The Sinocism China Newsletter 05.08.17

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Just links today.

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *

1. Taiwan arms deal in limbo as Trump courts China – The Washington Post – Josh Rogin The relatively small sale to Taiwan — worth just more than $1 billion — was set to go in late 2016, but the Obama administration never pulled the trigger. After some early pro-Taiwan signals from President Trump, including a phone call with its president, most Taiwan watchers expected the new administration to move the package forward quickly. Now, administration and congressional officials say, the deal is stalled due to a lack of administration consensus and the fear that angering Beijing could complicate Trump’s top Asia priority: solving the North Korean crisis. Those inside the government and on Capitol Hill who favor the sale say the administration risks giving in to China on one of its top priorities in exchange for nothing concrete, while putting the safety of the island democracy in increased danger. //  Comment: Is President Trump subordinating every other issue in the US-China relationship to the North Korean one, giving Beijing both more leverage than they should have as well as leeway on many other challenging and pressing issues in the relationship? 

2. Liberal son of war refugees projected to win S. Korea vote Moon’s nearest rival is a moderate, Ahn Cheol-soo. But Moon has established a growing lead in recent polls. He has said that if elected, he’ll build a more assertive South Korea, improve ties with North Korea and review the contentious deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system in the South. // Comment: Problematic for US policy if he wins. Trump’s comments blasting the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement and saying Seoul should pay for THAAAD were not constructive contributions to US goals or to the idea of strategic coherence in the Trump administration’s approach to the North Korea issue

Related: China’s Response to North Korea’s Criticism Signals Fraying Ties, Analysts Say – Caixin Global Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang on Thursday gave an official response to the KCNA commentary, insisting that China “has been assessing and dealing with the relevant issue based on its own merits in an objective and impartial manner.” He also reiterated China’s commitment to a nuclear-free peninsula. The People’s Daily’s overseas edition rebutted the criticism more strongly by calling North Korea “stubborn” in its determination to develop nuclear weapons. “Just like a person poisoned by a bewitching drug, you can no longer talk to him with reason,” the paper wrote in its public account on the popular WeChat instant messaging platform. “Now it has drawn a line with nuclear weapons. Whoever is opposed to its nuclear program becomes its enemy,” the People’s Daily said. “If that’s the case, North Korea has no friends, it takes the world as enemy in order to have nuclear weapons.”

Related: Chinese-North Korean Venture Shows How Much Sanctions Can Miss – WSJ State-owned Chinese firm and a blacklisted North Korean company had a partnership for nearly a decade to mine for minerals useful in missile production; Chinese firm says it never did much

Related: China urged U.S. to fire Pacific Command chief Harris in return for pressure on North Korea | The Japan Times Comment: Single source from Kyodo so take with large grain of salt but if true it is remarkable. Adm. Harris regularly criticized in Party media, and his Japanese heritage almost always mentioned  //  The Chinese leadership headed by President Xi Jinping made the request, through its ambassador in the United States, to dismiss Adm. Harry Harris, known as a hard-liner on China, including with respect to the South China Sea issue, the source said. China’s envoy to the United States, Cui Tiankai, conveyed the request to the U.S. side, to coincide with the first face-to-face, two-day meeting between President Donald Trump and Xi in Florida from April 6, but the Trump administration likely rejected it, the source said.

3. China Focus: China issues five-year reform plan on cultural industry – Xinhua China is planning to develop its cultural industry into a pillar of the national economy by 2020 by upgrading its industrial structure, fostering major brands and boosting consumption, according to a government blueprint made public Sunday. Issued by the general offices of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council, the outline for the 13th five-year program (2016-2020) period on cultural development and reform specifies the guiding principles, major goals, key projects, as well as policy supports for future cultural reforms. 中共中央办公厅 国务院办公厅印发《国家“十三五”时期文化发展改革规划纲要》

Related: China to boost development of online media – Xinhua Issued by the general offices of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council, the outline for the 13th five-year program (2016-2020) on cultural development and reform vowed to gradually set up a modern communication system by 2020. As a major project to “build public opinion fronts” online, efforts will be made to improve the communication abilities of major news websites and online radio and TV stations and develop a system for communication on the mobile Internet.”

