Week in Review: Friday, May 29, 2020

Here are the stories that caught our eye this week:

  • At least 3,000 Chinese students in the U.S. could be affected by the Trump administration’s reported plans to cancel the visas of Chinese graduate students and researchers with direct links to universities affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army. The policy not only stands to derail the lives and careers of the Chinese students, but will also serve a major blow to the financial well-being and scientific prowess of U.S. universities.  
  • Thousands of anti-government protesters returned to Hong Kong streets this week after months of COVID-19-induced social distancing following Beijing’s unveiling last week of draft national security legislation for the city that would see the death of “one country, two systems.” Despite the outrage in Hong Kong and criticism from the U.S. and the U.K., China’s legislature subsequently voted to approve the proposal on Thursday.  
  • China’s economic “recession will be followed by a new boom,” according to Premier Lǐ Kèqiáng 李克强, who spoke to reporters on the sidelines of the National People’s Congress on Thursday. Li also committed to providing support for China’s export sector and SMEs, and reaffirmed that the government remains committed to its goal of eliminating poverty by the end of the year.
  • Several proposals raised at China’s annual Two Sessions had the internet abuzz this week. Sparking major pushback was a proposal to ban single women from freezing their eggs, while proposals to curb China’s “superfan culture” and to remove the paywall from China’s largest database of academic papers also drew wide attention.
  • However, the proposals that drew the most disapproval were motions to scrap family planning policies in northwest China in a bid to bolster the region’s low birth rate, and proposals to end English translation services at government press conferences and reduce the importance of English as a school subject. While the former was lambasted due to its simplistic approach to the problem, the latter two were slammed for attempting to stir up nationalist sentiment and their potential to further hinder cross-cultural communication.  
  • Tensions along the India-China border continued to draw attention as Indian government officials said that China has placed “about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles” in the region, although this has proved difficult to confirm from satellite imagery. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhào Lìjiān 赵立坚 has claimed that the situation is “stable and under control.”
  • Soccer debt: China’s professional soccer league system will be without more than a fifth of its teams for the upcoming season after the Chinese Football Association (CFA) announced that 11 of the country’s 64 professional soccer teams have been disqualified from competition due to financial difficulties caused by lavish spending and COVID-19 pressures.