BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
Are international firms leaving China?
Despite attempts to lure them away, multinationals aren’t leaving China / Caixin (paywall)
“Though for now, these calls [to reduce reliance on Chinese manufacturing] have fallen on deaf ears in boardrooms in Japan, Europe and the U.S. Recent company announcements and surveys performed by several business groups in China show that the country is still an attractive choice.”
German shoe brand walks out of China, sets foot in Agra / TNN via Times of India
“Von Wellx, owned by Casa Everz Gmbh, has announced the shifting of its entire shoe production business in China, with a capacity of over three million pairs annually, to India with an initial investment of Rs 110 crore.”
How Australian exporters are dealing with beef ban
AACo tries exporting around China / Australian Financial Review (paywall)
AACo [Australia Agricultural Company] is diverting sales of some China beef exports after trade tensions [paywall] squeezed the Australian cattle giant’s second-biggest market…
AACo managing director Hugh Killen on Wednesday said it was still exporting its beef from another facility to China and “diverting the rest”.
He told The Australian Financial Review that options included selling trim — used as ingredients for food such as hamburgers — to markets such as the US. Other cuts might go to Korea, for instance, he said.
- Context: China rejects Australian beef after PM Morrison calls for independent COVID-19 investigation.
Will China restrict Australian coal imports?
Coal market faces renewed speculation China targeting Australia / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“Two influential coal industry publications within China have raised the specter of the country tightening imports from Australia, which comes along with recent tensions between the two nations over the roots of the global pandemic.”
Aquaculture production rose in 2019
China’s government debates aquaculture policy shift as investments pour into premium operations / Seafood Source
“Aquaculture production increased by a single percentage point in China in 2019, a striking number compared to growth levels it posted in previous years, and clear evidence of the impact of the government’s efforts to shift the nation’s efforts to higher-quality, lower-polluting operations.”
Property developer resumes all projects, says chairman Xǔ Jiāyìn 许家印
All of Evergrande’s 1,023 projects have resumed construction, Xu Jiayin says / Yicai Global
Lithium production drops as Chinese firms halt investments
Coronavirus halts lithium expansion in Chile and Argentina / Dialogo Chino
Due to the quarantine measures, lithium production is expected to drop globally by 110,000 tonnes this year, representing a loss of U.S.$960 million, according to English consultancy Roskill. In Argentina, production is expected to drop 35%, and in Chile by 20%.
On top of live projects slowing down, planned investments have been delayed or cancelled, in several cases by Chinese companies. China is the world’s leading consumer of lithium, primarily for battery manufacturing.
SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:
Could China create a green stimulus package?
How green can China’s recovery package be? / Chinadialogue
Chinadialogue examines the lessons offered from China’s 2008 financial crisis stimulus measures, and asks whether an environmentally-friendly infrastructure stimulus package is likely to play a part in China’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
Air pollution is already spiking in China with the virus lockdown lifted / CBS
Air pollution in China has already bounced back from astounding lows during the country’s coronavirus shutdown to monthly levels exceeding those recorded during the same period last year, data show. Chinese government figures confirm a spike in April, which the Finland-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) warns could herald the beginning of a “dirty” economic rebound from the crisis in China.
South Africa to investigate thousands of wildlife shipments to China
South Africa to probe giraffe, meerkat, rhino shipments to China / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
“Barbara Creecy, South Africa’s environment minister, said she is planning an investigation after animal rights organizations [Ban Animal Trading and the EMS Foundation] alleged that wildlife ranging from giraffes and meerkats to rhinos are being illegally sold and shipped to Chinese zoos.”
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
China-India border tension
U.S. backs India in border tensions with China / The Tribune India
Brahma Chellaney on Twitter: “China, meanwhile, doubles down on its accusations against India. The Chinese MFA’s quintessential ‘wolf warrior’ Zhào Lìjiān 赵立坚 told the media that Chinese forces will respond ‘resolutely’ to India’s activities. He castigated senior U.S. diplomat Alice Wells for ‘taking nonsense.’”
Context: China and India muscle up after border dispute but diplomatic channels open.
Trump blames China for COVID-19…again…
Trump points finger at China’s Xi, escalating fight over virus / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
President Donald Trump escalated his rhetoric against China, suggesting that the country’s leader, Xí Jìnpíng 习近平, is behind a “disinformation and propaganda attack on the United States and Europe.”
“It all comes from the top,” Trump said in a series of tweets on Wednesday night. He added that China was “desperate” to have former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, win the presidential race.
- Global Times editor Hú Xījìn 胡锡进 responded on Twitter: “On the contrary, Chinese netizens wish for your reelection because you can make America eccentric and thus hateful for the world. You help promote unity in China and you also make intl news as fun as comedy. Chinese netizens call you ‘Jiànguó,’ 建国 meaning ‘help to construct China’.”
