Xi’s Party Work Report; Propaganda Ecstasy; Discipline; Insurance Sector Mess; Pharma Reform-Sinocism 10.09.17

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

As we head into the Party Congress expect mostly good news from China’s media and markets. The most likely source of disruptive news over the next two weeks is North Korea.

Such a big event for Xi and the Party may look to Kim Jong-un as another good opportunity to make a missile or fissile point, though perhaps Kim understands that humiliating Xi this month could be very risky.

If you enjoy the daily version of Sinocism please remember to subscribe here for the new paid version so you do not lose access after October 16. The price is $11/month or $118/year, with a discount available for groups of five or more. There is more information here.

If you want to continue to receive just the free weekly newsletter then you do not need to do anything.

Thanks, and I hope you keep reading after October 16.

The Essential Eight

1. Don’t Gloss Over Xi’s Upcoming work Report To The Party Congress

Comment: Diplomat Charles Parton does us all a service by laying out what it likely to be in the upcoming work report. It may be light on details but is a very important document, the result of a year or so of effort. It assesses the work of the 18th Party Congress and lays down the broad policy directions for the 19th. If you go back and read Hu Jintao’s work report to the 18th Party Congress you will find the Party actually told us a lot about how the next five years would play out.

[SOAS] – Xi Jinping’s report to the 19th Party Congress – a Pre-construction – Charles Parton:

The investment industry is fond of pointing out that past performance is no guide to the future.  Suggesting the same of the Party would surely risk being condemned as ‘historical nihilism’: the Party’s performance is a constant and upward progression.  Even though a constant theme of Xi Jinping’s speeches is the need for innovation, his Report is likely not just to follow the format of past congress reports, but also to repeat much of their content.  That should be no surprise, not least because he was in charge of the drafting of the Report delivered to the 18th Party Congress by his predecessor Hu Jintao.

2. Party Heading Towards Hagiographical Climax For Xi?

Comment: No real surprise the propaganda is triumphant and omnipresent this month, the big questions is what will Xi get at the 19th Party Congress? A new title, say Party Chairman as Mao had, and an eponymous theoretical contribution written in the Party Constitution? Either would be huge, both would be shocking. We should know in about two weeks.

All conquering Xi: China heralds its leader in ecstatic Beijing exhibition | The Guardian:

Officially, the Five Years On exhibit – timed to mark the end of Xi’s first term in power – is a celebration of the advances China as a whole has made in that time. But Xi, whose supremacy will take centre stage when a key Communist party congress kicks off in Beijing on 18 October, is the undoubted star of the show.

Scores of photographs of the 64-year-old strongman adorn the walls of the retrospective, split by Communist party curators into 10 thematic “zones” touting Xi’s purported triumphs in areas such as foreign policy, the environment and the war on corruption

Chinese Village Where Xi Jinping Fled Is Now a Monument to His Power – The New York Times – Chris Buckley

Turning a leader’s former home into a tableau for propagating his political-creation myth has a venerable precedent in the People’s Republic. Back in the 1960s, Mao’s birthplace, Shaoshan, was turned into a secular shrine for slogan-chanting Red Guards who looked on modern China’s founder as a nearly godlike figure.

The devotion at Liangjiahe falls far short of the fervent cult of personality that Mao ignited. Even so, Mr. Xi stands out for turning his own biography into an object of adoration, and zeal. Neither of Mr. Xi’s recent predecessors as leader, Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin, could tout a similarly dramatic tale of coming of age in a dim, flea-infested cave.

But more than that, Mr. Xi’s story embodies the authoritarian values he wants to restore in China — a “red-brown” melding of Communist revivalism and earthy nationalism rooted in a glorified rendering of China’s ancient past. Liberal-minded members of China’s middle class bridle at that ideology. But others, including farmers and blue-collar workers, find a lot to like in Mr. Xi’s appeals to patriotic pride and homespun populism.

Comment: It is very important to grasp that last point.

3. Final Plenum of the 18th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI)

Comment: Lots to celebrate, certainly trying to send the message that there is no end to the anti-corruption and ideological discipline work

CPC discipline watchdog holds key plenum, approves work report – Xinhua:

The 18th Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Monday held its Eighth Plenary Session, according to a statement issued after the meeting.

The meeting discussed and approved a work report to be submitted by the CCDI to the 19th CPC National Congress, scheduled to open on Oct. 18, it said.

CCDI report on the report but does not include the full report-中国共产党第十八届中央纪律检查委员会第八次全体会议公报 

Monday CCTV Evening News report on the meeting 中国共产党第十八届中央纪律检查委员会第八次全体会议公报

Former Chongqing police chief He Ting expelled from Communist Party for graft | South China Morning Post:

Apart from being expelled from the party, he will also be forced to take early retirement and will have his illicit gains seized, the watchdog added, without saying if he would also face criminal prosecution.

Communist Party graft-busters put former senior Beijing official in Hong Kong on probation | South China Morning Post:

After a meeting in Beijing, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) said in a statement late on Monday afternoon that Li Gang, 62, was on probation for one year…

Also at the Monday meeting, the CCDI put Qu Shuhui, a former senior Ministry of Civil Affairs anti-graft official, on probation for two years and stripped Liu Shengjie, deputy head of the People’s Liberation Army’s Logistic Support Department, of his CCDI membership

4. Dominos Still To fall In China’s Insurance Sector

Comment: Caixin is out with two good pieces on the mess in the insurance sector under detained former regulator Xiang Junbo. The second article is the cover story of the latest issue of Caixin Magazine.

Risk-Plagued Insurance Sector in Soul-Searching Mission – Caixin Global:

Not a single license for a new insurer has been issued since April, compared to six issued in the first two months. Some newly established insurers have been asked to provide additional materials to explain their business plan and get final clearance to start operation.

A set of new rules that took effect on Oct. 1 is expected to halt sales of some popular insurance policies that offered insurers quick access to funding but proved risky for investors.

Earlier in August, a draft document was released with stricter requirements on insurance companies’ ownership structure–reducing the ceiling of how much a single shareholder can hold to 33% from 51%–as well as their fundraising activities. The draft shareholding rules for insurers are likely to be finalized and implemented by the end of the year.



5. Pharma Reform Should Be A Good Thing, For Patients And Businesses

Big Pharma Gets Boost as China Speeds Up New Drug Approvals – Bloomberg:

Beijing on Sunday announced new rules that will speed up approvals of medicines and medical devices, easing bottlenecks in introducing new treatments. The move is also a growth opportunity for international and local drugmakers in the world’s second biggest pharmaceutical market. It also parallels the acceleration of approvals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Under China’s new rules, data from overseas clinical trials can be used for drug registrations in the country. That removes the need for manufacturers to conduct added tests in China after receiving overseas approvals and will likely cut delays in the launch of new drugs by several years.

China to encourage innovation in drugs, medical equipment – Gov.cn:

China will encourage innovation in drugs and medical equipment by expanding the reform of review and approval system in the medical sector, according to a guideline recently issued by the General Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the General Office of the State Council.

中共中央办公厅 国务院办公厅印发《关于深化审评审批制度改革鼓励药品医疗器械创新的意见》

6. But Reform May Be Too Late For One Child Cancer Patient And His Family

Comment: Caixin takes a look at the struggles of a boy from Shanxi and his family, with the backdrop of exploding pediatric cancer rates and massive challenges in getting effective and affordable healthcare. After months of wrong diagnoses at hospitals at home his family brought him to Beijing, where the 12 year old was found to have lymphoma. The parents’ insurance does not cover the treatments in Beijing and they are now 200,000 RMB debt with many months of treatment to go. Interesting timing for Caixin to publish this stoey…




Cross regional medicare settlement available in Beijing hospitals-千龙网·中国首都网:

He Wei, deputy chief of the medicare settlement section for patients from outside Beijing of the city’s human resources and social security bureau, introduced that Beijing receives about half of all the country’s patients seeking for medical treatment outside places where they have their medical insurance and the highest cross-provincial medicare settlement amount in China [The original 北京市676家医院对接异地就医直接结算系统]

Comment: This still does not cover the best drugs or treatment I believe.

7. Peter Humphrey Discusses His Imprisonment In China After Working For GSK

TRACE International | Imprisoned in China

Peter Humphrey and his wife were well-respected compliance professionals active in China when they were arrested, tried and imprisoned for two years.

