Forum on China-Africa Cooperation; Qiushi Journal takes on the US-China trade war, signals no structural concessions; MeToo stopped at the System's periphery; US universities self-censoring

And the summer of 2018 is a wrap..I hope you had a wonderful summer, now back to work...

  • The Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is dominating official media. XI has promised another $60 billion in financing to Africa. I know much of the Western media coverage is quite critical, but don't the African leaders have agency, and are there better offers/plans for them coming from the West?;

  • The latest issue of the authoritative Qiushi Journal includes a commentary defending the PRC's version of "State Capitalism" reiterating what is clearly now the officia line that America's real goal in the trade war is to contain China's rise, and making clear that significant structural concessions to the US are not on the table;

  • Xi Jinping will not attend the celebrations next week in Pyongyang for the 70th anniversary of the founding of North Korea. Instead he is sending his top PBSC consigliere Li Zhanshu;

  • JD.com founder and CEO Richard Liu has returned to China after being arrested for possible sexual assault in Minnesota. Have investors factored in the risks of the #metoo hitting the PRC tech sector?

Thanks for reading. 

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The Essential Eight

1. 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)

Full text of Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech at opening ceremony of 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit - Xinhua:

Our world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century: the surging trend toward multi-polarity, economic globalization, IT application and cultural diversity, accelerated transformation of the global governance system and international order, rapid rise of emerging markets and developing countries, and greater balance in global power configuration. The well-being of people in all countries has never been so closely intertwined as it is today.

On the other hand, we also face challenges unseen before. Hegemony and power politics persist; protectionism and unilateralism are mounting; war, conflicts, terrorism, famine and epidemics continue to plague us; security challenges, both traditional and non-traditional, remain as complex and interwoven as ever...

-- To respond to the call of the times, China takes it its mission to make new and even greater contribution to mankind. China will work with other countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind, forge partnerships across the world, enhance friendship and cooperation, and explore a new path of growing state-to-state relations based on mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation. Our goal is to make the world a place of peace and stability and life happier and more fulfilling for all.

-- To respond to the call of the times, China is ready to jointly promote the Belt and Road Initiative with international partners. We hope to create new drivers to power common development through this new platform of international cooperation; and we hope to turn it into a road of peace, prosperity, openness, green development and innovation and a road that brings together different civilizations.

-- To respond to the call of the times, China will get actively involved in global governance and stay committed to the vision of consultation, cooperation and benefit for all in global governance.

Xi says China to implement eight major initiatives with African countries - Xinhua:

On industrial promotion, Xi said a China-Africa economic and trade expo will be set up in China and Chinese companies are encouraged to increase investment in Africa.;

On infrastructure connectivity, Xi said China will work with the African Union to formulate a China-Africa infrastructure cooperation plan and support Chinese companies in taking part in Africa's infrastructure development;

On trade facilitation, Xi said China will increase imports, especially non-resource products, from Africa and support African countries in participating in China International Import Expo;

On green development, Xi said China will undertake 50 aid projects on green development, and ecological and environmental protection, with a focus on climate change, ocean, desertification prevention and control, and wildlife protection;

On capacity building, Xi said China will set up 10 Luban Workshops in Africa to offer vocational training for young Africans.;

On health care, Xi said China will upgrade 50 medical and health aid programs for Africa;

On people-to-people exchanges, Xi said China will set up an institute of African studies and enhance exchanges with Africa on civilization.;

On peace and security, Xi said China will set up a China-Africa peace and security fund and continue providing free military aid to the African Union.

Africa offered more aid - Global Times:

Xi said, China follows a "five-no" approach: no interference in African countries' pursuit of development paths that fit their national conditions; no interference in African countries' internal affairs; no imposition of China's will on African countries; no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa; and no seeking selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation with Africa, the Xinhua News Agency reported..

Xi also announced that the $60 billion in financing to Africa will include $15 billion in grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, $20 billion in lines of credit, the establishment of a $10 billion special fund for development financing and a $5 billion special fund for financing imports from Africa.

China pledge of $60bn loans to Africa sparks anger at home | Financial Times $$

Chinese displeasure with overseas aid has boiled over in the past, most notably in 2011, when Beijing donated 23 school buses to Macedonia despite rarely providing them at home. The donation came shortly after a crash that killed 19 children in a retooled van, the most common form of school transport in the Chinese countryside.

A similar controversy flared in May after a letter circulated online that accused Beijing of spending more on scholarships for foreign students than on domestic primary and high school education. The ministry of education said the article was based on a misinterpretation of official figures.

South African president rejects claims of Chinese "colonialism" - Xinhua:

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday dismissed allegations of China practicing colonialism in Africa, saying China instead has been a partner in boosting social and economic development on the continent.

Ramaphosa made the remarks in a speech delivered at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

"Since its launch in the year 2000, FOCAC has grown both in extent and scope," he said. "It serves as an effective platform for South-South cooperation focused on the tangible improvement of the quality of lives of the people of Africa."

"In the values that it promotes, in the manner that it operates, and the impact it has on African countries, FOCAC refutes the view that a new colonialism is taking hold in Africa, as our detractors would have us believe," said the South African president, who is co-chairing the event with Chinese President Xi Jinping.


2. Qiushi Journal takes on the US-China trade war, signals no structural concessions

This commentary by "Qiu Shi 秋 石" is titled "recognize the truth about the issue of "state capitalism". It defends China's economic system and argues that the US also has significant state intervention in its economy, but the deeper point is that America's real goal in launching the trade war is to thwart China's rise, and that it is really a struggle between paths of development and political systems.

There is a school of thought that the increasingly repetitive messaging that America’s real goal is containing China is just propaganda posturing for negotiating leverage. I think the fact that this line keeps appearing in the most authoritative publications for Communist Party members and officials, not foreign audiences, likely undermines that view…

认清“国家资本主义”问题的真相:

美国发动对华经贸战的一个所谓说辞,是给中国的经济体制贴上了一个并不新鲜的标签——“国家资本主义”。这种说法认为,中国的社会主义市场经济不是真正的市场经济,中国是一个国家主导的实行保护主义和重商主义的经济体,其主要依据是中国实行国有经济、政府干预、产业政策,等等。其实,这不是西方第一次给中国经济模式扣上“国家资本主义”的帽子,一些人重提“国家资本主义”论的背后,实际上隐藏着他们对中国发动经贸战的深层次原因,即道路之争、制度之争...

“国家资本主义”论者的目的是很清楚的,那就是借用所谓“国家资本主义”与“自由资本主义”的对立为资本主义辩护,并为遏制发展中国家特别是中国的发展制造舆论。一方面,试图转移和掩盖人们对资本主义制度深刻弊端的质疑,将资本主义基本矛盾导致的资本主义制度危机归结为“国家资本主义”的威胁。另一方面,将矛头直指中国特色社会主义,竭力歪曲、抹黑、污蔑中国的社会主义市场经济体制,试图动摇人们对中国特色社会主义制度和社会主义市场经济体制的信心,迫使中国放弃被实践所证明的成功道路和制度,最终遏制中国的发展。

So much for the possibility of China making any substantial structural concessions to satisfy the US, in case anyone still thought they would...And there are two other articles in this issue that discuss the trade conflict.

Journal warns trade war will affect financial stability - Global Times:

A commentary in Qiushi Journal [中美经贸摩擦改变不了我国经济稳中向好态势 by "石 平"] , which is affiliated to the CPC Central Committee, warned that trade and economic frictions between China and the US could undermine "China's economic growth, financial stability, trade and investment, employment and people's livelihoods," particularly in industries exposed to tariff action by the US.

"But at the same time, we must see that the fundamentals of China's economic development have not changed. In particular, China's economic structure has been significantly improved in recent years, which has effectively improved its ability to withstand external shocks."

The US had "provoked" these frictions, but China would accelerate research and development on core technologies, optimize its industrial structure, promote market diversification and strengthen support provided by domestic demand to "turn bad into good," the commentary said...

In a separate Qiushi commentary 【奋力谱写新时代对外开放新篇章】 , Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan called for "proactively expanding imports to promote balanced trade."

China must "strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors, and create a good business environment for investing in China," Zhong wrote.

China will "greatly relax market access" and "steadily expand the opening of the financial industry, continue to promote the opening of the service industry and deepen the opening-up of the agricultural, mining and manufacturing sectors," he said.


3. #MeToo stopped at the System's periphery?

#MeToo on the Chinese Blogosphere: Justice, Victimization and Intellectual Revolt | Chublic Opinion:

Beneath the brutal reality of everyday sexual abuse in the society lies an even harder layer of cold truth: no matter how impactful the movement may seem, it “just can’t kill the beast”. From the outset, observers realized that the #MeToo outburst in charity groups and media organizations was not an indication of the relative terribleness of gender situations in those sectors. It was rather a sign that they were not covered by the protective shield of the “system”. When the fire of the movement gets closer to the inner circle of power holders, brigades of firefighters will be dispatched to put it out. And Zhu Jun [CCTV host accused of assault) marks the boundary where the fire extinguishers hold the line.

A WeChat post captured this sentiment perfectly. Titled “Zhu Jun, the last bullet is reserved for you”, the post’s author Sangsangjie(桑桑姐) couldn’t help but notice the differentiated treatments received by the sexual aggressors exposed by #MeToo. “Men like Zhang Wen were humiliated on Weibo for days. But news about the accusation against Zhu Jun was censored within hours.” Some sexual offenders are more equal than others. And it is painfully clear to Sangsangjie that #MeToo in China may never get to the part of the gigantic iceberg below the surface. “It is within the guarded walls of the fortress that sexual exploitation is at its worst,” she noted. Behind the scene, women inside the fortress were sending her messages about their everyday experience: employees of state owned enterprises pressured to sleep with superiors to avoid being sidelined; journalists forced by their government sources to play drinking games with sexual connotations.

As MeToo unnerves China, a student fights to tell her story - AP:

The sight of five burly guards blocking the way out of her dorm filled Ren Liping with rage.

It was 3 a.m. on a recent Saturday and the thin, bespectacled 26-year-old Chinese graduate student was exhausted. Her mind raced back to earlier in the day when she had tried once again to publicly protest her alleged rape. Again, the police had stopped her and held her at a station for hours. Again, she was escorted back to campus...

More than a year after she accused an ex-boyfriend of raping her on the China University of Petroleum campus in the coastal city of Qingdao, this had become Ren’s life: a series of attempts to protest the university and authorities’ mishandling of the case.

At every turn, Ren has been stymied by the school’s guards or the police, who say there’s no evidence of a crime. She was even detained in a hotel for six days at one point.


4. Protests as Hunan city can't afford to meet education requirements

Protest Turns Violent Over Plan to Relocate Students - Caixin Global:

Leiyang is one of many cities in China that are trying to address the problem of oversized classes. The incident was triggered by a provincial order to cut class sizes at public schools to a maximum of 66 in 2018 by relocating some fifth- and sixth-graders to a private campus. Years of rapid urbanization have resulted in a disparity in how educational resources are allocated. Students flock to schools in cities, causing the schools to expand class sizes. Overcrowded classes raise the risks of declining quality of education and pose safety concerns...

Parents said they were angered at the decision partly because the private school would charge extra fees even though the Leiyang government promised in June that there would be no higher fees for those transferred to the new campus, a branch of a middle school affiliated with Hunan Normal University....

As Saturday’s protest turned violent, 46 people were arrested by police. But police said only one of those is a parent and the rest are social idlers, including one suspected thief and six persons with criminal backgrounds.

Comment: Which local official has ties to the private school? How long until Beijing sends in an inspection team? This city clearly has a whole host of issues

A Broke Chinese City Is Raked Over the Coals by Furious Citizens - WSJ $$:

Before the weekend protests, locals grumbled about a new sports complex that cost a planned 430 million yuan and opened in time to host the Hunan Province Youth Games basketball competition later this month. Locals took to social media saying the government spent taxpayers’ “blood and sweat money” to build a vanity project, while ignoring basic education.

A Leiyang government spokesman didn’t comment directly on the stadium, but said the government has worked to expand existing schools and build new ones to accommodate more students.

On the books, Leiyang had racked up 2.464 billion yuan of outstanding debt at the end of 2017, or 111% of revenue. Like many cities, Leiyang looked to expand by setting up special-purpose entities, known as local government financing vehicles, and that’s where ratings firms warn that problems lie.

China’s Paper City Could Become a House of Cards - Caixin Global - 8.1:

According to Leiyang’s 2018 budget report, the city’s outstanding government debt surged 162.5% to 13.03 billion yuan in 2017. On top of that, liabilities that it would bear some responsibility for repaying if they went bad soared by 8.28 billion yuan to 10.55 billion yuan. It’s not clear how much of the increases are due to new rules that force local governments to bring debts hidden off the budget back onto their books.

Leiyang is also being squeezed on the revenue side. According to Pengyuan’s report, its fiscal income has fallen short of projections every year since 2012 due to the continued decline of coal-related industries, traditionally a key source of money. Total revenue, including subsidies and the proceeds of land sales, fell by 10.7% to 6.13 billion yuan in 2017, although it still managed to spend less than it took in, listing expenditure for the year at 5.81 billion yuan.


