Week in Review: Friday, February 28, 2020

Here are the stories that caught our eye this week:

  • Swedish bookseller Guì Mǐnhǎi 桂敏海 was sentenced to 10 years in prison for “providing intelligence” overseas. The sentence has deepened diplomatic tensions, with Sweden demanding that China release him.
  • The Chinese economy looks far from healthy, despite reports that the number of COVID-19 cases outside Hubei are largely contained. According to the SCMP, only 30% of small businesses have been able to reopen, while Caixin has reported that 10 million people are waiting to return to Guangdong.
  • Wall Street took a major hit, with the Dow preparing for its worst week since the financial crisis. The drop comes as COVID-19 continues to spread outside China, sparking fears of global pandemic and recession. Until this past weekend, U.S. investors had appeared largely unfazed by COVID-19.
  • A wave of investigative articles were published this week pointing to a cover-up — or at best a mess-up — in Wuhan, which delayed reporting of the emerging coronavirus outbreak to China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wasting valuable weeks in the early days of the epidemic.
  • The U.S. is considering taking retaliatory measures against China following its expulsion of three Wall Street Journal reporters. Measures could include the expulsion of Chinese journalists from the U.S.    
  • U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders expressed his willingness to retaliate should China take military action against Taiwan, while Michael Bloomberg incorrectly stated that India is a bigger producer of carbon dioxide emissions than China.  
  • China’s 5G networks will be ready months ahead of schedule, according to Caixin. Meanwhile, Huawei made gains in Europe, with its announcement of a new series of 5G products and strategies in Spain.
  • iFlyTek has been approved to purchase U.S. medical devices to help fight COVID-19. The partially state-owned artificial intelligence firm was placed on the U.S. Entity List in the spring of 2019 and required approval by the U.S. Department of Commerce before it could purchase the devices.    
  • Popular simulation video game Plague Inc., which lets players create and evolve a disease to wipe out humanity, was removed from Chinese app stores this week as China continues to grapple with COVID-19.
  • Yangyang Cheng’s column explored how national borders politicize those working in the science and technology space, and have divided populations and exacerbated racism as countries work to contain the spread of COVID-19.    
  • A poem by SupChina’s Anthony Tao shed light on how COVID-19 has impacted the ways in which people communicate and connect with one another.
  • Jin Ding explored how Chinese media companies navigate their way in a politically tumultuous environment and provided a list of which publications are worth following.