Presidential candidate Andrew Yang talks to SupChina (briefly)

Access Archive

Dear Access member,

The 13th annual CHINA Town Hall of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations is happening on Monday, November 18, at 6 p.m. EST. The webcast discussion, moderated by George Stephanopoulos, will feature a panel with NCUSCR President Stephen Orlins, Melanie Hart, Yasheng Huang, and Ely Ratner. 

A new element of the program this year is the opportunity for audience members to submit video questions to be aired during the national webcast. The National Committee welcomes questions from SupChina Access members: Question submission guidelines can be found here.

Our word of the day is Andrew Yang (楊安澤 Yáng Ānzé). 

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief


1. Presidential candidate Andrew Yang talks to SupChina 

U.S. Democratic Party presidential candidate Andrew Yang gave SupChina a (very brief) video interview in which he warns of the dangers of a “new Cold War.” Watch it here on Twitter or here on our website.

Other news from various fronts of the U.S-China techno-trade war: 

“Microsoft founder Bill Gates decried the ‘paranoid’ view fueling the current high-tech rivalry between the U.S. and China, telling an audience here Wednesday that trying to stop Beijing from developing innovative technologies is ‘beyond realistic,’” reports Nikkei Asian Review (porous paywall). 

“Wall Street worries that Trump may have oversold the likelihood of a China trade deal.” That’s the headline of an NBC piece to which we can only reply: More people on Wall Street should read SupChina, where we have been pessimistic about an easy offramp since July 6, 2018, when the first Trump tariffs went into effect. 

“Amazon’s China business is bigger than ever,” reports the Wall Street Journal (paywall):

That is because it has aggressively recruited Chinese manufacturers and merchants to sell to consumers outside the country. And these sellers, in turn, represent a high proportion of problem listings found on the site, according to a Wall Street Journal investigation.  

“President Donald Trump is due to deliver remarks at the New York Economic Club on Tuesday,” according to Bloomberg (porous paywall): “Analysts will listen closely for comments on trade talks with China.”

2. Hong Kong’s Monday of mayhem

For most of the 24 weeks of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the city has seethed on weekends but returned to something resembling normalcy on weekdays. Only twice have there been significant exceptions to that — a general strike on Wednesday, June 12, and further strikes and an occupation of the airport for days in early August

Today was the third exception, as a protester was shot and critically injured by what appeared to be a traffic cop at about 7:15 a.m., according to the Hong Kong Free Press

Later in the day, a man was “set alight following a heated argument” with demonstrators, and was admitted to a nearby hospital with severe burns, AFP reports. The South China Morning Post has more on the status of the two injured persons, and other details on what it calls the day’s “unprecedented working-hours mayhem.” 

The shooting victim, a 21-year-old vocational student surnamed Chow, had a kidney and part of his liver removed to retrieve the bullet and was reportedly in critical condition, while 57-year-old construction worker Leung Chi-cheung was fighting for his life on Monday evening after suffering second-degree burns to his chest and arms, as well as head trauma… 

In unprecedented working-hours mayhem as the city entered its 24th straight week of unrest, police fired tear gas in at least 12 locations…

On at least three tertiary campuses, at Hong Kong, Chinese and Polytechnic universities, stand-offs led to the firings of rounds of tear gas early in the morning… At PolyU, protesters went on a wrecking spree…all to vent their anger at the mysterious death of a fellow student last Friday. Chow Tsz-lok [周梓樂 Zhōu Zǐlè], a Hong Kong University of Science and Technology undergraduate and a known protester, died days after he fell from a car park near the site of a police dispersal operation, sustaining a severe brain injury… 

On Monday, all 11 universities canceled classes, with 10 remaining closed on Tuesday to repair major damage to facilities wrought by protesters.

This week looks to be eventful in Hong Kong. According to Hong Kong-based author and close observer of the protests Antony Dapiran: “Protesters online have announced that ‘Operation Daybreak’ will continue tomorrow. It may be another busy week.”

See also:

3. Alibaba says Singles Day breaks sales records

The “Singles Day” online shopping festival is one of many genius PR moves by Alibaba. Every November 11, the company gets an enormous amount of coverage in the business and financial press, for free. Here’s this year’s jaw dropping consumption statistic, from Yahoo Finance:

China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba recorded $38.4 billion in sales in the past 24 hours. 

