Links for Tuesday, March 31, 2020

BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:

The damage to China’s aquaculture sector caused by coronavirus could be far-reaching as customers from the U.S. and elsewhere hold off on orders. Companies that specialise in sustainable aquaculture products look to be especially affected because they rely most on exports.

Two major industry events have already been postponed: Seafood Expo North America, the largest such exhibition in the continent, was due to take place in Boston mid-March, and Seafood Expo Global was planned for Brussels in April.

“Every year we get 40-50% of our orders confirmed at that [first] exhibition,” Chén Shēng 陈升, general manager of the Maoming Evergreen Aquatic Product Co. Ltd. told China Dialogue.

[W]hile Chinese ventilator makers say they have ramped up production, there are fears that the global shortage is unlikely to be resolved fast enough.

Analysts say a big challenge is the disruption of global supply chains amid the pandemic. Chinese ventilator makers depend on key components they can only get from Europe and the U.S., where many places have been locked down, and

On Thursday, Huawei launched its P40 smartphone — one of the first flagship devices the company has launched since Washington’s introduction of sanctions last May that barred U.S. companies from selling to the Chinese group unless specifically licensed to do so…

The P40’s radio-frequency front-end modules were, according to XYZone’s teardown analysis, produced by Qualcomm, Skyworks and Qorvo, three U.S. chip companies. RF front-end modules are critical parts of the phone that are attached to the antennas and required to make calls and connect to the internet.

Huawei Technologies Ltd…reported that its 2019 sales rose by double digits despite curbs imposed in May on its access to U.S. components and technology. But the chairman, Eric Xu [徐直军 Xú Zhíjūn], said 2020 will be its “most difficult year” as Huawei struggles with the sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic.

Three years ago, manufacturing gadgets in China was a given. That’s changed fundamentally in the era of trade wars and coronavirus.

Under the new reality, the world’s electronics makers are actively seeking ways to diversify their supply chains and reduce their dependence on any single country, no matter how attractive…

These days, more conversations with Taiwanese tech executives revolve around choosing the best location outside mainland China for manufacturing. They like Vietnam because of its proximity to China, though labor costs there are on the rise. While Taiwan is home, it’s considered too expensive, again mainly due to relatively high wages.

SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:

The power-generating units of a nuclear plant in southern China were shut down twice last week after its water filters were blocked by masses of small shrimp, the safety regulator said.

Big shoals of the tiny acetes — krill-like shrimp that are just a few centimetres long — flooded the seawater diversion channel and circulating water pumping stations of the Yangjiang Nuclear Power Station in Guangdong on March 24, the National Nuclear Safety Administration said in a statement.

POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:

  • Meng [Mèng Wǎnzhōu 孟晚舟], her lawyers and opposing Canadian government counsel took part by telephone, with judge the only key party present in courtroom.
  • Justice Heather Holmes said there would be no ruling soon on whether the case against Meng satisfied “double criminality” [a requirement that extraditable suspects must be accused of something that would constitute a crime in Canada] rules.

Jian Runfu, an official at Guangdong Medical Devices Management Academy, a trade association, said the rate of defective masks had more than doubled since the start of 2020.

“Some Chinese factories are so keen to make a fortune from the virus that they are cutting corners where they can,” said Mr Jian…

Chinese factories typically go through a rigorous regulatory procedure to win EU or US approval, ranging from product testing to technology document review…

An official at Shenzhen Tian Hai Test Technology Co said the company could complete surgical mask testing within 10 days. To achieve this, it has, for example, suggested clients refrain from using “medical”, “surgical” or “surgery” in their certification applications, as the US Food and Drug Administration enforces stricter measures for medical masks than personal ones.

Backed by armed Chinese Coast Guard ships, Chinese fishing fleets have been raiding the rich waters of the South China Sea that are internationally recognized as exclusively Indonesia’s to fish…

Wary of offending Indonesia’s largest trading partner, Indonesian officials have played down incursions by Chinese fishing boats, trying to avoid conflict with Beijing over China’s sprawling claims in these waters. But with the Chinese presence growing more aggressive, fishers in the Natunas are feeling vulnerable.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mounted a huge campaign on the medical aid and teams sent to Italy in March to help fight the coronavirus. State-media and prominent Chinese political figures worked tirelessly to depict China as Italy’s savior…
On Twitter, the mobilization was a great success, with thousands of posts celebrating Chinese solidarity. Yet, not all of this was created by human hand. Nearly half of the tweets (46.3%) published between March 11 and 23 with the hashtag #forzaCinaeItalia (Go China, go Italy, ed.) and more than one third (37.1%) of those with the hashtag #grazieCina (thank you China, ed.) came from bots, a Social Data Intelligence analysis realized for Formiche by Alkemy SpA’s R&D Lab [in Italian] together with Deweave Luiss Data Lab and Catchy shows.

