The Sinocism China Newsletter 09.20.17

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

I had a meeting early today I could not get out of so today’s issue is very quick and dirty. Hoping you all agree something is better than nothing, should be back to better quality Thursday. Thanks for reading.

AnchorThe Essential Eight

1. Trump Doubles Down On North Korea Threats, Some Chinese Intellectuals Now Mocking Him As Clueless

With Combative Style and Epithets, Trump Takes America First to the U.N. – The New York Times:

The president’s tone carried real-world implications for the future of the United Nations and the escalating confrontations with international outliers. In the space of 42 minutes, he upended decades of rhetorical support by the United States for the collective philosophy of the United Nations as he defended his America First policy. He repeatedly extolled “sovereignty” in a setting where the term traditionally has been brandished by nations like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea to deflect criticism.

Full text: Trump’s 2017 U.N. speech transcript – POLITICO Two mentions of China:

We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea..

The United Nations Security Council recently held two unanimous 15-0 votes adopting hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea, and I want to thank China and Russia for joining the vote to impose sanctions, along with all of the other members of the Security Council.

Trump pulls punches with China by avoiding criticism over North Korea nuclear crisis in UN speech | South China Morning Post:

Trump avoided naming Beijing as an enabler for what his administration considers to be the most pressing global security threat. The same went for other problems including bilateral trade and investment. Trump mentioned China specifically only to thank the country’s leaders for their cooperation on North Korea

Why China Won’t Pressure North Korea as Much as Trump Wants | The New Yorker – Evan Osnos:

Trump is fervently seeking China’s coöperation, but, ironically, his rhetoric and aggression may be putting that further out of reach. On Sunday, Trump mocked Kim as the “Rocket Man.” Members of his Administration have repeated their openness to “military options,” despite projections that air strikes, or other attempts at targeted attacks, could spark a wider war. Chinese intellectuals have taken to joking that “Telangpu”—which is one of the Chinese pronunciations of Trump’s name—sounds like “te meipu,” which means clueless or lacking a plan. In recent months, Trump has alternately praised China and threatened it with a trade war. “I don’t understand Trump,” Shen, the historian, told me. “One day he is saying something good about Xi Jinping and the next he is criticizing him. Trump is becoming more and more of a problem. China is becoming more and more stable.”

Chinese universities ‘limiting admission of North Korean students’ as nuclear crisis escalates | South China Morning Post

South Korea’s Leader Will Be Odd Man Out in Meeting With Trump and Shinzo Abe – The New York Times.

China to Trump: That speech on North Korea was really unhelpful – The Washington Post

2. The Chinese Still Think Javanka Are Useful

Has China overplayed the Kushner card in dealing with the White House? | South China Morning Post:

Ely Ratner, a China expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, went further, saying it could do long-term damage to bilateral ties.

“Xi Jinping’s decision to base US-China ties on … family relations has done permanent damage to the relationship. It’s an incredible insult to the many people who have spent decades building the relationship,” he said.

Comment: But that insult comes more from Trump and his theory of governance than from the Chinese side. The Chinese would be negligent not to try to work the people who have the President’s ear.

3. Xi Praises Public Security Workers For Social Governance Work

Commentary: Better social governance ensures building of prosperous society – Xinhua:

When meeting representatives from the comprehensive management of public security sector on Tuesday, President Xi Jinping asked for increased efforts to improve social governance featuring socialism with Chinese characteristics to ensure that people lead prosperous lives, society remains orderly and the country enjoys long-term peace and stability.

Xi stressed that development and stability are the absolute principles, and should both be dealt with by strong hands. Xi also noted the importance of preventing and controlling major risks through the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Tuesday CCTV Evening News top 9 minutes on the meeting- 习近平在会见全国社会治安综合治理表彰大会代表时强调 坚持走中国特色社会主义社会治理之路 确保人民安居乐业社会安定有序

China Focus: Xi stresses prevention, control of major risks – Xinhua:

Surveys show that the public’s sense of security has improved in the past few years with their satisfaction index rising to 91.99 percent in 2016 from 87.55 percent in 2012.

Police nationwide held campaigns against terrorism, telecom fraud, underground banks, personal information infringement and crimes related to guns and drugs, among others.

China has also made use of Internet technology in its social governance.

Here is one small example of that use of Internet tech in Shanghai:

Shanghai police turn to facial recognition software to catch misbehaving cyclists | South China Morning Post:

One “electronic police” surveillance unit set up on a major Shanghai road at the end of August has already helped identify more than 30 rogue cyclists, according to an unnamed traffic police source quoted in on Wednesday.

The facial recognition technology can similarly be used to identify pedestrian jaywalkers.

Meng Jianzhu’s comments at the meeting- 弘扬优良传统 坚持改革创新努力建设更高水平的平安中国–法制网 

4. More Lawyers Under Investigation

China: Justice Ministry Pressures Law Firms | Human Rights Watch Since early September 2017, officials from the Beijing, Guangdong, Guangxi, Henan, Hunan, and Yunnan Bureaus of Justice, along with government-controlled local All-China Lawyers Associations and police, began what they call “comprehensive evaluations” or “research” into at least seven law firms. The precise scope of these investigations varies. Lawyers told Human Rights Watch that in some cases the officials came for “chats” asking about the management of the firm, the number of criminal cases they have undertaken, their management, and how much they charge. In one case, a lawyer said officials asked to examine all his contracts and receipts. Officials told the director of a Beijing-based firm that they plan to investigate their “lawyers’ online speech,” among other issues. At a Guangdong firm, officials investigated only three out of over a hundred lawyers; at a Beijing firm, officials said they plan to speak individually to all 20 lawyers at the company.

5. Genetic Mapping Is Easier When The Politicians Believe In Science And There Are Few Privacy Restrictions

China Rushes to Surpass U.S. in Decoding Citizens’ Genes – WSJ:

China’s President Xi Jinping has made such scientific innovation a centerpiece of his national goals. In this case, scientists at state-run Sichuan University in Chengdu are part of a nationwide plan to decode the genetic makeup of at least one million citizens. The multibillion-dollar program is designed to catapult China to the forefront of a field now dominated by the West.

6. The “Most Beautiful Library” Turns Out To Be Rotten At Its Core

China’s ‘most beautiful’ library ordered to shut over claims it provided pirated material and obscene content | South China Morning Post:

Readers have complained recently online that the collection in Liyuan Bookhouse in suburban Beijing largely consisted of pirated books, which included printing errors, incomplete translations, forged publisher details and “uncensored and elaborated erotic descriptions”.

Images of some of the allegedly explicit material were shared online.

The National Office Against Pornography and Illegal Publications ordered the library to suspend business temporarily on Tuesday after sending a team of law enforcement officials to conduct an on-the-spot inspection, The Beijing News reported.

“最美图书馆”陷盗版书风波停业 负责人表示道歉

7. Fake News Ends Dutch Reporter’s China Reporting Career

Dutch Reporter Out After Investigation Confirms Irregularities – Sixth Tone:

NRC’s editor-in-chief, Peter Vandermeersch, initially defended Garschagen and said Zhang was trying to drag the paper’s name through the mud. But in an article Wednesday, Vandermeersch said that an internal investigation into the accusations had led the paper’s editorial board to conclude that it could not guarantee that some of the correspondent’s articles were based on Garschagen’s own observations.

Garschagen, the article said, had mixed together anecdotes, combined interviewees into one nonexistent person, attributed quotes to the wrong people, and used reporting from U.S. news outlet National Public Radio without proper attribution.

8. Retaliation Against UCSD For Dalai Lama Speech

China is retaliating against the University of California, San Diego for inviting the Dalai Lama to speak at commencement — Quartz:

A branch of the Chinese government has barred Chinese scholars from receiving state funding to study at the University of California, San Diego, according to people at the school. The freeze highlights how Beijing is steadily placing pressure on overseas universities to suppress viewpoints that run counter to Communist Party orthodoxy.

