The Sinocism China Newsletter 04.06.17-The Trump-Xi Citrus Summit Begins

The Trump-Xi “Citrus Summit” starts later today. I do not have much to add to the tsunami of punditry beyond what I wrote Tuesday.

According to Andrew Beatty and Ben Dooley of the AFP:

Xi is arriving at the resort with a gift-basket of “tweetable deliverables”, sources say, peace offerings on Trump’s signature issues — trade and jobs — that he hopes will smooth over a relationship that began on shaky ground following disagreements over Taiwan.

In return, he hopes to get assurances from Trump on American sales of arms to the island, as well as trade.

“Tweetable deliverables” (I prefer “Twitterables”) do not sound like substantive gains for the US, but it will not cost the Chinese much to make Trump look good to certain parts of his base.

Josh Meyer at Politico reports that Henry Kissinger is advising Trump:

Trump will be relying heavily on son-in-law and real-estate magnate Jared Kushner with some assistance from old China hand Henry Kissinger and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson…

Does that mean that Dr. Kissinger will actually be at Mar-a-Lago? If he is involved Beijing will be comforted, some of the worst-case outcomes would likely be off the table, and heads might explode in a few think tanks around DC.

How will the handshake go? Trump prefers the grab, yank, stroke and hold, while Xi usually makes his counterpart reach across his/her body to shake his hand. And how will the protocol folks handle the photos if Xi’s hands are larger than Trump’s? Perhaps too snarky, but the protocol people have tough jobs…

Will Eric Trump or Donald Trump Jr happen to be at Mar-a-Lago while Xi is there?

And will the Chinese “benefit” from the North Korea situation in that it may crowd out the South China Sea from the agenda?

Today’s Links:

The Essential Eight
Business, Economy And Trade
Politics And Law
Foreign And Defense Affairs
Hong Kong, Macao And Taiwan
Tech And Media
Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History
Energy, Environment, Science And Health
Education
Beijing

AnchorTHE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *

1. Preview of the Visit of President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China Susan A. Thornton, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and Matt Pottinger, Senior Director for Asia at the National Security Council

Related: On-the-Record-Briefing: Previewing the Visit of President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China Susan Thornton, Acting Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Via Teleconference April 5, 2017

Related: For Trump, Mar-a-Lago is place to break the ice with China’s Xi | Reuters “They thought, no, it has to be the White House, the symbolism of that,” a senior administration official told Reuters. “They were ultimately convinced that this was worth doing. It’s unusual because most foreigners realize that being invited to the president’s personal place is a big deal.”

Related: Spotlight: Iowa farmers bet better China-U.S. ties amid Trump trade rhetoric – Xinhua Farmers in Iowa are cautiously expecting better U.S.-China economic ties though economists and policymakers are furiously debating impacts of possible trade policy changes by the Trump administration. “I hate the thing that he has got a big tariff,” said Tom Rooney, a farm owner in central Iowa, when asked about the reaction to Trump’s rhetoric of levying 45 percent tariffs on imports from China. “Hopefully, he has got a way to work that out to balance the trade,” he added.

Related: Xi-Trump meeting to assure world on China-U.S. ties-Xinhua In 2013, Beijing and Washington agreed to move forward their ties based on non-confrontation, no conflict, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. These principles are expected to continue to prevail, as indicated by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s reiteration of the principles in his March trip to China and Trump’s pledge to adhere to the one-China policy in a phone talk with Xi in February.

Newsmax TV -Christopher K. Johnson discusses the summit with China in Florida Comment: always insightful

Related: What Should We Expect When Trump and Xi Meet in Florida? | ChinaFile Conversation Comment: interesting conversation, about 10 contributors and counting

Related: David Nakamura on Twitter: Pictures of Chinese supporters at Palm Beach airport ahead of Xi Jinping’s arrival. Comment: How many are paid directly or indirectly by the PRC?

Related: White House Financial Disclosures Reveal Trump’s Top Trade Advisor Was Short China and Presently Leveraged Short Treasuries – Trading with The Fly  According to financial disclosures, Mr. Navarro was short China, via $FXP. Interestingly, he was also long China, via $FXI. Perhaps he was trying to arb or hedge a trade. It doesn’t make much sense to have both, certainly not at the same time.