The Consulate General of China in Durban has called out the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government following the arrest of a Chinese national who allegedly held 12 South Africans in his factory during the national lockdown to manufacture medical masks.

“We were shocked at the arrest of a Chinese citizen working hard to help KZN in its fight against the virus and require that his legitimate rights be fully guaranteed, that a consular visit to him be arranged sooner and the case be thoroughly investigated prior to any conclusion in accordance with SA laws and international practice,” the consulate said in a statement on Monday.

“It is disturbing to learn about workers who are forced to work in groups of more than 300 in unhygienic conditions. This despite the fact that they are not performing essential services as stipulated by the Department of Trade and Industry,” New24 reported her [Nomusa Dube-Ncube, Economic Development MEC] as saying.

  • Few flights for Chinese returning home
    Flight collects students stranded in Ethiopia / Global Times
    “About 200 overseas Chinese students finally took a designated flight with the Chinese Embassy’s help to return to their homeland after being stuck at a transfer point in Ethiopia for two nights, as many international flights to China were canceled due to the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.”
  • Political discussions within families show generational divide
    Quarreling in quarantine and bridging a generational divide / NYT (porous paywall)

“You can spend 12 hours online talking to your friends every day,” Mr. Wu said. “But you are angry 24 hours every day. So sometimes, your anger just can’t be held back anymore.”

Familial political disagreements are nothing new, but they are especially fraught in China, where dissent can bring not just an uncomfortable meal but real consequences.

Dinnertime discussions often devolved into shouting matches. But they had nowhere else to go.

If the U.S. government arbitrarily alters the rules of the market, the Chinese government will not sit idle and watch Huawei to be put on the chopping board, which will most likely take countermeasures against US firms, a Huawei executive told the Global Times on Tuesday…such as partnering with companies in South Korea, the island of Taiwan, and companies in the Chinese mainland like Samsung, MediaTek, and Unisoc, said Huawei Rotating Chairman Eric Xu [徐直军 Xú Zhíjūn].

The victims — 27 firefighters and three locals — had been reported missing on Sunday as firefighters fought the blaze in a remote, mountainous part of Liangshan Prefecture in Sichuan Province. Two of the locals are confirmed to be officials from the forestry bureau.

SOCIETY AND CULTURE:

  • Reconnecting adoptees with their Chinese birth families
    In connecting Chinese adoptees to birth families, couple makes discovery about China’s one-child policy / NBC News
    Brian Study, an American, falsely believed that “kids were being abandoned on the side of the street and that Chinese orphanages were full of children” and adopted his oldest daughter with this in mind. After finding out that many children were still wanted by their families, but could not keep them because of the one-child policy, he and his wife founded a website to reconnect adoptees with their birth families via DNA Connect.

The couple’s work and findings have been featured in a number of publications and are highlighted in the 2019 award-winning documentary “One Child Nation,” which explores the repercussions of China’s one-child policy. The film, directed by Nanfu Wang, airs Monday on PBS at 9 p.m. CST.

Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Vincent van Gogh — in 2019, Zao Wou-Ki [趙無極 Zhào Wújí] outsold them all. In fact, the $238 million generated by the late painter’s art at auctions last year was surpassed only by sums achieved by Picasso and Monet.

Zao may not yet be a household name, but …[the brooding 33-foot-long triptych “Juin-Octobre 1985” was sold] five years after his death, for $65 million, becoming the most expensive artwork ever to go under the hammer in Hong Kong.

Two months ago, the Chinese community in the U.S. was scrambling to find and ship stocks of medical supplies to China as it grappled with the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, as the U.S. is engulfed by the outbreak, with the highest number of cases in the world, the same community is on a new mission to bring medical supplies from China to American hospitals. The first batch of face masks — donated and shipped by Northwestern University alumni based in a number of Chinese cities — arrived in Chicago on Friday and was delivered to New York City’s NYU Langone Health a day later.