BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
Parks reopen, Nanjing announces stimulus
Parks and tourist attractions reopen as China tries to get back on its feet / SCMP
- Shanghai’s top spots welcome back limited numbers of visitors, while Nanjing government announces $45.3 million plan to boost consumer spending.
- Hubei, which reported just four new coronavirus cases on Friday, gets in on the act with a relaxing of travel restrictions for some citizens.
China’s Nanjing to give out vouchers to spur consumption amid epidemic — paper / Reuters
“China’s eastern city of Nanjing will give out 318 million yuan ($45 million) in vouchers to its citizens to spur spending hit by the coronavirus epidemic, according to a report from the Nanjing Daily, a local state-owned paper.”
Tencent gets big boost amid home confinement
Tencent’s set for fastest growth since 2018 after virus outbreak / Caixin
The quest for entertainment among millions confined to home translated into a big boost for Tencent’s marquee games, Honor of Kings and Peacekeeper Elite. That helped the company gain $25 billion of market value up to March 5, before a global market rout torpedoed the stock along with the rest of the market.
AI drug firm raises $10 million
AI drug development platform raises $10 million in Series A / TechNode
“Stonewise, a Beijing-based platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI) for drug development, has raised nearly $10 million in Series A funding, the company said on Monday.”
Rat farmers under pressure
Virus pushes China’s poor rat meat farmers to brink of despair / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
…Beijing has now clamped down on trading wild animals due to the coronavirus, potentially destroying the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of [bamboo rat] farmers.
“Many breeders are poor farmers living in mountainous areas, and have no other income,” said Cheng Bujun, who runs a rat farm in the Guangxi region. “Some of them are disabled or elderly who can hardly find jobs in cities.”
TikTok tries to stem censorship scandals fallout
TikTok to stop using China-based moderators to monitor overseas content / WSJ (paywall)
Popular short-video app TikTok said it would halt using China-based moderators to monitor overseas content and shift that work to those outside of China.
The decision will result in the transfer of more than 100 China-based moderators to other positions within the company, according to people familiar with the matter.
- Context in our 2020 Red Paper: TikTok takes over the American teen market but gets caught censoring content.
Southeast Asian tourism nears breaking point
China-reliant SE Asian tourism sector faces shutdown domino / Nikkei Asian Review (porous paywall)
Monday marks the 50th day since Beijing banned outbound group tours on January 27 in an effort to contain the coronavirus, which triggered massive booking cancellations in major travel destinations for Chinese tourists such as Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia and elsewhere in Asia.
SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:
COVID-19 research updates
Study finds no evidence of maternal-fetal transmission of COVID-19 / Sixth Tone
“Doctors in the central Chinese city of Wuhan have found no evidence that mothers with COVID-19 can transmit the virus to their children during pregnancy. The results of their study were published Monday in the scientific journal Frontiers in Pediatrics.”
More signs that coronavirus takes less of a toll on children / SCMP
Children infected with the new coronavirus tend to recover from the illness, with most showing at worst mild symptoms, according to two small-scale studies by Chinese researchers.
The studies appear to support earlier research that the coronavirus takes less of a physical toll on children than older people.
- Hopes for coronavirus vaccine rise after Chinese scientists find infected monkeys developed immunity / SCMP
- Primates found to have developed antibodies after being infected with COVID-19 — a discovery that suggests the immune system will fight back against the disease.
- Scientists have been puzzled by case of patients apparently being reinfected with the disease, but this study suggests that may not be the case.
China designs ‘floating hospital’
China designs floating hospital to combat infectious diseases / SCMP
The new ship, once built, would be able to provide medical help abroad during an epidemic, as well as be used for evacuations. The design of its quarantine functions could also be modularised and replicated on Chinese warships, said Sòng Zhōngpíng 宋中平, a Hong Kong-based military affairs commentator.
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
China gives ‘better food’ to Canadian hostages
China ‘giving detained Canadians Kovrig and Spavor better food’ during coronavirus / SCMP
Beijing said it was providing better food and allowing more deliveries during the coronavirus outbreak for two Canadians detained in China on spying charges that were seen as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of a Chinese [Huawei] telecoms executive…
“The authorities have provided better food for all the detainees, including Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, so as to help strengthen their immunity,” the embassy’s statement said. “Second, given the relevant detention centers have been totally enclosed due to the epidemic, to ensure their contacts with the Canadian consular agencies in China, the frequency of transference of letters and parcels to Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor has been increased as interim arrangements.”
