China Press Review – April 15, 2020

Press review

Opinion: How China could win over the post-coronavirus world and leave the U.S. behind
COVID-19 pandemic may accelerate America’s declining status with traditional allies, former diplomat says

Coronavirus: China’s economy unlikely to be saved by ‘revenge spending’ as worried consumers emerge from lockdowns
Chinese social media users have coined the phrase as China emerges from almost two months of lockdowns aimed at halting the spread of the virus  Consumption contributed around 60 per cent of growth last year, but worries over an economic downturn, job prospects and high debt levels are set to limit spending

Survey: Asian consumer sentiment during the COVID-19 crisis
Consumers remain resilient even as they expect an impending hit to their personal finances.

The Social and Economic Impact of COVID-19 on China and its Recovery Potential
At the moment certain sectors of the economy are recovering. But not quickly. Malls are open, but sparsely populated. Restaurants are open, but with very few customers. There seems to still be a kind of reluctance among people to go out and enjoy themselves, perhaps worried about opprobrium from the many that are still struggling financially or that they will be accused of potentially spreading the virus. Habits may well have changed permanently. Unsurprisingly, people are reluctant to spend large amounts of money on cars, houses etc. because of the overall uncertainty.   Certain sectors are definitely booming. This will be a worldwide phenomenon, and it in fact may play into the hands of China in the medium term. It is well-known that China is ahead in the “race to 5G”, which is all about “digital” and “remote”. During this pandemic, China probably pulled further ahead. Online teaching and conferencing have boomed. Delivery of goods rather than visiting shops has continued its transition to the mainstream. The economy has taken another step towards modernization.

Coronavirus to push China’s first-quarter GDP into first decline on record: Reuters poll
The coronavirus health crisis likely knocked China’s economy into its first decline since at least 1992 in the first quarter, raising the heat on authorities to do more to restore growth as mounting job losses threaten social stability.

China Adds Liquidity, Trims Rates Ahead of Poor GDP Data
China’s central bank injected medium-term funding into the financial system Wednesday and cut the cost of the funds as expected, bolstering measures aimed at countering the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.      The People’s Bank of China offered 100 billion yuan ($14 billion) via the one-year medium-term lending facility, cutting the rate to 2.95% from 3.15%. The reduction was expected as the central bank already cut the rate on 7-day market operations in late March and the different interest rates tend to move together.

Will China’s shadow banking sector make a comeback?
Shadow banking assets declined last year, marking the first time that these riskier funds have shrunk in a decade. While this might have been something to celebrate three years ago, the ongoing effects of the US–China trade war and COVID-19 have slowed China’s economy. China needs to combat slowing growth and some are bemoaning the decline of shadow banking, arguing that it can bolster economic activity.

Opinion: How the G-20 Should Lead, Again
At this critical juncture, the world is turning, once more, to the G-20 for leadership. Established in the wake of the 1997 Asian financial crisis — which it went on to resolve — the G-20 began as a gathering of member-state finance ministers and central bankers. It then evolved into a forum for heads of state and government during the 2008 crisis, and has since played a crucial role in the world economy by facilitating international cooperation and providing invaluable guidance in times of crisis. Faced with the unprecedented Covid-19 shock, the G-20, which comprises countries accounting for some 90% of global output, needs to get busy again.

Economic havoc wreaked by coronavirus has likely throttled US-China trade deal, experts say
Need to address economic damage will put more pressure on Beijing to reform China’s economy, say Rhodium Group’s Daniel Rosen and ex-Australian PM Kevin Rudd
China’s high debt levels and likely GDP contraction will make it nearly impossible for Beijing to fulfil its buying commitments

Asian Financial Crisis 2.0: Banking system creaks under pressure of companies struggling to survive coronavirus pandemic
Asia-Pacific faces an environment ‘at least as challenging as the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis for borrowers,’ says S&P Global Ratings  Asian banks wrestle with moral hazard of doling out capital to zombie companies

Lawmaker wants UK to stop China taking control of Imagination Technologies
David Davis said the Chinese are trying to export the technology base from Britain to China   The British firm is a supplier of semiconductor intellectual property to groups like Apple

Imagination Technologies: What’s at stake in the fight over control
There appears to be a fight on for control of UK semiconductor IP company Imagination Technologies.

Never mind the coronavirus, Trump’s America is still going full throttle in its attacks on Huawei
After two years of repeated accusations of espionage, no concrete evidence against Huawei has been produced   The US obsession with Huawei can only be understood in light of its national security goals – it means to thwart China’s rise as a world power by means fair or foul

China’s aviation industry shrinks as pandemic triggers US$5.6 billion in first-quarter losses
Air passenger traffic fell 53.9 per cent in the first three months, and volume could linger at low level despite recovery signs: CAAC    Airlines globally could lose as much as US$314 billion this year, according to IATA

Coronavirus: container traffic at China’s top eight ports plunges in early April as pandemic hits overseas orders
China’s top eight ports, including Shenzhen, Shanghai, Ningbo, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Tianjin, Dalian and Qingdao, saw container traffic contract in early April  In the second quarter, China’s port association forecasts a contraction of between 10 to 15 per cent

Factsheet: Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation’s global donations and efforts to combat Covid-19

How COVID-19 is Reshaping Corporate Culture
Public safety measures have closed physical offices and made remote working the norm. Travel restrictions have heightened the importance of efficient technology, communication, and collaboration. Executives have had to pivot quickly, reorganizing and rallying their workforce to push forward in an unprecedented time.   Some business leaders think COVID-19 marks a permanent turning point. And at the center of the seismic change is the reshaping of corporate culture – the beliefs and behaviors that influence how a company’s employees and management interact  “The pandemic unquestionably will have lasting effects on corporate cultures,” Crumpton says. “There’s a growing sense it’s a fundamental shift, a new normal.“It starts with empathy. Company leaders are seeing they need to listen more to their employees’ concerns, which are really everybody’s concerns right now. Many people have fear and uncertainty. It’s an opportunity to be more understanding and build relationships with the people you work with, and from there as a company, being better able to work in new and more collaborative ways.”

Coronavirus: American Factory boss says pandemic will change China’s role in global supply chain
Cao Dewang, the Chinese owner of the Fuyao Glass America factory, says countries will cut their reliance on Chinese manufacturing after the coronavirus   Global industrial chain will change, but rich countries will struggle to rebuild manufacturing at home after offshoring production for decades, tycoon says

China’s initial coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan spread twice as fast as we thought, new study suggests
Each carrier was infecting 5.7 people on average, according to US researchers, who say previous estimate had used incomplete data    Latest data based on cases whose origin could be traced more clearly, in provinces that had test kits and ample health care capacity

Coronavirus: China launches study into asymptomatic cases and shared immunity
Residents of nine regions, including Wuhan, Beijing and Shanghai, to be sampled using both nucleic acid and antibody tests, state media reports  Research ‘very important as it will help us to direct our countermeasures in the future’, molecular virologist says

Coronavirus: Chinese students battle rising tide of prejudice in US but fear they may not be welcomed home
Some Chinese students and graduates say they have felt increasingly uncomfortable amid rising reports of racism, with some questioning their future in the US    But those that are able to return home have faced calls for them to be barred in case they bring back the infection with them

China warns US cut to WHO funding weakens global coronavirus response
Chinese foreign ministry says coordinated effort is needed to contain Covid-19 pandemic and warns of impact on less developed countries    American Medical Association and other groups also say now is not the time to halt funding to World Health Organisation

China PPE: Just When You Thought it Might be Safe to Go into the Water
It is not uncommon for a foreign company to enter into a purchase agreement with a Chinese PPE supplier, and then make an advance payment, only to have the rules change by shipment time to the point where the previously authorized transaction is now unauthorized or will be indefinitely delayed. Dealing with that risk is critical in any purchase transaction. Chinese sellers virtually always seek to push these risks of their own government entirely onto the shoulders of the foreign buyer. Since this risk is considerable, it makes all China PPE transactions “tougher”.

