Links for Monday, June 8, 2020

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BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY

According to the sources, the new internal policy means that those employees who are currently in China, working on apps and services for the home market, are now largely stripped of access to “sensitive data” of ByteDance’s slew of overseas products, including but not limited to TikTok…

This is the latest move in the direction ByteDance has been on for more than a year, erecting administrative and technical firewalls between its China and global operations, so that not only management can be streamlined, but the public’s privacy and geopolitics-based concerns could also be better addressed, and regulatory risks minimized.

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. is ready to produce a battery that lasts 16 years and 2 million kilometers (1.24 million miles), Chairman Zēng Yùqún 曾毓群 said in an interview at company headquarters in Ningde, southeastern China. Warranties on batteries currently used in electric cars cover about 150,000 miles or eight years, according to BloombergNEF.

Huawei has bought full-page adverts in several British newspapers [including The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Times, Mirror, Sun and Daily Mail ] in an effort to push back on fears over its role in the country’s deployment of 5G.

“For nearly 20 years, we’ve supplied the U.K.’s mobile and broadband companies with 3G and 4G,” Huawei says in the ad. “But some now question our role in helping Britain lead the way in 5G.”

A sprawling 645,000-square-meter data facility is going up on the top of the world to power data exchange between China and its neighboring countries in South Asia.

The cloud computing and data center, perched on the plateau city Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, and developed by private tech firm Ningsuan Technologies, has entered pilot operation as it announced the completion of the first construction phase, China’s state news agency Xinhua reported (in Chinese) on Sunday… 

The plateau is now a bridge for China to South Asia under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Beijing’s ambitious global infrastructure project.

SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:

A controversial project aimed at improving the water quality of Erhai Lake in southwest China has been put on hold following an outcry from environmentalists.

The 340 million yuan (U.S.$47.7 million) project to line five creeks that flow into the lake in Dali, Yunnan province, with cement horrified local environment groups. Bulldozers went on site in April to take advantage of the dry season but work was suspended by the end of that month after criticism on Chinese social media.

POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:

Rather, as its wealth and strength have grown, the party’s exercise of power abroad has increasingly come to resemble the structure of inducements and coercion it uses to get its way at home. This is what should concern us: that as the party sheds its inhibitions on the coercive use of power abroad, it simultaneously wants to become more connected with the rest of the world through trade and finance.

Some countries may follow the U.S. example and leave WHO “if they agree with the U.S. that WHO is messed up [in being too influenced by China] or is not serving their best interests, or there’s pressure on them from the U.S. to follow suit,” Wenham says. Such moves would weaken WHO’s global authority considerably.

Universities are waiting for more details on the order from the Trump administration, including which Chinese universities will be covered by a visa ban, but a State Department official said a list would not be published “anytime soon.”

If the list is narrowly drawn to include only institutions directly tied to the military — analogous to West Point in the United States — the impact would be relatively small…

But Susan Shirk, a leading China expert with UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy, said she and others fear that federal officials could include all universities that receive any funding from the Chinese military, which would potentially sweep in far more students.

  • China threatens to pull funding from U.K. nuclear program
    China threatens to pull plug on new British nuclear plants / Sunday Times
    “China’s ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming [刘晓明 Liú Xiǎomíng], has privately fired a warning shot at the government, telling business leaders that abandoning Huawei could undermine plans for Chinese companies to build nuclear power plants and the HS2 high-speed rail network.”
    Martin Thorley on Twitter: “1/5 Following China’s threat to pull plug on new British nuclear, I wanted to add a little detail. Hinkley Point C plant will be 1of3 case studies in my forthcoming PhD thesis. After a number of freedom of information requests & reviews I was able to access internal documents.”
  • New U.S. flight protocols
    U.S. will allow Chinese passenger carriers to fly two flights per week / Reuters
    “The United States will permit Chinese passenger air carriers to operate two flights per week after Beijing said it would ease coronavirus-related restrictions to allow in more foreign carriers, the U.S. Transportation Department said on Friday.”

SOCIETY AND CULTURE:

  • New law aims to protect doctors from assault
    Can new regulations stop doctors being assaulted? / Caixin
    “Starting from July 1, hospitals in the city will do mandatory security checks on everyone who enters. All main hospital corridors and sections will be under surveillance, and security personnel will put patients with a history of disorderly conduct in hospitals under watch.”
  • China’s eldercare problem is only getting worse
    China’s elderly caught in clash between culture and care / SCMP
    “It is becoming increasingly challenging for family members… … because of the changes in population structure, population migration, and increased employment of women in China,” [Professor Wu Bei, from the New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing] said.
  • Henan students protest data leak at private college
    20,000 students demand answers after personal data leaked / Sixth Tone
    “…The exposed data — including the students’ names, ages, national ID numbers, majors, campus addresses, and college entrance exam registration numbers — was contained in documents labeled ‘list of returning students’ that were widely shared on social platforms WeChat and QQ without the students’ consent.”
  • Emotional support animals
    China goes barking mad for therapy dogs / Sixth Tone
    “One by one, the pooches scamper into the room and perform a series of tricks: shaking hands, jumping through rings, and pretending to pray. Before long, they’ve won over the small group of children sitting in a huddle on the floor.”
  • No criminal charges for juveniles after sexual assault  
    Child’s sexual assault reignites China’s criminal responsibility debate / Sixth Tone
    “Four boys who sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl in northwestern China will not face criminal charges, and have instead been sent to a school for juvenile delinquents…”
  • Teen goes viral with one-armed basketball skills
    Steph Curry gives props to one-armed Chinese teen with inspirational basketball skills / Shanghaiist
    “A 14-year-old basketball player from Guangdong province has become an overnight sensation after showing off his insane handles despite having only one arm, earning praise even from a two-time NBA MVP.”
  • Toll gates in the Gobi Desert
    I collected toll in the Gobi Desert / Gushi
    “In August 2014, after Xinjiang completed construction on and inaugurated its five major expressways, the highway administration of the regional government recruited from the public for non-civil service toll collector positions for the first time.”
  • An essay on cooking Chinese food at home
    Scallion Dutch baby / ChinaFile
    Shen Lu writes, “Cooking has been my daily ritual in the time of COVID-19. I skim through terrible news while thinking about my next meal. I discuss censorship on a work call while mapping out my next grocery run.”