Go deeper: A ugly case, both the PRC and GSK look very bad.

Investigator Peter Humphrey warns over GSK China ordeal – BBC News-2015

In an exclusive interview with the BBC, the British corporate investigator who became embroiled in GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) China corruption scandal tells me his story is “a cautionary tale which many people can learn from”.

8. Big Data About China’s Golden Week Spending

Box Office, Tourism Soar During Chinese October Holiday – Caixin Global:

China received 705 million visitors during the eight-day holiday — which ended Sunday and included both National Day and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Tourist numbers for the first seven days were up 11.9% from a year earlier, when the holiday lasted only a week in total, according to the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA).

The CNTA estimated that Chinese traveling abroad amounted to more than 6 million, with the most popular destinations including Russia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. Only a tenth of those travelers went via group tours, the CNTA added.

Movie ticket sales totaled 2.6 billion yuan ($391 million) over the eight-day period, with the first seven days 148% higher than the same period last year.

Tencent’s National Day WeChat Big Data report-中国人的国庆长假:最远的朋友圈签到竟然来自……:

WeChat travel report shows Hong Kong top destination for mainland tourists – TechNode:

Chinese people enjoyed eight days long holiday, from October 1st to 8th, as its National Day (国庆节) and Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节) fall on the same week this year. WeChat issued a National Day big data report on October 8th, announcing that Hong Kong became the top destination for outbound Chinese tourists on National Day

Ofo releases National Holiday cycling report: Lhasa shows highest increase in usage – TechNode:

On October 8th, bike rental startup ofo released “2017 National Day Holiday Travel Data Report.” According to the report, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Lhasa showed the highest increase of ofo usage during National Day

Business, Economy, Finance And Trade

PBOC official says China’s RRR cut won’t alter resolve to lower risk: state media – Reuters The senior central bank official, who was not identified, told the paper that the planned cut would also not impede policymakers’ determination to lower bank leverage ratios.

Pressure Mounts at the Top of Deutsche Bank – WSJ Most CEOs are zealous about meeting and courting their largest shareholder. Not Deutsche Bank AG’s John Cryan. He’s made a point of avoiding his. That owner happens to be Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co. , a controversial actor on the global scene, which in the spring built its stake in the German lender to nearly 10%. Mr. Cryan has told associates he wanted nothing to do with the Chinese conglomerate. The iciness has raised eyebrows among Deutsche Bank supervisory-board members and clients, say people close to the bank.

人民日报:国企改革开始直面深层矛盾_新闻_腾讯网 Comment: People’s Daily Overseas Edition praises progress in SOE Reform says has started to directly address the deep contradictions.// 国企改革正在沿着正确的轨道前进,并将为中国经济转型升级贡献强大力量。 中国采取了重组整合、推动混合所有制改革等方式,优化了资源配置、减少了重复建设、精简了组织机构、提升了综合实力。 “育新”成果很多,“去旧”同样给力。在供给侧改革与中国经济转型升级过程中,广大国企正扮演着十分重要的角色.. 载人航天、深海探测、高速铁路、移动通讯、大飞机……在最近热播的纪录片《辉煌中国》当中,中国5年来不少科技创新发展成就的背后,都闪耀着国有企业改革创新的身影。

Foreigners Flocking to Stocks in China – MoneyBeat – WSJ Two years on from a dramatic crash in Chinese stocks, foreign investors are wading deeper into the country’s markets. That’s the tale told by data showing a sharp rise in the amount foreigners are plowing into China’s two leading stock exchanges via the so-called Stock Connect trading links with Hong Kong.

China September forex reserves rise for eighth straight month in boost to President Xi – Reuters Forex reserves rose $17 billion in September to $3.109 trillion, compared with an increase of $10.5 billion in August, central bank data showed on Monday. Economists polled by Reuters had expected reserves to rise by $8 billion. It was the first time that China’s reserves have climbed for eight months in a row since June 2014

Services Sector Activity Weakens in September, Caixin Survey Shows – Caixin Global The Caixin China General Services Business Activity Index declined to 50.6 last month from 52.7 in August, the worst reading since December 2015, although it remains above the 50 mark that divides expansion from contraction. The drop follows a decline in the September Caixin China General Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) to 51.0 from 51.6 in August, the lowest reading since June.

