Links for Friday, June 5, 2020

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BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a mission these days. As the pandemic ravages the globe, the leader of Asia’s third-largest economy is quietly drawing up plans [porous paywall] to take advantage of a possible shift in international supply chains.

For starters, his government is focusing on investors looking to add  manufacturing outside China after the coronavirus outbreak disrupted supplies at the start of the year. The plan is to woo global mobile handset makers, consumer durable companies and others willing to put out more than half a billion dollars. On offer: tax incentives, easy access to land and other infrastructure.

Nanjing city officials inspected 30 real estate developers and agencies recently in an attempt to control steeply rising house prices in certain school districts. Agencies were asked to take down listings that violated market regulations by stating excessive value, fabricated availability, or exaggerating proximity to a school to bump up prices.

Tencent-backed online fiction platform China Literature Ltd. has issued new contracts to its millions of authors, after they voiced concerns over copyright, profit distribution and the company’s move toward a free-reading model in an early May meeting.

The publisher, which replaced its founding management with a team of senior Tencent executives shortly before the meeting, has substituted the unified contract it previously asked all its millions of authors to sign, with a three-tiered contract system in which authors can choose what kind of permissions they want to give the platform.

SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:

In April, 260 environmental organisations sent an unusual request to China’s finance minister: do not bail out 60 Chinese-backed overseas projects suffering from COVID-19’s economic fallout…

Calls for China’s BRI to shift away from funding polluting infrastructure is fast becoming one of the greatest obstacles to President Xí Jìnpíng’s 习近平 signature foreign policy programme.

  • The politics of a COVID-19 vaccine
    In race for COVID-19 vaccine, China tries for a coup / WSJ (paywall)
    “But China is giving the U.S. a run for its money in the race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 — a feat that would instantly change the dynamics of the fight against the deadly virus, and the geopolitical competition between the U.S. and China.”
  • Authorities move to protect endangered species
    China steps up legal protections for pangolins / SCMP
    “The National Forestry and Grassland Administration announced on Friday that pangolins are now a grade one protected animal, the highest possible level.”
    Can Shanghai’s new law save the endangered Chinese sturgeon? / Sixth Tone
    “Shanghai is enacting a law (in Chinese) to protect the critically endangered Chinese sturgeon, marking the first time a provincial-level region has passed legislation to safeguard a single species.”

POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:

“I personally am worried about how long the fund could go on,” said Cyd Ho [何秀兰 Hé Xiùlán], a former legislator and a trustee of the 612 Fund who was among 15 prominent pro-democracy supporters arrested in April. “The economic downturn and the U.S.-China trade war is going to threaten a lot of people’s livelihood, hence their ability to support us.”

SOCIETY AND CULTURE: