China to buy 300 Airbus planes despite Macron’s grumbling

Access Archive

Dear Access member,

Below are three announcements about upcoming events. Scroll down for today’s news, and simply reply to this email to give me feedback.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief

Women’s Conference: Only 6 days left for early-bird tickets!

We are hosting our third annual SupChina Women’s Conference in New York on May 20, 2019. It’s a conference about business, technology, and finance in the U.S.-China sphere with an all-female lineup of star panelists.

If you’d like to attend the conference, buy your tickets soon, as early-bird prices (a 25 percent discount!) only run until March 31. As an Access member, be sure to claim your additional 10 percent off any ticket with the promo code SCWCACCESS2019.

Also, this year, we are once again going to honor SupChina Female Rising Stars for recognizable professional success in the early years of their career, one in business and one from the nonprofit sector. Please submit your nominations before the deadline of April 5 to Click here for more information and for nomination criteria.

Howard French, live in New York with Sinica

If you’re in New York on April 3, please join me and Kaiser Kuo for a special live taping of the Sinica Podcast with Howard W. French of Columbia University. French is a career foreign correspondent and the author of five books, including three works of nonfiction, a work of documentary photography, and a forthcoming memoir of his life in journalism.  

The Taiwan Relations Act and Future of U.S.-Taiwan Relations

Our friends at the American Mandarin Society are hosting a Chinese-language policy lecture on Friday, March 29, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Stimson Center, featuring Su Chih-Hsuan (蘇志軒 Sū Zhìxuān), a specialist from Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense and a visiting fellow at CSIS.

—Jeremy Goldkorn and team

1. Airbus scores big even if Macron does not like Belt and Road

After persuading Italy to join the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese President Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 and his entourage are in France. Reuters reports that “France signed 15 business contracts with China worth billions of euros on Monday, including a 300-plane order with Airbus and a 1 billion euro contract for EDF to build an offshore wind farm in China.”

  • The Airbus order “was the most lucrative of the deals unveiled in Paris, with a French presidency official saying it was worth about 30 billion euros ($33.94 billion).”  

  • “France’s Fives and China National Building Materials Group signed a 1 billion euro ($1.13 billion) deal to cooperate on energy savings in developing countries, [and] shipping line CMA CGM and China State Shipbuilding Corporation signed a 1.2 billion euro ($1.36 billion) deal to build 10 container ships.”

  • French poultry exports are welcome in China again: An embargo imposed that followed bird flu outbreaks in France was lifted.  

But it’s not all champagne and smiles for Xi in Europe:

  • Despite the deal with Italy, the Washington Post points out that “elsewhere in Europe, brows are getting all the more furrowed,” noting French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent comments about “European naivete” over Chinese intentions and the risk of European nations becoming “vassal states.”

  • “The EU’s budget commissioner, Günther Oettinger, proposed on Sunday giving the bloc the right to deny Chinese-funded infrastructure deals in Europe if they don’t serve the EU’s common interests,” reports Deutsche Welle. He said this the day after Italy signed up to BRI.

  • “Politically, geopolitically, I deem (it) really unwise from the Italian government to take such a decision without coordination with the European Union and our allies,” Italy’s former prime minister Paolo Gentiloni told CNBC.

  • “Italy’s agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping to join the Belt and Road development project is triggering new tension between the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and its rightist coalition partner the League,” reports Bloomberg (porous paywall).

—Jeremy Goldkorn

2. Trade war and Huawei updates

Here are the most important updates from the weekend on U.S.-China relations, Huawei, and related topics:

  • Senior Chinese politicians lined up to present “an international image of China as a country moving in the direction of greater economic openness” at the China Development Forum, the New York Times reports (porous paywall). NYT reporter Keith Bradsher notes that the promises had been made “many, many times before,” but were nonetheless notable, “as they come right before a push for a trade deal with the United States.”

  • First Germany, then Israel: The Trump administration continues to warn allies that it will pare back intelligence sharing if countries use Huawei equipment. Axios reports in an interview with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

  • A third U.S. navy transit through the Taiwan Strait in three months happened over the weekend, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall).

  • New Zealand PM announces first trip to China: Jacinda Ardern will travel to China on March 31 and have one full day of meetings on April 1, the SCMP reports. The trip was reported in February to be delayed due to frictions over Huawei, but on March 11 was confirmed to still be in the works. It is now shorter than originally anticipated due to the terror attack in Christchurch.

  • Huawei spends at least $300 million annually on academic partnerships, company board member William Xu revealed to the Financial Times in an interview (paywall). In recent months, universities including Oxford and UC Berkeley have announced that they have stopped accepting new funding from Huawei.

—Lucas Niewenhuis

3. The Sensenet data hack

From the latest ChinaAI newsletter, which features translations of Chinese writing on artificial intelligence:

Last month, a data leak revealed that a Chinese facial-recognition company called Sensenets had collected 6.7m GPS locations of 2.6 million people (almost all in Xinjiang) in one database in a 24-hour period, according to security researcher Victor Gevers, who found the database.

Obviously this discovery struck a chord, and it was covered in high-level forums such as the Financial Times and Washington Post editorial board. This week’s 6000-word+ translation of an investigative report by Chinese S&T media platform Jiqizhixin represents the best Chinese-language reporting on the case. It’s not without flaws — any mention of Xinjiang is glaringly absent — but…it [gives] insights that I haven’t seen in any English-language coverage of the case.

Questions addressed in the translated text and brief summaries of their answers include:

What was the nature of the leaked data?

Not only “stills from security camera footage with frames around faces of interest,” the leak included personal identity information.

Where did the data come from?

A researcher “believes that because there was ID card data involved, ‘there is a large probability that this flowed out of the public security system.’” Another engineer said, “There’s also a possibility the data came from other sources (hotels, banks, etc.) that collect user identity information, which then gets sold in underground markets.”

—Jeremy Goldkorn

4. Nana Ou-Yang doubles down on pro-mainland China comments: ‘I love my country’

Nana Ou-Yang 欧阳娜娜, the teen Taiwanese artist who was nearly cancelled by Chinese internet users last week due to her perceived ambiguous position on Taiwan’s relationship with mainland China, has gone further to align herself with Beijing’s views on Taiwan.

On March 23, Chinese Movie Report 中国电影报道, a TV program that airs on the state broadcaster CCTV, released an interview clip with Ou-Yang, in which the 18-year-old stresses her love for mainland China and reiterates her political stance as an opponent of Taiwan’s independence.

Click through to SupChina for more details.

—Jiayun Feng


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

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief





Kuora: China has grand ambitions, but these factors are holding it back

What are the biggest problems, e.g., economic, social, cultural, et cetera, facing China as it redevelops into a world power? The below is Kaiser Kuo’s quick-and-dirty — and incomplete — list. Please note that it conveys a pessimism about the country’s future that isn’t an accurate reflection of Kaiser’s actual outlook, which falls a good bit short of blithely optimistic but is nonetheless not utterly bleak.


Sinica Early Access: Samm Sacks on the U.S.-China tech relationship

This live Sinica Podcast recorded in New York on March 6 features Samm Sacks, Cybersecurity Policy and China Digital Economy Fellow at New America. She and Kaiser Kuo discuss the many facets of U.S.-China technology integration and competition, touching on topics including data security, artificial intelligence, and how to build a “small yard with a high fence.”

  • Sinica Early Access is an ad-free, full-length preview of this week’s Sinica Podcast, exclusively for SupChina Access members. Listen by plugging this RSS feed directly into your podcast app.


Colorful autumn scenery

When fall arrives at Baimaxueshan Mountains National Park in Yunnan Province, larch tree leaves turn yellow. The national park is known for its massive snow-covered mountains and deep canyons. Photo by Michael Yamashita.