5. US universities self-censoring to anticipatorily appease Beijing?

America's Elite Universities Are Censoring Themselves on China | The New Republic-Isaac Stone Fish:

There is an epidemic of self-censorship at U.S. universities on the subject of China, one that limits debate and funnels students and academics away from topics likely to offend the Chinese Communist Party. This epidemic stems less from the hundreds of millions of dollars Chinese individuals and the Chinese Communist Party spend in U.S. universities, or the influx of students from mainland China—roughly 350,000 in the United States, up more than fivefold from a decade ago. Rather, it is that some people in American academia, too eager to please Beijing or too fearful of offending China and the Chinese people, have submitted to a sophisticated global censorship regime. This weakens not only their scholarship and integrity, but also their negotiating power with Beijing over issues such as access for research, conferences and other academic collaborations, and joint programs between American and Chinese institutions.

More than 100 interviews over the last six months with professors, students, administrators, and alumni at U.S. universities reveal a worrying prevalence of self-censorship regarding China. In a previously unreported incident, Columbia University’s Global Center in Beijing canceled several talks it feared would upset Chinese officials, according to a person familiar with the matter. Some graduate students admitted to regularly censoring themselves. “It has gotten to the point where I don’t engage with anything overly political relating to the Chinese state,” said a white graduate student at a top American university, who described her views as “middle of the road” for those studying China. “I would not willfully do anything that would endanger my ability to get a visa to China in the future,” she added. (Like many of the people I spoke to for this article, the student asked to remain anonymous, because of the real and perceived risks of openly discussing self-censorship. She also asked that I identify her race because she believes there is even less freedom for people of color and Chinese-Americans to speak openly about China.


6. Can Taiwan semiconductor expertise close China's technology gap?

China lures chip talent from Taiwan with fat salaries, perks | Reuters:

Attracting such talent from Taiwan has become a key part of an effort by China to put the industry into overdrive and reduce the country’s dependence on overseas firms for the prized chips that power everything from smartphones to military satellites.

That drive, which started in 2014, intensified this year as U.S.-China trade tensions escalated, according to recruiters and industry insiders, exposing what China feels is an over-reliance on foreign-made chips.

China imported $260 billion worth of semiconductors in 2017, more than its imports of crude oil. Home-made chips made up less than 20 percent of domestic demand in the same year, according to China Semiconductor Industry Association.


7. Hong Kong politics and the "Greater Bay Area" plan

Greater Bay Area: Xi Jinping’s other grand plan | Financial Times $$ 

Many Hong Kongers are already afraid that their city of 7m is losing its unique identity as Beijing deepens its control over the local government.

A senior Hong Kong official, who asks not to be named because of the sensitivity surrounding the issue, admits that it will be very difficult to improve the “flows of information and capital” between the city and the mainland without the city losing its “uniqueness”.

Beijing was supposed to release guidelines on the integration of the Greater Bay Area last year but officials are struggling to come up with concrete proposals to drive the economy forward without upsetting the delicate political balance in Hong Kong, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Unscheduled departure: China's legal reach extends to Hong Kong rail station | Reuters:

Hong Kong and mainland Chinese officials shook hands inside the new station in West Kowloon district on Monday night to mark the new arrangement, which will mean that anyone who commits a crime in the “mainland port area” or onboard trains will be subject to mainland laws, that could include the death penalty for serious crimes.

In an unusual move, the media was not notified of the event. But Hong Kong’s leader sought to assuage public concerns.

“There was no such thing as a sneaky opening,” said Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, without explaining why the media wasn’t invited.


8. Xi not going to North Korea next week

China's Xi to Send Top Ally to North Korea Anniversary - Bloomberg:

Analysts said a decision by Xi not to travel to Pyongyang would indicate that Beijing expected further actions from Kim, including real signs of progress toward denuclearization.

The party's International Department said Xi would be represented by Li Zhanshu, the party's third-ranking official and head of China's rubberstamp parliament.


Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

China Makes Regional Leaders Accountable for Local Debt - Caixin Global China’s central government issued new rules to hold local party leaders and officials accountable for hidden debt amassed by local governments bypassing regulatory restrictions... The accountability rules cover hidden debt in the form of direct borrowing through LGFVs, unregulated corporate loans guaranteed by local governments and disguised financing through public-private partnerships (PPPs). Officials accountable for any violations include local party leaders and government officials as well as executives of state-owned enterprises, financial institutions and intermediaries.

Big Banks Vow to Buy More Local Government Bonds - Caixin Global China Construction Bank Corp. told Caixin that it has already increased its holdings of local government bonds, and will buy more as it sees fit over the next half-year. Bank of China Ltd. and Bank of Communications Co. Ltd. have also promised to boost purchases of local government bonds. The banks’ pledges to buy more local government bonds came at a time when the country’s policymakers have eased off a campaign to deleverage the financial sector, introducing measures to inject liquidity into the interbank market to support economic growth.

China Is Said to Explore Megamerger of Mobile-Phone Carriers - Bloomberg The country’s top leaders are reviewing a proposal to combine China United Network Communications Group Co. and China Telecommunications Corp. but no decision’s been made and a merger may not happen, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing a private matter.

Xinhua highlights clauses in China's new e-commerce law · TechNode According to Xinhua, the law pays much attention to consumer’s privacy and rights to know. Merchants are required to clearly point out any clause or bundle they’ve imposed in the sale and cannot assume the consent of the consumers. When substandard products are sold to consumers, not only the vendor but the platform should take responsibilities. Fake reviews are also banned. This not only includes hiring people to post fake reviews but luring customers to leave positive comments with cash-back. The most common case is the customer service staff promise in private chat window to return you RMB 2 to 5 if you give a five-star rating on the products.

NPCSC Adopts E-Commerce Law, Soil Pollution Prevention and Control Law & Amends Individual Income Tax Law – NPC Observer To the dismay of many, the new minimum threshold of 5,000 yuan per month was not further raised, nor was the highest tax rate of 45% reduced. But the Constitution and Law Committee in a report signals that the Law might be amended again in the near future, for this amendment is only the “key first step” in reforming the individual income tax.

Global postal rates give Chinese companies an unfair advantage | Financial Times $$ - Peter Navarro OpEd Donald Trump is taking action to address this disparity, which costs the USPS and American consumers millions of dollars each year. The US president recently directed the Department of State to use this week’s extraordinary congress of the Universal Postal Union in Ethiopia to renegotiate the “terminal dues” rules which govern how national postal operators compensate one another for delivering each other’s mail.

More Heads Roll in Battle Against Financial Fraud - Caixin Global Ma Shenke was found guilty of fraudulent fundraising, according to a verdict handed down by the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court on Friday. His company, Dada Group, sold wealth management products through the internet without a proper banking license, and raised billions of yuan from the public to invest in projects that either didn’t exist or promised unrealistically high returns, the court said.

China Wants to Make It Easier for Money-Losing Startups to Go Public on Mainland - Caixin Global China’s stock market regulator has proposed relaxing requirements for infant biopharmaceutical, security and microchip companies looking to list on the Chinese mainland, in an effort to support the country’s drive to develop its high-tech capabilities. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) published a raft of documents on Friday suggesting that the State Council, China’s cabinet, do away with rules requiring that companies in the sectors become profitable before listing on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock exchanges.

The Big Four AMCs: Changing Priorities – and Rankings – In a New Era - MacroPolo Having spent a decade diversifying, the big four AMCs are now returning to their core competence and dedicating more resources and energy to resolving NPLs. The transition will be more difficult for some of these firms than others, but ultimately it will allow Beijing to mobilize greater resources in its effort to clean up the financial system.

To Counter China, U.S. Looks to Invest Billions More Overseas - WSJ $$ Congress is working to resolve the last barriers to passing a bill that would boost the U.S.’s role in international development. It would combine several little-known government agencies into a new body, with authority to do $60 billion in development financing—more than double the cap of the current agency that performs that function. The measure, supported by the Trump administration, easily passed the House this summer; it faces its biggest test in the Senate. The new agency would have broad authority to go toe-to-toe with China in offering countries financing options for major infrastructure and development projects.

Chinese bonds: A safe option amid trade war, investors say - CNBC The tariff fight between Washington and Beijing has scored a direct hit on China's stock markets and yuan currency, which have both fallen sharply this year. But steps China is taking to increase access for foreign investors to its less-tariff-vulnerable government debt, combined with some timely technical factors, is making for an attractive option, investors say.

 

Politics, Law And Ideology

China hires guest supervisors to oversee anti-graft bodies - Xinhua The National Supervisory Commission will select most of the supervisors from deputies to the National People's Congress, the plan said. They can also be selected from members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, personnel of central CPC and government organs, members of non-Communist parties, people without party affiliation, and community-level representatives from all walks of life.

What to Say When You’re a Party Official | China Media Project The Party’s impossible struggle against the vortex of its own political culture and language comes painfully into focus on the very next page. After the dull march of “news” about Xi Jinping and the China-Africa summit, we are treated to a commentary on the “spirit” of President Xi’s speech last month to the National Propaganda and Ideology Work Conference, the very event where he seemed to bolster Wang Huning and double-down on his policies over the past five years. The commentary is bylined “commentator from this newspaper” (本报评论员), which means — again, if we know how to read the signs — that this piece is meant to represent the spirit of the Party’s Central Committee on matters of consequence. Such pieces are not written by individuals, but by a coterie of scribes within the paper whose job it is to refract the light emanating from the top leadership.

Chinese cyclist ‘acted in self-defence’ in fatal road rage machete attack on BMW driver | South China Morning Post In the latest twist in the nationally debated case, police in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, said late on Saturday that the cyclist, 41-year-old electrician Yu Haiming, did not bear any criminal responsibility for the death of Liu Hailong.

Highs and Lows for “WeMedia” in China | China Media Project On August 28, word spread through social media in China that the Iceberg Institute (冰川思享库), a publication focused on politics and current affairs, had once again had its account on WeChat closed down. The account page carried a notice that read: “After complaints from users and a review of the platform; [it is determined that the platform] violates the ‘Interim Provisions on the Administration of the Development of Public Information Services Provided through Instant Messaging Tools,’ an order has been issued for the blocking of all content, and use of the account has already ceased.”

弘扬“晋江经验” 深化改革开放 Qiushi interviews Yu Weiguo, party secretary of Fujian, on promoting the "Jinjiang Experience" and deepening reform and opening in this 40th anniversary year of reform and opening...the propaganda team has decided that the "Jinjiang Experience" shall be made into one of the main examples of Xi's key contributions to the reform and opening policy...

Homo Xinensis – China Heritage  To understand Xi Jinping’s New Epoch, this history and its language, as well as the living legacy suffused with Partiinost’, the ‘partisan party spirit’ is important. For the casual observer, even if they might presume ‘to know’ Chinese, this may appear to be little more than a cliché-ridden world of nonsense. Make no mistake, clichés and nonsense do indeed abound; but behind the screen of language, the prolixity of political performance and the constant formulation and reformulation of Partyspeak, there lurks earnest, and often deadly, intent. To appreciate this world through a New Sinological approach is not some frippery or exotic indulgence, for those who engage with the party-empire and its dominion, it is essential.

 

Foreign and Military Affairs

Chinese Ministry of Veterans Affairs launches online petition system - Ministry of National Defense The official website of the Ministry of Veterans Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) announced on September 1 that its online petition system and two site columns“Minister’s Mailbox” and “Discipline Inspection, Supervision, and Report”were put into trial operation. “The Chinese veterans and other public members can directly express their demands, offer advice and report situation through the internet,” said the announcement on the website. According to the announcement, the online petition system provides an easier access for Chinese veterans to express demands, and its processing procedure is the same as the personal visit and sending letters. // Translation: so no need to travel to Beijing to register your petition...

The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road: Security implications and ways forward for the European Union | SIPRI The policy report The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road: Security Implications and Ways Forward for the European Union presents an analysis of the sea-based component of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Road. The report complements the February 2017 SIPRI–Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung publication on the land-based component of the BRI, the Belt. The previous report examined security implications in two of the strategic terrestrial regions that the Belt traverses: Central Asia and South Asia. In turn, this report examines security implications in the two strategic maritime spaces that it crosses: the South China Sea (SCS) and the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). Special consideration is given to how the Road might affect the interests of European Union (EU) and how the EU could consider responding. The findings are also highly relevant to the Road’s non-EU stakeholders.

China officially bans ABC website, claims internet is 'fully open' - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) "China's internet is fully open. We welcome internet enterprises from all over the world to provide good information to the netizens of China." "However, state cyber sovereignty rights shall be maintained towards some overseas websites violating China's laws and regulations, spreading rumours, pornographic information, gambling, violent terrorism and some other illegal harmful information which will endanger state security and damage national pride."

Japan claims China 'escalating' military actions - AFP Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said China had been "unilaterally escalating" its military activities in the past year, including carrying out new airborne operations around Japan and running a nuclear submarine near disputed East Coast isles...Onodera made the remarks as Tokyo attempts to improve its tense diplomatic ties with Beijing, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expected to visit Japan's biggest trade partner next month.

Comrades in Commerce: A Chinese Hero’s Family Nurtures an Alliance With North Korea - WSJ $$ Eight decades ago, a Chinese commander named Zhou Baozhong fought Japanese forces alongside the future founder of the North Korean dictatorship, Kim Il Sung... Businesses connected to the Zhou family helped enrich North Korea as Pyongyang plowed much of its national income into weapons development, according to an investigation by The Wall Street Journal. Business records, official media reports and interviews connect the Chinese commander’s family with North Korean industries including mining, trade and consumer goods. Sanctions have curtailed Chinese trade with North Korea in the past year, and a member of the family told the Journal that the Zhous don’t do business in North Korea.

 

Taiwan

Taiwan mulling countermeasures to Chinese residence permit | Cross-Strait Affairs | CNA Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said Thursday that Taiwanese nationals applying for a residence permit in China will not have their Taiwan household registration automatically revoked, but the government is assessing possible countermeasures, including imposing certain restrictions on the citizenship rights of such individuals.

Taiwan ally Nauru’s snub to Beijing threatened to derail Pacific summit | South China Morning Post In an apparent bid to tweak the nose of Chinese delegates, Nauru refused to stamp entry visas into their diplomatic passports, instead saying it would only process their personal passports.

Once a Cold War Flashpoint, a Part of Taiwan Embraces China’s Pull - The New York Times A new airport for the Chinese city of Xiamen is being built just north of Kinmen, on an island three miles away, and land reclamation for that project will bring Chinese territory almost a mile closer.

 

Tech And Media

JD.com Founder Gets Back to Business in Beijing Days After Arrest in U.S. - WSJ $$ Three days after getting out of jail in Minneapolis, Chinese billionaire Liu Qiangdong was back at JD.com Inc. in Beijing on Tuesday to announce a partnership with the Chinese company that owns Swiss luxury brand Bally. The appearance with Ruyi Holding Group executives—as Minneapolis police say they are investigating an allegation of sexual misconduct—underscores what business observers describe as Mr. Liu’s extraordinary confidence.

Why JD.com Richard Liu Was Studying In Minneapolis Before Arrest - Bloomberg Liu, 45, is a student in the university’s Carlson School of Management and was in Minneapolis to complete the American residency of a U.S.-China business administration doctorate program. The course takes place mainly in Beijing with a singular cohort of students: the average age is 50, and many are captains of industry. Co-led by Tsinghua University -- the alma mater of Chinese leaders including Xi Jinping -- its graduates include the executive manager of storied spirits-maker Kweichow Moutai and the head of fintech titan Ant Financial.

JD.com Founder’s U.S. Lawyer Downplays Chances of Sexual Misconduct Charges - Caixin Global The 45-year-old Chinese billionaire, who also goes by the name Richard Liu, was taken into custody by Minneapolis police last Friday and was released the next day. Police have not identified the exact nature of the case, but a spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department has said the investigation is ongoing. “He was arrested and released after 18 hours. There was no bail, with no charges, and nobody asked him for his passport. Under those circumstances, it is very very rare for anybody to ever be charged,” attorney Joseph Friedberg told Caixin.

Huidu - Inside Huawei, William B. Plummer, eBook - Amazon.com China-based Huawei Technologies has experienced rapid success over its 30 year history, reaching around $92 billion in revenues in 2017. Over the last ten years, however, as tensions between the U.S. and China have grown, and as global concerns related to network and data integrity have exploded, the company has come under intense scrutiny, particularly in the United States. At the same time, the company has not helped itself by failing to adjust to multinational norms, nor to take substantive steps to alleviate any of the purported Government concerns.

Xiaomi Bows to India Security Concerns - Caixin Global Since July 1, all new Indian user data have been stored on local servers provided by Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp., while all existing data will be fully migrated to local servers by mid-September, the world’s fourth-largest smartphone-maker said on its corporate blog Monday, posting a statement dated Friday. Xiaomi said it had previously been storing user data on Amazon.com servers in the U.S. and Singapore.

Security concerns about Google’s Chinese manufacturer unnecessary: expert - Global Times Google's physical security keys, known as Titan, are reportedly made by a Chinese company named Feitian Technologies Co, which has raised concerns about the security of Google's new product. But an expert said that this concern is totally unnecessary because Google has control of the security of the key and its software.  //  Comment: I would like to have this extra layer of security but I am not signing up for it because of this

Tencent-Backed Meituan Takes Orders for $4.4 Billion IPO - Bloomberg Meituan’s IPO filings show a company growing rapidly but also hemorrhaging cash: it lost $2.9 billion in 2017 on changes in the fair value of its preferred stock. Even without the accounting adjustment, its operating loss last year was 3.8 billion yuan ($557 million).

Crazy Rich Asians investor wants to show the world the new face of China’s wealthy young in sequel | South China Morning Post Liu Yang, head of the private equity fund China Cultural and Entertainment Fund (CCEF) which bought a stake last year in the movie’s producer SK Global, said she wanted the sequel to reflect what young Chinese care about – electronics, the internet, artificial intelligence and e-sports – to bring global audiences closer to the country’s newest and most dynamic generation. “The sequel will truly come to China, and it has to reflect the new money. The first movie is about old money, the sequel is about new money,” Liu said in an interview. “The sequel has to link to the fresh power in China, the new consumption, the new ideas. We may even rename it ‘Shanghai Rich Girlfriends’.”

