Don’t bring corpses to school

Access Archive

Dear Access member,

In yesterday’s newsletter, we summarized the New Yorker’s unflattering profile of College Daily, a digital Chinese-language publication that boasts a large readership consisting predominantly of Chinese students living in North America. Naturally, the 4,590-word article, titled “The “post-truth” publication where Chinese students in America get their news” irked College Daily, which hit back today with a long-winded post that accuses the New Yorker of orchestrating a defamatory campaign. For details, see Jiayun Feng’s piece on SupChina: College Daily fires back at the New Yorker, accusing it of bias and fabrication.

Our word of the day is corpse 尸体 shītǐ, for a reason that I would never have imagined: see our top story below.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief

Image from Sohu. The banner exclaims that the “school is responsible” [for whatever happened].

1. Don’t bring corpses to school 

Sixth Tone reports on new guidelines (in Chinese) issued by the Ministry of Education and other government departments including the Ministry of Public Security aimed at preventing “xiàonào” (校闹) — violence against school staff and other behavior from parents who feel their children have been mistreated. This is a frequent occurrence in China when parents “take their case to campus in an effort to gain visibility and increase their chances of receiving favorable compensation.”

The guidelines list eight types of banned xiaonao

  1. Assaulting staff, injuring people or deliberately damaging public and private property.

  2. Damaging school facilities and equipment.

  3. Setting obstacles in schools: “hanging banners, setting off firecrackers, playing somber music, laying funeral wreaths, cutting off power or water, and blocking school gates.”

  4. Bringing dead bodies to school grounds and public places. (Parents of children who die at school “have been known to take the body to campus as a means of expressing their outrage and sorrow.”)

  5. Preventing staff and students from leaving campus.

  6. Harassing and stalking school staff. 

  7. Taking explosive or flammable goods to school. 

  8. Disrupting classes.

2. Beijing sets new minimum wage

The South China Morning Post reports that the city of Beijing has increased minimum monthly wages. Several cities and provinces have recently increased minimum wages. These are current:

  • Shanghai: 2,480 yuan ($351) 

  • Beijing: 2,200 yuan ($311) 

  • Guangdong: 2,100 yuan ($297)

  • Tianjin: 2,050 yuan ($290)

  • Jiangsu: 2,020 yuan ($285)

  • Zhejiang: 2,010 yuan ($284)

  • Chongqing: 1,700 yuan ($241)

  • Shaanxi: 1,600 yuan ($226)  

By comparison, Vietnam’s minimum wage rose 6.5 per cent to US$171 in 2018. 

3. Beijing confirms detention of British consul employee

The South China Morning Post reports:

An employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong has been detained in mainland China for breaking the law, Beijing confirmed on Wednesday, nearly two weeks after the man disappeared returning to the city.

Simon Cheng Man-kit, a trade and investment officer at the consulate’s Scottish Development International section, was being held for 15 days under administrative detention in Shenzhen – a city that neighbours Hong Kong – for violating “public security management regulations”, the Chinese foreign ministry said, without giving further details of his alleged offences.

“I also want to stress that this worker is a Hong Kong citizen – not a British citizen – and he is Chinese. And this is entirely a matter of China’s internal affairs,” ministry spokesman Gěng Shuǎng 耿爽 said.

Other news from Hong Kong:

“There was chaos again on Wednesday night at Yuen Long MTR station as protesters confronted police while marking the one-month anniversary of a mob rampage that left dozens injured,” reports the South China Morning Post

“China has deployed a three-pronged strategy to suffocate pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong – propaganda, economic leverage and intimidation,” say Aidan Jones and Catherine Lai of Agence France-Presse.

Beijing-based rights lawyer and public commentator Chén Qiūshí 陈秋实 “went missing after visiting Hong Kong on the weekend to observe protests in the city,” reports the South China Morning Post

“A third pilot left Cathay Pacific Airways amid Hong Kong’s anti-Beijing protests, with the departure related to comments he made about a rally at the city’s airport last month,” according to Bloomberg (porous paywall).

Correction: Yesterday we noted reports that Former Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg had resigned after submitting his own name as the only staff member to participate in protests. Several reliable Hong Kong-based journalists have taken to social media to say that the heroic story is fiction. 

4. Qatar withdraws support for China’s treatment of Muslims

Bloomberg reports (porous paywall): 

Qatar withdrew from a letter signed by dozens of countries expressing support for China’s human-rights record despite growing international condemnation over its detention of as many as two million ethnic Muslim Uighurs.

Qatar informed United Nations Human Rights Council President Coly Seck of its decision to withdraw from the July 12 letter, which was signed by mostly majority-Muslim nations, according to a copy of the correspondence seen by Bloomberg. Several calls and e-mails to Qatar’s government communications office and the UN mission weren’t returned.