Related: China to develop culture into pillar industry by 2020 – People’s Daily Online China vowed to lower the threshold for private capital to access the sector and said it will boost and guide development of non-public cultural companies and support medium-, small- and micro-sized cultural enterprises that are innovative or specialized. The country will develop a new Internet-based cultural market, according to the document. State-owned cultural enterprises are encouraged to use the capital market to grow stronger if conditions allow, it said, adding that asset securitization will be promoted in the industry.  //  Comment: But very limited access for foreign capital. A reminder that the US should scrap BIT talks with China unless Beijing agrees to allow investment into its massive and growing “cultural industry”

Related: China to further tighten its internet controls | Reuters Xi has made China’s “cyber sovereignty” a top priority in his sweeping campaign to bolster security. He has also reasserted the ruling Communist Party’s role in limiting and guiding online discussion. The five-year cultural development and reform plan released by the party and State Council, or Cabinet, calls for a “perfecting” of laws and rules related to the internet. That includes a qualification system for people working in online news, according to the plan, carried by the official Xinhua news agency.

Related: China to introduce dual-management on think tanks – Xinhua The guideline, issued by nine ministerial-level departments including the Ministry of Civil Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Security, stipulates that think tanks operating in the mainland possess legal person status, and should be run by domestic social organizations. Think tanks should carry out activities for the purpose of serving the Party and government decision-making, the guideline said. 关于社会智库健康发展的若干意见 

4. China begins trial of rights lawyer for ‘subversion of state power’ | Reuters China began the trial of rights lawyer Xie Yang for “subversion of state power” and “disrupting court order” on Monday, a city court said on social media, a case that has drawn international concern amid claims Xie was tortured in jail.

Related: Xie Yang confesses to subversion, denies torture claims – China Daily Xie Yang, 45, showed remorse for his crimes at Changsha Intermediate People’s Court on Monday morning and also denied claims that he was tortured while in police detention. “What I did went against my identity as a lawyer. These actions tainted the image of the country and the Communist Party (of China), and had a very negative effect,” he said. “I hope the judicial authorities can give me an opportunity to correct my mistakes and start anew.”

Related: AP: China lawyer’s family says US helped them flee Within minutes, Chen feared, she and her two daughters would be escorted back to China, where her husband, the prominent rights lawyer Xie Yang, was held on a charge of inciting subversion — and where punishment for attempting to flee surely awaited her. After weeks on the run, Chen was exhausted, and so was her luck. A Christian, she prayed: “Don’t desert us now, not like this.” Help arrived, from America. U.S. Embassy officials managed to enter the facility just in time to whisk Chen and her daughters out a back door. The Chinese agents outside soon realized what had happened and pursued them, finally meeting in a standoff at the Bangkok airport where Chinese, Thai and U.S. officials heatedly argued over custody of the family. //  Comment: US pressure also helped Sandy Phan-Gillis

Related: China Detains Lawyer Who Detailed Torture of Client – China Digital Times (CDT) According to reports, rights lawyer Chen Jiangang (陈建刚) was detained by state security agents this week while on vacation with family and friends in Yunnan. Chen had helped his former client Xie Yang (谢阳) expose accounts of torture inflicted on him while under detention amid the 2015 “Black Friday” or “709″ crackdown—claims that were dismissed as “fake news” in Chinese state media.

Related: U.N. denounces China crackdown on lawyers, seeks release | Reuters “We are dismayed by this continuing pattern of harassment of lawyers, through continued detention, without full due process guarantees and with alleged exposure to ill-treatment and coercion into self-incrimination,” she said.

5. Trump Looms as Kushner Companies Courts Investors in China – The New York Times Kushner Companies’ China roadshow, promoting $500,000 investments in New Jersey real estate as the path to a residency card in the United States, moved to Shanghai on Sunday after a similar pitch on Saturday in Beijing. Security was tighter in Shanghai than it had been in Beijing, where reporters for The New York Times and The Washington Post briefly attended the event before being kicked out.

