"Sinocism is the Presidential Daily Brief for China hands"- Evan Osnos, New Yorker Correspondent and National Book Award Winner
Donald Trump’s Son-in-Law Jared Kushner has announced a divestment plan to deal with any conflicts while working in the White House. I don’t think his announced moves do anything to mitigate the potential conflicts of interests from his China and other dealings. Wu Xiaohui of Anbang and other Chinese potential partners will likely see Kushner selling assets to family members as just adding a layer of a “white glove 白手套” to hold his interests until he leaves the White House, at which point he can then enjoy the benefits of whatever he supposedly divested. Perhaps Kushner’s legal team should ask for advice from some of his PRC interlocutors for more clever white glove structures, or perhaps things have gotten so absurd in DC that there is little point in making a serious effort at even pretending?
And maybe Netflix needs a series called “American Princelings”.
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
1. Trump could make Obama’s pivot to Asia a reality – The Washington Post Comment: Hard to see a “pivot” succeeding with just a security component. That is why TPP was so important as the economic pillar of the Pivot. // Trump’s team is also busily filling out Asia-related positions in the national security bureaucracy. Matt Pottinger is expected to be named National Security Council senior director for Asia. Although his recent experience is in Afghanistan, Pottinger worked in China as a journalist for several years and is well regarded. Due to the smaller size of the new National Security Council staff, assistant secretaries for Asia at the State and Defense Departments could have critical roles in guiding Trump’s Asia policy. The transition team is considering top former George W. Bush administration officials for those two jobs, including former State Department deputy assistant secretary Randall Schriver and former White House Asia director Victor Cha.
Related: Remarks by Ambassador Michael Froman at the Washington International Trade Association | United States Trade Representative We heard a lot about the importance of being tough on China during this recent campaign. I agree. It’s important to be tough with China on trade, even as we find ways to work with them on challenges ranging from North Korea to Iran. This Administration has filed 15 disputes at the WTO against China over the past 8 years, more than any other country, and we have won every case decided so far – cases concerning barriers to U.S. auto exports, discriminatory taxes, export restraints on key materials, restrictions on cross-border services and more. But here, I have to admit to being a little perplexed. There simply is no way to reconcile a get-tough-on-China policy with withdrawing from TPP. That would be the biggest gift any U.S. President could give China, one with broad and deep consequences, economic and strategic. It would be huge for China. China has a regional strategy. It has the One Belt/One Road Initiative, the Silk Road Fund, the AIIB, its South China Sea excursions and RCEP – separate initiatives, but in combination designed to position China at the center of the Asia-Pacific. They are executing on their regional strategy; the question is whether we will execute on ours. From our friends and allies in the region to our own military commanders, we have heard clearly that failure by the U.S. to move forward would be a debilitating blow to U.S. leadership and credibility in the region, one that would create a void that China is all too happy to fill, and one that would leave our closest military allies and partners no choice but to line up behind China. We see it happening in real time. What we feared and what we warned would come true is coming true before our eyes.
2. China to revise textbook language on anti-Japanese war – Xinhua Comment: Because there is not enough hatred of Japan in PRC society already? // Textbooks currently use the phrase “Eight-year Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression,” which reflects the date of the beginning of Japan’s full-scale invasion of China on July 7, 1937. A document on the revision mandates textbooks fully reflect the crimes committed by Japanese troops in the war, underscoring the continuity of the 14 years of war against Japanese aggression starting in 1931. The revision applies to universities and schools across the nation, all relevant disciplines, and textbooks for national and local curricula, the document said. The document, issued by the ministry, requires that “the pillar role played by the Communist Party of China in the anti-Japanese war must be fully proclaimed.
Related: 教育部：中小学教材“8年抗战”全改为“14年抗战”-凤凰新闻 Comment: The Beijing News on the curricula revisions lengthening the “Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression”
3. Jack Ma’s Million-Job Pledge to Trump Looks ‘Extravagant’ – Caixin Though Ma’s plan sounds good in theory, the number of jobs he hopes to create shouldn’t be taken seriously, said analysts, who believe the meeting was aimed at creating a more cordial climate with Trump, who will be inaugurated on Jan. 20…“Jack Ma is using jobs as a bargaining chip in exchange for better treatment and favorable polices in the U.S.,” said Zhang Zhouping, chief analyst at the China E-commerce Association. “However, 1 million seems to be an exaggerated number if he’s just talking about small mom-and-pop businesses in the nation’s Midwest. It will probably take a lot more time.”
