The Sinocism China Newsletter 06.08.17

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

AnchorThe Essential Eight

1. North Korea Tests More Missiles, South Korea Delays Additional THAAD Deployment

North Korea Fires More Missiles as Seoul Puts Off U.S. Defense System – The New York Times:

According to a statement from South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff, reported by the Yonhap news agency, the missiles appeared to be surface-to-ship missiles and flew toward the ocean. It was the 10th time this year that North Korea tested missiles, and it came less than a week after the United Nations Security Council expanded sanctions against Pyongyang over previous missile tests.

Pentagon: US believes Korea won’t reverse THAAD deployment – Korea Herald:

Seoul’s presidential office, Cheong Wa Dae, said earlier in the day that deployment of four launchers for the THAAD battery should wait until the environmental study is over, though two, already-deployed launchers won’t be withdrawn.

Comment: All of the Trump administration bluster on North Korea is just that if South Korea is not on board. Beijing knows this, expect Trump to become very angry soon when he wakes up one morning and decides that China has been stringing him along.  

2. Pentagon’s Annual Report to Congress Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2017 Released

PDF of the report

New Pentagon China Report Highlights the Rise of Beijing’s Maritime Militia | The National Interest – Andrew Erickson:

Issued yesterday, the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress on China’s military and security developments contains a typically vast array of data, some publicly specified or confirmed for the first time. Among its 106 pages—arguably the most significant development is its unprecedented coverage of China’s maritime militia—the first official U.S. government assessment to call it out in public.

China slams ‘exaggerated’ U.S. report on PLA moves – Global Times:

“China pursues the path of peaceful development and a national defense policy. China’s defense development is aimed at safeguarding state independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Hua said, urging the U.S. to help maintain stable Sino-U.S. ties with practical actions.

3. The PRC Influence In Australia Story Just Getting Started

China’s influence in Australia is not ordinary soft power | – Rory Medcalf:

Whether those providing the cash are seeking simply status or something else, their donations are damaging what should be constructive, respectful and beneficial relations between Australia and China. It is essential to underline that criticism of Chinese state influence is not about ethnicity. In fact, among the more than a million Australians of Chinese origin, many are worried about the role of the Chinese party-state inside this country.

Address to the National Press Club by Professor James Clapper AO, News item 20160321 – National Security College – ANU:

For America, though, I consider China more benignly than I do Russia. Their economy is inextricably bound with ours, as well as with yours. With all the challenges that poses, I do think that fact serves to moderate China’s behavior. But we, and you, I think, need to be very wary…As Dennis Richardson forthrightly acknowledged — and as your news media has exposed this week — it is no secret that China is very active in intelligence activities directed against Australia, just as they are against us, and that China is increasingly aggressive in attempting to gain influence in your political processes, as Russia is in ours.

Chinese political operations in Australia: a popular pro-CCP reading | southseaconversations 讨论南海:

Hua Daodao, a deputy editor in the Huanqiu Shibao‘s commentary department, has written a piece offering useful insights into how the Australian media’s latest exposés of CCP overseas political activities looks from within China…Lei Xiying, an energetic pro-CCP activist says the Australian media have subjected him to “Cultural Revolution style persecution.”

4. No Rest In Efforts To Purify The Internet, May Intensify Before 19th Party Congress

Chinese censor shuts down dozens of online entertainment news accounts | South China Morning Post:

In a statement, the censorship agency said the accounts were closed to “proactively promote socialist core values and develop a healthy and positive atmosphere”. It added that it was taking strong measures to curb “excessive reporting on the private lives of and gossip about celebrities” and the “flaunting” of their wealth and lifestyles. 北京市网信办责令关闭一批违规账号

People’s Daily with a helpful explainer on the revised rules beyond these moves- 传媒视线:互联网新闻信息服务管理”新规”施行 对网络乱象下重拳–传媒–人民网:


5. PRC Cyber Policies Not Just About Cleaning and Controlling Cyberspace Inside PRC Borders

Chinese Cyber Diplomacy In A New Era Of Uncertainty | Hoover Institution – Adam Segal:

After initially taking a relatively defensive, reactive position on the global governance of cyberspace, China under President Xi Jinping has adopted a more activist cyber diplomacy. This foreign policy has three primary goals: limit the threat that the internet and the flow of information may pose to domestic stability and regime legitimacy; shape cyberspace to extend Beijing’s political, military, and economic influence; and counter US advantages in cyberspace and increase China’s room of maneuver. Measured against its objectives, China’s diplomacy would appear relatively successful.

China’s Cybersecurity Law Takes Effect: What to Expect – Lawfare:

The CSL is just one element of the Chinese government’s rapidly constructed system of institutions, laws, regulations, and policies aimed at strengthening cyber governance. It marks a broader effort by President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party leadership to assert ultimate control over the Chinese internet, data, and information communications technology (ICT) industry. Therefore, the CSL shouldn’t be read in isolation from the dozen other mutually reinforcing parts of China’s evolving cyber governance system. The CSL is better understood as the “keystone in an arch” of the Xi government’s larger buildout of a legal framework for security controls in cyberspace. It is intimately linked with national security, via Xi Jinping’s dictum “without cybersecurity there is no national security” (没有网络安全就没有国家安全).

6. Gaokao Weekend

Is China’s gaokao the world’s toughest school exam? | Alec Ash | World news | The Guardian:

Chinese children must endure years of stress and impossible expectations preparing for their final school exam. The students who do best can look forward to glittering careers and even good marriage prospects. But for the less successful, the system is brutal

40 Years of ‘Gaokao’ After Mao – Sixth Tone:

Though it was winter when China’s national college entrance exam — the gaokao — resumed in December 1977, none of those who sat the test mentioned the cold when they spoke to Sixth Tone about their experiences. It was a sunny day, they recalled. Their excitement overrode everything else, as the chance to attend college finally appeared within reach after a decade of fierce anti-intellectualism.

7. Updated Rules To Better Manage Foreign Students, But Still Looser Than When I Studied at Peking University in 1989

Studying in China? Law, culture, language classes are now compulsory | South China Morning Post:

Foreign students pursuing higher education diplomas in China will have to take compulsory courses in Chinese and about the country’s general conditions and culture starting from next month, the government announced on Monday.

Universities and colleges are now also required to have “instructors” for foreign students, following a similar practice of employing “political instructors” for Chinese students.

The announcement 学校招收和培养国际学生管理办法 

8. Is the Catholic Church Adjusting Its Policies Toward The PRC?

Time to think outside the square for the church in China, a UCANews comment On Joseph You Guo Jiang’s commentary in the latest La Civilta Cattolica:

He takes for granted that the church operates in a totalitarian society and polity. The church always has in China. But the real issues are not political.

Rather, the problems are those quite familiar to Catholics outside China: a clergy out of touch with its people, an inert and unresponsive laity, a culture driven by greed and technology where proposing self-sacrificial love as a way of life is “for the birds.” Readers will recognize that these are the very issues at the center of Pope Francis’ ministry. Jiang asks what is to be done about these realities in the PRC where the vocations previously attracted to a church and an ecclesiology that is pre-Vatican II have dried up as China unfolds much as Western societies that get rich have?

AnchorBusiness, Economy And Trade

China’s Exports Rise in May as Global Trade Outlook Brightens – Bloomberg Exports rose 8.7 percent in May in dollar terms, more than the 7.2 percent increase forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey Imports surged 14.8 percent in dollar terms, more than the 8.3 percent forecast The trade surplus widened to $40.81 billion

China May forex reserves rise more than expected on weaker dollar, capital controls | Reuters Reserves rose $24 billion in May to a seven-month high of $3.054 trillion, compared with an increase of $21 billion in April, central bank data showed on Wednesday. It was the first time since June 2014 that reserves climbed for four months in a row, and the biggest gain since reserves moved back above the closely watched $3 trillion level in February.

China bond finance hits record low as market rout hammers demand – FT $$ Net corporate bond financing — new issuances less maturities — totalled negative Rmb217bn ($31bn) in May, well below the previous record low of negative Rmb89bn in February, according to data from Wind Information.  A “regulatory windstorm” led by China’s ambitious new banking regulator, Guo Shuqing, has targeted banks’ use of borrowed money to invest in bonds. The People’s Bank of China has also drained liquidity from the money market, making it more expensive for banks to borrow from each other to fund bond purchases.

Does a Banking Crisis Lead to a Currency Crisis? (The Case of China) | Council on Foreign Relations China’s shadow banks and some mid-tier banks are the periphery, relying on funding from China’s core (so to speak). A run back to the core is no doubt a significant problem. But it also is something that conceptually China has the resources to manage without necessarily needing a weaker currency and more support for its growth from net exports.

How China’s Biggest Bank Became Wall Street’s Go-To Shadow Lender – Bloomberg The prize for Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. isn’t stocks, bonds or currencies. It’s the grease in the wheels of all those markets: repurchase agreements. By exploiting a loophole in rules intended to keep U.S. banks from getting “too big to fail,” the state-owned ICBC has become a go-to dealer in repos in just a few short years, alongside longtime powerhouses like Goldman Sachs Group Inc

China on the way to cut corporate cost by 1 trillion yuan – Xinhua Li said too many charges have put too much weight on businesses. The country is on the way to deliver on its promise to slash corporate costs by 1 trillion yuan (about 147 billion U.S. dollars) this year, he said. Measures rolled out by the central government earlier this year have already cut taxes and fees by about 718 billion yuan, and the latest measures will cut fees by 283 billion yuan.  //  Comment: How will the governments at various levels deal with this loss of revenue?

U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin: China Bilateral Investment Treaty ‘On Our Agenda’ – WSJ The Trump administration plans on reviving talks toward a bilateral investment treaty that would give U.S. firms broader access to the Chinese market, but only after Washington makes progress on other trade issues, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday.

Land prices soar 800 per cent in Chinese backwater where Xi Jinping started his political career | South China Morning Post According to local state radio, the most expensive plot in Zhengding, a district of the Hebei provincial capital city of Shijiazhuang, was priced at 20,900 yuan (HK$23,945) per square metre, a hefty rise from the average 2,549 yuan per square metre at which the land was valued in a planned auction last December. The December auction was cancelled two days before its scheduled date.

Fortune 500: Tesla Takes Off in China | In 2016, Tesla tripled its sales in China over the previous year’s, to 10,400 vehicles, according to research firm JL Warren Capital, or about 13% of the nearly 80,000 cars it delivered worldwide. The company reported in March that it earned $1.1 billion in revenue in China last year

China’s Top Property-Bubble Prophet Says Prices Set to Soar – Bloomberg So says Zhu Ning, deputy director of the National Institute of Financial Research at Tsinghua University in Beijing and author of “China’s Guaranteed Bubble: How Implicit Government Support Has Propelled China’s Economy While Creating Systemic Risk.” As measures to curb housing prices drag on growth in the second half and early next year, he says, the government will resort to its old playbook of dialing them back again to shore up expansion.

Online Banks Tied to Tencent, Alibaba Bulk Up 1 Yuan at a Time on Microloans – Caixin Global Two years after their launch, new online banks linked to internet titans Alibaba and Tencent have doled out more than 300 billion yuan ($44.1 billion) in their brief lifetimes by targeting millions of entrepreneurs with microscopic loans that often carry terms of just days.

AnchorPolitics And Law

[视频]中共中央决定追授廖俊波同志“全国优秀共产党员”称号_CCTV 党中央号召,广大党员、干部特别是领导干部向廖俊波同志学习。各级党组织要把学习廖俊波同志先进事迹纳入推进“两学一做”学习教育常态化制度化重要内容,与学党章党规、学系列讲话结合起来,与做好改革发展稳定各项工作结合起来,采取多种形式广泛开展学习宣传。

共产党人的楷模(新书评介)–时政–人民网 《从群众中走出来的群众领袖——习仲勋(西北岁月)》一书,已由中共中央党校出版社出版。该书是中共中央党校出版社出版的习仲勋同志光辉革命一生系列文献的第一部(1913年至1952年),由习仲勋夫人齐心同志撰写序言。全书共36万多字、185张图片,有的照片是第一次公开发表。该书对于党员、干部学习老一辈革命家的崇高品格、践行党的群众路线具有重要意义。 //  Comment Central Party School Publishing issues new book of Xi Zhongxun, covering 1913-1952, with foreward by his widow Qi Xin

公安部国内安全保卫局 – 维基百科,自由的百科全书 公安部一局局长 孙力军

Drug mule caught in China ‘built suitcases out of 10kg of cocaine’ | South China Morning Post The woman did not declare any items and her belongings initially passed through the x-ray machine, according to Chinese news portal However, customs officials found the colour tone of the x-ray images of her two suitcases abnormally deep.