…As the U.S. and China point fingers over stranded students
China, U.S. point fingers over delays in bringing students home / Caixin
Logistical issues between Chinese airlines and American transport authorities are hindering efforts to bring home Chinese students from the U.S., officials from both countries have said.
Delays to chartered repatriation flights are due to Chinese carriers submitting charter applications “with little to no notice before proposed flight operation,” a spokesperson from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) told Caixin in an email.
The comments come after China’s foreign ministry said Tuesday that the flights were delayed because the U.S. had not approved the flight plans and urged Washington to fast-track the procedures.
China expected to enact its first civil code
China set to implement its first civil code, as private investment slows / Reuters
China’s parliament is poised to enact its first civil code, a wide-ranging legislative package that includes strengthening protection of property rights in a Communist Party-ruled country whose embrace of private ownership has long been awkward.
The civil code, in the works since 2014, will become law at a time when China needs its often-embattled private sector to step up investment to help revive a virus-battered economy, and will be a centrepiece of the annual parliamentary session that begins on Friday after a more-than two month delay.
However, the civil code is largely an amalgamation of existing laws, meaning its impact may be limited, some analysts said.
Graph: How Beijing used COVID-19 to clamp down on Hong Kong
While the world wasn’t looking, Beijing re-wrote the rules in Hong Kong at startling speed / Quartz (paywall)
Mary Hui follows up on Twitter: “Rough side-by-side sketches charting how as global COVID-19 cases skyrocketed, the state of freedoms and liberties in Hong Kong plummeted. I wrote about this last week, and since then things have only gotten inexorably worse.”
Is this the end of the 1992 consensus?
‘Page in history turned’ on ‘1992 consensus’ issue: MAC minister / Focus Taiwan
‘A page in history has already been turned’ on the issue of the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ in relation to cross- Taiwan Strait affairs, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Chen Ming-tong 陳明通 [Chén Míngtōng] said Thursday [commenting on China’s response to Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文 Cài Yīngwén) inauguration speech].
- Context: Beijing lashes out at Pompeo after he congratulates Tsai Ing-wen on second term.
Scholar warns the U.S.’s anti-economic espionage initiative is problematic
DOJ’s China Initiative could be problematic for civil rights / Axios
“Maggie Lewis, a law professor at Seton Hall University School of Law who focuses on criminal justice law in China and Taiwan, argues in a new draft paper in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology that the use of ‘China’ as a frame doesn’t sit well with the Department of Justice’s own principles.”
Chinese firms should be limited from buying cheap U.S. assets — senators
China could buy up strategic U.S. assets devalued by coronavirus pandemic, senators warn Steven Mnuchin / SCMP
“Seven U.S. senators [led by Republican Senator Marco Rubio] have urged Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to limit Chinese companies from taking advantage of stock prices depressed by the coronavirus pandemic to buy strategic U.S. assets.”
Jilin City’s lockdown intensifies
New coronavirus outbreaks push China to impose Wuhan-style lockdown in the northeast / NYT (porous paywall)
Will COVID-19 make or break Xi?
In China’s crisis, Xi sees a crucible to strengthen his rule / NYT (porous paywall)
Mr. Xi, shaped by his years of adversity as a young man, has seized on the pandemic as an opportunity in disguise — a chance to redeem the party after early mistakes let infections slip out of control, and to rally national pride in the face of international ire over those mistakes. And the state propaganda machine is aggressively backing him up, touting his leadership in fighting the pandemic.
Now, Mr. Xi needs to turn his exhortations of resolute unity into action…
What Xi knew: pressure builds on China’s leader / FT
Examining how well China’s official narrative of the COVID-19 outbreak is likely to hold up against international scrutiny, the FT writes: “The evidence so far about Mr. Xi’s role is inconclusive but leaves some difficult gaps for the party to explain.”
Is the Australian media hopping on the anti-China bandwagon?
Has the press gallery forgotten we’re not at war with China? / Inside Story (Australia)
Hamish McDonald writes: “In short, we are not at war and we don’t need to match the ‘patriotic’ journalism of Beijing’s intemperate Global Times.”
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
Resettled villagers in their new homes
Ladder takes villagers from cliff to new life / Xinhua via Shine
“Some 18,000 impoverished residents from 92 villages moved to their new homes at a newly-built community at the county this week, the largest poverty alleviation relocation project in Sichuan.”
LGBT discrimination in New Zealand’s Chinese community
‘Safe but not safe’: Life as a gay man between China and New Zealand / Sixth Tone
In 2019, a “Stop Transgender Teaching in New Zealand Schools” petition was widely shared [in Chinese] within New Zealand’s Chinese community. The petition urged the country’s parliament to remove content related to gender diversity from the sexuality education curriculum. Many Chinese parents worried the classes would implant “gay thoughts” in their children’s minds, reflecting both their anti-LGBT prejudice and a misunderstanding of how sexuality education works in New Zealand.