Covid: WHO team says ‘extremely unlikely’ virus leaked from lab
A team of international experts investigating the origins of Covid-19 have all but dismissed a theory that the virus came from a laboratory.
Is the world up to the challenge of mass COVID-19 vaccination?
Amid the unforeseen effects of the pandemic on at-risk and lower-income communities, governments and organizations around the world must convene to ensure effective distribution of newly developed vaccines.
China January bank loans surge to record, credit growth slows
China’s new bank loans leapt to new highs in January boosted by seasonal demand, while broad credit growth slowed, as the central bank walks a tightrope between supporting a recovering economy and rising debt risks. Banks extended 3.58 trillion yuan ($555.31 billion) in new loans in January, hitting the highest on record and topping the 3.34 trillion yuan seen in January 2020, data from the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) showed on Tuesday.
China’s central bank downplays draining funds from banking system after worst cash crunch in six years
The People’s Bank of China says the market should pay less attention to the volume of its liquidity operations and more to the interest rate on those operations Central banks promises ‘prudent’ monetary policy that will strike a balance between economic recovery and risk prevention
Coronavirus pandemic leaves China’s over-35s with uncertain job prospects
Amid a tough job market, Chinese jobseekers above age 35 are feeling increasingly insecure about their future Many firms are seen as favouring young and energetic graduates in China, where age discrimination is not illegal
Global Economics Intelligence executive summary, January 2021
The economic recovery is exceeding expectations, but the pandemic has worsened; vaccination programs and the fight against the virus will dictate further progress.
China’s Ambitions Generating Global Pushback – Though Unevenly, Scholar Argues
“America’s most strident decouplers are no longer in the White House, but China’s own are still hard at work,” Luke Patey warned The Diplomat. But Beijing may decide to temporary sheath its trade weapon in the coming years. As China’s list of redlines expands, the list of delinquents only gets longer. This puts into question the effectiveness of such economic intimidation, particularly if it rallies a collective response from targeted countries and undermines China’s position in negotiations over reform in international trade rules at the World Trade Organization. At the same time, Xi is pushing through with his ambitious industrial policies to lower China’s dependencies in critical industries and promote domestic production and consumption. To date, most of China’s trade restrictions and bans on other countries have been quite limited. Beijing remains sensitive to upsetting China’s own economic growth in foreign policy disputes. But if Beijing becomes less constrained by foreign trade and technology dependencies in the future, it may decide to experiment with more severe sanctions for those countries that provoke its ire. America’s most strident decouplers are no longer in the White House, but China’s own are still hard at work.
EU foreign policy boss reminds China of the bloc’s ‘strong bond’ with US
European Union statement says relations with the US were raised by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in call with Josep Borrell The EU diplomat also said Brussels, Beijing and Washington could work together on key global issues including climate and Covid-19
Amid Biden pressure, China calls for EU autonomy
Josep Borrell renewed EU’s invitation for Xi Jinping to meet all 27 leaders; China responded positively.
China-CEEC summit charts course for post-pandemic cooperation, signaling ties ‘won’t be affected’ by political changes in US
Tuesday’s summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs), which was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, signaled the full recovery of cooperation between China and CEECs and will chart the course for economic development of the two sides in the post-pandemic era, Chinese analysts said.
Xi vows tighter ties with 17 European states in riposte to Biden
China pledges $170bn in imports from CEE nations as US aims to rebuild alliances Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday pledged to strengthen cooperation with 17 Central and Eastern European, or CEE, countries, underscoring Beijing’s determination to counter the new U.S. administration diplomatically. “Estonia and other like-minded states should leave the 17+1 format with China in the name of a more united EU-China policy,” Sakkov was quoted as saying by ERR News, Estonia’s public broadcaster. He added that member states should not forget Beijing’s human rights violations against ethnic Uighurs, in Hong Kong and elsewhere. The grouping’s trade with China grew by 8.4% to $103.45 billion last year, faster than the 4.9% logged with the EU. China-Europe freight trains helped build the momentum, making a record 12,406 trips in 2020, up from 8,225 in 2019. Beijing is also eager to meet demand for COVID-19 vaccines, Xi said, noting that 1 million doses had been shipped to Serbia while sales deals were closed with Hungary. On investment, Xi said both sides have benefited from BRI cooperation. Chinese companies invested $3.14 billion in 2020 in infrastructure projects that include the Budapest-Belgrade railway and the Peljesac Bridge in Croatia.
Chinese President Xi Jinping offers Covid-19 vaccines and trade ties in bid to keep Central and Eastern Europe on side
Virtual 17 + 1 summit told that China will continue to push for more cooperation with the region Scepticism about Beijing is on the rise on the continent and some countries have complained its promises have come to nothing
Can China turn the tides and mend its reputation?
‘Against the wind, against the tides’ (‘ni feng ni shui’) was how Chinese President Xi Jinping described China’s 2020. The grim description is fitting, considering how China has fallen into disrepute for its initial handling of COVID-19, re-education camps in Xinjiang, the Hong Kong national security law, wolf warrior diplomacy and the bloody border clash with India. First, stable domestic politics gives Beijing greater leeway in foreign policy. Xi transforms moments of crises — including the pandemic, Yangtze basin floods and deteriorating US–China relations — into opportunities to unify the country around him. Despite speculation about a power struggle within the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), no apparent opposition has emerged, and critics have been ruthlesslyexpelled from the Party. Like Deng, Xi believes China’s global standing depends on economic development, not political image. Despite assumptions that China is turning inwards with its ‘dual circulation’ strategy, Beijing’s actual intention is to upgrade its domestic market and further integrate into the global economy. Foreign containment and potential domestic unrest can only be resolved if China’s economic growth remains essential to everyone. If Beijing’s balancing act succeeds, it may eventually turn the tides.
German exports edge up in December on robust China trade
On the year, exports to China increased by 11.6%. Those to the United States rose by 8.4%, the Office said. Exports to the United Kingdom decreased by 3.3% in December and imports from the United Kingdom fell by 11.4 %.
Huawei CEO says he’d welcome phone call from Biden in first remarks on new U.S. president
“I would welcome such phone calls and the message is around joint development and shared success,” Ren said. The Trump administration took actions to hamper Huawei’s access to key software and components.
Tencent hit with fresh anti-monopoly complaint, this time from GM China venture
A General Motors venture with SAIC Motor Corp, along with smart vehicle tech supplier PATEO, jointly filed the complaint to Chinese regulators Their accusations were refuted by Tencent, which sued PATEO last year for alleged trademark infringement and unfair competition
US-China tech war: Qualcomm teams up with ZTE, China Mobile for 5G positioning
Qualcomm, ZTE and China Mobile are expected to present the results of their latest joint initiative this year High-precision positioning in 5G would enable many industrial applications for the next-generation mobile technology
China Tech Investor: Is Kuaishou more than a smaller Bytedance? With Michael Norris
China Tech Investor is a weekly look at China’s tech companies through the lens of investment. Each week, hosts Elliott Zaagman and James Hull go through their watch list of publicly listed tech companies and also interview experts on issues affecting the macroeconomy and the stock prices of China’s tech companies.
Xi Jinping sends message on growth through innovation, big data in Guizhou
Chinese president calls for ‘deep integration’ of big data and the real economy It comes as study finds 60 per cent of provincial and prefecture-level governments are not sharing any data online
The drive for electric vehicles in Asia
Historically, BEVs have three problems — lower range, higher price and little supporting infrastructure. Technological progress in battery and charging technology can address the first point. For the other two problems, the government will be increasingly important as a provider of infrastructure and subsidies. In China, the world’s largest vehicle producing country, the phasing out of ICV sales in 2035 was announced in October 2020. Unlike Japan and South Korea, where traditional vehicle producers dominate electric mobility, a number of new venture firms like NIO are emerging in the electric vehicle market and competing against traditional automotive producers. Developing charging infrastructure in homes and in public places is a precondition for PHEVs and BEVs. It is also important to stress that a country’s energy policy is highly significant for electric mobility. To maximise the environmental benefits of PHEVs and BEVs, renewable energy must be a country’s main energy source.
Tesla executives grilled by Chinese authorities over the quality of its Shanghai-made Model 3 electric cars
Five Chinese departments, including the State Administration for Market Regulation, ask the carmaker to comply strictly with mainland laws and rules Rap on the knuckles comes after carmaker apologises to China’s State Grid for blaming the state-owned utility for damage caused to a Model 3
‘Femvertising’ Is Luxury’s Key To Winning Young China
In 2020, luxury brands that touched on female empowerment thrived with China’s equality-conscious youth. But they’ll have to up the ante in 2021. The women’s empowerment movement in China made important strides in 2020. Shopping for luxury and fashion is particularly tied to the idea of female independence in China, thus making gender issues a top content priority for brands. China’s young and female luxury audience seeks messages that help them better explore self-identities and look beyond predefined social roles.
Why Asia’s booming logistics property market will only benefit select investors
The sector’s stellar performance compared with other commercial real estate assets is attracting a flood of capital seeking profit, pushing prices up and rental yield down The real challenge is the scarcity of institutional-grade assets, which makes it hard for investors to achieve scale at pace. Investors with deep pockets have the advantage
China Didn’t Get a Post-Quarantine Baby Boom, Data Suggests
The falling birth rate can be attributed to China’s high housing and education costs, said Liang, who researches demographic trends. According to a 2019 report on housing prices in 50 Chinese cities, families in the southern metropolis of Shenzhen had to save for 35.2 years on average before buying a home, while the equivalent figures in Beijing and Shanghai were 25.1 years and 23.9 years, respectively. Liang said additional measures should be taken to encourage Chinese couples to have more children, including reducing child-rearing costs, cutting taxes for and awarding subsidies to families with children, and ensuring that new fathers have equal maternity leave.
No baby boom in China as births continue downtrend
The number of newborns in China plummeted 15 percent in 2020 from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Public Security, with the onset of the novel coronavirus disrupting the economy and weighing on decisions to have a family.
Politics of the Past, Promises of the Future, and Images of the Silk Road
Branding the New Silk Road by leaning on nostalgia for the Ancient silk road and its glorious values is important for capturing two sets of audiences. The first audience is domestic. Here Chinese nationals are invited to remember Zheng He’s heroic Indian Ocean navigations and feel proud of China. In this narrative, China is resuming or continuing its natural position as a maritime power and global leader. The second audience is international, particularly those located in the Global South. Here, political nostalgia frames the BRI as a platform that builds on China’s peaceful rise. It invites Global South states to again be part of the glorious legacy of the Silk Road by signing onto the BRI. Documented with material artefacts such as the giraffe that was given to Zheng He as a gift, the Ancient Silk Road is now used as evidence that China’s earliest encounters with Africans was based on friendship, trade, and cultural exchanges. This is intended to draw contrast to Europe’s imperial and colonial conquests of Africa. The past is very much alive in these discourses and is part of not only the present, but of an imagined future, in which more connectivity between China and its Indian Ocean neighbors will guarantee a prosperous, equitable, and peaceful global order. Lastly, the example I used in the article to illustrate the importance of thinking about political nostalgia and its role in the writing of national narratives and global histories is not a singular instance. Aside from looking at Zheng He and his come-back in branding the New Silk Road, this theoretical framework could be applied to cases looking at the revival of socialist friendship and revolutionary past
South China Sea: challenge to Beijing as French nuclear submarine patrols contested waterway
Defence minister says France has exclusive economic zones in the Indo-Pacific that it intends to protect Manoeuvre by submarine and support ship is proof French navy can deploy with allies for long periods far from home, Florence Parly says
Hong Kong pro-democracy tycoon Jimmy Lai denied bail under security law
Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been denied bail while awaiting trial under a controversial new national security law.
Beijing is making it clear that freedom lovers like me are no longer welcome in Hong Kong
As Beijing erodes the city’s rights and freedoms in the name of national security, it is freedom lovers who are feeling alienated and ignored by a government they help fund through their taxes. Many are leaving, and more will follow The positivity remained after that date and many Hongkongers returned with their foreign passports and resumed where they left off. But many hundreds of thousands found what they considered a better life in Australia, Britain, Canada, the United States and elsewhere, and never looked back. As a new trickle of migration again looks like it’s becoming a flood, I have a feeling those non-returnees were the ones who made the right decision. As for turning back the clock to when I was 25 with itchy feet, looking for a new challenge in life – I would give Hong Kong the widest of berths. My sort are now just not welcome.
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