Xi comes to Mar-a-Lago with ‘tweetable deliverables’

Business & Technology

Top China news for April 6, 2017. Get this daily digest delivered to your inbox by signing up at supchina.com/subscribe.

Farrago at Mar-a-Lago

Xi Jinping has arrived in Florida according to a brief statement (in Chinese) by the People’s Daily, and this China Daily video of his Air China jet on the runway, where he was greeted by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

By the time you read this, it will be out of date, as talks between Trump and Xi will have already started, but here is a selection of relevant links:

  • Xinhua News Agency has produced a video that looks like an infomercial filmed with a selfie stick for Mar-a-Lago.
  • AFP says that Xi comes to the meeting with a bunch of “tweetable deliverables,” including “a package of Chinese investments aimed at creating more than 700,000 American jobs — the number pledged to Trump by China’s regional rival Japan during Prime Minister Abe’s February Mar-a-Lago visit.”
  • The BBC reports that Xi and his wife, the celebrity folk singer Peng Liyuan, will be given a welcome banquet tonight, hosted by Trump and his wife, Melania Trump.
  • The New York Times says (paywall) that Xi and Trump will spend about 24 hours together, and asks, “How long will the cordiality last?”
  • Politico notes that Trump “could easily be outmatched by a superbly well-prepped Beijing diplomatic team aiming to exploit gaping holes in the White House’s fledgling China policy group.”
  • Reuters says, “Signs point away from Trump labeling China currency manipulator.”

Nationalism, and the Silk Road at Jimmy Carter’s museum

This week’s Sinica Podcast is an interview about the love of country in Russia and China with Charles Clover, Beijing-based correspondent for the Financial Times and author of Black Wind, White Snow: The Rise of Russia’s New Nationalism, and Jude Blanchette, who is currently writing a book on neo-Maoists in China.

Today we also publish a video interview by Jia Guo with SupChina’s featured photographer, Michael Yamashita, shot at the opening of a show of his Silk Road photos at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Museum and Library in Atlanta.

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.


ChemChina seals Syngenta merger with EU approval

This week, the EU approved the bid of China National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) to buy Swiss agriculture chemical company Syngenta for $43 billion. The deal took more than a year to gain approval in the U.S. — first from the Committee on Foreign Investment last August, and then from the United States Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday. The New York Times notes (paywall) that the high-profile merger is one of three being negotiated in the global chemical agriculture business that may soon significantly impact the way seeds are developed and crops are harvested worldwide, and that ChemChina’s acquisition of Syngenta is a step forward for China to secure the sustainability of its food supply.


A warning for the U.S. and China on North Korean cybercrime

The director and associate director of George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security published an article in The Conversation that highlights North Korea’s increasing cybercrime activity and how it may pose further difficulties in U.S.-China relations. While missile launches are North Korea’s best-known form of saber rattling, the country’s cyberwarfare capabilities are less well understood and may increasingly be directed at the world’s two largest economies. The writers warn that “the international community — and the U.S. and China in particular — should give serious thought to what might be North Korea’s cyberattack equivalent of a nuclear weapons test.”


A student’s death in Sichuan sparks angry protests

On April 1, a 14-year-old student at a middle school in Luzhou, Sichuan Province, was found dead near the school dormitory. His body was bruised, and his family alleged that he had been beaten to death by a gang of bullies. The school and local police denied the allegations, but his family and their supporters did not believe them and began protesting in front of the school. The demonstration grew, resulting in a clash between security forces and angry protesters — more than a hundred of them, judging from this video clip. The Global Times reports that local police have now promised to do an autopsy on the student’s body. Much of the discussion on social media about the case has been censored, but you can still see some commentary on Weibo here (in Chinese).