Related: Trump’s Meeting With Jack Ma Comes as U.S. Keeps Eye on Alibaba – WSJ In December, the U.S. Trade Representative put Alibaba’s largest shopping platform back on a list of marketplaces linked to “significant infringement of American businesses’ intellectual property rights,” saying that tens of millions of U.S. jobs and several trillion dollars of economic growth depend on this intellectual property…Alibaba also faces U.S. regulatory scrutiny over its accounting practices, including how it tallies up transactions from China’s largest online shopping day, an event known as Singles’ Day. Alibaba has said it is confident in its financial numbers and is cooperating with the Securities and Exchange Commission on the accounting inquiry…Wall Street lawyer Jay Clayton , Mr. Trump’s nominee to head the SEC, was among those who worked on Alibaba’s IPO in 2014, which raised $25 billion.
Related: “Inflatable Trump Roosters” Are Being Sold In China – BuzzFeed News many sellers on China’s giant e-commerce website Taobao have started to sell balloon imitations of the sculpture, calling them “inflatable Trump roosters.” // Comment: No word if Jack Ma gave Trump one as a gift
4. Walk, Don’t Run: Chinese Military Reforms in 2017-War on the Rocks The tranche of reforms that began in late 2015 is but the latest step in the PLA’s long-term process of modernization. New problems are identified as every change is implemented and during every training cycle, resulting in the need for more modifications to plans and procedures. The senior PLA leadership is fully aware of the challenges confronting the force, as well as an assortment of other problems, such as corruption, economic growth, and demographics, that are shared by all Chinese leaders. Notwithstanding China’s assertive or aggressive activities in the region, now and for several years into the future, the PLA leadership likely is not looking to test the degree of success that military reform has achieved by initiating unprovoked direct combat operations against a determined opponent, especially one allied with or backed by the U.S. military. –Dennis J. Blasko, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired), served 23 years as a Military Intelligence Officer and Foreign Area Officer specializing in China.
Related: China’s military mounts propaganda push as officers brace for demotions | South China Morning Post Reductions in rank part of sweeping military reforms, including massive lay-offs, in an attempt to modernise and increase efficiency of armed forces // Comment: The PLA Daily article that sparked this report: 军报整版报道师政委马宝川低配：脖子以下改革会有大批这样的
5. Ted Cruz Meets With, Texas Governor Gives Possibly Offensive Gift to, Taiwanese Leader | Foreign Policy While Tsai stuck to an appropriate vase, Abbott gave Tsai “a clock bearing the Texas state seal.” In Mandarin, the phrase “give a clock” sounds like “attend a funeral,”
Related: Could China seize and occupy Taiwan militarily? | China Power Project Although both China and Taiwan maintain separate militaries and governments, China continues to assert sovereignty claims over Taiwan. Beijing officially seeks peaceful reunification, but has not ruled out the use of force in countering efforts to create an independent Taiwan. In the past, China has demonstrated a willingness to apply military pressure on Taiwan. China’s ongoing military modernization has greatly enhanced the PLA’s capabilities, but it is unclear if China could seize and occupy Taiwan militarily.
Related: China links seized vehicles to Singapore’s ties with Taiwan-FT “China-Singapore relations have hit rock bottom,” said Shi Yinhong, an authority on China’s foreign relations at Beijing’s Renmin University. Mr Shi linked the dispute to Singapore’s trade and defence relations with Taiwan, which China regards as a renegade province, and its position on Chinese claims in the South China Sea.
Related: AsiaEye – Official Blog of the Project 2049 Institute: China’s Military Provocations Against Taiwan Are Not Mere Responses to Trump it is not helpful to say that China’s provocations are “responses” to Trump. Since before the U.S. election, there has been concern that China would provoke tension and test the U.S. during the transition. That concern is heightened in the handover from laid-back Obama to the less experienced Trump. China has also provoked tensions in the East and South China seas. China’s provocations of Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, the U.S., and others should not be seen as new, surprising, or as responses, but rather as part of its militarization of aggressive claims in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. China also has conducted political warfare using the media.
Related: Chinese bomber flies round contested Spratlys in show of force: U.S. official | Reuters A Chinese H-6 strategic bomber flew around the Spratly Islands at the weekend in a new show of force in the contested South China Sea, a U.S. official said on Tuesday. It was the second such flight by a Chinese bomber in the South China Sea this year. The first was on Jan. 1, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Related: Japan, South Korea scramble fighter jets after eight Chinese warplanes fly over Korea Strait | South China Morning Post Move by Chinese aircraft, including bombers, signals Beijing’s determination to step up routine presence in waters in which China has interests, experts say
6. Video: Shandong academic’s criticism of revolutionary leader Mao Zedong sparks violent protest | Hong Kong Free Press Some commentators have posted on messaging platform WeChat and their Weibo accounts opposing the violence against protesters. Peking University professor and activist He Weifang wrote on his Weibo account that the demonstrators’ actions were classic examples of the crime of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” and police should have handled the matter. State tabloid the Global Times published an editorial on Monday justifying Deng’s removal from his public positions.
Related: Chinese TV producer fired after supporting Mao Zedong critic | South China Morning Post The latest controversy started when Deng Xiangchao, a communications professor at Shandong Jianzhu University, reposted a joke about Mao on December 25th, on the eve of Mao’s birthday. Without naming Mao, Deng’s post likened the late leader to an imperial ruler.
7. Chinese reform plans highlight reluctance to cede control-FT Mixed-ownership reform — a euphemism for partial privatisation — will be a critical pillar of SOE reform efforts in 2017, according to a statement by Communist party leaders at their annual economic planning meeting in mid-December. The statement said electricity, petroleum, natural gas, railways, civil aviation, telecommunications and defence would be the focus of mixed-ownership reforms. But plans from rail operator China Railway Corporation and weapons manufacturer China North Industries Group provide the latest evidence that the leadership intends to use privatisation mainly as a fundraising tool rather than a way of diluting government influence over strategy and management. // Comment: Of course that is the goal. The Communist Party has been making that clear for a long time, in spite if any confusion there may have been over the Third Plenum of the 18th Party Congress
Related: 混合所有制改革将分类推进 _ 经济参考网 _ 新华社《经济参考报》官方网站 国企功能界定分类目前取得积极进展。《经济参考报》记者获悉，国企功能界定分类基本完成，定量复核后即可公布，与之相配套的分类考核方案也已经制定。这意味着，分类基础上的混合所有制改革将提速。 “国企功能界定分类是今明两年国企改革的一项重点和难点。”国资委副主任张喜武表示，对国有企业分类，主要目的就是解决国企包括央企战略定位不清、考核针对性不强也不尽科学的问题。国有企业可分为商业类和公益类，这两类企业的共同点是，国有企业首先是企业，都是独立的市场主体，要融入到市场经济，都要遵循市场经济规律和企业发展规律，都要服务于国家的发展战略，要实现经济效益和社会效益的统一。
Related: 红旗文稿｜党管国企 有理有据 Comment: DRC researcher Jiang Yu writes in the latest issue of Red Flag Manuscript on the importance of SOEs and Communist Party control of them // 来源：《红旗文稿》2017/1 作者：江 宇 以习近平同志为核心的党中央对国有企业给予特殊重视。习近平同志多次强调，要理直气壮做强做优做大国有企业、加强党对国有企业的领导。但是当前关于中国要不要国有企业、要不要坚持党管国企，不少人还有思想困惑。实际上，只要坚持一切从实际出发，不迷信书本、不迷信西方，就能够得出这样的结论：做强做优做大国有企业、坚持党管国有企业，具有充分的理论、历史和现实依据。
Related: 国企改革牛股冒尖 资金炒作潮水汹涌宏观经济中证网
8. China’s newly launched broadcast network draws on Russian experience: expert – Global Times “The relationship between China and the rest of the world is undergoing historic changes. China needs to know more about the world and the world needs to know more about China,” Xi said in a congratulatory letter to the CGTN, Xinhua reported. “The successful experience of Russia Today shows that in the age of global information, in which discourse is imbalanced, such media can work wonders,” Zhang Shengjun, an international politics professor at Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times on Monday. “The establishment of the CGTN shows China has changed its broadcasting strategy from a focus on domestic news to trying to seize greater international discourse,” Zhang noted. // Comment: It may not be a good idea for folks in the PRC to be making this comparison. From the recently declassified US government report (pdf) accusing Russia of interfering in the US election: “RT America formally disassociates itself from the Russian Government by using a Moscow-based autonomous nonprofit organization to finance its US operations. According to RT’s leadership, this structure was set up to avoid the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) and to facilitate licensing abroad. In addition, RT rebranded itself in 2008 to deemphasize its Russian origin” So how is CGTN getting around FARA in the US, or is it just not being enforced?
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE
Goldman Sachs Sees China Using Fixing to Strengthen Currency – Bloomberg China’s central bank has altered its yuan fixing mechanism since the U.S. presidential election in favor of a stronger currency as capital outflows mounted and President-elect Donald Trump threatens to adopt protectionist trade policies, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Before Nov. 8, broad dollar moves and the closing yuan price explained 90 percent of the next day’s yuan fix, validating the government’s publicly-announced methodology, strategists led by Robin Brooks wrote in a note Monday. The correlation has since fallen to 80 percent. The People’s Bank of China sets the fix daily and lets the yuan move 2 percent of either side. // Comment: If any readers can share this note I would be much obliged
Sinology by Andy Rothman – A Bumpy China Ride, Then a Safe Landing In this issue of Sinology, I discuss the four scary China stories investors are likely to encounter in the coming months, explain why these stories will result in short-term anxiety about the health of China’s economy, and why I believe that anxiety should fade by the second half of the year, with the domestic demand story remaining resilient
China’s coming property oligopoly, charted | FT Alphaville .. 2017 is a “politically” important year for China given the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (中国共产党第十九次全国代表大会) will be hosted in 2H (around Nov). Before this meeting, “stability” will be the watchword, in our view, making it unlikely that there will be significant reform of the land system.
Understanding the US-China Trade Relationship | US China Business Council Although some US manufacturing jobs have been lost because of the trade deficit, US firms sell high-value products to China, including cars and trucks, construction equipment, and semiconductors, which support jobs. US firms also export business and financial services, totaling $6.7 billion in 2014 and $7.1 billion in 2015. By 2030, we expect US exports to China to rise to more than $520 billion. As China has become an integral part of the global manufacturing supply chain, much of its exports are comprised of foreign-produced components delivered for final assembly in China. If the value of these imported components is subtracted from China’s exports, the US trade deficit with China is reduced by half, to about 1 percent of GDP—about the same as the US trade deficit with the European Union.
China Steelmaker Finally Puts the Ball in Ballpoint Pen – Caixin After a five-year effort, spurred by comments from China’s premier, a northern Chinese steelmaker has finally joined a small but elite group of global companies that can make the steel for the sockets that look simple but require super-high-tech precision. State-owned steel maker Taiyuan Iron & Steel (Group) Co. Ltd., based in Shanxi province, said that it has cleared the technical barriers to the complex production process, according to a local TV report.
China Factory Prices Rising Fastest in 5 Years Adds to Reflation – Bloomberg PPI jumped 5.5 percent last month from a year earlier, compared to the median estimate of 4.6 percent in a Bloomberg survey and the 3.3 percent gain in November Consumer-price index rose 2.1 percent, versus 2.2 percent gain forecast by analysts
Charlene Chu on China outflows, outlook 2017 – Business Insider Chu said (emphasis ours): “China’s authorities have chosen to pursue harsher measures against capital outflows over a large change in the exchange rate to address the country’s outflow problem, at least for now. This could work for a few quarters, but we think closing the gates is not feasible over the long run for the largest trading nation in the world with a USD33trn banking sector. We expect growth to begin decelerating in 2Q17, as a weaker credit impulse passes through, but this is of secondary importance to outflows and the currency.”
China P2P lenders braced for regulatory crackdown-FT Peer-to-peer lenders in China are bracing themselves for the first nationwide enforcement crackdown on the $100bn industry, which is expected to wipe out many of the country’s more than 2,400 lending platforms. Regulators have sent inspection teams to companies to ensure that they meet a list of new rules issued last year, and will shut down those that fail to comply by August, according to executives in the industry.
Jessica Rudd and Albert Tse start an accidental work partnership | afr.com They are the power couple with connections in China most Australian businesses can only dream about. Rudd, 33,is of course the daughter of former prime minister Kevin Rudd but gets more headlines these days for her own career. The lawyer and writer turned entrepreneur has a profile in China thanks to her blogs and video posts, which receive millions of hits. The couple have a one-year-old son McLean (or “Mack”) and four-year-old daughter Josie, who sometimes feature in videos Rudd posts on Youku, China’s version of YouTube, to promote Australia’s clean, green and natural environment.. Tse, 37, runs a $200 million fund called Wattle Hill and has high-level connections in Beijing, where the couple lived for five years before moving back to Australia in 2014 to escape the pollution and raise the kids
Alibaba Looks to Bricks and Mortar With Bid for Mall Operator in China – The New York Times Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce behemoth, already owned 28 percent of Intime, which is listed in Hong Kong, and made an offer with Shen Guo Jun, the founder of the department store chain, to take the company private. The buyers have offered 10 Hong Kong dollars, or about $1.29, per Intime share, a 42 percent premium over its closing price on Dec. 28, when trading of its stock was suspended. The deal, which is subject to shareholder approval, would give Alibaba a controlling stake of about 74 percent.
China may introduce ‘custodian service’ to stabilise the world’s largest bitcoin market | South China Morning Post “Regulators have noticed that some bitcoin platforms crashed during the recent market volatilities, causing some investors, particularly those trading with leverage tools, to bear huge losses because they were unable to log on to the website during the sell-off,” the official China Securities Journal (CSJ) reported on Tuesday morning. The newspaper said that the regulators are discussing with industry insiders the possibility of improving trading security by setting up third-party custodian platforms for the bitcoin market.
POLITICS AND LAW
CPC Central Committee’s leadership stressed at meeting – Xinhua The top leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Tuesday called for centralized and unified leadership of the Party’s Central Committee. The call was made at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. The meeting was chaired by Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee. The Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee listened to reports of the leading party groups of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), the State Council, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate. Attendees of the meeting also heard the report of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee. // Comment: CCTV Evening News on the all day meeting 中共中央政治局常务委员会召开会议 听取全国人大常委会、国务院、全国政协、最高人民法院、最高人民检察院党组工作汇报 听取中央书记处工作报告 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议_CCTV
SCIO briefing on 7th plenary session of 18th CCDI- China.org.cn Speakers: Wu Yuliang, deputy secretary of the 18th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), Xiao Pei, vice minister of the Ministry of Supervision, Liu Jianchao, deputy director of the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention and director of the CCDI’s International Cooperation Bureau, Luo Dongchuan, director of the CCDI’s Case Revision Office, and Zhu Guoxian, chief of the CCDI’s Publicity Department. Chairperson: Guo Weimin, vice minister of State Council Information Office
China Rolls Out New Graft Watchdog – WSJ Party officials dismissed criticism of China’s lack of independent checks on party power, saying new data shows the party’s success in fighting graft. Public complaints against alleged official wrongdoing fell in 2016 from a year earlier, the first annual decline since the antigraft campaign began, while the proportion of party members disciplined rose to 0.43% last year from 0.18% in 2012, according to Mr. Xiao. “The question over the necessity of an independent supervisory agency comes from a mental model based on the separation of powers and checks and balances,” but China believes its own approach works, Wu Yuliang, deputy chief of the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, told reporters at Monday’s briefing. “The key to handling China’s affairs well lies with the party.”
Former supreme court vice president stands trial for graft – Xinhua Xi Xiaoming, former vice president of the Supreme People’s Court, stood trial at a court in Tianjin Municipality Tuesday on charges of taking bribes. Prosecutors alleged that from 1996 to 2015, Xi took advantage of various official positions to offer favors to entities and individuals in the handling of cases and company listings, accepting bribes worth about 114.6 million yuan (16.6 million U.S. dollars) either personally or through his family.
Ex-Civil Affairs Minister Under Investigation – Caixin Former Civil Affairs Minister Li Liguo and one of his then-deputies are being investigated by the ruling Communist Party’s anti-corruption authority in connection with scandals plaguing the lottery system under the ministry, according to sources familiar with the matter.
中央党校召开警示教育大会—中央纪委监察部网站 在通报的8起典型案例中，政法教研部原教授、副局级干部罗志先严重违反政治纪律，对抗组织调查；严重违反组织纪律，长期隐瞒个人重大事项；严重违反廉洁纪律，搞权钱交易、钱色交易，受到开除党籍、开除公职处分，涉嫌犯罪问题及涉案款物已移交司法机关依法处理。培训部副局级组织员贾俐贞，违反廉洁纪律，多次接受学员安排的可能影响公正执行公务的宴请；违反工作纪律，不按规定报告学员长期缺课等重要事项，受到党内严重警告处分。办公厅副巡视员兼外事办主任李德伟，违反财经纪律，开具其他名目的发票报销外事接待所用酒水，受到党内警告处分。// Comment: CCDI held an “warning education meeting” at the Central Party School to scare straight any cadres who might be wavering in their purity and ideolgical discipline
China tightens Xinjiang border amid rising terrorist threats | AP State media reported that Shohrat Zakir made the pledge in a speech at the region’s main annual political meeting on Monday, saying increased measures taken in the last year would be further strengthened. The crackdown seeks to prevent suspected insurgents both from leaving Xinjiang to fight abroad and from returning to the region after receiving military training overseas
推进媒体深度融合 打造新型主流媒体-新华网 Comment: Liu Qibao on Page 7 of 1.11.17 People’s Daily on deepening media “fusion” to create new type of mainstream media
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
Monica Crowley Plagiarized Parts of Her Ph.D. Dissertation – POLITICO Magazine Comment: Trump’s pick for senior director of strategic communications for the National Security Council. Will Columbia revoke her degree now? // Crowley submitted her dissertation, titled “Clearer Than Truth: Determining and Preserving Grand Strategy: The Evolution of American Policy Toward the People’s Republic of China Under Truman and Nixon,” in 2000 in partial completion of her Ph.D. in international relations at New York’s Columbia University. Today, the thesis is kept on microfilm at the University of Michigan and accessible via ProQuest, an academic database.
Responding to the Chinese Space Challenge | RealClearDefense What is clear is that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been steadily expanding its portfolio of space capabilities. The PLA is responsible for operating all of China’s space infrastructure, from launch sites to mission control facilities to tracking stations and ships. It has tested a number of anti-satellite systems, including not only the 2007 direct ascent kinetic kill vehicle that generated enormous debris, but also a weapon designed to destroy satellites in geosynchronous orbit. These new capabilities are being incorporated into a new organizational structure. The recent PLA reforms unveiled at the end of 2015 and early 2016 include the establishment of the PLA Strategic Support Force (PLASSF). This new service (junzhong) brings together Chinese military space, electronic warfare, and network warfare capabilities and reflects the military’s holistic view of space
China eyes further relations with Vietnam through party chief visit – Xinhua General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Central Committee Nguyen Phu Trong will visit China from Jan. 12 to 15, at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
China Joins Davos as Trump Presidency Vies for Spotlight – Bloomberg The most high-profile guest by far will be Chinese president Xi Jinping, the first sitting Chinese leader to attend the event. He’s heading a larger-than-ever delegation of business executives from the world’s second-biggest economy, underscoring China’s determination to assume a global leadership role as other major powers are hobbled by domestic infighting.
China not to license Pokemon Go, similar games as it weighs security risks | Reuters Prompted by “a high level of responsibility to national security and the safety of people’s lives and property,” the censor, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, is coordinating with other government departments to evaluate the game’s risks, an industry body said. These risks include the “threat to geographical information security and the threat to transport and the personal safety of consumers”, a games panel of the China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association, which is governed by the censor body, said in a posting on its website.
Jacob Lew: China Is Open to Criticism That Is ‘Intellectually Sound’ – WSJ Mr. Lew said Chinese officials have been frequently swayed by legitimate criticism of their economic policy, including his sharp critique of the way Beijing communicated an exchange-rate policy change that allowed the yuan to depreciate by nearly 2% in August 2015. “They respect candid and intellectually sound criticism. Where I think they bridle is when they feel that they’re being caricatured or where facts are being ignored,” said Mr. Lew, who will conclude a four-year term as Treasury secretary on Jan. 20.
