Sinocism 06.15.17-Anbang Squeezed, More US Scrutiny Of PRC Investments, Kindergarten Carnage, South China Sea Fait Accompli

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

AnchorThe Essential Eight

1. Is Anbang At Risk Of Collapse?

Chinese Deal Maker Held in Corruption Probe – WSJ

Wu Xiaohui, who transformed Anbang Insurance Group from a provincial auto insurer into a global deal maker, was detained by a special investigative unit looking at economic crimes, people familiar with the matter said. The probe centers on whether Mr. Wu was involved in bribery and other economic crimes at Anbang, these people said.

Comment: Lingling Wei, one of the reporters on this story, wrote on Twitter that the investigative unit includes the CCDI and the economic crimes unit of the ministry of public security

Related: Anbang’s Woes Deepen as Banks Are Told to Halt Dealings – Bloomberg

Chinese authorities have asked lenders to suspend some business dealings with the insurer, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, who didn’t provide further details. At least six large banks have stopped selling Anbang policies at their branch networks, with some taking action before the government notice, people with knowledge of their operations said.

Related: Anbang’s Sales Dry Up in New Challenge for Chinese Insurers – The New York Times

Questions about Anbang’s financial strength had begun circulating on social media in China in March and April, as Chinese officials publicly raised questions about sales of wealth management products by some insurers.

Comment: Any partners or investors surprised by recent developments have not been paying attention

Related: Western media shouldn’t speculate when reporting on China – Global Times

Western media outlets interpreted Anbang’s brief statement on Wu from a political perspective, linking it with the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). They are reading the news through the wrong lens. China is a socialist country where capital doesn’t dominate social affairs  and big corporations cannot decide the political trajectory of the nation. Big companies in the West can wield major influence on their nations’ rulemaking and decision-making process, but it’s different in China. Some Westerners often forget this, misperceiving that personnel reshuffles at a large Chinese company could exert an impact on the country’s political process. // Comment: 此地无银三百两 “300 taels of silver are not hidden here”…

Related: Detention of Anbang boss a milestone in financial industry crackdown, analysts say | South China Morning Post

“The probe into Wu indicates that this anti-corruption drive isn’t just targeting those coming up from the grass roots, but also the princelings,” said Hu Xingdou, a professor of economics at the Beijing Institute of Technology. “This is a milestone showing that the campaign, especially in the financial sector, has entered a new stage.”

Comment: Also noteworthy that the financial sector is full of people with connections to Wang Qishan. Why did he wait so long to go after the financial sector? Fears that too strong a crackdown could lead to systemic risks? Or something else?

2. Will The US Treasury Department Label China a “Hostile Nation”?

Mnuchin Seeks Greater Scrutiny of Chinese Investments in U.S. – Bloomberg

The U.S. Treasury Department wants to include China among a proposed group of hostile nations whose companies would undergo extra scrutiny for national security risks if they seek to buy stakes in American corporations, according to an administration official.

Russian, Iranian and North Korean firms would also be subject to more extensive review by a panel called the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States if they seek to merge, acquire or participate in joint ventures with American companies, said the official, who requested anonymity because the proposal isn’t final.

Comment: Will China and these other countries be officially called  “hostile” nations?

Related: China warns against political intervention in takeovers of US technology – People’s Daily Online

“In principle, normal business takeovers shall follow business rules and the laws of the market,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told reporters at a routine press conference. “We believe there should not be undue political dimensions imposed on commercial takeovers, let alone political intervention.”

Related: Tencent-Backed Canadian Start-Up Element AI Raises $102 Million – China Money Network

“Tencent is actively pursuing investment opportunities in AI and innovation globally,” said Hongwei Chen, executive director of investment and M&A at Tencent. “We are excited to partner with Element AI and Real Ventures, and look forward to seeing breakthroughs in AI technology and applications that help improve people’s lives.”

3. Can China’s Momentum In The South China Sea Be Stopped?

How to Stop China in the South China Sea | Foreign Affairs

Ely Ratner, deputy national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden 2015-2017, with quite the condemnation of Obama Administration policies toward China and the South China Sea. I generally agree, especially with statements like this:

The United States’ desire to avoid conflict meant that nearly every time China acted assertively or defied international law in the South China Sea, Washington instinctively took steps to reduce tensions, thereby allowing China to make incremental gains.

