North Korea, US-China Trade Action, Multi-level Marketing Crackdown, Facebook China Play, Beidaihe-Sinocism 08.14.17

"Sinocism is the Presidential Daily Brief for China hands"- Evan Osnos, New Yorker Correspondent and National Book Award Winner

I am back from a fun trip to Beijing.

I loaded up multiple VPNS four different VPN provides. This Swiss VPN was the fastest and most stable, and overall I had no significant connectivity issues. The VPN crackdown so far looks to be about making it harder for PRC citizens to use circumvention tools. With the exception of the week around the 19th Party Congress, when it is likely the VPNs in Beijing will basically all stop working as they did during the 18th Party Congress week, do not be surprised if the fears that all VPNs will be blocked are a bit overblown. Signal, my favorite messaging app, continues to work fine without a VPN, both for text and phone calls through the GFW.

I took my first shared bike ride, on a Mobike. Easy, used a friend’s account though as the initial 299 RMB deposit seemed hefty, luckily that day the unlocking system was not offline (Caixin-Bike-Share Lovers Have to Hotfoot It When Locks Won’t Open). That deposit has been the genius of the shared bike business models. The big ones, like Mobile and Ofo (which is now serving more than 30 million rides per day) have collected billions of RMB in deposits. Unfortunately for those firms the government issued new rules (Xinhua-New guidelines to keep China’s bike sharing on track) in early August that will squeeze that part of the model. Call me a stupid laowai but the surge of bikes ridden by people without helmets on roads full of relatively new drivers who have limited experience sharing those roads with large numbers of bikes will likely lead to a surge in nasty accidents. Has anyone invented a hygienic, sharable helmet?

Still quite jet-lagged so please excuse any errors…

AnchorThe Essential Eight

1. China Starts Implementing New UN Sanctions on North Korea, Latest DPRK Missile Advances May Have Ukrainian and Russian Connections, Tillerson and Mattis Continue To Provide Adult Supervision

China issues order to implement U.N. sanctions on North Korea – Reuters:

China’s Commerce Ministry issued a ban effective from Tuesday on several imports from North Korea, including coal, iron ore, lead concentrates and ore, lead and seafood, a move that is in line with U.N. sanctions announced this month. 商务部海关总署发布新增对朝鲜禁运部分产品清单

The secret to North Korea’s ICBM success | IISS:

How has North Korea managed to make such astounding progress with its long-range missile programme over the last two years? Here, Michael Elleman shares the first solid evidence that North Korea has acquired a high-performance liquid-propellant engine from illicit networks in Russia and Ukraine.

North Korea’s Missile Success Is Linked to Ukrainian Plant, Investigators Say – The New York Times:

Mr. Elleman’s detailed analysis is public confirmation of what intelligence officials have been saying privately for some time: The new missiles are based on a technology so complex that it would have been impossible for the North Koreans to have switched gears so quickly themselves. They apparently fired up the new engine for the first time in September — meaning that it took only 10 months to go from that basic milestone to firing an ICBM, a short time unless they were able to buy designs, hardware and expertise on the black market.

We’re Holding Pyongyang to Account – WSJ Secretary of State Mattis and Secretary of State Tillerson OpEd:

The object of our peaceful pressure campaign is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The U.S. has no interest in regime change or accelerated reunification of Korea. We do not seek an excuse to garrison U.S. troops north of the Demilitarized Zone. We have no desire to inflict harm on the long-suffering North Korean people, who are distinct from the hostile regime in Pyongyang….

Nice jab at Beijing over the shrieking about THAAD:

Installing Thaad launchers on the Korean Peninsula and conducting joint military exercises are defensive preparations against the acute threat of military actions directed against the U.S., our allies and other nations. China’s demand for the U.S. and South Korea not to deploy Thaad is unrealistic. Technically astute Chinese military officers understand the system poses no danger to their homeland.

Reiterates the view that China can and must do more:

Absent China using its influence to show the world how a great power should act to resolve such a well-defined problem as North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and long-range missile capability, others in the region are obliged to pursue prudent defensive measures to protect their people. China’s Security Council vote was a step in the right direction. The region and world need and expect China to do more.

Military Options Are a Last Resort, Top U.S. General Tells South Korea – The New York Times:

In a meeting with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, whose country has been alarmed by President Trump’s recent threats to Pyongyang, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the United States wanted to resolve the standoff with diplomacy and sanctions.

Comment: General Dunford is now in Beijing, next stop Japan.

Should China Support the U.S. in a War with North Korea? | ChinaFile Conversation with Ryan Hass, Susan Shirk, Orville Schell, Seong-Hyon Lee, Mira Rapp-Hooper, Roland Hinterkoerner, Chen Weihua, Bill Bikales

As a drill and potential warning, China’s navy just fired dozens of missiles near North Korea | Popular Science:

These drills, which happened Aug. 4 through Aug. 8, took place only days after North Korea launched a missile reportedly capable of hitting most of the continental U.S. As such, the drills appear to not only be about training, but about warning other nations. If war breaks out on the Korean Peninsula, China has the capability to intervene.

2. Trump To Launch Investigation To Determine If The US Should Investigate Certain PRC Trade Policies

Comment: Lots of noise over the recent week, seems more like punting at this point, but the issues targeted are very real

Trump Cautious on China Inquiry Over Intellectual Property Theft – New York Times:

Mr. Trump’s trade advisers, speaking to reporters on a conference call early Saturday, did not say why the administration decided to add the intermediate step of requesting an investigation, rather than starting one immediately. This month, people familiar with Mr. Trump’s deliberations suggested that the administration was prepared to immediately begin an inquiry into Chinese theft under the 1974 Trade Act.

The delay was welcomed by those who have been worried about the president’s protectionist tendencies. The Trump administration was expected to move directly into the investigation, so the memorandum reflects the more measured approach the administration also appears to be taking with steel and aluminum.

Trump suspects Bannon of leaking, putting job in jeopardy – Axios

On Monday, Trump returns to D.C. to announce he’s signing a memo to investigate China for intellectual property theft and other trade abuses against the U.S. Bannon has been pushing hard behind that policy.

How This U.S. Tech Giant Is Backing China’s Tech Ambitions – The New York Times – David Barboza:

Qualcomm is providing money, expertise and engineering for Beijing’s master plan to create its own technology superpowers.

Big American companies fiercely protect their intellectual property and trade secrets, fearful of giving an edge to rivals. But they have little choice in China — and Washington is looking on with alarm.

The Deep Roots and Long Branches of Chinese Technonationalism – MacroPolo – Evan Feigenbaum:

This isn’t going to be any old trade negotiation. It touches some of the deepest roots of the Chinese state and system. Non-Chinese firms everywhere need to understand where the Party and state are coming from—and will need to up their game. Without overstating the argument, it’s worth noting that technonational ideas are deeply embedded in the Party and state.

Comment: Feigenbaum wrote the book on this topic in 2003–China’s Techno-Warriors: National Security and Strategic Competition from the Nuclear to the Information Age 

China Warns U.S. Over Probe Into Aluminum Foil – Caixin Global:

The Commerce Department is due to issue its final ruling on October 24. If it confirms the Chinese companies are receiving subsidies and the U.S. International Trade Commission determines that U.S. companies have suffered damages, so-called countervailing duties, which are aimed at countering the subsidies, will be imposed on Chinese imports.

Trump trade investigation will ‘poison’ relations with China, media warns | World news | The Guardian:

In an editorial, the official China Daily said it was critical the Trump administration did not make a rash decision it would regret. “Given Trump’s transactional approach to foreign affairs, it is impossible to look at the matter without taking into account his increasing disappointment at what he deems as China’s failure to bring into line [North] Korea,” the English-language paper said.

3. Crackdown Underway Against 传销 Pyramid/Multi-Level Marketing Schemes

Comment: A regulatory and propaganda crackdown on predatory and cult-like multi-level marketing schemes is underway. The proximate cause may be the shocking, to the stability management system at least, public gatherings of angry Shanxinhui 善心汇, members, especially on the streets of Beijing, but there is no question many of these schemes are really scams, and arrests have not been limited to Shanxinhui members. The impact on US firms like Avon, Herbalife, Nuskin et al is unclear. 

四部门开展专项整治活动:坚决铲除各类传销组织_凤凰财经:-Ministry of Education, Ministry of Public Security, State Administration of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security launch three month rectification campaign on multi-level marketing schemes

Chinese police detain four more pyramid scheme members- Xinhua:

Four key members of Shanxinhui, a company suspected of organizing and leading a pyramid scheme, have been detained by police in south China’s Hainan Province. According to Hainan police on Monday, Shanxinhui allegedly manipulated and talked people into taking part in pyramid selling and cheated them out of huge amounts of property under the guise of helping the poor.

Pyramid Investigation Has Investors Protesting Near Heart of Beijing – The New York Times July 24:

Many of the protesters waved Chinese flags, and some held banners appealing to the president, Xi Jinping, to overturn the crackdown on their investment scheme, called Shanxinhui 善心汇, and the recent arrest of its founder, Zhang Tianming.

百度新闻搜索_传销-Baidu News search for recent articles on 传销 

“吃人”的传销_专题频道_财新网 –This week’s Caixin cover story is on the multi-level marketing scam epidemic, as is Hu Shuli’s weekly editorial.

传销为骗钱不惜轮番色诱 光宗耀祖成传销笔记热词_国内新闻_环球网-one example of quite the propaganda assault underway on multi-level marketing scams

湖南20岁女大学生被骗入传销组织后溺亡 5人被刑拘_新闻_腾讯网:-one of several deaths blamed on multi-level marketing schemes…one of the propaganda themes is that once people join as sellers they are effectively held in custody by the managers, and several have died trying to escape

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4. Facebook Launches An App In China. Did The Chinese Government Know?

Comment: Paul Mozur broke the story that Facebook launched a photo-sharing app in China. As Quartz reports Chinese netizens don’t care. The more interesting issue is whether Facebook did this with explicit or implicit permission from Chinese cyber regulators. 

If the company does not have permission, and instead is trying to “wash” its app through a local company to hide its true origins from regulators, then Facebook could be in a lot of trouble. Rupert Murdoch tried something similar in a deal with the son of a former Propaganda Minister to get around restrictions on foreign TV broadcasts, ended up getting slapped down hard in 2005 (Fairfax-Murdoch Out Of Step in New China). 

Facebook has been trying to enter China for years and has lots of smart people working on the problem. I can’t imagine the company would be so stupid as to try to pull a fast one on Beijing. Then again, China now has 751 million Netizens and the Communist Party is making Mark Zuckerberg feel like Tanatalus.

In China, Facebook Tests the Waters With a Stealth App – New York Times:

Facebook approved the May debut of a photo-sharing app, called Colorful Balloons, in China, according to a person with knowledge of the company’s plans, who declined to be named because the information is politically sensitive. The app, which has not previously been reported, shares the look, function and feel of Facebook’s Moments app. It was released through a separate local company and without any hint that the social network is affiliated with it.

Facebook’s (FB) secret Chinese app, “Colorful Balloons,” is a dud in China so far — Quartz:

Data from App Annie show that since May, “Colorful Balloons” has been lingering in near non-existence in China. Before the piece was published, its highest-ever ranking was when it was the 313th most-downloaded app in the Photo and Video category. It never cracked the rankings for the Overall category in China

5. Weak Economic Data, PBoC Q2 Monetary Policy Report

Key question: Is the political will now in place to tolerate a slowdown, or will the resolve weaken as it usually does in the face of slowing growth? The propaganda messaging continues to be that there will be no weakening of resolve. 

Overall Economic Performance was Steady with Continued Sound Momentum in July National Bureau of Statistics of China 14 August 2017

China’s Economy Catches Chill in July as Headwinds Mount – Caixin Global:

China’s economy got off to a slow start in the third quarter, with key indicators gauging factory activity and mining, investment and general consumption falling in July to their lowest levels in months, official figures showed Monday.

