Editor’s note for Wednesday, July 22, 2020

A note from today’s editor of the SupChina Access newsletter.

In today’s newsletter:  

  • U.S. orders closure of China’s consulate in Houston
  • Xi Jinping says companies must be more patriotic
  • Can pan-democrats win a majority in Hong Kong’s September elections?
  • Champion figure skater urges China to stop abusing young athletes
  • Zhejiang University under fire for allowing convicted rapist to remain on campus
  • When China collided with the Middle East
  • And lots more in the links section at the bottom

My thoughts today:

Let’s start with some good news: The journal Nature reports that there are four promising vaccines against COVID-19 that are already in the testing phase, from CanSino Biologics in China, the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca in the U.K., U.S. company Moderna in collaboration with the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, and Pfizer and German company BioNTech.

Also: the Trump administration today announced a nearly $2 billion contract with Pfizer and BioNTech for up to 600 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

But don’t get happy about the state of the world just yet. The U.S. government’s ill-considered decision to close the Chinese consulate in Houston — see our top story below — is an unneeded escalation of the wrong kind of tensions that literally brings us a huge step closer to the next world war.

See also this tweet from Ishaan Tharoor, foreign affairs columnist at the Washington Post: “A sign of the times. A D.C. national security think tank has organized a virtual war game that explores a potential clash between U.S./Japan/China over the Senkaku Islands in 2030.”

Online events you might like:

Our word of the day is consulate: 领事馆 lǐngshìguǎn.