Links for Monday, April 19, 2021

Notable China news from around the world.


Pieces of news or analysis that caught our eye:

Did China’s former premier Wēn Jiābǎo 温家宝 just subtly criticize the president? CNN asks:

…in an essay published this week, ostensibly a tribute to his late mother, former Premier Wen Jiabao appeared to issue what many have interpreted as a coded criticism of Xi: calling for fairness, justice, humanity and liberty, all while remembering a period of history the Communist Party would rather forget.”

Wen’s words took Chinese social media by the storm. His essay was shared hundreds of thousands of times — before censors stepped in to stop people spreading it…

The essay was published in an obscure newspaper in Macao [in Chinese], perhaps indicating no mainland Chinese outlet was willing to publish it.




  • Hong Kong border restrictions in response to more transmissible COVID-19 variant
    Hong Kong bans flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines for 2 weeks / Reuters
    “Hong Kong will suspend flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines from April 20 for two weeks after the N501Y mutant COVID-19 strain was detected in the Asian financial hub for the first time.”
  • Wind power growing in China, but “unlikely to dominate” abroad
    Wind-power equipment-makers post record sales as subsidies die down / Caixin (paywall)
    “Rush to build wind farms before government incentives expire delivers a boost, but strong competition curbs profit growth.”
    Chinese wind industry growing competitive, but unlikely to dominate / MacroPolo
    “Even though China has a strong position in the wind supply chain, in the foreseeable future there will still be regional concentration of supply chains outside the country. There are several reasons why the wind power supply chain is more diffuse, chief among them how the industry operates and local market policies. These dynamics make it difficult for Chinese firms to replace current wind turbine equipment suppliers in other markets.”


  • Was U.S.-Japan statement on Taiwan meaningful, or “bland” and “vanilla”?
    U.S.-Japan Joint Leaders’ Statement: “U.S.-JAPAN GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP FOR A NEW ERA” / The White House
    “We oppose any unilateral attempts to change the status quo in the East China Sea. We reiterated our objections to China’s unlawful maritime claims and activities in the South China Sea…We underscore the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encourage the peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues. We share serious concerns regarding the human rights situations in Hong Kong and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”
    Taiwan in U.S.-Japan statement: Show of resolve or diplomatic calculus? / Nikkei (paywall)
    “This was the first time since 1969 that the island was mentioned in a post-summit document by the leaders of the two nations. At the same time, it is a bland, vanilla collection of nonemotional words calling for peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait…Kazuhiro Maeshima, a professor at Sophia University, noted…‘The statement shunned more specific language like “defend Taiwan” to avoid unnecessarily provoking China.’”
    Japan vows to support U.S. in opposing ‘coercion’ from China / FT (paywall)
    “Michael Green, a Japan expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies…added that Suga’s statement about opposing unilateral efforts to change the status quo mirrored a phrase that the U.S. has used about Taiwan since the George W Bush administration.”
    China says U.S.-Japan actions are stoking division / AP
    “‘It cannot be more ironic that such attempt of stoking division and building blocs against other countries is put under the banner of “free and open,”’ the spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington said in a statement Saturday.” (See Chinese version of this statement here.)
    Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s remarks on negative content concerning China in U.S.-Japan joint leaders’ statement / Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Chinese here)
  • Crimes against humanity but no “genocidal intent” in Xinjiang, says Human Rights Watch
    China: Crimes against humanity in Xinjiang / Human Rights Watch
    “The Chinese leadership is responsible for widespread and systematic policies of mass detention, torture, and cultural persecution, among other offenses. Coordinated international action is needed to sanction those responsible, advance accountability, and press the Chinese government to reverse course.”
    China’s crimes against humanity targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims / Human Rights Watch
    “Human Rights Watch has not documented the existence of the necessary genocidal intent at this time. Nonetheless, nothing in this report precludes such a finding and, if such evidence were to emerge, the acts being committed against Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang — a group protected by the 1948 Genocide Convention — could also support a finding of genocide.”
  • Women’s rights groups censored as demographic trends to show falling childbirths
    China stresses family values as more women put off marriage, childbirth / WSJ (paywall)
    “During Mr. Xi’s time in power, new party slogans emphasizing ‘family, family education and family virtues’ or ‘pass on the red gene’ have been coupled with efforts to censor voices on women’s rights…In recent days, more than a dozen accounts used by women’s-rights groups were deleted from the Weibo social-media platform as well as cultural-discussion site”
    China’s births may fall below 10 million annually in next five years – expert quoted / Reuters
    “China’s total population may also fall in a few years, Dong Yuzheng, director at the Guangdong Academy of Population Development, told Yicai, a Chinese financial news outlet.”
  • EU-China relations
    China’s Xi ready to step up climate change cooperation with France, Germany / Nikkei Asia
    “Issue ‘should not become a geopolitical bargaining chip,’ president tells Macron and Merkel.”
    EU sets out Indo-Pacific plan, says it’s not ‘anti-China’ / Reuters
    “The bloc ‘considers that the EU should reinforce its strategic focus, presence and actions in the Indo-Pacific…based on the promotion of democracy, rule of law, human rights and international law,’ EU foreign ministers said in a statement. Diplomats said the plan was not ‘anti-China’…The 10-page document will now be followed by a more detailed strategy in September.”
  • World-class universities, but without full academic freedom?
    Xi stresses building world-class universities to serve nation in visit to Tsinghua / Xinhua (more detailed Chinese version here)