Chinese Travel Giant Ctrip Rejects Claims That Booking Trap Fees Total USD1.5 Billion a Year | Yicai Global The travel giant dismissed the claims as libelous, stating that users can easily cancel unnecessary service options on the checkout page when booking.

China’s Weakest Province Will Have Its First Privately Owned Bank – Caixin Global On Monday, Liaoning Zhenxing Bank Co. Ltd. won approval to operate as the first privately owned bank in the northeastern province, the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said.


Politics, Law And Ideology

China publishes book of Xi’s remarks on construction of socialist society – Xinhua The 326 selections were extracted from 140 speeches, instructions, congratulatory letters and other sources dating from Nov. 15, 2012 to Sept. 19, 2017. The book has nine sections, which include developing social justice for the people to share the results of reform and development, establishing a fairer and more sustainable social security system, promoting health care, safeguarding public security and social stability, and building a national security system with Chinese characteristics. Some of the selections are published for the first time. 习近平关于社会主义社会建设论述摘编》出版发行 

聆听伟大复兴的时代足音——党的十八大以来习近平总书记国内考察全纪实-新华网 Comment: A story getting top billing on Monday is a look back at Xi’s 5 years of inspection trips

Commentary: China a step closer to centenary goals – Xinhua President Xi Jinping has offered new guidance and arrangements on reaching the country’s first centenary goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020 to celebrate the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Xi also presented ideas for accomplishing the second centenary goal to build a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the middle of the 21st century in time for the centenary of the People’s Republic of Chin

CCTV show reviews social, economic strides since 18th National Congress – Global Times The film shows how policies and top-down designs were formulated and carried out by the CPC Central Committee, detailing its courage, intelligence and sense of responsibility in fulfilling its dreams. By telling inspiring stories, the documentary provides a vivid narrative of how Party members forge ahead while keeping original aspirations in mind.

Friends in high places: Xi Jinping’s determined path to control | South China Morning Post “If he’s named party chairman, then it doesn’t matter who’s on the Standing Committee because that position is obviously so superior to a Standing Committee member,” said Christopher K. Johnson, a senior adviser at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Party chairmanship was a title Mao Zedong held until his death. Since Chairman Mao, no Chinese leader – except Mao’s brief interim successor Hua Guofeng – has attained this status of absolute authority. // Comment: Decent summary from the SCMP

Xi urges solid efforts to win battle against poverty – Xinhua Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, gave the instruction ahead of the fourth National Poverty Relief Day, which falls on Oct. 17. All-out effort should be put towards poverty relief, as it is the toughest of all battles, said Xi. Remarkable progress has been made since the CPC Central Committee made a solemn promise to lift all rural people out of poverty by 2020, the president added.// Comment: The war on poverty is one of Xi’s most important initiatives

SPC reveals new Belt & Road-related initiatives | Supreme People’s Court Monitor In late September (2017), the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) held a Belt & Road judicial conference with senior judges from 16 jurisdictions in the desert oasis of Dunhuang, famed for its Buddhist caves.  As is its custom at its international conferences, the SPC released some information concerning previously unknown cross-border related initiatives, both of which have implications for the international business and legal communities.  The English language reports of the conference (in China Daily and related media outlets)  missed the implications.

Over 100 smartphone apps developed to help Party members remain loyal to CPC – Global Times At least one-10th of China’s ruling Party members are expected to be evaluated via new “members-only” apps, which they can also use to socialize with each other. Party-building apps have been in high demand leading up to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which will be held in Beijing starting October 18

China Focus: China’s Good Samaritan law goes into effect – Xinhua China’s Good Samaritan law went into effect on Oct. 1 to protect people who are ready to help others. Under the legislation, people who voluntarily offer emergency assistance to those who are, or who they believe to be, injured, ill, in danger, or otherwise incapacitated, will not have civil liability in the event of harm to the victims.

Guo Wengui says he will sue Hudson Institute for the expenses and safety risks he incurred coming to DC For Cancelled Event Guo also claims that a senior Hudson official has a relative studying in Chin, and that was on of the pressure points the PRC embassy used. This will get interesting if he really sues

China Not Behind Hackings in U.S. Allegedly Related to Fugitive Guo Wengui, Public Security Ministry Says – Caixin Global Full Statement by the Ministry of Public Security Provided to Caixin: The law enforcement agency states that the cyber-attack related to Guo Wengui has nothing to do with China and requests the US to investigate Guo’s falsified documents.

