Links for Friday, May 29, 2020

BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:

On May 28, Alibaba debuted a most ambitious plan: they want to mobilize 100,000 global influencers — growing this number to over one million within three years — to create original content to increase users and engagement on their B2C marketplace platform AliExpress Connect. According to the company, it’s a first step to replicate Taobao’s model in the West.

In 1919 Chia Ek Chor 谢易初 [Xiè Yìchū] moved to Bangkok and set up a small shop importing seeds from his home Chinese province of Guangdong. Two generations later the business, Charoen Pokphand (cp) Group, is Thailand’s pre-eminent conglomerate, peddling everything from chickens and pigs to cars and phones. The founding patriarch, who died in 1983, adopted a Thai version of the family name, Chearavanont. But he maintained a deep affection for his ancestral home.

SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:

POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:

Pro-China canvassers are pressing wary Hong Kong residents for signatures. The city’s business tycoons are declaring their faith in the Chinese government. Local officials, senior and junior alike, are stepping up to pledge their support, mimicking wooden displays of fealty that are a staple of Communist Party politics in the mainland.

Speaking at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the 15th anniversary of the Anti-Secession Law, Lǐ Zuōchéng 李作成, chief of the Joint Staff Department and member of the Central Military Commission, left the door open to using force…

“If the possibility for peaceful reunification is lost, the people’s armed forces will, with the whole nation, including the people of Taiwan, take all necessary steps to resolutely smash any separatist plots or actions,” Li said.

The World Health Organization has launched an internal review into the position of one of its celebrity ambassadors who was involved in the airing of an allegedly forced confession on Chinese state television.

The UN agency told the Financial Times it was reviewing the role of James Chau [周柳建成 Zhōuliǔ Jiànchéng], a high-profile television news anchor with China’s state broadcaster who has been a goodwill ambassador since 2016.

Mr Chau presented a programme on state-owned China Central Television that in 2013 aired a confession by British businessman Peter Humphrey, which he alleges was filmed under duress.

SOCIETY AND CULTURE:

  • Beijing’s art scene reopens
    Beijing Gallery Weekend — a major opening in the post-COVID city / FT (paywall)
    “[Director Amber] Wang [王一妃 Wáng Yīfēi] estimates that this year’s Gallery Weekend Beijing — one of the first major art openings in a city after coronavirus — is receiving even more domestic visitors than last year, when 100,000 trips were made to the festival.”