Coronavirus runs roughshod over debt-laden belt and road projects
Developing countries’ ‘hidden debts’ to China totalled US$380 billion well before the global health and economic crisis, analysts estimate  Montenegro, which has a US$750 million Chinese loan for highway construction, is among the borrowers seeing commodity prices plunge and exchange rates shift

US to Americans in Indonesia: ‘Get Out Now!’
On April 14, Heather Variava, the Charge d’Affairs at the US Embassy in Jakarta, delivered an astonishing message telling all Americans to get out of Indonesia and offering to put them in a program to evacuate them back to the United States:

Frustrated Parents Demand Refunds From Expensive Private Schools
Parents say they’re dissatisfied with online learning options being provided during the coronavirus pandemic.Parents of students at the Sanlitun campus of the British School of Beijing were recently told they must pay tuition of as much as 70,000 yuan ($10,000) even though only online classes are being provided. Some parents complained that the e-learning doesn’t justify the cost.

The Case for Raising China’s Age of Consent
The Bao Yuming rape case has thrust the country’s deficient protections for minors back into the spotlight

How will COVID-19 reshape the world?
The Second World War led to radical changes in national governance and the international system. Something similar may occur following the global novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The quick reversal of orthodox government policy triggered by COVID-19 in many countries around the world is astounding.     The impact of COVID-19 on the international system is complex. For several years now globalisation has been under threat. US President Donald Trump’s inward-looking mantra of ‘America First’ trashed international agreements on climate change and multilateral economic institutions. But in response to COVID-19, liberal governments elsewhere are also closing borders, suspending flights and interrupting many aspects of international cooperation. It is uncertain to what extent some of these obstacles may be left in place after the crisis. But we shall hardly inhabit a barrier-free world.China, and East Asia more broadly, will emerge from the crisis with prestige and power enhanced. Yet the reputations of the United States and Europe for effective crisis management will be diminished. Still we should not underestimate the achievements of some Western governments and societies in their efforts to defeat COVID-19. A key lesson from the crisis is surely that it is far better to act early rather than late. In normal times there must also be a continuous effort and funding from governments applied to international health crisis preparedness.The outcome of COVID-19 is likely to favour strong government over pared-down government in a Hayekian sense. China’s top-down governance model may seem more attractive, even in areas outside East Asia. In Europe, for instance, COVID-19 may reinforce the trend of increasing authoritarianism for some.

China denies criticising France’s response to Covid-19 crisis
China on Tuesday denied criticising France’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, saying there had been “misunderstandings” after French officials summoned the Chinese ambassador in Paris

France summons Chinese ambassador after coronavirus comments spark outrage
Online post by unnamed diplomat claimed French nursing home workers were ‘abandoning posts’ and leaving residents to ‘die of hunger and disease’  Embassy in Paris has been leading campaign to vaunt Beijing’s success in quelling outbreak while criticising handling of crisis by Western countries

Chinese giants Huawei and Tencent join national group on blockchain after Xi’s backing for the tech
China has launched the “National Blockchain and Distributed Accounting Technology Standardization Technical Committee.”  Huawei, Tencent, Baidu, Ant Financial and are among a group of companies and academics on the committee. The aim is likely to set some national standards for the technology. Last year, President Xi Jinping said the country needs to “seize the opportunities” in blockchain.

China should not use the coronavirus as an excuse to silence human rights activists like Wang Quanzhang
As often occurs in the ‘non-release release’ of China’s political prisoners, lawyer Wang Quanzhang has been confined in his old home after his release – ostensibly for quarantine – yet he remains under strict surveillance

In the war on the coronavirus, we must ensure that women do not become collateral damage
While women comprise 70 per cent of the global health care workforce, men dominate senior positions   With the crisis disproportionately affecting women, the inclusion of women at the policymaking level is the need of the hour

Alain Gillard
Information Officer
Service Asie Pacifique
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