A quarter million cheering North Koreans greet Xi Jinping

Access Archive

Dear Access member,

A recommendation on SupChina: the latest Chinese Corner column from Jiayun Feng: Traditional Chinese medicine: Will facts ever sway believers?

The free version of our newsletter, in case you missed it, has now gone weekly. You can see a sample and subscribe here if you like the format of a simple weekly summary — five news items only in each email. All the content is drawn from our website, or from material previously sent to you in Access newsletters, so you won’t miss anything by not subscribing.

“The New Normal: The perils of being a Chinese scientist or engineer in the U.S. is the title of a panel discussion at the China Institute in New York on June 27.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief


1. 250,000 cheering North Koreans greet Xi Jinping  

The South China Morning Post reports:

Hundreds of thousands of flag-waving citizens turned out to welcome Chinese President Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 as he arrived in Pyongyang on Thursday for a two-day state visit to North Korea. Xi is making his first trip as president to the country, and its leader Kim Jong-un appeared to be taking no chances on ensuring him a warm welcome.

An estimated 250,000 people were mobilized to demonstrate their delight as Xi was driven through the streets of Pyongyang to a guest house in the grounds of the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun…

…Xi’s trip is the first by a Chinese president to North Korea since Hu Jintao crossed the border in 2005. It is also the first ever “state” visit since the two Communist nations established diplomatic ties in 1949.

You can get a sense of the atmosphere — reminiscent of a Cultural Revolution mass gathering — in this CCTV clip. Beijing is responding to Pyongyang’s hospitality with reciprocal rhetoric: Xi, Kim agree to jointly create bright future of bilateral ties, says Xinhua.

Why now? The Wall Street Journal points to the obvious answer (paywall): Xi and Kim are “both seeking leverage with the U.S.” and displaying unity “as they look to bolster bargaining positions with Trump.”

2. U.S. companies that may shift production out of China

Fox News may less reliable than China Central Television as a source of political information, but their U.S. business coverage is fine, when they keep the rabid people away from the camera and word processor. Here is an abridged excerpt from an article published today:

Apple is reportedly considering moving up to 30 percent of their production from China to Southeast Asia, the latest company to join a small but growing list of firms that are evaluating their supply chains in the region amid continued trade tensions.

GoPro

The action camera company is moving the bulk of its production out of China to Mexico by mid-2019. It will still continue to manufacture its local products in the country.

Hasbro

The toymaker is shifting most of its production from China to Mexico, Vietnam and India due to Trump’s tariffs.

Steve Madden

The footwear and handbag maker, which ships the bulk of its goods from China, is shifting production to Cambodia.  

Stanley Black & Decker

The firm is shifting production of its hallmark Craftsman brand to the U.S., where it is opening a new facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

Brooks Running

The athletic footwear maker owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is moving production from China to Vietnam, largely due to the new tariffs.

Whirlpool Corp.

The company is moving the manufacturing of some of its KitchenAid appliances to the U.S. from China.

Intel Corp.

CEO Bob Swan in June told Bloomberg the company is reviewing its supply chain and whether production can be shifted out of China.

Other news from the U.S.-China Trade and Tech War (day 350) below:

Chinese companies spend cash on lobbying in D.C.

Politico reports:

Eight…Chinese companies have spent at least $7.9 million hiring Washington lobbying and public relations firms since last spring, right before Trump cracked down on a different Chinese telecom company, ZTE, according to a POLITICO analysis of disclosure filings. That’s nearly eight times what the same companies spent in the same period a year earlier.

Huawei

  • Occasional SupChina contributor Eliot Zaagman took reader questions to a Huawei junket.

  • “Huawei…has promised to fully refund the cost of its smartphones and tablets in the Philippines in the event the devices are unable to support…apps…from Google and Facebook,” reports the South China Morning Post.

  • “Huawei has just been ranked the country’s most attractive employer, beating out rivals such as Alibaba and Tencent, according to a new survey of more than 50,000 Chinese students by research firm Universum,” reports CNN.