All aboard for Africa’s heartland – on a train built in China | South China Morning Post The 750km line connects port city Djibouti and Addis Ababa, the capital of landlocked Ethiopia, the fastest-growing economy in Africa. The railway is expected to reduce the travel time between the two cities, from three days by road to just 12 hours by train. It is also widely seen as the start of a trans-African railway project, in which a 2,000km track will connect Djibouti, a gateway to the Suez Canal and one of the world’s busiest shipping routes, with the Atlantic Ocean.
Plans to launch satellites for global navigation network – China Daily China plans to launch up to eight new generation navigation satellites into space this year, according to researchers from the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System. BeiDou chief designer Yang Hui told China News Service that they hope to start launching the BeiDou-3 satellites in summer.
Liberals reverse Harper cabinet order to unwind Chinese takeover deal – The Globe and Mail ITF Technologies, formerly Avensys, of Montreal is a leader in “fibre-laser” technology that is used in telecommunications, data communications and industrial applications. Its website mentions military applications for some of its products but does not elaborate. In July, 2015, the former Conservative government ordered an unwinding of the firm’s acquisition by Hong Kong-based O-Net Communications. It came five months after Ottawa initially announced approval for the transaction.
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN
Pro-China protesters attack Hong Kong lawmaker Nathan Law and reporters at airport | Hong Kong Free Press Demosistō lawmaker Nathan Law was attacked on Sunday evening by pro-China protesters upon his arrival at Hong Kong International Airport following a visit to Taiwan. The former Occupy activist was surrounded by demonstrators who accused him of colluding with pro-independence forces in Taiwan. The group attempted to assault him at the airport’s arrival hall. His shirt was torn and his glasses flew off. He was also sprayed with a liquid. Law then made a report with the police and arranged to have his injuries inspected.
Top U.S. diplomat in Hong Kong describes Beijing’s legal ruling as ‘unfortunate’ | Reuters “The unwarranted disappearance of the booksellers, as well as the unfortunate, preemptive interpretation of the Basic Law by the National People’s Congress with respect to official oath-taking, have contributed to a sense among many in Hong Kong that Beijing may be losing sight of the importance of respecting Hong Kong’s autonomy,” Kurt W. Tong said in some of his strongest public comments since taking over as U.S. consul general five months ago.
TECH AND MEDIA
How Yahoo came up with its new name: Altaba – The Washington Post The new name is meant to be a combination of the words “alternative and Alibaba,” according to a person familiar with the company’s thinking // Comment: Let’s hope they didn’t actually pay anyone to come up with this stupid name
China’s Tencent takes on the App Store with launch of ‘mini programs’ for WeChat | TechCrunch Tencent, the $240 billion Chinese internet giant, introduced its take on mobile apps — apps within WeChat, its blockbuster chat app with 846 million monthly users. Tencent launched a beta program for the apps last year, and they are essentially more-basic, stripped-down versions of iOS and Android apps that downloaded instantly, and run and can be stored within WeChat.
Regulations on the Protection of Minors Online (Draft for Deliberation) Comment: Green Dam is coming back? // Article 10: The State encourages and supports research and development, and production and promotion, of software for the protection of minors online. State network information departments, together with State Council departments such as for Industry and Information, organize the drafting of policies on the research and development, and production and promotion, of software for the protection of minors online, and organizes their implementation.
Film on Palace Museum’s Antiquity Restoration Becomes Surprise Hit – Caixin On the same day that veteran director Zhang Yimou released his big-budget historical fantasy The Great Wall, a documentary by a lesser-known filmmaker hit the big screens. Masters in the Forbidden City, which follows the lives of relic restorers in China’s imperial palace who are painstakingly piecing together antiques thousands of years old, made a strong box office showing despite being shot on a shoestring budget of 1.5 million yuan ($216,000).