Industrial output rose 6.4% last month from a year earlier

Fixed-asset investment excluding rural households was up 8.3% in the January-July period year-on-year

Retail sales, which includes spending by households, government agencies and businesses, but excludes spending on services, rose 10.4% in July year-on-year

Top China newspaper slams debt build-up at firms, focuses on Wanda, LeEco – Reuters:

“These may look like singular events, but there’s a red line that runs through them: the era of relying on high leverage and high debt, of eating next year’s food supply this year for brutal growth, is over,” said the article, published in the People’s Daily’s economics pages.

The original article on the People’s Daily site 莫把工具当目的(每月经济观察)

Central Bank Pledges Continued Stable Monetary Policy – Caixin Global:

China’s central bank said Friday it would maintain a stable and neutral monetary policy, indicating that a recent decline in banks’ excess deposit reserve ratios doesn’t signal tightened liquidity or any other change in policy.

The report stressed the deleveraging of Chinese state-owned enterprises as the top priority and called for stepping up efforts to resolve so-called “zombie” firms, debt-ridden and loss-making companies that continue to operate only with the support of local government funding.

China Defends Yuan’s New Rate-Fixing Formula – Caixin Global:

On Friday, the central bank said in its second-quarter monetary policy implementation report that the new formula in fact let market forces play a bigger role in fixing the yuan’s exchange rate.

It said the “countercyclical factor” is decided by quoting banks, which also take account of the overall economic conditions and their relationship with the country’s currency. The change would smooth out the impact of “irrational” investor sentiment that tends to amplify market volatility and ignore positive economic indicators, thus alleviating the so-called “herd effect” that may dominate the currency market from time to time.

China’s Central Bank Signals Addition of New Policy Tools – Bloomberg:

The People’s Bank of China said it will “enrich” the maturities of reverse repurchase agreements to ensure the stability and neutrality of funding in the financial system, according to a quarterly monetary policy implementation report released late Friday in Beijing. The report is mainly a review of monetary policy conducted in the second quarter.

PBOC puts US$1.27 trillion of bank debt under closer scrutiny | South China Morning Post:

The People’s Bank of China said in its second-quarter monetary report that from the first quarter of 2018, it will include negotiable certificates of deposit (NCDs) issued by banks with over 500 billion yuan of assets when it calculates their interbank liabilities under its macro-prudential assessment(MPA).

The move is part of efforts by Beijing to curb risk in the financial system by reining in rampant interbank funding.


6. Has The US Lost The South China Sea?

The Week Donald Trump Lost the South China Sea | Foreign Policy – Bill Hayton
Reports from Hanoi (which have been confirmed by similar reports, from different sources, to the Australia-based analyst Carlyle Thayer) say that, shortly afterward, the Vietnamese ambassador in Beijing was summoned to the Chinese Foreign Ministry and told, bluntly, that unless the drilling stopped and Vietnam promised never to drill in that part of the sea ever again, China would take military action against Vietnamese bases in the South China Sea. This is a dramatic threat, but it is not unprecedented. While researching my book on the South China Sea, I was told by a former BP executive that China had made similar threats to that company when it was operating off the coast of Vietnam in early 2007.

Drilling ship leaves Vietnam oil block after China row Drilling by the Deepsea Metro I ship was suspended in Vietnam’s Block 136/3 last month after pressure from China, which says the concession operated by Spain’s Repsol (REP.MC) overlaps the vast majority of the waterway that it claims as its own.

U.S. destroyer challenges China’s claims in South China Sea Thursday’s operation, first reported by Reuters, was the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing’s efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters, and comes as Trump is seeking China’s cooperation to rein in North Korea. China’s Defense Ministry said two Chinese warships “jumped into action” and warned the U.S. ship to leave, labeling the move a “provocation” that seriously harms mutual trust.

Comments: FONOPs alone will not reverse China’s gains in the South China Sea

7. Beidaihe, And The End of A Period Of Seeming Institutionalization In Chinese Politics?

There is not much to update about Beidaihe. Liu Yunshan made his expected appearance on August 9 greeting experts who had been awarded a free vacation to Beidaihe,Yu Zhengsheng left for a day to go to Inner Mongolia and various Politbuto members have been in the media outside of Beidaihe. Xi has not made a reported public appearance since August 3, though has been reported to have issued instructions in wake of Jiuzhaigou earthquake and call with Trump.

At this point we still know nothing, and may not know anything definitive until the new leadership greets the media at the close of the 19th Party Congress meeting in the next few months.

Chris Johnson of CSIS, and previously the CIA, last week published his view of the 19th Party Congress preparations-Chinese Politics Has No Rules, But It May Be Good if Xi Jinping Breaks Them

It is a long, highly recommended read, and here are some of his key points:

So, with very few hard rules to follow, should we expect Xi Jinping to stick to the patterns of recent party congresses, or are we more likely to see him take a disruptive approach? Although it is impossible to know for sure what the ultimate outcome will be, some important signals already have been sent, and an analysis of recent political trends suggests that, as has been the case since Xi arrived on the scene as top leader, observers should learn to expect the unexpected. In fact, it seems fair to argue that there has been entirely too much complacency in the China-watching community when it comes to thinking about the prospects for the 19th Party Congress.

On Guo Wengui:

Guo’s behavior fits a pattern seen in the run-up to previous party congresses where a mysterious individual claiming access to party secrets arrives on the scene just as the politicking in Beijing reaches a fever pitch. For example, in 2002, a pseudonymous author, Zong Hairen, compiled a book, Disidai (the Fourth Generation), supposedly based on confidential files compiled by the CCP Organization Department, the Party’s personnel arm. Zong Hairen’s predictions for the new leadership lineup to be announced at the 16th Party Congress, which were predicated on the reputed Organization Department materials, were then published in English by two American China specialists. Unfortunately, however, the predictions proved completely inaccurate. Which seems to highlight an axiom of Chinese politics—the grouping that leaks to the outside generally is losing the internal fight, because, if you are winning the political battle in a closed system, there is no need to leak. Guo Wengui claims that he will reveal even more damaging information in the run-up to the Party Congress, which he may well do. But, whether he is acting at the direction of a leadership constituency or is simply trying to aid their cause because he has an axe to grind, his impact to date appears to have been minimal.

On Power and Policy:

Elevating Xi to ideological arbiter status in the party this early in his tenure could smooth implementation by substantially raising the political stakes of opposing him. We already have witnessed some hints of this following Xi’s elevation to “core” leader status. It was not by coincidence, for example, that several government ministers perceived to be at odds with Xi’s agenda were retired only a few days after the close of the Sixth Plenum

8. Heartbreaking New York Times Magazine Story About Asian American Identity And A Night Of Tragic Stupidity 

What a Fraternity Hazing Death Revealed About the Painful Search for an Asian-American Identity – The New York Times:

His mother told me about the night she spent at the hospital in the Poconos. Her son was already past saving, but she decided to keep him breathing so that his father would have time to arrive from China. That night, she stayed by Michael’s bedside and stuck acupuncture needles in his arm in a desperate attempt to save her son. ‘‘You don’t believe that this could happen to such a big healthy, happy boy,’’ she told me. ‘‘I learned acupuncture back in China, and I thought maybe it will help his comeback. The doctors knew he was already gone, so they let me do it, because they wanted me to have that moment of hope that I could bring him back.’’

AnchorBusiness, Economy And Trade

China Hits Brakes on Overseas Investment Drive – Caixin Global In the first six months of 2017, China’s nonfinancial outbound direct investment (ODI) fell 46% year-on-year to $48.2 billion. The amount for all of 2016 was $170.1 billion, according to a report published by the accounting and consulting firm EY and the China Mergers & Acquisitions Association (CMAA).

A Missing Tycoon’s Links to China’s Troubled Dalian Wanda – The New York Times – Mike Forsythe Dalian Wanda, the Chinese conglomerate that owns the AMC movie theater chain and nurtures Hollywood ambitions, has sometimes turned to the secretive business network of a politically connected Chinese billionaire in times of need.Now both Wanda and that billionaire, Xiao Jianhua, are under official pressure in China — and one Wanda insider says that may not be a coincidence.

Yu’e Bao Curbs Own Expansion – Caixin Global As of Monday, those who signed up for Yu’e Bao could no longer contribute more than 100,000 yuan ($15,000) to the $215-billion fund, which pays better than traditional banks, fund manager Tianhong Asset Management Co. said. The limit was lowered from 250,000 yuan, which was cut from 1 million yuan in May. The cap will not apply to existing investors, Tianhong Asset added.

In Peer-to-Peer Lending, Size Matters – Caixin Global On Aug. 24, 2016, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) and the central government said they would institute new caps on the size of P2P loans exactly 12 months later. That means that in less than two weeks, no individual will be able to borrow more than 200,000 yuan from a single P2P platform, or 1 million yuan from all platforms combined. Also, no company can secure loans of more than 1 million yuan from a single P2P lender, or 5 million yuan from all platforms combined

Now Advising China’s State Firms: The Communist Party – WSJ Outspoken private investor and former Hong Kong stock exchange director David Webb is more critical. Making the Communist Party’s role official provides companies “with cover to follow party instructions and reduces the chance that they will prioritize shareholder value,” Mr. Webb wrote in an email. “It underlines the falsity of [Chinese] leaders’ claims to be ‘letting market forces play a greater role’ and ‘deepening reforms.’”

AnchorPolitics And Law

Chongqing’s former mayor still wields plenty of political power- Nikkei Asian Review Political heavyweights like Wang Hongju arise because of “a government structure unique to China in which the central government unilaterally controls local governments,” explained a senior official of a China consultancy. In the case of Chongqing, secretaries and mayors usually come from the central government and do not know much about the city — currently, only four of the city’s 12 standing committee members are Chongqing natives. As a result, it is essential for such newcomers to build relations with local kingpins. “If you want to get things done in Chongqing, you must be friends with Wang [Hongju],” a local business official said.

Five Accused Tell Court That Fugitive Guo Wengui Was Mastermind Behind $60 Million Scheme – Caixin Global Gao pleaded guilty at the trial, held at the Dalian Xigang District People’s Court in northeast China, as did the other four other Guo associates. But they claimed they had acted under the instructions of Guo, who allegedly wanted them to take 400 million yuan from Tianjin Huatai Holding Group Ltd. from 2008 through 2012 and make the transaction appear legitimate. The court will give its verdict and sentence of the five Guo associates at a later time.

Eye-catching China activist Super Vulgar Butcher ‘admits wrongdoing’ – Reuters In a brief statement published on its official Weibo account on Monday afternoon, the Tianjin No.2 Intermediate People’s Court said it did not hold an open hearing because Wu’s case impinged on “state secrets”. “The defendant Wu Gan recognized his behavior violated criminal law and constituted a crime,” the court said, adding that his lawyers were allowed to “fully express” their defense arguments.

Activist ‘Super Vulgar Butcher’ Cut a Dramatic Profile—and Now He’s in Trouble – WSJ In his Aug. 9 statement [translated into English here], Mr. Wu said he won’t defend himself at his trial—which he calls a farce—and claims he was tortured in detention. He won’t plead guilty, provide a televised confession or be defended by a state-appointed lawyer. Mr. Wu’s friends say his stubbornness could draw a heavy sentence at trial.

Supreme People’s Court ramps up its judicial responsibility system | Supreme People’s Court Monitor In April of this year (2017), the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) issued its judicial responsibility guidelines.  At the end of July, the SPC issued a 73 article implementing opinion (最高人民法院司法责任制实施意见(试行)(Implementing Opinion), which went into effect on 1 August.  There have been many summary reports in the legal press, but the full text was not found until 11 August. It has since been published by several Wechat accounts, but as of this writing, no official text has been issued.  The policy basis for the responsibility system links back to the 3rd and 4th Plenum Decisions. Senior Party leadership (the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms) approved the SPC’s responsibility system.