AnchorBusiness, Economy And Trade

China’s August Reserves | Council on Foreign Relations  The PBOC could have used the reemergence of appreciation pressure to rebuild reserves, rather than to loosen controls. The fact that it didn’t suggests something about the PBOC’s policy goals. Among other things, it suggest the PBOC doesn’t think it needs more than $3 trillion in reserves. I agree. The three trillion number came from the heavy weight the IMF’s new reserve metric placed on local currency deposits if a country has a fixed exchange rate and an open capital account. The IMF’s China team, incidentally, also now recognizes—see paragraph 44 of its latest staff report—that the reserve metric doesn’t really fit China.

CEO Catches Stranger After Hours, Prompting Espionage Charges – WSJ “At one point he mentioned that he was here to do business with the CEO, not seeming to realize he was looking at the CEO,” Dr. Straface said. Dr. Straface stepped outside the conference room and called the police, who arrested Mr. Liu on trespassing charges and also summoned the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which sent agents that night, according to a police report. A bureau special agent assigned to a squad specializing in counterintelligence matters has investigated the Aug. 28 incident, according to an affidavit filed with the U.S. District Court in Boston.

Dockless bike-share companies race to Washington – The Washington Post “Everything is done through the app on your mobile phone so it is a convenient experience — and seamless,” said Hu Weiwei, founder of Mobike, one of China’s top dockless bike-sharing start-ups.

China Announces Trade Secrets Crackdown to Assure Investors – The New York Times The four-month campaign will attack theft of foreign trade secrets and violations of patents, copyrights and trademarks, according to a Ministry of Commerce announcement this month. It says the goal is to “increase foreign investment.”

Toshiba says seals $18 billion deal to sell chip unit to Bain Capital group Mortgage lending rates that are 5 percent to 10 percent higher than the benchmark lending rate have become “a mainstream phenomenon” in Beijing, the business management department of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) said.

Zhou Tianyong says 100 million people have missed out on urbanization | Andrew Batson’s Blog The existence of a large group of people who have missed out on urbanization creates economic losses in three ways. First, an overly large labor force in agriculture results in relatively low productivity. These people could have higher productivity in the city, but in rural areas they can only do some basic agricultural work, which is a huge loss for the national economy. Second, the delay in urbanization results in a loss of consumer demand. Because rural migrant workers cannot easily urbanize, there is a big gap between their spending power and that of true urban residents. Third, people do not realize their potential to create and distribute wealth, which leads to a huge loss of national income. Much rural land is abandoned because it cannot be used for large-scale operations, houses are rundown and the woods empty because the land cannot be allocated by the market and re-purposed by investors. In fact rural land is becoming a zombie asset that cannot be re-allocated to other uses because of restrictions on private capital, resulting in a huge loss of potential output and value.

China Liquidity Squeeze Spurs Debate Over Reserve Ratio Cut – Caixin Global Although still in the minority, calls are growing for the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) to cut the amount of customers’ deposits lenders have to keep in reserve at the central bank, known as the reserve requirement ratio (RRR), which would release a flood of cash into the system, easing the strain on liquidity and supporting bank lending. The PBOC hasn’t cut the reserve ratio, which stands at 17% for the biggest banks, since March 2016, preferring to use other monetary tools such as open-market operations and its medium-term lending facility (MLF) to adjust liquidity in the market.

China Rolls Closer to Relaxed Ownership Rules for Foreign Electric-Car Makers – Caixin Global China now prohibits foreigners from owning more than 50% of any car-making venture, but growing signals are emerging that Beijing may remove that restriction for EV manufacturing. That could even extend to allowing complete foreign ownership of China-based EV manufacturers for foreign companies like Tesla Inc.

China’s IT Ministry Backs New Blockchain Research Lab – CoinDesk Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has launched a research facility called the Trusted Blockchain Open Lab in order to support the ongoing development of the technology in China. To be operated by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), the blockchain lab will conduct research in the area of blockchain, as well as creating a platform for specialists to share their knowledge around the technology.

Swiss takeover panel demands China’s HNA clarify its ownership – FT $$ Switzerland’s takeover body has demanded that HNA clarify its ownership structure because of apparent changes to the acquisitive Chinese conglomerate’s shareholder base after its SFr1.4bn buyout of air services company Gategroup.