支付宝回应破解密码漏洞：只在特定情况下才会实现_TechWeb Comment: Alipay trying hard to downplay reports of a significant security weakness in Alipay
今年央视春晚再无红包大战 腾讯阿里暗战却还在继续_Techweb Comment: The Wechat-Alipay Red Envelope War set to get even bigger during the upcoming CCTV Spring Festival Gala
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
Permanent human occupation of the central Tibetan Plateau in the early Holocene | Science Their analysis indicates occupation of the plateau 7400 years ago and possibly earlier. These dates are consistent with the genetic history of Tibetans and suggest that a permanent preagricultural peopling of the plateau was enabled by the wetter regional climate at that time.
Beijing Dismantles Soccer Body – Caixin China has scratched an administrative body that oversaw the nation’s soccer industry, giving more leeway to teams and other players to innovate in hopes of boosting the game. The Football Management Center, an affiliate of the General Administration of Sport, was formally dismantled late last week. The move will leave the China Football Association as the sole body overseeing one of the nation’s most popular sports.
Why Public Intellectuals Have Become Targets of Online Abuse | Sixth Tone The majority of today’s public intellectuals are over 40 years old. They grew up in the 1980s, a time when Chinese society, having just emerged from the tumultuous 10 years of the Cultural Revolution, looked toward the West as a paragon for reform. For many intellectuals, Western political models still inform the standard by which the success of reform in China is judged. However, the country’s most active internet users were only born in the ’90s. Growing up, they have witnessed China’s economic development and transformation into a geopolitical power, and have become more assertively nationalistic than their predecessors. Many of those have traveled to Europe or the U.S. during their formative years, and hold a more nuanced view of the West that accounts for the shortcomings of its political systems and contrasts with the liberal paradise so vaunted by the previous generation. As a result, instead of worshipping the West, they are more inclined to defend China.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH
Frustrated by choking air pollution, some attempt to hold government to account – Global Times After being hit by a quick combo of two heavy pollution alerts, Jin Zi was on the ropes. The Beijing investment consultant felt sick of being enveloped in thick smog, both physically and mentally. “My 70-year-old mother got sick after coming to Beijing from Qingdao, Shandong Province. My twins cough even though they are just 9 months old. My heart feels sore every time I hear them cough,” he said. So he chose Sina Weibo as the arena to vent his anger. On Thursday evening, he made a public complaint on his verified Weibo account, demanding the State Council give citizens a formal response the government’s failure to rein in the choking smog. “I believe what’s frightening is not the smog, but your indifference,” he said, demanding the government offer concrete and comprehensive solutions to the problem. The post quickly circulated on Chinese social media and generated one million views before it was deleted the next morning. After cutting out a few of his more radical remarks, he posted it again. To his joy, the Weibo administrators didn’t remove the post this time. But he never received an official response.
State Council rolls out plan to intensify medical reform – Xinhua The State Council released a circular in a recent effort to enhance medical reform during the 13th Five-Year Plan period (2016-2020). According to the circular, China has made substantial improvement in medical undertakings since the 12th Five-Year Plan, with 95 percent basic medical coverage and steady integration of urban and rural insurance. In the next five years, the nation looks to build a complete public hygiene and medical service system, guarantee medicine supply and decrease personal expenses on medical care. // Comment: Helpful infographic explaining the plan 一图读懂《“十三五”深化医药卫生体制改革规划》
China issues five-year plan on public healthcare-SCIO Comment: The plan 《“十三五”深化医药卫生体制改革规划》发布
BOOKS AND LITERATURE
‘Is this what the west is really like?’ How it felt to leave China for Britain | Xiaolu Guo | The Guardian Desperate to find somewhere she could live and work as she wished, Xiaolu Guo moved from Beijing to London in 2002. But from the weather to the language and the people, nothing was as she expected
Teenage robbery gang busted in Beijing – China Daily A group of 15 middle school pupils have been detained in Beijing on suspicion of carrying out a series of muggings in the Sanlitun area, a popular commercial district in the capital’s downtown. Police said the gang had operated late at night and targeted multiple victims in the district, which is known for its bars and shopping centers. The youngest of the suspects is 13 and all study at a nearby middle school
JOBS AND EVENTS
What to Expect in China Policy During the First 100 Days of Donald Trump’s Presidency | New York | Asia Society Wed 18 Jan 2017 6:30pm – 8:00pm Asia Society 725 Park Ave., New York, NY, 10021
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