BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
China’s direct investment in the U.S. plunged in Q1
U.S.-China decoupling accelerates in first quarter of 2020 / FT (paywall)
The value of newly announced Chinese direct investment projects into the U.S. fell to just $200 million in the first quarter of this year, down from an average of $2 billion per quarter in 2019, according to a report by research firm Rhodium Group and the National Committee on United States-China Relations, a non-governmental organisation. The fall comes after Chinese direct investment in the U.S. dropped to the lowest level since 2009 last year.
China faces historic test as pandemic stokes fears of looming unemployment crisis / SCMP
“Years of social progress in China are at risk of being undone as the country grapples with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, a black swan event that has lashed the world’s second biggest economy and driven unemployment to historic highs.”
Auto industry sees slight sales boost…
China car sales bounced back a bit in April / WSJ (paywall)
“China’s auto market ended a 21-month losing streak in April as sales rose 4.4% from a year earlier, overcoming an early-year collapse triggered by the coronavirus shutdown.”
Automakers call for stimulus as industry navigates coronavirus carnage / Caixin (paywall)
“Car manufacturer profits plunged 80.2% in the first quarter, more than twice the average industrial profit slump of 36.7%, according to data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics.”
Tesla Model 3 sales in China plunge 64% in April despite electric car market recovery / CNBC
Sales of Tesla’s Model 3 sedan in China fell over 64% in April compared with the previous month, despite a recovery in the electric car market, according to data from an industry body released on Monday.
…As used-car trading platform bags $200 million
Secondhand car platform bags $200 million from SoftBank, Sequoia / Caixin
“Chehaoduo, one of China’s largest used-car trading platforms, said it has secured $200 million of fresh funding…the new cash comes from SoftBank Vision Fund and Sequoia Capital China, the company said in a statement (link in Chinese) on Wednesday.”
Kingsoft raises $510 million in U.S. IPO
Chinese cloud computing company Kingsoft surges 40% on debut day / Caixin
“Chinese cloud computing services provider Kingsoft Cloud Holdings Ltd. raised $510 million in its U.S. initial public offering (IPO) Friday, the first U.S. listing of a Chinese company after a series of financial fraud scandals involving peers.”
Herbalife to pay $123 million in bribery settlement
Herbalife to pay $123 million to settle China bribery allegations / WSJ (paywall)
Nutrition Ltd. said it has reached an agreement in principle with U.S. authorities to resolve bribery investigations into its business activities in China.
Herbalife will likely pay about $123 million in penalties to resolve probes by the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission, the Los Angeles-based multilevel-marketing company said in a quarterly report to investors Thursday.
The probes, which the company previously disclosed, focus on Herbalife’s external affairs expenditures in China and its compliance with the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Is Moutai saving China’s stock market?
China liquor giant defies global slump with $60 billion rally / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
[Moutai’s] shares — the priciest [porous paywall] in China at about 1,323 yuan ($187) apiece — have added almost $60 billion in market value since its March 19 low. Moutai is by far the biggest contributor to gains on the Shanghai Composite Index since then, driving about a fifth of the benchmark’s 7.1% move. The shares have closed at a fresh record in eight of the past 11 trading days, and they’re also at an all-time high relative to MSCI Inc.’s index of global stocks.
Airlines see domestic recovery
Eyeing the sky — Chinese carriers restart their engines / Economist (porous paywall)
“If they recover at home, they could threaten the world’s sickly legacy carriers on international routes.”
Tencent expected to announce 18% revenue rise
Tencent weathers China slowdown but a deeper threat looms / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“The WeChat operator is expected to unveil an 18% revenue rise when it reports earnings Wednesday, offering investors the earliest glimpse into how China Internet Inc. fared during a coronavirus-stricken first quarter.”
Coal demand surges
Coal burned by China power plants jumps on heat, virus recovery / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
An indicator of China’s coal demand surged almost one-third above last year as hotter-than-usual weather and factories rushing to make up for lost orders boosted power demand.
Coal use by coastal power plants at five major utilities rose for an eighth straight day to 577,100 tons as of Monday, more than 30% higher than the same period last year and the most since January 12, data from China Coal Transport and Distribution Association showed.
Playstation Store suspends China service
Sony’s Playstation Store suspends services in China / TechNode
Japanese gaming giant Sony suspended services for its Chinese Playstation Store on Sunday for “system security reasons.”
China is stepping up regulations on foreign games. The suspension follows orders from authorities to remove listings for physical copies of a popular Nintendo game from ecommerce platform Taobao, and to close an Apple App Store “loophole” that allowed foreign game developers to bypass China’s gaming license system.
Trump looking to move chip manufacturing to the U.S.
Trump and chip makers including Intel seek semiconductor self-sufficiency / WSJ (porous paywall)
“The Trump administration and semiconductor companies are looking to jump-start development of new chip factories in the U.S. as concern grows about reliance on Asia as a source of critical technology.”
Video: Central bank hints at more monetary stimulus…
China pledges stronger monetary policies to support economy / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“China’s central bank said the country faces unprecedented economic challenges from the coronavirus pandemic and it will resort to ‘more powerful’ policies to counter the hit to growth.”
…as credit-easing policy takes effect
China’s banks extended 1.7 trillion yuan of new loans in April, beating expectations / SCMP
- Chinese banks extended 1.7 trillion yuan (U.S.$240 billion) in new loans in April, down from March but beating analyst expectations.
- Broad M2 money supply in April grew 11.1% from a year earlier, while outstanding yuan loans grew 13.1% from a year earlier.
China’s robust April credit growth shows policy support working / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“China’s credit provision in April was stronger than the same period in recent years, signaling the central bank’s credit easing policy is helping revive domestic demand.”
Regulators look to restrict online lending
China regulator seeks to tighten rules on banks’ online lending / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
China’s banking regulator is seeking public opinion on a new guideline for banks’ Internet loans, a move to tighten scrutiny of the segment by improving risk management and enhancing consumer protection.
Consumer loan credit should be capped at 200,000 yuan ($28,272) per borrower, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission said on its website Saturday. For loans where the principal is repaid all at once when the loan comes due, the credit period shouldn’t exceed one year, the commission said.
SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:
Is a Jiangsu school body-shaming its students?
Jiangsu school prescribes running to counter ‘quarantine 15’ / Sixth Tone
A middle school in eastern China has instituted a weight-loss program for students returning to campus after spending months at home due to COVID-19, but experts say the well-intentioned initiative could do physical and psychological harm.
According to a report [in Chinese] Thursday by China News Service, Huai’an Shuguang Bilingual School in Jiangsu province is aiming to improve students’ physical fitness by making them run for at least 100 minutes each day, after school administrators determined that many of the children had gained weight while under home isolation.
Official admits health system flaws, announces improvements
China says it will update disease control measures in wake of coronavirus / Guardian
China will reform its disease prevention and control system to address weaknesses exposed by the coronavirus outbreak, a senior health official [Lǐ Bīn 李斌, the vice-minister of the China National Health Commission] has said…
The commission intends to build a “centralised and efficient” chain of command, and modernise the disease prevention and control system, he said.
The commission also aims to make better use of data, artificial intelligence and cloud computing to better trace and analyse viruses and distribute resources.
The story behind the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker
How a Johns Hopkins Professor and her Chinese students tracked coronavirus / WSJ (paywall)
Lauren Gardner, an associate engineering professor at Johns Hopkins University, was sitting in a school coffee shop with two graduate students in January, chatting about their work on measles, Dengue fever and the Zika virus, when conversation turned to an emerging coronavirus in China.
The students, both from China, wanted to track it, and Dr. Gardner, who researches how transportation systems propagate the spread of disease, was game.
COVID-19 virus could not have escaped Wuhan lab — Wuhan scientist
Wuhan lab chiefs insist facility is secure as coronavirus claims circulate / SCMP
Leading officials at the Wuhan Institute of Virology have insisted they adhere to strict security standards following claims the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 originated from the lab…
“We have adopted a series of measures to ensure no virus can leave our lab,” Yuán Zhìmíng 袁志明, director of Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory, told Science and Technology Daily on Sunday.
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
China and India clash along border
Indian and Chinese troops ‘clash on border’ in Sikkim / BBC
Dozens of Indian and Chinese soldiers have exchanged physical blows in a clash on the shared border, Indian media report.
Seven Chinese and four Indian troops were injured, an army official reportedly said, near the Naku La sector in the border state of Sikkim.
India, China face off along Sikkim border / Hindustan Times
“This is not the first time Indian and Chinese soldiers have exchanged blows along the border. In August 2017, Indian and Chinese soldiers threw stones at each other and also exchanged blows near Pangong Lake in Ladakh, close to the de facto border between the two countries.”
Indian and Chinese troops clash on disputed border / WSJ (paywall)
Discrimination against Africans continues in Guangzhou
CGTN responds to viral video of African woman unable to enter a Guangzhou hospital with a story on how another African woman successfully gave birth in a Guangzhou hospital / China Africa Project (porous paywall)
CGTN Africa wants everyone to know that African women can deliver babies in Guangzhou. It’s a rather odd story for an international news channel to run but this is clearly a piece of propaganda intended to offset a recent viral video that enraged huge numbers of people. The video showed how an African woman was barred from entering a hospital in Guangzhou for an appointment.
COVID-19 and Chinese soft power in Africa: Q&A with Ambassador David H. Shinn / Panda Paw Dragon Claw
On the question of whether or not the recent discrimination faced by Africans in China is likely to permanently damage China-Africa relations, David H. Shinn, former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, replies:
At the level of African governments, I think the damage is short term and manageable.
The far more important question for China is Guangzhou’s impact on African publics and with people-to-people interaction. Guangzhou builds on a history of ill-advised Chinese advertisements and TV programs that played badly in Africa. Nor is there any guarantee Guangzhou is the last time something like this might happen. Consequently, at the level of the African public, I think serious damage has been done based on social media information and media coverage in the free press in some African countries.
China blasts New Zealand over support for Taiwan at WHO…
China berates New Zealand over support for Taiwan at WHO / Reuters
“China berated New Zealand on Monday for its support for Taiwan’s participation at the World Health Organization (WHO), saying the country should ‘stop making wrong statements’ on the issue to avoid damaging bilateral ties.”
…As WHO says it doesn’t have the authority to invite Taiwan
WHO says has ‘no mandate’ to invite Taiwan to assembly meeting / Reuters
“The World Health Organization’s director general has ‘no mandate’ to invite Taiwan to take part in its assembly next week, the body’s lawyer said on Monday, adding member states had ‘divergent views’ on the self-ruled island’s participation.”
U.S. blocks UN COVID-19 agreement
U.S. blocks UN resolution on global coronavirus ceasefire after China pushes WHO mention / CNN
“The United States blocked agreement Friday on a UN Security Council resolution that called for a global ceasefire aimed at collectively addressing the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the globe, after China pushed for the resolution to mention the World Health Organization.”
What does U.S. retrenchment mean for global governance?
China is defensive. The U.S. is absent. Can the rest of the world fill the void? / NYT (porous paywall)
Countries in Europe and Asia are forging new bonds on issues like public health and trade, planning for a future built on what they see as the pandemic’s biggest lessons: that the risks of China’s authoritarian government can no longer be denied, and that the United States cannot be relied on to lead when it’s struggling to keep people alive and working, and its foreign policy is increasingly “America first.”
How will China shape global governance? / ChinaFile
Jeremy Youde, Dan Baer, Courtney Fung, and Sophie Richardson, among others, weigh in on how the Trump administration’s retreat from multilateral bodies is likely to affect China’s position and clout within them, and what the broader implications for global governance may be.