AnchorPolitics And Law

State Council unveils 7 new appointments – China Daily Qin Yizhi, first secretary of the Secretariat of the Communist Youth League of China Central Committee, has been named vice-minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.  //  Comment: does not look like a career enhancing move

South Korea says Trump’s warning to North Korea ‘firm and specific’ In July, the head of the work safety Yang Huanning was removed for serious “discipline” problems.  //  Comment: Someone with knowledge of the matter told me Yang was removed to open up another central committee spot for Team Xi

American man on the run in Georgia after being suspected of killing his Chinese ex-girlfriend: Shanghaiist News of Li’s murder has already gone viral on Chinese social media, raising more fears for those who want to study abroad in the US. Earlier this year, Zhang Yingying, a Chinese student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, went missing from campus. She was last seen on June 9th, climbing into a black Saturn Astra that had stopped on the road beside her. Later that month, police arrested the car’s owner, charging him in connection with Zhang’s disappearance. While Zhang is believed dead, her body has still not been found.

一图剧透纪录片《辉煌中国》第二集:中国科技实力简直逆天了_中国政库_澎湃新闻-The Paper Comment: 6 episode documentary “Glorious China”, another pre-19th Party Congress propaganda extravaganza, hits the airwaves

AnchorForeign And Defense Affairs

President Xi: China and Singapore to yield more cooperative results – CGTN President Xi: China and Singapore to yield more cooperative results POLITICS CGTN 1km to Beijing 2017-09-20 20:30 GMT+8 Updated 2017-09-20 21:18 GMT+8 Share   Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday that he believed China and Singapore will embrace more opportunities in the new era to yield more substantial cooperative results. Xi made the remarks at a meeting with visiting Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, and the two leaders agreed to improve regional interconnectivity and cooperation in several key areas.

Premier Li hopes for Singapore support in high-speed railway – Xinhua “China has cutting-edge, safe and reliable, cost-effective high-speed railway technology,” Li said in his talks with visiting Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Malaysia and Singapore have agreed to build a 360-km high-speed rail link between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, which is expected to start operation by December 2026 and cut travel time to about 90 minutes.

Singapore PM Lee Hsien Loong in surprise meeting with China’s anti-graft tsar Wang Qishan | South China Morning Post Li Mingjiang, an associate professor with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) at Nanyang Technological University, said the meeting was in line with the usual practice of Singapore’s leaders. “For one thing, they have been keeping a close eye on the reshuffle of Chinese leaders,” he said. “And for another, the government attaches great importance to communicating with high-level Chinese leaders.”

China, Cambodia agree to strengthen bilateral relations – Xinhua Senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official Liu Yunshan met with Cambodia’s acting head of state and Senate President Samdech Say Chhum on Tuesday, agreeing to strengthen bilateral relations. “China and Cambodia are good neighbors, friends, brothers and partners,” said Liu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

Chinese, Vietnamese Communist parties have ‘shared destiny’: Beijing – Reuters Liu Yunshan, a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s elite Standing Committee that runs the country, told Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi, in the first such high level visit since relations deteriorated in July, that the two parties “constitute a community of shared destiny with strategic significance”, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.

AnchorTech And Media

Tiger Global Co-Leads $230M Series C+ In Chinese Fresh Produce E-commerce Platform MissFresh – China Money Network Founded in 2014, MissFresh provides consumers with fresh produce such as fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs and seafood, and guarantees delivery within two hours. Users can also receive their products from a network of freezers installed by the company in residential compounds, reducing cold chain logistics costs, the company said. As of February, MissFresh recorded monthly active users of over one million, the highest number among fresh produce e-commerce mobile apps, followed by Womai and Bright Diary.

JD vs Alibaba: The war for China’s fresh food – TechNode A 2016 study by the China E-commerce Research Center shows that out of the 4,000 existing fresh produce e-commerce companies in China, only 1% are profitable (in Chinese). A glimpse at the deals that JD and Alibaba make with their fresh food allies sheds light on how this bitter battle of freshness can be fought.