China won’t release men investigating supplier producing Ivanka Trump items |The Guardian China’s government has rejected a US state department call to release three activists detained while investigating a Chinese company that produced shoes for Ivanka Trump and other brands. It sought instead to enforce a cone of silence around the men, according to a lawyer and a family member who was interrogated and told not to speak to the foreign press.

AnchorForeign And Defense Affairs

Chinese president arrives in Kazakhstan for state visit, SCO summit, Expo 2017 – CNS “The booming China-Kazakhstan relationship has brought concrete benefits to the two countries and their peoples,” he said. “I look forward to engaging in deep-going exchanges with my old friend, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and chart the course of our bilateral relations together.” The Chinese president also expressed his readiness to exchange ideas with other top leaders of the SCO members, and wished the Expo 2017 in Astana a full success.

China Buys Kazakhstan Lender as Xi Pushes Trade ‘Belt and Road’ – Bloomberg Citic Bank and the investment arm of state-run China Tobacco Co. will buy a 60 percent stake in Altyn Bank, pending regulatory approvals, the Chinese lender said in an exchange filing Wednesday.

Singapore’s foreign minister to visit China amid strained ties | South China Morning Post Trade and economic cooperation will be the focus of the trip, but Beijing will take the chance to urge the city state to refrain from commenting on issues such as sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea, observers said.

China shows US its military muscle with patrol off Hong Kong waters amid rising maritime tensions | South China Morning Post Military analysts believe the maritime patrol by the Hong Kong Garrison of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army – in the lead-up to the 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from Britain to China – clearly targeted US military manoeuvring in the disputed waters of the South China Sea.

China calls for enhancing equality, mutual trust in global ocean governance – Xinhua The international community should “build a blue partnership and enhance equality and mutual trust in the global ocean governance,” said Lin Shanqing, Deputy Director-General of the State Oceanic Administrations of China at the plenary meeting of the United Nations Conference on Marine Sustainable Development.

When Will the PLA Finally Update Its Doctrine? | The Diplomat At this point, the fifth-generation operational regulations do appear to be forthcoming within the foreseeable future, given multiple indications of extensive, ongoing revision and evaluation. However, the timing remains uncertain. Since operational regulations are considering integral in guiding the PLA’s approach to training and actual combat activities, the completion of the revision and full release of this fifth generation could indicate the PLA has overcome prior challenges to achieve substantive doctrinal progress that could enable future advances, including perhaps in space and cyber warfare.

Mobile games gain huge popularity with Chinese soldiers, arousing controversy – Global Times “Mobile games should be banned in sensitive military areas and during important meetings, as spies may track down soldiers who are frequent game players or steal important military information by planting virus in some popular games,” Li said.

Liu Qibao calls for BRICS voice for fair international order – Xinhua The forum, with the theme of “Deepening media cooperation among BRICS countries, promoting equity and justice in international media,” was proposed by Xinhua News Agency and jointly initiated with Brazil’s CMA Group, Russia’s Sputnik News Agency and Radio, the Hindu Group of India and South Africa’s Independent Media.

Trump jitters draw Southeast Asia into China’s embrace – FT $$ After listening to Mr Mattis, one Chinese academic said that US foreign policy under Mr Trump could be described as the “three Nos”: no expertise, no policy framework, no strategic consensus.

AnchorTech And Media

China’s New Cybersecurity Law Tested by iPhone Information Theft | Dow Jones Police in eastern China said they had detained 22 people, including 20 from Apple “direct sales outlets” in China and companies Apple outsources services to. Police said those detained had used Apple’s internal system to illegally obtain information associated with iPhone products like phone numbers, names and Apple IDs, and then sold the information.

Apple ban on WeChat fake news: Tencent- CNS Zhang Jun, PR director of China’s IT giant Tencent, has refuted speculations that China’s popular messaging app WeChat might be removed from the Apple Store if both companies fail to reach a consensus, saying it’s a fabrication.