[西藏新闻联播]庄严出席自治区暨拉萨市党的十九大维稳安保誓师动员大会时强调:对党忠诚 勇于担当 攻坚克难 坚决打赢党的十九大维稳安保攻坚战 Comment: CCTV News video report on Tibet security services mobilization and oath-swearing ceremony to ensure security through the 19th Party Congress

19th CPC National Congress website, WeChat account to open on Oct. 11 – Xinhua 中国共产党第十九次全国代表大会新闻中心网站(http://19th.cpcnews.cn)和微信公众号(名称:十九大新闻中心,微信号:cpcnews19th)将于10月11日开通

Red line drawn for resigning officials – China Daily The country’s top personnel authorities and relevant State agencies have jointly issued a document stipulating that civil servants must truthfully report to the authorities their new job when they decide to resign and they should not work for businesses that fall into their previous administrative jurisdiction within a given period of time

公安部再落一虎,曾在中组部工作过 公安部原党委委员夏崇源因严重违纪受留党察看二年处分,并被降为副局级非领导职务。 //  Comment: Xia Chongyuan, former director of the Ministry of Public Security Political Department and member of the ministry party committee, has been demoted, disciplined


Foreign and Military Affairs

DFAT head Frances Adamson warns China to get used to scrutiny – The Austrlaian DFAT head Frances Adamson has told universities to remain free of foreign interference in a speech to a Chinese government funded Confucius Institute in Adelaide last night. She has also delivered a pointed message to the Chinese government, saying they should get used to scrutiny of their activities abroad as their influence grows. //  The speech: Confucius Institute Annual Lecture: Australia and China in the 21st Century

China Preparing to Bypass Russia’s Northern Sea Route in Arctic – Jamestown The Arctic icepack is retreating faster than anyone expected. But at the same time, Russia has failed to set up reliable guidance and communications networks along the Northern Sea Route (a maritime passage that mainly hugs Russia’s northern coast). These factors, combined with China’s desire to find a cheaper sea route from Asia to Europe, has led Beijing to start planning to exploit what it calls “the central seaway” in the Arctic, north of the Russian route and closer to the pole

Alejano claims Chinese forces inching closer to Pag-asa | INQUIRER.net Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano claimed on Wednesday that Chinese “maritime militia” harassed a Philippine patrol vessel two weeks ago in three sandbars west of the Filipino-occupied Pag-asa Island. Citing an unidentified source, Alejano said four Chinese vessels drove away the Philippine patrol using sirens and seemed to have been “stationed permanently” at the vicinity of Pag-asa Island to claim the sandbars much closer to Philippine-administered areas.

Philippines Apologizes to China Over Wrong Taiwan Logo – Bloomberg The Philippine defense department has apologized to China for the “grievous but purely unintentional mistake” of using Taiwan’s defense ministry logo during a ceremony where the Chinese ambassador turned over thousands of assault rifles to the Filipino defense chief and top military commanders.

I say ‘namaste’, you say ‘nihao’ … how India’s defence minister helped build bridges in frontline chat with Chinese soldiers | South China Morning Post Chinese observers described it as a goodwill gesture, while the foreign ministry on Monday said Beijing was willing to maintain peace along its border with India. Two short videos of Nirmala Sitharaman’s interaction with Chinese troops at the border post in Nathu La were posted on the minister’s official Twitter account on Sunday.

