Here are the stories that caught our eye this week:
- China confirmed that Vice Premier Liú Hè 刘鹤 would travel to Washington to sign the “phase one” trade deal from January 13 to 15.
- China is schmoozing the Muslim world as the Trump administration’s policies alienate and confuse the Middle East. Chinese Foreign Minister Wáng Yì 王毅 — on a five-nation African tour — spent a day doing high-level meetings with Egyptian and Arab regional leaders in Cairo, where his defense of China’s repressive policies to Muslim minorities had a receptive audience. Meanwhile, the navies of Pakistan and China are currently engaged in a nine-day joint military exercise.
- Beijing replaced its top representative in Hong Kong with a Party official who speaks no Cantonese and has no experience working in Hong Kong.
- The Congressional-Executive Commission on China in Washington, D.C., released its annual report, which called for sanctions on China under the Global Magnitsky Act and described Beijing’s actions in Xinjiang as potential “crimes against humanity.”
- A domestically produced vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) was approved in China. HPV is the world’s most common viral infection of the reproductive tract, and often leads to cervical cancer.
- Indonesia and China got into a small spat over the presence of Chinese coast guard vessels near the Natuna islands. The Indonesian president remarked: “There are no more debates. De facto, de jure, Natuna is Indonesia.”
- Violence against doctors and medical staff by frustrated patients has become such a serious issue that hospitals in the city of Nanning, Guangxi Province, have begun installing metal detectors manned by security guards as stipulated by new municipal regulations.
- About 30 Chinese students and teachers walked out of the World Universities Debating Championships in Bangkok, and the organizers canceled a livestream of the event midway after the motion “This House, as China, would grant universal suffrage to Hong Kong citizens” was announced.
- Foreign teaching materials are banned from public primary and secondary schools according to a new directive from the Ministry of Education. The ban includes textbooks and classic novels.