In no particular order:
The future of a bitcoin billionaire
- Bitmain is the dominant force in bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining in China, and therefore the world. The Beijing-based company makes the computers that mine the virtual money, and also mines cryptocurrencies itself for profit. TechNode reports that Bitmain is rumored to have secured $560 million in funding and is gearing up for an $18 billion IPO in Hong Kong next year.
- The company “might end up as a play on advanced AI chips” rather than crypto mining, according to Bloomberg (porous paywall), which says a listing may value the company at $40 billion.
- Bitmain is run by 32-year-old billionaire Wu Jihan 吴忌寒.
Thinking about the PLA in Pakistan
“Beijing strongly condemned a suicide attack targeting a bus carrying Chinese engineers in southwest Pakistan on Saturday that injured six people, including three Chinese nationals,” reported the South China Morning Post on the weekend. In response, Colin Koh — research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore — tweeted:
For how long more, given repeated such incidents, will PRC continue to let Pakistan solely take on the task of securing CPEC and Gwadar in restive Balochistan before it decides it’s high time to directly be involved in the region’s security matters?
This question is particularly interesting when one considers that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has almost no recent combat experience, and that one of Xi Jinping’s frequent exhortations to the PLA is to prepare “for real combat” and “to fight and win wars.” And according to reporting from the Financial Times in February (paywall), China already took the first step towards greater involvement in Balochistan’s security, by “quietly holding talks with Pakistani tribal separatists [in Balochistan] for more than five years.”
- Last week, we highlighted reports that China had successfully tested a “wave-riding hypersonic weapon” that reached speeds of Mach 6 — six times the speed of sound, or 4,563 miles per hour (7,344 kilometers per hour), “riding” on the shock waves caused by its own hypersonic flight — and could potentially carry multiple nuclear warheads.
- Way back in January, an American Air Force general said: “We have lost our technical advantage in hypersonics; we haven’t lost the hypersonics fight… China has made it a national program, so China’s willing to spend tens to up to hundreds of billions to solve the problem of hypersonic flight, hypersonic target designation, and then ultimately engagement,” according to Military.com (link found via Brendan Thomas-Noone).
The lady who brought tofu to America
Yamei Kin 金韵梅 (1864-1934) was a Chinese-born, American-raised doctor, hospital administrator, and nutritionist avant la lettre. Among her many claims to fame is that she introduced tofu to America. The Smithsonian profiles her: The Chinese-born doctor who brought tofu to America. See also her Wikipedia entry.
The pro-independence leader’s speech
Andy Chan Ho-tin 陈浩天, founder of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, gave a speech yesterday at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents’ Club despite objections from China’s foreign ministry and Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam, and street protests outside the venue.
- “Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong, the FCC Hong Kong is absolutely not a place outside the law. We urge the FCC Hong Kong to reflect on itself, fix its mistake, take action to follow the laws of China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, respect the feelings of 1.4 billion Chinese people including the seven-odd million Hong Kong compatriots,” said a statement from China’s foreign ministry office in Hong Kong in reaction to the event, according to Hong Kong Free Press.
- James Griffiths, a producer at CNN International, has a Twitter thread with pictures covering the day’s events at the Hong Kong FCC as they unfolded.
Xinjiang re-education camps update
As we noted yesterday (Access members paywall) the Chinese delegation completely denied testimony before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) about widespread human rights abuses in Xinjiang (see video of the session on UN website — the interesting stuff starts about an hour in).
- Today, Xinhua News Agency began fighting back, with a piece (in English only) titled “Nothing can be achieved without stability in China’s Xinjiang: Uyghur expert.” The Uyghur expert is Dr. Kaiser Abdukerim, a member of the Chinese delegation and president of Xinjiang Medical University, who “told the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) that he has realized that without solidarity among all ethnic groups, there would be no social stability in Xinjiang in western China.”
- Dr. Abdukerim’s other claim to global fame is this scientific paper: on “Aiweixin, a traditional Uyghur medicinal formula,” that he and some colleagues showed could protect “against chromium toxicity in caenorhabditis elegans.”
- A three-day protest by thousands of ethnic Hui Muslims at the Weizhou Grand Mosque in northwest China’s Ningxia “came to a quiet end over the weekend, after authorities held off on demolition of a new mosque and promised not to alter its appearance without community approval,” reports the South China Morning Post.
- Op-eds in influential publications continue to condemn the abuses in Xinjiang: The Intercept asks “Where’s the global outrage?,” while the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board condemned “The repression of the Uighurs (paywall).
- A group of Chinese activists — some in China, but mostly overseas — have signed an open letter calling for a UN Investigation into the Xinjiang abuses, and U.S. sanctions on China, according to China Change.
Peak Xi watch
The Associated Press says that “as China’s leaders gather for their annual Yellow Sea retreat, the country’s political waters are looking choppy…. Chinese President and ruling Communist Party leader Xi Jinping is beset by economic, foreign policy and domestic political challenges just months after clearing his way to rule for as long as he wants as China’s most dominant leader since Mao Zedong.”
‘Inconceivable to Chinese people’
David Missal is a 24-year-old German student pursuing a master’s degree in journalism at Tsinghua University. He was expelled from China on Sunday after he made a film about human rights activists as part of his coursework. The nationalistic rag Global Times has responded with some choice phrases:
Western media are hyping the case of a German student told to leave China… A student researching the sensitive issue of radical lawyers sounds inconceivable to Chinese people. But Germans think it is quite normal and blame Chinese laws.
In today’s Germany, it is dangerous for a Chinese student to fight against Tibetan independence forces or Xinjiang independence forces. One may be targeted if he or she searches sensitive information. Germany has its own rules and Chinese students normally won’t defy them.
Well, it took about 10 seconds on Google to find a story from November 2017 (in Chinese) about a Chinese soccer team walking off the field in Germany in protest against people demonstrating for Tibetan independence.