THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
1. China Promotes Former Xi Colleagues in Economic Team Revamp – Bloomberg He Lifeng was appointed director of the National Development and Reform Commission, which sets macroeconomic policy, according to a statement released after the standing committee session of the National People’s Congress on Friday. Zhong Shan will lead the Ministry of Commerce, it said. // Comment: I would not be surprised if the appointment to the CBRC of Guo Shuqing is a bit of a sidelining, the real question now is what job Liu He gets. I would put money on Liu He replacing Zhou Xiaochuan as head of the PBoC, and the PBoC becoming the “super-regulator” that has been under much discussion and debate over the last couple of years at least. Liu He as head of the PboC would help reassure foreign officials and market participants, he is very qualified for the job, he is close to Xi Jinping, and such a move would fit with what looks to be broader moves by Xi to get financial reformers he trusts running that system.
Related: China Begins Efforts to Tame Asset Management Industry-Caixin Comment: financial system does need a super-regulator // They made a bold and unprecedented display of unity last week by proposing, for the first time, one overarching regulatory framework that transcends their respective individual jurisdictions and allows them to rein in increasingly risky practices that the central bank has already warned are endangering financial stability. But the first salvo may have been the easiest. Documents seen by Caixin reveal disagreements among regulators over details such as data collection, which could present stumbling blocks to implementation and effective supervision. Officials interviewed by Caixin said they are concerned that some of the provisions cannot be enforced because there are no laws to support them.
2. Trump, China’s top diplomat, discuss cooperation, possible Xi meeting | Reuters State Councilor Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat, met Trump briefly after talks with the new U.S. National Security adviser, H.R. McMaster, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. A senior U.S. administration official said discussions included bilateral cooperation and the possibility of arranging a meeting between Trump and Xi, but no date was set. The official said the meeting with Trump lasted five to seven minutes.
Related: Trump meets with senior Chinese official, pledging to enhance high-level exchanges, cooperation – Xinhua U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Senior Advisor to the President Jared Kushner, also attended the meeting. Yang on Monday also held separate meetings with senior U.S. officials, including Kushner, White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and National Security Advisor Herbert Raymond McMaster, to exchange views on how to promote the China-U.S. ties and other issues of mutual concern.
Related: Highlights of Reuters interview with Trump | Reuters “I know exactly what’s going on between China and North Korea and everybody else. But I don’t like talking about military strategy in newspapers … I’m not liking it. This didn’t take place under the Trump administration, this took place under the Obama administration. Many things took place that should not have been allowed. One of them is the building of a massive, you know, massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea. And don’t forget I’ve only been here for four weeks. This is something that took place and has been started three years ago and you were in a much better negotiating position three years ago. I am not happy about it.”
Related: 坚持《上海公报》原则，推动中美关系健康稳定发展–人民网 Comment: Yang Jiechi in People’s Daily on 45th anniversary of signing of the Shanghai Communique
Related: Don’t let Beijing push us around, warns ‘frustrated’ former ambassador to China Max Baucus – The Washington Post But making the relationship work takes serious thought in Washington, he said, something that did not always happen during his time in the job. “It was very frustrating,” he said. “The White House would make a decision and we’d roll our eyeballs, and say: ‘This isn’t going to work, partly because we’re backing off, we’re being weak. What’s the strategy going forward?’” Among his complaints: that the Obama administration had not done enough to get the Trans-Pacific Partnership ratified by Congress, even though U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman had worked very hard on 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade pact. “The administration didn’t have the same zeal, the single-minded, mongoose-tenacity to get the thing passed that Mike Froman and several others in the bus had,” he said. “The president didn’t get involved nearly as much as I thought he could and should.” The United States, he said, did stand up to China over accusations that state-sponsored cyber-spies were stealing U.S. trade secrets, but was not firm enough when combating Chinese protectionism — the lack of access to its markets and the growing problems faced by American companies there. “China has a long-term strategy to build up its own champion industries, for its own benefit and to the detriment of other countries,” he said. “The United States should stand up a lot more with respect to China’s economic wall, let alone the Internet wall.” // Comment: Amb. Baucus’ candor is much appreciated. I was surprised to recently hear a former Obama official who dealt with China blame Pacom under Adm. Locklear for not wanting to push back against the island building in the South China Sea
Related: U.S. Flexes Its Military Muscle Off China – NBC News the U.S. just tested four Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles during a nuclear war exercise, sending the simulated weapons 4,200 miles from the coast of California into the mid-Pacific. It’s the first time in three years the U.S. has conducted tests in the Pacific, and the first four-missile salvo since the end of the Cold War. The U.S. effort is deliberately broad and overt, according to Pentagon officials, and is meant to be obvious to the Chinese government.
Related: U.S.-Japan-R.O.K. Trilateral Joint Statement on North Korea The three officials expressed their joint view that North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs directly threaten the security of the R.O.K., Japan, and the United States. They also noted that North Korea’s flagrant disregard for multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions prohibiting its ballistic missile and nuclear programs requires strong international pressure on the regime. Special Representative Yun reiterated that the United States remains steadfast in its defense commitments to the R.O.K. and Japan, including the commitment to provide extended deterrence. // Comment: Any chance Yang Jiechi met with/ will meet with these people during his DC visit?
3. 中共中央 国务院印发《关于加强和改进新形势下高校思想政治工作的意见》_滚动新闻_中国政府网 Comment: Opinion issued on stregthening and improving political thought work in higher eduction institutions, looks to be followup from Xi’s speech on the topic in December //《意见》强调指出，高校肩负着人才培养、科学研究、社会服务、文化传承创新、国际交流合作的重要使命。加强和改进高校思想政治工作，事关办什么样的大学、怎样办大学的根本问题，事关党对高校的领导，事关中国特色社会主义事业后继有人，是一项重大的政治任务和战略工程。《意见》分为七个部分：一、重要意义和总体要求；二、强化思想理论教育和价值引领；三、发挥哲学社会科学育人功能；四、加强对课堂教学和各类思想文化阵地的建设管理；五、加强教师队伍和专门力量建设；六、推进高校思想政治工作改革创新；七、加强和改善党对高校的领导。// Comment: Propaganda Department, Organization Department, Ministry of Education issue a press explainer on the opinion 中央宣传部、中央组织部、教育部负责人就《关于加强和改进新形势下高校思想政治工作的意见》答记者问 No Spring ahead for Chinese higher education…
Related: China’s top colleges to face ideological inspections | South China Morning Post The discipline watchdog’s latest inspections came after Xi called during a high-level meeting in December for the country’s colleges to pledge allegiance to the Communist Party. Xi vowed at the meeting to turn the country’s universities into “strongholds of the party’s leadership” which “firmly uphold the correct political direction” and ensure that orthodox Marxism dominates the minds of their scholars and students.
4. China’s Continuing Credit Boom–Liberty Street Economic-Federal Reserve Bank of New York This last consideration is very important; the Chinese government’s strong balance sheet should give it sufficient capacity to absorb potential losses from a financial disruption. Still, the speed and increasing complexity of the country’s credit growth suggest that there could be significant benefits for China in addressing its banking system and financial reforms.
Related: 2017 Could Mark End of China’s Decelerated Economic Growth, Senior Government Researcher Says – Caixin Global The Chinese economy may have bottomed out after years of decelerated growth, and this year could mark the start of stable expansion that will probably last for more than a decade, a senior government researcher has predicted. The world’s second-largest economy has been seeking equilibrium over the past few years, according to Liu Shijin, formerly a deputy chief of the Development Research Center (DRC) of the State Council, China’s cabinet.
Related: China’s economic growth will be surprisingly strong, CICC says | South China Morning Post China’s headline gross domestic product is expected to rise 6.8 per cent this year, compared with a previous estimate of 6.7 per cent, according to a research note published by China International Capital Corp.
5. Fox News investigation: DoD-funded school at center of federal probes over suspected Chinese military ties | Fox News The University of Management and Technology in Rosslyn, Va., which opened in 1998, touts a campus in Beijing and “partnerships” with universities around the world. The U.S. taxpayer-funded school claims to have had 5,000 graduates in the last five years and to be “especially proud of our students stationed in US military bases around the globe.” However, there is another side to the school’s leadership that drew the attention of the FBI, the Justice Department, the Pentagon, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) since at least 2012 — and perhaps as early as 2009.
6. Stop writing China off as an enemy. Millennials don’t. – The Washington Post – Julian Gewirtz When you break out the figures by age, a remarkable pattern emerges: Americans between 18 and 29 hold much more favorable views of China than those over 50. Similarly, China has the largest generation gap regarding views of the United States of any of the countries surveyed by Pew, with close to 60 percent of Chinese people between 18 and 29 — more than double the number of those over 50 — holding a favorable view.
Related: Do we really need to worry so much about Chinese nationalism? – Kaiser Kuo While I’m not suggesting that Chinese nationalism is innocuous, and is not something we ought to continue to concern ourselves with, we really should keep in mind that nationalism is an ideology that feeds on perceived slights and tends, conversely, to diminish when it can’t claim to feel put upon. We should recognize it for what it mostly is — the unsurprising residue of China’s historical experience, utterly comprehensible by anyone with the least capacity for empathy, and remarkable mainly for its relative impotence. // Comment: I wish I were as sanguine as Kaiser is, hope he is right, not betting on it
Related: 孔庆东：深夜劝学论杨翁 – 乌有之乡 很多左派朋友，具有一种狭隘的爱国主义观念，他们不懂得，毛泽东时代的爱国主义，是与伟大的共产主义信念相结合的。离开了共产主义信念的爱国主义，只能是从西方传来的帝国主义性质的爱国主义，只能是你死我活的丛林法则的爱国主义。 // Comment: Here is a recent piece from Kong Qingdong on Nationalism/Patriotism, about the recent Yang Zhenning controversy
7. China and North Korea Reveal Sudden, and Deep, Cracks in Their Friendship – The New York Times Chinese observers of relations between the countries were left in disbelief about how rapidly those ties have deteriorated, particularly after Beijing decided to cut off coal imports that provide badly needed currency for the North’s economy. “At first many people thought it was a fake commentary,” Cheng Xiaohe, associate professor of international studies at Renmin University, said of the tirade against China, published in the North’s state-run news media on Thursday. “It is a big surprise that North Korea has launched such a strong attack against China. I expected an angry reaction — but not this strong.”
8. [视频]习近平在北京考察工作时强调 立足提高治理能力抓好城市规划建设 着眼精彩非凡卓越筹办好北京冬奥会_CCTV Xi did an inspection tour in Beijing Thursday and Friday, Friday CCTV Evening News spent first 20 minutes on it. Xinhua English report-Xi stresses preparation for Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE
Trump team looks to bypass WTO dispute system-FT Incoming officials have asked the US Trade Representative’s office to draft a list of the legal mechanisms that Washington could use to level trade sanctions unilaterally against China and other countries. Their goal, people briefed on the request told the Financial Times, is to find ways that the new administration could circumvent the WTO’s dispute system.
SF Express Delivers Turbocharged IPO – Caixin Global SF Express was established in 2010 by entrepreneur Dick Wong, who was born in Shanghai, grew up in Hong Kong and is now the country’s fourth-richest man, according to the latest Forbes China Rich list. He began his business in the early 1990s, toting parcels between different parts of Hong Kong and the Shenzhen border. His one-man courier operation has grown to become a transport chain with 37 cargo airliners and presences in the U.S., Australia and Japan. // Founder now worth over 100B RMB, has a delivery man who was beaten in Beijing last year ring the opening bell 应此事王一年后，顺丰公司上市，上市仪式的敲钟人员就有这位快递员。
Disney Denies Involvement in ‘Walt Disney Zhengzhou Project’ | Sixth Tone Disney in China has denied any involvement in a Disney-themed project currently being planned in central China, even as a company linked to a senior Disney employee appears to have completed deals with local governments to do exactly that.
Alibaba Calls for Tougher Anti-Counterfeiting Laws, Enforcement, Penalties In an appeal from the company, made public at a press conference at its headquarters in Hangzhou, Alibaba said China’s “ambiguous counterfeiting laws” were hampering authorities’ ability to build legal cases against counterfeiters // Comment: So Alibaba thinks it too is a victim…
China can manage financial risks if property tax introduced: state media | Reuters China could manage the resulting financial risks if a property tax is introduced and causes the housing market to correct, a state newspaper said on Monday in a front-page commentary that sought to dispel fears that such a tax would burst a price bubble and spark a calamitous rise in bad loans for banks. 房地产税有利资金“脱虚向实”
Businessman from China investing in Vancouver real estate ordered to repay millions -CBC News In June 2016, lawyers for China CITIC Bank brought an application before a B.C. Supreme Court judge to freeze the assets of Shibiao Yan, who was accused of approving the withdrawal of a 50 million RMB line of credit extended to a company he controlled in China and never repaying it.
Hundreds arrested in China crackdown on ‘underground banks’ | South China Morning Post Cash involved in the illegal banking operations busted last year amounted to US$131 billion
China bankruptcy cases surge as economy slows-FT $$ Chinese courts accepted 5,665 bankruptcy cases in 2016, an increase of 54 per cent from the year before, the country’s top court said on Friday. About 3,600 of those cases were resolved, with 85 per cent of the resolved cases resulting in liquidation.
Follow the Money » China’s Estimated Intervention in January Bottom line: The balance of evidence suggests a moderation in pressure on China’s exchange rate regime in January—but a moderation in pressure isn’t the same as an end to the pressure. Unlike some, I do not think China’s fundamentals require a depreciation. The current account remains in surplus, China’s export market share has held up well—and China is (once again) growing faster than most of the world. But sustaining the current basket peg will be hard if outflows do not moderate.
POLITICS AND LAW
Former China Resources chairman Song Lin pleads guilty to corruption | South China Morning Post Song served on several advisory bodies in Hong Kong, including an ethics committee under the ICAC
人保王银成被查 或与北京某些山西籍权贵饭局有关_新闻_腾讯网 据报道，王银成接受组织审查除了与此前某些山西籍落马权贵或有一定关系，也可能与其私人生活有关。一人保前员工则向新京报记者透露，“系统内的人都知道，王银成的一位亲属做保险经纪公司。// Comment: Recently detained PICC president Wang Yincheng connected to Ling Jihua?
Tibet, Portrait of Despair – China Media Project Last week, ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday, the regional government in the Tibet Autonomous Region reportedly distributed more than 1 million portraits of the four generations of Communist Party leadership. The portraits were to be placed in homes, schools and temples.
Chinese Citizen Pleads Guilty to Structuring Cash Transactions | USAO-CT | Department of Justice Comment: Famous entertainer Ying Da 英达 // Judge Underhill scheduled sentencing for May 11, 2017, at which time YING faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of up to $500,000. YING was released pending sentencing.
Dui Hua Human Rights Journal-Will a New Judicial Interpretation on Cults Lead to Greater Leniency? In the future, we can expect to see more cult offenses deemed as “relatively minor” cases, partly because by raising the benchmark for evidence necessary to imprison cult prisoners for up to three to seven years, the new interpretation has expanded the scope of activities that fall under the category of “minor” cases
China Focus: What to expect from China’s annual “two sessions” – Xinhua a list of key words and phrases that will be important during the forthcoming two sessions
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FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
South Korea exposing itself to danger with THAAD deployment – Global Times South Korea is exposing itself to more danger and is risking its independence, experts said, after the board of Lotte Group on Monday approved a land swap deal with the country’s military that clears the way for deployment of a controversial US missile defense system. The deal means the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system will be deployed on a Lotte-owned golf course in Seongju county.
新华社：为虎作伥的乐天，中国不欢迎_凤凰资讯 Comment: Xinhua again attacks Lotte over THAAD
Proposed Changes to China’s Maritime Safety Law and Compliance with UNCLOS – Lawfare A closer look at this report reveals that some, but not all, of the proposals simply incorporate legitimate rights enshrined in the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Most reiterate legal claims already articulated in Chinese domestic legislation, such as prior notification for innocent passage in the territorial sea. In important respects, therefore, the law does not significantly depart from existing Chinese legal practice. Apart from the underlying legality, however, these changes suggest that Beijing is consolidating a putative legal basis for asserting its security interests and may be readying for more pronounced conflict in the South China Sea.
Financier Philip Bilden Withdraws From SECNAV Nomination Sources in the White House and the Navy told USNI News that Bilden’s extensive financial holdings, much of which he earned while living in Hong Kong, would likely not meet the Office of Government Ethics standards to serve in the position.
North Korea spy agency runs arms operation out of Malaysia, U.N. says | Reuters And it does have a business, the draft U.N. report says. Last July, an air shipment of North Korean military communications equipment, sent from China and bound for Eritrea, was intercepted in an unnamed country. The seized equipment included 45 boxes of battlefield radios and accessories labeled “Glocom”, short for Global Communications Co.
Mystery deepens over Chinese forces in Afghanistan-FT A mystery over recent sightings of Chinese military vehicles patrolling inside Afghanistan deepened last week as Beijing denied its troops were in Afghanistan but confirmed it was undertaking “joint counter-terrorism operations” with Kabul. The disclosure comes as China steps up its involvement with its western neighbour amid a gradual withdrawal by US forces from the war-ravaged country.
从“南海仲裁案”看我国对外传播的路径创新-中国社会科学网 Comment: CASS publication looks at the success of the PRC’s international PRC campaign over the South China Sea arbitral decision. And yes, the PRC has been successful
The plight of Chinese Indonesians: distrusted in Jakarta, forgotten in China | This Week In Asia | South China Morning Post The drama surrounding ethnic minority governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama has reawoken anti-Chinese sentiments that stretch as far back as the building of modern Jakarta
Why Shambaugh is wrong again on China’s future – Global Times The Coming Chinese Crack-up,” one of Shambaugh’s articles published in the Wall Street Journal in 2015, has triggered enormous controversy. After explaining several times that the title was made by editors without his permission, he appears to be more cautious this time around, noting that China will not collapse, but that no country has developed a truly modern economy without democratizing. Shambaugh corrected his analysis, yet he still is wrong, because the theories he used to support his views are from the US and other Western nations’ experiences, which is unfit to discuss the reality in China.
