Beijing Unsure How To Lobby DC; "Wei" In Weibo Rhymes With Gay; China Pushing EU Splittism?; National Security Day, There is A Party In Your Boardroom

Happy Monday. This story from Tom Mitchell of the Financial Times stood out--China’s Xi Jinping says he is opposed to life-long rule - FT $$:

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said that he is “personally opposed” to life-long rule, adding that foreign observers have “misinterpreted” a recent constitutional amendment that revoked the two-term limit on the presidency. 

Mr Xi expressed his views at three recent meetings with foreign dignitaries and Chinese officials, according to people who either attended the meetings or were briefed on the discussions. 

They added that Mr Xi justified the decision in terms of needing to align the country’s three top government and Communist party jobs. Mr Xi’s two more powerful posts — party general secretary and chairmanship of the party’s Central Military Commission — are not subject to term limits. 

When I lived in Beijing I sometimes met with the foreign VIPs who were making the rounds of Zhongnanhai. It was always fascinating to hear the messages they were getting as they were usually quite consistent and clearly part of an intentional messaging campaign. Meetings with Xi are now much harder to get, so for him to take these meetings and make these comments may be a sign he understands he has a PR problem around the term limits removal. 

Did anyone dare to ask why he didn't put a two-term limit on the General Secretary and CMC chair roles?

It is hard to believe it has already been six months since the newsletter switched to a paid model. It feels great to have this as a sustainable business while relying on support from so many individuals. I am beholden to all of you but not to any one entity, government or investor, and I think that is increasingly important in the current environment. I will work harder to live up to your expectations.

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The Essential Eight

1. Beijing Unsure How To Lobby DC

The old methods are not working as many of the once connected interlocutors are not respected inside the Trump Administration. This issue along with the fact that there are no happy fixes for what look to be increasingly intractable structural issues in the US-China relationship are what make me very pessimistic that Wang Qishan can somehow "fix" US-China ties.

Is Trump Serious About Trade War? China’s Leaders Hunt for Answers - The New York Times:

Governing with a new mandate since engineering the removal of presidential term limits last month, Mr. Xi has personally taken control of decision-making in the trade standoff, according to analysts and political insiders with ties to the leadership. His unquestioned authority, some say, has made it more difficult for the party apparatus to deliver news that contradicts him.

“When you have this kind of regime, you want to report the good story,” said Tao Jingzhou, a managing partner at the global law firm Dechert who deals with senior Chinese officials. “I have the impression the leadership is not fully briefed about the seriousness of the atmosphere against China in the U.S. establishment.”..

Part of the problem is that the leadership’s usual contacts in the United States — often establishment figures with backgrounds in international finance and diplomacy — have been largely sidelined by Mr. Trump.

“The people with whom Chinese officials are familiar in Washington are mainly the enemies of Trump,” said Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing. “Trump hates those people.”

China caught off guard by unpredictable Trump - FT $$:

Chinese officials said the limited reforms Mr Xi outlined at Bo’ao were not in response to US pressure. They also stressed that bilateral trade talks between Beijing and Washington could not be held under the shadow of Mr Trump’s latest threat.

“The Chinese made it clear that as far as they are concerned, on trade the ball is now back in Trump’s court,” said one person who attended a meeting between Mr Xi and foreign dignitaries at the Bo’ao forum.

In private, Chinese officials say Mr Xi’s iron grip on power will help them weather any trade war with the US, especially with Mr Trump’s mounting political troubles at home. In the same meeting at which Mr Lou likened China and the US to a married couple, other Chinese officials in attendance described Mr Trump as a vulnerable adversary.

“They said that Trump was a gift to China because he is a flawed individual and weak politically,” said one person briefed on the meeting. “It would be much more difficult if China had to deal with a US president with broad support and a strategic vision.” 

The Trump administration and its proxies are arguing that Beijing will cave in the face of a trade war and that in fact we are already seeing signs of concessions. One of the main arguments of that camp appears to be that the PRC economy is too weak and the CCP's hold on power too fragile to handle any significant shocks from a trade war. I am skeptical of that argument, though certainly admit I could be overly susceptible to CCP propaganda, as I am sure some of the Trumpers would argue.

I have always been wary of the idea that the Chinese economy was on the brink and I believe most foreigners dramatically underestimate the amount of pain the CCP is willing to absorb and to inflict on the PRC citizens, the efficacy of its multi-layered social control system that it has little restraint in deploying, and the depth of real and manufactured nationalism that can be harnessed to Ah Q-like turn a trade war setback into a jingoistic victory. 

The Trump Administration is broadly correct in its diagnoses of the problems with the US-China relationship but the treatment will likely involve a long and painful battle for many US interests. Are Trump and his team ready for that?

To be fair, Trump can be confusing even to his staffers, like when he contradicts the Treasury on currency manipulation-Trump Declines to Label China a Currency Manipulator as Trade War Brews - The New York Times:

The Treasury Department, in its biannual currency exchange report, scolded China for its lack of progress in reducing the bilateral trade deficit with the United States, but did not find that it was improperly devaluing its currency, known as the renminbi.

“Treasury is strongly concerned by the lack of progress by China in correcting the bilateral trade imbalance and urges China to create a more level and reciprocal playing field for American workers and firms,” the report said.

But then he tweeted this a few hours later:

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

Russia and China are playing the Currency Devaluation game as the U.S. keeps raising interest rates. Not acceptable!

April 16, 2018
Trump’s trade war with China is just his opening gambit | This Week In Asia | South China Morning Post - Wang Xiangwei:

Over the past week, the Chinese state media has launched an intense campaign to blast Trump and his tariff decision, saying that the Chinese will not be cowered and will retaliate in kind without hesitation.

But some of the nationalistic language has become worrisome. Lining up officials and economists to condemn Trump’s unilateral approaches and mounting a robust defence of China’s positions is one thing. But comparing the preparations for a trade war to those for a real war to fan the nationalistic sentiment is unhelpful.

The nationalistic language is likely a precursor to the next leg down. Since China can not match the next $100 Billion in tariffs dollar for dollar a logical response would be to inflict pain one on or more marquee US firms with large operations in the PRC. 


2. More China Investment Restrictions Coming

Go big or go home on China investment restrictions - POLITICO:

In a meeting with White House trade adviser Peter Navarro and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last Wednesday, the trade chief voiced support for an approach that would potentially block Chinese investments in the U.S. services sector or make it easier to prohibit deals with Chinese investors in certain sectors where there are limits on foreign ownership, said two sources briefed on the meeting.

Those options would be significantly harsher than the administration’s initial list of potential restrictions, which looked at blocking Chinese entities from investing only in certain high-tech U.S. manufacturing sectors.

“Bob wants to have the strongest negotiating position as possible,” said one source briefed on the plans.

China Delays Deal Reviews as U.S. Trade Frictions Build - WSJ $$:

Worried that Beijing would scuttle the deal, Qualcomm Chief Executive Steve Mollenkopf raised the issue in a March 27 meeting with China’s vice president, Wang Qishan, people with knowledge of the event said.

Mr. Wang sought to offer some assurances, the people said, telling Mr. Mollenkopf that regulators would review the deal through a “science-based process” and that politics would have nothing to do with it.

But people familiar with the matter say San Diego-based Qualcomm is facing resistance from China’s Commerce Ministry, which has indicated that it will likely seek more information from Qualcomm for the NXP deal.

Qualcomm to refile China antitrust application for $44 billion NXP takeover: Reuters:

The San Diego-based firm withdrew its earlier antitrust application on Saturday at the request of China’s commerce ministry, just days before the regulator’s April 17 deadline to decide on the transaction expires, the sources said.

Clinching the NXP takeover, the world’s biggest in the semiconductor sector, is crucial to Qualcomm, which is seeking to diversify its customer base and become the leading chip supplier to the fast-growing automotive market.

U.S. bans American companies from selling to Chinese phone maker ZTE - Reuters:

The U.S. Department of Commerce is banning American companies from selling components to leading Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp for seven years for violating the terms of a sanctions violation case, U.S. officials said on Monday.

The denial order (PDF


3. National Security Education Day

The West increasingly fears Reds under the bed and Beijing is increasingly paranoid about Laowai Spies...imagine the howls of racism from China if a Western country launched a nationwide education campaign against foreign spies who looked Chinese...

China launches website to report foreign spies - AFP:

China has stepped up its campaign against foreign espionage with a website in Mandarin and English encouraging people to report national security threats such as bids to "overthrow the socialist system".

The website, www.12339.gov.cn, launched by the Ministry of National Security on Sunday, also urges anyone to report attempts by Chinese nationals or foreigners to bribe state or military officials, instigate armed riots or incite ethnic separatism.

Potential problematic behaviour also includes foreigners meeting "any person within China who has conducted activities endangering state security or is strongly suspected of doing so" -- raising concerns that any interaction with dissidents would be frowned upon.

China urges workers in defense-related field to watch out for foreign spies - Global Times: 

The set of caricatures entitled "A 'friend' with a mask" tells the story of a foreign man who claims to be from a foreign non-governmental organization, manages to find a Chinese representative to promote "the value of workers in the West" in China. He bribed the Chinese representative to organize seminars, telling Chinese workers to defend their rights, to organize a union or express their needs through protests.

The caricatures, produced jointly by the Ministry of State Security, State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense and China Aerospace Science and Industry Cooperation (CASIC), were released to the public by CASIC on Sunday.

National security: Xi's thought at a glance - China Daily: 

National Security Awareness Day in China. Here are 12 quotes from President Xi Jinping to help you understand his outlook on overall national security.

Spies Like Us: National Security Hotline Receives 5,000 TIps in Fight Against Espionage | the Beijinger:

Set up in 2015, callers to the 12339 hotline are eligible to receive a cash reward of up to RMB 500,000 (USD 79,590) providing information that can lead to the arrest of a spy.

One such tip-off by a taxi driver who was suspicious of his foreign riders ended paying huge dividends when they were revealed to have backgrounds in espionage and "were intending to pry into China's military secrets using underground detection equipment," reported Beijing Youth Daily.

April 9, 2018 Ministry of Education opinion (教思政〔2018〕1号) on implementing the strengthening of "national security education" from primary through tertiary schools--教育部关于加强大中小学国家安全教育的实施意见 - 中华人民共和国教育部政府门户网站 

Sina's micro-site for National Security Education Day- 2018全民国家安全教育日_新浪 

Book of Xi's discourses on national security published - Xinhua:

The book features four themes and covers Xi's remarks on sticking to a holistic approach to national security; safeguarding national security in key fields; realizing common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security; and following the path of peaceful development.

