BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
Stock index closes on a positive note
China stocks top key technical level on trade, policy optimism / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
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.
Central bank fines payment provider…again
Central bank imposes another record penalty on payment provider / Caixin (paywall)
“Allscore Payment Service Co. Ltd., a Beijing-based payment services provider, was fined 65.9 million yuan ($9.3 million) and had 50.1 million yuan of its illegal gains confiscated, according to an April 29 notice (link in Chinese) from the Beijing branch of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC).”
BYD stung $247 million for missing medical supply deadline…
Carmaker BYD to repay california $247 million for missing medical supply deadline / Caixin
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.
…As U.S. revokes approval for 72 respirator manufacturers
U.S. regulator pulls approval for dozens of companies making respirators in China / SCMP
“After the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s determination that many of the made-in-China N95-style masks filter out less than 95% of particulate matter — the filtration level that gives the N95 mask its name — the approved number of manufacturers dropped to 14 from 86, according to FDA documentation.”
Haidilao founders raise $201 million
Chinese hotpot chain founders net $201 million in sell-down / Caixin
“The founders of hotpot chain Haidilao International Holding Ltd. have raised HK$1.56 billion ($201 million) through a share sale, marking the first follow-on offering for the Chinese company since its Hong Kong IPO in 2018.”
Tencent ups investment in AI chip start-up…
Tencent doubles down on AI chips with new cash injection in startup / Caixin
“Chinese tech giant Tencent has doubled down on efforts to expand its chipmaking ecosystem by taking part in a 700 million yuan ($98.7 million) fundraising round for a Shanghai-based tech startup [Enflame, a company that specializes in making AI chips].”
…While Huawei’s chipmaker hits a new milestone
Huawei’s HiSilicon first mainland chipmaker to break top 10 in global sales / Caixin
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.
China’s ailing welfare state
A slump exposes holes in China’s welfare state / Economist (paywall)
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.
JD.com and LG partner up
JD.com partners with LG to sell 5 billion yuan in goods using C2M / TechNode
“JD.com has signed a partnership with South Korean manufacturer LG Electronics to sell 5 billion yuan ($70 million) worth of products on the ecommerce platform.”
Football players could face 50% pay cut
Chinese FA proposes pay cuts up to 50% for players, coaches / AP via Washington Post (porous paywall)
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.
Workers in Vietnam condemn layoffs
Chinese workers in Vietnam cry foul after being fired by Taiwanese firm making shoes for Nike, Adidas / SCMP
“A group of 150 Chinese workers believe the world’s largest maker of trainers used the coronavirus as an excuse to fire them, having helped Taiwanese firm Pou Chen successfully expand its production into Vietnam for more than a decade.”
WeChat to livestream shopping festival
A Chinese city to pump life into local business with WeChat livestreaming / TechCrunch
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:
Wildlife trade policy since the COVID-19 outbreak
China’s wildlife trade policy — where are we now and what might come next? / Environmental Investigation Agency
Aron White traces the changes made to China’s wildlife protection policy since the outbreak of COVID-19 and outlines what further changes may be announced following the National People’s Congress meeting due to start May 22.
Officials call for no masks during gym classes
After multiple deaths, officials call for no masks in gym class / Sixth Tone
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.
U.S. experts give China’s healthcare system a mixed review
Coronavirus reveals lingering problems in Chinese health care system despite reforms, U.S. experts say / SCMP
“The COVID-19 crisis has exposed weaknesses in Chinese health care system despite some impressive reforms over the past two decades, witnesses told an advisory arm of the U.S. Congress on Thursday.”
COVID-19 found in semen
COVID-19 found in semen of infected men, say Chinese doctors / Guardian
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.
Drugmaker in talks to conduct global COVID-19 vaccine trial
Chinese drugmaker in talks to test coronavirus vaccine globally / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“Beijing-based Sinovac Biotech Ltd. is in discussion with regulators in other countries, and the World Health Organization, to launch phase III clinical trials [of its vaccine candidate] in regions where the novel coronavirus is still spreading rapidly, CEO Yǐn Wèidōng 尹卫东 said in an interview Thursday.”
Promising COVID-19 antibodies identified
Chinese scientists identify two antibodies for potential drug treatment / SCMP
- 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:
Brawl over chair erupts in Hong Kong parliament…
Chaos at Hong Kong’s legislature as lawmakers battle for control of committee as democrats ejected / Hong Kong Free Press
“A House Committee meeting on Friday descended into chaos as lawmakers from opposing sides vied for control of the floor, with one democrat taken out on a stretcher by medics.”
Hong Kong parliament in chaos as politicians fight for chair / Guardian
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.