Related: In a Beijing ballroom, Kushner family pushes $500,000 ‘investor visa’ to wealthy Chinese – The Washington Post Journalists were initially seated at the back of the ballroom, but as the presentations got underway, a public-relations representative asked The Washington Post to leave, saying the presence of foreign reporters threatened the “stability” of the event. At one point, organizers grabbed a reporter’s phone and backpack to try to force that person to leave. Later, as investors started leaving the ballroom, organizers physically surrounded attendees to prevent them from giving interviews. Asked why reporters were asked to leave, a PR person who declined to identify herself said simply, “This is not the story we want.”

Related: China pitch by Kushner sister renews controversy over visa program for wealthy – The Washington Post The failure to overhaul the program did not lead Congress to suspend it. Instead, with the program set to expire, Congress tucked a program extension into a spending bill that passed Congress on Thursday. The overall measure was signed by Trump on Friday.

6. China Investigators Said to Question More Insurance Officials – Bloomberg The officials, including former China Insurance Regulatory Commission Chairman Xiang’s secretary Zhu Yanhui, who is also deputy head of the agency’s General Office, were interviewed after China’s anti-graft agency announced Xiang’s probe last month, the person said. The other official is He Hao, a deputy at the regulator’s property insurance department, the person said, declining to be named as the investigation is still ongoing.

Related:  Regulator in China Takes Aim at Anbang Insurance Group – The New York Times A Chinese regulator announced on Friday that it had taken disciplinary measures against the Anbang Insurance Group, a financial behemoth that has tried to invest tens of billions of dollars overseas, for the improper sale of two investment products. The moves by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission come against a backdrop of broader worries about the country’s financial system, in addition to ones about the insurance industry. President Xi Jinping told Politburo members last month that China should place a strong emphasis on financial stability as a pillar of a strong economy, Xinhua, the state-run news agency, reported.  //  Comment: Strong rumors that Chairman Wu Xiaohui detained

Related: 保监会整治乱象不手软:亮剑8大乱象 扎紧监管制度笼子 -保险频道-和讯网 记者从业内人士处得知,目前,监管部门的集中整治路线图已经规划出炉,细至对股东、股权、资本金的穿透性审查。对“偿二代”的完善,也将从修改完善保险公司投资多层嵌套以及交叉性金融产品的偿付能力监管标准等细处入手  //Comment: China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) to start comprehensive investigation into the insurance sector

7. Reading between the lines of Xi Jinping’s political philosophy | South China Morning Post President Xi Jinping’s political philosophy is now “basically complete”, according to his chief of staff, offering the latest insight into how the Communist Party is likely to go about enshrining the leader’s ideological legacy. Li Zhanshu, head of the party’s Central Committee General Office, delivered the message in an internal speech in February 中办主任: 习近平系列讲话已经初步形成了完整的理论体系  // Comment: So what will be written in the Party constitution? XI’s theory of governance?

8. China, Japan finance ministers agree on deepening cooperation at sixth dialogue – Xinhua The finance ministers of China and Japan exchanged views on deepening cooperation at the Sixth China-Japan Finance Dialogue here on Saturday. Xiao Jie, China’s minister of finance, and Taro Aso, Japan’s deputy prime minister and minister of finance, co-chaired the dialogue, with senior officials from finance ministries and central banks of both countries attending.  //  Comment: Looks to have skipped the initial meeting because the South Koreans were there, spurring all sorts of rumors in an already twitchy market, but went to the bilateral with Japan?


 

BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *

Nordea-China: Mixed data for April April has painted a mixed picture of the economy. While FX reserves delivered good news, disappointing trade growth could be the start of a trend. This suggests that the underlying demand is not rock solid and risk remains large

China’s April FX reserves rise, beating market expectations | Reuters Reserves rose $21 billion in April to $3.03 trillion, compared with an increase of $3.96 billion in March to $3.009 trillion. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange said in a statement that the reserves rose due to basically balanced foreign exchange supply and demand and the appreciation of currencies against the dollar.

