Obama in Beijing


Former U.S. president Barack Obama made his first visit to Asia since leaving the White House. He met Chinese President Xi Jinping on November 29.

  • Xinhua News Agency says that “Xi made a positive appraisal of Obama’s efforts in promoting China-U.S. relations during his presidency.”
  • Xinhua took a very smiley photograph — see above. Shanghai-based Financial Times reporter Tom Hancock suggested a caption: “And he actually tweeted that?”

The drums of trade wars

Reuters reports that the U.S. has “formally told the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it opposes granting China market economy status.”

  • The European Union also opposes this designation “because of the pervasive role of the Chinese state, including rampant granting of subsidies, in its economy.”
  • If China is not given market status, under WTO rules, trading partners could impose high anti-dumping duties on Chinese goods.
  • The Financial Times also reports (paywall) that “Donald Trump’s administration has put its main programme for bolstering economic relations with China on ice as it complains about the two countries’ swollen trade imbalance.”
  • Another stress point: Shenzhen-based DJI, the world’s biggest maker of drones, is — according to (paywall) the New York Times — “fighting a claim by one United States government office that its commercial drones and software may be sending sensitive information about American infrastructure back to China.”

Two quick links

  • Despite the scams and quality problems that plague traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the scientific journal Nature reports that from early next year, TCM medicines “may no longer be required to pass safety trials in humans in China.”
  • China scholar Geremie Barmé has published an excellent review of Art and China After 1989: Theater of the World, currently showing at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.