BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
46 new ecommerce pilot zones announced
China to set up new integrated pilot zones for cross-border ecommerce to stabilize foreign trade, investment / Xinhua
China will set up 46 new integrated pilot zones for cross-border ecommerce, as well as support processing trade with new steps and hold the Canton Fair online to keep foreign trade and investment stable amid the epidemic, according to the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Lǐ Kèqiáng 李克强 Tuesday.
Figures from the General Administration of Customs showed that the retail sales of China’s cross-border ecommerce businesses reached 186.21 billion yuan (about $26.25 billion) in 2019.
- See the official press release in English and Chinese.
Aspiring memory-chip maker gets nod for $600 million fundraising / Caixin (paywall)
“Chipmaker GigaDevice Semiconductor (Beijing) Inc. has received the green light to raise funds for construction of a new factory making DRAM chips, joining a fledgling campaign by local Chinese players aiming to enter a lucrative sector dominated by foreigners.”
China gives final key approval for German chip giant infineon to buy U.S. rival / Caixin
German chip maker Infineon Technologies said Tuesday that it has obtained approval from China’s anti-trust regulator, the State Administration for Market Regulation, for its proposed takeover of American rival Cypress Semiconductor.
AI firms raise millions
China’s AI startups raise millions, but 2020 looks to be lean year / Caixin (paywall)
Over the past two weeks, at least three Chinese AI startups in China have revealed the results of their latest fundraising rounds, including voice-recognition specialist AISpeech, which said Tuesday that it had raised 410 million yuan ($58 million) in a series E round…
That followed similar announcements by industry peers 4Paradigm and Intellifusion, which last week said they had raised $230 million and 1 billion yuan [$142 million], respectively.
List of authorized medical suppliers published
China launches list of authorized certifiers for export medical goods / Caixin
“China’s market regulator has published a list of domestic companies authorized to certify the quality of medical supplies for export to the U.S. and European markets, after an overseas backlash prompted the government to rein in the export of substandard goods.”
Factories reopen with strict safety measures
Chinese factories go to extremes to fend off second wave of coronavirus cases / Washington Post (porous paywall)
“Beijing’s priority is to restart manufacturing, with service sectors a secondary concern. But even for factories lucky enough to have the early green light, many had to begin production in semi-lockdown, with workers forbidden from leaving campus without permission.”
New energy vehicle proposals released for feedback
工信部副部长辛国斌：将积极稳定和扩大新能源汽车消费 / The Paper
“Vice Minister of Industry and Information Technology Xīn Guóbīn 辛国斌: Actively stabilize and expand the consumption of new energy vehicles.”
See the draft proposals in Chinese here.
SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:
New flying dinosaur
Chinese scientists report new findings on unique pterosaur fossil / Xinhua
New research on the first complete pterosaur skeleton discovered in China provides more information on pterosaur phylogeny and sheds light on their living habit during the Cretaceous period more than 100 million years ago.
Dsungaripterus weii, discovered in [the] Wuerhe region in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and made public in 1964, is the first fossilized pterosaur with a nearly complete skeleton found in China.
Taiwan developing rapid tests for COVID-19
NHRI reveals prototype of rapid test for COVID-19 / Focus Taiwan
Taiwan, Denmark jointly develop 12-minute COVID-19 test kit / Focus Taiwan
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
WHO responds to Trump
WHO rejects ‘China-centric’ charge after Trump criticism / Reuters
China hits back at calls for Taiwan to join WHO
William Yang summarizes on Twitter: “So China’s attempt to keep Taiwan out of WHO has reached another level of absurdity with the latest statement published by the Chinese Embassy in France. Here are some extremely absurd passages from it: ‘Since Taiwan has responded well to the COVID-19 outbreak without being part of WHO, doesn’t this show that being excluded from WHO won’t affect Taiwan’s public health and safety?’”
See the Chinese Embassy’s statement in Chinese here.
Fears of second wave haunt Wuhan
Tens of thousands say goodbye to Wuhan as city ends 11 weeks of lockdown / SCMP
- An estimated 55,000 people left by rail alone on Wednesday, while 100 commercial flights took off for the first time since January 23.
- Wuhan residents are keen to get their lives back on track, but some are fearful of the ‘silent carriers’ who could start a second wave of infections.
- Fear lingers in Wuhan as China eases lockdown / WSJ (paywall)
Chinese leaders and many medical experts have held up this city as an example of what can be achieved through extreme efforts to contain the coronavirus.
It’s now becoming clear the battle in Wuhan is far from over — and the human cost much higher than officially acknowledged.
Japan to subsidize companies to leave China
Japan to fund firms to shift production out of China / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“Japan has earmarked $2.2 billion of its record economic stimulus package to help its manufacturers shift production out of China as the coronavirus disrupts supply chains between the major trading partners.”
Chinese leverage and debt relief in Africa
Chinese debt relief for Africa / The China Africa Project
Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta did just that on Monday when he became the first high-level African official to call out the Chinese by name for debt relief.
