"Sinocism is the Presidential Daily Brief for China hands"- Evan Osnos, New Yorker Correspondent and National Book Award Winner
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Due to some family stuff the newsletter will likely be very erratic over the next 7-10 days, though I will be posting on Twitter @niubi. For that reason I have pushed off launching the paid version until sometime in May.
Readers in DC may be interested in the May 1-2 US Chamber of Commerce’s 8th China Business Conference. It looks like there will be some excellent speakers and panels. You can find more information here.
No commentary up top today but there is some below. The Guo Wengui story merits a lot more attention as it is only going to get more interesting.
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
1. Xi, Trump discuss ties, Korean Peninsula situation over phone – Xinhua China strongly opposes any act that violates resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, Xi said, and hopes that the parties concerned will exercise restraint and refrain from taking any action that will aggravate tensions on the Peninsula. Xi noted that only when the parties concerned shoulder their due responsibilities and meet each other halfway, can they solve the nuclear issue of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and denuclearize the Korean Peninsula as soon as possible. He said China is willing to work and make every effort with all parties concerned including the United States to realize peace on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia and the world at large.
Related: Senate staff perplexed by unusual White House private briefing on North Korea – The Washington Post A senior Trump administration official said the meeting with senators will take place in the auditorium at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the building next to the White House that houses most of the National Security Council. The auditorium will be temporarily turned into a “sensitive compartmented information facility,” or SCIF, which is the term for a room where sensitive national security information can be shared, the official said. // Comment: 100 senators, expect lots of leaks quickly
Related: Tillerson to chair UN meeting on North Korea | TheHill Trump hosted a working lunch Monday with ambassadors from the U.N. Security Council countries, according to the White House. Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., is president of the Security Council this month
Related: Carried away: The inside story of how the Carl Vinson’s canceled port visit sparked a global crisis-Navy Times–Over the course of 10 days, a series of gaffes and missteps throughout the entire national security structure to its highest levels would raise the specter of a nuclear showdown, send the U.S. and Chinese governments into crisis mode, and expose alarming communication deficiencies within the American military at large. The breakdown fueled a war frenzy at major newspapers and networks, running with the narrative that Trump was diverting the carrier personally to send a message, outlandish claims made without checking for facts until the crisis rhetoric had spun out of control. // Comment: Bureaucratic foul-up, not strategic feint. More “Art of the Deal” than “Art of War”?
Related: Pyongyang drivers scramble as gas stations limit services-AP Car users in Pyongyang are scrambling to fill up their tanks as gas stations begin limiting services or even closing amid concerns of a spreading shortage. A sign outside one station in the North Korean capital said Friday that sales were being restricted to diplomats or vehicles used by international organizations, while others were closed or turning away local residents. Lines at other stations were much longer than usual and prices appeared to be rising significantly. // Comment: The result of Chinese pressure, or hoarding in anticipation of PRC embargo after another nuclear and/or missile test?
Related: Air China to renew Beijing-Pyongyang service on May 5 | NK News – North Korea News Renewal of service comes amid speculation U.S. may push for global ban on Air Koryo
Related: NK state media’s broadside won’t impact China policy – Global Times The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published a commentary on Friday criticizing China, although without naming it, for “dancing to the tune of” the US’ North Korean policy. Some emotional statements in the article expressed Pyongyang’s determination to go down the nuclear path. The most provocative sentence that attracted worldwide attention in the commentary is that “if the country keeps applying economic sanctions on the DPRK … it should get itself ready to face the catastrophic consequences in the relations with the DPRK.” 社评：对朝中社文章，中国官方应继续漠视
Related: 评论朝鲜问题，中国真正的专家就他一个，其他都扯淡 目前，朝鲜半岛的局势十分紧张，各方剑拔弩张，战争大有一触即发之势。半岛能否发生战争，成为大家热议的焦点。在众多评论文章中，有一个人再次成为了大家关注的对象，他被誉为“最懂朝鲜问题的专家”，他就是华东师范大学终身教授兼国际冷战史中心主任沈志华教授。 // Comment: Background on Shen Zhihua and why some say he is the PRC’s foremost expert on North Korea
Related: Chinese forces in normal training along China-DPRK border – China Military The remarks were made Friday in response to media reports of China mobilizing air force bombers and on “high alert” of the tension over the Korean Peninsula. “The reports are not true,” said the statement.
2. Tycoon Guo Wengui’s Power Play in Netting Securities Firm – Caixin Global Comment: This is an abridged translation of a longer Caixin Chinese article that was posted in the last newsletter, given the history it is quite noteworthy that the Caixin articles make no mention of Founder Group and its former CEO Li You.
Beijing is right to be very worried about what Guo may expose. I doubt they know all the information he took with him when he fled China, Ma Jian apparently had built interesting dossiers on various officials and liked to engage in surveillance, so if Ma Jian decided to give his info to Guo then grab more popcorn. This Guo episode could be much more damaging than the Wang Lijun-Bo Xilai one of 2013, which in fact very much benefited Xi Jinping. Wang Lijun may have known a lot when he fled in 2012 to the US consulate in Chengdu but he apparently did not say much and he was handed back to Beijing. Guo is in the US, rich enough to afford many bodyguards and to own an apartment in a relatively secure Manhattan building, has become masterful at using social media, and has apparently decided that his family, employees and assets held in China are screwed no matter what he does, so he is now in vengeance mode.
If his allegations about Wang Qishan family activities are corroborated in any material way the damage to Wang and CCP legitimacy could be immense. Guo has injected significantly more uncertainty into the preparations for the 19th Party Congress, uncertainty that could impact the ongoing attempts to clean up parts of the financial sector, possibly lead Xi to go after another big tiger like Zeng Qinghong, and scramble Xi’s personnel plans for the 19th Party Congress.
Related: How did a small Chinese airline become the king of acquisitions? Chinese media wonder – and then suddenly don’t | South China Morning Post Chinese media reports questioning the ownership and funding of big-spending conglomerate HNA Group were pulled suddenly after publication from mainland websites and social media on Monday. One of the missing reports, by The Beijing News, questioned how HNA, Hainan Airlines Group, was able to evolve from a regional carrier into one of the biggest business empires in the country, paying eye-popping prices for Hong Kong property and snapping up assets around the globe. //Comment: Lots of people have been trying to figure out how HNA became so large and powerful, hoping there will soon be a breakthrough story about it
Related: This $300 million Boeing 787 is actually a private jet – Business Insider The jet’s lavish interior was built by Kestrel Aviation Management and is being bought by HNA Aviation Group. // Comment: One of Guo’s most explosion allegations about Wang Qishan’s nephew on Yao Yilin family side involves cavorting on HNA’s private 787
Related: Facebook Briefly Suspends Account of Outspoken Chinese Billionaire – The New York Times A Facebook spokeswoman said that the company’s automated systems had erroneously suspended Mr. Guo’s account and that once the company was able to investigate the error, it had restored the profile. The precise reason for the suspension would be difficult to determine, the spokeswoman said, adding that publicizing the reasons could allow others to manipulate the system.
Related: Interpol Is Helping Enforce China’s Political Purges | Foreign Policy Beijing is happy to take advantage of an international red notice system that is notoriously easy to abuse — and is now overseen by a former Chinese official.
Related: 社评：中国反腐败决不容境外势力设置议题评论环球网 反腐败高度敏感，中国官方机构每发布一个信息都十分谨慎，媒体也身负言必准确的责任。但西方媒体可以完全不承担任何责任，捕风捉影的事情它们可以说，恶意构陷的事情它们也可以做，因为中国不是它们的国家，即使把中国的反腐败搅乱，它们也什么都不会失去，甚至还有所得。不少西方媒体人恰恰巴不得中国乱了，搅和中国的反腐败事务，不怀好意地在这里插上一腿，是他们津津乐道的事情。 遇到西方媒体这样干，或者有中国外逃人员帮它们这样干，中国在全社会的层面上一定要保持充分的定力，绝对不入它们的套，不跟着它们起舞
3. Banking Regulator Cracks Down on Corporate Loan Guarantors – Caixin Global The CBRC said local banking regulators should investigate ties between borrowers and their guarantors, the flow of money, and check the authenticity of collateral behind each loan. It asked local authorities to pay more attention to companies in the steel, coal and aluminum industries, which are being squeezed by low commodity prices. It also urged banks to stop heavily relying on collateral as a way to control their lending risk, and place more emphasis on determining which borrowers were most likely to meet their financial obligations.
Related: China Said to Crack Down on Property Financing Through Trusts – Bloomberg The China Banking Regulatory Commission’s guidance covered real estate and other industries facing overcapacity, according to people familiar with the matter. The CBRC will take action against disguised property financing by the 20 trillion yuan ($2.9 trillion) trust industry, including lending through partnerships, asset management plans or related businesses such as suppliers, the people said.
Related: Banks Cash Out Ahead of Clampdown on Fund Managers – Caixin Global The nation’s banks have outsourced management of 3 trillion to 5 trillion yuan to third-party financial firms that invest in stocks, bonds and other instruments, according to a February report by Guotai Junan Securities Co. Ltd. But outsourcing programs may be in trouble. Several bank industry analysts told Caixin on condition of anonymity that banks were pulling out of deals with fund managers because they expect the government to issue new regulations aimed at controlling investment risk. Other analysts, though, said banks were merely profit-taking.
Related: The county at the centre of a Chinese debt crisis | South China Morning Post Aluminium producer Qixing Group in Zouping, Shandong province, borrowed billions as it expanded into property development, power cables, ceramics and even a five-star hotel
Related: China’s Hidden Debt Stirs Investor Angst as Local Defaults Rise – Bloomberg China’s banking regulator has ordered checks of such cross-guaranteed loans, Caixin reported Friday. Scrutiny is mounting after a corn oil producer in the eastern province of Shandong said last month it had guaranteed debt of a neighboring aluminum product manufacturer which is now stuck in a cash crunch. Just days before that, a local government financing vehicle in China’s southwest had to repay an auto parts maker’s loans it had guaranteed after the latter defaulted.
Related: China Stocks Sink Most in Four Months Amid Leverage Crackdown – Bloomberg China’s authorities are taking advantage of a strengthening economy to reduce financial-system risk by tightening the screws on leverage. The banking regulator said late Friday it will strengthen a crackdown on irregularities in the financial sector, echoing comments by the securities watchdog just days earlier, while the top insurance official is being investigated on suspicion of “severe” disciplinary violations. The Shanghai Composite has slumped almost 5 percent since closing at a 15-month high on April 11, the biggest loss among global gauges.
Related: China Cools Growth in Wealth Products Worth Trillions of Dollars – Bloomberg Outstanding products issued by banks stood at 29.1 trillion yuan ($4.2 trillion) as of March 31, up 18.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the China Banking Regulatory Commission. The growth rate slumped from 53 percent during the same period last year, CBRC said.
Related: China top insurance regulator alerts key risks – Xinhua China’s insurance regulator on Sunday flashed red alert on risks facing the industry. Insurance companies must guard against liquidity risks with regular cash flow tests, noted a circular issued by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC).
4. Xi inspects PLA Southern Theater Command, vows to build strong army – Xinhua Xi urged PLA officers to eliminate the impact of Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, two corrupt former CMC vice chairmen, and strictly observe political discipline and rules. “It must be ensured that the PLA resolutely follows the command of the CPC Central Committee and the CMC at any time, in any circumstances,” Xi said. A campaign, which focuses on the study of the Party Constitution and rules, as well as the speeches by Xi, and calls for being qualified Party members, is required to be further launched in the army. 习近平在视察南部战区陆军机关时强调 抓紧抓实年度各项工作 努力开创部队工作新局面
Related: 中央军委印发《关于深入学习贯彻习主席系列重要讲话精神的意见》–时政–人民网 《意见》要求，要从更高站位强化学习贯彻习主席系列重要讲话精神的政治自觉，紧跟与时俱进的理论创新升华认识，把握维护核心、看齐追随的根本要求升华认识，着眼焕发官兵中蕴藏的巨大政治热情升华认识，紧贴强军兴军、铸魂育人的使命责任升华认识，切实带着信仰学、学出信仰来，带着忠诚学、学出忠诚来，带着感情学、学出感情来，带着使命学、学出使命来。
Related: Why Xi Jinping is planning a historic move to rename China’s army corps | South China Morning Post Corps linked to father and one that defeated US troops in Korea among 13 facing loss of historical unit numbers
5. Axios Sneak Peek – 2. Another scoop: there’s more on trade The big one, which could come Thursday (but don’t hold me to that date!) is a similar model to last week’s presidential directive on steel; but this time it’s applied to aluminum. Last week, Trump directed Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to investigate whether foreign steel imports compromise U.S. national security. This is a big deal — which largely got lost amid the North Korean crisis and the re-emergence of healthcare. If Ross finds that steel or aluminum imports threaten national security, then Trump can take extraordinary protectionist measures to rectify the situation.