…As clampdown on democracy movement continues
Police break up pro-democracy sing-along at luxury Hong Kong mall as police detain student reporter / Hong Kong Free Press
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.
Germany and Australia are annoyed by the Wuhan lab conspiracy theory
U.S. claims of China coronavirus lab leak an ‘attempt to distract’ from Trump’s own mistakes: Germany / SCMP
“Germany’s defence ministry and BND foreign spy agency have privately cast doubt on American claims that the coronavirus pandemic originated in a Chinese lab, media reported on Friday.”
Australia annoyed as U.S. pushes Wuhan lab COVID-19 theory / Reuters
“Washington’s attack on China has given Beijing room to argue that Australia’s request for an independent inquiry is part of a U.S.-led agenda to blame it for the coronavirus outbreak, the sources said.”
China should focus on domestic recovery — former Chongqing mayor
China’s ‘sober-minded’ officials urged to focus on domestic recovery, not international disputes / SCMP
“Outspoken former Chongqing mayor Huáng Qífān 黄奇帆 says China should ‘find new opportunities from the crisis’ to aid its domestic recovery.”
U.S. senators propose renaming street after whistleblowing doctor
U.S. senators propose renaming street outside Chinese embassy after Wuhan whistleblower / Guardian
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.
- Rita Bai Yunyi, of the Global Times, responded on Twitter: “I strongly support your idea of renaming a U.S. plaza by a Chinese communist & martyr. Good job.”
Australia right to press for COVID-19 inquiry — former top public servant
China’s coercive behaviour a ‘wake-up call’, Australia’s former top public servant says / Guardian
“China’s threats of a consumer boycott against Australia over calling for an independent investigation of COVID-19 are a ‘wake-up call’ to its coercive behaviour, Martin Parkinson [former chief executive of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Treasury] has said.”
Kim Jong-un congratulates Xi
Kim Jong-un sends Xi Jinping ‘warm greetings’ over China’s coronavirus success / SCMP
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.
Vietnam rejects fishing ban…
Vietnam rejects China’s South China Sea fishing ban / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“Vietnam rejects China’s ‘unilateral decision’ to ban fishing in the South China Sea from May 1 to August 16, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said in a statement posted on the government’s website.”
…As Indonesia wants clarification over fishing boat deaths
Indonesia summons China’s ambassador over burials at sea on fishing fleet / Reuters
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.
E.U. defends publication of censored article
E.U. executive defends China envoy over censored op-ed / Reuters
“European Union headquarters in Brussels on Friday defended the bloc’s ambassador to China after admitting he did not consult the bloc’s national envoys in Beijing on an opinion piece they authored for the official China Daily but that was censored.”
Europe envoys defend decision to let China media censor column / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
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.
China correspondent wins journalism prize
Washington Post China Correspondent Gerry Shih wins Asia Society’s Osborn Elliott Journalism Prize / Washington Post (porous paywall)
“Asia Society has awarded China Correspondent Gerry Shih its Osborn Elliott Award for Excellence in Journalism on Asia for his coverage of China in 2019.”
Asia Society’s announcement can be found here.
Activist responds to U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor’s speech
20200508 responding [to] Pottinger / Wu’er Kaixi’s YouTube channel
Exiled pro-democracy activist Wú’ěr Kāixī 吾爾開希 summarizes: “In a video speech by the vice national security advisor Matthew Pottinger, the basic idea behind the new America’s China policy is being revealed. It is progressive from where it is now, but it is not enough.”
See the transcript of the speech in English: Remarks by Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger to the Miller Center at the University of Virginia.
Diplomat accuses Western politicians of discrimination
COVID-19 has triggered a new wave of China-bashing / Indian Express
Táng Guócái 唐国才, the Consul-General of the People’s Republic of China in Mumbai, writes:
…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:
Viral Youth Day video draws mixed reviews
Viral Youth Day video gets lukewarm reception among young Chinese / Sixth Tone
“Many say the campaign is high on style and low on substance, and does not faithfully represent the young generation.”
See also on SupChina: Young people of China, go consume and have fun! May Fourth propaganda from popular video sharing site Bilibili.
Chinese nationals stranded abroad
Chinese stranded abroad accuse Beijing of abandoning them / FT (paywall)
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.
Manhattan Chinatown struggles to stay afloat
New York’s Chinatown businesses struggle to survive coronavirus shutdown / WSJ (paywall)
“Historic neighborhood has been dealt double blow by ban on restaurant dining and China-related stigma.”
The translator behind Michael Jordan documentary
How a college student brought Michael Jordan to China / WSJ (paywall)
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.”