BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
Government in talks to take over HNA
China nears takeover of troubled HNA as virus slams economy / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“China plans to take over troubled conglomerate HNA Group Co. and sell off its airline assets, the most dramatic step to date by the state to contain the deepening economic damage from the deadly coronavirus epidemic.”
Chinese firm stole Motorola trade secrets
U.S. jury orders Motorola’s Chinese rival to pay $765 million for infringement / Caixin
- A U.S. federal jury awarded Motorola Solutions $764.6 million in compensation in a copyright infringement lawsuit against Chinese rival Hytera Communications Corp.
- The jury at a federal district court in Chicago found that Hytera had stolen Motorola Solutions’ trade secrets for two-way radio technology used in walkie-talkies and infringed Motorola’s copyrights.
Pilots return home amid virus slump
Coronavirus: foreign pilots at Chinese airlines head home on unpaid leave as demand falls / SCMP
- Local pilots have meanwhile seen their pay reduced because most of it was based on flying hours.
- About 80% of scheduled airline capacity to, from and within China has been cut this week because of the outbreak, according to data firm OAG.
TikTok under scrutiny in Australia
It’s time to talk about TikTok and what it’s doing with our kids’ data / ABC Australia
“TikTok is under scrutiny in Australia for its ties to China, with some of the country’s top cyber and national security minds warning the app could potentially be used by Beijing authorities to influence and monitor millions of Australian users.”
INFOGRAPHIC: Internet usage surges
Changes in online user behavior resulting from the coronavirus / China Skinny
An infographic showing how Chinese online habits have changed as a result of COVID-19, most notably: “In the three weeks from January 14, online usage grew over 20% to 6.11 billion hours — over 6 hours per Chinese online.”
SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:
Asymptomatic transmission of COVID-19 virus
People without COVID-19 symptoms can still spread virus, men at greater risk, research shows / Caixin
A letter published Tuesday in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine says that people infected with COVID-19 may be contagious despite being asymptomatic.
The letter’s authors, two dozen physicians from various Frankfurt institutions, also said that based on their findings, the widespread practice of relying on symptom-based screening for the disease may not be effective at preventing its spread.
More COVID-19 patients to get plasma treatment
China to expand plasma treatments for coronavirus patients / SCMP
- Treatment has previously been used on victims of swine and bird flu and ‘looks promising’, says respiratory expert Zhōng Nánshān 钟南山.
- Patients who have recovered from COVID-19 found to have virus-neutralizing antibodies in their blood, but supplies are limited for now.
Breakthrough in quantum entanglement
Chinese scientists report breakthrough on quantum internet technology with entangled atoms / SCMP
- Paper in the journal ‘Nature’ says [the] team was able to ‘entangle’ two clouds of atoms via a 50km [31 mile] optical fibre.
- It was the longest distance photons have traveled in such an experiment.
Wildlife trade after COVID-19
To prevent next coronavirus, stop the wildlife trade, conservationists say / NYT (porous paywall)
In the spread of yet another coronavirus, conservationists see a public health lesson: If you want to prevent epidemics that begin in animals, halt the global trade in wildlife.
“This issue is not just a conservation issue anymore,” said Grace Ge Gabriel, Asia regional director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare. “It’s a public health issue, a biosafety issue and a national security issue.”
For the past two weeks China’s police have been raiding houses, restaurants and makeshift markets across the country, arresting nearly 700 people for breaking the temporary ban on catching, selling or eating wild animals.
The scale of the crackdown, which has netted almost 40,000 animals including squirrels, weasels and boars, suggests that China’s taste for eating wildlife and using animal parts for medicinal purposes is not likely to disappear overnight, despite potential links to the new coronavirus.
China’s CO2 emissions could be down by a quarter
Coronavirus has temporarily reduced China’s CO2 emissions by a quarter / Carbon Brief
“[T]he measures to contain coronavirus have resulted in reductions of 15% to 40% in output across key industrial sectors. This is likely to have wiped out a quarter or more of the country’s CO2 emissions over the past two weeks, the period when activity would normally have resumed after the Chinese new-year holiday.”
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
Fugitive financier may be in Wuhan
1MDB fugitive Jho Low was active in Wuhan, Malaysia police say / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“Fugitive financier Jho Low [刘特佐 Liú Tèzuǒ] [who faces charges over his alleged role in the 1MDB scandal] may have been in Wuhan, with Malaysian authorities now on the lookout for his return in light of the coronavirus outbreak.”
Media coverage of Li Wenliang’s death
The Li Wenliang storm / China Media Project
China Media Project analyzes differences in the Chinese state media coverage of the death of Dr. Lǐ Wénliàng 李文亮 and the reactions from social media users:
In coverage from Party-state media we have seen sometimes sharply contrasting visions of Li Wenliang and how his story relates to the question information control — a central point of contention for many Chinese commenting on social media.
Have the Sony World Photography Awards been censored?
Removal of Hong Kong protest images from Sony World Photography Awards website raises censorship concerns / Hong Kong Free Press
“Images relating to the Hong Kong protests have been taken down from the 2020 Sony World Photography Awards website because of their ‘sensitive nature.’ While the finalists are still in the running for a prize, the move has raised concerns over possible censorship.”
U.S. governors ranked by China “friendliness”
How a Chinese think tank rates all 50 U.S. governors / Axios
A Chinese think tank has rated [in Chinese] U.S. governors and White House advisors on how “friendly” they are to Beijing in a series of reports analyzed by Axios…
The report stated that while a hardline attitude towards China now prevails in Washington, the American federal system means that state-level governments may not be in lockstep.
China threatened Czech companies over Taiwan trip
China letter threatened retaliation against Czech companies if diplomatic visit to Taiwan went ahead / Reuters via SCMP
“A proposed visit to Taiwan by chairman of Czech upper house Jaroslav Kubera brought a furious response from Beijing threatening that Czech companies would ‘pay’ for the trip.”
China sent threatening letter about Czech official’s plan to visit Taiwan / Taiwan News
COVID-19 conspiracies won’t die
Senator Tom Cotton repeats fringe theory of coronavirus origins / NYT (porous paywall)
- Speaking on Fox News, Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, raised the possibility that the virus had originated in a high-security biochemical lab in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the outbreak.
- The rumor appeared shortly after the new coronavirus struck China and spread almost as quickly: that the outbreak now afflicting people around the world had been manufactured by the Chinese government.
Scientists hit back at rumors of engineered coronavirus / SCMP
“Researchers point to several genetic clues indicating that the virus responsible for a deadly epidemic evolved naturally.”
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
Chinese government backs Fruit Ninja-style game about killing viruses amid coronavirus outbreak / SCMP
- The public education game, whose Chinese name translates to “battle of pathogens”, aims to help communicate epidemic prevention tips to players.
- It was co-launched by a local government department in China with official newspaper People’s Daily and developed by ByteDance subsidiary Ohayoo.
Reporting under lockdown
She left Wuhan to become a journalist. She’s back in time to get the story / NYT (porous paywall)
It didn’t take long for an army of volunteers to emerge in Wuhan after the authorities put the city on lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Anna Liu just didn’t expect to be one of them.
Ms. Liu, 30, had been a journalist in Beijing at Q Daily, a Chinese news outlet frequently targeted by the government for its coverage of politics. The organization was forced to downsize in December. Without a job, Ms. Liu returned to Wuhan to celebrate the Lunar New Year with her parents. After the city was put on lockdown, her first instinct was to report.
How a city 500 miles from Wuhan went into lockdown
How Wenzhou, 900 km from Wuhan, went into total lockdown / Sixth Tone
Wenzhou is famous across China for its savvy businesspeople, who have moved across the world in vast numbers in search of new moneymaking opportunities… The thriving community, however, became a liability for their hometown after COVID-19 began to spread rapidly through Wuhan. As the situation deteriorated through January, thousands returned to Wenzhou to celebrate the Lunar New Year — or simply to escape the epidemic. The virus came with them.
By January 29, there were 172 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Wenzhou, the highest figure [in Chinese] for any city outside Hubei Province. Of the 58 people diagnosed with the disease that day, 60% were people who had recently returned from Wuhan.