China Press Review – December 6, 2021

China GDP to slow, will become inflation exporter, money managers say
China, widely seen as an exporter of disinflation for the past two decades, is likely to drive higher inflation in coming years, the chief investment officer of Neuberger Berman said on Monday.
https://www.msn.com/en-ca/money/topstories/china-gdp-to-slow-will-become-inflation-exporter-money-managers-say/ar-AARwAlk

Key China economic planning meeting said to be set for next week as headwinds swirl
China’s central economic work conference, where top officials meet to chart policy for year ahead, traditionally takes place at the Jingxi Hotel. Premier Li Keqiang hinted at some monetary easing and help for SMEs in a meeting with IMF chief this week. Li has repeatedly said that the Chinese economy is facing “new downward pressure” in meetings with several provincial heads, economists and entrepreneurs in the build-up to this year’s work conference.  On the other hand, Vice-Premier Liu He – widely seen as Xi’s economic right-hand man – has displayed a more optimistic tone, indicating that China’s economic growth rate will likely exceed its target in 2021 despite headwinds.   “We’re abundantly confident about China’s economy next year,” Liu said during the Hamburg Summit on Tuesday. Arthur Kroeber, head of research at China-focused consultancy Gavekal, notes that Beijing has been confident in its economic model due to the robust rebound in pandemic-hit 2020.  The country’s current economic problems stem from policies designed to correct major structural flaws, meaning growth will likely be weak for a few more quarters However, he noted in a seminar in Beijing on Friday that although the transition to a more sustainable economy is not guaranteed to succeed, he sees more positives than negatives for now.    The work conference may generate some signals as to what China’s economic growth rate target, one of the most closely-watched barometers of the country’s economic health, will be set at for 2022 although this number will not be made official until the annual legislative gathering, or so-called Two Sessions, next Spring.   Analysts generally expect the Chinese government to set a lower gross domestic product (GDP) target for 2022 compared with the “above 6 per cent” number for 2021.   The government may set a growth target of “5 per cent or above” for 2022, with policies aligned to achieve the target, Standard Chartered analysts wrote in a note on Friday. “China’s focus on long-term objectives reduces the chances of aggressive policy loosening,” they said.   CITIC Securities analysts expect the target to be set at “around 5.5 per cent”, according to a November 24 note. “[The target] is feasible in reality but not easy to complete … the economy can only maintain stability with a certain growth rate, slowing down too fast is likely to cause a vicious circle between expectations and reality.”
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/money/other/key-china-economic-planning-meeting-said-to-be-set-for-next-week-as-headwinds-swirl/ar-AARrGsb

Globalisation isn’t dead, but it’s different
Globalisation hasn’t collapsed amid Covid-19. That’s the takeaway from the latest DHL/New York University report on globalisation, which is a yearly deep dive into data around global trade, capital, information and people flows. It’s always a great finger to the wind about global connectivity, and it will reassure many FT folks.
https://tinyurl.com/3bwcbysh

HOW GLOBAL CONNECTEDNESS IS PASSING THE PANDEMIC “STRESS TEST”
As the sun begins to set on 2021, the state of globalization is far stronger than many expected. The DHL Global Connectedness Index 2021 Update takes a comprehensive, data-driven look at the events of 2020-21. Find out how the world’s trading system recovered from the initial pandemic shock, what longstanding vulnerabilities have been exposed, and why a more connected world offers the best prospects for a healthy, prosperous, and sustainable future
https://www.dhl.com/global-en/spotlight/globalization/global-connectedness-index.html

China’s population to peak in 2021 as demographic turning point has already arrived, threatening to disrupt Beijing’s economic ambitions
The size of China’s population already peaked this year, which is much earlier than expected, according to Trip.com Group executive chairman James Liang    Falling birth rates, an ageing population and shrinking labour force represent headwinds that could disrupt China’s economic development
https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/world/2021/12/672_319986.html

China’s birth rate has hit a record low. That could shake the world economy.
The most populous country in the world could actually run out of workers soon. That means a lot more than just an end to rapid growth in China.   A demographic crisis is rumbling in the world’s second-biggest economy, with China’s birth rate at a record low.   It stands to destabilize a key engine of the world economy, and could shake China’s closest economic partners.  It could also push up global inflation as the well of cheap goods and low-wage workers dries up.
https://www.businessinsider.fr/us/china-birth-rate-demographic-crisis-global-economy-inflation-belt-road-2021-12

China’s rising living costs, economic uncertainties leave lower-income groups unwilling or unable to spend
Payroll growth had already started to decelerate in recent years, and the pandemic has dashed hopes for many people looking for a lifeline     Beijing has set its sights on boosting consumption, but it may be difficult to convince people to spend what little money they are able to save as salaries are capped or cut
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/money/other/china-s-rising-living-costs-economic-uncertainties-leave-lower-income-groups-unwilling-or-unable-to-spend/ar-AARrX7T

State vs market capitalism: expect a titanic clash as China seeks CPTPP membership
China’s SOEs are in the centre of debate, amid US and EU concerns and a desire to update global trade rules      But China is not the only SOE-dominated economy. Those picking a fight may find themselves outflanked
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/state-vs-market-capitalism-expect-a-titanic-clash-as-china-seeks-cptpp-membership/ar-AARuGiw

China think-tank warns of economic slowdown
Advisers to Beijing will recommend a 2022 growth target that’s lower than the target that had been set for 2021.
https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/12/6/china-think-tank-warns-of-economic-slowdown

China Economy Will Turn More to Local Market, Former Mayor Says
China’s economy will become more dependent on its domestic market even as it opens up further for global trade, former Chongqing mayor Huang Qifan said at the annual International Finance Forum on Saturday. Foreign trade accounted for 64% of Chaaaina’s economy in 2006 and will gradually decline to about 25%, Huang said at the meeting in Guangzhou. The domestic market will grow as the middle-income population increases. he said. “The new structure led by the internal circulation doesn’t mean involution or ‘lying flat,’” said Huang, adding that it would help the nation in opening up the economy.
https://www.bloombergquint.com/global-economics/china-economy-will-turn-more-to-local-market-former-mayor-says

China is faltering, but the world is not feeling the effects
Not so long ago most economies were growing in close step with China. But in recent years those links weakened, then collapsed during the pandemic. Most dramatically, the correlation between gross domestic product growth in China and other emerging markets fell since 2015 from nearly perfect (over 0.9) to barely visible (under 0.2). In the second quarter this year, China grew significantly slower than other emerging markets for the first time in three decades, which may be a sign of things to come.
Beijing is locking down to contain the pandemic and cracking down on economically critical sectors and high corporate debt with an aggression unmatched by any other government. This goes a long way to explain why China is slowing so fast now, when the rest of the world is not. But the link between growth in China and other economies started to loosen about five years ago, so this moment may reflect deeper forces in play.
https://tinyurl.com/ycyfzfr8

China’s central bank to cut RRR
China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, will cut the reserve requirement ratio by 0.5 percentage points but has offset this with a liquidity withdrawal elsewhere. The net injection is not a lot, but enough to push down interest rates for the whole curve, which supports economic growth
https://think.ing.com/snaps/china-central-bank-cuts-rrr/

China frees up $188 billion for banks in second reserve ratio cut this year
China’s central bank said on Monday it would cut the amount of cash that banks must hold in reserve, its second such move this year, releasing 1.2 trillion yuan ($188 billion) in long-term liquidity to bolster slowing economic growth.
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/06/china-frees-up-188-billion-for-banks-in-second-reserve-ratio-cut-this-year.html

China calls for better international consultation over monetary policy to ensure ‘fairer’ international environment
Foreign exchange official Lu Lei says the spillover effect of policy changes from countries at the core of the global system warrant close attention  We should make the monetary policy consultation mechanism more effective. Particularly, we should pay attention to the policy spillovers in major developed economies, to gain a fairer and just international environment for emerging markets and developing countries,” Lu said.   China’s forex regulator has been warning against one-way market bets on the yuan since May, calling for exchange rate neutrality among enterprises. It recently took action to fight outflows through such channels such as underground banks and overseas casinos, and on Friday issued new regulations to standardise forex transactions.  The International Finance Forum estimated global economic growth could slow to 4.7 per cent next year from 5.9 per cent this year, while downside risks include slower-than-expected vaccine roll-out and geopolitical tensions including those between China and the US.    Meanwhile, it warned that higher and more persistent inflation could prompt abrupt monetary adjustments overseas, threatening emerging markets with capital outflows, currency market volatility and disruption of the recovery process, the forum said in a report.    Comments to the International Finance Forum in Guangzhou are the latest sign that Beijing is on high alert for policy changes from the US Federal Reserve    “Developing economies should continue to strengthen their macroeconomic fundamentals and reduce vulnerability to external shocks, and use macroprudential policy tools in disposal to act when necessary,” it suggested. It also called for joint efforts to prevent a repeat of the 2013 “taper tantrum” after the Fed’s announcement it would put the brakes on its quantitative easing programme led to a spike in bond yields.  The forum said: “Global processes such as G20 and regional processes such as Asean+3 provide appropriate venues for policy coordination. https://www.scmp.com/news/article/3158538/china-calls-better-international-consultation-over-monetary-policy-ensure

Micro loans are Asia’s hottest fintech products as Gen Z and millennial online shoppers prefer to buy now, pay later
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) services may double their share of Asia’s e-commerce payments market from 0.6 per cent to 1.3 per cent, according to forecasts    Chinese fintech firms have invested in Southeast Asia’s BNPL services: Ant Group owns 6.3 per cent of India’s Paytm and 39 per cent of South Korea’s Kakao Pay
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/money/other/micro-loans-are-asia-s-hottest-fintech-products-as-gen-z-and-millennial-online-shoppers-prefer-to-buy-now-pay-later/ar-AARrref

What Are the Tax Incentives in China to Encourage Technology Innovation?
We list the major tax incentives in China to encourage technology innovation and share guidance on how to tap benefits listed in various preferential policies.    As China endeavors to shift from being a low-end mass manufacturer to a high-end producer, the government has doubled down on encouraging targeted investments in research and development (R&D) and technological innovation. The ongoing technology confrontation with the US is another factor at play, impacting a wide range of segments from access to chips and other key input technologies and products. This has resulted in China labeling its technology sector as a strategic one and for which government support has increased.  In this article, we summarize the major tax incentives to encourage technology innovation and share our experience on accessing the benefits of the preferential policies.
https://www.china-briefing.com/news/tax-incentives-china-to-encourage-technology-innovation/

The triple constraint on artificial-intelligence advancement in Europe
A skilled labour force is a key enabler of technological advancement. Competitive universities and academic talent enable countries to participate in frontier research. Skilled researchers generate productivity and quality spillovers to their teams and co-authors. High levels of intellectual capital and skills have been found to boost innovation performance in high-tech firms, and the number and success of AI start-ups depend on the specialised expertise of their founders. Finally, the availability of digital skills among staff is central to AI adoption. Four-fifths of EU companies consider the lack of skills in the labour force to be a critical barrier to AI adoption.  The metrics shown in Figure 2 reflect skill endowments of the three economies for each stage of AI advancement. The EU has an excellent skills base in terms of AI research (column 1), but appears to have less of an advantage when it comes to leveraging this expertise in the private sector. The indicator for skill intensity in business shows that the EU has on average less than half as many AI researchers employed in top AI firms than the US. Moreover, the ability of EU firms to adopt AI systems and adjust them to their operational needs is limited by the relatively low availability of programmers and data engineers in the labour market, as proxied by the number of computer science degrees (column 3). Here, in line with the AI adoption estimates, the Chinese labour force appears better equipped to serve the needs of business.
https://www.bruegel.org/2021/12/the-triple-constraint-on-artificial-intelligence-advancement-in-europe/

US-China tech war: semiconductor links across Taiwan Strait faces political headwind
Strained cross-strait and US-China relations could bring more uncertainty to global supply chains   Speculation about what could happen next is expected to rise this week when Taiwan takes part in Washington’s Summit for Democracy
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/us-china-tech-war-semiconductor-links-across-taiwan-strait-faces-political-headwind/ar-AARwlAy

What Can We Learn From The Real Estate Developer Crisis In China?
Long-term high-leveraged financial tools, including financial leverage, operating leverage and off-balance-sheet leverage, are the main drive to fast growth for most real estate developers in China. However, with the new state policies being rolled out stipulating houses are for residence and not for speculative investment, along with the “Three Red Lines” policy, high leveraged debt will be weakening over time.    The “Three Red Lines” policy is a set of metrics that property developers’ corporate debt is evaluated against. Developers have to meet all three requirements if they want to borrow more money next year. The new policy was launched in 2020 and is set to make a real impact on the debt binge phenomenon by ensuring: (1) the ratio of liabilities to assets is capped at 70%; (2) net debt shouldn’t exceed equity; (3) the ratio of cash to short-term borrowings should stay above or equal to one.  However, the 70% cap on liabilities to assets excludes advance proceeds from pre-sold projects, and thus more and more developers are trying to pre-sell properties for extra cash to pass the “Three Red Lines” metrics. Even Sunac China, the fourth largest property developer in China, has announced that it is actively decreasing its financing cost to 5% within the next three years. It’s safe to say that the era of debt binge is officially over and property developers are being forced into devoting resources to building healthy finances, improving customer success and quality delivery. The crisis of uncontrolled debt in a sector that contributes to more than 25% of the Chinese GDP made us wonder if it could actually crush the economy. It’s undeniable that China’s economic growth for the past decades is finally slowing down, but for the Chinese real estate sector, this might well be just another road bump. However, I believe that a real crash is unlikely, as the newly launched regulations are set to deleverage and reduce debt as well as limit both excessive price rises and prices dropping too low.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2021/12/06/what-can-we-learn-from-the-real-estate-developer-crisis-in-china/

Repeat Chinese defaulter Sunshine 100 misses payment on US$179 million of debt and interest
Sunshine 100 said it wouldn’t be able to repay the US$170 million of principal and more than US$8.9 million of interest on its 10.5 per cent senior notes due 2021    The company said in August that it wasn’t able to repay the principal, premium and accrued interest of its 2021 bonds
https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/chinese-developer-misses-major-bond-044343569.html

All eyes on China Evergrande, Kaisa as indebted mainland developers face bond repayment deadlines
Evergrande has expressed its inability to repay interest on two offshore bonds Evergrande has until midnight on Monday to repay US$82.5 million in overdue interest on two offshore notes, while Kaisa’s US$400 million bond matures on Tuesday
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/money/other/all-eyes-on-china-evergrande-kaisa-as-indebted-mainland-developers-face-bond-repayment-deadlines/ar-AARwc81

China Evergrande braces for debt deadline after doubting ability to pay
lurching from deadline to deadline, China Evergrande Group is again on the brink of default, with pessimistic comments from the property developer raising expectations of direct state involvement and a managed debt restructuring.    Having made three 11th-hour coupon payments in the past two months, Evergrande will again face the end of a 30-day grace period on Monday, with dues this time at $82.5 million.
https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14496460

Billionaire Hui Ka Yan Gets Help From Guangdong Government Amid Evergrande Debt Crisis
Hui Ka Yan, the chairman of embattled property developer Evergrande, was summoned by the provincial government of Guangdong late Friday night, after the deeply indebted company warned on the same day that it may not be able to meet its financial obligations.  Hong Kong-listed Evergrande, now close to collapsing under more than $300 billion in total liabilities, sought help from the southern province, according to a short post published via its website. Authorities in Guangdong, where Evergrande is based, agreed to dispatch a “work group,” and help the company “resolve risks, strengthen internal control and sustain its normal operations.”
The Guangdong government also “paid close attention” to Evergrande’s latest warning, the post says. In a stock exchange filing on December 3, the company said it had received a demand to pay creditors in the amount of $260 million. 
https://www.forbes.com/sites/ywang/2021/12/04/billionaire-hui-ka-yan-gets-help-from-guangdong-government-amid-evergrande-debt-crisis/

Evergrande again nears default as China moves to reassure markets
China Evergrande Group shares slumped to a record low on Monday as authorities intervened to reassure markets after the heavily-indebted property developer warned on a coupon payment, pushing it closer to default.     China’s central bank said it would cut reserve requirements for banks while the politburo vowed to promote healthy development of the property sector, reinforcing previous messages to investors that Evergrande’s woes could be contained.
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/china-evergrande-shares-set-fall-012553180.html

Hong Kong stocks suffer another sell-off as Alibaba drags Chinese tech lower while Omicron, Evergrande stoke risk aversion
Alibaba slides amid a management reshuffle as Chinese tech benchmarks in the US and Hong Kong lost have lost US$124 billion of value since Didi’s US delisting move     The Omicron variant continues to spread in the region while Evergrande’s failure to meet a US$260 million debt guarantee stokes risk aversion
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/money/other/hong-kong-stocks-suffer-another-sell-off-as-alibaba-drags-chinese-tech-lower-while-omicron-evergrande-stoke-risk-aversion/ar-AARveX9

‘Tip of the spear:’ Venture capitalist says Chinese tech companies are just starting to go global
Chinese technology companies are thinking about expanding overseas much earlier in their lifecycle, Ben Harburg, managing partner at MSA Capital said.   That shift has been prompted in part by China’s tighter regulatory scrutiny on technology as well competitive pressure in certain sectors, he added.   There has been a rise in China-based tech companies growing their international business. For example, Xiaomi is now the third-largest smartphone player and TikTok has a billion monthly users.
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/06/chinese-tech-companies-are-just-starting-to-go-global-vc-says.html

Alibaba brings in new CFO in management reshuffle dividing domestic and overseas e-commerce amid Big Tech crackdown
Toby Xu succeeds long-time Alibaba veteran Maggie Wu as chief financial officer in April, but Wu to remain as board director      The management reshuffle, which includes two new divisions for China and overseas businesses, comes amid tightening regulations on Big Tech at home
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/alibaba-brings-in-new-cfo-in-management-reshuffle-dividing-domestic-and-overseas-e-commerce-amid-big-tech-crackdown/ar-AARvsgl

Why Luxury Brands Must Redefine Their Views on Diversity And Sustainability in China
From the perception of many Western luxury leaders, China seems uninterested in sustainability and diversity. But is this accurate?    Health is a huge trend in China that defines many purchase choices, such as replacing mechanical watches with smartwatches and other connected fitness devices.   China’s fast transition to sustainable alternatives can also be seen in its car industry, which is now number one in electric cars, both in the number of brands and customer demand.    Western brands must focus on accepting cultural differences between countries and regions and spend effort training organizations to overcome cultural biases.
https://jingdaily.com/luxury-brands-redefine-sustainability-diversity-china/

Clear ambition is required if Europe is to rival China’s Belt and Road
Better late than never, and better something than nothing. That would be a justified, if curmudgeonly, reaction to the Global Gateway, the infrastructure investment plan the EU launched last Wednesday with the unspoken but evident intention to counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
The plan fulfils a promise Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission president, made in her September State of the Union address. Her rationale was that “it does not make sense for Europe to build a perfect road between a Chinese-owned copper mine and a Chinese-owned harbour. We have to get smarter when it comes to these kinds of investments.”    Back then I suggested that we should judge the initiative on three things. Was it going to be big enough to rival BRI? Would it limit itself to supporting infrastructure “hardware” or also seek to share the EU’s institutional “software”, the rules and regulations that boost economic integration? Third, the lighter but not unimportant matter of a more inspiring name. (The Marco Polo project? The Magellan network?)If the goal is to build a deeply EU-centric international economy, then saying so would be more honest and make the initiative better co-ordinated.   That would be a good goal. But the other missing piece is a proper articulation of partner countries’ role in such EU-centric networks — a formal model for countries to link into the EU’s market physically, legally, and institutionally. An offer of a deeper tie-in than trade deals provide, yet less comprehensive than full single market membership, would be attractive enough for many countries to turn down infrastructure subsidies from Beijing. Economic gravity is like the physical kind. For small bodies, it determines their possible orbits. For big ones, it’s the force with which it attracts others. Europe, a large bloc of small and middling countries, is still learning what economic size means.
https://tinyurl.com/tz8jj5uw