Twitter refutes State Department’s COVID-19 disinformation claims…
Twitter disputes State Department claims China coordinated coronavirus disinformation accounts / CNN
Twitter pushed back on an assertion from the U.S. State Department Friday that it was “highly probable” that the Chinese government coordinated networks of Twitter accounts to disseminate disinformation related to the coronavirus outbreak, saying their initial review of the accounts in question does not support the government’s claims.
- Context: State Department: China working with Russia to spread coronavirus disinformation.
…As the U.S. plans to accuse China of attempting to hack COVID-19 research
U.S. to accuse China of trying to hack vaccine data, as virus redirects cyberattacks / NYT (porous paywall)
The F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security are preparing to issue a warning that China’s most skilled hackers and spies are working to steal American research in the crash effort to develop vaccines and treatments for the coronavirus…
A draft of the forthcoming public warning, which officials say is likely to be issued in the days to come, says China is seeking “valuable intellectual property and public health data through illicit means related to vaccines, treatments and testing.”
Responding to U.S., China May Fourth propaganda
Minitrue: Delete all references to U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Pottinger’s speech / China Digital Times
Mangling May Fourth 2020 in Beijing / China Heritage
“The May Fourth messages issuing from both Beijing and Washington demonstrated through their culturally specific forms of bombast, hyperbole and self-delusion just how much the two great contending powers actually share in common.”
Japan and China face off near Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands
Japan wards off Chinese coastguard vessels caught chasing fishing boat in East China Sea / SCMP
“Japan said it deployed patrols and issued warnings to a group of Chinese coastguard vessels spotted pursuing a Japanese fishing boat in the hotly contested waters of the East China Sea on Friday.”
Authorities try to calm calls to invade Taiwan
China tries to calm ‘nationalist fever’ as calls for invasion of Taiwan grow / SCMP
“A number of commentators on social media have called for the island to be reunified by force — something Beijing has never ruled out — but some analysts say the authorities want to play a longer game and are now trying to cool the ‘nationalist fever’.”
Sister fights to free Uyghur brother
Sister fights to free Uyghur businessman held in China after U.S. trip / NYT (porous paywall)
Ekpar Asat came to the United States for the State Department’s most prestigious program for foreign citizens. Chinese security officers detained him weeks after he returned home…
“When the United States organizes these programs and brings over these people, we have to protect them after the fact so these programs can be successful,” said Rayhan Asat, whose brother, Ekpar, has been imprisoned in China.
Freed human rights lawyer to challenge conviction…
Freed Chinese human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang to challenge subversion conviction / SCMP
Freed human rights lawyer Wáng Quánzhāng 王全璋 is seeking to challenge the Chinese courts over his conviction for state subversion.
Wang was swept up in an unprecedented crackdown against lawyers and activists across the nation in 2015…
He was released on April 5 after serving a 4½-year sentence, but even then he was prevented from seeing his wife and son until later that month.
…As legal scholar disappears
Chinese scholar calls for political reform, criticising ‘tight control’ over COVID-19. A day later, police come for him / SCMP
A constitutional scholar has been taken away by China’s authorities after writing an open letter to representatives of the country’s legislature, criticising the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak and calling for freedom of speech.
Zhāng Xuězhōng 张雪忠 was removed from his Shanghai home on Sunday night, according to multiple sources. His letter, posted on WeChat on Saturday and addressed to deputies of the National People’s Congress (NPC), was widely circulated online as China prepares to convene its most important parliamentary sessions in less than two weeks’ time.
Xi offers to help Kim Jong-un fight COVID-19
China offers to help North Korea fight coronavirus as Kim Jong-un returns to public view / SCMP
- Pyongyang has not officially recorded any cases of disease, but Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 tells his counterpart that Beijing is ready to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
- North Korean leader’s failure to appear at major political event last month sparked a flurry of rumours about his health and whereabouts.