北京观察:解读宋平 曾劝退元老说服红二代_中国-多维新闻网 Comment: an interesting look at the influence of Song Ping from Duowei

Wang Qishan is reading about history’s decisive moments, and so should we | South China Morning Post Niall Ferguson-If you are stuck for a book to read this August, I recommend Stefan Zweig’s Decisive Moments in History. Published in 1927, Zweig’s book is now largely forgotten. My interest was piqued when a friend in Beijing told me it was the latest Western book to be recommended by Wang Qishan (王岐山) to his colleagues on the Politburo Standing Committee.

Ex-aide to China’s personnel chief sacked for ‘corrupt political morals’ | South China Morning Post Wei Minzhou, 60, was the secretary general of the northwest province’s party committee between 2007 and 2012 – a time when Zhao Leji was the Shaanxi party boss.

China’s Communist Party Issues Strict Cyber Rules For Party Members | The Diplomat The new cyber-rule was jointly issued by three CPC departments — the CPC Central Committee Propaganda Department, the CPC Central Organization Department (essentially the Party’s human resources department) and the Central Network Office — in June and widely circulated recently.

China Focus: China fights for final victory over poverty – Xinhua China has set 2020 as the target year to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society, which requires the eradication of poverty. The task has become more difficult and costly as the process approaches its end. According to global experience, the most difficult phase in poverty eradication is when the population living in poverty accounts for less than 10 percent of the overall population. As of the end of 2016, there were still 43.35 million people in China living below the country’s poverty line of 2,300 yuan (344.30 U.S. dollars) of annual income as constant with 2010 prices, accounting for about 3 percent of China’s population.

State Council approves city plan for Lhasa – According to the plan, an area of 4,326 square kilometers was designated for unified rural and urban development. It urged expanding public facilities to serve neighboring villages, developing counties and key villages with potential, and optimizing the overall layout of villages and towns. More efforts will be concentrated on counties and central towns with good basic conditions to promote the modernization of rural areas.

人民日报评“前11排座位”:哪来的底气违反八项规定-中新网 Comment: Xian officials in trouble for requesting the China Southern arrange the first eleven rows for a traveling delegation, and provide some “separation” between them and “ordinary passengers” aka the masses…career limiting move these days

Cybersecurity Law gets its first big investigation – China Media Project – China Media Project In the first clear example of China’s new Cybersecurity Law being cited to target major social media platforms, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) issued a notice today saying that WeChat, Sina Weibo and Baidu Tieba — a popular online community linked to Baidu’s search services — were under investigation for violations of the new law, which took effect on June 1 this year…

AnchorForeign And Defense Affairs

Chinese Cyber Diplomacy in a New Era of Uncertainty – Lawfare – Adam Segal Last month the Hoover Institution published my paper entitled “Chinese Cyber Diplomacy in a New Era of Uncertainty” as part of its Aegis Paper Series. I argue that after initially taking a relatively defensive, reactive position on the global governance of cyberspace, China under President Xi Jinping has adopted a more activist cyber diplomacy. This foreign policy has three primary goals: limit the threat that the internet and the flow of information may pose to domestic stability and regime legitimacy; shape cyberspace to extend Beijing’s political, military, and economic influence; and counter US advantages in cyberspace and increase China’s room of maneuver. Measured against its objectives, China’s diplomacy would appear relatively successful.

Charges loom for ex-intelligence official Roger Uren after ASIO raid Federal police are seeking to charge a former high-ranking Australian intelligence official, Roger Uren, with breaching spy agency secrecy laws after ASIO discovered a cache of classified files during a raid on his home in late 2015. A Fairfax Media investigation can also reveal that Mr Uren’s wife, Chinese-Australian lobbyist and suspected intelligence operative Sheri Yan, introduced an alleged Chinese spy to her Australian contacts.

China, Pakistan vow to further deepen bilateral pragmatic cooperation – Xinhua Wang Yang is in Pakistan to attend activities marking the 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence at the invitation of the Pakistani government.

