"Sinocism is the Presidential Daily Brief for China hands"- Evan Osnos, New Yorker Correspondent and National Book Award Winner
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“In The Name Of The People 人民的名义” is very entertaining and effective propaganda TV miniseries about corruption in the PRC. I have now watched through episode 36 and highly recommend it. In episode 36 a princeling and a provincial official’s mistress flee to Hong Kong and take up residence at the “Three Seasons Hotel”, an obvious reference to the PRC moguls trying to ride out possible storms at Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Hotel. The point is made that Hong Kong is no longer a safe harbor (see this clip I posted to Twitter), as Xiao Jianhua learned recently when he was taken from the Four Seasons back to the mainland.
But as much as the Chinese Communist Party would like to control the narrative about the corruption crackdown, reality keeps intervening.
The Wall Street Journal added some detail to the Xiao Jianhua case in Missing Billionaire Has Ties to China’s Military:
Firms linked to Beijing’s formidable arms-trading conglomerate, China Poly Group Corp., executed at least three recent transactions involving the billionaire, Xiao Jianhua, including a $10 million donation to Harvard University, according to corporate filings and interviews with people familiar with the transactions…
Around three years ago, Mr. Xiao offered a major donation to Harvard’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.
Mr. Xiao proposed $20 million, according to a former Harvard executive, but caused anxiety among administrators about the origin of the money when he indicated a third party would pay.
“There was some question about what entity was going to write the check,” the former executive said.
Harvard’s Ash Center never publicized a pledge from Mr. Xiao but in its Spring 2014 newsletter briefly mentioned receipt—from JT Capital Management—of a “major gift of $10 million.”
$20 million was a problem but $10 million was not? I wonder how Harvard got past their concerns.
More explosive than the new reporting on Xiao are the continuing revelations from Guo Wengui 郭文贵.
Mike Forsythe of The New York Times corroborated some of Guo’s allegations about the family of He Guoqiang, Wang Qishan’s predecessor as head of the CCDI. In Greater Corruption in China? A Billionaire Says He Has Evidence Forsythe reports:
In two rambling interviews with a New York-based media company lasting more than four hours, Guo Wengui, a real estate magnate, described what he said was a ferocious struggle that culminated two years ago in the collapse of a business deal pitting him against relatives of a retired top Communist Party official, He Guoqiang…
Mr. Guo, who also goes by the name Miles Kwok, did not offer any proof of wrongdoing by the He family. But for all his bluster, there is some documentation to support his assertion that the family had a financial stake in Founder Securities.
In 2015, New York Times reporters working in Beijing, Hong Kong and the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu mapped out the financial network of He Guoqiang’s family, examining shareholding records and verifying relationships by interviewing a member of the family. Those documents and interviews show that the family did appear to control, indirectly through a series of shell companies, a stake in Founder Securities, which has a joint venture in China with Credit Suisse, the Swiss bank.
Guo had promised even more explosive charges in an interview scheduled for three hours this morning with VOA. Beijing, clearly worried about Guo’s accusations, requested Interpol issue a “red notice” for him.
Beijing’s concerns were justified.
Guo has consistently attacked Fu Zhenghua, a Deputy Minister of Public Security, for being corrupt and subverting Xi Jinping’s and Wang Qishan’s corruption crackdown. Today Guo claimed that Fu, through Fu’s brother, had told him he would release Guo’s detained relatives and employees if Guo would dig up dirt on Wang Qishan and Meng Jianzhu, a Politburo member and Secretary of the Central Politics and Law Commission.
In spite of his earlier claims that he supported Wang Qishan, Guo today claimed that Wang Qishan’s nephew on his wife’s side was a shareholder in the mysterious and powerful HNA Group. Wang’s wife, or ex-wife if one friend is to be believed, is a daughter of Yao Yilin.
And then VOA suddenly terminated the broadcast. VOA has not said why but Guo claimed on Twitter that the State Department pressured VOA to end the interview.
There is no corroboration of Guo’s claims about Wang Qishan’s inlaws. However, the mere fact that it is out there in such a public way may cause a headache for Xi and Wang Qishan.
Wang has made many enemies prosecuting the corruption crackdown and this may be useful ammunition for his rivals. The 19th Party Congress is only about six months away. Guo’s claims may not be nearly as explosive as what happened in the months before the 2012 18th Party Congress, but Xi does not want to lose control of the narrative and any credible revelations of high-level infighting or corruption by the family of Wang Qishan could create enough noise to hinder Xi’s preferred personnel arrangements at the 19th Party Congress.
I have no idea what Guo’s real agenda is. He originally seemed to be trying to curry favor with Xi and Wang, perhaps in the hopes of rendering enough of a meritorious service (立功) to get his family, employees and assets released. But making claims about Wang Qishan seem unlikely to help, unless he believes his revelations may benefit other forces, perhaps in a last-ditch attempt against Xi, that will ultimately reward him? Regardless, it is fascinating to watch even a tiny sliver of elite Chinese politics in real time, and Guo’s claims are leading to all sorts of speculation, including by yours truly…
One thing we can certain about is that the CCP clearly prefers scripted over live TV.
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
1. On North Korea, Trump signals break with US-China policy – CNNPolitics.com For decades, US officials have made clear to their Chinese counterparts that the US won’t barter economic or other foreign policy issues in exchange for support on the North Korean issue…”It opens up the thinking in everyone’s mind around the world that they can haggle for a better deal and get the US to give up on longstanding positions,” said Michael Green, the National Security Council’s senior director for Asia in the Bush 43 White House. “That is not going to instill confidence.”..”Every administration since Nixon has not fallen for this, and it’s the kind of ploy that I used to see on sophomore papers on East Asia in college,” said Green, the former Bush administration official, who added that the bartering could send shivers up the spines of US allies.
Related: China’s Korea policy ‘in tatters’ as both North and South defy sanctions – The Washington Post Shi Yinhong, professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, says Beijing is “still hesitant” to take such a radical step, one that would threaten the fuel supplies that keeps the North Korean military running. Indeed, if the United States continues to turn up the heat, with more verbal threats or an even more robust naval presence, China could flip the other way, Shi argues: decide that Washington is the real threat to stability on the peninsula, and “shift from suppressing North Korea to opposing the United States.”
Related: Despite talk of a military strike, Trump’s ‘armada’ actually sailed away from Korea – The Washington Post on the same day that the world nervously watched North Korea stage a massive military parade to celebrate the birthday of the nation’s founder, Kim Il Sung, and the press speculated about a preemptive U.S. strike, the U.S. Navy put the Carl Vinson, together with its escort of two guided-missile destroyers and a cruiser, more than 3,000 miles southwest of the Korean Peninsula — and more than 500 miles southeast of Singapore. Instead of steaming toward the Korea Peninsula, the carrier strike group was actually headed in the opposite direction to take part in “scheduled exercises with Australian forces in the Indian Ocean,” according to Defense News, which first reported the story.
Related: Criticism of Beijing’s North Korea Policy Comes From Unlikely Place: China – The New York Times When China’s best-known historian of the Korean War, Shen Zhihua, recently laid out his views on North Korea, astonishment rippled through the audience. China, he said with a bluntness that is rare here, had fundamentally botched its policy on the divided Korean Peninsula….“Judging by the current situation, North Korea is China’s latent enemy and South Korea could be China’s friend,” Mr. Shen said, according to a transcript he published online. “We must see clearly that China and North Korea are no longer brothers in arms, and in the short term there’s no possibility of an improvement in Chinese-North Korean relations.” 沈志华：从中朝关系史的角度看“萨德”问题 // Comment: Fascinating, noteworthy, but Shen and other scholars been other voices in recent years making the same argument, not yet clear if this is indicative of powerful support for a real China in Beijing’s strategic calculus towards the DPRK
Related: Chinese Trucks Give North Korean Missiles A Lift During Big Military Parade | The National Interest Blog When North Korea rolled out a few submarine-launched missiles for the first time over the weekend, some observers noticed that the trucks belonged to a Chinese company — Sinotruk. // Comment: Interesting that the North Koreans didn’t even bother to try to hide the very visible logos
Related: North Korea Snubbed Chinese Diplomats – Bloomberg Pyongyang didn’t respond to requests from China Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Wu Dawei, the country’s top envoy for North Korean nuclear affairs, to meet with their North Korean counterparts, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private. The overtures came after Chinese President Xi Jinping met with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in Florida, the people said.
2. Ivanka’s biz prospers as politics mixes with business-AP On April 6, Ivanka Trump’s company won provisional approval from the Chinese government for three new trademarks, giving it monopoly rights to sell Ivanka brand jewelry, bags and spa services in the world’s second-largest economy. That night, the first daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, sat next to the president of China and his wife for a steak and Dover sole dinner at Mar-a-Lago. // Comment: So sketchy, and undermines the work of serious professionals in the administration trying to deal with the China challenge
Related: Lawsuit against Trump now includes China trademarks | TheHill A lawsuit alleging President Trump violated the Constitution’s so-called emoluments clause now lists “gratuitous Chinese trademarks” among its examples. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington expanded its complaint against Trump on Tuesday.
3. China reshuffles 84 corps-level military units – Xinhua Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), made the remarks while meeting chief military officers Tuesday in Beijing. Decided by the CPC Central Committee and the CMC, the reshuffle is important in building strong armed forces through reform, said Xi. It will also have a profound influence on meeting the targets of enhancing the military in a new situation and building world-class armed forces, Xi noted. Identifying the 84 units as crucial parts of a new system, Xi called on them to safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development interests. // Comment: CCTV Evening News Tuesday report, always interesting video 全军新调整组建84个军级单位 习近平接见新调整组建军级单位主官 对各单位发布训令 This is another group of officers who owe their promotions and new jobs to Xi, a countervailing force often forgotten amidst some of the exaggerated talk that Xi has upset the PLA with his reforms and corruption crackdown. Of course he has upset some, but he has also made a lot of professional, patriotic officers happy
Related: China’s Xi restructures military, consolidates control | Reuters All 84 new units are at the combined-corps level, which means commanders will hold the rank of major-general or rear-admiral, the official China Daily reported Wednesday, adding that unit members would likely be regrouped from existing forces given the Chinese military was still engaged in cutting its troops by 300,000, one of the wide-ranging military reforms introduced by Xi in late 2015.
4. CPC journal to publish article on overall national security outlook – Xinhua The article will be released in the eighth issue of the Journal this year, under the byline of Zhong Guoan. Rather than a zero-sum game, absolute security or alliance theory, President Xi Jinping’s overall national security outlook proposes universal inclusiveness in the spirit of “building a community of shared destiny,” according to the article. The article said the outlook is a major development of the CPC’s national security theory and enriches the theory of socialism with Chinese characteristics. 以习近平总书记总体国家安全观为指引 谱写国家安全新篇章 作者：钟国安
Related: 人民日报评论员：共筑国家安全“命运共同体”–观点–人民网 《 人民日报 》（ 2017年04月15日 01 版）
5. Xi urges strengthened party education campaign – Xinhua President Xi Jinping has called for further implementation of a year-long education campaign within the Communist Party of China (CPC) to strengthen Party discipline. Xi, who is also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks in an instruction on the campaign, which focuses on the study of the Party Constitution and rules, as well as the speeches made by Xi, and calls for being qualified Party members. 习近平对推进“两学一做”学习教育常态化制度化作出重要指示 // Comment: Big deal
6. Banking Watchdog Unleashes Regulatory Frenzy – Caixin Global The regulatory frenzy began after Guo Shuqing, a former chairman of China Construction Bank Corp. and four-year governor of Shandong province, took the helm as CBRC chairman in February. Guo has promised to tackle the “various phenomena of disorder” in the banking industry by cracking down on shadow lending, strengthening supervision of banks’ wealth management products, and taking resolute action to root out corruption and hold officials responsible for mistakes and negligence. // // Comment: Unless the threshold for real financial pain has changed implementation will be spotty at best
Related: China Gets Bailed Out by Its Consumers – WSJ First, it rolled out a massive bond refinancing program for local state-owned firms, essentially shifting their debts onto provincial balance sheets. And second, mortgage lending standards were dramatically eased, unleashing a tidal wave of pent up household demand. Consumer lending, which had been running at a monthly average of about 15% of net new financing to the economy since 2010, had shot up to more than 30% by late 2016. The effects have been dramatic. Housing inventories have fallen by about 15% and currently sit near their lowest levels since 2013
7. U.S. Firms in China Face Worst Conditions in Decades: AmCham – Bloomberg Political and economic transitions in the U.S. and China, increasing perception of animosity toward foreign businesses, and slowing growth are dimming the outlook, AmCham said in a report Tuesday. Despite recent rhetoric regarding opening and globalization, investment barriers remain high, it said in its annual American Business in China White Paper
Related: As Zeal for China Dims, Global Companies Complain More Boldly – The New York Times cloud computing is the latest area of contention between China and increasingly frustrated global companies. In late March, a group of more than 50 American lawmakers sent a letter to the Chinese ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, taking direct aim at China’s restrictions on cloud computing. They wrote that current and draft regulations would force the transfer of valuable intellectual property to Chinese companies and effectively bar foreign cloud service providers “from operating or competing fairly in China.”