Uber Faces Widespread Asia Bribery Allegations Amid U.S. Criminal Probe – Bloomberg Dealings in China and South Korea are also under review, though the details are unclear.  //  Comment: Uber China lacked a CEO for a long time and Travis Kalanick was effectively running it. If there are China problems quite plausible he has personal jeopardy

Facial recognition debuts at China’s banks – Xinhua ABC is not the first bank in China to introduce the facial recognition technology. In 2015, China Merchants Bank started using the technology in the southern metropolis of Shenzhen. Last year, it expanded the service to about 1,000 ATMs in 106 cities.

AnchorSociety, Art, Sports, Culture And History

State Council urges more protection of cultural relics – China will continue to strengthen protection of cultural relics and crack down on criminal acts, according to a circular released by the State Council. The circular made clear responsibilities to be taken by local governments, government departments and relics protection units and museums.

Where the Wild Things Are: China’s Art Dreamers at the Guggenheim – The New York Times Many of the more than 70 creators were born in China, yet like Mr. Huang — who fled the country in dismay after the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters on Tiananmen Square — they reject the label “Chinese.” One paradox: The artists appreciate the big splash on Fifth Avenue but express mixed feelings about a nation-themedshow. Most consider themselves international artists who have contributed mightily to the global avant-garde art movement.

Authorities Reverse Decision to Punish Teachers for Not Cooperating in Contest – Caixin Global A school authority in China’s Hunan province has reversed a decision to dock the pay of two teachers for refusing to be quizzed over their knowledge of their city’s quest to be a “National Civilized City.” Acknowledging that the punishment was too harsh, the Suxian District Education Bureau, in the city of Chenzhou, said Tuesday it will not withhold some of the two teachers’ respective three-month performance-based salaries.

AnchorEnergy, Environment, Science And Health

Opioid boom in China as patients lose addiction fears – FT “The development of treatment for late-stage cancer is the cause,” said Fan Bifa, director of China’s national centre for pain treatment. “The pain of advanced stage cancer patients is intense . . . generally we will use opioids in accordance with guidelines.”

How China’s ‘river chiefs’ are cleaning up the country’s polluted waterways | South China Morning Post At the end of last month, there were about 200,000 “river chiefs” like Weng and Jiang across China, according to the Ministry of Water Resources. Millions more are expected to be installed nationwide, after the top leadership decided late last year to give every waterway in the country a specific steward.


Chinese students question Australian education sending chills through industry The plight of a Chinese student whose parents sold their home to pay for an Australian university education but only found a job handing out product samples has sparked debate in China questioning the value of overseas education. The worsening job prospects for graduates returning to China could send a chill through Australia’s third largest export market – international education – which is worth $21.8 billion annually, Australian trade officials have told Fairfax Media.

AnchorFood And Travel

Tibet to Evict Foreign Visitors For 10 Days Next Month Between October 18 and 28, foreign travellers will be barred from entering the country.  //  Comment: Overlaps with 19th Party Congress


蔡奇调研老旧小区综合整治工作时强调:老旧小区整治效果如何关键看群众满意不满意-千龙网·中国首都网 蔡奇指出,近年来,市里高度重视老旧小区综合整治工作,今年把这项工作纳入疏解整治促提升专项行动,并在城六区和城市副中心选择试点。从前段情况看,试点工作在有序推进,也遇到群众需求和利益协调难、老旧小区设施改善条件有限、资金缺口较大、管理体系缺失等难点问题。下一步,要抓紧出台《老旧小区综合整治工作方案(2017-2020)》,坚持“六治七补三规范”,集中力量破解难点问题,力求不断取得新的突破,为在全市范围铺开积累经验

Follow me on Twitter @niubi for updates between newsletters

Send comments/tips/complaints to

If you like Sinocism please spread the word using this link.

One thought on “The Sinocism China Newsletter 09.20.17

  1. The powder blue is lovely, but it doesn’t provide sufficient contrast against the white. I suggest you change to a darker color so it’s easier to read.

Comments are closed.