passed near Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, not far from the Philippines, American military officials said…
A Pentagon official involved in the operation said the American warship did a “man overboard” rescue drill while passing by the island. The particular exercise was intended to show China that the United States would operate anywhere on the high seas in accordance with international law, the official said.
“America’s allies were growing increasingly anxious and China was encouraged by the Trump administration’s passivity on maritime issues,” said Tom Wright, a foreign policy expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “This freedom of navigation operation comes a week before an important defence ministers’ meeting in Singapore and will be greeted with relief by most of the region.”
The PRC government was not pleased. Xinhua:
“The USS Dewey illegally entered the waters near the island on early Thursday without permission of the Chinese government,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang at a press briefing. “Such moves have undermined China’s sovereignty and security, and were very likely to cause unexpected air and sea accidents.”
The Chinese navy identified the U.S. warship, warned and expelled it, Lu said.
In a post last November Graham Webster wrote that “the situation at Mischief Reef does not appear to provide the U.S. government with explicit claims of the kind usually challenged through the FON program.”
Today he noted on Twitter that Ministry of Defense spokesman Ren Guoqiang 任国强 did not use “UNCLOS language in opposing US op[erations]. Dewey entered “邻近海域”; claims sov[ereignty] over “附近海域”; No mention of 领海”.
Specifically, Ren said: “5月25日，美国“杜威”号导弹驱逐舰擅自进入中国南沙群岛有关岛礁邻近海域，中国海军“柳州”号导弹护卫舰、“泸州”号导弹护卫舰对美舰进行识别查证，并予以警告驱离。中国对南沙群岛及其附近海域拥有无可争辩的主权”
Comment: The Obama Administration had very muddled messaging on South China Sea FONOPs, and in spite of all the Trump team tough talk in the election and through the transition, no FONOPs were undertaken until, maybe, this one. Perhaps it was intended to remind Beijing and give confidence to allies in the region, but it seems too little too late.
2. Xi Jinping Continues To Further The Chinese Communist Party’s Strategic Goal of Building a “Strong, Modern” Navy.
Xi inspected the PLA headquarters , as Xinhua recounts in Xi calls for “strong, modern” navy:
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for efforts to build the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy into a strong and modern force to lend support for the realization of the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation and the dream of a strong army.
Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), made the remarks during an inspection of the PLA Navy headquarters.
Xi expressed congratulations on the 12th Party congress of the PLA Navy,met delegates to the congress and conveyed greetings to all navy members.
The first eight minutes of the May 24 CCTV Evening News covered the visit- 习近平视察海军机关时强调 努力建设一支强大的现代化海军 为实现中国梦强军梦提供坚强力量支撑. The report includes scenes from inside the command center, video calls with ships on the high seas, and the requisite long periods of applause.
The PLA Daily has a front page editorial on the significance of Xi’s visit and speech – 军报评论：担起建设强大的现代化海军历史重任.
Comment: The US can run occasional maybe or maybe not FONOPs in the South China Sea, and American politicians can make calls to rebuild the navy while American forces are stretched globally, but in the meantime the PRC is very focused on building a Navy that can support the goal of forcing the US out of the Western Pacific, and be pleased with its efforts so far to have achieved the near fait accompli of turning the South China Sea into a Chinese lake.
3. China’s Proposal For “Win-Win” Trade Deals With The US
The government wants to beef up infrastructure cooperation with the U.S. and accept greater imports of goods ranging from soybeans to aircraft, according to a 117-page document (PDF in English) released by the Ministry of Commerce on Thursday. The report also recognizes the Trump administration’s grievances with China and globalization, urging “balanced development” of ties from now on.
A deal earlier this month to promote Chinese access for U.S. natural gas, financial services and beef was hailed as an “early harvest” in a 100-day review of the bilateral trade relationship — characterized by a 2016 U.S. deficit of $347 billion — that’s due to wrap up in July. Thursday’s report could yield a further thaw in links between the two, which had been tested by the China-baiting stance taken by President Trump during his election campaign.
In the report “China defended its yuan exchange-rate policy and its interventions in the foreign exchange market on Thursday, saying it hasn’t manipulated its currency but instead sacrificed some of China’s interests to help the world, including the US”-South China Morning Post.