Related: Schumer: Trump a ’98-pound weakling’ on China – POLITICO “One of the few hopes we had with President Trump is that he’d finally stand up to China,” Schumer told reporters. “But up to now, when it comes to China, he looks like a 98-pound weakling.”

Related: Why China’s Got Beef With U.S. Beef – Bloomberg beef may be on the table when the U.S. president and Chinese leader Xi Jinping discuss trade during this week’s summit at Trump’s Florida resort.  // Comment: Hope so but I am skeptical. Beef was a big issue for Ambassador Baucus, previously Senator from a huge beef producing state-Montana. More than once during his tenure word was going around that the ban was about the end.

Related: China Is Trump’s Most Important Summit, Says Baucus – Bloomberg Max Baucus, former U.S. Ambassador to China, discusses what is at stake for both sides as President Donald Trump meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Related: With China’s Xi at Mar-a-Lago, will Trump forget Taiwan? – The Washington Post Taiwan government officials are hoping for the best but planning for the worst.  “We are preparing for every scenario,” said a senior official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter candidly. Jason Hsu, a legislator from the opposition Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party, worried that Taiwan had been “played” by the president of the United States. “Trump threw a few chips on the table,” he said, “but he did not reveal his whole hand.”

Related: China Surpasses Canada as Top Buyer of U.S. Crude – Bloomberg China imported 8.08 million barrels of U.S. light crude, nearly quadrupling its January purchases, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau Tuesday.

Related: The President’s Inbox: Xi Meets Trump – Council on Foreign Relations CFR’s James M. Lindsay, Robert McMahon, and Ely Ratner examine President Donald J. Trump’s first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago

Related:  Rex Tillerson’s Reticence on North Korea Leaves Allies Confused – The New York Times A comprehensive policy review, ahead of the visit of China’s president, Xi Jinping, to the United States this week, came to an unsurprising conclusion: The administration would greatly intensify economic and military pressure on the North for the foreseeable future, and assure the Chinese that, once that pressure was in place, it would consider “engaging” the North Koreans. That is, the United States would negotiate with them, presumably before they have given up their nuclear weapons and missiles, despite Mr. Tillerson’s earlier statements.

2. New Economic Zone Drives Home-Price Surge – Caixin Global “Twenty thousand (yuan)? OK, that’s not expensive! How many do you have now? If you can come with me to notarize the contracts, I will buy everything you have now!” Song Jianlong told a property agent in Xiongxian after he visited an apartment in Xincheng Park. On Sunday morning, the county government summoned local property agencies and developers to a meeting and ordered a halt to all property transactions in a bid to cool the housing market and stem further speculation.

Related: Xiongan will pilot new model of real estate development – China Daily Wu said there are many ways to develop the real estate industry in addition to the traditional model, citing the model of Singapore as an example.   He said the government in Singapore directly manages many lands and builds public or low-rent housing for those in need.   Meanwhile, Zhao Kezhi, Party chief of Hebei province, said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency on Wednesday that Xiongan will be the hub for innovation and a cluster for high-end high-tech industries, not an area purely for developing real estate industry, let alone a ‘gold mine’ for property speculators.

Related: China Focus: Vice premier urges control on property development in Xiongan New Area – Xinhua Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli Thursday called for strict controls on property development in Xiongan New Area, urging high-standard planning for the newly announced area. He said the area should see a “reasonable pace of development” while underscoring that large-scale real estate development and illegal construction would by no means be allowed. Zhang was speaking at a conference on coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (Jing-Jin-Ji) region. 张高丽:高起点高标准高水平推进河北雄安新区规划建设 

Related: SOEs Cozy Up to Government’s New Economic Zone – Caixin In the wake of the Xiongan New Area announcement, debate has erupted on the internet about whether the zone will become a second capital city and whether all Beijing-based SOEs will be required to relocate their headquarters. Dozens of central government-owned companies employing thousands of people, including oil giants Sinopec, PetroChina and CNOOC, along with telecoms operators China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom, have their headquarters in the center of Beijing. However, officials who engineered the plan have denied that Xiongan will become a second capital and that companies will be forced to move out.

Related: New Economic Zone Heats Up With Geothermal Energy – Caixin With only 390,000 residents, Xiongxian has been plucked from obscurity partly due to its unusual status as an area where all the heat comes from clean geothermal energy. That contrasts sharply with Beijing, about 110 km (70 miles) away, and most other cities in northern China that rely on coal for most of their winter heat. // Comment: But is there enough water to support this New Area? One article going around WeChat said there was not, but it was quickly deleted

Related: 河北雄安新区临时党委租下整栋酒店办公新闻腾讯网 Comment: temporary Party Committee of Xiongan New Area rents an entire hotel for its office. How long has this area been in the planning, and how many people knew about it? Talk about valuable insider info…

3. China launches new year-long inspection into air pollution in north | Reuters The Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) said in a notice posted late on Wednesday on its official website (www.mep.gov.cn) that inspections into 28 northern cities in and around the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region will focus on improving the way the country’s standards and laws are enforced. 环保部对北京等28城启动为期一年强化督查 

Related: Northern China Chokes on Fake Emissions Data – Caixin The Ministry of Environmental Protection checked 8,500 businesses in 18 of the worst-polluted northern cities — including Beijing, Tianjin and Shijiazhuang — from Feb. 15 to March 18. The inspections found that over 3,100 factories had altered real-time pollution data in the monitoring systems they were required to install by the government, the ministry said in a statement on Monday.

4. A Chinese war in Myanmar | Asia Times Recent intense fighting between Myanmar military forces and China-equipped Kokang rebels has eroded the two countries’ once strong bilateral ties By Bertil Lintner

Related: China may scrap divisive dam in Myanmar to advance other interests: sources | Reuters Until recently, China had been pushing hard for the 6,000 megawatt project to go ahead despite widespread opposition within Myanmar which forced the suspension of work in 2011. Now, it is discussing alternative options with Myanmar including developing a number of smaller hydropower projects and securing preferential access to a strategically important port to compensate it for shelving the project, the sources said.

5. Follow the Money » China’s Confusing Trade and Current Account Numbers there is no question that China’s current account has suddenly become quite volatile. In part that is because a high fraction of China’s goods imports are commodities (the share of manufactured imports has slid as a share of GDP) and commodity prices are volatile. In part it is because of the explosive growth in reported tourism imports, China’s propensity to revise the tourism numbers, and the possibility that the current account is now influenced by disguised financial outflows. And in part it is because of new volatility in the import volume numbers. Twenty percent year-over-year increases in volumes aren’t common any more, especially when the volume growth isn’t a reflection of exports. Bottom line: A roughly $200 billion (greater than 1.5 percent of China’s GDP) swing in the current account over the course of a couple of quarters doesn’t happen that often, absent a true oil shock or a financial crisis. It demands both attention, and a bit of skepticism.

Related: Chinese finance is storing up trouble for the rest of the world-FT $4 -Martin Wolf Suppose the Chinese authorities adopted, instead, the alternative policy of rapid liberalisation of both inflows and outflows, while relying on credit expansion to sustain domestic demand. It is possible, but unlikely, that the flow of money into China from abroad would match the outflow, as foreigners and Chinese both diversified their portfolios. Yet that would also cause three headaches. First, the domestic macroeconomic imbalances would persist. Second, the financial sector would become still more fragile. Finally, this vast, complex and fragile financial system would become fully integrated with the rest of the world’s, itself still far from fully stable. Instead of the Chinese financial crisis that many now think imminent, this would enormously increase the likelihood of another global crisis with China, not the US, at its heart.

6. San Gabriel Valley raids target scammers who helped wealthy Chinese get U.S. visas, feds say – LA Times The money, investigators claim in court records, fueled a luxurious life of multimillion-dollar homes and high-priced cars for the alleged masterminds of the scheme — Victoria Chan, an attorney; Tat Chan, her father; and Fang Zeng, the father’s friend…One outstanding question is which of the Chinese investors were either complicit or victims in the alleged fraud, authorities said. Several people who contributed money have raised investigators’ suspicions. Some of the investors, for example, are on a Chinese government list of most-wanted fugitives, accused of bribery and other crimes, according to the affidavit  //  Comment: More scammers scamming the EB-5 scam…Congress should kill this program, or raise the price to at least $5m

7. China’s oceans are overfished, so it’s sending fisherman to international waters and other nation’s seas to catch seafood — Quartz According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) the world’s commercial fish stocks that exist at biologically sustainable levels has declined from 90% in 1974 to 68.6% in 2013. In other words, nearly one-third of global commercial fish stocks are already being overfished.

8. How a Pizza Deliveryman Became China’s Greatest Angel Investor — The Information Mr. Soup, a goateed 31-year-old entrepreneur from Shanghai, launches his PowerPoint pitch. At the head of the conference table in a Beijing office tower sits Bob Xu Xiaoping, an avuncular 60-year-old in a monogrammed white shirt and electric blue blazer. Teacher Xu, as he is widely known, is the biggest and most successful angel investor in China. ZhenFund, started in 2011 with his partner Victor Wang and Sequoia Capital China, has raised $600 million and put money into some 400 startups. Their impact is comparable to American early stage funder Y Combinator.


AnchorBUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *

China Services PMI Expands at Slowest Pace in Six Months: Caixin Survey – Caixin The Caixin China General Services Business Activity Index came in at 52.2 in March, down from 52.6 in February. Although the figure is still well above the 50 mark that divides expansion from contraction, it was the worst reading since September and the third straight monthly fall.

China Moves a Step Forward in Its Quest for Food Security – The New York Times By clearing the deal with European Union regulators, China National Chemical Corporation is close to the $43 billion takeover of Syngenta, the Swiss farm chemical and seed company. It would be the largest Chinese takeover of a foreign company and is one of three proposed mergers in a stop-and-go international race seeking greater influence over the world’s food supply.

China’s Debt Puzzle Grows Complex as `Off-Book’ Bonds Surge – Bloomberg The official budget deficit target is 3 percent of economic output, but that doesn’t include all government debt. One category falling outside of the forecast is off-book bonds — or special bonds as they’re known in China — whose sales have swollen to eight times 2015 levels. Provincial governments and some cities have the green light to sell 800 billion yuan ($116 billion) worth of such bonds this year to pay for highways, railroads and other construction projects. That issuance would bring the deficit ratio to 4.3 percent of gross domestic product, according to UBS Group AG and Oxford Economics Ltd.

China’s Local Debt Nightmare Is Getting a Rerun After Rating Cut – Bloomberg The first ever downgrade of a Chinese local-government financing vehicle by an international ratings agency is reigniting concern over the debt-saddled entities, amid angst there could be more cuts to come.

China’s Dongbei Steel says faces ‘uncertainties’ paying interest on some debt | Reuters Owned by the Liaoning provincial government in the country’s “rustbelt” northeast, Dongbei [DBSSG.UL] formally entered into a bankruptcy restructuring process in October aimed at recovering a reported $10 billion in debt.

Financial Problems Haunted Huishan Dairy Before Disaster Struck – Caixin Global In 2015, Huishan tapped into the renewable energy sector, in hopes of generating revenue from cow manure produced on its farms.

Firm Founded by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to Form China Steel Venture – WSJ The private-equity firm founded—but long ago sold—by U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Jr. is forming a venture to invest in China’s steel industry along with one of the country’s largest producers, according to a statement.

Pilot Program Tidbit Fails to Charge China Unicom Stock – Caixin Unicom, the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier, is one of a handful of companies selected to participate in a mixed-ownership reform pilot program being rolled out by Beijing. Many were waiting for word on Unicom’s choice of program partner, which is expected soon.

Amazon’s China logistics push to pile pressure on rival shippers FT $$ Amazon has proven adept at growing businesses from scratch and by stealth. Now it is taking aim at the $8tn global logistics industry, by quietly nurturing a programme in China through which any wholesaler can use it to ship goods around the world by sea, land or air. The service, called Amazon Logistics+, has expanded greatly in recent months to include cross-border air transportation, as well as packaging, warehousing, customs and handling services.

Trump Team Takes Steps to Keep Chinese From Westinghouse – Bloomberg Cabinet members including Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have discussed preventing Westinghouse’s purchase by a Chinese-linked company, three U.S. officials said. For years, Chinese entities have been interested in the nuclear reactor builder, and the company has been a repeated target of Chinese espionage

Ant Financial and Euronet Take MoneyGram Fight to Capitol Hill – WSJ The lobbyists also presented materials touting Alibaba’s role in helping North Carolina-based companies such as Hanesbrands Inc. sell their Hanes and Champion apparel brands to Chinese customers, according to documents reviewed by the Journal. They returned twice more, finally meeting Mr. Pittenger personally, the person familiar with the meetings said. Alibaba declined to comment. Within minutes of the lobbyists’ departure, the North Carolina congressman fired off a Wall Street Journal op-ed, co-authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R., N.J.), co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, blasting the deal.

Beijing’s strict capital controls are delaying belt and road project approvals | South China Morning Post Mainland firms now need up to three times longer to gain approval for their investments in the government’s trade plan

Does China dominate global investment? | China Power Project Calculations in the subsequent sections are derived from data provided by the American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation’s China Global Investment Tracker (CGIT), which monitors China’s construction activities and global investments valued at least $100 million.

Ahead of Trump-Xi meet, FBI cites illegal Chinese workers at casino site on U.S.-controlled island | Reuters Imperial Pacific, the owner of the multi-billion Saipan gaming project, has wildly outperformed the top casinos in the Chinese-run gambling hub of Macau, despite China’s crackdown on capital flight. Chinese signs and businesses have mushroomed across the island.

“国家队”救市成绩单曝光 券商救市资金浮亏6%左右_第一财经 Comment: CBN says securites firms that formed the “national team’ to try to save the stock market in the summer of 2015 have lost about 6% on average

Beijing expands housing purchase restriction – People’s Daily Online As of Monday, single adults with Beijing hukou, or residence permit, and married people without Beijing hukou, are temporarily banned from buying a single-storey house if they already own at least one apartment in Beijing, said the municipal commission of housing and urban-rural development.

做好推进供给侧结构性改革的大文章 来源:《求是》2017/7 本刊评论员


AnchorPOLITICS AND LAW *

New Party chiefs named in 4 provinces – China Daily Comment: All signs that Xi continuing to promote who he wants ahead of the 19th Party Congress // Zhang Qingwei, 55, former governor of Hebei province, was appointed Party chief of Heilongjiang. Zhang was formerly an aerospace engineer. Liu Cigui, 61, was named Party chief of Hainan. Liu, the former head of the State Oceanic Administration, has been governor of Hainan since February 2015. Lin Duo, 61, former governor of Gansu, was appointed Party chief of the province. He was the former Party chief of Beijing’s Xicheng district from October 2006 to July 2010 and later worked in Northeast China’s Heilongjiang and Liaoning provinces. Liu Jiayi, who holds a doctorate in economics, was named Party chief of Shandong province. The 60-year-old has been head of the National Audit Office since March 2008.

Parents agree to autopsy of Sichuan student amid claims he was murdered by classmates – Global Times Online posts claimed Zhao was violently killed by five of his classmates, and that his body was severely bruised. Netizens posted images online that they claimed show Zhao bloodied and being beaten with sticks by his classmates. Police said reports that Zhao’s hands and feet were broken in an attack were “mere rumors,” according to a statement issued by the Luxian government on its WeChat account on Monday.  The allegations were traced to four Net users who “incited the public and severely disturbed public order,” police said, adding that the accused will be punished in accordance with the law // Comment: Some crazy videos going around of the protests and security response. Here is one from Twitter, plenty more here

China’s ‘House of Cards’ hits the TV screen as Xi Jinping whips his cadres | South China Morning Post  Comment: Anti-corruption “In the Name of the People” 人民的名义 TV Series on QQ Video , watchable from a US IP, so far have watched two episodes, quite enjoying it. Here is a fun Huxiu story on one of the characters 《人民的名义》大火,迷妹们的“达康书记”是如何被制造出来的? and another from thepaper.cn on which real officials some of the corrupt characters are based upon 《人民的名义》里贪官有没有原型?有!

Murder suspect raises unprecedented $35M bail via friends – ABC News A California woman accused of killing the father of her two children is expected to be released from jail Thursday after posting an unprecedented $35 million bail raised by wealthy friends, family and business associates with ties to China. Tiffany Li, 31, is backed by a consortium of people tied to her mother who have raised $4 million cash and pledged $62 million in San Francisco Bay Area property. California courts require twice the bail amount if property is used instead of cash.

2017 Guiding Opinion on Sentencing for Common Crimes-China Law Tranlsate The charts below were prepared by Criminal Affairs” Public Weixin AccountThe attachments afterward were provided by “Total Arrangement of Criminal Law Rules” [Official Translation] public account.

深入学习贯彻习近平总书记党的对外工作重要思想-《求是》2017/7 Comment: Song Tao, director of the CCP Central Committee External Affairs Department, in latest Qiushi on implementing Xi’s important thinking about external work // 对外工作归根到底是做好“人”的工作。党的对外工作充分利用交往广的独特渠道优势,在国际上广交朋友、广结人缘,全方位地开展交友工作,着力打造党政并蓄、朝野相济、官民兼容的人脉网络。

迈出马克思主义中国化新的坚实步伐-《求是》2017/7  徐光春-中央马克思主义理论研究和建设工程咨询委员会主任

中央文明委印发《关于深化群众性精神文明创建活动的指导意见》-新华网 《指导意见》指出,社会主义精神文明是中国特色社会主义的重要特征,是实现“两个一百年”奋斗目标、实现中华民族伟大复兴中国梦的重要内容和重要保证。群众性精神文明创建活动是人民群众群策群力、共建共享、改造社会、建设美好生活的创举,是提升国民素质和社会文明程度的有效途径,是把社会主义精神文明建设的任务要求落实到城乡基层的重要载体和有力抓手。

Maoists for Trump? In China, Fans Admire His Nationalist Views – The New York Times  some Maoists say Mr. Trump also offers a model.


AnchorFOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *

Americans’ Views of China Improve as Economic Concerns Ease | Pew Research Center In case of conflict, most Americans back using force to defend Asian allies against China

Language Matters: How a Minor Mistranslation Can Affect US-China Relations – Lawfare Comment: Why it is always better to read the original Chinese version // Earlier this week, Reuters posted a short report quoting the official spokesman of China’s Ministry of National Defense as saying “there is no such thing as man-made islands” in response to a question about the South China Sea. This curious statement was quoted in the story’s headline, and the quote and the story were then republished by several other media outlets around the world. These stories led Sebastian Gorka, a top official on the U.S. National Security Council, to deride China’s statement by pointing out that the islands can be seen on Google Earth.  Gorka then went on to decry China’s “territorial expansionism.” But there is just one problem with this story and Gorka’s reaction to it.  It is all based on a minor but non-trivial mistranslation of the Chinese spokesman’s comments

Tracking China’s Coast Guard off Borneo | Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessels maintain a near-constant presence at Luconia Shoals off the coast of Malaysia’s Sarawak State. That uncomfortable fact does not garner much attention, either in the Malaysian or international press, but it speaks to Beijing’s determination to establish administrative control throughout the nine-dash line.

China blasts India over Dalai Lama visit to disputed area – The Washington Post Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that the visit by the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader “severely harms China’s interests and the China-India relationship.” Hua rejected arguments that the trip was solely religious in nature, and said China would lodge a formal protest with New Delhi.

China ‘abruptly cancels’ Australian delegation’s planned visit after human rights criticism – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) The letter from 11 nations — including Canada, Japan and Switzerland — reportedly urged China to investigate disturbing reports of torture against human rights lawyers.

South China Sea: Duterte orders Philippines military to occupy islands – CNN.com “We tried to be friends with everybody but we have to maintain our jurisdiction now, at least the areas under our control. And I have ordered the armed forces to occupy all these,” he said during a visit to a military camp on the Philippines island of Palawan. Duterte said he may raise the Philippines flag on Pagasa Island, also known as Thitu Island, on the country’s independence day on June 12.

The Myth of China’s Coal Imports from North Korea | 38 North Assuming the data is correct, it points to an intriguing fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce were not honest about China nearing the upper limits on North Korean coal imports set by the UNSCR 2321, since 2.67 million tons and 219 million USD are well below these limits. Unless China has other sources of coal imports from North Korea that were not accounted for in the customs data, China unilaterally adopted punitive measures on North Korea that were not required by the UN Security Council Resolution.

Thailand to buy more Chinese tanks, reportedly for $58M-DefenseNews According to Thai government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd, the cabinet has approved the acquisition of 10 more VT4 main battle tanks designed and built by China’s Norinco.

U.S. Navy Aid Unit Told to Leave Cambodia – The New York Times Cambodia has gone further than other Southeast Asian nations in courting China and the shift away from Washington has continued under U.S. President Donald Trump, despite Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s professed admiration for him. Relations have been strained by U.S. criticism of a legal change that made it easier for the government to ban political parties and by renewed Cambodian demands for the cancellation of $500 million in debts dating from the war era of the 1970s.