More likely, they’re going to reschedule the loans in such a way that it will relieve African borrowers from their repayment obligations while still allowing the Chinese to retain a certain amount of political leverage with the indebted country.
That leverage is going to be very important for Beijing.
Chinese doctors arrive in Nigeria to care for Chinese state-owned company only
Chinese doctors arrive today, to spend one month / Punch (Nigeria)
Despite opposition by the Nigerian Medical Association, the visiting 15-member medical team from China will arrive the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, on a chartered Air Peace aircraft on Wednesday (today).
[The Executive Director of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation] dispelled what he described as the controversy about the team’s visit, stating that “the primary purpose of the team is to provide CECC employees with critical and necessary healthcare.”
Corruption in South Africa
Limpopo’s dirty white elephant part 2: The dodgy designation / amaBhungane
“Documents obtained via an access to information request show that shady Hong Kong businessman Yat Hoi Ning boarded the strategic economic zone (SEZ) train without a ticket.
Sichuan-Tibet railway tunnel completed
Last, pivotal Sichuan-Tibet railway tunnel confirms completion / Ecns
“Construction on the last pivotal tunnel on the Lhasa-Nyingchi section of the Sichuan-Tibet railway was completed Tuesday. [The tunnel] was considered the ‘hardest nut to crack’ among railway engineers.”
New rules for Chinese state media in the U.S.
U.S. tightens rules on Chinese state media / AFP via Hong Kong Free Press
The United States on Tuesday tightened rules on Chinese state media organizations as it classified them as foreign missions, decrying what US officials described as Beijing’s growing “propaganda.”
Such efforts are not without criticism: the Committee to Protect Journalists earlier voiced unease over the foreign agent registration, saying the US government should not determine which outlets are propaganda and noting that other governments often try to impose regulations on foreign civil society groups.
Department of Justice continues China Initiative
Inside DOJ’s nationwide effort to take on China / Politico
The leadership of the Justice Department has put a bull’s-eye on the Chinese government, pushing prosecutors across the country to focus on investigations of Chinese state-backed efforts to steal intellectual property. The work involves investigations into American academics and work with U.S. universities, and department officials say their nationwide undertaking isn’t slowing it down.
Xinjiang internment camps
China undercover / Frontline PBS
The story of Chinese Muslims is a “story that has global implications”: Q&A with filmmakers / Frontline PBS
Adrian Zenz introduced this documentary on Twitter: “Tonight on Frontline PBS: China Undercover A special undercover report from China’s secretive Xinjiang region, filmed by an undercover Han Chinese who pretended to explore business opportunities.”
Lack of answers makes ‘clear’ missing academics are detained in Xinjiang camps: exile group / Radio Free Asia
The fate of several missing Uyghur academics in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region remains a closely guarded secret, which members of the Uyghur exile community say makes ‘clear’ that they have been detained in the region’s vast network of internment camps.
- Rep. Ilhan Omar on Twitter:
Today I led letters to Apple, Amazon, Google, and others condemning their use of forced Uyghur labor in China. American companies represent this country in business abroad. It is essential their values are in line with basic human rights.”
The cult of Xi Jinping
The delicate dance of loyalty / China Media Project
The “loyalty dance,” or zhōngzì wǔ (忠字舞), was a collective dance that became prevalent during the Cultural Revolution, at a time when Mao Zedong and his image reigned supreme over all aspects of life in China.
How, in Xi Jinping’s so-called “New Era,” does one dance the loyalty dance?
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
Art: Making sense of mass tragedies
Lives behind the numbers / NeoCha
On January 7, 2015, as the Paris offices of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo were being attacked, Chinese photographer Hé Bó 何博 sat at the café in the Louvre, scrolling through social media on his phone. Outside the window the world had been irrevocably shaken, but inside, wholly unaware, people carried on as usual.
Within a few days, Paris held a massive anti-terror march. “But I listened to my family, who told me not to take part,” Hé recalls, “which left me with the same sense of helplessness that I felt during the Wenchuan earthquake of 2008, when I was away from my hometown,” he says. “Maybe this feeling is what led to my obsession with terrorist attacks and other tragedies.
This feeling provided Hé with the direct inspiration for his series Since Then, No One Has Talked with You.
Animation: “Sexually suggestive sea creatures”
Happy Kawaii Friends / NeoCha
“This animated matrix of alcoholic and sexually suggestive sea creatures comes from the mind of Taiwanese animator Máo Máo 毛毛, a former commercial animator who’s brought a bawdy aquatic world to life.”
China designers: Will the next generation qipao be worn in the West? / Radii China
China stifles documentary-makers, but their art still shines / Economist (porous paywall)
If independent documentary-makers in China are squeezed much harder by the authorities, their plight will soon be a question fit for philosophers. Namely, if a film has no viewers, in what meaningful sense does it exist?
On Wuhan’s ‘reopening day,’ even traffic jams are celebrated / What’s on Weibo
“‘I hated traffic jams before, now it makes me happy to see them,’ one Weibo commenter writes.”