Editor’s note for Tuesday, July 14, 2020

A note from today's editor of the SupChina Access newsletter

In today’s newsletter:

  • U.K. bans Huawei 5G equipment in reversal of January decision
  • China targets obsessive teenage fans in new internet cleanup campaign
  • Apple supplier Foxconn to invest $1 billion in India, another step away from China
  • And much more in the links section below…

Correction: Thanks to subscriber Todd Hall for pointing out a factual inaccuracy in yesterday’s newsletter: Hillary Clinton in 2010 was not the first U.S. official to articulate an American interest in “freedom of navigation” specifically in the South China Sea, as previously implied, but rather the first secretary of state to offer to assist in negotiations to settle disputes between China and Southeast Asian countries, particularly Vietnam.

Today’s noteworthy news that did not make it into our top story selection:

China has responded to yesterday’s denunciation of its South China Sea claims by the U.S. with a statement from the Foreign Ministry: “We always treat our South China Sea neighbors as equals and exercise maximum restraint when it comes to safeguarding our sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea.”  

The U.S. could still up the ante: “Nothing is off the table…there is room for that,” said David Stilwell, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asia, referring to sanctions against Chinese officials and enterprises involved in coercion in the South China Sea, according to Reuters.

Nonetheless, today, “China booked its biggest single-day U.S. corn purchase on record…as it tries to meet its trade deal commitments,” reports Reuters.

China declared that primaries held by Hong Kong’s pro-democratic parties on the weekend were “illegal.” Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥 Lín Zhèng Yuè’é) warned that the primaries “may fall into the category of subverting the state power, which is now one of the four types of offenses under the new national security law.” See the Guardian or the links section below for further reporting.

Meanwhile, Trump has signed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which “requires sanctions on Chinese officials who crack down on the rights of Hong Kong residents to free speech and peaceful assembly, as well as the banks that do business with those officials,” per the Wall Street Journal.

The new ICE rules have been torn up: “The Trump administration has agreed to rescind rules it issued last week governing whether international students can enroll at U.S. universities this fall, settling a lawsuit filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston federal court,” reports the Wall Street Journal. As many as 370,000 Chinese students may be breathing a sigh of relief.  

Our word of the day is Boris Johnson (鲍里斯•约翰逊 bàolǐsī yuēhànxùn). His government just did a U-turn on Huawei, which you can read about below.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief