News roundup: China might not buy your hotel, casino, or soccer club

Business & Technology

Top China news for January 19, 2017. Get this daily digest delivered to your inbox by signing up at

China to restrict overseas investments by state-owned enterprises

China’€™s state-owned asset regulator, the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), has said it will issue a “€œnegative list” of investments abroad that are prohibited for state-owned enterprises (SOEs). SASAC has not yet specified what sectors will be involved, but a report in Caixin (paywall) on the matter mentions that in December, “four government agencies, including the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), warned of ‘irrational outbound investment trends’€ in some sectors, including property, hotels, cinemas, entertainment and sports clubs.” Caixin notes that the desire to slow down capital outflows and stem the depreciation of the yuan may be factors behind the decision to issue the list.

—Jeremy Goldkorn

Today on SupChina

We publish the first part of a Sinica Podcast interview with Sidney Rittenberg, an American who went to China in 1945 as a GI, and lived there until 1980 as an elite Communist Party member who got to know Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. However, his connections to the political elite did not spare him from spending 15 years in solitary confinement.

If you missed it, yesterday we published 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 to our website.

This issue of the SupChina newsletter was produced by Sky Canaves, Lucas Niewenhuis, and Jia Guo. More China stories worth your time are curated below, with the most important ones at the top of each section.


  • First freight train from China to Britain arrives in London / Reuters
    The first train to travel all the way to Britain from China arrived in London on Wednesday after a 7,500-mile journey from the trading city of Yiwu. The journey took 18 days, about half the time an ocean carrier would need to complete the trip. The train brought in mostly household items, including clothes, fabrics, bags, and suitcases. London is the 15th European city to have a direct rail link with China. Although this journey was largely symbolic, it represents China’s ambitions to build a transcontinental network that will make the “One Belt, One Road” initiative into something much more substantial than a mere slogan.


  • China says police and judges need absolute loyalty to party / Reuters
    This week, government statements and state media have emphasized ideological purity and loyalty to the Communist Party from media, educational institutions, and the judiciary. The latest call for loyalty goes out to the police: Reuters reports on a statement released by the official Xinhua News Agency on Wednesday, which calls on law enforcement and judicial officials to have “clear political beliefs” and “stay absolutely loyal to the party.”