Links for January 2, 2020


China’s main space contractor has announced it aims to launch 40+ times in 2020. CASC launched 66 satellites on 27 launchers in 2019 (out of a total of 34 Chinese launches). Commercial launch companies will thus add to China’s overall launches this year.

Major missions will include: Mars orbiter & rover (Jul/Aug); Chang’e-5 lunar sample return; test launches of Long March 7A (GTO), Long March 8 (VTVL), Long March 5B (LEO); completion of Beidou constellation; Apstar-6D (DFH-4E platform); LEO internet comms sats.



  • Taiwan election and Tsai Ing-wen’s expected victory
    The fall and rise of Tsai Ing-wen / Nikkei Asian Review
    As the writer of this article, Chris Horton, summarizes on Twitter:
    “Tsai deserves credit, but many of the main factors that have boosted the likelihood of her re-election (and DPP retaining LY) have been gifts from others: Xi’s threats, Trump’s trade war, Lam’s (mis)handling of HK, Han’s [Tsai’s opponent, Han Kuo-yu 韩国瑜 Hán Guóyú] gaffes, KMT’s pro-China party list.”
    The Taiwan presidential election is scheduled for January 11.
  • U.S.-China techno-trade war
    China views Donald Trump’s America with growing distrust and scorn / Economist (porous paywall)

Some Chinese voices say their country has not lost interest in an offer China made to Mr Trump’s predecessors, involving a “new model of great-power relations”: code for carving the world into spheres of geopolitical influence, and an end to American carping about China’s ways. Others stress China’s right to help write the rules of globalization. That would be reasonable, were it not that China’s aim is to make the world safe for techno-authoritarian state capitalism. Chinese officials want to avoid confronting America for now. But few silverbacks gracefully retire. Increasingly, America is seen as an obstacle to China’s rise. That means trouble looms.

If Bloomberg is elected president, he would immediately have to deal with the same Chinese officials he worked with closely as the chief executive of his business — but in his new role he would be embroiled in the trade war and face questions about how to deal with China’s human rights violations and its handling of pro-democracy protesters.

  • Helicopter crash tragedy in Taiwan
    Taiwan’s top military official and 7 others die in helicopter crash / NYT (porous paywall)
    “Eight people including the chief of Taiwan’s armed forces were killed Thursday after the military helicopter carrying them crashed on a mountainside during a routine trip, Taiwan’s military said…The Black Hawk helicopter was carrying 13 people, including Shen Yi-ming, an air force general who served as the chief of general staff of Taiwan’s armed forces.”
  • Censorship request denied in Norway
    Chinese skiers want book removed from Meråker library / Norway Today
    “Leaders of a delegation of skiers from China wanted a controversial Chinese book at the library in Meråker removed but the library has strongly rejected such a request…‘We have freedom of speech in Norway so that was completely out of the question,’ said library manager Anne Marken.”
  • South China Sea tensions: Indonesia
    Indonesia issues protest to Beijing over Chinese vessel trespassing in Natuna / The Jakarta Post

Indonesia has filed a protest to Beijing for alleged territorial violation by a Chinese coastguard vessel around the disputed Natuna waters, saying the ship has trespassed into its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The Chinese vessel was also suspected of having illegally fished in the waters.


After graduating in 2009, [Luō Yáng 罗洋] moved to Beijing to begin a career as a photographer, and she began to hone the aesthetic for which the “Girls” project would become known”…

“I’m drawn to women who are judged to be less than perfect by mainstream values,” says Luo. “Maybe they’ve been through something bad, or they’re vulnerable, but you can see they go about their lives so honestly and bravely. It’s interesting to feel this kind of energy.”