News roundup: Will the ‘core’ leadership title of ‘mighty Uncle Xi’ help his political agenda? Plus acquisition anxiety and two-child policy

Business & Technology

Top China news for October 28, 2016. Get this daily digest delivered to your inbox by signing up at


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Chinese acquisitions in Australia spark fears over the growing foreign influence on the economy and the impact on property prices

The Australian mining magnate Gina Rinehart’s partnership with Chinese investors to bid for an enormous tract of grazing land is likely to fuel further concerns in a country where 87 percent of citizens oppose foreign ownership of farmland and 59 percent do not support Chinese investment, according to a recent survey. / NYT

Acquisition anxiety:

  • Germany’s economy minister prepares for a trip to Beijing with a delegation of business leaders amid rising tensions over Chinese takeover bids / Reuters


  • Sinica Podcast: Why China bears are wrong: An interview with Andy Rothman / Episode + Q&A + Backgrounder
  • China’s leadership commissioned a high-level study on ways to boost the ailing private sector after a weak first quarter this year / Bloomberg
  • Opinion: China’s expanding investments into research and development should be a cause for concern for Japan, South Korea and Taiwan / Forbes
  • The internet giant Baidu sees its first-ever decline in quarterly revenue amid government pressure over its search engine advertising practices / BBC
  • Amazon launches its Prime membership program in China to deliver products from overseas and challenge the dominance of local ecommerce giants / WSJ
  • A survey finds that the majority of the wealthiest Chinese plan to buy property overseas and many want to emigrate / SCMP



Despite warning against personality cults, some Chinese celebrate Xi’s ‘core’ title with praise that evokes emperors

After the Communist Party named Xi Jinping its “core” leader during a four-day meeting of its high-level members, some social media users ignored the official stance against a cult of personality and praised him as “mighty Uncle Xi,” a phrase that echoes greetings to an emperor. “With Uncle Xi as the party’s core, our Chinese dream will definitely be realized,” wrote one Weibo user. / Reuters

Power patterns:

  • Xi’s ‘core’ title may boost his power, but his agenda faces challenges from a cynical public and internal politics / Washington Post
  • The experience of former Communist Party leaders with the ‘core’ title (or without it) tells stories of their power / SCMP
  • Opinion: Censure of ‘historical nihilism’ is driven by Xi Jinping’s desire to protect the integrity of Mao’s legacy, which Xi sees as key to his legitimacy / Economist


  • China’s diplomats in Pakistan take the unprecedented step of speaking directly to politicians to protect a $45 billion investment in the country / Financial Times
  • Filipino fishermen go back to the Scarborough Shoal without harassment from China after Duterte hints of the return / Washington Post
  • In a new book, an exiled editor argues that the concepts of freedom and democracy in China arose from local political oppression, not the West / NYT



Opinion: After China switches to a two-child policy, the ‘brutal machinery of enforcement’ appears to remain unchanged

The relaxation of China’s notorious one-child policy “has done little to assuage the fears of those who fall foul of the new rule,” writes John Sudworth. “The brutal machinery of enforcement is still in place along with the Chinese state’s insistence on the right of control over women’s wombs.” / BBC


  • Chinese attack a theory that Greek innovations and artists directly influenced the creation of the Terracotta Army / Hong Kong Free Press
  • A ghostwriter claims plagiarism is ‘rampant’ in academic papers in China after a U.S. blog highlights questionable work / Caixin
  • Review: An exhibit in New York features alternatives to ‘news accounts and official histories’ of Chinese art / NYT
  • Police say a biotech entrepreneur’s real business was shipping illicit drugs around the world in LED lights / WSJ