Other news from Xinjiang:

“Volkswagen, Siemens and more are making money in Xinjiang, where minorities are being herded into detention camps” says scholar Benjamin Haas in the New York Times  (porous paywall)

“The Chinese People’s Armed Police have established a new counter-terror special operations unit in Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to adapt to the needs of counter-terrorism missions there,” according to the People’s Liberation Army website. The unit will be called “Mountain Eagle Commando” (山鹰突击队 shān yīng tújí duì).

Major international clothing brands Hanes Brands, Patagonia, ASICSa and others have partnerships with Chenfeng company, according to its website, tweeted Xinjiang scholar Rian Thum. “Company docs show Chenfeng sources textiles from a supplier in Xinjiang implicated in forced labor.”

Facebook ads: “Extending the reach of its propaganda beyond its borders, Chinese state-owned media is running ads on Facebook seemingly designed to cast doubt on human rights violations occurring under the government’s mass incarceration of Muslim minorities in the country’s northwest Xinjiang region,” according to Buzzfeed. The three advertisements found by Buzzfeed extolled “the alleged success stories of detainees at the camps” and claimed “that the detention centers were not meant to interfere with religious beliefs and practices.”

“Conversations with Uyghurs in Belgium, Finland, and the Netherlands reveal a systematic effort by China to silence Uyghurs overseas with brazen tactics of surveillance, blackmail, and intimidation,” reports the Atlantic.

“Uyghurs are sending out messages on social media video app [Duoyin] showing family members who have gone missing, in their latest attempt to raise awareness about the estimated 1 million Uyghurs who have been detained in camps that have sprung up across China’s Xinjiang region,” says the Guardian. You can see some of the videos here on Facebook and here on Twitter

“A senior police official in Aksu Prefecture…has been in detention since June 2018,” according to Radio Free Asia.  

—Jeremy Goldkorn

5. The U.S. is hurting — Techno-trade war updates

On today, day 412 of the U.S.-China techno trade war, Trump chose to dial up the megalomania by declaring himself the “Chosen One” who has to “take China on,” regardless of pain to the U.S. in the short term. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. is hurting: The tariffs could “cost American households $1,000 per year, JPMorgan says,” per CNBC; American farmers are saying that Trump “took away all of our markets,” according to Yahoo Finance; and Politico and SCMP report that Donald Trump’s trade war tariffs on China failing to bring jobs and manufacturing back to the U.S.

Even as China’s not hurting: “China’s growth began to slow long before the trade war started,” writes Nicholas Lardy of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, as he also points out that “the pace of the slowdown has moderated since the initial imposition of tariffs by the United States in July 2018” (emphasis added). 

Thailand is loving the effects of tariffs: “At least 10 firms are in the process of relocating some production to Thailand from China, according to the National Economic & Social Development Council,” Bloomberg reports. “More than a dozen others could potentially choose Thailand, it said in a statement.”

Vietnam, though, might be unprepared: “The specialized supply chains that made China a production powerhouse for smartphones and aluminum ladders and vacuum cleaners and dining tables are nowhere near as developed in Vietnam,” the Wall Street Journal says

More news and analysis:

“New details about the U.S. sanctions-busting case against Huawei Technologies Co. emerged in court filings in Canada, including about the Chinese telecom giant’s alleged dealings in Iran, Syria and Sudan,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The SCMP adds that a Canadian judge also “ordered the release of exhibits and documents filed by Meng Wanzhou’s lawyers as part of her extradition case, including video that shows border officers searching the Huawei executive’s bags at Vancouver International Airport on December 1, the day of her arrest.”

U.S. arms sales to Taiwan: China said that it “levy sanctions against U.S. companies linked to a planned $8 billion sale of advanced F-16V fighter jets to Taiwan,” according to ABC

Made in China 2025: A research report that compares Chinese and American media coverage of the industrial initiative was published by Eliot Chen in MacroPolo. The visualized data shows the sudden drop-off of coverage in China after May 17, 2018, just as western media piled on and the trade war heated up. 

Data on U.S.-China investment: The Rhodium Group and the National Committee on U.S.-China relations have published a paper cross-border cash flows, titled, Sidelined: U.S.-China Investment in 1H 2019. See also interactive data at The US-China Investment Hub

—Lucas Niewenhuis


  • Bitcoin
    Bitcoin miners halt operations as rainstorm triggers mudslides in China / CoinDesk
    “A prolonged rainstorm in China’s Sichuan province has caused land- and mudslides, forcing some local hydropower plants and bitcoin miners to halt operations.”

