TODAY’S TOP STORIES
AIDS in China
Today is World Aids Day, and the state-owned Xinhua News Agency reports that “there were 654,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in China by the end of September, with 201,000 deaths.” According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sexual transmission accounted for 94 percent of infections. In addition, there were 96,000 new cases reported in the first nine months of 2016.
Xinhua also notes today that a “domestically developed, long-acting injectable HIV drug has been put forward for approval by the China Food and Drug Administration, and will become the first of its kind to be generally available if approved.” The drug is known as Albuvirtide.
Meanwhile, The New York Times has published a Q&A with Dr. Gao Yaojie, a retired gynecologist who uncovered a major HIV outbreak in central China in the late 1990s. The outbreak remains a sensitive topic in China even now, as it was caused by “an unsanitary blood collection and sales network, abetted by local officials.” Impoverished residents of Henan Province were selling their blood. After plasma was extracted, “the rest of the pooled blood, now often carrying HIV or other infections, was reinjected into donors, so they could give more frequently.”
Sierra Leone president Koroma meets Xi Jinping in Beijing
A unique feature of Chinese diplomacy is the status accorded to leaders of small countries. Demonstrating this tendency, today’s central state media organizations all feature top headlines about the visit of Sierra Leone president Ernest Bai Koroma to Beijing and his meeting with President Xi Jinping. Official announcements say that China will help Sierra Leone improve its industrialization and public health system.
Sinica Podcast: Departing NYT Beijing bureau chief on journalism and censorship in China
Finally, on SupChina today, we release a Sinica Podcast with New York Times reporter Edward Wong, who speaks with Kaiser and Jeremy about the state of journalism in China and the pressures on foreign correspondents from the Chinese government. You can find a selection of the stories that Ed has filed from China since he moved to Beijing in 2008 in this Sinica backgrounder.
More China stories to watch are linked below.
BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
- ‘Pink Economy’ set to soar as companies target LGBT community / China Daily
“Zhu Qiming, CEO of mobile game developer Star-G Technologies, foresees rosy prospects for China’s emerging ‘pink economy,’ a new business model that caters mainly to the lifestyles and demands of the LGBT community. Zhu’s company, a startup in Beijing, has received several rounds of investment after releasing a business plan to design and develop mobile games exclusively for gay men in China.”
- China has 1.3 bln mobile phone users / Xinhua
“The total number of phone users in China hit about 1.54 billion by the end of 2015, and about 1.3 billion of them were mobile phone users, a white paper said Thursday.”
- World’s second-largest steelmaker emerges in China / People’s Daily
“China Baowu Steel Group Cooperation, the result of a merger between China’s two steel giants Baosteel and Wuhan Steel, was officially established on December 1, becoming the world’s second-largest steelmaker after ArcelorMittal.”
- Huawei aims to help set 5G standards / FT
“Huawei, the Chinese telecoms group, has scored a victory in the battle to set standards for the fifth generation of mobile technology,” writes the Financial Times. “Unlike previous generations, some practitioners believe 5G should be a global standard to allow connected devices, such as cars, to operate across the globe. It is due to launch in 2020 and Huawei expects pre-commercial products next year.”
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
- China-Singapore tensions spill into open after customs spat / Bloomberg
“China has gone public in recent months to chastise Singapore for a perceived alignment with the U.S. against China’s actions in the disputed South China Sea,” Bloomberg reports. “The latest episode has the added wrinkle of Taiwan, which China considers its territory. Nine Singaporean armored personnel carriers were seized by Hong Kong customs last week, with the vehicles en route from Taiwan on a commercial ship after being used in training exercises.”
- Police confiscate passports in parts of Xinjiang, in western China / NYT
“Police officers in parts of the vast western Chinese region of Xinjiang have been ordering residents to hand over their passports since October, according to residents interviewed by telephone this week and online photographs of orders from local police departments.”
- China seeks to convince legions of unemployed to start afresh in the countryside / SCMP
“According to guidelines released by the State Council, those who are having trouble making ends meet in the city or don’t want an urban lifestyle are being encouraged to return to the land and start farming, food processing, leisure agriculture, rural tourism or consumer service businesses. Local governments have been instructed to help the new settlers with financing, training and technological support, according to the release, which was published on Tuesday.”
- The disappearing fish of Beijing / Bloomberg
“It sounds like something out of a dystopian novel: The fresh fish in many of Beijing’s biggest supermarkets simply disappeared last week, as if summoned to another realm. Social media buzzed with alarm and paranoia. The Beijing News placed a photo of an empty aquarium and an underemployed fishmonger on its front page. The truth turned out to be something earthier and more familiar.”
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
- Divorce is on the rise in China / The Economist
“With his slick navy suit, silver watch and nonstop smoking, Yu Feng is an unlikely ambassador for Chinese family values. The office from which he operates, in Chongqing in western China, looks more like a sitting room, with gray sofas, cream curtains and large windows looking out on the city’s skyscrapers. Women visit him here and plead for help. They want him to persuade their husbands to dump their mistresses.”
- Chinese man threatens ex-girlfriend with fake ‘bomb’ made of sausages / SCMP
“A man from northern China has been arrested after he tried to make four pork sausages look like explosives and threatened to blow up his ex-girlfriend and her family if she didn’t meet him again, a newspaper reported.”
- Survey shows political and religious shifts among Chinese students in U.S. / Asia Society
“Last year, the number of Chinese students studying at American schools topped 328,000 — more than five times the number a decade ago — making them by far the largest cohort of international students in the country,” reports the Asia Society. A recent survey of Chinese students at Purdue University, which “examined everything from political and religious attitudes to social and cultural experiences,” revealed, among other things, how their perspectives have changed toward China and the United States.