It includes 450 pieces discourse extracts from over 180 documents, speeches, reports, instructions and congratulatory letters of Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

The discourses date from Nov. 15, 2012 to March 20, 2018.

《习近平关于总体国家安全观论述摘编》出版发行 


4. China Encouraging EU Splittism?

Europe’s new ‘Eastern bloc’ – Politico Europe:

Free from the shackles of Soviet power, Europe’s eastern countries have voluntarily joined a new grouping that again divides Europe into East and West — this time under Chinese tutelage. “Eastern Europe 2.0” is a much softer arrangement than the old bloc. But it poses a serious threat to the region’s security and prosperity by undermining existing alliances and ushering in a return to oligarchic tendencies following the “China model.”

The grouping — formalized in April 2012 as the “16+1” initiative — brings together the People’s Republic of China and 16 post-communist Central and Eastern European countries. It has received little attention in the West. But, more worryingly perhaps, is that its implications are hardly understood in the region itself.-- Martin Hala is director of AcaMedia and of Sinopsis.cz, a website tracking topics related to China in the Czech Republic.

'Boiled frog syndrome': Germany's China problem - Reuters:

Germany’s China conundrum is part of a broader challenge facing Europe: Years of inward-focused crisis fighting have left the bloc politically divided and ill-prepared to respond to looming geopolitical and economic challenges. Now the continent risks being squeezed between a more assertive Beijing and the “America First” policies of Donald Trump.

In private, some executives liken the situation of German industry in China to the proverbial frog in a pot of slowly heating water which ends up boiling to death because it won’t or can’t jump out.

Germany’s ambassador to China, Michael Clauss, warned at a meeting with industry chiefs in Berlin last month of “tectonic changes” in the relationship, according to participants.


5. So Much Winning In The South China Sea...For China 

Emptiness of US rhetoric has been exposed by China bringing Vietnam to heel  | South China Morning Post:

In the first quarter of 2018, China successfully coerced a South China Sea claimant state and got away with it. The implications are serious and undermine ongoing efforts by the United States and its democratic partners to build a “free and open” Indo-Pacific.

In March, Vietnam’s state petroleum firm PetroVietnam withdrew its consent for Spanish energy firm Repsol to move ahead with a drilling project in the South China Sea. According to a report by Bill Hayton, a journalist and South China Sea analyst, the move could cost Repsol as much as US$200 million in sunk investment costs.

The Vietnamese decision was not made freely by the government. For months, China has been working to coerce the government of Vietnam and deprive it of the right to freely exploit its exclusive economic zone as should be its right under international law.

Chinese Kidnapping of Vietnamese Fishermen in the South China Sea: a Primary Source Analysis | Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative:

Three newly-discovered official Chinese documents from 2009 and interviews conducted on Ly Son island in 2016 confirm accounts that Chinese uniformed personnel, on Chinese government ships, repeatedly kidnapped Vietnamese fishermen for ransom near the disputed Paracel Islands from 2005 to 2012. The accounts include Chinese officials beating Vietnamese fishermen and stealing their catch and boats. The documents bear the seals of Zhong Sha Fishing Administration, which covers a subset of the Paracel Islands, and cite articles of China’s domestic fishery law. Vietnamese fishermen described Chinese men in uniform who kidnapped them, and a Chinese “embassy” in Da Nang that took ransom payments. A bank account in Hainan is listed for wire transfers. This suggests that the incidents were not standard criminality, but irregular attempts by Chinese officials to enforce Chinese maritime law and IUU (illegal, unregulated, or unreported) fishing regulations, while at the same time making a profit.

Is Beijing using its new jammers in the Spratlys on US planes? Are US planes this vulnerable?

America's ‘big stick’ arrives in the Philippines | GMA News Online:

The USS Roosevelt's recent freedom-of-navigation patrol in the disputed South China Sea took place a few days before China's naval drills in the same area.

Intelligence gathered by the US during the patrol suggested that the Chinese had placed communication jamming devices on some of the artificial islands they had built in the South China Sea.

A pilot of an electronic warfare aircraft which operated from the Roosevelt told GMA News that they ran into these jamming devices during the freedom-of-navigation patrol.

"The mere fact that some of your equipment is not working is already an indication that someone is trying to jam you. And so we have an answer to that," explained the naval officer.


6. The Party Is In Your Boardroom, Like It Or Not

China’s Communists Rewrite the Rules for Foreign Businesses - The New York Times:

The Communist Party has long been part of doing business in China. While party committees are a fixture in many foreign-managed workplaces, they were seen by foreign executives for years as more like social clubs. They would meet to read party announcements, recruit new members, make sure dues were collected and generally keep an eye on operations.

But on at least three occasions in recent months, foreign executives have been approached by their Chinese joint venture partners demanding that they involve internal party committees in strategic decisions, say lawyers and business executives.

“Infiltration by party operatives into the executive circle of foreign-invested enterprises is not extensively apparent at this time but things are certainly going in that direction,” said James Zimmerman, a lawyer in Beijing whose clients include American multinational corporations.

He said several of his clients in joint ventures had received explicit requests to give their internal party organizations a greater say in the company’s operations. At some companies, the requested language requires a board of directors to consult with the committee before making business decisions.