As I wrote almost two years ago, 吃硬不吃软 (chi1ying4 bu4 chi1ruan3), defined by the invaluable Pleco as “be open to coercion, but not to persuasion” is a concept worth learning. This seems to describe the CCP’s approach to the world, especially in the Xi Jinping era

Ratner the suggests that the US and allies can still prevent the South China Sea from becoming a PRC lake:

…the United States should issue a clear warning: that if China continues to construct artificial islands or stations powerful military assets, such as long-range missiles or combat aircraft, on those it has already built, the United States will fundamentally change its policy toward the South China Sea. Shedding its position of neutrality, Washington would stop calling for restraint and instead increase its efforts to help the region’s countries defend themselves against Chinese coercion.

I think it is too late and Beijing already has achieved its fait accompli, especially given the strategic incoherence of Trump, his mercurial treatment of US allies in the region, and the damage to US credibility from the withdrawal from the TPP.

Related: Rex Tillerson warns of potential ‘conflict’ with China – Washington Examiner

“We have told them, ‘you are creating instability throughout the Pacific region that will bring us into conflict; please don’t do that,'” Tillerson said Wednesday during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing.

China has been building artificial islands in the South China Sea, replete with military equipment, as part of an aggressive move to assert control over some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. Tillerson cited that behavior as one of the most pressing issues in the U.S.-China relationship, which he acknowledged is reaching “an inflection point” that could lead to war if managed incorrectly.

Related: South China Sea: Freedom of navigation exercise in South China Sea part of strategy: Defense Secretary James Mattis – The Economic Times

“I authorised the Freedom of Navigation — those voyages to continue and get underway and that’s what you saw was the first. Now there’s a programme inside a coherent strategy that support Secretary Tillerson’s view of foreign policy, engaging in that part of the world,” Mattis said.

He made the remarks while responding to a question over the United States Navy not conducting a Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea for more than six months from October 2016 to May.
Related: Naval commander stresses no change in U.S. policy on South China Sea – LA Times

“The amount of FONOPS we do is infinitesimal compared to our everyday exchanges,” he said. “I don’t see how those operations in the South China Sea should be viewed from a Navy perspective as any more consequential than anywhere else.”

Swift noted U.S. “ship days” in the South China Sea would likely reach 900 this year, up from around 700 annually. But he attributed it to carrier strike groups temporarily in the Pacific and cautioned against assuming a regular increase.

Comment: Not sure it makes sense to signal to Beijing that the frequency may drop next year

4. How Will Trump React When Beijing Does Not Deliver What He Expects On North Korea?

Tillerson says U.S. pressed China to act on entities doing illicit business with North Korea – The Washington Post

“Our expectations have been very clear with the Chinese. Their cooperation, I would say, has been notable, but it has been uneven,” Tillerson said.

“We continue that dialogue with the Chinese, specifically around their actions that support revenue streams to North Korea, but also taking action against entities inside of China that may be supporting revenue streams as well,” Tillerson said.

Related: China and Russia soften the bite of North Korea sanctions- Nikkei Asian Review

…amid international efforts to pressure Pyongyang into halting its missile and nuclear development, China and Russia are trading growing volumes of commodities with the country — creating a hole

in the sanctions regime the U.S. has been seeking to tighten.

Related: China Demands On-Site Inspection of THAAD Battery in Korea – The Chosun Ilbo

“The Chinese side wanted to check if the radar is capable of monitoring activities even on the Chinese mainland.” Beijing is making the demands “through various channels,” the source added.

Comment: Because in Beijing’s view the only sovereignty that should be respected is PRC sovereignty?

5. Mess With Kids’ Schooling And People Will Get Unruly, Especially In Beijing

Beijing protesters in rare clash with police over school dispute | Reuters

About a hundred protesters clashed on Wednesday with police in downtown Beijing after authorities abruptly reassigned their children to a school in a rough neighborhood, a rare display of public anger in the Chinese capital…

“How can we send our kids to this kind of school?” asked one upset mother, Wen, who works at tech giant Baidu and only gave her last name.

“We fought and worked so hard, and put down millions to buy a house to earn a decent life in Beijing. And now our kids will have to go to this kind of school?”