8. Fish Farmer From ‘Cancer Village’ Seeks Landmark Ruling Over Dead Daughter – Caixin Global Last week’s decision by a Chinese court to accept a case in which a fish farmer has taken on two polluting steel companies and the local environmental authorities who allegedly allowed them to operate has become a watershed moment in the country’s environmental litigation. The case will determine whether citizens can sue a government environmental authority for negligence or dereliction of duty that dates back to 2003, when the country’s Environmental Impact Assessment Law came into effect. Complainants now are required to file administrative lawsuits within five years.
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE
China eases yuan outflow controls in sign of recovered confidence | South China Morning Post The People’s Bank of China in early January required commercial banks to stop processing cross-border yuan payments unless the banks could show at the end of every month that the amount of outbound yuan matched the sum that came in, but that restriction was scrapped from last Wednesday, said mainland banking sources who were briefed on the policy change.
Minsheng Bank Hit By Alleged Fraud – Caixin Global Wealthy individuals who invested their savings with China Minsheng Bank have found themselves embroiled in an alleged 3 billion yuan ($436 million) fraud — the latest scandal to expose the lack of internal risk controls at financial institutions that could threaten confidence in the banking system. Minsheng Bank confirmed in a stock-exchange filing on Wednesday that the head of its Hangtianqiao sub-branch in Beijing, Zhang Ying, has been placed under investigation by police for suspected violation of the law.
独家|民生银行原副行长赵品璋被查金融频道财新网 Comment: Former deputy head of Minsheng Bank Zhao Pinzhang arrested at the airport, may be related to a loan to a China Railway Corp subsidiary
Loan Sharks Targeted as Problems Mount – Caixin Global The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) has told local governments to compile a list of online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms and other online businesses that lend money in their area, and to identify and address risks associated with short-term loans of about 100 days made without collateral and at high interest rates, according to a regulatory notice seen by Caixin reporters. Local authorities are responsible for issuing licenses to and supervising companies that conduct lending business within their geographic jurisdictions.
China’s Economy Accelerates as Retail, Investment Pick Up – Bloomberg “The first quarter growth is mainly driven by reflation and very strong property sales and investment,” said Larry Hu, head of China economics at Macquarie Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong. “This strong data would give more confidence to maintain a tightening stance.” The broadest measure of new credit rose more than estimated last month amid strong growth in shadow banking. Aggregate financing grew 2.12 trillion yuan ($308 billion).
Former Trump aide advises Chinese tycoon on building contracts – FT $$ Mr Manafort met Yan Jiehe, the billionaire founder of Pacific Construction Group, in Shanghai last Tuesday. Ahead of the meeting, Mr Yan told the Financial Times that Mr Manafort — who has represented leaders from the Philippines to Angola to Ukraine — would help him navigate what is expected to eventually be a US infrastructure boom.
China March Home Sales Buoyant Even as Curbs Start to Bite – Bloomberg New home sales by value rose 18 percent to 1 trillion yuan ($145 billion) last month from a year earlier, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data released Monday by the National Bureau of Statistics. The increase compares with a 23 percent surge in the first two months of the year.
