The Party’s party; trade talks set for October 10

Access Archive

Dear Access member,

Our word of the day is “A new era of striving” (奋斗新时代 fèndòu xīn shídài). 

—Jeremy Goldkorn and team

1. After the Party’s party

There is very little news from China today as the whole country is on holiday until October 7. State media is dominated by articles and photos about the National Day October 1 military parade. As you can see from the screenshot above of the People’s Daily homepage, there is a new political slogan: “A new era of striving” (奋斗新时代 fèndòu xīn shídài).   

Other reports on the National Day celebrations:

Pigeon fanciers played an integral role in China’s National Day celebrations by supplying and training the 70,000 “peace doves” released at the end of the massive parade in Beijing on Tuesday, reports the South China Morning Post

“From missiles to warplanes: China’s most advanced weapons on parade” is the title of Bloomberg’s image gallery and description (porous paywall) of some of the major new military tech on display yesterday.  

“Leaders in Beijing have declared their aims are peaceful, but developments in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and elsewhere — as well as a military parade — may indicate otherwise,” writes Edward Wong in the New York Times (porous paywall). 

2. Navarro: Trade talks confirmed for October 10 

“Top trade negotiators from the U.S. and China will meet in Washington on October 10 in a bid to break the deadlock in their talks, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said on Tuesday,” reports Nikkei Asian Review (porous paywall). China’s Vice Premier Liú Hè 刘鹤 will lead the delegation to the U.S., according to Navarro. 

Other news of the U.S.-China techno-trade war, day 454:

Billionaire hedge funder capo Ray Dalio writes (on LinkedIn): “The proposed step of limiting American portfolio investments in China makes me both think about the implications of this step and wonder if it is inching toward bigger moves.” Bloomberg turned this comment into an entire article (porous paywall).  

Chinese venture capital funds “invested just $4 billion in U.S. companies in the first nine months of 2019. That is the smallest amount since 2015, down from nearly $7 billion in the same timeframe last year and $9 billion in the same 2017 period,” reports the Financial Times (paywall). “Overall foreign investment in U.S. venture capital was $51 billion in the first nine months of 2019.”

More than 2,500 American companies are seeking “exemptions to tariffs on a wide assortment of Chinese imports — including frozen fish, automotive parts, cosmetics and other products — ahead of a planned increase in levies,” reports the Wall Street Journal (paywall).

—Jeremy Goldkorn

3. Hong Kong: Shooting victim in stable condition

Tsang Chi-kin, the 18-year-old student of Tsuen Wan Public Ho Chuen Yiu Memorial College who was shot in the chest yesterday by police, is in stable condition, the South China Morning Post reports. Hundreds of his classmates and students and alumni of other schools “joined a peaceful sit-in at a car park outside the school.” The Guardian has a video of the sit-in, and the Hong Kong Free Press also has a report on protests in response to the shooting. 

The Hong Kong police force defended the officer’s actions, saying it was for self-defense, while Xinhua’s Hong Kong branch filed a commentary saying the shooting was “totally legal and appropriate,” the SCMP reports. This commentary “was not picked up by any mainland Chinese media or outlet, which focused on Tuesday’s parade and celebration in Beijing.” You can read the commentary on Xinhua Hong Kong’s Facebook page (in traditional Chinese), where the title is “Solemnly enforce the law, root out violence and evil tumors” (嚴正執法剜除暴力惡瘤 yánzhèng zhífǎ wān chú bàolì è liú). 

The shooting occurred in a “widespread day of chaos” in over a dozen locations in Hong Kong, the SCMP documents in an infographic as part of a separate report on National Day developments in the city. The Hong Kong Free Press also has pictures of what it calls a “day of havoc.” 

A rubber bullet shot by police has permanently blinded the right eye of an Indonesian journalist, Veby Megha Indah, the Hong Kong Free Press reports. That incident occurred on Sunday, September 29. Multiple other outlets reported that their journalists were hit with projectiles on National Day, the HKFP separately notes

The Junior Police Officers’ Association is urging emergency powers to be enacted, the SCMP reports. The colonial-era Emergency Regulations Ordinance, which was previously used during the 1967 riots, would enforce a curfew, and also “allows media censorship, arrests, deportations, the control of ports and all transport, the appropriation of property, and the authority to enter and search premises.” The Hong Kong Police Inspectors’ Association also supported the call for curfews and emergency powers. 

4. World opinion on China becomes more negative

The Pew Research Center has released an update on its Global Attitudes Survey, which tracks opinion of China on a yearly basis. The changes show a general downward trend since last year:

  • Canada and Sweden had some of the biggest drops in favorable opinion on China, with each country’s favorable rating on China 17 points less than in 2018. This is no surprise, given the Canadian hostage situation, and the ongoing detention of Swedish bookseller Guì Mǐnhǎi 桂敏海. See also this Twitter thread by Jerker Hellstrom that summarizes “A new Swedish line for China,” an op-ed by the leader of Sweden’s Moderate Party. 

  • Those two countries are now similar to the U.S. in their views toward China, with a 25–27 percent favorability toward China. U.S. favorability of China is also 12 points lower than a year ago. 

  • Indonesia is another country with a 17 point drop, a change that could be attributed to anger over Uyghur internment and South China Sea disputes. Tunisia, the other Muslim-majority country in the poll, saw a 7 percent drop in China favorability; the Philippines, another country with South China Sea disputes, saw an 11 point drop — though resentment of Chinese immigrants is also prominent there. 

  • Israel and Poland, on the other hand, became more positive on China by 11 points. Russia, with 71 percent favorable opinion, is the most positive country on China polled, and its level rose by 6 points. 

  • China remains, on balance, more positively than negatively viewed in African and Middle Eastern countries. 

—Lucas Niewenhuis


This system will apply to foreign owned companies in China on the same basis as to all Chinese persons, entities or individuals. No information contained on any server located within China will be exempted from this full coverage program. No communication from or to China will be exempted. There will be no secrets. No VPNs. No private or encrypted messages. No anonymous online accounts. No trade secrets. No confidential data. Any and all data will be available and open to the Chinese government.  

Chinese demand for “mock meat” is going up amid concerns that the domestic supply won’t be enough to meet demand, according to research house Fitch Solutions.

In a country where pork is a staple, the African swine fever outbreak is one factor that has pushed down supplies of the meat, Fitch noted in a report released September.

After signing an agreement earlier this month to jointly build and share a nationwide 5G network, China Unicom and China Telecom have now launched pre-orders for 5G data plans… 

According to China Telecom’s promotion page (link in Chinese), more than 690,000 people signed up to pre-order 5G plans. Incentives include tiered discounts for existing customers depending on the length of time they have been with the carrier.


  • Science in 20th-century China
    China: How science made a superpower / Nature
    Scholar Shellen Wu tells the story of China’s first crew of scientists, mostly educated abroad in the early 20th century, who returned to China and “set to work on agricultural science, genetics, biology, chemistry and more.”

  • Face masks do not stop PM2.5 particulate matter from entering your lungs
    Face masks could raise pollution risks / Nature
    “People can get a false sense of security from flimsy gauze, and linger too long outdoors in toxic air.”


  • Philippine: File the goddamned diplomatic protest!
    Philippines to file protest over China ships near disputed shoal / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
    “Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin ordered his department to immediately file a fresh diplomatic protest against China after the military confirmed the presence of Chinese vessels near the disputed Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea.” The order came by tweet:


Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit China next week to meet the country’s top leadership and also woo Chinese investors, officials sources said. Khan’s visit to Beijing comes ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s likely visit to India for the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, amidst fresh tensions between Pakistan and India over Kashmir. 

  • Kazakhstan Belt and Road project: Too symbolic to fail?
    China’s world-building foreign policy, as seen from the middle of nowhere / The Atlantic
    Reid Standish, a Kazakhstan-based journalist, writes about the Khoros Gateway, a “collection of cranes, railways, and buildings [that] rises out of a barren stretch of desert surrounded by towering mountains.” He concludes that though there are many problems with the project, and it is unlikely to be profitable, “developments like Khorgos hold too much symbolic political value for China and Kazakhstan to be allowed to fail.” 


Mention of China’s controversial family planning policy was conspicuously absent from National Day celebrations in Beijing on Tuesday, sending a clear signal that the country’s decades-long policy of birth restrictions could be scrapped altogether.

Previous National Day parades have featured slogans extolling the virtues of the policy and featured representatives tasked with implementing the programme.


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Xinjiang education reform and the eradication of Uyghur-language books

Beginning in 2017, entrance exams at all levels of the Xinjiang education system began to change, emphasizing Chinese-language portions. As one Uyghur put it, “The [reeducation] camps are bad, but it is things like this school system that will produce even more lasting damage.”


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ChinaEconTalk: U.S. foreign policy in Asia

Mira Rapp-Hooper, senior fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, provides an overview of the history of U.S. foreign policy from Washington’s farewell address to the modern day. She also discusses the implications of a rising China for the future of U.S. alliances.