Tensions between India and China on the rise
This week sees the second annual Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi. It’s a high-level forum on geopolitics and economics modeled after the Shangri-La Dialogue, which takes place every year in Singapore. This year, both Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and foreign secretary S. Jaishankar used the event to warn China. On Tuesday, Modi said that “both our countries need to show sensitivity and respect for each other’s core concerns and interests,” and made what Bloomberg called “a rare, veiled reference to Beijing’s $46 billion investment in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, which passes through parts of the disputed region of Kashmir that are administered by Pakistan but claimed by India.” A transcript of Modi’s speech is available here.
On Wednesday, Jaishankar was more explicit. The New Indian Express quotes him: “China is very sensitive on matters concerning its sovereignty. We expect they respect other people’s sovereignty. CPEC passes through a territory that we see as ours…. There needs to be some reflection and I am sorry to say we have not seen signs of that.”
According to a recent op-ed by Harsh V. Pant in Today, “Sino-Indian relations seem to be headed for the freezer,” after a brief period of warming. In December, China blocked a Pakistan-based man accused by India of being a terrorist from being listed as a terrorist by the United Nations. Last year, Beijing indicated “a willingness to help Pakistan increase the range of its nuclear missiles.” India has also been testing long-range missiles.
Particularly irksome to Beijing is New Delhi’s warming to the Dalai Lama, who will be openly welcomed at an international conference on Buddhism to be held in India in March. The Tibetan spiritual leader is also set to visit the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims as part of its own territory. This comes after Indian president Pranab Mukherjee hosted the Dalai Lama at his official residence in New Delhi in December.
Today on SupChina
We publish an article on the recent boom in creative nonfiction in China by Tabitha Speelman, and a video interview with Michael Yamashita, the award-winning National Geographic photographer who regularly contributes images for our website.
More China stories worth your time are curated below by the SupChina editorial team: Jeremy Goldkorn, Lucas Niewenhuis, Jia Guo, Jiayun Feng, and Sky Canaves.
BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
China halts construction of 101 coal power plants / Caixin
The central government has suspended 101 coal power projects. The main factor behind the decision was the concern that weak demand for electricity this year could lead to a power glut. Some of these projects have already started construction. Other projects could also be scrapped to achieve goals to increase the proportion of power generated from renewable sources.
Businesses move China down priority list: AmCham survey / CNBC
The American Chamber of Commerce in China has released its annual survey of its members and reports that the country is becoming “less of an investment priority for companies.” The members are gloomier about their prospects in China for a number of reasons, including unpredictable regulation, protectionism, higher labor costs, and a slowing economy. You can get the whole report by registering on AmCham’s website here.
- Liaoning government admits false growth data from 2011-14 / Caixin
- China preparing to hit back if Donald Trump starts trade war, says U.S. business group / SCMP
- U.S.-trained official may shape China’s response to Trump on trade / NYT (paywall)
- Trump aide Scaramucci sells investment business to Chinese consortium / NYT (paywall)
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
China’s chief justice rejects an independent judiciary, and reformers wince / NYT (paywall)
As noted yesterday on SupChina, China’s Chief Justice Zhou Qiang gave a speech warning judges not to fall into the “trap” of “Western” ideology in the same week that further ideological controls on news media and education institutions were announced. The New York Times piece linked above is a good summary of reactions to Zhou’s speech. Also worth reading are blog posts by legal scholars Jerome A. Cohen and Flora Sapio.
Taiwan carries out drills amid rising fears of Chinese invasion / The Guardian
A two-day drill by the Taiwan military that began on Tuesday “simulated an attack by the People’s Liberation Army across the 112-mile Taiwan Strait.” The news comes after months of deteriorating relations between the governments of Taiwan and the People’s Republic, and as “fears grow about the impact that future Donald Trump policies toward Beijing may have on regional stability.”
- Japan hotel faces China backlash after denying Nanjing Massacre / Bloomberg
- Family of reformist leader Zhao Ziyang vows to keep pressing for his exoneration / SCMP
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
Forget wine, China’s booze market is all about ‘liquid cake’ / Bloomberg
Yellow rice wine, the traditional fermented drink of eastern China’s Zhejiang Province, is the fastest-growing mass-market alcoholic drink in China, according to a Chinese investment bank. The growth in yellow rice wine sales is in contrast to recent reports of softening demand for beer, grape wine, and even baijiu, the stronger distilled liquor often used for toasting at official banquets. Whatever the truth of the sales volumes, the stock price of China’s most famous baijiu producer, Kweichow Moutai, has been soaring in recent weeks.
Wei Watch: What’s buzzing among China’s 700 million social media users.
Antibiotics in agriculture adds risk to human health / Weibo (in Chinese)
An article published by Spanish newspaper El Mundo about antibiotics abuse at livestock farms in China has been circulating on Chinese social media. Many responses include other horror stories about food safety issues. One wag joked that “Chinese people aren’t even scared of consuming recycled ‘gutter oil,’ so what do they have to fear from antibiotics!”
- China’s local weather bureaus ordered to stop issuing smog warnings…but new alert system not yet in place / SCMP
- On taking gay rights from Taipei to Beijing: Don’t call it a ‘movement’ / NYT (paywall)
- China soccer pioneer calls for rational signings to avoid bubble / Bloomberg
- The Chinese zodiac says January 20 is not an auspicious day to inaugurate anything / LA Times