News roundup: Michael Jordan trademark victory in China

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Top China news for December 8, 2016. Get this daily digest delivered to your inbox by signing up at


Michael Jordan trademark victory

Yesterday, SupChina noted a lawsuit brought by Tencent, the company behind the WeChat messaging and social media app, against the Chinese trademark authorities after its application to trademark a sound was turned down. Today, there is another sign of the culture of intellectual property protection taking hold in China: After more than four years of legal battles, American basketball player Michael Jordan (pictured above) won a lawsuit against sportswear maker Qiaodan Sports when the Supreme People’s Court revoked the rights of the Chinese company to use Jordan’s last name written in Chinese characters. The court declared that Jordan’s Chinese name is “well recognized” in China and that he should have the legal right to it.

Ideology at universities

Every year since Xi Jinping assumed the presidential office in 2013, there has been at least one campaign to promote ideological “purity” and prevent foreign influences at higher-education institutions in China. Today, major Chinese state media are highlighting the latest instance. One article by Xinhua News Agency, titled “Xi calls for strengthened ideological work in colleges,” says that the president has demanded “firm party leadership in higher education.”

Sinica Podcast: When Chinese and American folk music meet

Finally, today on SupChina, we publish a podcast interview with musicians Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei, including recordings of new music that has not yet been released anywhere else.

More China news worth reading is summarized below.



    • China’s banks are hiding more than $2 trillion in loans / WSJ
      “Structuring financing deals as investments instead of loans frees up bank capital and makes it easier to extend loan deadlines or new credit to borrowers. The strategy has been especially popular at small and midsize banks, said executives and analysts.”
    • China’s statistics chief admits some economic data are false / Financial Times
      “China’s top statistician has acknowledged the country’s problems with falsification of economic data, pledging severe punishment for perpetrators in a nod to widespread suspicion that official numbers often fail to reflect true economic conditions.”
    • Why markets stopped worrying about China’s dwindling foreign cash pile / Bloomberg
      “As traders have priced in a more volatile and weaker yuan relative to the U.S. dollar via the forward and derivatives markets, this also raises the bar for roiling the market through any surprise uptick in outflows.”
    • Chinese trade data shows signs of industrial recovery / Reuters
      “The upbeat data adds to signs of a modest industrial recovery in the world’s largest economies, even as China and other Asian exporters brace for a potential trade war once protectionist U.S. president-elect Donald Trump takes office.”
    • China goes on unexpected commodities splurge / Reuters
      “China’s major markets, including soybeans, coal and iron ore, were on pace for record-setting shipments for the full year,” Reuters reports, though there are concerns about whether the growth will be sustained.
    • China eases back into selling shares / WSJ
      “The country’s securities regulator has increased the pace of approvals for initial public offerings and share placements since the summer, with total equity raised on China’s stock markets reaching 1.54 trillion yuan ($218.1 billion) this year, 29 percent higher than in the same period last year.”
    • Starbucks’ China business will one day overtake its U.S. market / CNBC
      “Not only will China one day be bigger than the U.S., but our business in China will demonstrate that we will be one of the…most significant winners in terms of a Western consumer brand,” said CEO Howard Schultz. For more on Starbucks’ business in China, see this Bloomberg article titled “Faster Frappuccinos in China as Starbucks joins WeChat payments.”
    • ‘Better food, better service’: China’s airlines fly past U.S. rivals on Pacific routes / WSJ
      “Since September, Chinese carriers have added seven direct flights to North America — including routes from second-tier cities less known abroad such as Zhengzhou, Qingdao and Xiamen. By comparison, U.S. carriers launched just two China routes in all of 2016.”
    • China set to rescue Australia economy at just the right time / Bloomberg
      “The news out of Australia isn’t all gloom,” writes Michael Heath. “While growth figures stank last quarter, the nation is again being cushioned by its status as the developed world’s most China-dependent economy.”
    • Apple deflects blame after iPhones catch fire in China / Al Jazeera
      “The units we’ve analyzed so far have clearly shown that external physical damage happened to them, which led to the thermal event,” the company said in a statement.



    • Trump’s plan for China tariffs could lead to ‘collateral damage on both sides’ / NPR
      On “All Things Considered,” Ari Shapiro talks to Harvard Law professor and former trade negotiator Mark Wu about the impact of Trump’s promised 45 percent tariff on Chinese goods.
    • Trump isn’t even president yet and China is already moving in on Mexico / Quartz
      “As the two main targets of Trump’s anti-globalization tirades, China and Mexico have a lot to commiserate about,” notes Ana Campoy. “The president-elect’s talk of tearing up trade deals, starting trade wars and closing borders irks both countries, which have big stakes on international trade. Strengthening their ties is a symbolic snub to Trump’s vision of the world.”
    • China pushes back on Michael Flynn’s ‘radical Islamist’ remarks / NYT
      Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, Trump’s pick for national security adviser, “has on occasion pushed conspiracy theories” and claimed in a recent book that China is allied with religious extremists to subvert the U.S.
    • Opinion: The way forward for the West? Help China and wave the rulebook at Russia / The Guardian
      “Though the political narrative in the U.S. has often emphasized China as a threat, it is wrong to ignore evidence that shows that cooperation is possible,” writes Ian Bond, director of foreign policy at the Centre for European Reform. “In the past decade, China has shown that it is ready to act as a ‘responsible stakeholder’ in certain circumstances, such as UN peacekeeping or mitigating the global financial crisis in 2008–2009.”
    • U.S. sanctions against China over the East and South China Seas: A serious proposal? / The Diplomat
      A bill introduced by U.S. senator Marco Rubio “would represent an ambitious change in U.S. policy,” writes Ankit Panda. “If it becomes law, it would require the U.S. president to execute a range of punitive sanctions against Chinese individuals and entities for activities in the South China Sea and in turn sanction third-party financial institutions that interact with those entities knowingly.”
    • Crunch looms in China’s struggle for hearts and eyes / Nikkei Asian Review
      “The likelihood of a serious clash between the private sector media and the government is the subject of intense — though whispered — debate in China,” writes Henny Sender. “It matters because the extent to which non-state providers of entertainment are allowed to flourish will say a great deal about how much room Beijing will grant entrepreneurs, and how the Chinese economy will evolve.”
    • Garratts recount dark odyssey through China’s security apparatus / The Globe and Mail
      Three months after returning to Canada, the Christian couple spoke to The Globe and Mail in detail about their experiences in prison, in detention and under surveillance in China. “We belong now to a community that we didn’t before — people who have been wrongfully accused, people who have become pawns in other people’s arguments,” says Julia Garratt.