“I used to think I have a nice life but now I think I’m just one of those at the bottom. We are really powerless and don’t know what to do,” Wen told Reuters.

Comment: When even white collar workers at world class firms realize that in the eyes of the Communist Party they are still just peasants…Like the 2016 Lei Yang case, in which a Renmin University graduate was beaten to death by police, this is another reminder that even those who work hard and go to top schools, and think they are doing the right things still have no confidence they will be treated fairly. 

The Chinese report on the situation, with pictures of the school they thought were getting and the decrepit one they are getting 北京昌平一小学划片突遭调整:开发商拖延教育配套  The real estate developer, unsurprisingly, may share much of the blame

Related: Beijing owners up in arms as school’s admission rule crimps property values | South China Morning Post

I feel so upset,” said Wang Lan , a Tsinghua University graduate and now a postdoctoral research fellow in Beijing. “We have been working so hard, and paying taxes in this city and now we get this. It is not only about poor schools, but more about fairness.”

Related: Try Getting Your Kid Into a Beijing Public School – Bloomberg

Strivers such as Ding and Qi are focused on a small number that have achieved almost talismanic status and are often discussed in respectful tones. Of Beijing’s 984 elementary schools, only a couple of dozen fall into this category, including Zhong Guan Cun No. 3 Elementary School and Experimental Primary School of Beijing Normal University. Most were once zhongdian xuexiao, or key institutes—a designation that dates to the Mao era and refers to institutions tasked with educating the children of the Communist Party elite. These schools have traditionally drawn the lion’s share of financial resources as well as the best teachers.

6. Beijing Continues To Restrict Taiwan’s International Space, With No Consequences

Taiwan says China ‘impertinently’ wants it to soften representation in 5 countries | Reuters

The pressure from Beijing on the UAE, Bahrain, Ecuador, Jordan, and Nigeria follows Panama’s decision this week to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan and instead recognize China and its “One China” policy.

Taiwan’s foreign ministry said in a statement China wanted the five countries to ask Taiwan to use names, such as “Taipei Trade Office”, that do not suggest Taiwanese sovereignty.

Related: Not just officials: Taiwan students blocked from visiting UN public gallery in Geneva | Hong Kong Free Press HKFP

Citing new internal guidelines, staff at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) told them that they would not even accept international student cards as proof of identity – but only documents issued by Beijing

Related: China to assist Panamanian students in Taiwan – Xinhua

“We are aware some Panamanian students who have received scholarships from Taiwan may experience difficulties. We welcome them to study in the Chinese mainland and are willing to offer timely and necessary assistance,” Lu said.

7. Mass Casualties In Explosion Outside A Jiangsu Kindergarten

Explosion at China Kindergarten Kills at Least 7 and Wounds Dozens – The New York Times

By Thursday evening, the Feng County government in Xuzhou said 66 people had been hurt, including nine with serious injuries, in addition to the seven confirmed dead. Some local news reports described the cause as a possible gas tank explosion, but the police urged the public not to jump to conclusions.

Related: 江苏幼儿园爆炸初步判定为刑事案件 已锁定嫌疑人_网易新闻

Comment: This official report says preliminary determination is that the kindergarten explosion was a criminal act and a suspect identified. The pictures and videos circulating online are grim, not going to link to them

8. Trump Crony Cutting China Deals, Advising on Policy Towards Beijing?

Manafort still doing international work – POLITICO

Manafort quietly consulted on a proposal under which the Chinese fund — the China Development Fund — would invest $30 billion or more in the Puerto Rican government’s bond debt and possibly the island’s critical infrastructure..

One of the people, a lawyer involved in the discussions, said Manafort indicated that he could convince the Trump administration to support any resulting deal, because he’s remained in contact with Trump’s team, and that he played a role in helping to soften Trump’s tough campaign rhetoric on China.

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AnchorBusiness, Economy And Trade

U.S. beef speeds to China by air as trade deal ends 14-year ban | Reuters Greater Omaha Packing Co said it shipped beef by plane to China from Nebraska, a top U.S. beef producing state, to meet strong demand. //  Comment: Wasn’t this deal actually basically done last year under President Obama but the Chinese side held up implementing as did not want to give the win to Obama and Ambassador Baucus, and they want to have an easy “concession” to give a new US president?

China stands pat on rates this time despite Fed hike | Reuters Markets had been divided over whether the PBOC would raise short-term rates again in lockstep with the Fed, with those in the “hold” camp noting that China’s short-term money rates and bond yields have already been trending higher.

IMF urges Beijing to move ahead with flexible exchange rates and economic reform | South China Morning Post The IMF forecast China to see GDP growth at 6.7 per cent this year and slow down to an average of 6.4 per cent from 2018 to 2020.  //  Comment: Any complaints by the IMF about Beijing’s backtracking on the RMB liberalization? Talk about a premature move to add the Yuan to the SDR, IMF bureaucrats were played bigly

Renminbi strength surprises China bears as PBoC plays clever game The PBoC has also moved to punish foreign speculators in Hong Kong’s offshore renminbi market. Acting through state-owned banks, the PBoC has repeatedly squeezed offshore renminbi liquidity, pushing up money market interest rates and thereby raising the cost of bearish bets.  “All those macro hedge funds were massively short, and they’re losing money — not only on China but on other markets as well. So they have very little patience left,” says a fund manager who bets on Chinese interest and exchange rates at a large European hedge fund. // Comment: Anyone know how much Kyle Bass is down? Kyle Bass still short yuan, says China credit bubble ‘metastasizing’–Why does Reuters run his comments without requiring him to disclose his returns?

China’s Holdings of U.S. Treasuries Rise to Six-Month High – Bloomberg Chinese ownership of U.S. government bonds, notes and bills increased by $4.6 billion to $1.09 trillion in April, remaining the second-largest foreign holder of American debt, according to a monthly Treasury Department report released on Thursday. Japan, the largest non-U.S. holder of government debt, decreased its total to $1.11 trillion, down $12.4 billion from a month earlier.

Both nations aiming to speed up RCEP talks, says Vivian, The Straits Times Singapore and China will try to expedite the negotiations for a large regional free trade agreement, to put out a strong statement in favour of free trade and economic integration, Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said yesterday.

Chinese Peer-to-Peer Lenders Continue to Befuddle Regulators – Caixin “The problem is that there are so many variants of P2P. The problems of the market can hardly be fixed by issuing some regulatory policies since there are always loopholes for scammers to exploit,” said a government official who was part of the national P2P industry inspection team.

China Tightens Oversight of Online Finance — The Information $$ A string of new rules will give the central bank more control over transactions of internet payment platforms and could force firms including Alibaba-affiliate Ant Financial and Tencent, among some nearly 270 online payment platforms, to share more data with China’s central bank.

This Case Could Upend America’s $29 Billion Solar Industry – Bloomberg Suniva is asking for import duties of 40¢ per watt for solar cells, which currently sell for 25¢ to 33¢ a watt. If the company prevails, the price of panels imported into the U.S. could double, potentially crippling demand for solar power. Suniva’s ­majority owner, Shunfeng, makes its own panels in China and opposes the trade case, but it lost its say once the bankruptcy began

Pork Prices Enter New Round of Decline Cycle, With No Recovery Expected in Second Half, Say Experts | Yicai Global Due to pork prices accounting for relatively larger weight in China’s consumer price index (CPI), the decline in pork prices may lead to CPI index running at a lower level in the second half, experts suggest. Since New Year holiday, China’s domestic pork prices slumped from more than CNY18/kg at the beginning of the year to the current CNY13/kg.

Airbnb Tries to Succeed Where Uber Failed – Bloomberg Although Airbnb has 3 million listings globally, it had only 80,000 on the mainland in 2016. Tujia, which combined its listings with those of Chinese online travel giant International Ltd., boasts 400,000 properties with an additional 300,000 on its low-priced unit. has 200,000 properties in more than 300 cities. And with local companies drawing venture capital—Tujia has raised 2.8 billion yuan ($412 million), Xiaozhu has raised $150 million, and both are in talks to secure substantially more—competition is set to get even tougher.

坚定不移做强做优做大国有企业 Comment: SASAC Party Committee in latest Qiushi on unswervingly building strong, excellent, large SOEs

AnchorPolitics And Law

Chinese Authorities ‘Appoint’ Government Lawyer For Detained Attorney Wang Quanzhang – RFA Authorities in the Chinese capital have warned off a lawyer hired by the family of detained human rights attorney Wang Quanzhang, saying that he will be represented by a government-appointed lawyer instead. Wang has been held at an unknown location without trial or access to a lawyer or family visits for nearly two years after being detained in a nationwide July 2015 police operation targeting rights lawyers and associated activists.

Jiang Tianyong’s Family Rejects Officially-Appointed Lawyers | Human Rights in China 中国人权 | HRIC In a statement issued today, family members of Jiang Tianyong (江天勇), a prominent rights lawyer disappeared in November 2016 in Changsha and who was officially arrested on suspicion of “subversion of state power” on May 31, 2017, protest the authorities’ refusal to let lawyers retained by the family to meet with Jiang.

Ethnic Kazakh Imam Dies in Custody of Chinese Police in Xinjiang – RFA The Kakakh imam, known by a single name, Akmet, was detained last week by authorities in Xinjiang’s Chanji (in Chinese, Sanji) Hui Autonomous Prefecture, a source close to the case said on Thursday. “We don’t know exactly what happened, why he was detained by the authorities, but two or three days later, they said he had hanged himself,” the source said.

Hainan Airlines owner sues fugitive tycoon Guo Wengui for defamation | South China Morning Post The owner of Hainan Airlines, Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, said it filed a defamation lawsuit against fugitive tycoon Guo Wengui, calling his recent allegations tying the company to corruption involving Chinese leaders “baseless” and “meritless”. // Comment: The official statement, does not say where filed 

Kevin K. Tung, Esq. Founding Partner and Managing Attorney Comment: Mr. Tung seems to be the go-to lawyer in the US lawsuits against Guo Wengui  // During recent years, Kevin has dedicated his time and led the team in expanding KKT’s U.S.-China practice. His tremendous experience and knowledge in litigation has helped China-based clients win many important cases. He has also advised many China-based clients in acquiring U.S. assets and merging with domestic corporations. Due to Kevin, KKT has seen substantial growth in its successful U.S.-China practice.

《习近平讲故事》出版座谈会举行–时政–人民网 Comment: Symposium held in Beijing on the publication of the new book “Xi Jinping Telling Stories”, a compendium of 109 vignettes on Xi’s thoughts abut state governance…wonder what new titles Xi may amass at the 19th, and what may be enshrined as his theoretical contributions, earlier than normal?//《习近平讲故事》从习近平总书记数百篇讲话和文章中,精选出体现他治国理政新理念新思想新战略的109则故事,每则故事在引用原文之外,还配有“延伸阅读”,用以丰富故事细节,还原故事语境,让读者更好地体悟故事背后的改革发展之道、大国外交之道、修身为人之道。

坚决把党中央重大决策部署落到实处 坚决把党中央重大决策部署落到实处 ——中央国家机关贯彻落实党的十八届六中全会精神深入推进全面从严治党纪实 // Comment: This long page 1 article on the June 16 People’s Daily on resolutely deploying and implementing the centers major policies likely a sign those policies are still not getting implemented//

3天9省市武警总队主官密集调整 – 今日头条 “政事儿”)注意到,包括安徽,近日,已有9省市武警总队司令员、政委先后调整。 //  Comment: 9 provincial and municipal People’s Armed Police officials reshuffled in three days

AnchorForeign And Defense Affairs

Congress Seeks IG Probe of VOA China Interview Comment:Good, Congress should compel all involved to testify under oath  // On the inspector general probe, the request for the probe is expected in the next few days. “Members of the House and Senate are in the process of putting together a formal request,” said one congressional aide.

China approves nine Trump trademarks it had previously rejected – AP The Chinese government has granted preliminary approval for nine Donald Trump trademarks it had previously rejected, in whole or in part, the Associated Press found, a turn that is likely to fuel further allegations that Beijing may be giving the president’s family business special treatment.

China Ambassador Cheng Jingye accuses ABC, Fairfax of stirring up ‘panic’ – China power – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) “Firstly, what was reported in the program is basically a kind of platitude. I’ve heard those allegations more than once since I was posted here. In Chinese, we call it ‘cook up the overnight cold rice’ — which means repeating the same old stuff again and again,” he said. “Maybe the producers of the program believe that those groundless allegations may turn [out] to be true after repeating a thousand times. People’s Daily report // Comment: 我驻澳大使批澳媒对华不实报道:他们的想象力太过丰富 

Abbott money man hit by China donations scandal – Sydney Morning Herald A key political fundraiser for former prime minister Tony Abbott has maintained contact with Chinese Communist Party-aligned businessman Huang Xiangmo, despite warnings from ASIO to Mr Abbott about the billionaire donor.

China experts warn of funding shock to research – The Australian China experts say Australian universities’ financial dependence on a single group of students jeopardises more than teaching funds, with all university operations susceptible to vacillations in demand from the most populous country.

Malcolm Turnbull calls China a ‘frenemy’, toughens stance towards Beijing | “He [Mr Turnbull] is a pragmatist, not an ideologue. His view has changed as the facts on the ground have changed,” said one person working closely with the Prime Minister.

Indian army set to deploy fleet of armed choppers in North East to counter China | Hindustan Times Beefing up its force levels in the northeast to counter China, the Indian Army is all set to deploy a squadron of weaponised Dhruv advanced light helicopters in Assam’s Likabali town

Countering China’s High-Altitude Land Grab by Brahma Chellaney – Project Syndicate On average, China launches one stealth incursion into India every 24 hours. Kiren Rijiju, India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs, says the People’s Liberation Army is actively intruding into vacant border space with the objective of occupying it. And according to a former top official with India’s Intelligence Bureau, India has lost nearly 2,000 square kilometers to PLA encroachments over the last decade.

China lauds Pakistan’s support in fighting terrorism – Xinhua China’s top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng met with Pakistan’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Zubair Mahmood Hayat in Beijing Thursday.

Chinese scientists have built the first quantum satellite network – The Verge China’s quantum satellite has produced its first successful result. In a paper published today in Science, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences announced the satellite had successfully distributed entangled photons between three different terrestrial base stations, separated by as much as 1,200 kilometers on the ground.

推进军民深度融合发展的科学指南 – 《求是》2017/12  作者:姜鲁鸣 推动军民深度融合发展,既能以经济社会发展的整体实力支撑国防和军队建设,又能最大限度地发挥国防和军队建设对经济社会发展尤其是高新产业发展的带动作用,依靠军民融合产生的强大“效益合力”,加快构建依托国家整体实力的信息化战争体系,不断提升综合国力,成就民族复兴大业。- (作者:国防大学军民融合深度发展研究中心教授)

Chinese Navy flotilla docks at Iran’s Bandar Abbas – Xinhua The flotilla, which includes Chang Chun destroyer, Chao Hu replenishment and Jin Zhou frigate, is visiting the Iranian port in a bid to strengthen friendly ties between Tehran and Beijing and boost maritime cooperation.

AnchorHong Kong, Macao And Taiwan

锻造忠诚之师威武之师文明之师 坚决维护香港长期繁荣稳定 来源:《求是》2017/12  作者:袁誉柏 魏 亮 // Comment: Article in the latest Qiushi commemorating the 20th anniversary of PLA troops garrisoning in Hong Kong

AnchorTech And Media

Tencent Courts Angry Birds Maker Rovio for Possible Purchase — The Information $$n Tencent is among several companies to approach Rovio about a possible purchase, one of the people said…Tencent, best known as the owner of WeChat, is the world’s largest game publisher by revenue,

单仁平:苹果涉嫌滥用垄断,政府应依法干预_评论_环球网 Comment: Global Times editorial by “Shan Renping” calls for government to investigate Apple for anti-monopoly violations, due to its banning tipping in wechat / insistence on taking a 30% cut

Viewers Wince as Beloved Japanese TV Drama Gets Tasteless Remake in China – Caixin Adapted from a widely acclaimed Japanese series of tales about a late-night snack bar and its offbeat patrons, the Chinese version of Midnight Diner is being widely criticized by viewers as both bland and unpalatable.  //  Comment: The original is on Netflix and is excellent

AnchorSociety, Art, Sports, Culture And History

We want the World Cup, Xi Jinping tells Infantino in landmark meeting between China and Fifa leaders | South China Morning Post “The true meaning of football is not just about competition, it is more about cultivating people’s patriotism and collective fighting spirit.”

Court Orders Phone Shaming for ‘Dishonest’ Debtors – Sixth Tone A local court in Dengfeng, central China’s Henan province, has come up with a novel way to motivate “dishonest” borrowers to repay their loans, state news agency Xinhua reported earlier this week. Now, when friends and family call these delinquent debtors, they’ll be greeted with an audio message exposing their irresponsible fiscal behavior.