Related: China clamps down on excess steel as Japan decries Trump ‘protectionism’ | Reuters Twenty-nine Chinese steel firms have had their licenses revoked as Beijing kept up its campaign to tackle overcapacity in the sector and days after U.S. President Donald Trump said he would open a probe into cheap steel exports from China and elsewhere. Analysts say the revocations were unlikely to be a direct response to Trump’s plan, but rather a part of China’s reform measures aimed at reducing surplus steel capacity that many estimate at around 300 million tonnes, about three times Japan’s annual output.
Related: In China, U.S. Steel Move Is Seen as Self-Destructive – WSJ “Why would one or two million metric tons of Chinese exports matter that much to a country that imports 100 million tons a year?” said Chi Jingdong, deputy secretary-general of the state-backed China Iron and Steel Association. “What they’re doing is not reasonable.”
Related: Cohn Says Trump Wants Trade Deficit With China Narrowed – Bloomberg comments on U.S.-China relations during an interview at the 2017 IIF Washington Policy Summit.
6. AP | Chinese jihadis’ rise in Syria raises concerns at home Thousands of Chinese jihadis have come to Syria since the country’s civil war began in March 2011 to fight against government forces and their allies. Some have joined the al-Qaida’s branch in the country previously known as Nusra Front. Others paid allegiance to the Islamic State group and a smaller number joined factions such as the ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham. But the majority of Chinese jihadis are with the Turkistan Islamic Party in Syria, whose vast majority are Chinese Muslims, particularly those from the Turkic-speaking Uighur majority native to Xinjiang in China. Their growing role in Syria has resulted in increased cooperation between Syrian and Chinese intelligence agencies who fear those same jihadis could one day return home and cause trouble there. The Turkistan Islamic Party is the other name for the East Turkistan Islamic Movement that considers China’s Xinjiang to be East Turkistan.
7. Beijing official rejects need for development of democracy in Hong Kong over next decade | South China Morning Post Elections in regions such as the Middle East have only led to civil wars and refugee crises, says legal head of Beijing’s liaison office in the city
Related: The 10 lawmakers facing disqualification: Post-Occupy payback in slow motion | Hong Kong Free Press If all goes according to current official plans, a total of 10 legislators elected in September 2016 will lose their seats. That will give Zhang Dejiang more than enough leeway to try and win those five extra votes he needs to pass Beijing’s August 31, 2014 electoral reform mandate. The excuses whereby the 10 might lose their seats: oath-taking indiscretions plus disruptions during Occupy – with Hong Kong courts serving as the means of finessing this intricate manoeuvre. The implications are serious because they mean further erosion of Hong Kong’s political autonomy and judicial independence – despite all the incantations to the contrary.
8. Coal Suppliers, Power Companies Tangle Over Prices – Caixin Global In the latest dispute, seven power companies with coal-fired plants in northwestern China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region recently backed down after urging their dominant supplier, Shenhua Ningxia Coal Industry Group Co. Ltd., to cut prices. The state-linked power companies apparently felt they had no choice after Shenhua, which is partly owned by the Ningxia government’s State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), replied to their March petition with a “warm reminder” that coal prices would not change. Furthermore, the supplier said, coal shipments would be cut for any client refusing to pay in full.
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE
PBOC’s Zhou Signals China 6.5% GDP Growth Target ‘Within Reach’ – Bloomberg China is fully confident of preventing and eliminating systemic risks, and will keep pursuing a prudent and neutral monetary policy, the central banker said in a statement (PDF) dated April 22 on the International Monetary Fund’s website during his Washington D.C. meeting with the IMF committee.
China Fines Former Exchange Official $36 Million for IPO Trades – Bloomberg Feng Xiaoshu, once a member of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange’s committee for listings approvals, bought shares of companies before they went public and sold them afterward, said Zhang Xiaojun, a spokesman for the China Securities Regulatory Commission. Feng will also forfeit the 248 million yuan he gained by dealing the shares through relatives’ stock accounts, and was banned for life from working in the securities industry, Zhang said at a press conference in Beijing on Friday.