瓜达尔港曲折起航 Comment: Caijing cover story on the twists and turns in the development of the Gwadar Port

A “First” for the People’s Liberation Army: A Navy Admiral Becomes a Joint, Regional, Commander – Jamestown Among recent changes in the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) leadership, the appointment of Vice Admiral Yuan Yubai to Commander of the Southern Theater Command is particularly noteworthy (PLA Daily, January 23). Yuan is the first and only non-Army officer ever to command a Military Region (MR) or Theater Command (TC), one of the five newly formed joint headquarters that replaced the seven Military Regions that had existed since the mid-1980s.

中共中央党校 – 学习时报网_军队严肃党内政治生活必须始终坚持政治建军原则 来源:学习时报    作者:吴社洲


AnchorHONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN *

Hong Kong Students Call for Territory’s Independence From China – The New York Times It was for this reason that Mr. Lau and 12 other students at Hong Kong University called in the latest issue of the student magazine Undergrad for Hong Kong to declare independence in 2047. In their manifesto, which was released online on Sunday, they cited the Chinese government’s resistance to allowing greater democracy.

Reporters Without Borders Picks Taiwan for Asian Bureau – The New York Times Reporters Without Borders, which advocates press freedom, announced on Thursday that it would open its first Asian bureau in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, rather than in its initial choice, Hong Kong, which is increasingly under China’s sway.


AnchorTECH AND MEDIA *

Amazon and Facebook Hit Unexpected Obstacle in India: China – WSJ joining the battle for India’s internet newcomers are China’s tech titans—including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (e-commerce), Tencent Holdings Ltd. (social networking) and Didi Chuxing Technology Co. (ride-hailing)—all of which are providing muscle to their Indian counterparts.

Mounting Costs Pressure China’s Entertainment Industry – Caixin Global Often, the cost of producing a series is pushed up by massive TV-star paychecks. In late 2016, it was revealed that lead actors Huo Jianhua and Zhou Xun in the upcoming historical drama Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace were being paid a total of more than 150 million yuan to appear in the series. Ruyi producer Huang Lan publicly defended the actors’ “astronomical” pay, saying it was “value for the money.”

Troubled Chinese Giant LeEco Said to Delay Paying U.S. Employees – Bloomberg LeEco’s U.S. employees are normally paid on the 15th and last day of every month, but the company has told employees that March 31 paychecks would be delayed until April 4, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private matters. LeEco told employees in the U.S. the delay was due to issues with moving money from China, according to one of the people.


AnchorSOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *

Your womb, my history | Chublic Opinion Like a vehicle losing control, a recent debate about legalizing surrogacy suddenly swerved and crashed into the carefully guarded space of post-1949 Chinese history, creating an opening that competing camps of online commentary vied to control.

New Chinese Immigrants Are Different From Chinese Americans And Proud Of It | The Huffington Post Professor Frank Wu, the chairman, recently wrote an article titled “Private Note To Asian-American Activists About New Arrivals,” which ran in The Huffington Post. In light of the reserve and temperance conferred on committee members by their sterling educations and social standing, I shall eschew anything like the emotive rebuttal that Wu’s very un-private note provokes.  The note’s profound misunderstanding of Chinese immigrants to the U.S. since 1980 demonstrates a condescension that establishes a neon distinction between “us” and “them” — the incumbent Chinese-American elite and hordes of politically unenlightened diaspora upstarts.


AnchorENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH *

NSBO April 2017, Healthcare on Vimeo NSBO’s Duncan Wrigley explains who benefits from the 13th Five Year Plan for Healthcare

China is about to change the way it uses a last-resort antibiotic for the better—but it’ll probably still be bad for humans — Quartz As part of its efforts against antibiotic overuse, a global problem that has caused some bacteria to become resistant to drugs, China will entirely stop using the drug in animal feed from the end of this month (April 30).


AnchorEDUCATION *

Prestigious Chinese university to open campus in Oxford despite ideological crackdown at home | South China Morning Post Peking University expects business school branch will strengthen its international reputation, teaching and research capabilities

Peking University Calls Out Fake Affiliates | Sixth Tone Peking University, one of the top academic institutions in China, exposed 124 fake schools on Tuesday, saying that the imposters have no association with the university even though their names suggest otherwise.


AnchorBEIJING *

十三陵思陵烛台“失踪”近一年后官方承认被盗,4名处级干部免职 Comment: Theft of artifacts from the Ming Tombs outside Beijing hidden for a year, 4 officials disciplined

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