Weetabix sold to US firm after breakfast cereal fails to catch on in China | The Guardian When Shanghai-based Bright Food bought Weetabix, it had hoped the cereal would become popular in China as part of a general trend towards more western eating habits. However, while sales of Weetabix have risen in China, market share has disappointed as traditional rice and steamed bread remain popular breakfast staples.
Unpaid Drivers Point Headlights Onto LeEco’s Finances – Caixin Global A dispute between unpaid drivers and China’s second-most-popular ride-hailing service heated up Tuesday, with furious drivers descending on Yidao Yongche’s headquarters and the company founder laying blame on controlling stakeholder LeEco. The apparent liquidity freeze surfaced months ago when drivers began complaining that they could not transfer payments out of their Yidao accounts. CCTV reported last week that drivers had “made a run” on their Yidao accounts out of fear that their money would soon be inaccessible.
China stocks recoil for 3rd day as regulatory, economy worries weigh | Reuters Chinese regulators have made a flurry of announcements in recent weeks aimed at containing risks in the financial system, though most have been short on detail. Stronger-than-expected first-quarter GDP and March economic data on Monday failed to impress investors, who fear momentum will begin to fade in coming months.
China’s Ant hikes MoneyGram bid by more a third, beats rival U.S. offer | Reuters MoneyGram’s global remittance channels for sending money overseas would help Ant build a cross-border network after a string of recent investments in Asia. But the deal must first clear the Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS), which looks at acquisitions for national security risks.
China’s Ant Financial targets brand boost in SEAsia with helloPay deal | Reuters helloPay is the payment subsidiary of e-commerce firm Lazada Group, which is majority-owned by Alibaba after a $1 billion deal in 2016, and will be re-branded as Alipay in relevant markets, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, Ant said in a statement on Wednesday.
Guidelines of economic reform in 2017-SCIO The State Council on April 18 issued a guideline on China’s economic reform in 2017, which regards supply-side structural reform as key. The guideline vows to continue cutting excessive capacity in steel, coal, coal power, and other industries, and reduce inventory in the real estate market. Leverage ratios in enterprises, especially in state-owned ones, were asked to be cut, and meanwhile multiple measures should be in place to help lower business costs, including taxes and administrative fees. 国务院批转《关于2017年深化经济体制改革重点工作的意见》
Curbs Cool Down Shanghai Mortgage Fever – Caixin Global The Shanghai branch of the central bank announced first-quarter lending data on April 14. Loans to property developers totaled 36.7 billion yuan ($5.33 billion), 26.7 billion yuan more than the same period last year, while personal mortgages in the city increased by 67.6 billion yuan, 24.1 billion yuan less than last year.
China boosts residential land supply in Q1 – Xinhua In the first quarter, residential land supply in first-tier cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou increased by over 50 percent from the same period a year ago, according to data collected by the China Urban Land Price Dynamic Monitor.
Senior Administration Officials Praise President Donald J. Trump’s Buy American, Hire American Executive Order | whitehouse.gov “The Executive Order the President signed today ushers in a new, more muscular Buy American policy based on the twin pillars of maximizing Made in America content and minimizing waivers and exceptions to Buy American laws.” – Peter Navarro, Deputy Assistant to the President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy // Comment: Has Navarro been demoted? In the 12.21.16 announcement of his appointment his titled was listed as “Assistant to the President and Director of Trade and Industrial Policy.” Now he is a “Deputy Assistant”?
POLITICS AND LAW
Xinhua Insight: Strict delegate election procedures for upcoming CPC congress – Xinhua According to the election work plan of the province issued by the Organization Department of CPC Qinghai Provincial Committee, the entire nomination, examination and election process would show “zero-tolerance” to CPC members with flaws. Candidates found with fake files, problems with corruption, or those that engage in drug use, gambling, prostituting or drink driving are exempt, according to the plan. Disciplinary departments are requested to investigate any public complaints. To welcome wide participation, authorities in the provincial capital Xining wrote a public letter to all CPC members, which was published across a range of media. It was also translated to Tibetan, which many in the city speak.