Beijing Real-Estate Slump Deepens – Caixin Global Total real-estate investment in Beijing fell 7.2% year on year in the first quarter to 60.2 billion yuan ($8.75 billion), accelerating from a 4.3% drop in full-year 2016. The decline was driven by a collapse in investment in office buildings, which dropped by 37.5% to 9.8 billion yuan, steeper than the 22.9% decline in full-year 2016.
Chengdu Takes Aim at Conversion of Commercial Property Into Private Apartments – Caixin Global Chengdu, known as the home to the world’s largest population of pandas, has become the fourth city to tighten regulations in commercial housing, or “altered-use property,” after Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou began curbing sales of offices to individuals as homes starting in January this year.
Here’s why Chinese money is pouring into Temecula’s wine region – LA Times The project comes at a time when Chinese investment has spilled over from the traditional Southern California destinations of Los Angeles and Orange counties to the Inland Empire
POLITICS AND LAW
Anti-Graft Show Is Must-Watch TV for Party Officials, Literally | Sixth Tone In its 55 episodes, each about an hour long, the drama gives a detailed and salacious look at the corrupt officials of the fictional Chinese province of Handong, and at what happens to them when inspectors eventually hold them accountable for their unscrupulous behavior. On April 13, cadres in the office of the municipal Party committee of Zhoukou, a city in central China’s Henan province, were issued an internal notice requiring them to watch the show carefully and write a review of at least 1,500 Chinese characters. The decision was made under the guidance of the municipal discipline inspection committee, the department that keeps an eye on Party and government officials, the notice said. // Comment: I am up to episode 53 of “In The Name Of The People 人民的名义 “. The remainder of the series is now on Youtube, no English subtitles, looks a pirated “censors” copy. The irony…
丈夫慘死 前男友死緩 央視主持劉芳菲命運坎坷 ~ 明鏡時報 mingjingtimes 央視美女主持劉芳菲（39歲）得悉丈夫劉希泳身亡後，曾在微博留言道：「痛到不能呼吸的感覺你們有過嗎？」（圖）劉命途多舛，現任丈夫離奇死亡，而前男友、國家開發銀行前副行長王益，2010年被裁受賄罪成判死緩。她曾受牽連，一度遭央視雪藏！ // Liu Xiyong dies in custody in Jilin, his case fueling all sorts of speculation in overseas media that he was silenced because he knows too much from business dealings with several senior officials, including a sitting standing committee member, and their family members. Sounds like it could be interesting
常务副省长密集到位 调出调入省份有哪些规律？-搜狐新闻 Comment: an interesting look at personnel moves for provincial officials
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
China mobilizes students, pensioners to join anti-espionage drive – People’s Daily Online This year, besides eye-catching street banners, community publicity events, vivid videos and graphs shared online that try to convince the public at large of the importance of national security, students from primary schools to colleges were specifically targeted by this publicity drive to mobilize them as a huge counter-spy force. “We can never be too careful even in peacetime. Spies and secret agents might be all around us,” Wang Dawei, a professor with People’s Public Security University of China, told with the Global Times.
First homegrown aircraft carrier has Chinese public buzzing with excitement – Global Times China’s first domestically-built aircraft carrier was not launched on Sunday, the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN), as some military fans hoped it would be. But these enthusiasts believe the day is approaching as they discovered that the shipyard where it is being built started to flood the drydock containing the carrier on Sunday.
China eyes building more aircraft carriers – China Military Sunday marks the 68th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese navy, with the PLA Daily listing the navy’s achievements, including escorting ships at sea, building an aircraft battle group, and joint military exercises. As a country with an 18,000 kilometer-long coastline and vast maritime resources under its watch, China needs to build a strong navy to protect its sovereignty and maritime interests, safeguard the security of strategic maritime channels and engage in international cooperation amid mounting maritime disputes and challenging maritime safety conditions, the PLA Daily said on Thursday.
Chinese navy fleet begins half-year friendship visits – Xinhua The fleet, composed of missile destroyer Changchun, missile frigate Jingzhou and supply ship Chaohu, will tour Asia, Europe, Africa and Oceania for nearly 180 days.
Chinese National Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Illegally Export High-Grade Carbon Fiber to China | OPA | Department of Justice Fuyi Sun, aka “Frank,” 53, a citizen of the People’s Republic of China (“China”), pleaded guilty today to violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) in connection with a scheme to illegally export to China, without a license, high-grade carbon fiber, which is used primarily in aerospace and military applications.
Rone Tempest Salt Lake Tribune Op-ed: China lobby link undermines Tribune series As a long-time foreign correspondent in both Beijing and Hong Kong I can tell you that the China-United States Exchange Foundation was created in 2008 expressly as a soft-propaganda lobby for the People’s Republic. My former newspaper colleague Jim Mann, now author-in-residence at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, puts it this way: “No one could describe this group as a neutral or impartial one. Its purpose is to promote ‘positive’ views of the People’s Republic of China and its leadership and to combat negative ones.”
In shadow of China’s reef city, Philippines seeks upgrade for its island patriots | Reuters Defence minister Delfin Lorenzana visited Thitu with journalists aboard a C-130 plane on Friday to inspect sites earmarked for 1.6 billion pesos ($32.1 million) of development, including a small fishing port, a beaching ramp, desalination facilities, and runway repairs. “You saw Subi Reef a while ago and we really lagged behind,” he said. “We are now the last. You saw Vietnam’s (islands) when we passed by the area, it’s already very built-up a long time ago. We should have done this before.”
Related: China’s Secret Weapon in South Korea Missile Fight: Hackers – WSJ China denies it is retaliating over the Thaad missile system, but a U.S. cybersecurity firm says they are
武警原司令王建平上将昨晚在总政看守所自杀。Comment: Zhao Yan said on twitter today that former People’s Armed Police commander Wang Jianping killed himself in detention last night. Big if true.
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN
Lee Ming-che’s Detention and Cross-strait Relations – China Digital Times (CDT) Although it would be wise as well as humane for Beijing to release Lee Ming-che now, his case may have just begun. Yet its lessons are already worth considering. It vividly illustrates Beijing’s continuing determination to suspend the operation of important cross-strait agreements in the current political circumstances
Veteran pro-Beijing politician says China Liaison Office obtained 777 votes for Carrie Lam | Hong Kong Free Press Basic Law Committee member Lau Nai-keung made the comments about the Chinese government’s organ in Hong Kong at a research conference commemorating the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from Britain to China. The conference was held on Saturday at Beijing’s Peking University
TECH AND MEDIA
Chinese Fans of Teen Stars Are Crowdsourcing Huge Ad Buys | Digital – AdAge Altogether, fans probably spent over $15 million on Wang, the lead singer in Chinese boy band TFBoys, said Ruey Ku, a Publicis Media exec in Shanghai. And that was not an isolated case. For Chinese fans, buying out-of-home ads has become a common way of showing devotion for their favorite stars — a media-savvy, big-budget twist on the teenage tradition of taping posters over your bed
Teen Tennis Star’s Journey From China Tech IPO to Silicon Valley Deals — The Information $$ American venture capitalists have long been in China, but Mr. Cheng is one of a handful of VCs starting to move in the opposite direction from China to the U.S. Sinovation Ventures, led by former Google China head Lee Kai-fu, may be another example. In later-stage startup investments, GGV Capital, based in both Shanghai and Silicon Valley, is also building up its U.S. portfolio.
Inside China’s Plans for World Robot Domination – Bloomberg China is embracing robotics with the same full-on intensity that’s made it a force in high-speed rail and renewable energy. Beijing economic planners view it as a stepping stone to a broader strategic goal: dominating emerging markets for artificial intelligence, driver-less vehicles and digitally-connected appliances and homes
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
Trafficked into Wedlock | ChinaFile Slideshow In recent years, large numbers of Cambodian women have migrated to China’s Jiangxi, Zhejiang, and Fujian provinces to marry, enriching brokers in both their home and adopted countries. Although neither country’s government has published statistics about the size of this migration, Chinese officials from the Ministry of Public Security told their Cambodian counterparts that there were 7,000 Chinese-Cambodian couples living in China in August 2016, according to The Cambodia Daily.
Xiongan Poets’ Society Fights to Protect Literature of the Lake | Sixth Tone Locals take pride in the area’s influence on modern Chinese literature. Writer Sun Li, who lived by the lake in the 1930s, spearheaded a popular style of lyrical and romantic writing known as “Hehuadian,” meaning “lotus lake.” Though the style has lost some of its luster today, local amateur writers still draw inspiration from its optimistic flavor and its use of simple language to sketch vivid, poignant scenes of rural life. Sun’s most famous short story, also titled “Hehuadian,” is still taught in schools nationwide more than 60 years after it was published. Zhang can easily recite lines from the story describing life around Baiyang Lake: “Each year when the rush flowers fly and the leaves turn yellow, the whole crop is cut and stacked in the squares around the lake, forming a Great Wall of reeds.”
