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.
BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
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?”
WeChat leaps into bike-sharing craze / Tech in Asia
WeChat’s users in China now have a button in the Wallet section of the app that allows them to use the popular city bike-share service Mobike from within the WeChat app.
Have a donkey to trade? China has an exchange for that / Bloomberg
The China Donkey Exchange is one of more than 1,000 trading venues that allow people to trade metals, agricultural products, donkeys, and orchids.
- No deal between Kushners and Chinese company over Fifth Avenue skyscraper – See also previous reporting on SupChina on the deal / NYT (paywall)
- Chinese capital constraints send shock through global M&A / Financial Times (paywall)
- Chinese tech apps trade knowledge for cash / Financial Times (paywall)
- Chinese firm takes stake in U.S. investment bank Cowen / NYT (paywall)
- AMC hungers for more cinema deals after $3 billion spree / Bloomberg
- Underground labs in China are devising potent new opiates faster than authorities can respond / Science
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
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.
State Department worker is accused of hiding ties to China / NYT (paywall)
“The F.B.I. has arrested a veteran State Department employee who concealed her extensive contacts with Chinese intelligence agents.”
- Chinese military serious about opposing THAAD deployment: spokesperson / Xinhua
- China and the United States have an eerily similar approach to net sovereignty / Council on Foreign Relations
- Opinion: What a world led by China might look like / The Atlantic
- Ban on beards and veils — China’s Xinjiang passes regulation to curb ‘religious extremism’ / SCMP
- Chinese local governments admit to major cover-up of 2012 flood deaths / SCMP
- As Hong Kong ponders its future under Beijing, politics infuses its art / NYT (paywall)
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
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.”
War on boutique hotels: Dali’s determination to save Erhai Lake from pollution / Southern Weekly (in Chinese)
Dali in Yunnan Province, once a travel hot spot for tourists from home and overseas due to its uncontaminated natural landscapes and exotic vibe, is now facing serious pollution problems. In order to restore the beauty of Erhai Lake, an iconic lake at the heart of Dali, the local government declared a war on boutique hotels, which are believed to be one of the main sources of pollution.
- China’s hottest new boy band is actually made up of five androgynous girls / Quartz
- Archaeologists in China believe they have found ancient Silk Road capital / SCMP
- The man behind the push to bring the NHL to China / The Globe and Mail
- China player’s ‘extra-marital affairs’ caused team to lose against Iran, says angry wife / SCMP
- China estate agent marries four women to help them buy apartments in property boom town / The Telegraph