Here are the stories that caught our eye this week:
- Prominent Christian pastor Wáng Yí 王怡 was sentenced to prison on charges of inciting subversion of state power on December 30. This arrest follows a trend of issuing harsh sentences during the Christmas and New Year holidays to dissidents, activists, and other people who attract media attention — when Western journalists and politicians are sleeping off their festive hangovers.
- Protests continued right into the new year in Hong Kong. The police arrested over 400 people. Meanwhile, Reuters released a poll showing that 59 percent of the city’s residents continue to support the protest movement.
- Donald Trump tweeted that he will be signing a “comprehensive Phase One Trade Deal with China on January 15.” That should keep the markets calm. But the Chinese side has not confirmed, and based on past behavior of both sides, this tweet does not mean anything at all.
- China temporarily blocked planned cross-border listings between the Shanghai and London stock exchanges due to political tensions, said Reuters, although Beijing today denied the report.
- China banned fishing on the Yangtze River for 10 years to combat overfishing and excessive pollution. The ban comes at a critical moment for the Yangtze’s fish stocks and biodiversity.
- The toxic culture of China’s “PUAs,” or pickup artists, is the subject of this piece by New York Times contributor Li Yuan.
- Xi Jinping opened the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway as part of China’s preparations for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
- After years of forced closures of live music venues, Beijing unveiled a $17 billion plan to become an “international music capital” by 2025, says the South China Morning Post.