China’s Unregistered Churches Drive Religious Revolution – The Atlantic – Ian Johnson That’s why I made the southwestern city of Chengdu my second home. Living there for weeks at a time, I followed the progress of Early Rain Reformed Church over the course of a year. This unregistered church has had numerous setbacks and always seems on the verge of being closed down. But it keeps bouncing back, thanks in part to one of the most inspiring preachers I’ve met in any country.
‘Apartheid Without the Racism’: How China Keeps Rural Folks Down – WSJ The opportunity cost of a rural background becomes even starker when considering the insider deals handed to urbanites who lived in apartments associated with their government jobs when China started to privatize housing.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH
Bulldozers threaten what may be the world’s oldest animal fossils | Science | AAAS Paleontologists have argued for years about the identity of the enigmatic curling shapes and embryolike spheres found in the 600-million-year-old rocks of the Doushantuo Formation in China. But some say those fossils, no bigger than a grain of salt, may be the remains of some of the world’s first animals. Now researchers fear that the rock formation may be pulverized, along with its cargo of fossils, before scientists can identify the creatures and what they may reveal about the evolution of animals. A massive phosphate mining operation in southern China threatens the site, and scientists are urging the Chinese government to step in to protect it.
China plans world’s biggest national park on Tibetan plateau | South China Morning Post the government is serious, according to some researchers, with the impetus for the Third Pole National Park coming from the very top. At a meeting with leading scientists studying Tibet in Beijing late last month, CAS vice-president Liu Weiping passed on an instruction which he said came directly from President Xi Jinping, saying they must contribute to the “guarding and keeping of the last piece of pure land”. Liu said the ruling Communist Party, led by Xi, had an “urge” to protect the Tibetan plateau and regarded it as an environmental and ecological imperative.
Student HIV Epidemic Alarms Changsha Officials | Sixth Tone Over 100 students from several universities in central Chinese city have tested positive, local media reports.
Polluting Plants Shut by Officials Found Still in Use | Sixth Tone The transgressions were discovered during spot checks that the MEP teams had recently conducted in Beijing, Hebei, and Shandong. In its statement, the ministry said more than half of the businesses inspected — 285 out of 450 — were not adhering to pollution standards and operational criteria. While some companies had not conformed to industrial policy, or had started operating before their environmental impact assessment report was approved, others lacked proper pollution control facilities, according to the MEP.
The polluted lake at heart of Xi Jinping’s new city dream | South China Morning Post Scientists have been studying Baiyang Lake’s pollution and water crises for decades. Everyone agrees that the water in the lake is not fit for human contact. Whether the situation will improve, given the government’s vow of “a thousand years of effort”, is open to debate.
Journal Retracts Dozens of Papers by Chinese Scientists | Sixth Tone The articles were published in Tumor Biology between 2012 and 2016, and their authors were nearly all Chinese researchers. The journal disclosed the mass retraction on Thursday, saying in a statement that “after a thorough investigation we have strong reason to believe that the peer review process was compromised.”
China unveils results of first geoinformation survey – Xinhua China boasts a total of 7.56 million square kilometers of vegetation cover, while buildings cover 153,000 square kilometers of land, the State Council Information Office unveiled at a press briefing on Monday. The numbers are part of the 770-terabyte results of China’s first national geoinformation survey, which collects basic information about the country’s natural resources, such as their location, range and area.
Underprivileged student quota at top schools has improved access to education – Global Times On April 14, the Ministry of Education asked top universities to do more to find students from rural or poor backgrounds. Universities were told to enroll 10 percent more disadvantaged students in 2017. Strict supervision and greater transparency will ensure candidates’ suitability and eligibility. Since 2014, students from rural areas have been allowed lower entry test scores and have had two percent of 95 key universities’ admissions designated to them.
Beijing to Stop Red Light Runners by Making Children Dance in the Middle of Traffic | the Beijinger One hundred street intersections in six Beijing districts have been designated as “compassion crosswalks” as part of the “Wait for the Light” campaign. In order to deter jaywalking and red light running, juvenile volunteers wearing colors of a traffic light step into the middle of traffic and perform a choreographed dance.
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