Will China start sorting its waste? - SupChina

Will China start sorting its waste?

China to get serious about waste sorting

There are signs that the Chinese government is looking to implement a waste-sorting system for disposing of garbage. One of the “six things close to Xi Jinping’s heart” in the propaganda hip-hop video released by Xinhua News Agency earlier this month was waste sorting. Today, the State Council released a plan to implement a waste-sorting system, as reported in a short article and infographic (in Chinese) on Xinhua’s website.

The major impetus for this seems to be the need to reduce toxic fumes caused by waste incineration: In February, NPR interviewed a professor of environmental economics and management at the prestigious Renmin University, who said, “If we sorted garbage like many other developed countries do, we’d cut the amount we need to burn in half… If we had a functioning recycling system, we could cut it by another 20 to 30 percent. Less garbage means less toxic emissions.”

China finally confirms Trump-Xi meeting

In a tersely worded statement, Xinhua News Agency finally confirmed (in Chinese) that Xi Jinping will visit the U.S. and meet Donald Trump, although the Chinese president will visit Finland first. The entirety of the statement is translated below:

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang 陆慷 announced on March 30 that at the invitation of President Sauli Niinistö of the Republic of Finland and President Donald Trump of the United States of America, President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Finland from April 4 to 6, and he will meet with President Trump at Mar-a-lago (海湖庄园 hǎihú zhuāngyuán), Florida, in the United States from April 6 to 7.

Xinhua’s English article on the visit is slightly longer, and includes commentary on the current state of and prospects for China-U.S. relations.

Cremation and a Central and Eastern Europe initiative

Today on SupChina, we release a Sinica Podcast with Martin Hála, a Czech sinologist who talks to us about 16+1, China’s new initiative to strengthen its ties to Central and Eastern Europe. We also publish “Too many corpses to bury,” an article by Matt DeButts on China’s rebranded campaign to encourage families to cremate rather than bury their deceased loved ones.

Signs that Li Keqiang will stay on as premier?

Bloomberg says that “the most widely accepted theory heard among those who traverse the corridors of Zhongnanhai, Beijing’s leadership compound, has it that Li will stay on for another term when China’s once-every-five-years leadership shake-up occurs toward the end of 2017.” This is in contrast to much of the speculation in the media over the last few years that Li would be sidelined at the 19th Party Congress set to take place in the fall this year. According to Bloomberg, “retaining Li would reassure investors of Xi’s push for stability amid a range of challenges.” Perhaps more noteworthy is an assertion that “leaders are also seen leaning toward keeping Wang Qishan, 68, head of Xi’s signature anti-corruption campaign, who has reached the party’s unofficial retirement age.” If Wang stays on, many observers believe this would be a signal that Xi intends to hang on to power beyond the conventional two terms of his presidency.  

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief

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


Fake Disney parks: Executive signs unauthorized deals with Chinese cities

The New York Times reports (paywall) that a Walt Disney executive named Meng Dekai 孟德楷 had signed deals with a number of Chinese cities to open Disney-branded parks without authorization from the company. Disney told the Times that it “had parted ways with Mr. Meng” but did not specify if he had resigned or been sacked. The company began investigating after media reports about the deals that Meng had signed.

The Times quotes James McGregor, veteran China businessman and author of One Billion Customers: Lessons From the Front Lines of Doing Business in China: “This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard of when it comes to fraud against a foreign business… I mean, it’s so big and it’s so public, it’s such a big-name company. What was he thinking?”


France, now India: Chinese government calls for protection of its citizens

As China’s presence across the globe grows, the Chinese government is more and more frequently having to defend the interests of its citizens in foreign countries. On Tuesday, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the French government to protect its citizens living in France after a Chinese man was shot dead by police who had gone to his house to investigate a reported domestic dispute. The killing sparked protests that lasted two days. On Wednesday, the Ministry issued a call for the safeguarding of “the rights of its companies and nationals working in India,” according to the Hindustan Times. The demand came after protests against a Chinese employee of the fast-growing mobile phone company Oppo, which is the main sponsor of the Indian cricket team for next month. The man had reportedly torn up an Indian flag. Police were deployed to disperse the protesters.


Parents of wrongfully executed man to get $388,998

The Global Times reports that the Hebei Provincial High People’s Court announced on Wednesday that the state will award 2.68 million yuan ($388,998) to the parents of a man who was wrongfully executed over two decades ago. Nie Shubin was found guilty in 1995, at the age of 20, for raping and murdering a woman near the northern city of Shijiazhuang. Nie was sentenced to death the same year after Hebei Province’s highest court dismissed his appeal. In 2005, another man confessed to the crimes that Nie was executed for, yet little progress was made in the ensuing years in the court’s review of the case despite repeated petitions by Nie’s family to overturn the conviction. It was not until December 2016 that the Supreme People’s Court reversed the guilty verdict for Nie, calling the evidence of his conviction and sentencing “unreliable and incomplete.”