Links for Friday, May 8, 2020 - SupChina
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Links for Friday, May 8, 2020

BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:

A Chinese stock benchmark pushed through its latest technical barrier Friday amid optimism on U.S. trade relations. But when the 100-day moving average for the CSI 300 Index was previously broken in February, it didn’t bring a lasting rally.

The index, which tracks China’s biggest companies listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen, closed up 1% at 3,963.62. The CSI 300 moved above its 50- and 200-day levels last week ahead of the Labor Day holiday break.

Chinese electric-car maker BYD Co. Ltd., which has pivoted to medical supply manufacturing amid the pandemic, will have to return a $247 million prepayment to the government of California, after failing to meet U.S. respirator standards by April 30.

If BYD can’t get its N95 respirators the National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health (NIOSH) certification by the new deadline of May 31, it will have to refund the rest of the down payment, worth $248 million.

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.’s semiconductor design arm HiSilicon has become the first Chinese mainland-based chipmaker to break into the world’s top 10 for sales, climbing five places in the first quarter to scrape in at No. 10 behind suppliers from the U.S., South Korea and Taiwan.

The unit grew its global sales by 54% year-on-year to $2.67 billion for the quarter, according to a report by IC Insights. But the surge was mostly down to parent Huawei, with more than 90% of sales for the period going to the world’s largest telecoms gear-maker, the report said.

The economic pain that China is suffering as a result of COVID-19 is common to many countries. What makes it unusual is the contrast between China’s world-class physical infrastructure — featuring, among other things, the longest high-speed rail network — and its badly lagging soft infrastructure, with a social safety-net akin to those of much poorer countries.

Players and coaches in the Chinese Super League could have salaries cut by up to 50% to help clubs manage losses from the coronavirus pandemic.

The head of China’s football association said teams would implement temporary player pay cuts of 30% to 50%.

Chén Xūyuán 陈戌源 also told state broadcaster CCTV that matches would be resumed on a staggered schedule but gave no specific dates.

The messaging giant, which commands 1.16 monthly active users, announced this week it’s partnering with the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou to host a livestream shopping festival in June. The news arrived not long after president Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 acknowledged the essential role of live streaming ecommerce in the economy, especially in promoting sales of rural produce.

SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:

Several education bureaus in China are rethinking COVID-19 control policies after three students died running in masks at school, The Beijing News reported [in Chinese] Friday.

Bureaus in the eastern city of Xiamen [in Chinese], the southern province of Hainan [in Chinese], and the central city of Changsha [in Chinese] have issued notices that either discourage schools from requiring students to wear masks during gym class or prohibit the facial accessories during exercise outright.

Chinese researchers who tested the sperm of men infected with COVID-19 found a minority had the new coronavirus in their semen. According to the researchers, this opened up a small chance the disease could be sexually transmitted, though this claim has been questioned by other academics in the wake of the findings being published.

  • The antibodies were found to work together as a team to prevent the virus from binding to a host cell.
  • Researchers say that could help target different strains that evolve as virus spreads.

POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:

Hong Kong’s legislative council descended into extraordinary scenes on Friday, with opposing lawmakers throwing placards and scrambling over each other to take control of a house committee that has been unable to elect a new chairperson.

The scuffles began after an earlier meeting ended and legislators rushed to take the empty seat, more than an hour before the house committee session was due to start. The incumbent committee chair, Starry Lee [李慧琼 Lǐ Huìqióng, a pro-establishment politician], reached the seat first and was surrounded by security guards.

Pro-Beijing and pro-democracy members crowded in, with chaos escalating and lasting for more than an hour.

Hong Kong police have cleared pro-democracy protesters engaged in a lunchtime pro-democracy sing-along at a luxury shopping mall in Central.

Protesters gathered at the IFC mall at around 1pm on Friday for a “Lunch With You” protest, responding to online calls which promoted the demonstration as a legal effort to promote coronavirus-related information.

U.S. lawmakers have proposed renaming the street in front of the Chinese embassy in Washington after the late Wuhan doctor punished for warning about the spread of coronavirus, a step sure to outrage Beijing.

The measure would rechristen the section of the Washington street in front of the embassy “Li Wenliang Plaza” [Lǐ Wénliàng 李文亮], instead of the innocuous current name of International Place.

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has sent a “verbal message” to Chinese leader Xí Jìnpíng 习近平, state media KCNA reported on Friday, after weeks of speculation about his health.

The news agency did not explain what it meant by a “verbal message,” and it was not clear if Kim and Xi had spoken directly.

The message was “in connection with the fact that China is registering success in preventing the COVID-19 infection”, according to KCNA, with Kim extending his “warm greetings” to Xi.

Indonesia has summoned China’s ambassador to clarify the deaths of four Indonesian crew from two Chinese-flagged vessels, Indonesia’s foreign ministry said on Thursday, after rights groups alleged the crew were mistreated and exploited.

The ministry issued a statement after a video was circulated on social media, appearing to show a burial at sea aboard a Chinese-flagged ship. The footage showed a group of men praying around an orange body bag before it was tossed into the ocean.

The E.U. Delegation to China said in a statement Friday that it approved publication because the edited piece still addressed other issues of concern such as climate change, environmental sustainability, human rights and multilateralism. Several EU members complained that the delegation hadn’t consulted with them before agreeing to China’s demands, BuzzFeed News reported based on diplomatic correspondence it reviewed.

…However, some Western politicians are taking the lead in a new wave of China-bashing, spinning conspiracy theories varying from “Chinese virus” to “Chinese problem”, or “Chinese responsibility”, and even “Chinese threat”. These assertions are very arrogant and fierce, but if you take a closer look, they all bear the same stereotype of discrimination against China in history. It is a 300-year-old culture trying to tarnish a 5,000-year-old civilisation.

  • Tanvi Madan on Twitter: “Beyond the issue of the regular column Chinese diplomats seem to have established in Indian newspapers, this PRC CG op-ed is so divorced from reality. It rants about ‘western’ sentiment vs China in COVID-times when anti-China sentiment in India’s been higher, more trenchant/vitriolic.”

SOCIETY AND CULTURE:

Chinese nationals stranded overseas have accused Beijing of abandoning them far from home as the government prioritizes avoiding a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Beijing has implemented some of the strictest travel bans of any country. Very few foreigners are able to enter China and flights have been drastically limited, making it nearly impossible for many citizens to return.

Aiqi Sun is a freshman at the University of North Carolina who recently found himself working through a highly unusual question of translation: How do you say “the Bulls’ traveling cocaine circus” in Mandarin?

As one of the Chinese translators for “The Last Dance,” the documentary extravaganza about Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls, Sun was assigned the first episode and took on the challenge of conveying the team’s extracurricular proclivities in another language. It turned out to be surprisingly universal.

  • New documentary on Asian Americans
    PBS docu-series ‘Asian Americans’ more timely amid pandemic / AP via Washington Post (porous paywall)
    “The PBS documentary series ‘Asian Americans’ that airs next week is a sweeping look at their impact on society, politics and pop culture between the mid-19th century and 9/11.”
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