Let me guess, the companies get no concessions for rewriting their JV agreements, or compensation for allowing staffers more time to spend on Party activities?


7. Will An India-China Reset And A Weakened Abe Threaten The Quad?

Modi to fly to China soon to ‘reset’ bilateral ties - The Hindu:

In an effort to repair India-China relations and take the engagement to the next level, officials are working on a bilateral visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to China within the next few weeks, official sources from Delhi and Beijing have confirmed to The Hindu.

Officials will not confirm the venue for the visit, which will come ahead of the Prime Minister’s trip to Qingdao for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in June. Wuhan and Kunming are possible options, as they are closer than Beijing from Delhi.

Abe’s meeting with Trump may be his last as criticism builds | Asia Times:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will no doubt find time for plenty of thumbs-up photo ops at his upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump, but a spiraling crisis at home will likely be weighing heavily on his mind during his US sojourn.

On Monday, former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, an Abe ally and former mentor, told a weekly news magazine that Abe could step down in June, Reuters reported from Tokyo. According to polls, Abe’s public approval ratings have hit all-time lows, fluctuating between 26% and 31%.

Unpacking the Free and Open Indo-Pacific - War on the Rocks:

Some have conflated the Free and Open Indo-Pacific with the older, simpler “Indo-Pacific” construct. Others have mistaken it for anti-China containment policy. In truth, it is neither, though it does represent an emerging fault line between China and the democratic “Quad” of the Indo-Pacific: Australia, Japan, India, and the United States. Rather, the Free and Open Indo-Pacific represents a specific vision for a rules-based order governing one of the world’s most dynamic regions — an order the United States and the Quad view as increasingly under duress from a more assertive and ambitious China


8. The "Wei" In Weibo Rhymes With Gay

Sina Weibo withdrew its ban on gay content, after China‘s LGBT community came out in protest — Quartz:

In the past few days, a blog post (link in Chinese) with the title translated as “Hello Sina scum, I am gay” went viral on social-networking app WeChat, even though the original post and its reposts have been deleted numerous times. In the post, the author wondered why China, as the world’s second-largest economy, “can’t be inclusive of two sexualities.” At the end of the article, he made his Weibo account public, and decided to come out as gay despite long fears of discrimination. “I‘m born with it. It can’t be changed, and I don’t want to change,” he wrote...

The crackdown also spurred people to speak out in real life. Hundreds of people participated in a pride run event in Nanjing on Saturday (April 14), a day after Weibo’s announcement of the ban—a public display of activism that is becoming almost extinct in China. The event had in fact been planned and approved by local authorities before the Weibo ban was announced, but it took on greater meaning as a result of the crackdown, organizers said in a Weibo post (link in Chinese).”This is the kind of day worth remembering for a lifetime,” they wrote, adding that Weibo shut down the event’s live stream. Participants chanted slogans including “we have rainbows and courage” on the route, they said.

After Outcry, Weibo Does U-Turn on Gay Content Ban - Caixin Global:

The Cybersecurity Law doesn’t mention LGBT issues, and the Chinese Psychiatric Association in 2001 removed homosexuality and bisexuality from their list of illnesses. However, a ban on depictions of gay people in online video and audio content was unveiled last year.

The China Netcasting Services Association, the industry group that launched the ban, said that gay people have “abnormal sexual relationships” similar to incest or rape.

A gay man named Xiao Wu filed an official application with the country’s top media watchdog, asking it to explain the legitimacy of the ban. His application was rejected.

The overzealous, homophobic Weibo executives probably have not read Passions of the Cut Sleeve: The Male Homosexual Tradition in China 


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Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

Hainan ready for horse racing, sports lotteries - People's Daily Online Despite speculation that the new policy might pave the way for casinos, Chinese analysts said that it was unlikely China would legalize gambling on the island. The government will develop the sports lottery and instant lottery for major international sporting events in the province, according to a guideline published on the national government website on Saturday.

Property, Travel Stocks Soar After China Announces Measures to Develop Hainan - Bloomberg: Lottery, travel and infrastructure stocks were among the biggest gainers in Shanghai and Hong Kong on Monday, after China unveiled measures over the weekend to transform the island popularly known as "China’s Hawaii." The initiatives, which coincided with the 30th anniversary of Hainan as a special economic zone, ranged from a fund to help turn the province into a free trade port, prioritizing tourism to supporting the development of horse racing and sports lotteries.

Quick Take: Hainan Wants Fossil-Fuel Cars to Go the Way of Dinosaurs - Caixin Global: “China will gradually wind down the use of fossil-fuel-powered cars in Hainan province,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday, citing a government document. The policy didn’t provide a timeline.

Meanwhile Hainan is reiterating its control on real estate prices, promising harsh measures for any firms that violate the rules...guess there is no free market in real estate in the cards for the free trade port--海南发"最严"楼市通知:违法房企最严将被清出海南_网易新闻:  新京报快讯 今天(4月16日)下午,海南省住房和城乡建设厅发布了《关于进一步贯彻落实稳定房地产市场要求的通知》(下称“《通知》”)。《通知》指出,严格执行国家和省政府有关稳定房地产市场的政策措施,各市县要继续严格按照海南省住房和城乡建设厅下达的调控目标进行调控,对落实调控目标不力、量价仍上涨过快的市县,将提请省政府进行约谈问责。

China set for fewer World Bank loans in US fundraising deal - FT $$ The compromise was reached between Jim Yong Kim, the bank’s president, and Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury secretary, in recent days. It is expected to dominate talks behind the scenes at this week’s spring meetings in Washington.  The bank has committed to lending to poorer economies in exchange for US backing for a plan by which shareholders would inject $7.5bn into the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank’s main unit, and a further $5.5bn into the International Finance Corporation, its private sector arm. Countries such as China would enter a new lending band that would charge higher rates for loans.

孙宏斌行贿细节意外曝光 曾涉天津城投董事长马白玉案_凤凰财经 Sunac's Sun Hongbin implicated for bribery in case of former chairman of Tianjin Urban Investment Company Ma Baiyu. The media reports and the indictment itself were quickly censored

China Relaxes CD Interest Rate Ceiling in Further Reform Step - Caixin Global Citing three anonymous sources, Reuters reported Friday that the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank, will relax its implicit limit of commercial banks’ deposit rates. The PBOC has yet to make an official announcement on its new policy, but several people briefed on the decision told Caixin that Chinese banks would only be allowed to adjust CD interest rates by larger margins in accordance with their status.

Buddhists Win Round in Fight Against Commercialization - Caixin Global The Putuoshan Tourism Development Co. applied to make an initial public offering (IPO) in June, seizing on its well-known name that conjures pictures of the famous scenic mountain rising from the sea along China’s east coast in the city of Zhoushan. The company had filed an updated prospectus for its listing plan at the start of this month, catching the attention of the Buddhist Association of China, which posted a complaint on its website last week.

Divided Among Departments, Big Data Eludes Government - Caixin Global China cannot yet take advantage of the big data revolution because the information it has collected is divvied up among different government departments, according to the head of a think tank. The country doesn’t have big data so much as a “large sample data,” said Li Yang, chairman of National Institution for Finance & Development, a think tank under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Li’s statement may help explain the government’s recent announcement on its efforts to unify information collection in the financial industry. The State Council recently identified deficiencies in the current system, including the lack of a unified statistical framework across regulatory jurisdictions.

China's state-owned firms should control debt investments: regulator - Reuters Total profit from China's central government-owned firms for the first three months of 2018 rose 20.9 percent from a year earlier to 377.06 billion yuan ($60.11 billion), it was also reported on Monday. For March, profit rose 17.8 percent on-year to 169.87 billion yuan, according to preliminary details provided by the State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) before a briefing in Beijing.

BlackRock co-founder warns on complacency over Chinese tech - FT $$ The president of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, said he was “shocked” at the potential valuation of Ant Financial, which is the payments affiliate of ecommerce group Alibaba and has captured just over 50 per cent of the $16tn Chinese mobile payments market. Chinese tech companies are moving to compete with established financial services providers, who are likely to struggle to match the new entrants’ financial muscle and technological firepower, Mr Kapito said.

China's banks boost lending, but less than seen - MarketWatch Chinese banks issued 1.12 trillion yuan ($178 billion) of new yuan loans in March, up from 839.3 billion yuan in February, data from the People's Bank of China showed Friday. Newly extended yuan loans last month missed the 1.2 trillion billion yuan estimate of 11 economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. Total social financing, a broader measurement of credit in the economy that includes bonds and trusts, came in at 1.33 trillion yuan in March, up from 1.17 trillion yuan in February.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

人民要论:透视西方传播权力转移的背后--理论-人民网 Page 7 piece by Zhao Qiang, deputy editor in chief of the Global Times, on page 7 of the 4.16 People's Daily attacks the West's "freedom of the press" hypocrisy, concludes that American soft power is fading and Western countries political systems are increasingly in hopeless situations//  通过各种手段干涉他国内政,是西方国家乐此不疲的事,其中最常用也最实用的方法就是高举所谓“新闻自由”的大旗搞舆论渗透。西方媒体常常自觉与政府默契配合,在一些敏感议题上捕风捉影、兴风作浪,试图煽动他国社会内乱。但最近美国的一些举动却耐人寻味。美国“通俄门”事件仍在调查中,对媒体的整治却已痛下杀手:一方面,指责俄罗斯国有媒体“今日俄罗斯”(RT)以“假消息”形式秘密干扰2016年美国总统大选,为此强迫RT美国频道在当地登记为“外国代理人”;另一方面,呵斥以脸书、推特和谷歌为首的美国互联网公司沦为境外势力渗透美国乃至干涉美国内政的工具,国会议员对这三家公司的负责人进行了严厉质询。这不禁让人对以所谓“新闻自由”为核心理念的西方新闻理论进一步产生怀疑,从中也感受到传播权力转移背后的西方恐惧。

篡史乱今 - 《求是》2018/08 作者: 肖贵清 Article in the latest Qiushi on the dangers of historical nihilism, by Xiao Guiqing, deputy head of Tsinghua's Marxism Institute and its newInstitute on the study of Xi Thought  //  清华大学习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想研究院副院长 历史虚无主义思潮首先表现为攻击和否定党的领袖,特别是攻击和否定作为中国共产党和中华人民共和国主要缔造者的毛泽东同志。毛泽东是中国共产党、中国人民解放军和中华人民共和国的主要缔造者,是社会主义现代化建设事业的开创者和中国特色社会主义事业的探索者。对毛泽东历史地位的评价,绝不只关乎他个人的名誉和声望,更关乎对党的历史和国史的评价。正是由于在全党全国人民心中享有崇高威望,毛泽东首当其冲地受到了历史虚无主义的攻击和抹黑。他们或者无中生有,假借历史亲历者的口吻编造并不存在的生活丑闻;或者以偏概全,通过片面突出个别事件的细节遮蔽历史的主流和本质;或者无视规律,将历史进程中的曲折和失误简单归咎于个人。凡此种种,都是以老一辈无产阶级革命家毛泽东、周恩来、邓小平等和刘胡兰、雷锋等英雄人物为目标,企图通过抹杀他们的历史功绩、颠覆他们的历史形象来否定党领导人民团结奋进的光辉历史。- (作者:清华大学马克思主义学院副院长、清华大学习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想研究院副院长)

Implications of China’s Government Restructuring | ChinaPower Project This episode focuses on the recent restructuring of China’s government, which was announced on March 20, 2018 during the 13th National People’s Congress. Our guest, Yanmei Xie, joins us to discuss the various aspects of this reorganization. She also analyzes the implications of these changes for Chinese foreign policy. Yanmei Xie is a senior China policy analyst at Gavekal

Jailed Chinese pastor's US family seeks mercy - AP The Rev. John Sanqiang Cao paid no more than three dollars for the trip that would end up costing him his freedom. For years, he and fellow Chinese Christian teachers would cross the river on a narrow bamboo raft from a tree-shrouded bank in southern China into neighboring Myanmar, carrying with them notebooks, pencils and Bibles...He was sentenced last month to seven years in prison for “organizing others to illegally cross the border” — a crime more commonly applied to human traffickers. His American sons and Christian colleagues — who have not been allowed contact with him since his arrest — spoke about the case for the first time to The Associated Press, arguing that the pastor’s sentence should be reduced in light of his humanitarian work.

聚焦总目标 弘扬正能量  进一步推进新疆社会稳定和长治久安--中国统一战线新闻网--人民网 Wang Yang makes an inspection tour to Xinjiang  //  汪洋强调,做好新疆工作,既要立足当前,保持对“三股势力”的高压态势,巩固社会稳定的良好局面,又要着眼长远,多做打基础、管根本的工作,筑牢长治久安的根基。要继续探索和完善相关政策,研究如何把实践证明行之有效的措施常态化,进一步巩固取得的成果。要旗帜鲜明支持正确思想言论,旗帜鲜明批驳“双泛”等错误思想,激浊扬清,扶正祛邪,大力弘扬社会正能量,牢牢占领思想舆论和文化阵地。要以南疆四地州为重点坚决打好脱贫攻坚战,切实提高各族群众生活水平,消除滋生极端主义的土壤。要加强党的领导和思想政治建设,弘扬爱国爱疆、艰苦创业、开拓进取、无私奉献的精神,培养一支政治坚定、作风过硬、纪律严明的干部队伍。

China unveils three state administrations on film, press, television - Xinhua Senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official Huang Kunming attended the ceremonies to launch the State Film Administration, the State Administration of Radio and Television, and the State Administration of Press and Publication -- which doubles as the National Copyright Administration. Their functions used to fall under the one administration of the State Council. The new film and press administrations will now be governed by the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee headed by Huang. The television administration remains with the State Council.

Former PICC president stands trial for bribery - Xinhua | Wang Yincheng, former president of the People's Insurance Company (Group) of China Limited (PICC), stood trial on the charge of accepting bribes in a court in Fujian Province Monday. // As did Yu Haiyan and Yang Chongyong 江苏、天津、重庆检察机关依法对项俊波、杨崇勇、虞海燕提起公诉 近日,江苏、天津、重庆检察机关依法对中国保险监督管理委员会原党委书记、主席项俊波涉嫌受贿案,河北省人大常委会原党组书记、副主任杨崇勇涉嫌受贿案,中共甘肃省委原常委、甘肃省人民政府原副省长虞海燕涉嫌受贿案提起公诉。

李锐评习:没想到文化程度这么低 Mao's former secretary Li Rui tells VOA he was surprised by how Xi is uneducated (primary school level...)

Families of Chinese activists face house arrest, harassment from 'smiling tigers' - Reuters While Li was permitted to leave and go to a friend’s home the following day, her experience of being sporadically placed under house arrest and pressured by the Chinese authorities to stay quiet has become commonplace for the families of Chinese rights activists, they say. Such “soft” detention measures are currently being used in dozens of cases, according to the rights groups, including that of Liu Xia, the widow of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize-winning dissident Liu Xiaobo. He died of liver cancer last July while in custody. Many of these individuals have never been charged with any crime, but are treated as guilty by association and as a threat to national security due to the embarrassment they can cause for the Chinese state if they speak out, rights groups say.

Xinjiang Authorities Detain Uyghur Pro Footballer For ‘Visiting Foreign Countries’ - RFA Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang region have detained 19-year-old Uyghur Erfan Hezim—a former member of China’s national youth football team—in a “political re-education camp” for “visiting foreign countries” after he traveled abroad to train and take part in matches, according to local sources. Hezim, also known by his Chinese name Ye Erfan, is a top soccer forward in the Chinese Super League who began playing professionally at the age of 15, and in July last year inked a five-year contract with Jiangsu Suning F.C.