China to impose tariffs on Australian barley
Scott Morrison ‘disappointed’ if China tariff plan is linked to coronavirus investigation / Guardian
Scott Morrison says he would be “extremely disappointed” if China’s plan to impose tariffs on Australian barley imports were connected to the broader diplomatic dispute over an investigation into the coronavirus pandemic…
China’s commerce ministry is proposing to impose tariffs on barley imported from Australia after an 18-month investigation into claims the industry was “dumping” the product at a lower price than at home.
Hong Kong clamps down on weekend protesters…
Hong Kong: Hundreds arrested as protest movement returns / AP via DW
“Police say they have arrested 230 people, some as young as 12, after a weekend of pro-democracy demonstrations. Activists are concerned that pandemic lockdown measures will be used by China to roll back more rights.”
230 arrests and pepper spray in Mong Kok, as Hong Kong lawmaker injured during arrest and journalist ‘choked’ / Hong Kong Free Press
Around 230 people were arrested on Sunday, including a pro-democracy lawmaker, as police faced accusations of brutality during a protest dispersal operation in Mong Kok…
Over 100 riot police officers suddenly rush the crowd at Sai Yeung Choi Street in Mong Kok, ordering them to disperse.
Carrie Lam blames Hong Kong education system for fuelling protests / Guardian
“Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader, Carrie Lam, has vowed to overhaul the city’s education system, saying its liberal studies curriculum helped to fuel last year’s violent pro-democracy protests.”
…As Macau bans Tiananmen photo exhibit
Macau bans annual Tiananmen Massacre photo exhibition / Hong Kong Free Press
“Macau has banned an annual photographic exhibition on the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre. The Democratic Development Union’s open-air exhibition has taken place unhindered for two decades. However, the Municipal Affairs Bureau withdrew its authorisation for the 2020 show last week.”
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
Graduates told to lower job expectations
‘Lower your expectations’: Graduating in Wuhan amid COVID-19 / Sixth Tone
“Many have had their plans for post-college life dashed due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic. Finding a job, meanwhile, has become tougher than ever as companies institute hiring freezes to cope with an unprecedented economic contraction.”
Video of woman pleasuring herself in IKEA goes viral
IKEA China masturbation video causes consternation on Weibo / What’s on Weibo
A video of a woman masturbating in an IKEA store in China has gone viral among Chinese social media users.
In the video, a woman is filmed while fondling herself within an IKEA store while regular customers are shopping in the background. The video is rumored to have been filmed at the store’s Guangzhou location.
- The Global Times on Twitter: “IKEAChina firmly opposes the filming of pornography at its store and has filed a report with local police, the company said on Sat in a statement responding to a pornographic video spreading online and vowing to provide a healthy shopping experience & environment for consumers.”
Student volunteers dispatch PPE around the world
Chinese students share the love and the PPE around the world / SCMP
A Chinese social media group set up to provide personal protective equipment to hospitals in Wuhan has switched focus in line with the spread of the deadly coronavirus and is now reaching out to those in need around the world.
FightforWuhan was the idea of 17-year-old high school student Yihe Chang and 19 other young people. It was launched on January 23, the same day the central China city at the epicentre of the health crisis was plunged into total lockdown.
Elderly woman buried alive
Elderly Chinese woman rescued three days after being ‘buried alive by son’ / SCMP
“A man in northwest China has been detained after his 79-year-old mother was buried alive. The woman, who was partially paralyzed, was rescued after three days and is in a stable condition in a hospital in Shaanxi Province, police said.”
Traveling the Silk Road
A poetic journey through western China / NYT (porous paywall)
“For years, Silk Road travelers made the grueling trek past towering mountain ranges and ancient cities now lost to time. Centuries later, one writer attempts to retrace the journey.”
Eating in Xi’an, where wheat and lamb speak to China’s varied palette / NYT (porous paywall)
“In the city’s Muslim Quarter, meals are a celebration of globalization and ethnic diversity — and a lasting defense against erasure.”