  • Goldman
    Goldman pursues majority stake in Chinese venture / Wall Street Journal (paywall)
    “Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has applied with Chinese regulators to take a majority stake in an investment-banking joint venture… to increase its stake to 51% from 33% in Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities Co., with the goal of eventually taking over the local operation completely, according to a Goldman spokesman.”

  • VPNs and video streaming
    China to allow foreign streaming services? Not so fast. / China Law Blog
    “On closer examination, though, all that happened was that the Beijing Municipal Government had issued a release mentioning a plan to allow foreign investment into VPN services as part of some sort of limited pilot scheme.”

  • Interest rates
    The trouble with rate cuts in China / WSJ (paywall)
    “The People’s Bank of China doesn’t want easier monetary policy to flood the housing market with fresh credit, as happened in 2015.”



“I found out today that they hired a Republican strategist and said, ‘We want to be closer to the administration…We want to be closer to the government in general. We want to be closer to conservative media.’ And that Republican strategist brought them to CPAC for the first time. Got them interviews. Started wrangling people like Candace Owens and Diamond and Silk and Mark Meadows. And that kind of put them on the conservative stage as well.”

Universities have hit back at intensifying concerns about their growing reliance on China, defending their significant enrolments of international students and research collaboration projects with Chinese researchers.

Senior figures in higher education have highlighted the financial benefits of international education and said they were protecting themselves and students against the risks. They are also working with security agencies to safeguard against risks in collaboration on sensitive research.

  • Beijing responds to other Australian anxieties
    China accuses Australia of being a ‘condescending master’ in the Pacific / Guardian
    “In excoriating remarks, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Gěng Shuǎng 耿爽 said Pacific island leaders do not share Australia’s fear of Chinese influence in the Pacific, and accused Australian leaders of a cold war mentality.”

  • Presumptions about China
    Don’t (but sometimes do) underestimate China / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
    China can still “surprise, or underwhelm,” according to several economists and columnists in the opinion section of Bloomberg. Specifically, they warn against the current line in Washington – that China will not liberalize — as being just as naive as in the past, when it was argued economic engagement would inevitably lead to a freer China.
    At the same time, they also warn against seeing its propaganda and political system as all-encompassing and powerful, pointing out they’re more often ineffective and dysfunctional.

  • Online gambling in the Philippines and Cambodia
    Beijing urges Philippines to ‘ban all online gambling’ to support its cross-border crackdown / Reuters

[The Philippines] gaming regulator has banned licences for new online gaming firms, as lawmakers and some ministers have called for tighter controls on visitors from China, saying many turn out to be illegal workers whose presence fans security concerns.

Although the Chinese government welcomed Manila’s move to stop accepting applications for online gaming licences, its foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “We hope the Philippines will go further and ban all online gambling…

The spokesman also lauded a ban on online gambling announced by Cambodia.

  • Pakistan, China’s all weather friend
    China hails ‘old friend’ General Bajwa’s 3-year term extension as Pakistan’s army chief / News 18 (India)
    “General Bajwa has promised Beijing to safeguard China’s interests in Pakistan under the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which will connect China’s largest province Xinjiang with Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan.”

  • The Middle East
    What would a larger Chinese presence mean for the Middle East? / ChinaFile
    “While the United States continues to debate how to extricate itself from ‘forever wars’ in the Middle East, one country has been steadily building its footprint in the region: China. Over the past decade, Chinese trade and investment has exploded across the Middle East; in 2016, it became the region’s largest foreign investor.”


Bōlí xīn 玻璃心: a person who is overly sensitive about criticism and reacts strongly to any mildly negative feedback

A. Great vacation photos! Your girlfriend looks much younger than you. 

B. What are you saying? Are you saying I’m not good enough for her?! 

A. No. It was just a casual observation. Don’t be such a bolixin.


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College Daily fires back at the New Yorker, accusing it of bias and fabrication

On Monday, the New Yorker published an unflattering profile of College Daily, a digital Chinese-language publication that boasts a large readership consisting predominantly of Chinese students living in North America. Today, College Daily shot back, accusing the New Yorker of orchestrating a defamatory campaign and pulling quotes out of context.

TV show applauded for depicting workplace sexual harassment

Chinese TV audiences, especially women, have been thrilled by “A Little Reunion” 小欢喜, a hit show that depicts a subject rarely seen in Chinese mainstream entertainment: sexual harassment in the workplace.


Click Here

Middle Earth #17: Artful Entrepreneurs: Running a Cultural Venue in Beijing

Aladin sits down over a pint with Sūn Yáo 孙遥, the proprietor of his favorite local cultural venue-cum-cafe, to talk about the business end of the cultural industry in China.


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BE京jing No. 23: Keeping watch

This photo from Wukesong in November 2016 is part of BE京jing, a 30-part photo essay project by Gregorio Soravito