China forex chief says no intention of competitive currency devaluation | Reuters In a weekend piece in the Chinese magazine Modern Bankers, Pan Gongsheng said the People’s Bank of China’s supplying of liquidity to the market was to prevent excessive fluctuations of the exchange rate and prevent a “herd effect”, to maintain market stability.

Investors Squirm as Regulators Narrow Bank Investment Channels – Caixin Global China’s stock and bond markets are heading down a bumpy road as uncertainties mount over how far regulators will go to limit bank investment risk. Many banks have apparently been heeding recent regulatory directives by cutting back or at least curbing growth tied to investments in other banks, bond and stock markets through non-bank asset managers.

Snap AV: The x stages of Chinese deleveraging | FT Alphaville we believe that deleverage has probably come to the second stage. In our view, the first stage was aimed at cracking down policy arbitrage by financial institutions, i.e., positive carry with capital gains on the expectation that monetary easing will continue. This stage started from July 2016, seen from higher value-weighted rates from PBoC, higher levels of repo and higher volatility. The second stage of deleverage is about coordinated regulatory work aimed at cracking down regulation arbitrage, i.e., building up leverage via asset management products, regulated by different regulators in a relatively isolated manner

Fraud, Threats and Ferrari Fights in China Embezzlement Suit – Bloomberg Some of the rarest cars in the world are at the heart of a London lawsuit embroiling an associate of one of China’s wealthiest men. Zhao Hua Chen, who works with Chinese aluminum billionaire Zhongtian Liu, has accused Eric Po Chi Shen of buying real estate, rare red diamonds and super cars with money he embezzled while acting as his financial adviser, according to court documents filed in London’s High Court.

Land-Buying Spree Continues Despite Government Stranglehold on Home Purchases – Caixin Global Chinese property developers have snapped up more land this year, defying tightened government policies to curb rising home prices, as large companies prepare to diversify their offerings beyond houses, state media reported Friday.

World Bank warns of China debt risk from backdoor local borrowing – FT $$ The presentation accompanied a report on World Bank loans to the large inland province of Hunan and the megacity of Chongqing. The loans involved consultation and monitoring of local finances in those areas.  Two people briefed on the World Bank’s findings said the research on Hunan and Chongqing was unusual, as most local officials were not willing to open their books to international officials — or even to their superiors. They added that efforts to expand the Hunan provincial-level research to include individual counties had been rebuffed

With maiden jet flight, China enters dog-fight with Boeing, Airbus | Reuters China’s home-grown C919 passenger jet completed its long-delayed maiden flight on Friday, a major first step for Beijing as it looks to raise its profile in the global aviation market and boost high-tech manufacturing at home.

Hopes Corroding for 44 Billion Yuan Owed to Banks by Insolvent Dalian Steelmaker – Caixin Global Several bondholders told Caixin they had concerns that the local government had intervened in Dongbei’s bankruptcy restructuring process, and the lawful interests of creditors may have been undermined.


 

POLITICS AND LAW *

With Help of US Private Eye, Chasing Down Corrupt Chinese Officials in Southern California | 高大伟 David Cowhig’s Translation Blog According to a news report in the Chinese-language Overseas Chinese Daily Qiaobao datelined Los Angeles May 1, 2017,  Chinese anti corruption “fox hunting” squad has used the services of at least one US detective starting several years ago to track down corrupt officials.  The detective they hired commented in an anonymous interview that the Chinese corruption fighter seem to be corrupt themselves.  They only work two days a week and often go to Las Vegas to gamble.  One of the corrupt official chasers even asked him how to best smuggle money out of China to the USA.

Party sets up special bureau for Xinjiang – Global Times The Communist Party of China  Central Committee’s United Front Work Department has set up a new bureau for Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, the department said Thursday. The new bureau is primarily in charge of analyzing Xinjiang’s situation and policies, and will assist in coordinating and supervising the implementation of the central government’s decisions on the region, according to statement released on the department’s WeChat account on Thursday.

NPC Standing Committee Schedules Major Legislations for 2017 – NPC Observer According to the 2017 legislative plan, a total of 23 legislative projects are tentatively scheduled (as the plan is subject to change) for the remaining four NPCSC sessions this year, with dozens more listed as preparatory projects. Among them, there is certainly no lack of blockbuster legislations, whether relating to China’s judicial reform, anti-corruption drive, environmental protection, or economic and social development in general

妄议中央大政方针行为的证据收集与运用 作者:罗东川等(中纪委案件审理室) //  Comment: CCDI official on evidence collection and use in pursuing case of “improper discussion of the policies of the Central Party”

Elite promotion under Xi Jinping: “Hardship experience makes better leaders” | Brookings Institution Governance experience in remote hardship regions is emerging as a common feature among China’s most prominent political leaders. This is evidenced by the fact that Li Zhanshu, Zhao Leji, Hu Chunhua, and Chen Min’er are all among only a handful of leading candidates for the next PSC—the most powerful governing body in the CCP. Although these leaders have traversed a range of career trajectories, they each have benefited professionally from serving in poor, remote provinces.

Sinica Podcast: Bill Bishop on what it takes to be a good China-watcher Kaiser and Bill sat down at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., on April 6 to record this podcast and discuss how China-watching has changed over the years

Why China’s aerospace experts have become Xi Jinping’s new political elite | South China Morning Post Four former aerospace engineers are now provincial governors

Hubei Provincial Social Credit Information Management Regulations translation

China Puts Body Cameras on Troubled Security Force – WSJ The chengguan are managed directly by cities rather than the Ministry of Public Security, which manages the police, making them a natural priority for a government trying to centralize control over law and order. “ ‘Chengguan beating people’ is practically a part of everyday vocabulary,” said a commentary posted to the website of the state-run Sichuan Daily newspaper. “Recording an entire enforcement action is not just being responsible to the masses, it’s also being responsible to the chengguan themselves.”

国土部排查不动产登记“中梗阻”–时政–人民网 近日,国土资源部印发《关于全面排查不动产登记“中梗阻”问题的通知》,要求在全国全面排查不动产登记“中梗阻”问题。 //  Comment: real estate registration system still not fully implemented. Ministry of Land and Resources issues notice to inspect “obstructions”


 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *

National Association of Scholars-Outsourced to China: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education Since 2004, the Chinese government has planted Confucius Institutes that offer Chinese language and culture courses at colleges and universities around the world—including more than 100 in the United States.These Institutes avoid Chinese political history and human rights abuses, portray Taiwan and Tibet as undisputed territories of China, and educate a generation of American students to know nothing more of China than the regime’s official history. This is a study of the 12 Confucius Institutes in New York and New Jersey. It examines China’s soft power influence through American higher education, and reveals new data on China’s funding, hiring, and academic freedom policies.

On Campuses Far From China, Still Under Beijing’s Watchful Eye – The New York Times Li Fengzhi, a longtime employee of the Chinese Ministry of State Security who came to the United States in 2003 as a graduate student at the University of Denver, said that the Chinese government did not see the group so much as a spying operation, but rather as a propaganda and “information collection organization.” Mr. Li eventually defected and was debriefed by F.B.I. counterintelligence agents about the group’s activities.

Chinoiresie | LRP #9 – Feng Chongyi: Research Is Not a Dinner Party Sydney academic Feng Chongyi, whose detention in Guangzhou created international headlines, warns that his experience is designed to intimidate academics researching topics deemed sensitive by Beijing. He describes heightened surveillance by China’s state security apparatus and increasing curbs on his research into human rights lawyers. Feng, who is still a Chinese citizen and Communist Party member, attributes his release to the fortuitous timing of Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Australia, combined with media attention and a high-profile campaign. He firmly rejects the notion that backroom negotiations were instrumental in securing his release. Feng is issuing a warning that China’s influence risks influencing academic and press freedom in Australia.

