Editor’s note for Tuesday, September 1, 2020

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

My thoughts today:

Chinese Foreign Minister Wáng Yì 王毅 hasn’t exactly got his way in Europe, where he has been traveling for the last two weeks on what the Wall Street Journal calls a “fence-mending tour of the continent,” which has so far yielded “meager results.” But that is not stopping Beijing from trying: Wang was in Germany today, his final stop, and senior diplomat Yáng Jiéchí 杨洁篪 will visit Greece and Spain this week.

Wang and Yang are facing a tough crowd. Noah Barkin, Berlin-based journalist and senior visiting fellow at the German Marshall Fund, has this to say in his monthly update:

I wrote last month about how Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong could be an inflection point in how European countries view and respond to China. My conversations with officials in EU capitals over the past weeks have only reinforced that sense (despite all the friendly elbow bumps during Wang Yi’s ongoing European tour).

Clarification: In our story yesterday about Chinese government moves that may complicate the forced sale of TikTok to an American company, we implied that the Trump administration’s deadline was still September 15. That deadline has been extended by 45 days to November 12.

Our word of the day is second-generation ethnic policy (第二代民族政策 dì èr dài mínzú zhèngcè), a concept promoted by some Chinese scholars that encourages China to de-emphasize linguistic and cultural identities for minorities. If carried out, this would lead the nominally autonomous areas, prefectures, and counties in China to being changed into ordinary territorial units, and involve a transition to purely Chinese-language education.  

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief