What is your mom doing on her mobile phone at night?

Access Archive

1. Party demands screen time from members

China Media Project reports on a new propaganda effort from the Communist Party of China that this week became the most downloaded app on Apple’s China store:

The app’s name, “Xi Study Strong Nation,” or Xue Xi Qiang Guo (学习强国), is derived from a now widely used official pun on the surname of China’s top leader. The surname “Xi” is also the second character in the Chinese word xuexi (学习), meaning “to study…”

The app, or rather the Party that produced it, demands engagement from users: “In a post to the social networking site Douban last month, a post since deleted (archived here), one user talked about how her mother, a teacher at a small town school, had been required to earn a minimum of 40 points a day on the Xi Study Strong Nation”:

When I went home over winter break, I discovered that my mom, who generally didn’t use her mobile so much, was on it every single night, and even would not sleep until late into the night (while she generally was asleep by 10 p.m.). I found this really strange, and only after I asked about it did I learn that the education committee at the subdistrict level had ordered teachers at all schools to download an app called “Xi Study Strong Nation,” and to earn points by fulfilling various tasks every day.

See also: Little red app: Xi’s thoughts are (surprise!) a hit in China / NYT (porous paywall)

“Study the Great Nation recently became the most downloaded app on Apple’s app store in China, and on several app stores that cater to phones running Android as well.”

—Jeremy Goldkorn

2. Pacific Reset update: Trump considers extending trade talks to May

Bloomberg reports (porous paywall) that “President Donald Trump is considering pushing back the deadline for imposition of higher tariffs on Chinese imports by 60 days.” This means that tariffs may not budge until May, rather than the current deadline for a trade agreement of March 1.

  • A possible reason why is suggested in a South China Morning Post report: “Chinese and American negotiators remain far apart on a key US demand meant to ensure Beijing honors any commitment to equal market access and intellectual property protection — an issue the US team sees as crucial in reaching a deal to end the months-old trade war.”

  • Amid the impasse, “Chinese officials…are focusing on ways to boost U.S. exports to China,” the Wall Street Journal says (paywall). “For instance, China’s top economic-planning agency is proposing to increase U.S. semiconductor sales to China to $200 billion over six years… The sum is about a fivefold increase over current exports.”

  • Also in the SCMP: “China raised the idea of setting up a parallel dialogue aimed at resolving Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case” during recent talks in Washington. This may explain why, when Trump was asked after those talks whether the Huawei case was discussed during negotiations, Trump responded, “No, we haven’t discussed that yet. It will be, but it hasn’t been discussed yet.”

Meanwhile, there are many updates related to U.S.-China trade and investment in the news:

—Lucas Niewenhuis

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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


BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:

POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:

“When I went to the Prayer Breakfast the other day, [U.S. President Donald Trump] talked about religious freedom, and we all applauded… But afterwards, I went up to Secretary Pompeo and I said, ‘How come we’re not talking about the Uyghurs?’ and he said, ‘We should — let’s drum it up,’” Pelosi said.

Under the proposed rules, Indian officials could demand that Facebook, Google, Twitter, TikTok and others remove posts or videos that they deem libelous, invasive of privacy, hateful or deceptive. Internet companies would also have to build automated screening tools to block Indians from seeing “unlawful information or content.” Another provision would weaken the privacy protections of messaging services like WhatsApp so that the authorities could trace messages back to their original senders.

  • China pursues economic justice
    China’s environmental crime arrests soar in 2018 / SCMP
    “China arrested 15,095 people for environmental crimes in 2018, up 51.5 percent from a year earlier, the country’s top prosecuting body said on Thursday, as it worked to improve compliance among local governments and enterprises.”

  • Australia woos allies to counter China
    Australia courts Vanuatu to tackle China’s influence / Al Jazeera
    “To counter China’s growing influence in the South Pacific, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison says he wants to step up his country’s engagement in the region.”

SOCIETY AND CULTURE:


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SINICA PODCAST NETWORK

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

Snow on the Forbidden City

It snowed again in Beijing today. This photo by Tai Gang shows the back entrance of the Forbidden City (故宫 gùgōng; literally, “old palace”), looking majestic under the fresh dusting.