Will China and its E7 emerging economies render the G7 a redundant clique?
The Emerging 7 (E7) consists of the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China plus Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey.   It is not an actual forum or alliance like the Group of 7 (G7), but a concept created by two economists in 2006 to highlight the economic potential of emerging countries    The purpose and intention of the G7 has been increasingly questioned by the Chinese public amid rising tensions with its member states.  As the G7 summit in Cornwall in June sought to unify the West’s stand against China on various issues, some netizens said that the G7 is reminiscent of the Eight-Nation Alliance – a military coalition that invaded northern China in 1900.  Popular digital artist Bantonglaoatang in June created a satirical cartoon critiquing the event. The cartoon, which went viral on social media platforms, was based on The Last Supper Renaissance painting by Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. Relations between China and India have been tense amid aggressive border skirmishes. India has also banned almost 200 Chinese apps, including widely used social media platforms WeChat, TikTok and Sina Weibo, citing security concerns. They signed an agreement with the US last year to counter China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific region.  China-Indonesia relations have been largely stable and positive since the 1990s. However, increased military cooperation with the US amid its tensions with China has raised concerns. Jakarta received around US$45 million from Washington to finance its military between 2016 and 2020, and a further US$3.5 million for a new maritime training centre, amid the US’s ongoing battle with China for influence in Southeast Asia. On the other hand, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and Mexico have all increased economic cooperation with China. Russia, in particular, has stepped up its military cooperation with China. Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu and Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe in a recent meeting agreed to expand cooperation through strategic exercises and joint patrols in the Asia-Pacific, according to Russia’s Ministry of Defence.
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/money/other/will-china-and-its-e7-emerging-economies-render-the-g7-a-redundant-clique/ar-AARuiWo

Why binding treaty on pandemic response is not best way forward
Past experience with negotiating binding treaties suggests seeking one on pandemic response would take too long to have the desired effect   Instead, close international cooperation and agreeing on a basic set of ground rules would go a long way towards heading off future pandemics   If a country fails us, what kind of reprisals are available? What use is it to complain to some kind of international court when every day of pandemic delay costs lives? Even without a treaty, we can surely agree the World Health Organization (WHO) needs more powers and more generous funding.We can also agree that many obstacles must urgently be tackled, not least on the resilience of medical supply chains and the fair distribution of vaccines. International funding is needed to ensure that even countries with the weakest health care systems do not provide the weak link that leaves pandemic responses deeply vulnerable.  “This broken world failed to prepare for the Covid-19 pandemic and responded inadequately and inequitably once it began”, the WHO’s Global Preparedness Monitoring Board said in October. “Unless we can repair these ruptures, the response to the next pandemic is unlikely to be better.”  The answer might not be a treaty. The simple imperative for close international cooperation and agreeing on a basic set of ground rules on detection, response and a common approach to lockdowns would go a long way
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/why-binding-treaty-on-pandemic-response-is-not-best-way-forward/ar-AARtX7F

TikTok owner ByteDance ramps up e-commerce expansion with launch of Fanno shopping app in Europe
The new Fanno shopping app from ByteDance was recently launched in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain      ByteDance introduced its new e-commerce app in Europe days before the start of the Black Friday shopping event on November 26
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/tiktok-owner-bytedance-ramps-up-e-commerce-expansion-with-launch-of-fanno-shopping-app-in-europe/ar-AARuUB2

China’s five-year green development plan for industrial sector lacks road map, analysts warn
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology last Friday unveiled a five-year plan aimed at the green development of its industrial sector    The plan calls for cutting carbon emissions by 18 per cent and achieving US$1.7 trillion of economic output in the environmental sector by 2025
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/money/other/china-s-five-year-green-development-plan-for-industrial-sector-lacks-road-map-analysts-warn/ar-AARvVgZ

What stops Africa from exporting more crops to China?
China has pledged to open ‘green lanes’ for African agricultural products into the country to meet a US$300 billion import target    But the barriers to trade go beyond tariffs and wait times at the border, observers say
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/what-stops-africa-from-exporting-more-crops-to-china/ar-AARtpRh

Chinese mining groups scour Afghanistan for opportunities
Chinese mining groups are scouting opportunities in Afghanistan to access the country’s lithium and copper deposits, as Beijing steps into the void left by the US and its allies just months after the Taliban seized power.     A group of mining industry representatives has visited Afghanistan in recent weeks, according to a senior official in Kabul and a representative from a Chinese industry association.
https://tinyurl.com/34sdhydy

US-style democracy ‘messy and chaotic’: Beijing
The Foreign Ministry has on Sunday released a report on the “State of Democracy in the United States”, saying it “exposed the deficiencies” of American-style democracy while accusing Washington of exporting such democracy to other parts of the world.     The report, published on the ministry’s website, said democracy is a common value shared by all humanity, and it takes different forms in different countries, without a one-size-fits-all model.
https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1622848-20211205.htm

Chinese military flights near Taiwan look like ‘rehearsals’, says Pentagon chief
US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Saturday (Dec 4) that recent extensive Chinese military operations near Taiwan resembled “rehearsals” and he reaffirmed Washington’s strong support for Taipei.    President Joe Biden’s Pentagon chief said the United States remained committed to supporting “Taiwan’s ability to defend itself.”    In a speech devoted largely to an array of challenges posed by an increasingly confident China, he underlined Washington’s “real differences” with Beijing.
https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/chinese-military-flights-near-taiwan-look-like-rehearsals-says-pentagon-chief

China urges Southeast Asia to join united front against new cold war
Chinese foreign minister calls on counterparts in Malaysia, Cambodia and Laos to reject efforts to undermine peace and stability    Coronavirus vaccines also on agenda in Wang Yi’s weekend of talks
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/china-urges-southeast-asia-to-join-united-front-against-new-cold-war/ar-AARubG1

Is the Africa-China Relationship at Its Lowest or Highest Level Yet?
A focus on a supposed drop in Chinese financing overlooks the commitment to strengthen relations in other key areas of importance to African leaders.  There is no doubt that COVID-19 has made all cooperation difficult. Africa-China cooperation has certainly suffered, with drops in trade and investment in 2020 in particular. But a reading of the conference outcomes that suggest the relationship is decreasing in importance and ambition is misleading. The proposals signal an intensification. The biggest question is whether African governments and organizations – having now left a stronger impact on the outcomes than ever before under Senegal’s co-leadership – can keep up the momentum and really make sure the commitments do affect African businesses and citizens positively, and avoid negative impacts of intensification.
https://thediplomat.com/2021/12/is-the-africa-china-relationship-at-its-lowest-or-highest-level-yet/

China loses path to ‘undisputed primacy’ in Asia as U.S. rebounds
Lowy’s Asia Power Index shows Beijing’s ongoing challenge to Washington   The Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank, says the U.S. increased its influence in Asia this year, but warns of a grater risk of war as tensions between Washington and Beijing rise.  The U.S. has seen a reversal of fortunes since last year, when China closed the gap on American influence in Asia, according to a new report by the Lowy Institute.   This year marks the first gain for the U.S. since the Australian think tank began publishing its annual Asia Power Index in 2018. Washington bucked the downtrend seen in most of the 26 ranked countries. The annual index awards points for military capability and defense networks; economic, diplomatic and cultural influence; resilience; and future resources.
https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/US-China-tensions/China-loses-path-to-undisputed-primacy-in-Asia-as-U.S.-rebounds

COMPREHENSIVE POWER
A country’s weighted average across eight measures of power
https://power.lowyinstitute.org/

China tightens control of religion, with focus on national security
In the first national religious work conference since 2016, President Xi Jinping warns that religious activities must stay within the law     Further strengthening of online controls on religious affairs were also flagged during the two-day conference in Beijing
https://koreatimes.co.kr/www/world/2021/12/672_320028.html

China is already exporting authoritarianism to the developing world
Beijing’s Party-state model offers quick path to growth and stability    For only the third time in its 100-year history, the Chinese Communist Party passed a historic resolution last month officially elevating Xi Jinping alongside Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping to the pantheon of great Party leaders. While China has assured foreign allies and adversaries that it does not wish to export its authoritarian model of governance, there is one CCP agency that is already actively spreading Beijing’s Party-state structure to the developing world.   While Western democratic governments may scoff at the idea of Chinese-style authoritarianism as an appealing model of modernization, ruling parties in developing nations increasingly look at the Chinese Party-state model as the best way to rapidly achieve economic growth and limit political instability. After the authoritarian rhetoric of the Trump years, as well as Brexit, Western notions of freedoms and democracy increasingly ring hollow in the developing world and the CCP’s Party-state model is filling this ideological vacuum left in the wake of failed Soviet-style socialism and U.S. neoliberal capitalism. While the U.S. government is stymied by political infighting and creeping far-right nationalism, the Chinese government is building an anti-American bloc in the developing world that seeks to place CCP-style political parties in charge of their respective countries. Sino-American competition in the 21st century may not be solely focused on ideological matters but it is increasingly becoming a core part of this geopolitical rivalry. The end of history is gradually looking more autocratic and repressive
https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/China-is-already-exporting-authoritarianism-to-the-developing-world

High-level US, EU diplomats express worry over China’s ‘bullying’ of Taiwan and Lithuania
Wendy Sherman and Stefano Sannino note a ‘shared interest in deepening cooperation with Taiwan consistent with their respective “one-China” policies’    The two finish a second day of talks designed to help Washington and Brussels reach a closer alignment on China issues
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/high-level-us-eu-diplomats-express-concern-over-china-s-bullying-of-taiwan-and-lithuania/ar-AARrL8Y

China’s middle class families fret as President Xi Jinping ‘tightens grip’ on international schools
Despite strong demand from middle class families, the government has introduced tough new curbs on the lucrative private education sector     International schools are finding it increasingly hard to operate under the regulations, with some choosing to abandon the country altogether https://www.msn.com/en-xl/money/other/china-s-middle-class-families-fret-as-president-xi-jinping-tightens-grip-on-international-schools/ar-AARtJ2a

Coronavirus: officials punished as China races to contain Inner Mongolia outbreak
Still no sign of Omicron but country should keep up zero-Covid strategy, health expert says   Manzhouli reports 30 new Delta cases, down from 58 a day earlier  Four local officials have been punished for failure to contain the spread of the virus, with one reported to have “greatly affected” zero-Covid efforts to eradicate the pathogen, the city said.
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/coronavirus-officials-punished-as-china-races-to-contain-inner-mongolia-outbreak/ar-AARtL99

How Peng Shuai is fanning the embers of China’s #MeToo movement
Campaigners against sexual assault say the case is heartening despite the silencing of discussion inside the country     ‘Revealing the dark side of top party officials … means a lot,’ activist says
https://www.msn.com/en-xl/news/other/how-peng-shuai-is-fanning-the-embers-of-china-s-metoo-movement/ar-AARuo2X

Will the Real Wu Jing Please Stand Up?
Better known for his hyper-masculine public image, China’s macho man wasn’t always all bravado.    China has a new box office champion. In the little over two months since its release, the Korean war epic “The Battle at Lake Changjin” has earned more than 5.74 billion yuan ($858 million); late last month, the film passed 2017’s “Wolf Warrior 2” to become the highest-grossing Chinese movie of all time.
https://www.sixthtone.com/news/1009141/

Chinese Tourists Aren’t Coming Back Any Time Soon
Even before Omicron’s arrival, China was discouraging its citizens from traveling abroad. That has had a huge impact on global tourism.
https://upaerospace.us.com/chinese-tourists-arent-coming-back-any-time-soon/

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Alain Gillard
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