AnchorHong Kong, Macao And Taiwan

连续三天!解放军2架运-8型机再次绕台_凤凰资讯 PLA planes keep flying around Taiwan

Radio silence: 24-hour broadcast of BBC World Service dropped in Hong Kong | Media | The Guardian After four decades in the former British colony, BBC World Service is to be mostly replaced with China’s state radio channel

AnchorTech And Media

Big-Data Collection Becomes Big Headache in China – Caixin Global Most big-data companies say they obtain data legally. But some experts in the field wonder how it was possible for them to have gathered so much data in such a short period of time. Meanwhile, more and more businesses are emerging in the loosely regulated market.

The Next Generation AI Development Development Plan — What’s inside? Comment: By Jia He of Toutiao  //  The plan has analyzed the advantages and weakness of China to develop AI, and has prioritized the technologies and tasks for developing technology and applications. Beyond this, China has recognized that society and technology should be taken into account together to ensure that AI could be healthily and rapidly developed in safe, secure, reliable and controllable systems. According to the plan, socio-economic impact research of AI is listed as one of the state key scientific research programs that will be released soon afterwards. The plan is equipped with six supporting actions to ensure the achievement of the goals, including rules, open and inclusive international environment and make sure the society is well prepared for the next generation of AI. The issues of employment will be taken into account for the short-term, and the issues of ethics will be taken into account for the long-term.

Chinese startup Toutiao raising funds at over $20 billion valuation: sources  Comment:  I like 头条, increasingly also read the Tencent’s beta 看一看 inside Wechat

China’s Wolf Warrior 2 in ‘war-ravaged Africa’ gives the White Savior complex a whole new meaning — Quartz In the film Wolf Warrior 2, Leng Feng, a former special forces operative, is on a one-man mission to save Chinese nationals and innocent locals from local rebels and mercenaries in a generic African country. In the film’s trailer, a jeep trawls through a green savannah, passing two lions. African workers dancing around a bonfire at an apparently Chinese-financed factory are attacked by white mercenaries. A busy throughway in a market town comes under fire. Feng, armed with a knife and his martial arts skills, arrives at a compound, telling its occupants, “I’m here to save you.” Wolf Warrior 2 is now China’s highest grossing film ever,

独家 | 孙宏斌质押乐视网全部股权寻战略投资者 京东腾讯阿里均表兴趣_公司频道_财新网 Comment: Sun Hongbin is looking for strategic investors for LeEco

AnchorSociety, Art, Sports, Culture And History

In China, Surveillance Feeds Become Reality TV – WSJ In “Dragonfly Eyes,” director Xu Bing uses real surveillance footage to tell the story of an ill-fated romance between a young woman who works on a dairy farm and a technician who watches her through the farm’s surveillance system. Mr. Xu believes it’s the first full-length fiction film to be made entirely with surveillance footage.


New system to facilitate private education – The State Council approved establishing an inter-ministerial joint conference system for private education, as requested by the Ministry of Education.

Why Chinese Parents Spend Huge Amounts of Money on Children’s Summer Programs | What’s on Weibo An essay titled “A Monthly Salary of 30,000 RMB Is Not Enough for a Child’s Summer Holiday” has recently gone viral on Chinese social media, triggering hot debates on how more and more Chinese parents spend huge amounts of money to educate their children during school holidays.


Beijing Urges Subway Riders to Pay With Smartphones — but Not iPhones – Caixin Global An upgrade to Apple’s iOS operating system due this fall will enable the latest iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models to read more third-party NFC devices

今起北京二环主路长安街等路段全天禁行外地车–社会–人民网  // Comment: Beijing increases the number of streets restricted to Beijing-registered cars only

Beijing proposes ‘joint property ownership’ scheme to help cool prices and allow more onto the property ladder | South China Morning Post Capital city’s government scheme inspired by others including the UK’s ‘shared-ownership’ or ‘help-to-buy’ schemes, with 50,000 units planned to be offered yearly

Migrants moved on as Beijing deals with building ‘disease’ Beijing’s municipal government launched a campaign this year to eradicate what it called an “urban disease” of illegal construction and unsafe buildings in the city of nearly 22 million people.

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