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—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief
1. Chinese scientists condemn baby gene-editing experiment
A Chinese research team at a lab at Southern University of Science and Technology of China in Shenzhen led by Hè Jiànkuí 贺建奎 “claims that he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies — twin girls born this month whose DNA he said he altered with a powerful new tool capable of rewriting the very blueprint of life,” reports the Associated Press.
He Jiankui says he “altered embryos for seven couples during fertility treatments, with one pregnancy resulting thus far,” but there has been no independent confirmation of the results, nor has He published any peer-reviewed work.
The aim of the project, He told the AP, “was not to cure or prevent an inherited disease, but to try to bestow a trait that few people naturally have — an ability to resist possible future infection with HIV, the AIDS virus.”
CRISPR-cas9 is the gene-editing technology pioneered in China in 2015 that made He’s experiment possible. Other research teams have been using the technology. For example, in June, Quartz and the Wall Street Journal (paywall) reported on a lab in Hangzhou that took the immune cells from 86 cancer and HIV patients, edited the cells, and then transfused them back into the patients’ bodies.
Immediate controversy greeted the news of the gene-edited babies: “A group of 122 Chinese scientists published a joint statement (in Chinese) on Monday condemning the human experiment and calling for a legal investigation,” reports Sixth Tone. “He’s university has also distanced itself from the experiment, claiming that it was not aware of it.” MIT Technology Review reports that he has been suspended without pay from his university position.
More on CRISPR-cas9 and He Jiankui:
He’s video announcement of his results / YouTube
China famously gives scientists a freer hand with healthcare experimentation than most Western countries. The backlash from He Jiankui’s peers, and his university, is an indication that there may be limits to that freedom. For now.
2. Will CCTV lose its U.K. broadcast license?
Peter Humphrey and Yú Yīngzéng 虞英曾, the husband-and-wife British corporate investigators, spent two years in a Chinese prison after being convicted of illegally acquiring personal information of Chinese citizens while working for pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline.
The case was highly politicized. Humphrey and Yu were treated like pawns. One of the abuses Humphrey endured was being sedated, locked in a cage, and forced to read a scripted “confession” televised on state-owned broadcaster CCTV — see Humphrey’s prison diary in the Financial Times (porous paywall).
Now Humphrey is fighting back. He has filed a complaint with Ofcom, the British communications regulator, against China Central Television and its international division, China Global Television, for violating British broadcasting rules. You can read the whole complaint here. The complaint was prepared together with the NGO Safeguard Defenders, founded by activist Peter Dahlin, who was also forced into a televised “confession” by Chinese security agents working with CCTV.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Gěng Shuǎng 耿爽 made China’s crew of foreign correspondents laugh at his press briefing today with this reaction to the news of Humphrey’s complaint: “I hope Britain can support and facilitate the reporting work of international media in the U.K.”
3. China’s most respected think tank ceases public activities
The Unirule Institute of Economics is a Beijing-based independent think tank founded in 1993 by Shèng Hóng 盛洪, Máo Yúshì 茅于轼, and other free-market-oriented scholars.
In July, Unirule was evicted from its offices, apparently under government pressure. Workmen welded the doors closed, temporarily imprisoning some staff members who were still inside.
In October, authorities revoked the organization’s operating license. Earlier this month, Sheng Hong and a colleague were barred from leaving China to attend a seminar at Harvard University on the grounds that they would “endanger national security.”
Today, Unirule announced on its website that “in the current institutional environment in China, unless normal protection by the Constitution and laws is confirmed, Unirule Institute of Economics will cease public activities under its name temporarily.”
Unirule’s troubles don’t seem to be discouraging Mao Yushi from speaking out: Here is his latest attack on the state sector and the follies of Party management of the economy.
4. Trade war, day 144: Low expectations despite insurance sector opening
Chinese Vice Premier and chief trade negotiator Liu He is in Germany ahead of the much-anticipated Xi-Trump meeting in Buenos Aires later this week, and Beijing is making another effort to show it is opening up its restricted markets by granting Germany’s Allianz Group permission to establish China’s first wholly foreign-owned insurance holding company.
The Chinese banking and insurance regulator said it had also approved plans for banks and insurance companies from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea to set up local units.
Allowing a foreign insurer to own a holding company in China is significant, says the Wall Street Journal (paywall). This will allow broader access to the market, and is “a step toward consolidating units offering various types of insurance,” such as life insurance.
However, “Beijing’s announcements over the past year of further openings in financial services and autos have been shrugged off by the U.S. ‘China is trying to show the world it is opening up, but whether the world will believe that with this move is another question,’ said Jonas Short, head of the Beijing office at securities firm Everbright Sun Hung Kai Co.”
Expectations for the G20 still remain fairly low. In an interview with the WSJ (paywall), Beijing’s ambassador to the U.S., Cuī Tiānkǎi 崔天凯, emphasized that the two sides would “review the overall situation of the bilateral relations” and hoped that “this meeting will enable us to make further progress on many fronts, including on the economic and trade issues.” However, he also chastised the Trump administration’s internal conflicts:
For a negotiation like this, people have to make their position clear and consistent. If their position is shifting all the time, I don’t think it’s helpful for any negotiation.
Number two, if there is some agreement, people have to remain committed to this agreement and try to make further progress. You cannot have some tentative agreement one day and reject it next day.
We fully understand that the U.S. side, the current administration, they love the principle of mutual respect, fairness, and reciprocity. Then people make all of these comments and statements without any sense of mutual respect, without any indication of fairness. How can we have mutual confidence to proceed with a negotiation?
More trade-war-related news:
Bleak G20 outlook
Expect a photo op and a ‘mock deal’ at the Trump-Xi meeting — not a long-term truce, says economist / CNBC
US-China trade fight will still be a problem for markets after G-20 summit, economist says / CNBC
India and other potential Chinese allies
China courts potential allies in trade war with US / FT (paywall)
“Rather than seek a grand bargain, analysts believe Beijing will try to peel away would-be US allies, in part by pointing to China’s shrinking current account surplus, a frequent complaint among trading partners in the 2000s.”
Souring US ties prompt China to seek sweeter trade with India / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“China’s refiners are considering the purchase of unprecedented amounts of Indian raw sugar, with a delegation visiting the South Asian nation next month to meet mill officials and inspect logistics infrastructure, according to an Indian official.”
China and India agree to boost trade and lower the temperature on shared border / SCMP
“Beijing-based military expert Zhou Chenming said China needs more stable relations with its neighbors while it is still locked in a series of confrontations with Washington. ‘China will be facing a lot of pressure at the negotiating table with Trump if tensions with its neighbors are rising,’ he said. ‘India is the only nation that has a land dispute with China, and China has to calm down its tensions with India.’”
Winners and losers
Mexico is the winner in this corner of Trump’s China trade war / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“Sweden’s Dometic AB, a maker of cooling systems and air conditioners for recreational vehicles and trucks, is opening a plant in Mexico in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade war on China. The company, which gets 57 percent of its sales in the Americas, aims to open the Mexico plant in March and is moving some production from China to evade new tariffs, Chief Executive Officer Juan Vargues said in an interview.”
Thai rubber farms stretched as US-China trade war saps demand / AFP
“The price of rubber has slumped 20 percent since June, as those same tariffs bite hard on demand from factories in China — the market for more than half its latex exports.”
The chipmaker caught in US assault on China’s tech ambitions / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co. built a $6 billion plant to produce semiconductors as part of China’s goal of making the country a self-sufficient technology powerhouse. But after the U.S. President barred exports to the company, its dream is now in tatters with consultants from American suppliers gone, the factories silent and workers rattled.”
The US, China and Wall Street’s man in the middle / FT (paywall)
“The most prominent — and controversial — of the potential next-generation Kissingers is Blackstone co-founder Stephen Schwarzman, who has long-standing commercial interests in China and a close personal relationship with Mr. Trump.”
A winter-coat heavyweight gives Trump’s trade war the cold shoulder / NYT (porous paywall)
“At Columbia, the response is to lean heavily on the company’s long experience in navigating the thicket of trade restrictions it has faced in the United States and abroad. Every fleece vest and waterproof glove stamped with the Columbia logo is manufactured abroad, and the company has come to rely on a system of pairing its designers with its team of trade experts, who recommend work-arounds that can help an item of clothing circumvent tariffs.”
5. Xinjiang: Footage of internment camps
It’s been only three months since we compiled our explainer on the Chinese state’s attempt to wipe out Uyghur culture with a vast system of internment camps, and it’s already out of date. The bad news from Xinjiang does not stop:
Xinjiang’s “vocational training centers” look exactly like prisons: Bitter Winter has obtained video from an internment camp in Xinjiang, which shows cameras in washrooms, rooms sealed with metal bars, locked prison cells, and enough space to imprison several thousand people.
A Han Chinese documentary photographer named Lú Guǎng 卢广 has disappeared in Xinjiang, according to his wife’s Twitter account. She has not heard from him since November 6.
The CCP is destroying businesses in Xinjiang, reports Bitter Winter. “In its zeal to ‘maintain stability’ in the Muslim majority province, the authorities have plunged to ridiculous depths and are effectively crippling business owners.”
The world is slowly waking up to the abuses: The Washington Post published this editorial on the weekend: China is creating concentration camps in Xinjiang. Here’s how we hold it accountable.
Meanwhile, exiled Uyghurs in Turkey are opening language centers in Istanbul, hoping to preserve their culture and their children’s Uyghur identity — see this South China Morning Post report.
6. Using foreign citizens as hostages is a ‘normal practice in China’
Liú Chāngmíng 刘昌明, former executive at the state-owned Bank of Communications, is a key suspect in a $1.4 billion fraud and corruption case, and one of China’s most wanted fugitives. He disappeared in 2007.
His wife and two twentysomething children, American citizens, have been living in the U.S., apparently in a great deal of comfort. That ended in June when they flew back to China to visit an ailing grandfather on Hainan Island, according to a New York Times story (porous paywall) by crack reporters Edward Wong and Michael Forsythe.
The government detained the Liu children and their mother, Sandra Han, and then slapped an exit ban on them. “By holding the family hostage…the police are trying to force the siblings’ father to return to China to face criminal charges,” according to the Times, even though the Liu children say their father cut off contact with his family in 2012.
The police have assured Liu’s family that they are not being investigated for any crime — they’re just bait for Liu Changming.
“The Chinese Foreign Ministry defended the holding of the three family members,” says the Times: “The people you mentioned all own legal and valid identity documents as Chinese citizens,” said a spokesperson. “Because they are suspected of economic crimes, they are restricted from exiting the country by the Chinese police in accordance with the law.”
The Global Times has assured us that it is completely normal to hold the families of criminal suspects as hostages — see Interrogation and investigation over families of fugitive suspects involved in serious crimes a normal practice in China: experts.
7. Jack Ma, expedientist
“China’s most famous capitalist is a Communist,” says the Wall Street Journal (paywall): “Alibaba’s Mǎ Yún 马云 is identified by the People’s Daily as a Party member, casting light on an issue previously unclear.”
Joining the Chinese Communist Party is not something actual communists do any more, as some Marxist students of Peking University could tell you if they weren’t being kidnapped or harassed into silence, so perhaps I can correct the Wall Street Journal opening sentence: “China’s most famous capitalist needs to keep the Communist Party happy if he wants to keep his billions and stay out of jail so like many other business people in China will do anything necessary to keep his business.”
—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief
BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
China’s surging demand for blood is drawing the world’s largest suppliers / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“China’s surging demand for blood products is drawing the world’s largest suppliers, including Barcelona-based Grifols SA, which is in talks for a possible $5 billion transaction that would be its second acquisition in the country this year.”
From last week: One of China’s biggest blood-products firms looks to go global / Caixin (paywall)
“Shanghai RAAS Blood Products Co. Ltd. said in a statement Thursday that it will acquire Grifols Diagnostic Solutions Inc. (GDS), a U.S. subsidiary of Spanish blood-product giant Grifols valued at around $5 billion, in exchange for new RAAS shares….
Since its founding in 1988, Shanghai RAAS has become China’s leading producer and seller of clinical blood products — which are derived from human blood — including human albumin, which is used to treat those who have blood deficiencies, such as some cancer patients.”
Beidou, the GPS rival
China is building a $9 billion rival to the American-run GPS / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“Location data beamed from GPS satellites are used by smartphones, car navigation systems, the microchip in your dog’s neck and guided missiles — and all those satellites are controlled by the U.S. Air Force. That makes the Chinese government uncomfortable, so it’s developing an alternative that a U.S. security analyst calls one of the largest space programs the country has undertaken.
CEO of German robotics firm ousted by new Chinese owners
Till Reuter faces ousting as chief of German robotics group Kuka / FT (paywall)
“Robotics group Kuka said it is in talks to remove its chief executive less than two years after the German company was acquired by Chinese appliance group Midea for €4.5bn.”
Thorsten Benner on Twitter: “Midea’s Kuka 2016 takeover started debate on Chinese investment in German tech companies. Midea made far-reaching promises to guarantee Kuka’s autonomy. Now CEO Till Reuter is leaving Kika & 4 out 6 members in board of directors are from Chinese investors”
The dirty work behind artificial intelligence
How cheap labor drives China’s A.I. ambitions / NYT (porous paywall)
“I used to think the machines are geniuses… Now I know we’re the reason for their genius.”
The end of China’s auto boom?
In China’s hinterland, car market growth engine sputters / Reuters
“China’s car market, the world’s largest, is on the brink of its first sales contraction in almost three decades, according to industry data, a signal of wider economic strains that are rattling the country’s leaders in Beijing. The slowdown — aggravated by a protracted trade war with the United States — is being most sharply felt in smaller, provincial cities.”
Serious flaws in commercial pilot training
Engine trouble: Chinese airline mishaps put spotlight on pilots / WSJ (paywall)
“Chinese airlines were buffeted this summer by a series of cockpit blunders that put passengers’ lives at risk, pointing to what foreign pilots say are serious flaws in training as China’s booming aviation industry struggles to meet demand for flight crews.”
The Michelangelo, then the rebrand: big week for a Chinese stock / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“The one-time Chinese bricks and concrete maker, which plans to raise $75 million in $10 installments to buy Michelangelo’s ‘Crucifixion’ painting, said on Friday that it had renamed itself Millennium Fine Art Ltd.”
Swine fever panic
China’s Xiamen Airlines puts pork back on the menu after swine fever ‘misunderstanding’ / Reuters
“China’s Xiamen Airlines has reversed a short-lived ban and resumed serving pork on flights after a ‘misunderstanding’ about the measures being taken to tackle African swine fever, the deadly disease sweeping China’s pig herd.”
Vaccine safety and flu shot shortages
China pharma crackdown leads to flu vaccine shortage / FT (paywall)
PNG upholds deal with Huawei to lay internet cable, derides counter-offer / Reuters
Huawei says it’s “surprised” by report that US is pushing more foreign allies to blacklist its network services / SCMP
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
Why is Beijing building a new airport?
A big new airport shows china’s strengths (and weaknesses) / NYT (porous paywall)
Ian Johnson writes on the Chinese capital’s shiny new airport, set to open in September 2019. It’s an impressive structure, “Yet the airport also reflects a less glamorous side of China’s rapid change: a reliance on the heavy hand of big infrastructure as a salve for deeper problems in politics and economics.”