Maoyan, China’s largest online movie ticket service, files to go public in Hong Kong | TechCrunch Tencent-backed Maoyan Weiying, China’s largest online movie ticketing service, has filed for a public offering on the Hong Kong stock exchange. The company, which submitted a prospectus under the name Entertainment Plus, didn’t say when the IPO will be or valuation details, but reports earlier this year said Maoyan aims to raise up to $1 billion.

China Box Office Posts 17% Gain Despite Mixed Summer – Variety China’s theatrical box office is running $1 billion ahead of last year, showing a gain of nearly 17% in the first months. That is despite an uneven summer period. According to data from local consultancy and researcher Ent Group, Chinese cinema-goers spent $6.79 billion (including ticketing fees) in the first eight months of 2018. The figure compares with a like-for-like $5.79 billion in the same period of 2017.

 

Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art to Open New Seaside Museum - Artforum International The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in Beijing has announced that it will open a new museum along the coast of the Bohai Sea in Hebei province’s Beidaihe District, a popular resort town located on the outskirts of Qinhuangdao in northeast China, later this year. The roughly 10,000-square-foot institution was designed by Li Hu of the firm Open Architecture and built by the Aranya Gold Coast Community, which enlisted the UCCA to run its programming and operations.

 

Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Dim Sums: Rural China Economics and Policy: China Hog Farm Closures in Pockets of Resistance Officials appear to be making an example of Yulin, a city in Guangxi Province midway between the provincial capital Nanning and Guangzhou. On June 4, the central government's Ministry of Environmental Protection admonished Yulin officials for failing to carry out directives to ban livestock and poultry farms in zones near the Nanliu River and to build waste treatment facilities. Measurements taken in a section of the Nanliu River earlier this year found the level of ammonia nitrogen was up 141 percent from 2016 and the level of phosphorus was up 83 percent. Official news media posted disgusting photos of black water, decomposing pig carcasses, and trash piled along the banks of the river. Yulin City officials have now designated zones containing 10,832 swine farms which will have to be closed or moved.

BBC - Future - How China's giant solar farms are transforming world energy But should giant solar parks continue to be built, one oft-ignored complication will have to be dealt with in future decades: solar panel waste. The panels last just 30 years or so, after which they must be broken up. It is hard to recycle them because they contain harmful chemicals like sulphuric acid. China is expected to experience a sudden boom in solar panel waste from around 2040 onwards and there is currently no clear plan for what to do with all that material.

P.R.C. Law on Preventing and Controlling Soil Pollution (2018)

Attracting the best - Physics World special report on China

 

Agriculture And Rural Issues

China's super hybrid rice output sets new world record - Xinhua Super hybrid rice output in test fields in southwestern Yunnan Province has set a new world record, local authorities said Monday. The latest output of three plots at a super hybrid rice demonstration base located in Datun Township in the city of Gejiu reached an average of 1,152.3 kg per mu (about 0.07 hectares).

New Swine Fever Case Hits Anhui Province - Caixin Global It occurred on two separate farms, and saw 134 pigs become infected and die out of a total of 725, according to the statement. Since the start of August, outbreaks have been reported in the Anhui city of Wuhu, as well as in Henan, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Liaoning provinces. To date nearly 40,000 pigs have been slaughtered in an effort to contain the disease.

 

Education

Mandatory Educational TV Show Gets Low Marks - Caixin Global Sitting in front of their TVs at 8 p.m. Saturday, the broadcast time announced by the ministry, the students and their parents found themselves being forced to watch commercials for nearly a quarter of an hour before the beginning of the program...As the nation’s top broadcaster, CCTV charges advertisers as much as 100,000 yuan ($14,600) for every five seconds of weekend evening prime time. Because viewing is mandatory for more than 100 million students across the country, the show, initiated in 2008, has been the most-watched program for years among shows aired at the same time. 

Chinese University Hires ‘Patriotic,’ ‘Politically Educated’ Mentors For Foreign Students - RFA A university in the northeastern Chinese province of Jilin is recruiting patriotic and "politically sensitive" students to act as "buddies" for new foreign students arriving on campus this fall, RFA has learned. Jilin University's international institute, which runs the curriculum offered to foreign students, many of whom are studying Chinese, last week issued a recruitment notice. Many universities around the world run similar mentoring or "buddy" programs to help international students settle in to an unfamiliar environment.