Meanwhile, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad was confirmed as US Ambassador to Beijing earlier this week.
Comment: The Trump administration can tout this as a win, even if we do not know implementation details, feasibility or actual substance.
4. Renminbi Reform Continuing To Backtrack?
The Wall Street Journal in China Hitches Yuan to the Dollar, Buying Rare Calm says that Beijing has effectively re-pegged the Renminbi to the US dollar:
“China’s management of its currency has changed significantly in the wake of the U.S. election, with the renminbi essentially repegging against the dollar,” said Robin Brooks, a former Wall Street currency strategist and now chief economist at the Institute of International Finance, using another name for the yuan. “The repeg could be quite sticky and only a major surprise has the potential to dislodge the exchange rate.”
A study by Mr. Brooks and Gene Ma, China economist at the institute, concludes that the central bank has moved away from a rule-based method of fixing the yuan and is exerting more “discretion” over the exchange rate.
Press officials at the PBOC didn’t respond to requests for comment. In a report issued on Thursday, the Commerce Ministry said China is trying to strike a balance between improving the yuan’s flexibility and keeping it stable.
Comment: This shift appears to have been key in slowing capital flight, which had become a serious problem in 2016, but Beijing is now tightening its reliance US Fed policy, may anger other trading partners if the RMB depreciates against their currencies, and once again looks to be finding a short-term fix while creating more longer-term problems.
5. Moody’s Downgrades China’s Credit Rating, Financial Sector Crackdown Seems To Be Continuing
Moody’s downgraded (Bloomberg) it’s rating on PRC debt from A1 to A3 because of growing concerns about the growing debt mess.
China was not pleased, as Xinhua tells us:
China’s Ministry of Finance (MOF) swiftly dismissed the new ratings on Wednesday, saying it was based on a “pro-cyclical” rating approach which is “inappropriate.”
“These viewpoints, to some extent, overestimate the difficulties facing the Chinese economy and underestimate the capabilities of China to deepen supply-side structural reform and expand overall demand,” the MOF said in a statement.
“China’s economy is expected to maintain steady and relatively fast growth thanks to the deepening reforms in state-owned enterprises, finance, taxation and pricing, in addition to the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative,” the MOF said.
Meanwhile Caixin reports that Banks Scale Back ‘Fake Equity’ Deals as Curbs Bite:
China CITIC Bank Co., the country’s eighth-largest bank by assets, has suspended its business known as “fake equity real debt,” several employees told Caixin. This is a practice that involves disguising loans to risky borrowers, such as local government financing vehicles (LGFVs) and property developers, by making them appear as equity investments.
Caixin also reports on the investigation of Yang Jiacai, the assistant chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission who had become “unreachable” about a month ago. According to Caixin “investigators targeted Yang Jiacai during an earlier probe of a loan scandal in Wuhan that involved Yang Dongping, the former chief risk officer of state-owned BoCom, China’s fifth-largest lender”, and Yang’s wife and son are also under investigation.
Comment: It is not clear what immediate effect the Moody’s downgrade will have but it certainly is embarrassing for Beijing. The regulatory and disciplinary crackdown on the financial sector is long overdue, some might say too little late. Wang Qishan knows the finance sector better than any other top leader, and he runs the corruption crackdown. Why did it take him more than four years to go after the sector? And was he spurred into action by the questions about this relative lack of focus from a fellow PBSC member?
6. Guo Wengui 郭文贵 Is Not Going Away
In a video earlier this week Guo attacked SOHO China’s Pan Shiyi, and if Pan follows through with his threat to sue Guo over corruption claims (South China Morning Post) things could get very entertaining. There are no clean moguls in PRC real estate, no matter how skilled they are at PR, cultivating relationships with foreign media, or washing cash and reputations through US and global institutions.
Caixin, run by Guo’s nemesis Hu Shuli, published Brokerage Deal Sheds Light on Fugitive Tycoon’s Tie With Abu Dhabi, Tony Blair on some of Guo’s dealings:
Leveraging connections with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, China’s fugitive businessman Guo Wengui, also known as Miles Kwok, raised $3 billion from Abu Dhabi’s royal family to fund an attempt to take control of China’s second-largest brokerage house, Haitong Securities, sources told Caixin.
But the investment has resulted in billion-dollar losses and a failed lawsuit.
Guo’s response in today’s webcast is that Hu Shuli and Caixin continue to spread rumors about him. There appear to be more shoes to drop, on both sides.
Guo’s success using social media, and specifically webcasts, has led several other dissidents and overseas Chinese media personalities to launch their own broadcasts. Some are interesting but frankly there are too many to keep up.
One interesting new social media entrant may be Guo’s former business partner and now enemy (Guo seems to have a lot of those) Xie Jiansheng 谢建升, who has taken to posting videos on Twitter. In the latest one he mocks Guo for saying in years past that “Guo Boxiong is my big brother”.
GreatFire.Org writes in Is China establishing cyber sovereignty in the United States? that Chinese authorities attempted to disrupt Guo’s Twitter account (https://twitter.com/KwokMiles), likely launched a similar attack on his YouTube channel and blocked Periscope, Twitter’s live streaming app.
Comment: Guo knows how to work social media and now does a daily webcast. He has pushed his “global press conference” back from June 4 to one in August (timed for Beidaihe?) and one the week before the 19th Party Congress, he told views in today’s video. He continues to attack Fu Zhenghua while claiming he supports Xi Jinping and the “vast majority” of Party members and security service employees who are not corrupt and evil and does not want t overthrow the CCP. As for what material he has, he keeps asking viewers to send him things and talking about some of the information he has received. It increasingly looks like either there never was a deal between Beijing and Guo, it fell apart, or he has decided he wants to renegotiate for more. Xi may be wondering is he should ask Putin for advice…And if as GreatFire.Org claims Beijing has attacked Gao’s social media accounts, the US government should be outraged by those attacks on America’s Internet firms.
7. Voice of America Mess Over Guo Wengui Interview
The Wall Street Journal published How China Managed to Muffle the Voice of America, an OpEd by Sasha Gong, VOA’s Mandarin Service Chief, about the interruption of the Guo Wengui interview. Ms. Gong and four colleagues are now on administrative leave:
“I’m not aware of another instance in the 75-year history of Voice of America in which a foreign government has attempted to intervene with such force in the network’s broadcast decisions. My colleagues and I argued our case in an hourlong meeting with VOA’s upper management, but no agreement was reached. After much back and forth, they allowed us to do the interview but ordered our producer to let it run no longer than 15 minutes.
Ultimately, we broadcast live with Mr. Guo for one hour and 19 minutes before Washington pulled the plug. This was not enough time to paint the elaborate picture he can provide of the most powerful police state in human history. Four colleagues and I were placed on administrative leave—suspended with pay.”
Comment: The official VOA explanation soon after the broadcast interruption, as reported by The New York Times, was that “with the understanding that the live portion last only one hour. The rest of the interview would be recorded to give reporters a chance to check Mr. Guo’s allegations and allow the Chinese government an opportunity to respond.” Amanda Bennett, director of the VOA, oversaw Bloomberg’s expose of Xi Jinping family wealth, and is not one to back down in the face of Chinese Communist Party pressure.
The incident, along with subsequent conspiracy theories about caving to Beijing pressure and CCP spies inside the organization, has damaged VOA’s reputation among the audience for its Chinese-language programming. Beijing must love the internal discord and harm to VOA’s credibility.
VOA’s Congressional overseers should call everyone involved to the the Hill to testify under oath.
8. Big Data, Big Brother-New Report on the Social Credit System
Mercator Institute for China Studies, among my most favorite think tanks working on China, is out with a new report-China’s Social Credit System: A big-data enabled approach to market regulation with broad implications for doing business in China:
Under the catchphrase “Social Credit System” China is in the process of implementing a new and highly ambitious scheme to monitor, rate, and regulate the behavior of both, Chinese citizens and companies. Although international discussion has focused mainly on the impact of the system on individuals, the core motivation behind the Social Credit System is to more effectively steer the behavior of market participants. In the latest China Monitor “China’s Social Credit System,” MERICS expert Mirjam Meissner argues that big data technology is key to the system. Given the extraordinary speed of digitization in China, she says, the potential for data collection via real-time monitoring is almost unlimited…For international companies operating in China, the Social Credit System poses significant challenges: They will probably be fully integrated into the system’s mechanisms and could see their freedom of decision-making in China significantly constrained.
Comment: With the advance of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies the panopticon is within sight and there appear to be no legal constraints on the Party’s development of what in a worst case scenario could turn out to be a key building block for totalitarianism 2.0.
Business, Economy And Trade *
Foreign Firms Fret as China Implements New Cybersecurity Law – Bloomberg Just days before China’s new Cybersecurity Law goes into force, foreign companies are grappling with rules that could tighten what is already one of the world’s most restricted technology regimes. Recent changes to the language of the law ahead of its June 1 implementation, such as a broader definition of those affected, could drag in a wider array of services and products. While industry groups are lobbying for a delay, the government is moving ahead.
Beijing eases previous ban on flats sold on commercial land | South China Morning Post The Housing and Urban-rural Development Commission issued a statement on Tuesday evening saying that apartments purchased before March 26 can be listed and sold via local property agencies. The policy is an apparent softening of restrictions imposed in March which blocked the sale of new apartments built on plots that were originally acquired as commercial or office land.
How China’s most contested land auction drove developers into a frenzy | South China Morning Post At least 400 developers from across the country jammed into a grand theatre in Jiaxing, a small Chinese city nestled between Shanghai and Hangzhou, on Monday for the land auction. It took just five minutes for the first plot of land to hit a ceiling price imposed by the government, requiring the use of a lottery-style process to determine the winner. The developer who finally emerged as the winner was as extraordinarily excited as “an actor winning the Oscar”, the local Qianjiang Evening News reported.
Home equity largest part of Chinese household wealth: report-China News Service China’s average household wealth rose to 169,000 yuan (about $24,500) in 2016, an increase of 17.25 percent over the previous year, with net worth of property accounting for 65.99 percent of the total, according to a report by Economic Daily research institute. // Comment: A reminder for all the tough talk about real estate the Party would likely have a massive stability problem if prices in big markets were to drop meaningfully
Li urges action on urban housing – Business -China Daily By the end of 2017, China will secure full delivery of 18 million new homes for rundown urban areas as part of a three-year program. The matter was deliberated at a State Council executive meeting that Premier Li Keqiang presided over on Wednesday. Li defined the campaign as a major component of supply-side structural reform and a strong push to improve quality of life and development.
American Businesses Welcome New U.S. Ambassador, Upbeat on Relations – Caixin Global “Terry Branstad is very familiar with China, and we’re sure he understands the kind of changes the economic relationship needs, as well as the immense benefits both sides can realize from a relationship based on fairness and reciprocal treatment,” said William Zarit, chairman of the Beijing-based American Chamber of Commerce in China. “We very much look forward to his arrival.”
Trump Adds Another Chinese Trademark to His Portfolio – The New York Times China’s Trademark Office granted Mr. Trump preliminary approval for the trademark — which can be used in clothing like trousers, underwear and suits — on May 6. The trademark will be formally registered three months later, if the agency receives no objections.
China’s April copper imports fall 41 percent on tighter credit, regulation | Reuters “While Chinese banks have anecdotally been maintaining existing credit lines for metals-based companies, it has become increasingly hard to get approval for new lines of credit.”
US Congressmen set for China Trip as Hollywood Quota Negotiations Continue With a five-year deal on the amount of Hollywood films allowed into China up for review, a convoy of U.S. congressmen will head east in August to review the country’s growing movie market. The Washington, D.C.-based U.S.-Asia Institute will lead about a dozen senators and representatives on the trip
央行：加强开户管理及可疑交易报告后续控制措施-新闻-上海证券报·中国证券网 中国证券网讯 据央行5月25日消息，人民银行发布《中国人民银行关于加强开户管理及可疑交易报告后续控制措施的通知》。
Can China Finance One Belt One Road Without Jeopardizing Its Own Financial Stability? | Council on Foreign Relations $200 billion over five years—a sum in line with China’s reported actual financial commitment, though not with common estimates of the overall size of the program — is something that China can manage fairly comfortably. Why? Simple: it is in line with the state banks recent pace of external lending, and consistent with China’s balance of payments. Best I can tell, China’s state banks have been adding about $100 billion a year to their “illiquid” long-term external loan portfolio in the past few years.
