News roundup: Angry words and an aircraft carrier from Beijing over Taiwan

Business & Technology

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


Fiery rhetoric from Beijing on Taiwan

Chinese state media today prominently featured reports of a speech by the spokesman for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office at a “routine” press conference in which he blasted supporters of independence for Taiwan and Hong Kong. He quoted from a Mao Zedong poem and compared independence activists to flies who bash themselves against a wall and fall to the ground bloodied and with broken heads. Another warning to Taiwanese independence activists came from the People’s Liberation Army Navy, which this week sailed its sole aircraft carrier just south of Taiwan.

The South China Morning Post notes that “Beijing is facing a host of threats to its status quo as the ­independence-leaning leadership of Taiwan grows more vocal, protesters in Hong Kong call for complete separation from the mainland, and an incoming ­Donald Trump presidency in the U.S. threatens to take a more hardline stance in its ties with the world’s second-largest economy.” Reuters has an article that explains the reference to the Mao poem in the Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman’s speech. The Chinese language report on the speech is here.


A regular feature about what’s buzzing on Chinese social media

China’s low-quality films: Is it the movies or the critics who are responsible?

The People’s Daily published an article (in Chinese) that said that “ill-intended and irresponsible comments” from well-known movie critics seriously damage the Chinese film industry. Chinese social media reacted with anger as many commenters said that the poor quality of the movies was the real problem. The story is a trending topic on Weibo today, collected under the hashtag meaning “Negative criticism harms film industry” (in Chinese).

More stories worth your time are summarized below, with the more important stories at the top of each section.




    • U.S. anti-propaganda law ‘may set stage for war of ideas with China’ / SCMP
      “China is mentioned just once in the 1,623-word Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, but observers said it could become a tool to counter Beijing,” write Wei Qi and Violet Law. “The legislation was signed as part of the National Defense ­Authorization Act of 2017 shortly before Christmas.”
    • China tells top officials to lead corruption fight by example / Reuters
      “Speaking at a meeting of the Politburo, the core of the ruling party, Xi said its members must set an example in lawful governance efforts and use of power, state television said on its main evening news.”
    • Chinese hackers charged with trading on stolen law firm data / Bloomberg
      “Three Chinese hackers made more than $4 million in illicit profits after breaking into the servers of top corporate law firms in New York, the U.S. said in announcing charges and the arrest of one of the men.”
    • In Hong Kong’s book industry, ‘everybody is scared’ / The Guardian
      A little over a year after five Hong Kong-based booksellers were seized by Chinese security forces, “the whole industry is wondering if hard-hitting books on Chinese politics still have a future in the former British colony,” writes Ilaria Maria Sala.