  • Huawei Iran-sanctions evidence deemed too risky for China to see is the headline from Bloomberg: “Some evidence used to charge Huawei with bank fraud and violating U.S. sanctions on Iran was deemed so sensitive that the Chinese telecom giant’s lawyers must now take unusual steps to review the information — and even then, the company may never see it,”.

3. Chengdu, gay capital of China

Chengdu, with a population of 16 million, is one of China’s most pleasant, laid-back, and tolerant cities. Bloomberg reports that its relatively open-minded atmosphere is creating a vibrant LGBT scene, attracting many companies hoping to tap into the rainbow economy — “the ecosystem of consumers, companies, and workers that serve the nation’s LGBT population,” reports Bloomberg (porous paywall).

  • $300 billion a year is the estimated size of China’s rainbow economy, based on state media reports.

  • Gay dating app Blued recently voted Chengdu the gay capital of China, although the city has had this reputation for some time: In 2010, a user of the social network Douban wrote a post explaining (in Chinese) why Chengdu was China’s “Gay 都” (the Chinese character is pronounced “dū” and is both the second character of Chengdu and the word for “capital city”).

  • There were 140,500 gay men in Chengdu according to a 2018 study by Tongle Health Counseling Service Center cited by Bloomberg, which notes that while a UN study found that while only 5 percent of China’s LGBT population “live their diversity openly…there’s a growing gay and lesbian public presence in second-tier cities such as Chengdu.”

  • China decriminalized homosexuality in 1997 and removed it from an official list of mental disorders in 2001, but the LGBT community is still vulnerable to discrimination and police harassment.

For a long discussion of LGBT life in China, listen to this Sinica Podcast with activist and filmmaker Fàn Pōpō 范坡坡.

4. Chinese reggae pioneers

The first Chinese arrived in Jamaica as indentured laborers for British sugar plantations in the 1850s and 1860s, and continued to immigrate voluntarily in small groups right up until the 1940s. Originating mostly from Guangdong and Fujian, Chinese immigrants in the Caribbean did exactly what they do elsewhere in the world: They opened small businesses, got rich, and sent their kids to good schools.

But maybe Chinese doctors started using some of the local herbs in their remedies because something different happened in Jamaica: Kingston’s Chinese population was involved from the earliest days with the down and dirty ghetto music that became reggae.

Beijing-based graphic artist Krish Raghav has just published a graphic short story about Chinese contributions to reggae, and the state of the musical form in China today.

The page linked above includes an audio file of Shanghai-born Stephen Cheng and Jamaican-Chinese Byron Lee’s 1967 proto-reggae song “Always Together,” a rocksteady rendition of Taiwanese folk song Ālǐ shān de gūniáng 阿里山的姑娘, sung in Mandarin.

If you want to know more, you might enjoy the book Reggae Routes by Chinese-Jamaicans Kevin O’Brien Chang and Wayne Chen.

—–

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:

One of the most prevalent violations of Baidu’s rules was the use of keyword variants, particularly those related to health care. These variants are keywords that closely resemble more common search terms. One example might be a common misspelling of a popular keyword. Baidu said advertisers sometimes use these variants of keywords to circumvent its scrutiny and to mislead consumers with bogus treatments. Baidu said it has refused to sell 160 million of these misleading medical keywords over the first five months of this year.

  • Wanda raises money again
    China’s Dalian Wanda plans Singapore REIT listing / WSJ (porous paywall)
    “Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group is planning to list a real-estate business in Singapore, in a deal that could value that collection of properties at more than $1 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said.”

  • Google’s censored search engine
    Google defeats shareholders on ‘Dragonfly’ censored search in China / TechCrunch
    “A shareholder resolution aimed at halting Google’s efforts to bring a censored version of its search engine to China has failed. Shareholders tabled a resolution to demand Google put the brakes on its controversial search engine efforts in China.”  
    Google investors’ call for China rights review fails / China Digital Times (CDT)

  • Using art to sell cosmetics
    The lipstick Met Museum designed for China’s Gen Z / Jing Daily
    “Drawing inspiration from its collection of royal portraits, the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET) has partnered with the fashionable Chinese cosmetics brand Perfect Diary to release a limited-edition collection of eight lipsticks.”

