Links for December 27, 2019

BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:

Chinese soccer authorities have announced major curbs on spending by clubs ahead of next season that include a cap on foreign and domestic players’ salaries as they seek to stave off financial ruin.

Overseas recruits to the Chinese Super League in the upcoming winter transfer window would be limited to earning US$3.3 million after tax, the first time a salary cap has been implemented in the league in more than a decade.

Additionally, a ceiling of 10 million yuan (US$1.4 million) has been placed on Chinese players’ salaries.

Clubs would also not be permitted to spend more than 1.1 billion yuan on their operations throughout the upcoming campaign, with salaries not to exceed 60 percent of that amount.

Tesla will get up to 11.25 billion yuan ($1.61 billion) in financing from China Construction Bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank at “preferential rates,” according to a banker involved in the deal.

The loan is ahead of a key milestone as Tesla starts delivering China-built cars on Monday.

As of Thursday, local governments in seven provinces and cities across the country, including the provinces of Henan, Sichuan, Zhejiang, Hunan and Shanxi, and the cities of Shenzhen and Qingdao…announced plans to issue bonds to raise funds for infrastructure projects earlier than normal next year, following Beijing’s call to stimulate the slowing economy.

Wáng Sīcōng 王思聪, the only son of Wáng Jiànlín 王健林 , the billionaire founder and chairman of Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, reached an agreement with creditors after local courts declared him a debtor and placed curbs on his flamboyant lifestyle.

Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and Mobiletron Electronics announced an agreement Friday to produce 10 self-driving electric buses by the end of 2021, with trial production of the first vehicle expected as early as the first quarter of 2020.

China said Friday its Beidou Navigation Satellite System that emulates the U.S. Global Positioning System will be competed with the launch of its final two satellites in the first half of next year.

SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:

Shanghai’s new waste-sorting scheme, which requires every business and household in the city of 26 million to divide their so-called wet and dry waste — referring to kitchen and residual waste, respectively.

Anyone failing to correctly sort their trash can be fined as much as 200 yuan ($29), while companies can face penalties of up to 500,000 yuan — a policy that has led to much grumbling among local residents, especially overworked young professionals.

The strict new trash regime is part of a massive campaign by the Chinese government to tackle a growing garbage problem. The country generates [in Chinese] around 600,000 tons of urban household waste daily, and the figure continues to rise…Forty-six cities across China are scheduled to roll out [in Chinese] policies similar to the one in force in Shanghai by the end of 2020.

China’s top pig producer Sichuan Province pledged to produce 60 million hogs in 2020, around levels in previous years, state media reported on Friday, after a deadly pig disease decimated the country’s massive pig herd.

POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:

  • Another scholar disappears in China
    Japanese professors issue appeal for Chinese colleague missing in China / Japan Times  

    “A group of Japanese researchers is pleading for the safe return of a prominent Chinese scholar at Hokkaido University of Education who they have not heard from since shortly after he left for China to attend a family funeral in June.”

A Malaysian court on Friday banned a planned weekend protest, organised by a powerful lobby group for the country’s Chinese-medium schools, that officials had warned could stir up ethnic strife in the multiracial country.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad warned last weekend that the event by the Dong Jiao Zong group had the potential to cause “chaos” as it pitted Malaysia’s minority Chinese community against the Malay-Muslim majority.

Since 2018, China’s President Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 has installed 12 former executives from government regulators or state-run financial institutions to top leadership posts across the country’s provinces, regions and municipalities.

The appointments appear to put them in the fast lane as China prepares for a leadership reshuffle in 2022. [Click the link above for a list of] the 12 rising deputy provincial or municipal governors who are put on that track.

Looking to consolidate its presence in the western Indian Ocean, a region where China continues to rapidly expand its presence both economically and militarily, India this week appointed a defense attache for its mission in Madagascar, the island nation off the coast of east Africa…

The appointment of a defense attache follows defence cooperation agreements which India signed with both Madagascar and Comoros recently.

China ‘s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) said on Thursday that its ties with the Indian military are “improving” with the strategic dialogue, practical cooperation and exchanges, “thanks” to the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xí Jìnpíng 习近平.

—State department urges Beijing to abstain from actions that would jeopardize the self-ruled island’s security.

—China’s newest aircraft carrier passed through Taiwan Strait on Thursday in latest show of force ahead of presidential election.

Hong Kong’s police officers received HK$235 million [$30 million) in meal and other allowances as the force was mobilised during the past six months of social unrest, on top of the almost HK$1 billion in overtime claims previously announced.

China strengthened its hold on European ports, including Zeebrugge and Antwerp, last year, according to the latest Dutch-language report of the Clingendael China Centre.

The report warns against increased Chinese investments in container seaports, which threaten to make European Union members more politically dependent on Beijing… The Asian giant owns a sizeable chunk of Belgian container terminals. In Zeebrugge, about 90 percent of the container terminal is in the hands of the Chinese state company COSCO Shipping, the world’s biggest maritime company and third-largest international container transporter. 

SOCIETY AND CULTURE:

  • Rural fantasies for stressed-out urbanites
    How Li Ziqi repackages rural China for urban fantasies / Sixth Tone
    Lǐ Zǐqī 李子柒 has amassed millions of fans in China and abroad — her YouTube account has nearly 8 million subscribers — with her videos depicting an idealized rural life where she “tills her fields, tends to her bevy of adorable sheep and dogs, and picks fresh fruits and vegetables for her grandmother from her seemingly bottomless cornucopia of a yard.”
    Folklore scholar Dai Wangyun writes:

Li’s fans, both Chinese and non-Chinese alike, say they’re hooked on her bucolic portrayal of the Chinese countryside. But her unabashedly romantic depiction of country life has its critics. How does she keep her elaborate, traditional dresses spotless during all that farm work? Why doesn’t she seem to sweat? And most importantly: Is she misleading her millions of — mostly city-based — fans by minimizing the harshness of rural life?

But after spending several months studying Li’s online fandom, I wonder whether the critics are asking the right questions. My research partner and I found that many of her fans are fully aware that rural life has little in common with Li’s gentrified, aesthetic depiction of it — they just don’t care. They don’t push play on her videos looking for a window into the realities of rural Chinese life. What they want is an escape, and Li provides an outlet practically tailor-made for today’s overworked, overcrowded, and burned out urban middle class.

FEATURED ON SUPCHINA

2019 China sports 1

Our sports columnist, Gerry Harker, on this final Friday of 2019, looks back at the year that was in China sports, including a lot of national-team failures, hurt feelings of the Chinese people, and whatever scandal followed star swimmer Sun Yang.