BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
China to spend $205 billion on projects in 2020 — report
China tries to revive economy with $205 billion of projects in 2020: report / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
China will likely spend about $205 billion this year on projects ranging from 5G networks to power grid enhancements to rail upgrades as it tries to revive its economy after the coronavirus pandemic, according to BloombergNEF.
Those sectors are among seven that China has identified as “new infrastructure,” which it wants to prioritize in its recovery, BNEF said in a report Friday [paywall].
China reacts to new Huawei restrictions…
Huawei says new U.S. sanctions put its survival at stake / FT (paywall)
In its first official reaction to last Friday’s announcement by the Department of Commerce of the planned new restrictions, Huawei called Washington’s decision “arbitrary and pernicious”. While the company said it was too early to define the consequences of the U.S.’s planned stricter export controls for its business, it indicated that Washington’s move would deal a heavy blow. “We will now work hard to figure out how to survive,” said Guō Píng 郭平, rotating chairman, at Huawei’s annual analyst conference. “Survival is the keyword for us now.”
Describing the move as the destruction of “global manufacturing, supply and value chains”, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Saturday that Beijing would “firmly uphold Chinese firms’ legitimate and legal rights and interests”.
…As China invests $2 billion in domestic chip maker
SMIC gets $2 billion from China’s state-backed funds / TechNode
“China’s state-backed funds injected more than $2 billion into domestic chip maker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) as the country pushes for semiconductor independence from the U.S.”
U.S. considering ways to incentivize supply chains away from China…
U.S. mulls paying companies, tax breaks to pull supply chains from China / Reuters
“U.S. lawmakers and officials are crafting proposals to push American companies to move operations or key suppliers out of China that include tax breaks, new rules, and carefully structured subsidies.”
…As China denies it will see an exodus of foreign firms
China muted on Huawei retaliation, Australia dispute amid ‘unprecedented’ trade challenges / SCMP
“China will not see an exodus of foreign companies from the country following the coronavirus pandemic as no “smart entrepreneurs” would abandon a market of 1.4 billion consumers, the nation’s commerce minister [Zhōng Shān 钟山] said on Monday.”
China hits Australian barley with 80% tariff, following calls for COVID-19 probe
China to impose 80% tariff on Australian barley / ABC Australia
China will impose a massive 80% tariff on Australian barley imports from tomorrow, saying the product has been imported against trade rules.
The import tax will remain in place for five years, and is expected to wipe out Australian sales into the lucrative market.
Typically, at least half of Australia’s barley exports would be bound for China…
[Trade Minister Simon] Birmingham said in a statement following the news: “Australia is deeply disappointed with China’s decision to impose duties on Australian barley.
Oil demand bounces back
Chinese oil demand is almost back to pre-virus crisis levels / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
Hong Kong index revises inclusion rules
Hong Kong opens door for Alibaba in index overhaul / WSJ (paywall)
Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other Chinese technology companies appear set to join Hong Kong’s main stock benchmark, after the compilers of the city’s flagship Hang Seng index revamped their inclusion rules.
The changes will permit shares with unequal voting rights or primary listings elsewhere to join the 50-year-old index, making Alibaba and others such as Xiaomi Corp. and Meituan Dianping eligible for entry.
Jack Ma quits SoftBank
Jack Ma quits SoftBank’s board as its Vision Fund posts a record $18 billion loss / CNBC
“[Jack] Ma [马云 Mǎ Yún], whose $41.8 billion net worth makes him China’s richest man, is the latest high-profile figure to exit SoftBank Group, which on Monday posted total annual losses of $13 billion for the year ending March 31.”
Search engine sees revenue growth
Chinese search engine Sogou reported $31.6 million loss in Q1 2020 / China Internet Watch (porous paywall)
“Sogou, China’s second-largest search engine, reported total revenues of $257.3 million, a 2% increase year-over-year, or a 5% increase in RMB terms according to its unaudited financial results.”
Nio CEO test-drives new SUV in livestream
Nio bags 5000 test drives and 320 pre-orders in 40 minutes / TechNode
On Sunday night, Nio founder and CEO, William Li [Lǐ Bīn 李斌], appeared on the livestream of Wāng Hán 汪涵, a famous TV personality, in front of 20 million people. As part of the sponsored appearance, Li introduced Wang to Nio’s ES6 SUV during his 40 minutes. Over 5,000 people signed up for a test drive and 320 made car orders with non-refundable deposits, the company said Monday.