Economic Research | Reserve Requirements as a Chinese Macro Policy Tool-SF Fed The PBOC adjusts its required reserve ratio frequently to stabilize China’s domestic economy. Under China’s existing financial system, changes in the required reserve ratio can lead to the reallocation of resources between the state-owned and private sectors. The impacts of reserve requirement adjustments reflect these reallocations. For example, reducing the required reserve ratio to enhance credit extension and cushion a slowdown in the Chinese economy could also reallocate resources from the more productive private sector to the less productive SOE sector, which would partly offset the expansionary effects of the policy change. Balancing these reallocation effects is therefore key to successfully implementing changes in reserve requirements.
Hedge Fund Plummets 62% After Betting Against the Chinese Economy – Bloomberg A hedge fund at Emerging Sovereign Group that has bet against the Chinese economy sunk about 62 percent this year through April. The Nexus fund dropped 8.2 percent last month, according to an email to investors seen by Bloomberg News. The April results mark at least the third consecutive month of negative returns for the fund.
Politics And Law *
Reading between the lines of Hu Chunhua’s speech as China’s power reshuffle looms | South China Morning Post The name of the Chinese president was mentioned 26 times, a loud and clear declaration of political loyalty that echoes throughout his speech. Among them, Xi as “the core” of the party’s central leadership – a status Xi anointed himself last year in a boost of his authority – was mentioned seven times; the “important instruction” Xi made to Guangdong last month – which Hu hailed as bearing “major, milestone significance to Guangdong’s development” – was mentioned six times. Hu said: “To break new ground on a new starting point, we must absolutely safeguard the authority of the party central leadership with comrade Xi Jinping at its core, and to ensure government decrees from the central leadership are implemented smoothly in Guangdong.”
CPC stresses role of experts in Party governance – Xinhua | The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee underscored the role of experts in Party governance, calling for more efforts to serve experts and intellectuals, according to a guideline issued by the general office of the committee. Party committees at various levels should contact and serve experts in an institutionalized, scientific and routinized manner in order to pool wisdom for national development, it said.
… and Shaanxi’s Wei Minzhou makes 128. Another ‘tiger’ falls in China’s anti-graft campaign | South China Morning Post Wei, 61, was seen as a top aide to Politburo member Zhao Leji between 2007 and 2012, when Wei was secretary general of the Shaanxi party committee and Zhao was the provincial boss. In 2012, Wei became the party chief of Xian, Shaanxi’s capital, at the same time as Zhao, 60, was promoted to head up the party’s Central Organisation Department
济南副市长王新文“落马” 他的两个“老上级”早已被查 – 今日头条 Comment: Wang Xinwen, Former vice-mayor of Jinan under investigation
CPC expels official for faking resume, bribery-Xinhua Lu Enguang, a former ministerial-level official of the Ministry of Justice, was expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and dismissed from public office for faking personal documents, buying official positions and bribery…He was also found to have used money, personal connections and lobbying to “buy official positions and honorary titles along the way” and which enabled him to rise “from a private enterprise owner to a vice ministerial-level official,” according to the CCDI.
Targeted in crackdown, Moutai liquor is once again the toast of the town | South China Morning Post “At least, in high-end and private clubs and restaurants, businessmen and officials are consuming Moutai’s classic Feitian label again,” said a state banker in Guangzhou, who refused to be named. “We feel the ambience is not as tight and sensitive as in the past couple years … In 2014 and 2015, everyone wanted to toe the line strictly and refused most invitations to banquets,” said the banker, who nowadays has to attend business dinners almost every evening to lubricate deals.
China launches big data engineering lab for government management – Xinhua The National Development and Reform Commission approved the joint construction of the laboratory by Guizhou and China Electronics Technology Group Corporation in November 2016. Guizhou is the country’s first pilot zone for big data. The technology has been widely applied in government management, business and daily life.
Foreign And Defense Affairs *
North Korea official: We can hit China with nuclear-tipped missile | Asia Times Multiple sources in North Korea’s Yanggang Province told Radio Free Asia the statement was made on Saturday during a lecture before an audience of state “subcontractors”, at the meeting room of the Yanggang Provincial Party Committee. “The recently developed and successfully launched new missile Hwasong-12 could definitely be equipped with nuclear weapons and hit all targets in China”, one of RFA’s sources said, quoting a statement from the lecturer at the meeting. // Comment: And do not think Beijing is not very aware of this threat
China’s imports from North Korea sink as coal ban bites | Reuters The world’s second-largest economy bought goods worth $99.3 million in April from North Korea, the lowest monthly tally since at least June 2014, according to Chinese customs data. Previous data was not available. That compares with $114.6 million in March and $167.7 million a year earlier.
Why sanctions against North Korea don’t work – Merics Blog By Sebastian Heilmann Economic sanctions are the foreign policy instrument of choice against many of the world’s dictators. But the resilience of the Kim regime and China’s unwillingness to support a complete economic boycott have made them ineffective in North Korea.
Beijing bans shared bikes in military areas – China Daily “Bike sharing has brought new problems to the management of military areas, such as illegal parking and entering and exiting without approval,” said the officer with the training management department of the Central Military Commission.
China and Pakistan working to free abducted Chinese – ABC News Pakistani police were searching for the two teachers from a private language school after they were abducted in the city of Quetta Wednesday. Gunmen dressed as police stopped the couple’s car and shot and wounded a man who intervened after he rescued a third person who was in the car, according to Pakistani police and China’s official Xinhua news agency.
DNI: Chinese hacking against U.S. companies is ‘ongoing’ but ‘significantly reduced’ Chinese hacking against U.S. targets is ongoing but “at volumes significantly lower” than before the landmark agreement reached in 2015 between Beijing and Washington D.C., according to the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
Woman arrested on charges of smuggling U.S. space technology to China | Reuters Chen, a resident of the Los Angeles suburb of Pomona, is accused of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which controls the export of certain goods and technology from the United States. Specifically, the indictment alleges Chen purchased and smuggled sensitive materials to China without obtaining required export licenses, including components commonly used in military communications “jammers.”
Texas Men Accused of Conspiring to Sell US Trade Secrets to China Arrested in DC | NBC4 Washington They were accused of a scheme to sell trade secrets about a type of military equipment from a company based in Houston to the Chinese contractor. Court filings indicate the secrets involved a type of foam material frequently used for military projects.
After Decades of Neglect, India Builds Along China’s Border – Bloomberg Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to change all that. On Friday, he’s due to open the nation’s longest bridge spanning 9.2 km across the Brahmaputra River to ensure the smooth movement of troops to the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, one of India’s most remote regions that is claimed in full by China.
News Analysis: China Plays Its Hand in Burma’s Peace Process – The Irawaddy Ahead of the second 21st Century Panglong peace conference, China’s influence has been quite visible. Staying in Naypyidaw, Chinese special envoy Sun Guoxiang engaged in quiet shuttle diplomacy between Burma’s state counselor, army chief, and powerful armed groups along the China border.
Why China is so afraid of Chinese students in the United States – The Washington Post Yang’s observations touched off a firestorm in China and even in the United States. More than 50 million people viewed her speech online. Chinese students associated with the government-backed Chinese Student and Scholar Association accused her of not loving China. More significantly, the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, called her speech “biased” and quoted one observer as telling Yang: “What you gave is not free speech, but rumor-mongering and currying favor.” Yang’s speech follows other attempts by Chinese-government backed organizations to push an agenda among Chinese students in the United States.
Hong Kong, Macao And Taiwan *
Opinio Juris » Blog Archive Taiwan’s Constitutional Court Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage, and Cites U.S. Supreme Court (But Not For Law) – Opinio Juris There are, of course, international relations implications from this decision. Taiwan, under the current sort-of-anti-China governing party, is carving an international image for itself as a socially progressive haven in a relatively socially conservative Asia. This can’t hurt Taiwan as it continues to seek ways to maintain its separate identity from China in the eyes of U.S. and European elites. The mainland has a similar “equality before the law” provision in Article 33 of its Constitution as the one that is the main basis for the Taiwan court decision, but I wouldn’t count on any action on that front in the near future.
