News roundup: Will China eat rice from the sea?
Today’s top news story on all major Chinese-language state media platforms is the coming into force of the Paris Agreement on climate change. President Xi Jinping sent a letter of congratulations to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to mark the occasion (the People’s Daily report in Chinese is here).
Another news item prominent in Chinese media but not reported in any major Western source is an announcement about a new type of rice from Yuan Longping, the 86-year-old agricultural scientist often called the “father of hybrid rice” in China. In the early 1970s, he led a team that perfected a process to create and reproduce new species of rice with very high yields, which was a significant contribution to ending famine in China and around the world.
Yuan remains a key figure in the world of Chinese science. He is in the news again this week for a new project to create rice species that can be grown in seawater and brine. According to the state-run China Daily, Yuan said that "China has plenty of saline-alkaline wasteland that can be put into use” and that “more than 13 million hectares of such wasteland could potentially be used for sea-rice farming," possibly yielding “an additional 50 million tons of grain.”
Other news items from China to note are summarized and linked below.
MORE IN BUSINESS:
- China’s big aerospace ambitions are delayed / The Economist
- After stealth fighters and jumbo jets, China's 'secret weapon': aero engines / Reuters
- China’s Wanda Group to buy Dick Clark Productions for about $1 billion / WSJ
- Opinion: Is China repeating Japan’s missteps? / Bloomberg
- Trade on once-bustling Mekong grinds to halt / Caixin
- China’s high-end retail emporium / Bloomberg
- China’s fast-growing delivery companies aren’t global players…yet / CNBC
"Making military jets is one thing, but mastering complex production systems to produce relatively large numbers of passenger aircraft that must meet the extremely high quality and reliability standards demanded by international airlines is quite another."
"While the country has made great strides in high-speed rail and nuclear technology by acquiring the know-how from overseas partners or reverse engineering products, it has found it more difficult to break into the secretive engine sector, whose technology is heavily guarded by governments and original equipment manufacturers."
"Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin is moving a step closer to his goal of becoming a dominant force in global entertainment — but he may also be making himself a target for those who think China is playing too big a role in Hollywood."
"The sad case of Japan should serve as a cautionary tale for China’s policymakers," writes Michael Schuman. "Beijing pursued almost identical economic policies to Tokyo’s to generate its rapid development. Now China’s leaders are repeating the missteps the Japanese made that tanked Japan’s economy and thwarted its revival."
"An alternative land route, Chinese efforts to curb the upstream smuggling of frozen-meat products, and government restrictions on the export of wood and stone in Myanmar and Laos have brought the river's shipping trade to a screeching halt."
Walmart's Sam's Club in China targets a somewhat broader demographic than in the U.S., offering $1,700 bottles of Lafite wine and $295,000 diamond rings in addition to bulk groceries and other discount products.
"The enthusiasm about these companies should really be enthusiasm about China's growth and economy and not about these companies and them going global," says Scott Kennedy, deputy director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
MORE IN POLITICS:
- China will intervene in the case of Hong Kong’s pro-independence lawmakers / TIME
- China wants to nip in the bud any talk of Hong Kong’s independence / The Economist
- Lone Beijing independent intimidated ahead of China elections / Financial Times
- Opinion: China's new jets are impressive. But are they for real? / Bloomberg
- China and Taiwan struggle over Sun Yat-sen’s legacy / The Economist
- China internet authority formalizes regulations for live-streaming industry / Reuters
Beijing's move to provide an interpretation of Hong Kong's Basic Law could keep the newly elected politicians out of the legislature for good and has drawn concern from legal experts.
A Communist Party-controlled newspaper in Hong Kong reported that senior party officials were so upset about the way two pro-independence Hong Kong lawmakers attempted to swear into office that "their lungs exploded."
Liu Huizhen, a local people's representative candidate, was placed under house arrest during her campaign even though she had secured official approval to run.
"Two J-20s flew for just a few minutes at an air show in Zhuhai on Tuesday, leaving military experts of two minds about what the J-20 is actually capable of," writes Tobin Harshaw.
The defeat of the Nationalist Party, founded by Sun Yat-sen, in Taiwan's elections this year may decrease the late leader's relevance on the island as he finds a broader following in mainland China.
"Much like China's earlier online video and music industries, the regulations put pressure on smaller competitors and bring larger firms into line with regulators, offering more growth opportunities for a smaller number of controllable companies."
MORE IN SOCIETY:
- A Namibian in Wuhan finds fame on China’s internet / WSJ
- This is what Africans really think of the Chinese / CNN
- China slowdown hastens looming pension crisis / WSJ
- Cirque du Soleil leaps into new era, aims to land in China with help from 'Avatar' / LA Times
- Food delivery giant Ele.me bans dog meat restaurants from platform / Caixin
- Air pollution to intensify in Beijing over winter as La Niña clashes with heating season / Caixin
Uugwanga Uuta Erastus Innocent shot to viral fame with a video in which he used several Chinese dialects to scold a woman for cutting in line.
"According to a recent report by Afrobarometer, almost two-thirds (63 percent) of Africans say China's influence is somewhat positive or very positive, while only 15 percent see it as somewhat or very negative."
"The burden of supporting each person over 65 is now shared by more than seven workers. But that will drop to just two people in 35 years, according to United Nations data, or even fewer than that, the World Bank says."
The company has been struggling financially and is now partly owned by Chinese conglomerate Fosun International.
The Alibaba-backed company cited a lack of food safety standards as the reason for the move, which also covers establishments offering cat and snake meat.
Environmental officials say the capital's overall pollution won't be as bad as last year's, however.