This marks another year of breaking its own sales record on Singles Day, the shopping holiday Alibaba started in 2009…

Singles Day has also become a holiday celebrated by major e-commerce players across China. JD.com (JD) reported $29 billion in sales for its own Singles Day event, which lasted 11 days. Pinduoduo, another Alibaba rival, said it won’t reveal its sales number.

4. Xi Jinping in Athens to launch new era

For Al Jazeera, John Psaropoulos writes from Athens on the upbeat noises in that city as Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 enjoys his second day of a three-day state visit which “Greek leaders” are hailing as the start of a “new era”: 

“Greece recognises China not only as a great power but also as a country that has won for itself, not without difficulty, a leading geostrategic economic and political role,” Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Xi…

[T]he two countries’ delegations signed 16 memorandums of cooperation, the most important of which outline new Chinese energy investments in Greece…

Greece-China relations took off this year when the four-month-old conservative New Democracy government approved 611.8 million euros ($67 million) in Chinese investments that had been frozen for 18 months under the left-wing Syriza government.

Over the coming five years, the investments, referred to as the “master plan,” will bring to almost $3 billion the amount the state-owned China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO) will have spent on the port of Piraeus, China’s signature investment in Greece, and one which Xi refers to as “the head of the dragon”…

In maritime trade, Greece and China seem to have a natural area of cooperation. “We are a nation of seafarers,” Mitsotakis said at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai on November 5. “Greeks control 25 percent of the world’s oceangoing merchant fleet. The synergies with China, the world’s biggest export economy, are obvious.”

Xi departs Greece on November 12 for Brasilia, Brazil. He’ll be there November 13 and 14, and will meet Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro on the sidelines of a meeting of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), according to Xinhua.

Xi may be in Greece, but he’s also in your head. He gave a speech just before his departure which state media organs are pushing today (English, Chinese). It’s his usual boilerplate about the absolute leadership of the Party over the military, and a call for the People’s Liberation Army “that is capable of fighting and winning wars.”

—Jeremy Goldkorn


BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:

—The producer price index (PPI), seen as a key indicator of corporate profitability, fell 1.6 percent in October from a year earlier, marking the steepest decline since July 2016, National Bureau of Statistics data showed.

—In contrast, China’s consumer prices rose at their fastest pace in almost eight years, driven mostly by a surge in pork prices as African swine fever ravaged the country’s hog herds.

Chinese President Xí Jìnpíng 习近平  is scheduled to meet his Brazilian counterpart in Brasilia this week — their second meeting in less than a month -— during a summit of the BRICS group which also includes Russia, India and South Africa.

“I am confident in terms of the cooperation between China and Brazil over 5G technology”, China’s Ambassador to Brasilia Yáng Wànmíng 杨万明 said in reply to emailed questions. Brazil “will take into account its own development interest” when it analyzes Huawei’s bid, he added.

Yang said that Brazil’s attitude toward Huawei has remained objective and rational amid a campaign of “bad faith and defamation” from the U.S.

I recently stayed at Alibaba’s futuristic FlyZoo hotel, which is adjacent to its headquarters in Hangzhou, China.

Here, there are no keycards and everything is cashless. It features facial recognition doors, robotic arms at the bar and even robots that deliver items to guest rooms.

SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT: 

  • Can China and the EU lead on climate action?
    EU plots climate deal with China / Climate Home News
    A China-EU summit with the 27 EU heads of state and Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 is scheduled for September 2020:

The summit is poised as a crucial give-and-take moment for the two powers to broker a bilateral agreement on climate change — something only the U.S. has previously achieved with China in 2014 in a deal that underpinned the Paris Agreement. Now, with the US officially exiting the Paris regime, the EU hopes to start a race to the top with China, ensuring global efforts to cut emissions remain meaningful even without the US on board.

“Our aim is to lure China into the best possible announcement they can make about an upgrade of their ambition,” a senior EU official told Climate Home News. “We know that they are thinking about it and we also know that they will look for an occasion.”

Hong Kong has become one of the top re-exporters of plastic waste from developed countries to Southeast Asia since mainland China’s ban on waste imports last year, an investigation by a local green group has found.

POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:

The World Bank announced on Monday (November 11) it was ending a project to fund vocational schools in China following allegations of mistreatment of minority Muslim Uighurs.

The World Bank launched another review of the program in late August after Foreign Policy magazine reported that a school that benefited from a tranche of the US$50 million loan to China bought “barbed wire, gas launchers, and body armour.” The Washington-based development lender said it launched another review in the wake of the charges but “did not substantiate the allegations.”

However, “In light of the risks associated with the partner schools, which are widely dispersed and difficult to monitor, the scope and footprint of the project is being reduced.” “Specifically, the project component that involves the partner schools in Xinjiang is being closed,” the World Bank said in a statement… 

World Bank funding to five schools in the project will, however, continue.

Hikvision has marketed an AI camera that automatically identifies Uyghurs, on its China website, only covering it up days ago after IPVM questioned them on it. This AI technology allows the PRC to automatically track Uyghur people, considered one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.  

At a regular school event in Tennessee, the children were laughing and playing joyfully and they didn’t notice their teacher — Gulruy Asqar — couldn’t hold back her tears. Everything reminded her of her family members in Xinjiang, where Chinese authorities have imprisoned millions of innocent Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other minorities. She has lost touch with her family there, but confirmed through credible source that her brother, two nephews, her husband’s brother, and his many relatives are among the detained.

SOCIETY AND CULTURE:

Liáng Sīchéng 梁思成 and Lín Huīyīn 林徽因 came to [the University of Pennsylvania] at the height of Philadelphia’s Beaux-Arts building boom. They returned to revolutionary China with ideas that made a lasting mark on the development of architecture in the People’s Republic.

—About 200 activists, mostly Filipino domestic helpers, from 14 LGBT and migrant rights’ groups gather at Edinburgh Place.

—Rally held less than a week before Hong Kong’s annual LGBT pride parade, which is expected to draw thousands.

OPINIONS, OP-EDS, AND RANTS:

The highly obvious, probable threats that nobody should say they never saw coming — yet are not always getting the attention that will resolve them.

—Michele Wucker, March 15, 2018

…We realized the global economy had been driven almost solely by China since 2009 (see Figure 2) accomplished with massive debt stimulus (see Q-review 3/2017 for more details). We did not know the term Gray Rhino back then, but it turned out the Gray Rhino of China was charging straight at the global economy.


FEATURED ON SUPCHINA

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“Singles Day” in China began as an ad hoc attempt at self-mockery. It is now the world’s largest shopping day

The man who unified China and commissioned the Terracotta Warriors

The founding emperor of the Qin Dynasty (r. 221 BCE to 210 BCE) Yíng Zhèng 嬴政, known to history as Qín Shǐ Huáng 秦始皇, is best known as the man who unified China after the long chaos of the Warring States period, often through brutal means advocated by the Legalist school of thought.

Friday Song: ‘Forgive me for loving freedom’: The enduring Hong Kong rock anthem

For 25 years, the 1993 ballad “Boundless Oceans, Vast Skies” from the Hong Kong band BEYOND has soared above protests, marches, and rallies in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. 

How do you build a digital presence in China as a foreign business? Find out the answer at the NEXT China conference.

For international brands, establishing a presence in or breaking into the China market in the digital era can be both exciting and risky. Wonder why? Jimmy Robinson, co-founder and director of PingPong Digital, will be at SupChina’s NEXT China Conference to answer your questions.


SINICA PODCAST NETWORK

Sinica Early Access: Fuchsia Dunlop on The Food of Sichuan

Fuchsia Dunlop, the preeminent writer on Chinese cuisine in the English language, has published a completely revised and updated version of Land of Plenty, her classic book on Sichuan cookery, containing 70 new recipes. She joins Kaiser and guest host Jim Millward of Georgetown University in a discussion of this wildly popular cuisine — and how to get started as a Sichuan chef in your own kitchen.

  • 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. 

The Caixin-Sinica Business Brief, episode 103

This week, on episode 103 of the Caixin-Sinica Business Brief: Beijing’s former vice mayor pleads guilty to taking $19 million in bribes, Alibaba inches toward a second IPO in Hong Kong, and an update on the tepid and tentative trade agreement being hashed out between Beijing and Washington.