Minitrue: Do Not Present Taiwan as a Separate Political Entity – China Digital Times (CDT) News regarding “Taiwan becoming a legal area for same-sex marriage,” raises sensitive political and social issues. Do not hype this story. Regarding terms such as constitution, Judicial Yuan, Legislative Yuan, President, etc., take note to use quotation marks. Make sure not to present Taiwan as a different political entity than the Chinese mainland.
China’s Xi urges Taiwan business lobby to back ‘one China’ principle-Reuters China welcomes Taiwanese investment, Xi told the Association of Taiwan Investment Enterprises on the Mainland in a letter on its tenth anniversary, the official Xinhua news agency said. Xi urged the body to make “unremitting efforts to contribute to the realization of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people (and) wide unity with Taiwan compatriots (by) supporting the one China principle,” Xinhua added.
21 Arrested Over Alleged Corruption Relating to Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge – Caixin Global The contractor involved is Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., a U.S.-based technical professional service provider, according to local newspaper Ming Pao News.
Tech And Media *
On “I love you” day, WeChat continues to dominate hongbao – TechNode WeChat recently released its hongbao data on May 20, China’s unofficial Valentine’s Day, providing us with a glimpse of Chinese enthusiasm towards using the digital red envelope as a way to convey their love and emotions to their family members and friends.
Kunlun Tech Networks on Global Stage With Buyout of U.S. Dating App Grindr – Caixin Global After paying about $93 million for 61.53% of Grindr in January, Beijing Kunlun Tech Co. Ltd. will pay another $152 million for the remaining 38.47%, the Chinese company said in a statement to the Shenzhen stock exchange on Tuesday. Kunlun said it will pay for the transaction in cash using its existing funds. It said the move is in line with its plans to move into the global social networking sector in its next stage of develop
High-Flying Drone Industry Faces Getting Wings Clipped – Caixin Global The incidents prompted Vice Premier Ma Kai to announce internally in early May, sources said, that the government would make drone safety a top priority for the nation, especially for the Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC). Since then, Ma has held frequent discussions with industry leaders and legislators on drone safety. The discussions are laying the groundwork for what Caixin learned are a series of drone-related regulations expected to come to light before September.
Beijing’s Version of Microsoft Windows 10 Tightens Security, Ditches Solitaire | Dow Jones Microsoft Corp. has unveiled a new Windows 10 software customized for the Chinese government to improve security, including modifying the program to prevent data that is typically collected from being transmitted to other devices.
苹果强怼微信 短视将毁灭苹果的中国市场 – 公司 – 中国经营网_中国经营报 Comment: A Sina Tech blogger says Apple very short-sighted in demanding Wechat remove tipping function, says that approach may cost the company the China market
Authorities Aim to Stem the Tide of Immoral Live-Streaming-Sixth Tone In a recent nationwide inspection of 50 major live-streaming platforms, 48 were penalized and 10 were shut down completely, affecting more than 30,000 hosts and performers, according to an announcement today from the Ministry of Culture (MOC), the bureau tasked with policing streamed content.
Human mistake costs Ke’s chance at overtaking AlphaGo – Xinhua “I was very nervous as I thought I had an actual chance at winning,” said Ke who tried to calm his pounding heart by pressing his chest during the match. “And, because of this intensity I made a few regretful moves. I guess that is exactly what we can call a human weakness.” According to Demis Hassabis, the founder of DeepMind Technology, this match was the best eye opener in which he described the match to be from the future. “As we were in the control room looking at what AlphaGo’s evaluation is saying; the evaluation: win rate, for roughly 50 moves, it thought that Ke Jie has been playing perfectly. And it agreed with all the moves, then, for the first roughly 100 moves, it is the closest game we have seen anyone play against the master version of AlphaGo.”
Chinese media should be innovators: publicity chief – Xinhua “The CPC stresses integrated media development and fostering a new type of mainstream media. The CPC underscores media innovation to make their products more accessible,” Liu Qibao, head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, said when addressing a seminar attended by Chinese and Vietnamese Communist Party members to discuss Party leadership in publicity.
自由微信 | FreeWeChat Comment: find what has been censored on Wechat
China’s LeEco to cut about 70 percent of U.S. staff amid global pull-back | Reuters As recently as October, Jia said a planned new North American campus would be able to house 12,000 employees. But in November, he said LeEco was facing “big company disease” and suffering a shortage of cash.
The Search Ace Standing Between Baidu and Irrelevance – WSJ For much of the past two decades, Qi Lu, a search-technology whiz, waged losing battles against Google, first at Yahoo Inc. then at Microsoft Corp.’s Bing. Four months ago, he relocated to his native China to take on a challenge that some in the tech world think is just as quixotic: reviving Baidu Inc. BIDU +0.69% The company’s core search engine business once made it the Google of China, but it has been beset by bad decisions, scandals and falling profits, leaving its future uncertain.
Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History *
Baidu restores Terracotta Army with AR – TechNode Baidu has teamed up with Emperor Qinshihuang’s Mausoleum Site Museum to revive the visuals of these ancient relics with augmented reality (AR) technology. On May 18, Baidu launched its AR rendition of the Terracotta Army, restoring them to their bright coloring. Baidu’s AR offerings encompass the Terracotta Pit No.2, kneeling archers, and bronze chariots and horses.
‘Fresh air’ speech and Cannes red-flag frock fire up Chinese nationalist backlash | South China Morning Post actress Xu Dabao turned heads on the red carpet last week in a bright red dress featuring the five stars of the national flag, prompting accusations from internet users that she had desecrated the flag. Xu also apologised.
China to curb record spending on foreign players, support local talent – Xinhua “To benefit the healthy and steady development of professional football leagues and curb irrational spending on players, those clubs which are in the red should pay the same sums of money as their spending on buying players into Chinese Football Development Fund. The money will be used on local youth players and the promotion of football in China,” the Chinese football authority said.
Wearable tech latest must-have for China’s proud pet owners | Reuters Lia Yang Liu, 39, a lecturer in Chinese literature at a Beijing university, bought a GPS tracker that attaches to her dog’s collar. “The device really helped me once, when I loosened the collar and he just ran out of the park,” said Liu. She is sceptical of other products though. “I think the commercials just exaggerate the effects. I don’t believe devices can translate a pet’s language for us.
Energy, Environment, Science And Health *
Common wild bird now endangered thanks to Chinese gourmets | South China Morning Post A bird that once numbered in the millions in China has been hunted as a delicacy and is now endangered, with little done to protect its numbers, a new report has found. The yellow-breasted bunting has fared less fortunately compared to other high-profile endangered species such as giant pandas and golden snub-nosed monkeys, the study said.
Chinese Counties Learn the ABCs of Teacher Pay – Caixin Global The Ministry of Education said it wants to increase equality in schooling for rural students. A new document, released earlier this week, contains new criteria designed to improve the quality of teaching at primary and middle schools in rural areas.
Food And Travel *
Juneyao Airlines Jets Into Global Star Alliance – Caixin Global The move also makes Juneyao the first airline admitted under Star’s Connecting Partner program, which opens the alliance to smaller, and low-cost regional carriers.
Books And Literature *
Hugo Award-Winning Story ‘Folding Beijing’ to be Made into Film – That’s Beijing Hao’s original version of “Folding Beijing” takes place in a futuristic version of Beijing. The story – which combines physics and economics – tells the story of a city coping with stark class divisions and a father who must break the law by traveling inbetween classes in order to pay for his daughter’s education.
Stand Magazine Chinese Journeys: a special issue on new Chinese writing featuring poetry, prose, translations and commentary
Stores Without Doors Struggle After Beijing Illegal Shop Cleanup Campaign – Caixin Global Despite complaints from business owners and some residents, the crackdown continues. According to the Beijing government plan, the work will continue for three years, to 2019, and planners say they will make sure all small streets and alleys are cleaned and free of illegally dug storefronts.
The Forgotten Man Behind China’s Xiongan Plans-Sixth Tone Seven decades ago, architect Liang Sicheng proposed building a vast new suburb on the outskirts of Beijing — but was told to ‘reform his thinking.’
Bei Dao’s Beijing by Julian B. Gewirtz | Poetry Foundation The eminent Chinese poet on exile and his native city…
Jobs And Events *
Hirshhorn to host solo show by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei – The Washington Post should be interesting
China Studies-Research Analyst-CNA Arlington, Va
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