Chinese tycoon Xiao Jianhua, missing for 15 months since vanishing in Hong Kong, ‘could face trial by June’ | South China Morning Post If confirmed, it would resolve some of the uncertainty surrounding Xiao, who had built a business empire in China’s underdeveloped capital markets before falling victim to Beijing’s crackdown on oligarchs, nicknamed “big crocodiles”. “The investigation stage is done and the case has moved to the judicial department,” a Beijing-based source, who declined to be named, told the Post. “The trial could take place very soon.”

'Red wall' opens doors in Beijing - China Daily Xicheng has set an example for other districts through more involvement from public opinions. On Oct 29, Lu, together with other district officials, went to local communities to communicate with people living in the area. Requirements and suggestions-120 items in all, including adding elevators, setting up vegetable markets and parking lots-were raised during the meeting. The government of Xicheng district called on different departments to make a timetable to solve those problems. Since April 2017, Xicheng district established a system employing "street chiefs" to take charge of improving street outlooks and solving problems for those who live along the streets. There are 1,402 street chiefs in the district. Their names and phone numbers are displayed publicly on the boards hanged on each street. People can call to get in touch with the street chiefs to solve their issues.

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

U.N. Security Council Rejects Russian Resolution Condemning Syrian Strikes - The New York Times After a heated two-hour debate, the United Nations Security Council rejected a Russian resolution on Saturday that would have condemned airstrikes carried out hours earlier by the United States, Britain and France against Syria. Russia, China and Bolivia voted for the resolution, but eight members voted against and four abstained. Even a majority vote would have been largely symbolic, as the three Western powers that carried out the attack hold veto power and would certainly have blocked it.

Veteran China Banker Warns of 'Belt and Road' Risks - Caixin Global The former head of one of China’s main lenders for projects related to the "Belt and Road" initiative issued a rare warning about the dangers of investing in many countries involved in the program. Li Ruogu, ex-chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of China (China EximBank), one of the country’s three policy lenders, said that although many countries along the Belt and Road route need huge amounts of capital for their development, they have high debts and low credit ratings, making it difficult for them to raise funds.

Kim Jong-un of North Korea Fetes Chinese Envoy as Ties Warm - The New York Times The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un offered a personal welcome to a senior envoy from Beijing, feting him and a visiting Chinese art troupe with a gala dinner, the North’s state-run news media reported on Sunday, as the estranged Communist allies continued efforts to mend ties. Mr. Kim exchanged “deep thoughts” on international issues of concern to North Korea and China and vowed to improve bilateral relations during the meeting on Saturday with the senior Chinese diplomat, Song Tao, the Korean Central News Agency reported. // Comment: How much credit does the PRC ambassador in Pyongyang, supposedly a frequent drinking buddy of Kim, get?

Kim Jong-un meets Chinese official - People's Daily Online China-North Korea relations were restored when Kim visited China last month. Song's Saturday visit consolidated traditional bilateral ties built by older-generation leaders, Cui Zhiying, director of the Korean Peninsula Research Center at Tongji University, told the Global Times on Sunday. The April Spring Friendship Art Festival will not be the last communication between China and North Korea. More cultural, sports and people-to-people exchanges will follow, Cui said.

New military rules stress Xi thought - People's Daily Online China has issued a set of revised regulations on the fundamental rules governing the People's Liberation Army (PLA), which stress Xi Jinping thought on strengthening the armed forcesThe regulations included rules on military discipline, training management, soldiers' weight standards, use of mobile phones and the Internet as well as the use of gun-firing salutes to pay respect to martyrs. Xi Jinping, chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), signed orders to publish three regulations on the military's interior order, code of conduct and military formation. The three revised regulations, which underlined the absolute leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) over the people's armed forces, will take effect from May 1. 中央军委主席习近平签署命令发布新修订的《中国人民解放军内务条令(试行)》《中国人民解放军纪律条令(试行)》《中国人民解放军队列条令(试行)》 

Chinese troops ordered to shape up after new regulations set out ways to project a ‘first-class image’ | South China Morning Post Meanwhile, the regulations restored the Order of Bayi (August the First) as the PLA’s highest honour for services that have make a distinguished contribution to national defence, security and military development.

中共中央党校 - 学习时报网_新型国际关系“新”在哪里 - 学习时报 作者:刘建飞 2018-04-16 -(作者系中央党校国际战略研究院执行院长、研究员)

China’s Billions Are Set to Revive Pakistan’s Dilapidated Railways - Bloomberg In the past decade, Pakistan’s rail network had become a byword for corruption, delays and filth. But a pledge from China has prompted authorities to overhaul its colonial-era rail infrastructure.

China’s military veterans ministry opens after pension protests  | South China Morning Post China’s Ministry of Veterans Affairs opened for business on Monday as Beijing seeks to better manage the welfare of the country’s 57 million former military personnel following a number of big protests over their retirement benefits.

During Tokyo meet, Kono and Wang agree to mutual visits by Abe and Xi | The Japan Times: The foreign ministers of Japan and China agreed Sunday to go forward with mutual visits by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The agreement came as Chinese Foreign Minster Wang Yi makes a rare visit to Tokyo, in a sign of improving cooperation between Asia’s two largest economies as they face policy whiplash from the U.S. over trade and security. Wang’s trip to meet his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, became the first of its kind in more than eight years.

Chinese, Japanese foreign ministers meet on bilateral ties - Xinhua: Wang said that bilateral relationship between China and Japan showed momentum of improvement though there are still some complicated and sensitive factors. He said that his visit to Japan at the invitation of the Japanese side was in response to Japan's positive attitudes towards China that has continued for some time, and it is hoped that the visit could become an important step for bilateral relationship to return to normal track and to create condition and make preparation for future high-level exchanges.

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Taiwan

Beijing ready to snuff out any separatist move, and live-fire drill in Taiwan Strait is proof, official says  | South China Morning Post Speaking on the sidelines of a cross-strait forum in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, Liu Jieyi, head of the mainland-based Taiwan Affairs Office, criticised Taiwanese Premier William Lai for advocating independence for the self-ruled island, and warned that any attempts to achieve it would fail. “[Beijing’s] military drills will be a move to safeguard our motherland’s sovereignty and integrity,” he said, when asked about the purpose of the exercise. “[The mainland] has enough willpower and capability to stop any attempt, in word or deed, to split any territory from the motherland.”

Asia’s Bastion of Free Speech? Move Aside, Hong Kong, It’s Taiwan Now. - The New York Times: In recent years, however, as Beijing has tightened its grip on the former colony, Hong Kong has been increasingly supplanted by Taiwan, a self-governing island that has emerged as one of Asia’s most vibrant democracies. Taiwan now draws the sorts of dissidents, rights groups and events that once naturally gravitated to Hong Kong.

 

Tech And Media

Chinese values influence global film industry - Global Times Amid intense competition and an expansion of Chinese viewers, world-renowned filmmakers have started diverting their attention to the Chinese market. While they were adept at exporting Western values to China in the past, Western filmmaking giants have now started to incorporate Chinese influences in their products to meet Chinese audiences' needs. Consumers are king. With the China factor carrying more weight in Hollywood films, Chinese people's cultural consumption will gradually guide the development of the global film market and profoundly influence the global cultural exchanges.

Xiaomi Is Said to Tap Citic for CDR, Plans IPO Filing Next Month - Bloomberg Quint Xiaomi Corp. has picked China’s Citic Securities to handle its issuance of Chinese depositary receipts as the smartphone maker prepares to file for an initial public offering in Hong Kong, people familiar with the matter said. The Beijing-based company may file for a public listing as soon as next month and is targeting a valuation of about $100 billion, said one of the people, asking not to be identified because the matter is private. The CDR is most likely to come after the IPO in Hong Kong and its size is yet to be decided, said the person.

Entertainment One plans Peppa Pig theme park in China - ECNS Peppa Pig copyright holder Entertainment One (eOne) said it will cooperate with local animation and toy company Alpha Group Co to further develop the Chinese market and welcome the Year of the Pig, Beijing Morning Post reported. Since Chinese national broadcaster China Central Television acquired the broadcast rights for Peppa Pig in 2015, the preschool cartoon character from the United Kingdom has quickly dominated screens, becoming one of the most popular cartoons among Chinese children

Alibaba, Face++ Lead $56M Round In Chinese AI Video Technology Firm Video++ – China Money Network China’s largest retailer Alibaba Group Holding and artificial intelligence-powered facial recognition firm Face++ have led a RMB349 million (US$55.6 million) round in Chinese video technology firm Video++, also known as Jilian Technology. 

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

The junhu and the art of everyday politics in imperial China | Aeon Essays Historians still debate the causes for the end of the Ming – and for the rise of its successor, the Manchu Qing. But one thing is certain. Though the subjects of the Ming dynasty did not live in a modern democracy, they brought substantial organisational and cultural resources to their relations with the state, and practised a complex and sophisticated type of politics. In doing so, they reshaped their social world, and changed history. The military households of the Ming Dynasty offer an important reminder that politics can take many different forms, and that it is not only those of us in modern democracies who have and use political skills. Their political strategies might even offer resources – or at least inspiration – for contemporary people who must also deal with a powerful state and its sometimes capricious agents.--Excerpt from  The Art of Being Governed: Everyday Politics in Late Imperial China (2017) by Michael Szonyi

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Shake-up for China’s ocean management | chinadialogue ocean  The roles of the former State Oceanic Administration (SOA) have been divvied up across different bodies. So what will this mean for the management of the ocean? As part of reform of China’s ministerial structure, the SOA has been split in three. The bulk of its work goes to the newly-formed Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). Environmental protection responsibilities are now part of the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE), while coastguard duties have been taken over by the People’s Armed Police. This means a new model of oceans management for China. chinadialogue looks at what this means for four key aspects of the marine governance in China.

Doctor arrested for describing Chinese medicinal tonic that was banned for false advertising as ‘poison’ | South China Morning Post On Sunday police in Inner Mongolia confirmed they had detained Tan Qindong after receiving a complaint from the Hongmao Wine company, Beijing Youth Daily reported. The police statement said the company had complained about a blog post that “maliciously discredited” the wine, which can be bought in some areas. // The company is a big local taxpayer, this case is getting nationwide attention, it and its regulators may be in for a lot of trouble 风波中的鸿茅药酒:纳税大户 1年广告投放额过百亿