Graft Watchdog Investigates Senior Inspector – Caixin Global The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a post on its official website that Zhang Huawei, a vice-ministerial level inspector from its 11th inspection team, is being investigated for “suspected serious violation of the Party’s code of conduct,” a phrase used when a government official is under investigation for corruption. Zhang’s fall from grace could be linked to a recent anti-corruption campaign in the finance sector, people with knowledge of the matter told Caixin. 中央巡视组原副部级巡视专员张化为涉嫌严重违纪接受组织审查
China jails official who bribed disgraced presidential aide | Reuters The court in Tianjin found that Pan Yiyang abused his positions as vice governor of the northern region of Inner Mongolia and Communist Party boss of Ganzhou in the eastern province of Jiangxi and took bribes, the agency said. Between 2000 and 2013, Xinhua said, Pan “many times” offered bribes totaling 7.6 million yuan ($1.10 million) to Ling Jihua, 给令计划多次送钱，被苏荣夸赞的他获刑20年
揭秘中央纪委监察部新任“女部长”：60后打虎女将，有跨界背景 – 今日头条 Comment: On the new female vice minister of supervision Zou Jiayi, just promoted over from the CCDI
China’s party officials warned not to cross ‘red lines’ while using WeChat | South China Morning Post Disparaging party policies, sharing pornography and spreading rumours are among eight “red lines”…the other prohibited behaviours are accepting electronic “red envelopes” of money transfers, vote-rigging, leaking confidential information, opening online shops and publishing “inappropriate” statements.
Xi demands enhanced supervision over reform efforts – Xinhua All departments and localities should attach greater importance to delivering reforms and devote more effort to examining reform’s effects, Xi said during the 34th meeting of the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform, which he heads. 习近平主持召开中央全面深化改革领导小组第三十四次会议强调 拓展改革督察工作广度深度 提高发现问题解决问题实效
锻造坚强领导核心（《全面从严治党面对面》①）——如何认识全面从严治党的重大意义《 人民日报 》（ 2017年04月19日 09 版） 我们在深入调研的基础上，梳理出11个干部群众普遍关注的热点问题，组织中央有关部门和专家学者撰写了2017年通俗理论读物《全面从严治党面对面》。本书紧密联系党的十八大以来全面从严治党实际，紧密联系管党治党面临的新形势新任务，对这些问题作了深入浅出的解读阐释，观点权威准确，语言通俗易懂，文风清新简洁，是干部群众、青年学生进行理论学习和开展形势政策教育的重要辅导读物。
China’s top court launches campaign to root out corruption among law enforcers – Xinhua The campaign, scheduled to last until November, will target passive, selective, wayward and corrupt law enforcement, which hampers public trust in the judicial system, said Wu Shaojun, deputy director with the SPC’s law enforcement bureau.
Supreme People’s Court to require prior case search | Supreme People’s Court Monitor Requiring a search of prior and related cases is an important step in the evolution of the Chinese case law system.
New Rankings to Place Lawyers’ Politics Over Experience – China Digital Times (CDT) Under the new system, lawyers will be classified into nine specialist areas, ranging from criminal law to intellectual property law. The system would help people seeking legal services to narrow their search, the notice said. But lawyers would have to meet four criteria to be listed, the top one being political correctness, followed by record of “integrity”, length of experience and professional skills.
让互联网更好造福人民–写在习近平总书记“4·19”重要讲话发表一周年之际-新华网 Comment: Xinhua on the 1st anniversary of Xi’s April 19, 2016 speech on building an Internet superpower
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
China to gather friends for biggest summit of year on New Silk Road | Reuters Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced on Tuesday a list of those attending the May conference, including some of China’s most reliable allies – Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Indonesian President Joko Widodo are coming too, all generally good partners of China.
U.S. Marines arrive in Darwin for Australia, China exercises | Reuters The strength of this year’s deployment at 1,250 troops lags well behind the initial plan for the deployment to reach 2,500 Marines this year, but it will see the largest U.S. aircraft contingent to Australia in peacetime history.