Tencent founder unable to attend National People’s Congress
‘Health issues’ said to force Tencent’s Pony Ma to miss China’s top legislative meeting / SCMP
- The Tencent founder [Pony Ma or Mǎ Huāténg 马化腾] is expected to submit in absentia a range of proposals to the National People’s Congress.
- Those include suggestions involving the industrial internet, financial technology and medical services.
Is GSX the latest firm to be caught cooking the books?
Muddy Waters Research writes in a thread on Twitter: “We suspect at least 80% of $GSX revenue is fake — quite possibly 90%+. We conclude the company loses significant money — both because real revenue is a fraction of the claimed number, and GSX fraudulently understates expenses.”
Why startup Cloudwalk stands out
Cloudwalk — a “national team” member unlike any other / ChinAI Newsletter
Features a translation of an article by Wú Xīn 吴昕 on why Chinese computer vision startup Cloudwalk is “a member of the national team unlike the others.”
JD.com’s Q1 sales soar
JD.com posts 20% surge in first-quarter sales amid pandemic / Caixin
“Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com’s first-quarter sales jumped 20.7% from a year ago to 146.2 billion yuan ($20.6 billion) as the coronavirus pandemic forced more people to shop online, the company said Friday.”
Chinese consumer tech in Europe
China’s Oppo partners with Vodafone for bigger European push / TechCrunch
SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:
China postpones return of foreign diplomats
China asks foreign diplomats to stay away until June 1 / SCM
“Beijing extends travel advisory for envoys and other mission workers for two weeks as [the] nation remains on high alert to [the] risk of importing new infections from overseas.”
Wuhan lab head publishes new research
Chinese virologist Shi Zhengli publishes new paper on pathogen’s evolution / SCMP
Shí Zhēnglí 石正丽, the Chinese virologist whose work has been the subject of controversial theories about the origin of the novel coronavirus, has published new research into SARS-related pathogens and their animal hosts…
The research, which has not been peer-reviewed, said that the bat carried many coronaviruses with a high degree of genetic diversity, particularly in the spike protein, which suggested they had evolved over time to aid their transmission.
Rocket debris lands in Atlantic Ocean
A Chinese rocket weighing 18 tons falls to Earth as space junk crisis hits a tipping point / CNBC
“A Chinese rocket that became one of the largest pieces of space debris [the largest since 1991] plummeted toward Earth and landed in the Atlantic Ocean on May 11.”
Air pollution backup
China’s post-lockdown recovery sends pollution soaring / Sydney Morning Herald
“…average levels of some pollutants have since rebounded [since February], and were higher in the 30 days ending May 8 than the same period in 2019, the [Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air] said in its analysis of data from 1500 air quality monitoring stations in China.”
Endangered Hainan gibbon numbers up
Critically endangered Hainan gibbons return from brink of extinction, thanks to Hong Kong group’s conservation efforts / SCMP
“Conservationists working to save the world’s rarest primate are seeing a glimmer of hope after the population of Hainan gibbons exceeded 30 [from fewer than 10 in 1970].”
Farmers compensated for quitting wild animal trade
Chinese farmers offered compensation to quit wild animal trade over coronavirus fears / SCMP
- Breeders of species such as snakes, rats and civets will be paid to hand over their animals and start rearing domestic animals instead
- Central government announced ban in February and Hunan has become the first area to introduce a provincewide compensation scheme.
Can COVID-19 be traced to traditional Chinese medicine products?
Beijing has fueled a huge trade in animal-based remedies. Is that where the pandemic began? / Maclean’s (Canada)
It is almost certain, Salzberg [Steven Salzberg, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Computational Biology] told me, that trafficking in a bat-derived concoction, passed off as a traditional Chinese medicinal remedy, is directly responsible for the SARS-CoV-2 disaster.
Fall armyworm infestations continue
China’s facing a fall armyworm invasion. It needs new weapons to win / Sixth Tone
It arrived in China only last year, but already it threatens over 16.5 million acres of corn and wheat farmland. As of Feb. 10, the fall armyworm’s range in China was 90 times larger than during the same period the previous year.