AnchorEnergy, Environment, Science And Health

China Renewable Companies Aren’t Juiced Up About ‘Green Certificate’ Program – Caixin The government has been looking at how to create a green certificate program for 10 years. It first filled in some details on the rules of the system in February. Fewer than 10 parties potentially interested in buying the green certificates attended a meeting on Tuesday with renewable-energy companies that have them. Their top-raised issue was what benefits they would get besides brand promotion if they buy, the NREIMC’s Xu told Caixin.

Spat threatens China’s plans to build world’s largest telescope | Science | AAAS China’s astronomers are united in wanting a world-class giant optical telescope, one that would serve notice that they are ready to compete on the global stage. But a squabble has opened up over the telescope’s design. On one side is an established engineering team, led by a veteran optics expert responsible for the nation’s largest existing telescope, that is eager to push ahead with an ambitious design. On the other are astronomers reveling in a grassroots priority-setting exercise—unprecedented for China—who have doubts about the ambitious design and favor something simpler.

China launches X-ray telescope via Long March 4B | Initially scheduled for launch back in 2010, China has finally launched the long-awaited Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT) using a Long March-4B (Chang Zheng-4) launch vehicle from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center 我国首颗X射线天文卫星“慧眼”成功发射_新华网

Shanghai Satellite City Development Threatens Bird Haven – Sixth Tone longstanding plans to turn Nanhui, in southeastern Shanghai, into a satellite city are now threatening bird species in the area and eliciting objections from conservationists. Earlier this month, an open letter from Let Birds Fly — a nongovernmental organization focused on migratory bird protection — halted construction in the short term, but the debate over the region is ongoing.

Chinese Scientist Lambasts Lecturer for Supporting Superstition – Sixth Tone A well-known scientist’s endorsement of qi, the supposed “vital force” present in all living things and a central tenet of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), is likely to undermine public understanding of science in China, according to one expert in the field.

Even China-Backed Development Bank Won’t Touch Coal Projects | Foreign Policy That’s according to AIIB’s vice president Thierry de Longuemar. Speaking in Beijing ahead of the bank’s second general assembly on the South Korean island of Jeju this week, de Longuemar said that the China-backed rival to the World Bank and other development banks would adhere to the kind of environmental rules guiding investments at those Western-dominated institutions.

Navigating the Muddy Waters of China’s Cadmium Rice Paddies – Sixth Tone The government is spending millions on cleaning up polluted soil, but progress is slow in the country’s rice heartland.

AnchorAgriculture And Rural Issues

China Backpedals on Pollution Curbs Leveled at Pig Breeders – Caixin The Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday was forced to reinterpret stringent guidelines aimed at curbing pollution from livestock breeding, after many provincial-level authorities were found to have enforced the regulations so harshly that they put farmers out of business.

Three-year long approval made by China to import two new GMO crop varieties – Global Times The new varieties are Dow AgroSciences’ Enlist corn and Monsanto’s Vistive Gold soybean, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement. The 14 renewed products include Syngenta’s MIR162 Duracade corn, a Monsanto sugar beet and three Bayer rapeseed products.

AnchorFood And Travel

China censures Emirates airline after two safety incidents | Reuters Airline crew were responsible for an April 17 incident in which an aircraft flew at the wrong height and another on May 18, when a plane temporarily lost contact with air traffic control, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said.

AnchorBooks And Literature

Classic Dictionary Gets Lectured for Fee-Charging App – Caixin Publisher Commercial Press had no idea of the controversy it would create this week when it launched an app version of its Xinhua Dictionary, which is not affiliated with the official Xinhua News Agency. The volume has been published continuously since the 1950s, and its telltale red binding is nationally recognized.

AnchorJobs And Events

June 21 | DC-New America – THE OTHER GREAT POWER: CHINA IN THE ERA OF TRUMP Speakers: Bill Bishop, Editor, Sinocism; John Costello, Senior Analyst for Cyber and East Asia, Flashpoint, Fellow, New America Cybersecurity Initiative; and Bonnie S. Glaser, Director, China Power Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies Moderator: Mara Hvistendahl, Eric & Wendy Schmidt Fellow, New America

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