国防大学原校长王喜斌等全国人大代表资格终止|王喜斌|人大代表|国防大学原校长_新浪新闻 Comment: confirmation that former National Defense University President Wang Xibin under investigation
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN
Taiwan Wealth Probe Shows Disdain for China-Style One-Party Rule – Bloomberg The bigger worry for Beijing is that the investigation shows just how much Taiwan and China are drifting apart politically even as they become more integrated economically. Beyond just recouping money, the probe into the KMT is dismantling the legacy of one-party rule that is still embraced by China’s Communist Party.
TECH AND MEDIA
Baidu denies CEO faces travel ban-Reuters Taiwanese news site Bowen Press reported on Wednesday that Baidu CEO Li had been banned from traveling outside China. A Baidu spokeswoman denied that Li faced a travel ban. Chinese media which had reported the travel ban on Li later removed their stories. // Comment: I don’t know, strange things have been happening with Baidu over the last few months…rumor is Baidu’s Li was called in for tea after supporting 2013 Southern Weekend New Year’s editorial, given a very serious warning to get in line or get into trouble
Baidu’s AI Lab aims to solve speech recognition-TechInAsia “Since we’re further from the products, […] that gives us the freedom to think a little bit about how do we close the gap with humans, which is a much bigger leap,” says Adam. // Comment: Ironic to hear an engineer talk about “freedom” when they are building things for one of the Chinese Communist Party’s key Internet national champions
Hollywood Is Left Hanging as China Reins In Investments – WSJ Deals stall amid capital curbs, including one that would have put MGM under Chinese control
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
The Atheist Manifesto | Chublic Opinion Marx’s other important teaching, the camaraderie among fellow proletariat brothers and sisters that transcends ethnicity and national borders, is less important to Chinese netizens eager to contain Islamic influence in the country. Their intense insecurity with Islam, energized by both a love for secular freedom and a frustration with unfair state policy, will likely shape religious and ethnic relationships in China for years to come.
Payment Dispute Clouds English Premier League’s China Coverage | Sixth Tone LeSports has been embroiled in a dispute over payment with Beijing-based Super Sports Media Inc., which holds the exclusive broadcast rights to the Premier League in China for the period of 2010 to 2019. Super Sports had previously threatened to cut the broadcast signal to LeSports unless the company coughed up the $30 million it owed in usage rights fees.
Controversial and renowned Chinese photographer Ren Hang dies aged 29 – British Journal of Photography Comment: Suicide apparently, tragic
How Yao Ming’s New Job Will Revive Chinese Basketball | Sixth Tone Beloved Hall of Famer has been named chairman of the cash-hemorrhaging CBA in a bid to commercialize the sport.
SFU Community Summit: Dashan charms China with Mandarin humour After the world’s fair in Shanghai, Rowswell developed an itch to move away from his safe, squeaky-clean TV image and do more daring, counterculture-style comedy in theatres. He likened it to George Carlin’s shift from being a mainstream-TV comedian to performing more biting, observational humour.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH
Black market for live chickens thrives in China despite bird flu bans | South China Morning Post Vans stocked with live poultry can be found down alleyways in the southern city of Guangzhou, with customers shrugging off the health risks
Demand for Sand Sucks Life From China’s Largest Freshwater Lake | Sixth Tone Poyang Lake is paying the price for Shanghai’s booming appetite for concrete.
FOOD AND TRAVEL
Guangxi police arrest two suspects in ‘pangolin banquet’ scandal – People’s Daily Online The two detained are said to be a man surnamed Li, who runs a private company, and the company’s chef, surnamed Yan, according to Chinanews.com on Saturday.
Great Wall Snow 2017 – YouTube Comment: very nice drone video, surprised PRC allows foreigners to fly drones in the country, and especially around the Great Wall outside of Beijing, lots of military installations out there
Human Traffickers on Trial for Bringing Foreign Maids Into China | Sixth Tone The operation was exposed on July 14, 2015, when one Filipina woman managed to escape from the rented apartment where she and five others were being held under lock and key by the two suspects, and went to the police. “The woman had been jobless for one month and was not allowed to go outside — that’s why she came up with the idea of escaping,” the case’s prosecutor told The Beijing News.
JOBS AND EVENTS
Career Opportunities – Council on Foreign Relations The Research Associate will work under the direction of the Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies Ely Ratner
The Broken Promises of China’s WTO Accession: Reprioritizing Human Rights | Congressional-Executive Commission on China 216 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510 | Wednesday, March 1, 2017 – 2:00pm to 4:00pm
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