China capitulationism – What’s missing from Hugh White’s China calculus – Policy Forum – Clive Hamilton White’s argument is notable for what it avoids as well as for what it asserts. What it is most determined to avoid is any comment on what kind of Australia we would live in if China were allowed to dominate in the way he believes it inevitably will. Isn’t this the most important question of them all? Yet whenever he gets close to issues like democracy, human rights and the rule of law, White retreats into his cloud of unknowing. If we are to decide how we really feel about living in a world dominated by China ‘we need to learn a lot more’. Before making a judgement we need to find out ‘what China wants’. It is at this point that White’s argument becomes truly disturbing, descending into a kind of post-modern moral relativism in which one set of values is as good as the next.

We need to talk about China – Policy Forum We need to confront the China challenge, however uncomfortable it makes us: Hugh White responds to Clive Hamilton

Chinese deals in Malaysia under scrutiny – The Straits Times China’s growing involvement in Malaysia has been praised and panned in recent years. The Sunday Times looks at how its widening presence is drawing increasing attention in the first of a two-part series. Tomorrow, why the promise of new ports in Malaysia with help from China may not materialise

Edward Lin Admits to Disclosing Classified Information, Not to Espionage The new deal allows Lin to plead not guilty to military espionage charges but guilty to charges that include failing to report foreign contacts, mishandling classified information and disclosing secret information to a female friend working for a Taiwanese political party in Washington, D.C. and an undercover FBI agent posing as an employee of Taiwan’s ministry of foreign affairs

China’s military develops smartphone software that snitches on soldiers leaking sensitive information – Global Times The Chinese military is developing smartphone surveillance software that automatically alerts authorities if a soldier leaks sensitive information or uses their handset devices during blackout times. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Daily reported on Sunday that the PLA Rocket Force introduced the mobile phone security platform to better regulate smart phone use in the military.

Canadian woman’s sister and lawyer speak about her Beijing arrest – The Globe and Mail It was only the next day at 9 p.m. that Ms. Sun, a passionate recent convert to Falun Gong, was brought to Beijing’s No. 1 detention centre and the handcuffs were removed. Ever since, Ms. Sun has been kept in infamous cell 414. Her incarceration for practising religion in China has seized Ottawa’s attention, after her case was raised in Parliament last week, making her the latest person whose treatment raises questions about abuses in the Chinese justice system.

As Philippines joins China to fight illegal gambling, more scrutiny of casinos likely | Reuters The coordinated crackdown comes amid warming ties between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte, who has made illegal gambling the third front in his all-out war on crime, after drugs and corruption.

Duterte to finalize China deals in second trip to Beijing | ABS-CBN News President Rodrigo Duterte hopes to “cement” China’s trade and investment pledged during his second visit to Beijing this month, one of his economic managers said Monday. Rebuilding the country’s infrastructure will be high on Duterte’s agenda when he attends the Belt and Road Forum next week, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.

Duterte’s China Deals, Dissected | Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism In this analytical essay, PCIJ fellow Kenneth Cardenas takes a closer look at the multibillion-dollar deals signed during President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s state visit to China in October 2016 and raises questions about transparency, due diligence, and the role of money in the current administration.

China conducts training for Philippine Coast Guard officials | Jane’s 360 Beijing is hosting a group of 20 Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) officials at the China Maritime Police Academy in Ningbo for a ten-day training programme. The activities, which run from 4 May to 15 May, include training in “a variety of areas, including maritime expressions and communication, ship handling and boarding”

南海舰队演习遭外机抵近侦察 “飞豹”出击驱离外机_网易新闻 Comment: official reports that Chinese fighters chased off a foreign jet surveilling recent South China Sea exercises