One reason for building a new airport in Beijing: “In China everything is related to economic development… They needed something to drive growth.”
Another reason: “With roughly 70 percent of airspace controlled by the military (versus 20 percent in the United States), commercial aircraft flying in China are limited to narrow tunnels in the sky.” This means that options for departure and arrival routing for each airport are greatly reduced.
Industrial water pollution
Fujian chemical spill was 10 times larger than initially reported / Caixin
“The amount of toxic C9 aromatic hydrocarbon leaked into the sea in East China’s Fujian province was 10 times higher than the amount originally reported, the Quanzhou municipal government said at a press conference Sunday.”
Attack on Chinese consulate in Pakistan
The lesson of the Pakistan suicide attack: China will have to pay a high price for its infrastructure plan / Raffaello Pantucci
“China’s greatest security problem in strife-torn Pakistan is that it is increasingly becoming the focus of separatists’ attention.”
China’s megaprojects fuel unease in Pakistan / AP
Chinese businesses face resentment, terror attacks in Pakistan / Bloomberg via Straits Times
Taiwan after the election
Taiwan rebukes ruling party, emboldens China-friendly opposition / Reuters
“Voters in Taiwan have delivered a strong rebuke to the island’s pro-independence ruling party in local elections, emboldening the China-friendly opposition, one of whose main figures says he will now reach out to Beijing to forge more friendly ties.”
Taiwan asked voters 10 questions. It got some unexpected answers / NYT (porous paywall)
“When voters were asked a record 10 questions… Their answers simultaneously undermined Taiwan’s reputation as one of Asia’s most progressive societies, angered many young Taiwanese and inadvertently assisted Beijing’s claims that Taiwan is part of its territory.”
Taiwanese president quits party leadership after pro-China rivals claim ballot landslide / Washington Post
“Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen announced on Saturday plans to step down as party chairwoman following sweeping midterm losses against a rival party that favors closer relations with China.”
LGBT activists raise fears, as Taiwan’s progressive image takes a hit after poll / AFP
“Rival referendums on same-sex unions saw ‘pro-family’ groups defeat pro-gay campaigners in what Amnesty International called a ‘bitter blow and a step backwards for human rights.’”
Young, Taiwanese and political: Youth politics in 2018 / The News Lens International Edition
Chinese responses to Taiwan election
Beijing seeks to build ties with Taiwanese cities after ruling party suffers election defeat / SCMP
China heaps pressure on Taiwan president after poll defeat / Reuters
Opinion: China will wait until 2030 to take back Taiwan – unless the island forces Xi Jinping’s hand / by Dèng Yùwén 邓聿文 in the SCMP
“With cross-strait relations deteriorating and the United States frequently playing the Taiwan card , there is a distinct possibility of a Chinese military takeover of Taiwan. I have said President Xi Jinping is likely to recover Taiwan in 2020 , the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. But I am reassessing the timetable in light of the US-China trade war.”
New Zealand government and colleagues still silent on intimidation of China scholar
New Zealand pressured to defend rights of China researcher / AFP
“The open letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern from 29 university academics and human rights campaigners, including Amnesty International New Zealand, was triggered by the alleged intimidation of prominent China researcher Anne-Marie Brady.”
Thoughts prompted by the open letter / Croaking Cassandra
“Much as I care about the intimidation and threats to Professor Brady, if there is a narrow issue of academic freedom, it is probably more about the utter silence of the rest of the China-focused New Zealand academic community. It was perhaps also telling that no university vice-chancellors signed the open letter. Perhaps they are all sympathetic — and there have been no reports of Canterbury trying to close Professor Brady down — but they have enrolments to sell, and the PRC is a big and threatening market.”
India border — ‘some important consensus’
People’s Daily on Twitter: “Senior officials of China and India had reached some important consensus on boundary issues during a Saturday meeting, including agreeing to jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas before a final settlement, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.…”
‘China, India made constructive proposals for early solution to border dispute’ / Economic Times of India
“China and India made some ‘constructive, operable and forward looking’ suggestions during the just concluded 21st round of border talks to move forward to achieve an early solution to the dispute and to maintain peace and tranquillity at the borders, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Monday.”
India infrastructure construction near border risks angering Beijing / Global Times
“Indian television NDTV reported on Monday that India will speed up infrastructure projects along its border with China.”
21st India, China border talks end with both agreeing to maintain peace along the border / Wion News
The Swedish king and the bookseller behind bars without a trial
Why the Swedish King is cancelling his China trip over Gui Minhai / InBeijing
“According to national Swedish television (SVT), the decision was made due to ”complicated ongoing negotiations” over Guì Mǐnhǎi 桂敏海, the Swedish publisher who have been imprisoned in China for over 1,100 days without a trial.”
Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf pulls out of a trip to mainland China and Hong Kong as Stockholm presses for release of detained bookseller Gui Minhai / SCMP
“Last-minute cancellation raised speculation Carl XVI Gustaf was trying to exert pressure on Beijing over the release of detained publisher Gui Minhai.”
Maldives rethinking China deals
Maldives’ new finance minister blames China for inflating prices of infrastructure projects / SCMP
“During a five-year building spree, China built a sea bridge and is developing an airport as well as building mass housing on land reclaimed from the sea.”
Bad news from Africa
One African nation put the brakes on chinese debt. But not for long. / NYT (porous paywall)
Last month, the government of Sierra Leone “decided that the multimillion-dollar price tag” for a planned China-built airport was too high, “so it canceled the financing that made construction possible: a more than $300 million loan from China that Sierra Leone might have struggled to repay… Yet only a few days after his announcement about scrapping the deal, [the president] appeared on state-owned Chinese television to make clear that he was not backing away from China after all.”
Conservationists in Ghana dig in against China-backed bauxite mining plans / SCMP
“Environmental activists want Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo to abandon plans with China to mine bauxite in the Atewa Range Forest Reserve, a habitat of rare plants and animals.”
Kenya charges three Chinese railway workers with bribery / Reuters
“Prosecutors in Kenya charged three Chinese men on Monday (Nov 26) with trying to bribe detectives investigating fraud involving ticket sales on a US$3.2 billion railway built by a Chinese company.”
Good news from Africa
Ethiopia is set to launch its first satellite into space—with China’s help / Quartz
“With Beijing’s assistance, Ethiopia is heading to space in just under a year. The Horn of Africa nation announced it would launch its first earth observatory satellite in Sept. 2019, with China footing much of the bill.”
The Chinese who helped make tiny Mauritius an African success story / SCMP
“In Mauritius, the Chinese community only makes up about 3 per cent of the island’s 1.2 million population – but their influence is large.”
Chinese city ‘swallowed’ as ferocious sandstorm creates blizzard of hazards for police and firefighter / SCMP
Lauri Myllyvirta on Twitter: “Terrible air pollution situation across northern China right now! Beijing and Hebei rustbelt AQI up to 400, much of Inner Mongolia >1000.…”
South China Sea
In South China Sea, a display of U.S. Navy strength — and a message to Beijing / Washington Post
Beijing plans an AI Atlantis for the South China Sea – without a human in sight / SCMP
The ghosts of reforms past
Hu Yaobang rises from the past with official statue in hometown / SCMP
“A statue of reformist Communist Party leader Hú Yàobāng 胡耀邦 has been officially unveiled in his hometown in southern China, almost three decades after his death helped ignite protests in Tiananmen Square.”
Man gets 10 years behind bars for buying ivory
Court upholds man’s prison sentence for buying ivory products / China Daily
“The 48-year-old man, surnamed Lei, from Hebei province, was earlier sentenced to nine years and six months in prison by Beijing’s Xicheng district court for illegally purchasing endangered wildlife products.”
Bribing and bullying foreign media
China is paying foreign journalists, including from India, to report from Beijing / ThePrint
“For 10 months every year, starting 2016, China’s foreign ministry has hosted around 100 foreign journalists from leading media houses in Asia and Africa. They have been given the red-carpet treatment.”
‘Bullying’ of GMA news team at Scarborough alarming, Robredo says / Philstar
“Chinese Coast Guard driving a GMA News team away from Scarborough Shoal (also called Panatag Shoal and Baho de Masinloc) and requiring them to seek China’s permission to conduct interviews there is a cause for concern and anger, Vice President Leni Robredo said.”
Whither Hong Kong opposition?
Soul-searching and public apology from Hong Kong opposition after decisive defeat in by-election to pro-establishment camp / SCMP
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
Jackie Chan’s daughter marries internet celebrity girlfriend Andi Autumn / SCMP
“Jackie Chan’s 19-year-old daughter Etta Ng Chok Lam [吴绮莉 Wú Qǐlì] confirmed on Monday morning that she had married her 31-year-old Canadian internet celebrity girlfriend Andi Autumn… Ng and Autumn started dating in 2017 and moved to Canada in October that year, but their relationship failed to win support from her parents.”
Chinese police target marijuana smokers
What you need to know about China’s recent drug crackdown / That’s Guangzhou
“There has been a significant increase in drugs-related detentions and deportations for possession of, or testing positive for, drugs in China. Especially category B drugs such as marijuana.” British Embassy stats show that “double the number of British people have been detained this year compared to same period in 2017,” and that the crackdown is nationwide, and happening in smaller cities, not just Beijing and Shanghai.
Expensive ancient art
Ancient Chinese painting auctioned for almost US$60 million / AFP
“A nearly 1,000-year-old ink painting by one of China’s greatest literati masters Sū Shì [苏轼 a.k.a. Sū Dōngpō 苏东坡] fetched US$59.5 million at auction, Christie’s said Monday (Nov 26). The auction house has described the Song Dynasty artwork created by Su as ‘one of the world’s rarest Chinese paintings.’”
Chinese woman paralysed by falling dog sues entire building / SCMP
“A woman in southeast China is suing the tenants and landlord of an entire industrial plant after being paralysed from the neck down in April when a dog falling from a second-floor balcony hit her on the head.”
Police on the lookout for China’s ‘most beautiful criminal’ / SCMP
“A female suspect on the run from police in southwest China has been dubbed the country’s most beautiful criminal after her mugshot went viral on social media.”
TCM clinic owner on trial for molesting 3 dancers during massages / Channel NewsAsia
A catwalk model’s account of the Dolce & Gabbana fiasco
I watched D&G’s China show fall apart from the inside / Dazed
VIDEO ON SUPCHINA
Viral on Weibo: Tit for tat — a reaction to Dolce & Gabbana’s marketing mess in China
One week after Italian fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana released its controversial ad campaign on November 18 ahead of its Shanghai show, the backlash against the brand in China continues.
FEATURED ON SUPCHINA
Taiwan’s political landscape changes overnight
On Saturday, the people of Taiwan headed to the polls to cast ballots for nearly 11,000 officials, in local elections — think mid-terms — and essentially repainted the map of Taiwan blue from green, or from ruling party Democratic Progressive Party (民進黨 mínjìndǎng) broadly pro-independence to the more China-friendly Nationalist, or Kuomindang (國民黨 guómíndǎng). The results were also a huge letdown for LGBT activists in Taiwan.
Kuora: Explaining mainland China’s case against Taiwan independence
This week’s column looks at the mainland Chinese argument for Taiwan being a part of China as opposed to an independent country. The PRC holds that Taiwan was part of China since at least as far back as the 17th century, when it was extensively settled by people from Fujian province across the strait during the Ming Dynasty.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Outside the train station in Qingdao
A taxi driver plays a prank on his friend while waiting in line to pick up passengers outside the Qingdao train station in Shandong Province. Photo by Daniel Hinks.