On Feb. 20, at the height of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs announced a contingency plan for dealing with the fall armyworm infestation. The plan called on agriculture officials to “plan early, warn early, prepare early, prevent early.”
Taiwan COVID-19 updates
Taiwan reports no new COVID-19 cases for 11th day / Focus Taiwan
China approval for Huntington’s treatment
Israel’s Teva gets China approval for Huntington’s treatment / Reuters
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
China’s ambassador to Israel dies
Chinese ambassador to Israel found dead in Hertzliya home — report / Jerusalem Post
Chinese Ambassador to Israel Dù Wěi 杜伟 was found dead in his Herzliya home on Sunday morning, a Foreign Ministry official said. Police were investigating at his home.
The Chinese Embassy said it could not confirm the reports.
There were no signs of violence, leading investigators to believe that Wei died from a heart attack, Army Radio reported. Other sources close to the investigation claim he died of cardiac arrest.
China sends special investigation team to Israel after ambassador’s death / SCMP
Initial investigation finds China’s ambassador to Israel died of health reasons, CCTV Reports / Caixin
“A preliminary assessment of the death of China’s ambassador to Israel found that he died of health reasons, though an exact cause of death has yet to be determined, China’s state-owned CCTV reported Sunday.”
Do Israel’s ties to China threaten its relationship with the U.S.?
China emerges as potential strain on U.S.-Israel relationship / The Hill
“Increasingly close ties between China and Israel risk straining the special relationship Israel has with the U.S., especially as Washington ramps up its feud with Beijing over the spread of the novel coronavirus.”
Six killed in highway accident…
6 killed, 20 injured as bus flips over on China highway / AP via Washington Post (porous paywall)
“Another three people were in critical condition following Saturday’s accident on a main road connecting the city of Xichang with the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu, police reported.”
…As foul play suspected in elevator collapse deaths
Deadly construction elevator collapse draws suspicion of foul play / Caixin
“Foul play has been alleged after six people were killed at a building site in southern China when a construction elevator collapsed on Saturday evening.”
Tibetans demand whereabouts of the 11th Panchen Lama
Tibetans demand China disclose fate of boy taken away in ‘95 / AP via Washington Post
Tibet’s self-declared government-in-exile marked the 25th anniversary of the disappearance of a boy named as Tibetan Buddhism’s second highest figure by calling on China on Sunday to account for his whereabouts.
The Tibetan parliament in northern India, known as the Kashag, said the boy named the 11th Panchen Lama who was taken away at age 6 along with his family in 1995 continued to be recognized as the sole legitimate holder of his title.
Is Russia leaning toward the U.S.?
Coronavirus poses test for Russia and China’s friendship / SCMP
Chinese President Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have pledged to maintain a united front in fighting the disease, holding three phone conversations since March.
But some observers believe Russia is moving closer to the United States, and note Putin has spoken to Donald Trump six times in the same period.
U.S. senator blames China for COVID-19 in graduation speech
U.S. senator criticized for telling students China is to blame for COVID-19 / Guardian
[Republican Ben] Sasse delivered the online speech to students at his former school, Fremont high in Nebraska, on Saturday. During the speech he suggested that the students would remember their senior years at their future reunions as “that time when China started a big global pandemic that created the worst public health crisis in over a century and brought the economy to its knees and we had to stay home and everybody was hoarding toilet paper”.
Suspected cyberattack in Tsai Ing-wen’s office
Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen’s office targeted in suspected cyberattack / SCMP
Hackers have reportedly targeted the office of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen 蔡英文 [Cài Yīngwén], days before the inauguration for her second term in office, in an incident that highlights the security threat facing the island’s government amid growing tensions with mainland China.
New “Western Development” plan issued
关于延续西部大开发企业所得税政策的公告 / China State Taxation Administration
“Announcement on the continuation of the Western Development enterprise revenue policy.”
中共中央 国务院关于新时代推进西部大开发形成新格局的指导意见 / Chinese Central Government
“The Central Committee and State Council’s guiding opinions on advancing a new pattern of Western Development for a new era.”
