Liu He 刘鹤, one of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s closest advisors who is often described as the mastermind or “brain” behind China’s economic policy, took a turn speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on January 24, where Xi himself made a splash last year.
Like Xi, he made lofty rhetorical commitments to the idea of globalization, in the process implicitly criticizing Donald Trump’s nationalist policies and likely winning favor among the global elites in attendance. Back home, Xinhua News Agency was much more direct in this messaging, arguing that we need to make a choice between a “Shared future or America First,” and crediting Xi’s speech last year with inspiring this year’s Davos theme: “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.”
Liu also made some specific and striking promises:
- Within three years, China will clear up its smoggy skies, Liu said, because “green and low-carbon development is what the Chinese people and people across the world want the most.” See Quartz for more.
- Within three years, debt will be under control, and “we have full confidence and a clear plan to get the job done,” Liu added. See the New York Times for more (paywall).
- China’s economy will gradually open up to foreign investment and imports in 2018, the fortieth anniversary of China’s “reform and opening-up.” Some measures will even “exceed the expectations of the international community,” Liu added.
On that last point, it won’t take much to exceed expectations of foreign businesspeople and economists, because expectations are so low. See a couple reactions (1, 2) by economist Christopher Balding to Liu’s promises for context.
- U.S.-China trade relations
U.S. not starting trade war, but sees China tech threat: Ross / Reuters
China’s Sinovel convicted in U.S. of trade secret theft / Reuters
China’s JD.com complains of ‘serious’ U.S. protectionism / Reuters
- Chinese media in the U.S.
Senators press Justice Department on Chinese state media outlets registering as foreign agents / Foreign Policy (paywall)
“In a letter sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday, seven senators led by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) are asking whether the Justice Department has examined if Chinese state-controlled media outlets fall under the reporting requirements of the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA.”
- North Korea
US imposes more sanctions on Chinese and North Korea companies / FT (paywall)
“Washington sanctioned 16 North Korean individuals and targeted two Chinese groups — Beijing Chengxing Trading Co and Dandong Jinxiang Trade — accused of exporting goods to North Korean companies included on a UN list of sanctioned entities.”
What will China say to US ‘blunt’ call to expel North Koreans? / SCMP
- How to smear a human rights lawyer
Police video of Chinese lawyer’s arrest raises questions / AFP
View the video in this tweet.
- Gui Minhai (?)
China detained bookseller Gui Minhai ‘to stop him from telling his story’ / SCMP
EU ambassador says he expects release of Swedish citizen detained by China / Reuters
- Vatican-Beijing relations
Vatican ‘asks underground Chinese bishops to stand aside for government-backed ones’ / Catholic Herald
“A Vatican delegation asked Bishop Peter Zhuang of Shantou and Bishop Joseph Guo Xijin of Mindong to retire or accept demotion in order to smooth relations with the Chinese government.”