Week in review for December 20, 2019

Here are the stories that caught our eye this week:

  • China’s ambassador to Germany, Wú Kěn 吴恳, said on November 20, per Xinhua: “Unfoundedly excluding Huawei’s involvement from setting up a 5G network in Germany would be blatant discrimination against Chinese companies and would send the wrong signal of protectionism.” His language has gotten stronger since then and was called “a blunt threat” by Thorsten Benner, the director of the Berlin-based think tank Global Public Policy Institute.
  • The live screening of a match between Arsenal and Manchester City was canceled by China Central Television after Arsenal’s third-generation Turkish-German professional soccer player Mesut Özil tweeted the flag of East Turkestan and slogans in Turkish about the oppression of Uyghurs.
  • Ilham Tohti, the Uyghur economist and professor at Minzu University, was awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize. In January 2014, he was detained and charged with “separatism.” He was then convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment after a secret trial, a decision that the Xinjiang High People’s Court upheld in November 2014.
  • The American government secretly expelled two Chinese Embassy officials this fall after they drove onto a sensitive military base in Virginia, according to the New York Times.
  • Changes to the charters of three prestigious Chinese universities — Fudan in Shanghai, Nanjing, and Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an — “that place absolute adherence to Communist Party rule over academic independence have provoked heated online debate and prompted some prominent academics to raise concerns amid a backdrop of tightening ideological control on China’s campuses,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • A phase one trade deal “is done,” per U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Chinese state media is remaining positive, and enjoying the sugar high given to financial markets by the as-yet-unsigned phase one deal.
  • President Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 traveled to Macao this week to attend a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of Macao’s return to the mainland, which falls on December 20. Xinhua praised Macao for its successful implementation of “one country, two systems,” for the “integration of Macao’s development into that of the country,” for ensuring China’s constitution “is well respected,” and for safeguarding “national security and unity.”
  • A hacking group associated with the Chinese government has been quietly targeting companies and government agencies for the last two years via a global espionage campaign, according to Bloomberg.
  • The Xinjiang regional government was “deleting data, destroying documents, tightening controls on information and has held high-level meetings in response to leaks of classified papers on its mass detention” of Muslim minorities, the Associated Press reported on December 14.
  • China’s top education authority on Monday promised to act against sexual assault and harassment on college campuses, saying that educators who face allegations of sexual misconduct would face stronger consequences in the future.
  • China’s first home-built aircraft carrier was officially commissioned by President Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 on December 17. Shandong is the name of the new warship.
  • An official list of the top 10 buzzwords in Chinese media in 2019 has been unveiled. The list includes terms like “night economy” (夜经济 yèjīngjì), “first year of the 5G era” (5G元年 wǔ G yuánnián), and “stop the violence and end the chaos” (止暴制乱 zhǐbàozhìluàn).