China Is Playing Peacemaker in Myanmar, but with an Ulterior Motive | Foreign Policy Beijing is trying to end the long-running conflicts along its border with Myanmar — but only because it can’t exploit the region’s resources at will anymore.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang’s Regular Press Conference on April 18, 2017 At the invitation of Anton Vaino, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office of the Russian Federation, Li Zhanshu, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, member of its Secretariat, Director of its General Office will visit Russia from April 25 to 27.
China names areas in region disputed with India to assert claims | Reuters Arunachal Pradesh is an eastern Himalayan region administered by New Delhi but claimed by China as Southern Tibet.
The Inaugural Trump-Xi Summit: A Conversation with Ely Ratner by CSIS | Free Listening on SoundCloud In this episode we sit down with Ely Ratner to discuss what was achieved at the Xi-Trump summit and how the meeting might influence US-China relations going forward.
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN
Chinese Activist Who Wanted Asylum in Taiwan Returns to China – The New York Times Zhang Xiangzhong, 48, an anticorruption campaigner who spent three years in prison in China, had arrived in Taiwan on April 12 as part of an eight-day group tour. The next day he abandoned the group and on Friday said in an interview with Radio Free Asia that he planned to apply for political refugee status. But according to a statement from Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, Mr. Zhang flew back to China on Wednesday morning with his tour group.
TECH AND MEDIA
How Western Fake News Took Over China’s Social Media | Sixth Tone To be sure, the Daily Mail and American right-wing conspiracy websites are not operating Chinese-language outlets in China, though the Daily Mail does have an established partnership with Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily. The real force behind the massive importing from the Daily Mail and other such outlets stories is an influential — some might say notorious — group of social media accounts known as yingxiao hao, or “marketing accounts.”
Struggling Tech Giant LeEco Loses Global Corporate Finance Head – Bloomberg Winston Cheng, who joined LeEco in 2015, will be president of international at Chinese e-commerce company JD.com Inc., leading new business initiatives including investments and mergers and acquisitions, the person said. LeEco declined to comment. JD.com didn’t respond to a request for comment on Friday.
In China, Tencent’s WeChat Threatens Alibaba’s Alipay — The Information $$ In China’s massive mobile payment market, WeChat operator Tencent is nearly catching up with Alibaba’s affiliate Alipay, the market leader. By successfully turning the WeChat messaging app into an everyday payment tool, Tencent more than quadrupled its mobile payment market share to 37% in the fourth quarter from just 8% in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to research firm Analysys International. Over the same two-year period, Alipay’s market share declined to 54% from 79%.
Chinese news app gets a sci-fi valuation | Reuters China’s hottest news source has secured a sci-fi valuation. A recent fundraising values ByteDance, the group behind a popular news-feed app, at about $11 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. That the company has raised so much in a tricky sector suggests buzzwords such as artificial intelligence and big data can act like clickbait for investors. The 5-year-old startup runs Toutiao, or “Today’s Headlines”. It raised $1 billion, according to Chinese media. // Comment: But Toutiao is in trouble with regulators for indecent content 今日头条因涉黄被查处，花椒直播被立案调查
Beijing cyber regulators to summon Apple over live streaming: Xinhua | Reuters The Beijing Cyberspace Administration, together with the Beijing Public Security Bureau and Beijing Cultural Market Administrative Law Enforcement Team, has already met representatives from Apple about the examination of live streaming apps from its app store, Xinhua said.
Tencent bets on online flea market with $200m investment in Zhuan Zhuan – TechNode According to the official announcement, Tencent has injected a hefty US$ 200 million of funding for minority equity in Zhuan Zhuan, the used goods trading unit of China’s Craigslist, 58.com. The funding was raised at a reportedly US$ 1 billion USD valuation.
CMC Capital Partners Invests in CAA, Launches China Media and Entertainment Venture | Variety CAA’s existing China team will segue to the CAA China operation, including Jonah Greenberg overseeing motion pictures, and Roeg Sutherland, co-head of CAA’s global film finance and sales group, will continue to oversee film financing activity. CAA China intends to add more senior management over time, the partners said.
Hollywood’s New Script: You Can’t Make Movies Without China – WSJ Hollywood executives can rattle off the rules for getting a movie approved by Chinese censors: no sex (too unseemly); no ghosts (too spiritual). Among 10 prohibited plot elements are “disrupts the social order” and “jeopardizes social morality.” Time travel is frowned upon because of its premise that individuals can change history. U.S. filmmakers sometimes anticipate Chinese censors and alter movies before their release. The Oscar-winning alien-invasion drama “Arrival” was edited to make a Chinese general appear less antagonistic before the film’s debut in China this year.
Richard Gere’s Studio Exile: Why His Hollywood Career Took an Indie Turn | Hollywood Reporter Gere, a long-standing friend of Tibet’s exiled leader, the Dalai Lama…has been banned for life from China. But now that Hollywood is cozying up ever closer to the authoritarian superpower, and studios are careful not to offend the government that oversees what has become the world’s second-biggest box-office market, the star also is paying a price. “There are definitely movies that I can’t be in because the Chinese will say, ‘Not with him,’ ” he acknowledges matter-of-factly. “I recently had an episode where someone said they could not finance a film with me because it would upset the Chinese.”
Wang Jianlin confirms China blocked Wanda’s US TV deal-FT $$ The former army officer confirmed to the Financial Times that Chinese currency controls had scuttled the deal — the biggest outbound entertainment investment by China so far this year, although he also cited unspecified pushback from the US.
‘Fate of the Furious’ Breaks Record in China Opening | Variety “Furious 8” accumulated an unprecedented $65.6 million (RMB453 million) in China by the end of Friday. Known locally as “The Fast and The Furious 8,” the film broke at least two all-time China box office records on its opening run.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
CEO of Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art quits, adding to doubts over future of Beijing art landmark as it seeks buyer | South China Morning Post With Ullens Centre in capital’s 798 Art District up for sale, resignation of chief executive officer May Xue Mei affects one of the art space’s main assets – its management team
Rahmah’s story: ‘I am a Chinese hijabi’ – BBC News She describes how she sticks to her religious beliefs, and how she is trying to help Chinese Muslim women reclaim their identity.
#独生女留学嫁老外# Comment: story goes viral on Weibo about an only child who goes to the US to study, decides to stay and marry her foreign boyfriend. Her dad, who along with his wife sold their home to pay for her education, says the decision to send her to the US was the worst decision of his life, asks who will take care of them in old age if she does not return?
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH
U.S. Hospitals See Healthy Opportunities in China – Caixin Global Two American hospitals have become the latest addition to a growing list of about 100 foreign clinics that have partnered with local health service providers in recent years. Last week, the Massachusetts General Hospital said it has partnered with China’s Jiahui Health Network to open a cancer hospital in Shanghai in October. New Jersey-based Children’s Specialized Hospital said it had inked a partnership deal with health care investment firm LIH Investment & Management Co. Ltd. last month to open a rehabilitation center in the southern city of Shenzhen for children with severe injuries or those suffering from mental illness or developmental disorders.
Environment Inspectors Locked In by Factory Boss | Sixth Tone The incident happened on Sunday at a furnace maker in Jinan City, Shandong province, called Shandong Lüjie Environmental Protection Energy Saving Technology Co. Ltd. A manager identified by his surname, Wang, had stopped the team from doing their work, citing “problematic” government identification cards, according to a statement on the Weibo microblog of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP).
环保部：将会同河北省联合调查污水渗坑问题国内新京报网 Comment: 170,000 sq m sewage pit in Langfang, Hebei, MEP to investigate along with Hebei authorities
Beijing city officials shirking smog blame, China’s environmental watchdog says | South China Morning Post The Ministry of Environmental Protection said on Wednesday that although some progress had been made in tackling the city’s environmental problems, long-term management remained unclear. “Some local cadres blame environmental problems on external causes,” the ministry’s Central Environmental Protection Inspectorate group said.
Fairbank Center Welcomes New Executive Director – Fairbank Center – Medium Dan Murphy, former Program Director at the Yale Center Beijing, appointed new Executive Director of Harvard’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and Harvard China Fund.
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