Taiwanese spies use ‘money, sex, and even WeChat’ to seduce PRC students, and Swedish ‘police brutality’

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—Jeremy Goldkorn and team

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1. Video evidence contradicts Chinese embassy claims of Swedish police brutality

Swedish police “forcibly ejected a Chinese man surnamed Zeng and his parents from a hotel in Stockholm in the early hours of September 2 after they arrived a day before their booking and were asked to leave,” reports Reuters.

  • Beijing seems to be taking the incident as an opportunity to play tit-for-tat about the detention of Gui Minhai 桂敏海, Swedish citizen and seller of books that Xi Jinping doesn’t like: The Chinese Embassy to Sweden released a statement saying the “three Chinese tourists were brutally abused by the Swedish police…stressing that what the police had done severely endangered the life and violated the basic human rights of the Chinese citizens.” A separate statement (in Chinese) warns citizens of the dangers of visiting Sweden:

In recent days, Chinese tourists in Sweden have been robbed and mugged multiple times, losing their property and having their lives threatened. Recently, Chinese tourists have been treated harshly by Swedish officials. The Chinese Embassy in Sweden is highly concerned about the safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in Sweden.

2. Typhoon Mangkhut aftermath

Typhoon Mangkhut’s toll: at least 69 people dead in the Philippines, and four deaths so far in southern China, where more than around 3 million people were evacuated before the storm. Other Mangkhut news:

3. Xu Zhiyong is back

Xu Zhiyong 许志永, legal rights activist, was released from prison on July 16 this year after serving four years for his role in the Chinese New Citizens’ Movement (中国新公民运动 zhōngguó xīn gōngmín yùndòng).

  • China Change has published the translation of an essay by Xu reflecting on his four years of incarceration. The translation includes a “new, 6-minute video in which Xu Zhiyong speaks about his current projects and hopes for the future.”

  • “It’s been a year since my release from prison. Friends often ask about my life during those four years,” Xu writes, going on to describe his arrest and interrogation. He explains how he coped with long abusive questioning sessions without saying anything about his associates, and conditions inside the prison.

  • “I’m back, China.” That’s Xu’s conclusion. I hope he has not spoken too soon.

4. Taiwanese spies use ‘money, sex, romance, and even WeChat’ to entrap P.R.C. students — state media

The New York Times reports (porous paywall): “China has accused intelligence agencies in Taiwan of targeting mainland students on the island, drawing accusations of hypocrisy from Taipei as it investigates possible espionage by Beijing.”

Other Taiwan news:

—Jeremy Goldkorn

5. New tariffs: Negotiations dead before they start — trade war, day 74

Just as we were about to send this newsletter, the White House released a statement from President Trump:

Today, following seven weeks of public notice, hearings, and extensive opportunities for comment, I directed the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to proceed with placing additional tariffs on roughly $200 billion of imports from China.  The tariffs will take effect on September 24, 2018, and be set at a level of 10 percent until the end of the year. On January 1, the tariffs will rise to 25 percent. Further, if China takes retaliatory action against our farmers or other industries, we will immediately pursue phase three, which is tariffs on approximately $267 billion of additional imports.

Earlier over the weekend, with the tariffs imminent, media such as Reuters were reporting: China may reject new trade talks, won’t negotiate ‘with a gun pointed to its head.’

Well, the negotiations are certainly dead now.

Here’s all the other trade war-related reporting we saw and thought worth mentioning over the weekend:

—Lucas Niewenhuis


Our whole team really appreciates your support as Access members. Please chat with us on our Slack channel or contact me anytime at jeremy@supchina.com.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief





Flipped jet is fake: Here’s what Typhoon Mangkhut actually looked like

No, the largest typhoon in Hong Kong’s recorded history did not flip a plane 360 degrees right before landing — that viral video is fake. But the wind and rain were spectacles to behold throughout southern China. Four people died, more than 100 were injured, and over 3 million were evacuated before the storm hit.


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Kuora: The political life of Chinese students overseas

Political participation by Chinese students overseas is rare, but not entirely absent. But where there has been any kind of participation in recent years, it’s been both on the left and on the right — from anti-racism rallies and pro-immigration events to pro-Trump rallies and Asian Lives Matter marches — and it’s hard to say which has the greater draw.

Sinica Podcast Early Access: Paul Haenle on North Korea, Taiwan, U.S.-China relations, and more

This week, Kaiser chats with Paul Haenle, who is Maurice R. Greenberg Director of the Carnegie Tsinghua Center for Global Policy and previously served on the National Security Council as a staffer under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Their conversation — which runs the gamut from North Korea to Taiwan to the Belt and Road — was recorded live at Schwarzman College in Beijing on September 6.

  • Subscribe to Sinica Early Access by plugging this RSS feed directly into your podcast app.

The Caixin-Sinica Business Brief, episode 63

On this week’s Business Brief: What does Fan Bingbing’s disappearance say about the film industry in China? Plus, a new American Chamber of Commerce in China survey showing tariff pain, David Kirton on petrochemicals in China, Doug Young on Nio and Meituan’s IPOs & more:



I took this photo of an old migrant worker running a food cart around Dongzhimen Station as I was walking to Sanlitun in 2016. It was my first trip back to China in six years. There was a tension in the air that I hadn’t felt before in my previous visits. From talking to migrant workers like her, I learned that, with the combination of stricter law enforcement and rising costs of living, life for those on the city’s margins had started to become precarious and difficult to bear.

Lei Gong

Click here to view this photo on SupChina.com, along with more reflections on Beijing’s changes from Lei Gong. The grand prize winner of the photo contest will be announced on September 21!