India China border news: ‘Road construction by Beijing in Doklam will be a long-term trend,’ says Chinese media Interestingly, Global Times echoed the Indian government’s line that no new construction has taken place by China in Doklam+ . However, Global Times’ rationale for that denial was that “it is not the right season for construction work”. Other than that, it claimed, Beijing is fully within its rights to undertake any construction in the area.

doklam standoff: China urges India to abide by ‘historic treaty’ on border – The Economic Times China today referred to the 1890 UK-China treaty which it claims demarcated the Sikkim sector of the Sino-Indian border as it urged New Delhi to abide by its provisions, a day after Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman made her maiden visit to the Nathu La post. Reacting to Sitharaman’s visit to the area, the Chinese foreign ministry today said “the Sikkim section of the China- India border has been demarcated by the historical bounda

After nearly six decades of exile, some Tibetans in India are slowly letting go of the past – The Washington Post Deshar spent her childhood convinced that she would some day return to the land her family had left behind when Chinese forces seized control of Tibet. Then, in September 2016, the Delhi high court ruled that Tibetans born in India between 1950 and 1987 are eligible to apply for Indian passports.  The new offer of nationality presented a dilemma. Take the passport, some said, and end decades of virtual confinement to a single country. Buy a car, own a house, apply for government jobs. Others argued that giving up your statelessness was akin to betraying the Tibetan cause that three generations have fought for.


Hong Kong, Macao

A cryptocurrency deal and a triad boss called Broken Tooth – what can possibly go wrong? | This Week In Asia | South China Morning Post News of “Broken Tooth” Wan Kuok-koi’s involvement in a planned multimillion-dollar cryptocurrency share offer – known in digital business parlance as an initial coin offering (ICO) – has sparked fresh concerns over fintech regulations. The offering, originally planned for Hong Kong this month, is intended to raise US$500 million to bring blockchain technology to Macau, the world’s most cash-rich gambling hub. The plan is closely connected to casino junket operators in the former Portuguese enclave.



Book Review: The Chinese Invasion Threat: Taiwan’s Defense and US Strategy in Asia – The News Lens International Edition Don’t believe the hype. Ian Easton’s new book is no roadmap to a 2020 invasion of Taiwan by China. Instead, it is a thoroughly researched joy of a read that delves deep into the complexities of potential cross-Strait conflict, and comes up suggesting Taiwan remains a tough nut to crack for the PLA.

Taiwan warned choice of pro-independence premier will see relations with mainland China worsen over next three years | South China Morning Post Taiwan’s relations with the mainland are likely to sour further over the next three years due mainly to the island’s recent appointment of a hardline pro-independence politician as premier, Wang Zaixi, a former deputy director of the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office, has warned.

Giving up on Abrams tank acquisition, Taiwan moves to upgrade its M60A3 tanks – DefenseNews The decision to locally upgrade Taiwan’s M60A3s — despite the availability of upgrade options from overseas companies such as Raytheon or IMI Systems (formerly Israel Military Industries) — is likely driven in part by the stated policy of President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration, which calls for greater local participation by the local defense industry in military programs


Tech And Media

Debate rages over Chinese mainland’s selection of ‘Wolf Warrior 2’ for Academy Awards – Global Times Some people have applauded the news, while others have speculated that the choice was politically motivated. Another group has argued that there is no need for China to seek approval from the Oscars, as the values the award represents are very US centric.

How Brands Use Short Videos for Marketing in China | Jing Daily In March this year, Kuaishou, a popular short video app, was on the receiving end of a US$350 million investment from Tencent, and Alibaba put RMB 2 billion toward the transformation of Tudou from a large, formerly popular online video platform to a short video community. Also, Yixia Technology, owner of Miaopai and Xiaokaxiu, both popular short video apps in China, has already spent RMB 2 billion to encourage short video content creators and producers by building several video creation bases and providing professional studios.

I fixed my poor Sesame credit score by being a more loyal user of Alibaba’s wallet app Alipay in China — Quartz The Sesame Credit score is enabled through Alipay, a payment app with over 500 million users. I tested Sesame Credit upon its introduction and learned my ranking was crappy. As Sesame Credit scores are updated on the sixth of each month, I realized that it has been two years since I generated my score for the first time.

Weibo in meltdown over heartthrob Luhan’s new girlfriend | South China Morning Post China’s Twitter-like social network Weibo went into meltdown on Sunday with heartthrob Luhan’s surprise revelation of his new girlfriend..The noon announcement about actress Guan Xiaotong on Luhan’s official account sent Weibo’s traffic to record levels and paralysed some of its servers.

