Xi Jinping to visit Trump at Mar-a-Lago in April
This morning, Axios reported that Donald Trump plans to host Chinese president Xi Jinping at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida from April 6 to 7. CNN later published a similar article. Both reports cited unnamed officials. So far, there has been no official confirmation from Chinese sources.
Other Trump-China news: Quartz has published an article titled “A curious timeline of trademarks granted to Donald Trump by an increasingly helpful China.” In addition, Bloomberg reports that “a company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, stands to receive more than $400 million” from China’s Anbang Insurance Group in a real estate deal. Finally, the China Daily says that there could be a key role for China in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the signature trade agreement of the Obama presidency that Trump withdrew from in one of his first acts as president.
Hardening rhetoric on Islam
Last week, we noted Xi Jinping’s exhortations to build a “steel Great Wall” of stability in Xinjiang. In February, the Chublic Opinion blog looked at the growing chorus of anti-Islamic commentary on the Chinese internet.
Yesterday, Al Jazeera published a story titled “China’s Communist Party hardens rhetoric on Islam,” citing regional “repeated warnings about [the] threat of religious ‘extremism’” made by officials during the annual Two Sessions political meetings in Beijing over the last week. On the weekend, the South China Morning Post noted that China’s Hui Muslims — a mainly Chinese-speaking ethnic group who mostly look like Han Chinese, unlike the Uyghurs from Xinjiang — are increasingly fearful that they will be next to face strict controls on their behavior and religious practices.
Two Sessions update: More core
In other Two Sessions news, Xinhua News Agency reports that a new provision has been added to the draft civil code being discussed at the meetings. The provision would hold people accountable for “damaging the reputation and honor of heroes and martyrs.” Even without the new provision, Chinese courts have, in the past, punished internet users for mocking or doubting the veracity of stories about Communist war heroes.
State media reports about the Two Sessions have continued to emphasize Xi Jinping’s outsize role as leader of the Party and country. Xinhua says that the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, the advisory body that comprises one of the Two Sessions, which concluded its 2017 meeting today, “wholeheartedly upholds [the] CPC Central Committee with Xi as core.” The state news agency also affirms Xi’s role as the “leader of China’s great revival.”
This issue of the SupChina newsletter was produced by Sky Canaves, Lucas Niewenhuis, Jia Guo, and Jiayun Feng. More China stories worth your time are curated below, with the most important ones at the top of each section.
BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
- Shanghai officials draft rules to wrangle China’s bike-sharing craze / Tech in Asia
Since the Chinese bike-sharing apps Mobile and Ofo launched last year, the two startups have raised almost a billion dollars in investment. There are about 30 companies in China that offer similar services. Unlike bike-sharing systems in the U.S. and Europe, where users have to return rental bikes to a fixed station, these Chinese startups allow users to rent and drop off bikes wherever they like; moreover, users can find nearby available bikes using mobile apps — see this SupChina article for details. However, the new industry has been been plagued with problems, such as rental bikes ending up in the street and clogging pedestrian sidewalks. The Shanghai Bicycle Association is expected to introduce regulations for bike-sharing services as early as June, according to local media (in Chinese). Draft regulations could include requiring companies to return deposits and other expenses within seven days, maintain a 24-hour customer complaint hotline, and remove their bikes after three years of use.
- China looks to introduce real name registration for UAVs in face of booming industry / TechNode
Civilian use of drones is popular in China, but there are concerns that the use of drones could threaten the country’s aviation safety and national security. There are more than 20,000 drones in China, but only 10,000 operators have acquired unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) pilot licenses, according to a Chinese website focused on private planes. China’s civil aviation watchdog is expected to introduce a policy that requires drone owners to sign up with their real names, according to media reports (in Chinese).
- Leasing companies strengthen Chinese influence in world shipping / Financial Times (paywall)
- Goldman joins the China-equity bull party after missing rally / Bloomberg
- Is Google another step closer to being unblocked in China? / SCMP
- China moves to make $9 trillion domestic bond market global / Bloomberg
- After $225 billion in deals last year, China reins in overseas investment / NYT (paywall)
- Li Na is China’s most bankable athlete — even in retirement / WSJ (paywall)
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
- As concern over China mounts, Duterte orders navy to build ‘structures’ east of Philippines / SCMP
Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday that he had ordered the navy to put up “structures” to assert Philippine sovereignty over Benham Rise, an area of ocean about 160 miles from the island nation’s northeastern coast, where a Chinese ship was spotted by the Philippine military last week. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana further explained that Duterte’s instruction was to increase naval patrols in that region and erect structures that say “this is ours,” but he didn’t specify what structures will be built. According to the defense chief, the Philippines’ military has observed several Chinese survey ships crisscrossing the Benham Rise waters from July to December of last year. In response, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said that Chinese vessels were only enjoying freedom of navigation and the right to innocent passage “without conducting any other activities or operations.”
Separately, Reuters reports that Vietnam has “demanded that China stop sending cruise ships to the South China Sea,” after a cruise ship carrying more than 300 vacationers visited the disputed Paracel Islands, which China calls the Xisha Archipelago 西沙群岛.
- Leung Chun-ying elected vice chairman of CPPCC National Committee / Xinhua
Today, Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying 梁振英 (aka CY Leung) was officially named vice chairman of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at a closed meeting of the annual session of the advisory body. Jonathan Choi Koon-shun 蔡冠深, a CPPCC National Committee member from Hong Kong, said Leung deserves the new position because he successfully maintained the “one country, two systems” principle during his tenure and firmly tackled the “illegal ‘Occupy Central’ movement.”
- China admits political education for students is poor / Reuters
- Coal mine accident kills 17 in NE China / Xinhua
- China’s Xi pushes advanced technology for military / Reuters
- As overseas ambitions expand, China plans 400 percent increase to marine corps numbers, sources say / SCMP
- Punishing rights lawyers a top achievement, says China / Al Jazeera
- Chinese teacher killed in Myanmar conflict after shelling hits school / SCMP
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
- A psychologist explains why Chinese people only have the mental age of a six-month-old / Quartz
In the recent book The Country of “Giant Babies” 巨婴国 (in Chinese), by Wu Zhihong 武志红, a famous mental health doctor who has written several best sellers about psychology, the author defines contemporary China as a nation of giant babies in search of their mothers. In the book, Wu looks at a wide range of social problems, such as “mama’s boys,” conflicts between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law, and suicides of left-behind kids in rural areas. To explain why these phenomena exist, Wu argues that the majority of Chinese share three characteristics with infants younger than six months. First, they can’t tell themselves apart from the outside world. Second, they want everything to follow their own rules. Last, they don’t recognize anything between the two extremes of good and bad. The book was recently removed from Chinese bookstores in mid-February due to bad print quality, according to the publisher, but Chinese internet users have speculated that “censors banned the book because it is offensive to Chinese beliefs and traditions.”
- Should China move its historic monuments? / CNN
- Six ancient cities built one on top of the other over 2,000 years unearthed in central China / SCMP
- Living loud in China’s lively public spaces / BBC News
- Brother Pengpeng and his mission to get children flocking into China’s museums / SCMP
- 3,400 Chinese tourists on cruise ship refuse to set foot on South Korean soil / Shanghaiist