Ohio professor arrested over China links
Ohio professor Qing Wang the latest to be arrested over China ties / Tennessee Star
“The Justice Department announced that Qing Wang was arrested at his Shaker Heights, Ohio home as part of a joint operation conducted by the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Service Office of the Inspector-General.”
Report on preventing sensitive information leaving the U.S.
State and Commerce should improve guidance and outreach to address university-specific compliance issues / U.S. Government Accountability Office
Has China been successful in shaping the debate on Taiwan?
Jessica Drun in a thread on Twitter: “But all in all, it shows that China’s relentless efforts to shape global discourse on Taiwan has been more or less successful and it has pervaded the WHO as an organization, if not the entirety of the UN. (end).”
The body leading China’s “patriotic health campaign”
Understanding Chinese government containment measures and their societal impacts — China’s mid-January 2020 ‘patriotic health campaign’ / Scottish Centre for China Research
Scholar Holly Snape writes:
The fact that this body [the “National Patriotic Health Campaign Commission”] has gone unnoticed shows that we need to understand the Chinese “government” and wider political system, including its many policy making and implementing bodies, if we are to fully understand its response to the coronavirus, inform policy making internationally, and enable crucial collaboration.
What do China’s space capabilities mean for the Indo-Pacific?
China’s growing counter-space capabilities / Observer Research Foundation
Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan writes:
While China is developing these capabilities with an eye on the United States, the impact of these capabilities will be felt also in the Indo-Pacific. Given the economic, social and security stakes involved, India must devote more attention to China’s growing space capabilities and address some of the vulnerabilities and gaps.
New report on the future of China-E.U. relations
The meaning of systemic rivalry: Europe and China beyond the pandemic / European Council on Foreign Relations
Andrew Small writes: “Beijing’s handling of the pandemic has changed long-standing European assumptions about its reliability as a crisis actor and its approach to the European project.”
China is polarized when it comes to the U.S.
From ‘respect’ to ‘sick and twisted’: How coronavirus hit U.S.-China ties / NYT (porous paywall)
Hard-liners are calling on Beijing to be more defiant, emboldened by the Trump administration’s efforts to blame China for the mounting death toll in the United States. Moderates are warning that Beijing’s strident responses could backfire, isolating the country when it most needs export markets and diplomatic partners to revive its economy and regain international credibility.
The limits of Xi’s Maoist propaganda?
Carl Minzner in a thread on Twitter: “(8/x) China’s top leader, steeped in promoting a 不忘初心 [bú wàng chūxīn]/’back to our roots’ message in terms of reviving Party dominance, visits Shaanxi and *doesn’t* make a pilgrimage to Maoist shrine of Yan’an? Why? Felt to me like there is still an open question of ‘how far do we go?’”
How does the Mediterranean see China?
ChinaMed on Twitter: “The new issue of the ChinaMed Observer is out! COVID-19 continues dominating the debate on China’s role in and relations with the wider Mediterranean region. Below the main points!”
See the issue’s April 2020 China media analysis and its Mediterranean media analysis.
Reviewing the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act
Julian Ku notes on Twitter: “The operative provisions of the new version of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act passed yesterday have some odd differences with the original bill passed back in December.”
Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 / U.S. Congress
Debt and Africa
What happens when it all falls apart? / China Africa Project
“Yet those same governments that moved with such efficiency to give themselves trillions can’t seem to find a way to quickly facilitate $100 billion (mere pennies by today’s standards) for debt relief in Africa.”
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
Chinese journalists’ lives complicated by U.S. visa changes
Chinese journalists’ lives and work disrupted by the latest U.S. visa restrictions / SCMP
“‘You can only plan for your professional and personal lives over a three-month time frame, with the constant fear that you may have to leave the country at any time,’ said Zhāng Qí 张琪, U.S. correspondent for Caixin…”
Kindergarten cooks its way out of financial ruin
Chinese kindergarten survives COVID-19 by selling barbecue / SCMP
“As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or in the case of a Chinese kindergarten forced to close because of the coronavirus pandemic, make barbecue.”
Shanghai’s weirdest ice creams ranked
I scream, you scream: Shanghai’s weirdest ice cream / Sixth Tone
Sixth Tone reviews and ranks Shanghai’s most innovative ice cream flavors. Unsurprisingly, bubble milk tea ice cream takes the cake.