人民要论:携手建构全球反恐战略体系–理论-人民网 尤其要反对在反恐问题上搞双重标准,“合则用、不合则弃”的做法后患无穷。应站在人类社会共同安全和利益的高度,以公正合理为原则,维护国际法治权威,确立公平公正的全球反恐治理规则。在联合国的主导下,积极倡导不同国家之间、不同文明之间的协商对话,寻求从源头上根除恐怖主义这一人类公害,为人类社会的昌明进步、繁荣稳定提供有效保障。(作者分别为中国人民公安大学副校长、教授,侦查与反恐怖学院副院长、教授) //  Vice President, professor at China Public Security University call in 5.9 People’s Daily for building a global anti-terror system


 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN *

Details revealed of massive Hong Kong police operation to protect visiting Chinese leaders | South China Morning Post About 10,000 officers will be deployed to protect officials, including President Xi Jinping, during the 20th anniversary of the 1997 handover

Civilian group from mainland China to take more prominent role in cross-strait affairs | South China Morning Post All China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots might lead body on behalf of Beijing to reach out to Taiwanese youth

Beijing furious after two fishermen injured | South China Morning Post Taiwan coastguard fires warning volley of rubber bullets at trespassing mainland fishing vessel that failed to stop in island’s waters off Penghu

Taiwan activists appeal to China not to politicize U.N. health meeting | Reuters Self-ruled Taiwan wants to attend the May 22-31 annual meeting of the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, but has accused Beijing of obstructing its efforts to secure an invitation.  //  Comment: “self-ruled”?


 

TECH AND MEDIA *

China’s Tencent ‘deeply sorry’ after Russia blocks WeChat; but not a move against China | South China Morning Post Chinese internet giant Tencent said on Saturday it was “deeply sorry” that its social media app WeChat had been blocked in Russia, adding it was in touch with authorities to try to resolve the issue.

China’s Kai-fu Lee on Why the U.S. Could Fall Behind in AI — The Information $$ While the U.S. may be grabbing all the AI-related headlines with Amazon’s Alexa and Alphabet’s Google Assistant, Mr. Lee said China leads in areas like facial verification, thanks to more welcoming government regulators and greater social acceptance. “In China, the public security bureau manages a huge database that’s made available through an API for face verification,” he said. One of his portfolio companies, Face++, now valued at about a billion dollars, can tap into the national database to check identities. “In China, people don’t mind as much so-called cameras everywhere,” he said

Wanda Bets $1 Billion to Turn Legendary Entertainment Into Media Giant | Variety In an exclusive interview with Variety, Jack Gao — the company’s overseas point man — lays out Wanda’s typically aggressive vision for rebooting Legendary and transforming it into a global media player.

A Chinese revolution in karaoke is making it much better for introverts — Quartz Developed by a Shenzhen-based company called Tosing, the “karaoke magic machine” is a seemingly simple combination of microphone and loudspeaker. When connected via bluetooth to a computer or a smartphone, it’s possible to both play music via the wireless mic and sing along with help from its echo function—anywhere.


 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *

The Culture of sàng: a Generation Lying-down? | China Buzz Report – Elephant Room: Make China Relatable The character 丧 is a polyphone in mandarin Chinese. When it is pronounced sāng, it loosely translates to funeral or mourning. When as sàng, it could be referring to either losing certain things or people (“丧失”), or a conglomeration of negative emotions such as feeling depressed, angry, disappointed and vexed. And the sàng culture we are talking about here really takes both meanings: it is, very vaguely, the idea that you’ve lost something and are feeling horrible about it.


EDUCATION *

Peking University purchase strengthens Oxford’s ties to foreign elite – The Oxford Student Students from the UK and other European countries will be the main targets of the new Peking University HSBC Business School Oxford Campus.


 

BEIJING *

Beijing housing loans fall 20 percent as curbs mount, market cools | Reuters The drop follows unprecedented tough restrictions Beijing announced in March to fight soaring property prices, including tighter mortgage checks and a crackdown on home buyers who file for divorce to skirt second-home purchase rules.


 

JOBS AND EVENTS *

On the Road to the 19th Party Congress: Elite Politics in China under Xi Jinping | Center for Strategic and International Studies Wednesday, May 17, 2017 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm, DC, with Chris Johnson, Dr. Joe Fewsmith and yours truly

 

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