‘Blade Runner 2049’ Secures China Release Date | Hollywood Reporter A disappointing North American debut has placed added pressure on the major Asian territories where the film has yet to open, led by the massive China market


Society, Art, Sports, Culture And History

Meet US expatriate ‘Uncle Hanzi’, devoted custodian of Chinese characters | South China Morning Post He has spent the past 15 years tending to a website – Chineseetymology.org – dedicated to Chinese etymology, which now encompasses 100,000 ancient formats for nearly 9,000 Chinese characters. He shot to fame in 2011 when an internet user stumbled across his site and wrote about it on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter. The number of daily visitors to his website surged from 15,000 to 600,000.

Smart tracks and ‘smog jogs’: the rapid rise of Shanghai’s running clubs | Cities | The Guardian With facial-recognition running tracks and an over-subscribed marathon, Shanghai is fast becoming a city of joggers – despite its notorious air pollution

Adopted as a toddler from China, Morgan Hurd is now America’s great hope after winning all-around world gymnastics title | South China Morning Post The bespectacled 16-year-old was born in Wuzhou in Guangxi, China, in 2001 and adopted as a toddler by mother Sherri Hurd, of Middletown, Delaware. Morgan started gymnastics at the age of three and is now considered the next generation of elite performers in the United States.

Beijing contemporary art space UCCA sold to Chinese investment group, securing future of 798 Art District landmark | South China Morning Post Beijing’s Ullens Centre For Contemporary Art has been sold for an undisclosed amount to a group of mainland Chinese investors led by Lunar Capital, a Shanghai-based private equity group,

Vote-Buying Rife Among WeChat Children’s Contests – Sixth Tone On messaging app WeChat, contests soliciting votes on everything from students’ artistic talents to workers’ job performance are fast shifting from fair-minded competitions to moneymaking opportunities, The Beijing News reported Monday. In China, it’s not uncommon for schools, private companies, and even government departments to turn to democratic processes to recognize exceptional individuals.

How Online Chains of Contempt Show China’s Obsession With Money – Sicth Tone In the last few months, the term bishilian 鄙视链, or “chain of contempt,” has spread like wildfire across Chinese social media. The concept extends the notion of food chains to social hierarchies in which certain groups of people look down on others.


Energy, Environment, Science And Health

Brazil’s mega hydro plan foreshadows China’s growing impact on the Amazon | The Guardian: The tranquillity is breathtaking, but misleading. These rapids are now on the frontline of one of the world’s most important struggles for indigenous rights and environmental protection. Long ignored, they are suddenly seen as a stategically crucial step between the nations with the world’s biggest farms – Brazil – and the world’s most numerous dining tables – China. Longer term, the changes now being planned could bring this waterway closer to the industrialised, traffic-filled Yangtze in more ways than one. //Comment: Disturbing story by Jonathan Watts, formerly The Guardian’s China correspondent

Gas trucks boom in China as government curbs diesel in war on smog – Reuters Sales of large LNG trucks are expected to hit record levels in China this year as the government steps up an anti-pollution campaign that includes curbs on heavy-duty diesel vehicles.

China Doesn’t Want World’s Trash But Japan Does – Bloomberg The Chinese government has good reasons to get out of the trade. Pollution associated with electronic waste has become an embarrassing global cause; growing volumes of gadgets discarded by Chinese themselves have reduced the need to import more from abroad. Authorities had been steadily raising barriers to such goods before finally deciding to ban them altogether. This leaves the market open. With long-term government support for research, some of Japan’s biggest companies are moving to deploy technologies at home and abroad that will replace some of the low-cost and polluting recycling systems long used in China.


Food And Travel

Drivers punished for chasing protected Tibetan antelopes – People’s Daily Online Tibet’s police bureau said on Sina Weibo on Oct.8 that the seven drivers, who drove two cars the day before in Naggu Prefecture, chased a herd of Tibetan antelopes for over a minute to try to take pictures of the protected animals. They were fined 105,000 RMB (about $15,800) in total for their wrongdoings, local authorities confirmed. // Comment: I would be in favor of dropping these guys off in the grasslands and then chasing them in an SUV for pictures, in lieu of fines…


Books And Literature

Republic of Letters – China Channel Eleanor Goodman reviews A New Literary History of Modern China, edited by David Der-Wei Wang

Follow me on Twitter @niubi for updates between newsletters

Send comments/tips/complaints to bill@sinocism.com

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