Ex-CIA officer arrested for passing documents to China
The Washington Post reports that “a former CIA officer sold top secret and other classified documents to Chinese intelligence officials, according to charges filed Thursday in Alexandria federal court” in Virginia, where he lived. Kevin Patrick Mallory, 60, appeared briefly in front of a judge “on counts of delivering defense information to aid a foreign government and making false statements.”
Be careful with that stock trading bot
When China’s stock market crashed in 2015, the government began looking for problems in the financial system, or — if you prefer a cynic’s view — someone to blame.
One of the practices that came under scrutiny was high frequency trading (高频率交易 gāo pínlǜ jiāoyì), which refers to investors using software to make trades on stock and bond markets that are determined by algorithms and can be executed in a fraction of a second. The government’s worry is that high frequency trading technology can look at a market decline, and short or pull out of stocks at a speed and scale that can cause massive instability in the markets. Measures to control and monitor high frequency trading were first put in place in 2015 after the market crash (see this translation of a November 2015 Caixin piece).
One of the early targets of the regulator scrutiny was Citadel, a New York-based financial institution that is a leading practitioner of high frequency trading, although the company and its employees were never convicted of any wrongdoing. Now, however, the first criminal case against a high-speed trading firm has been successfully prosecuted: the Russian-owned Yishidun International Trading, aka Eastern Dragon (ED), has been fined 300 million yuan ($44 million) “for manipulating China’s futures markets” and has been “ordered to disgorge 389 million yuan in profits,” according to Bloomberg.
Bloomberg also notes a statement from the firm that says “the court’s verdict does not suggest that Eastern Dragon’s trading strategy distorted the market, but that the trading system ED employed merely gave it a speed advantage over other traders.”
Xi Jinping to attend Hong Kong handover 20th anniversary party
July 1 is the 20th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from Great Britain to China, and the next week will see abundant media coverage of the P.R.C.’s management of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. We’ll keep track of the important stories that emerge. For today:
- Carrie Lam 林鄭月娥, who will be sworn in July 1 as the next Hong Kong chief executive, told CNN “it would not be appropriate for us to go into the mainland or challenge what happens on the mainland,” when asked about the five Hong Kong-based booksellers who were detained by Chinese security forces, apparently because of the political nature of the books they distributed. Lam indicated she would not seek to interfere in the case and would ”defer to” Chinese law.
- Xi Jinping will make his first official visit to Hong Kong after becoming president for the 20th anniversary handover celebrations. The South China Morning Post reports that his itinerary includes visits to the People’s Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong, and “high-profile infrastructure projects,” such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge and the high speed rail link terminus.
With our flesh and blood, let’s build a new Great Wall
“Arise all you who refuse to be slaves!” is the stirring first line of the March of the Volunteers (义勇军进行曲 yìyǒngjūn jìnxíngqǔ), China’s national anthem. “With our flesh and blood, let’s build a new Great Wall” is the second line.
The song’s lyrics were written in the 1930s by Tian Han 田汉 and set to music by Nie Er 聂耳. It was adopted as China’s anthem in 1949. In today’s newsletter’s Society and Culture section below — or at this link — you can read about a new draft law to ban parodies of the anthem.