VOA Should Come Clean on Mandarin Service – WSJ As a former director of the Voice of America, I was surprised at the current VOA director’s May 26 letter upbraiding the performance of her Mandarin language service chief. Amanda Bennett said that Sasha Gong didn’t uphold “the journalistic principles . . . [that] apply universally to all VOA services.”

中国电信总经理杨小伟宣布离职 任职网信办_凤凰科技 Comment: China Telecom President and COO Yang Xiaowei resigns, becomes a deputy director at the Cyberspace Administration of China

Internet cameras have hard-coded password that can’t be changed | Ars Technica Security cameras manufactured by China-based Foscam are vulnerable to remote take-over hacks that allow attackers to view video feeds, download stored files, and possibly compromise other devices connected to a local network. That’s according to a 12-page report released Wednesday by security firm F-Secure.

Jiang Jianguo meets senior executive of Bloomberg L.P. – SCIO Jiang Jianguo, vice minister of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and minister of the State Council Information Office, met with a delegation headed by Kevin Sheekey, global executive vice president of Bloomberg L.P. in Beijing on June 7. They talked about China-U.S. media exchanges and cooperation, the introduction of Chinese stories to the world, and efforts to promote healthy and stable relations between the two countries

AnchorSociety, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Marriage law forces thousands of Chinese divorcees to pay exes’ debt – CGTN Marrying the wrong person and ending up divorced can be trouble enough for many people. But a judicial explanation of China’s marriage law has made the problem much bigger for some. That’s because under a clause in the law known as Article 24, thousands of people across China have been forced to pay off the debts their ex-spouses secretly accumulated during their marriage.

Outcry after Chinese woman hit by car, ignored, run over again | South China Morning Post Fatal accident in Henan province has reignited the debate on the mainland over the indifference shown by many passers-by to accident victims

How Fan Yusu Wrote Dignity Back Into Migrants’ Lives – BLARB Fan’s dignified, elegant writing has drawn so much public attention as her style is markedly different from the peasant literature normally associated with people of her background.

AnchorEnergy, Environment, Science And Health

[视频]习近平会见美国加利福尼亚州州长_CCTV Comment: Xi Jinping meets with California Governor Jerry Brown, on Tuesday CCTV Evening News

As Trump Steps Back, Jerry Brown Talks Climate Change in China – The New York Times Mr. Brown has spent the past several days traveling around China to meet with officials about efforts to reduce carbon emissions and promote green technologies. He signed agreements on clean energy technological development with officials in the southwestern province of Sichuan and the eastern province of Jiangsu.

California, Tsinghua to set up U.S.-China climate change institute | Reuters The new institute was unveiled at an event in Tsinghua with California governor Jerry Brown, who has been in Beijing this week to discuss deepening cooperation with China on climate and clean technology, after branding Trump’s withdrawal from Paris as “insane”.


Try Getting Your Kid Into a Beijing Public School – Bloomberg In Beijing almost all the most sought-after schools are located in just three of the city’s 16 districts—Haidian, Xicheng, and Dongcheng—home to government ministries, universities, and research institutes. “The biggest challenge for education in our country is glaring inequality,” says Xiong Bingqi, vice president for the 21st Century Education Research Institute. “There are regional differences in quality, but this problem also exists within each city, and parents know which are good schools and which are not.”

扛不住了!北京东西城学区房价格跳水近百万市场地产频道首页_财经网 – CAIJING.COM.CN Comment: Beijing recently adjusted the school admissions policy that had driven up real estate prices around the best schools, those prices now dropping

AnchorFood And Travel

The death-knell of a Tibetan village | Cizhong, Yunnan In northern Yunnan, the construction of a hydroelectric dam in the upper Mekong Valley is going to change the Tibetan villlage of Cizhong 茨中 forever. This is a short post for the travelers who are planning to head to Cizhong to visit the century-old Catholic church.  // Comment: Inundation sounds imminent, wish I had made it

AnchorJobs And Events

Reuters Job Description – China Company News Correspondent The successful candidate will cover China’s huge auto industry as well as the biggest changes in consumption patterns driven by innovations in technology and the shifting spending habits of the country’s 1.4 billion people.

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