  • Electric cars — is Nio on the road now?
    Nio stalls in its quest to become China’s Tesla / Caixin (porous paywall)
    “The electric-vehicle maker sometimes called China’s answer to Tesla (and sometimes just called a wannabe) began deliveries on Tuesday of its second model, the five-seat ES6 SUV. The milestone, along with a recently announced partnership with a new investor, might leave some wondering if the automaker, whose shares have lost 60 percent of their value since its initial public offering on Sept. 12, is on the cusp of a turnaround.”

  • The state moves in on solar
    State sector gobbles up private solar firms reeling from slashed subsidies / Caixin (porous paywall)
    “They tried to make hay while the sun shone, but were left with mountains of debt. Now, after driving the rapid development of China’s solar power capacity, debt-saddled private energy companies are being picked apart by the state sector that has swooped in to purchase their assets.”

  • The business of garbage
    China’s garbage, trash and recycling stocks surge on waste plans / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
    “Trash is cash — at least for investors in China’s environment sector. Garbage treatment and recycling-related stocks are rallying, revived by new guidelines requiring more stringent sorting and waste treatment in large cities.”

  • Independent hackers
    This former Chinese hacker used USB sticks to steal data from hotel guests and then sold it on a popular freelancing site / CNBC
    “A former hacker from China’s People’s Liberation Army was inspired by Russians to steal business plans and selling them, according to Kate Fazzini’s new book, ‘Kingdom of Lies.’”

  • Fake government stats amidst economic slump
    China’s economic census uncovers more fake data / SCMP
    “Guanghan city in Sichuan province is the latest to have been found to have falsified data by the National Bureau of Statistics. Local officials are under pressure to meet economic growth targets for personal promotion as well as the trade war with the United States.”

SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:

  • Climate change: Threats to the Himalayas
    Climate change is causing Himalayan glaciers to melt twice as fast, research shows / SCMP
    “The rate at which Himalayan glaciers are melting because of climate change has doubled over the past two decades, creating a huge threat to the hundreds of millions of people who rely on the run-off from them for their water supply, according to a new study by American scientists.”

  • The 1975 Banqiao Dam Disaster revisited
    Dam in distress / The World of Chinese

It’s one of the deadliest structural failures you’ve never heard of. While HBO’s Chernobyl is gaining plaudits for its detailed depiction of the worst nuclear accident in history, China’s Banqiao Dam Disaster has only a few CCTV documentaries to its name.

Indeed, few outside of Henan province remember the 1975 incident, which occurred just a decade before the infamous Reactor 4 meltdown in Pripyat, Ukraine, 1986. At the time, the Cultural Revolution had isolated China from the world’s gaze, the death tolls from disasters were treated as state secrets.

POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:

Approximately 2,000 Uyghurs live in Pakistan’s northwest, divided between the cities of Rawalpindi and Gilgit. For the past six months, China has doubled down on collecting data on Uighurs in the country, including where they live, where their parents migrated from, and how many children they have, [Uyghur and Pakistan citizen] Muhammad Umar Khan told BuzzFeed News.

The group gathering information on Pakistan’s Uyghurs are members of an organization called the Ex-Chinese Association, and have been going door to door in Uighur neighborhoods in Rawalpindi distributing “registration forms” to Pakistani citizens of Chinese descent. They say the forms will allow Uyghur children to attend Chinese Embassy–run schools for free. Khan fears that information will be used against Pakistani Uighurs by the Chinese government, including to extradite them to Xinjiang and have them placed in internment camps under false charges.

Mèng Hóngwěi 孟宏伟 was elected Interpol president in November 2016 China says the former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei has admitted his guilt after going on trial for taking more than $2 million in bribes. State media said the court in Tianjin would give its verdict at a later date.

Mr Meng, who was the first Chinese head of Interpol, vanished on a trip back to China from France last September.

A prominent Chinese lawyer has been formally stripped of his license to practise, four years after a nationwide police operation targeting the country’s human rights lawyers beginning on July 9, 2015…

Liú Xiǎoyuán 刘晓原 said he believes the move came in retaliation for a photo he posted to social media on Monday of himself selling insecticides as a street hawker, because he is no longer able to work as a lawyer.

“I think that because of yesterday’s photo, they decided to deal the final blow and cancel my license,” Liu told RFA.

In a rare open letter posted on its official WeChat account on Thursday, Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group lashed out at China Mengniu Dairy for allegedly infringing its status as the sole sponsor of dairy products at the Beijing games. Mengniu has supposedly signed up to be a “joint beverage global partner” of the International Olympic Committee with Coca -Cola Co., bypassing the local organizers and government agencies, said Yili.

One of the model versions of the program is being rolled out in the eastern city of Suzhou. Yet most locals appear to be unaware of it, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday, raising the question of how effective such systems can be in shaping behavior. In a study published earlier this year by Genia Kostka, a professor of Chinese politics at the Free University of Berlin, barely one in 10 survey respondents covered by government social-credit systems knew they even existed, compared with four out of five people on commercial social-credit platforms, such as Ant Financial’s Sesame Credit.

  • Book review: China-Japan relations
    Edward S. Steinfeld reviews Ezra Vogel’s “China and Japan: Facing History” / Harvard Magazine
    “As Ezra Vogel, Ford professor of the social sciences emeritus, so brilliantly argues in his latest book, China and Japan: Facing History, probably no other bilateral relationship comes close to combining the mixture of profound cultural affinity, intense national rivalry, and long-term geopolitical import found in that between China and Japan.”

SOCIETY AND CULTURE:

  • Religion in China
    Shanghai Sacred: inside China’s religious revival / The Guardian
    “Photographer and anthropologist Liz Hingley uncovers the spiritual landscape of China’s largest city, revealing the spaces and rituals of this cosmopolitan megalopolis that is home to 26 million people — and to religious groups from Buddhism to Islam, Christianity to Baha’ism, Hinduism to Taoism.”


FEATURED ON SUPCHINA

Click Here

Chinese Corner: Traditional Chinese medicine: Will facts ever sway believers?

In this installment of Jiayun Feng’s weekly review of interesting nonfiction on the Chinese internet, she looks at the contentious debate over traditional Chinese medicine, Ofo’s dramatic fall, end-of-life care in China, and the most relatable news program on Chinese television.

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste

Everything has changed in the U.S.-China relationship — where do we go from here? In an essay published to accompany this week’s Sinica Podcast, Ryan Hass explains why the relationship will not return to the days before President Trump was elected, and suggests five questions the U.S. policy community could use to structure its thinking towards China going forward.


SINICA PODCAST NETWORK

Click Here

Sinica Podcast: A voice of reason within the Beltway: Ryan Hass vs. the so-called bipartisan consensus

Ryan Hass, who served as the Director for China on the National Security Council during President Barack Obama’s second term, is alarmed at the direction that the U.S. policy toward China has been taking, and offers good sense on what we could be doing instead. While clear-eyed about Beijing, he warns that the path Washington is now on will lead to some dire outcomes. Ryan joins Kaiser in a show taped at the Brookings Institution, where Ryan now serves as a Rubenstein fellow with the John L. Thornton China Center.

NüVoices Podcast: Legal advocacy against domestic violence in China

In episode 17 of the NüVoices Podcast, host Joanna Chiu sits down with Siodhbhra Parkin, the director of the new, nonprofit arm of SupChina, to discuss her work in the field of legal advocacy against domestic violence when she was based at an international non-governmental organization (NGO) in Beijing. The two discuss the inspiring efforts of anti-domestic-violence activists in China both before and after the passage of a new law that has made collaboration between Chinese and foreign NGOs considerably more difficult. Siodhbhra also reflects on her experiences studying law in China, and the ongoing importance of finding ways to support beleaguered Chinese rule of law advocates and activists. Siodhbhra is a graduate of Harvard University and the Renmin University of China Law School and is now based in New York. This week, Joanna joins her from Vancouver, where she works as the bureau chief of The Star Vancouver.