- Chinese allow Michael Kovrig telephone call to sick father amid COVID-19 / TheSpec.com
China-Cambodia joint military exercise underway
Cambodia, China kick off Golden Dragon exercise despite coronavirus / Cambodia Daily
“The Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and the China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) kicked off the annual joint military exercise dubbed Golden Dragon in Cambodia’s Kampot province despite the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak.”
U.S. scolds Chinese ambassador over COVID-19 origin claims
U.S. State Department summons Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai amid anger over Beijing coronavirus comments / SCMP
“The U.S. government summoned Chinese Ambassador Cuī Tiānkǎi 崔天凯 to the State Department on Friday to protest Beijing’s suggestion that the U.S. military brought the coronavirus to China.”
U.S. investigating ZTE for bribery
The U.S. is now investigating Chinese telecom giant ZTE for alleged bribery / NBC
ZTE, the Chinese telecom giant that pleaded guilty three years ago to violating U.S. sanctions against Iran and North Korea, is the subject of a new and separate bribery investigation by the Justice Department, according to two people briefed on the matter.
The new investigation, which has not been reported previously, centers on possible bribes ZTE paid to foreign officials to gain advantages in its worldwide operations.
- See also, in TechNode: ZTE shares sink 23% after news of U.S. bribery investigation.
Uyghur children in Turkey
‘Somewhere like home’: Uyghur kids find a haven at boarding school in Turkey / NPR
“Without their parents, many of the children ended up living with other Uighur families or distant relatives [in Turkey], who struggled to support them.”
Indonesia folds under pressure from the U.S.
U.S. sanction threat spurred Indonesia to drop Russia, China weapons deals / SCMP
“As recently as last month, the official said, the US also pressured Indonesia into walking away from talks with China to procure several naval patrol vessels for about S$200 million.”
Taiwan’s COVID-19 situation is stable
Taiwan keeps coronavirus contained despite China’s proximity / NPR
As of Friday, Taiwan has reported 50 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and one death, out of a population of around 23 million.
In a paper this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA, Wang and two colleagues listed 124 actions that Taiwan’s authorities took starting in December when they sensed the looming threat — and the rest of the world seemed to be looking the other way.
COVID-19 test denied in the U.S., confirmed positive in Beijing
Woman denied COVID-19 test in US confirmed positive in Beijing / Sixth Tone
“From her first visit to a Massachusetts hospital on March 3 to her fourth visit on March 11, when a CT scan showed infections in her lungs, the woman — who was running a high fever — was denied a coronavirus test three times,” Páng Xīnghuǒ 庞星火, deputy director of the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a press conference [in Chinese] Saturday. The woman had arrived in Beijing Thursday afternoon with her husband and son, who are being treated as suspected cases.
Update: Beijing police announced [in Chinese] Monday that the woman who returned to the capital after allegedly being denied COVID-19 tests in the U.S. is under investigation for lying to the flight crew, and that she could face charges of impeding outbreak control efforts.
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
Op-ed: Stop politicizing women’s bodies
It’s time to stop tokenizing female medical staff / Sixth Tone
[W]omen have made huge contributions to the battle against COVID-19…Unsurprisingly, their heart-wrenching stories have been covered widely in domestic media, often powerfully. Yet several efforts to valorize female medical workers by the country’s “mainstream” media — a constellation of largely state-backed outlets uniquely well-positioned to set the public agenda — have fallen flat, arousing public ire for their reliance on outdated tropes like female suffering or extreme collectivist self-sacrifice.
- See also on SupChina: Women’s rights advocate calls out sexist coverage of Wuhan outbreak in Chinese media.
Postponement of Mulan
China’s ‘Mulan’ fans welcome news of release delay / Variety
“Mulan” fans in mainland China on Friday welcomed the news that Disney will postpone the global release of the new live-action blockbuster, happy that they’ll likely now get the chance to see the film in theaters in sync with the rest of the world.
Chinese fans took to social media on Friday to express their relief that the film had been pulled — both for health reasons, and out of fears of piracy and spoilers as the last ones to get a theatrical release.
New celebrity doctor
Meet the doctor who became an online celebrity for his straight talk / SCMP
A Shanghai-based infectious disease doctor has shot to fame during the coronavirus outbreak for his outspoken, down-to-earth talk about the disease…
The 51-year-old first started getting attention at the end of January when he told media he assigned doctors who were Communist Party members to work at a hospital on the front line of the coronavirus outbreak in Shanghai. The decision was non-negotiable, he said.
Soccer stars from Wuhan stranded abroad
The stranded stars of Wuhan F.C. / NYT (porous paywall)
“For more than 60 days, Yao and his teammates on Wuhan Zall F.C., a team in China’s top soccer league…have spent the last six weeks in temporary exile on the palm-fringed Costa del Sol, counting the hours, dreaming of home.”