Dear Access member,
We’ve got a really short one for you today. Have a great weekend and we’ll be back on Monday with our usual summary of the weekend’s news.
—Jeremy Goldkorn and team
1. ‘Terrorism’: The only field where Beijing and Washington cooperate
Nikkei Asian Review reports (porous paywall):
The decision this week by the U.S. to name a Pakistani separatist group as a terrorist organization is seen by analysts as part of a backdoor deal between Washington and Beijing, after China allowed a United Nations Security Council resolution against a Pakistan-based militant leader.
The U.S. State Department on Tuesday issued the terrorist designation on the Balochistan Liberation Army, or BLA, following attacks on Chinese-funded Belt and Road Initiative projects in Pakistan’s southern Balochistan province. The move will expose and isolate organizations and individuals associated with the insurgent group and deny them access to the U.S. financial system.
Pakistan is home to the largest BRI infrastructure projects in South Asia, and the U.S. decision is seen as a victory for China.
Earlier on SupChina:
India and Pakistan scramble jets as China watches uneasily (February 2019)
Balochistan Liberation Army attacks Chinese consulate in Pakistan (November, 2018)
—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief
Here are the stories that caught our eye this week:
Trump tweeted a truce in the U.S.-China techno-trade war last weekend. As Bloomberg notes (porous paywall): “The White House has yet to reveal details of Trump’s arrangement with Xi, leaving uncertainty about how the two countries will proceed.”
Hong Kong continues to seethe as young protestors — frustrated by lack of government action — turn to more destructive tactics.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited China on Tuesday. State media cited him praising the “happy lives” of people of all ethnicities in Xinjiang. In recent years, Turkey has never seemed to be able to really make up its mind over whether to firmly stand with the Uyghurs, which Turks consider their kin, or whether to sweep its current existential cultural crisis at the hands of Beijing under the rug — in favor of better ties with Beijing.
David Bandurski of the China Media Project writes: Reading the official propaganda from Beijing in the wake of last week’s G20 Summit in Osaka, one might have the impression that the Group of Twenty is actually now the “1+19,” and that this “premier forum for international economic cooperation” relies on the forcefulness, grace, and wisdom of China’s top leader, Xí Jìnpíng 习近平.
Scholar Adrian Zenz has published a new paper on the internment camps in Xinjiang, which he says is “packed with strongly incriminating evidence on the nature and extent of the internment campaign,” and based on detailed government sources. It’s titled “Brainwashing, police guards and coercive internment: Evidence from Chinese government documents about the nature and extent of Xinjiang’s ‘Vocational Training Internment Camps.’”
A series of recent cancellations of Chinese movies has sparked speculation that there is growing pressure on filmmakers from forces outside of SAPPRFT.
The family of Zhōu Yǒngkāng 周永康 is back in the news: The wife of his son Zhōu Bīn 周滨, Huáng Wǎn 黄婉, has been tweeting up a storm. Since as early as June 22, she has been protesting her treatment by the Chinese government. She says she was detained, sometimes in a cell, for more than two years after police raided a family apartment in 2013, and is now subject to an exit ban on what she describes as trumped-up charges.
A crackdown on the spread of “weed culture” is happening in China. This week, China Youth Daily published an article titled Don’t use “cannabis culture” to absolve yourself of law violations and crimes, warning Chinese young people of the health risks and legal consequences of weed use.
Chinese billionaire Wáng Zhènhuá 王振华, the chairman of real estate enterprise Future Land, has been detained by Shanghai police on charges of child rape.
The appearance of Baidu CEO Robin Li 李彦宏 at the company’s annual Create AI developer conference in Beijing on Wednesday morning was interrupted by a man who stormed the stage and emptied a bottle of water on his head. Li calmly took a step back and uttered in English, “What’s your problem?”
BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
US makes first-ever rice sale to China / Reuters via The Star Online
A private importer in China last week bought U.S. rice for the first time ever, in the midst of a trade war between the two nations, a rice industry group said on Wednesday.
The Chinese importer bought two containers, about 40 tonnes, of medium-grain rice from California-based Sun Valley Rice, said Michael Klein, a spokesman for USA Rice, a trade group that promotes the sale of the U.S. grain.
Shifting tech supply chains out of China
HP, Dell and Microsoft look to join electronics exodus from China / Nikkei Asian Review
Global consumer electronics makers HP, Dell, Microsoft and Amazon are all looking to shift substantial production capacity out of China, joining a growing exodus that threatens to undermine the country’s position as the world’s powerhouse for tech gadgets.
HP and Dell, the world’s No. 1 and No. 3 personal computer makers who together command around 40% of the global market, are planning to reallocate up to 30% of their notebook production out of China, several sources told the Nikkei Asian Review.
“Lotte, Kia and Hyundai are also gradually winding down their China business due to political risks, tariffs and losing market share.”
“If there’s going to be an American rare earths industry, it’s gonna be led by us. We’re it,” said James Litinksy, the co-chairman of MP Materials, which owns the mine in Mountain Pass, California.
The market for rare earths is expected to grow substantially over the next decade as the world becomes more and more dependent on high-tech products. With Washington and Beijing locked in a trade dispute, some in the U.S. government and private industry want to see the United States develop an alternative supply of these essential elements — first to increase mining of the minerals — and eventually develop refining and production.
Oil and gas
China just created a huge opportunity for the oil & gas industry / OilPrice.com
This bullish talk follows a Bloomberg report (porous paywall) on the National Development and Reform Commission’s announcement that “it would remove the joint venture requirement for oil and gas projects along with a rule stating that only local firms can control gas networks in cities with populations of over half a million people.”
Wrong ideas about Chinese leaders’ technocratic approach
China’s overrated technocrats / Foreign Policy
“But advocates for China’s supposed technocracy are not only wrong about the background of Beijing’s current leadership. They are also fundamentally mistaken about how their training shapes policymaking. China’s leaders today — including President Xi Jinping himself — have been molded less by their education and more by the need to consolidate control and prevail in the brutal internal power struggles of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Future Land’s Wang Zhenhua
Context on SupChina: Real estate tycoon Wang Zhenhua accused of raping underage girl
Billionaire’s detention rocks his Chinese real estate empire / Bloomberg
Detained billionaire developer highlights key man risk in China / Bloomberg
Chinese tech giants form alliance to help advance industrial internet technologies / SCMP
SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:
A third CRISPR baby may have already been born in China / MIT Technology Review
“Another genetically edited baby is due, but the world may never learn of its birth if the Chinese government decides to keep it a secret.”
Heat wave in Guangdong
Brutal heat wave strikes China’s Guangdong, Hebei provinces / Al Jazeera
5.6-magnitude quake hits Sichuan: CENC / Xinhua
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
A decade after Xinjiang riots, ethnic tensions persist / Channel NewsAsia
Uyghurs, experts reflect on 10th anniversary of deadly riots in Xinjiang / SCMP
The world needs to pressure China over the plight of the Uighurs / The Guardian
China separating Muslim children from families / BBC
Engineer found guilty of sending chip secrets to China
US federal court finds Chinese-American engineer Shih Yi-chi guilty of exporting military-grade semiconductors / SCMP
“A Chinese-American electrical engineer faces up to 219 years in prison after a federal jury found him guilty of illegally shipping semiconductors with military applications to China. After a six-week trial in southern California, Shih Yi-chi [Chinese characters unknown], a 64-year-old part-time Los Angeles resident and former president of a Chinese semiconductor company, was found guilty of making false statements to a government agency, mail and wire fraud and filing false tax returns.”
Hong Kong protests
Hong Kong celebrities who support protests pay a heavy price from China / NYT (porous paywall)
“Denise Ho [何韻詩 Hé Yùnshī], a Cantopop singer, is just one of many high-profile figures in the decentralized protest movement, but among Hong Kong’s celebrities, she is a rare breed. Ms. Ho threw her stardom behind the city’s pro-democracy movement five years ago and has since been paying the price — being barred in the lucrative mainland Chinese market.”
China accuses UK of ‘gross interference’ over Hong Kong / FT (paywall)
Hong Kong mothers march in support of anti-extradition students / Channel NewsAsia
First charges against Hong Kong anti-gov’t protester as Chief Sec. meets democrats / HKFP
Rights under threat: how China is bringing Hong Kong to heel / The Guardian
Scholars concerned about U.S.-China relations
China is not an enemy / Washington Post
US actions hurting relations with China, 100 academics, policy advisers say in open letter to Donald Trump / SCMP
Economic costs of the trade war
U.S. and China both know a severe global recession is in the cards without a trade deal / Market Watch
“In all honesty, both countries have a lot to lose if the trade war spirals out of control and creates a recession in the U.S. and China, which basically means a global recession.”
China trade war still hurts soybeans / Successful Farming
China says existing U.S. tariffs must be removed for a trade deal / Reuters
Beijing scolds Canada yet again
China warns Canada not to be ‘naive’ in thinking allies can help fix dispute / CBC
“According to a government source with direct knowledge of the matter, U.S. President Donald Trump raised the case of the two Canadians being detained by Chinese authorities ‘in a clear and substantive way directly with’ Chinese President Xi Jinping during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan last week.”
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
Chinese Canadians and Vancouver’s housing market
Vancouver’s ‘race estate’ market has hurt many of us / The Tyee
“Vancouver’s housing crisis has shadowed my entire life, affecting where I lived, how I lived and where I could live next. As a Chinese-Canadian youth, housing goes far beyond my physical living arrangements. It has profoundly affected my relationship with my heritage and identity as a racialized youth.”
Asexuals in China
Chinese asexuals navigate love, duty, and ignorance / Sixth Tone
“It’s hard to explain to sexual people what asexuality is, says Gao, who often attempts to do so both online and offline. ‘They can’t empathize with what it means for someone not to be sexually attracted to any gender,’ he says. Once Gao was asked if he had sexual desire for animals. ‘The public is set on the idea that humans have a desire for something,’ he says.”
Beijing street culture
‘Beijing bikini’ ban leaves sweltering Chinese hot under the collar / ABC
Beijing is apparently trying to stamp out the customary summer behavior of many of its older male residents: rolling their shirts up to expose their bellies to cool off.
FEATURED ON SUPCHINA
Chinese and out in America — and only in America
Chinese parents of LGBT youth are in many cases unable to accept their children’s sexual orientations, even if they do not generally oppose homosexuality. This creates a dilemma for LGBT Chinese who study or work in the U.S., who have to reconcile living out in America while closeted to their family members back home.
‘The Crossing’: A crime-tinged teen drama that explores the Hong Kong-mainland China divide
The border between Hong Kong and mainland Shenzhen is a busy one. Crowds of people pass back and forth every day, including tourists, students, and workers. While most passersby are harmless, the border has also acted as a gateway for criminals and smugglers. This bizarre smuggling racket provides the backdrop for director Bai Xue’s 白雪 recent debut feature, “The Crossing” 过春天, a stirring coming-of-age drama.
Clip: Xi Jinping can’t find a friend at Osaka G20
When we see Xi Jinping on TV, the whole setup is usually micromanaged. So the occasional glimpses of China’s leader that are not staged are always intriguing. One such video clip emerged after Xi’s weekend at the G20 meeting in Osaka. Circulated on Twitter, the clip shows Xi wandering around a conference venue, apparently ignored by other world leaders.
The U.S. Sinophobia Tracker: How America is becoming unfriendly to Chinese students, scientists, and scholars
Tracking paranoid rhetoric, visa restrictions, and the targeted policing of China-connected research, which combine to create a hostile atmosphere for Chinese people in the U.S.
The new Yellow Peril?
Jeremy Goldkorn explains why we created a Sinophobia Tracker to provide an ongoing record of prejudicial and inflammatory statements from public figures in the United States and other signs of official targeting of ethnically Chinese people.
Inside Emory’s crackdown on China-influenced research
In May, Emory University fired neuroscientist Lǐ Xiǎojiāng 李晓江 after he was accused of failing to fully disclose foreign sources of research funding and the extent of his work for research institutions and universities in China. Li’s expulsion from Emory was not the only recent case where an American institution cut ties with Chinese researchers per an order from NIH.
Requiem for the ‘Living Dead’: Ten years after 7-5
Most people who know anything about Xinjiang know that on July 5, 2009, a student protest turned into a bloody conflict with Uyghurs attacking Han civilians, killing more than 130 with clubs, cleavers, and bricks. Fewer know that police opened fire on Uyghurs later that day, that they supported Han Chinese retribution in the streets, and that this escalated a process of “disappearing” Uyghur suspects. What is clear, 10 years later, is that the course of Xinjiang history changed forever on that date. The lives of Uyghurs in China have never been the same.
Kuora: The best part of Beijing is its people
The most prominent negatives of life in Beijing are well known. But Beijing also has a great deal to recommend it. For me, the single greatest thing about Beijing is Beijingers. I’ve described them in other writings as garrulous, potty-mouthed, obsessed with politics, deeply ironic, quick to laugh, often very cynical but somehow still generous, huge-hearted, and steadfast in friendship. Everyone you meet is kind of fascinating.
Op-ed: China’s digital imperialism: Shaping the global internet
William Chalk argues on SupChina: China has been quietly exporting its system of online control — in both technique and proprietary technology — to governments across the world. This proliferation is a key component of China’s geopolitical strategy and represents a sweeping bid to own the infrastructure and ideology supporting the world’s future economic powers. Its timing couldn’t be better, as more governments are turning to China for direction and support at a time when the global leadership of the U.S. is declining.
SINICA PODCAST NETWORK
Sinica Podcast: Military Strategy and Politics in the PRC: A Conversation with Taylor Fravel
This week, Kaiser and Jeremy chat with Taylor Fravel, one of the world’s leading authorities on the People’s Liberation Army. Taylor has a brand-new book out called Active Defense: China’s Military Strategy Since 1949, which examines the changes to the PLA’s strategy, why they happen, and why, just as importantly, in some moments when we’d expect major changes in strategy, they don’t happen. Join us for this deep dive into the drivers of strategic change in this emerging superpower.