China Press Review – July 1, 2021

The CCP’s nerve center
During the celebrations of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) 100th anniversary on July 1, the central position of Xi Jinping as core leader of the party, and for China, was made abundantly clear. Leading small groups and commissions form the strategic policy-making network around Xi, says Nis Grünberg. They have to be seen as the core of China’s political system.

From Mao to Xi and beyond: what kind of leader will China’s Communist Party need for the next 100 years?
Regardless of how great a thinker Mao was, his position in history has already been set by the party      Today, China is an emerging superpower under Xi. As the party ushers in its second centenary amid China’s continuing rise, leadership will be key

Communist Party centenary: key points from Xi Jinping’s Tiananmen address
The president speaks for more than an hour, stressing the party’s role in China’s past, present and future  Xi underlines the party’s ties to the people and its contributions to the nation’s development

China Marks Party Centenary With Celebrations Full of National Pride
The centenary event in the capital Beijing was attended by 70,000 party members, including past and present political leaders.

Chinese Communist Party centenary: Xi Jinping tries to build symbolic bridge between past and future
The party chief urged young Chinese to follow the party, while paying tribute to past leaders such as Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping   Xie also noted that Thursday’s ceremony gave special prominence to the Communist Youth League and Young Pioneers – two bodies used by the party to nurture future leaders.The choir that performed before the ceremony – singing songs such as Without the Communist Party, There Will be No New China – was made up of members from the two youth bodies.  His predecessor Hu Jintao was present, but former leader Jiang Zemin did not attend – probably for health reasons   This was not seen in previous celebrations. So here at Tiananmen Square and the Gate of Heavenly Peace, we have three generations of the Communist Party – party elders, current leaders and pioneers and youth league members – in the same frame,” he said. “This is to show a clear message of passing on the revolutionary spirit and continuation of the Communist Party’s traditions.”

China’s Communist Party Vows To Rule For Another 100 Years On Its Anniversary
Chinese President Xi Jinping celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party by delivering a speech that linked the party’s leadership to the country’s rise, and vowed to strengthen its rule over the next 100 years to come.

China advances in challenge to dollar hegemony
Progress in developing digital renminbi aids quest to undermine global order based on US currency   True, China retains capital controls. But a successful rollout of the digital renminbi, which will be firmly under the control of the PBoC, is likely to make the Communist party more comfortable with relaxing controls because the authorities will have full visibility over two-way flows. Finally, the renminbi’s functions as a unit of account have also increased since the initial bid to internationalise the renminbi. Trade invoicing in renminbi still has to regain its peak 2015 levels, but in the meantime China has launched renminbi-denominated futures contracts in a number of commodities, including oil and gold. Those who doubt the renminbi will become a reserve currency will point to the absence of the rule of law in China, the lack of independent institutions, and the opaque and unpredictable policymaking of an authoritarian regime. But those who doubt the dollar can remain the undisputed apex currency only have to point to the recent attacks in the US on the democratic institutions that are also meant to be an indispensable underpinning of reserve currency status.   China is now striving to capitalise on a reputation for innovation in payments to carve out a sphere of currency influence, defined not by common interests or political culture but by shared infrastructure and technical standards. While interests can change, the hard wiring of digital and economic connectivity is far harder to break once established. And it is China that enjoys first-mover advantage.

China Isn’t That Strategic
The country is often portrayed as a master of long-term thinking. It’s not that simple   But then there’s the curious case of China’s impending demographic disaster: The country is getting old, and quickly, which is threatening its economic progress. The problem is nothing new. Experts have been ringing the alarm for years.    You’d expect Beijing’s officious planners to tackle this challenge the same way that they build high-speed railways or squash COVID-19 outbreaks—with the full zeal and heft of the state. Not this time. Like a deer caught in the headlights, the Communist Party has seemed paralyzed, unable to mount a response even as the aging express train runs it over.

Negative views of China continue to dominate its international image, survey finds
Pew Research poll of democracies shows dim view of China’s human rights record, little confidence in Xi Jinping’s handling of foreign affairs     Slight improvement seen in global views about China’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, with double-digit percentile increases in nine nations

Taking the EU reins, Slovenia plans to press ahead on China investment deal
European Parliament froze consideration of the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment after Beijing sanctioned several of its members      The situation makes preparations ‘a bit more difficult’, Slovenian ambassador says, but technical work will continue to ready the deal if it is enacted The initiative is widely seen as a mechanism to ban Chinese companies such as Huawei Technologies from Western telecoms infrastructure. Still, Beijing has continued to pursue engagement with Slovenia, which remains a part of the 17+1 group of Central and Eastern European countries. The group is part of a push by Beijing to boost infrastructure and economic ties with the region but it suffered a setback when Lithuania quit earlier this year, citing less-than-expected trade benefits.    Politburo member Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat, visited Slovenia in May and met President Borut Pahor. According to a Chinese readout of the meeting, Pahor said “Slovenia is willing to play a positive role in promoting EU-China relations and cooperation” with China. The accompanying Slovenian readout simply said that Borut received Yang “for an exchange of views on international issues

June PMI slows due to chip, power shortages
CHINA’S manufacturing activity expanded for the 16th consecutive month in June but at a slower pace due to chip and power supply shortages and minor resurgence of COVID-19 in certain areas.      The purchasing managers’ index for China’s manufacturing sector came in at 50.9 last month, slightly down from 51 in May, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed yesterday.

China stocks retreat amid losses in small-cap, clean-energy firms as Communist Party celebrates its centenary
Tech start-ups, clean energy stocks slipped as index dropped from near the highest level in six years earlier on valuation concerns    The Communist Party of China celebrates its 100th year of founding while markets in Hong Kong are closed for handover anniversary

After $4.4 billion New York IPO, founders of China’s Didi eye global growth
– From working at a foot massage company to setting up China’s biggest ride-hailing firm, Will Wei Cheng has navigated several hurdles on the path to taking Didi Global Inc public in a $4.4-billion New York float. As Cheng rose to the upper echelons of Chinese technology entrepreneurs, he faced challenges including tough competition, intense criticism for Didi after rape and murder cases linked to its drivers in 2018, and a COVID-19 induced slowdown at home.    While the biggest share sale by a Chinese company in the United States in seven years, which values Didi at $67.5 billion, is a big win for Cheng and co-founder Jean Qing Liu, experts say the challenges are unlikely to go away soon.

Vast majority of new coal-power plants ‘uneconomic’
The vast majority of new coal-power plants being planned will struggle to make back their upfront costs, including all of those under construction in China, according to a new report by an independent think-tank, reported the Financial Times.   It is calculated that 92% of facilities proposed or under construction globally would cost more to build than the future cash flow they would generate, according to research from Carbon Tracker, even under a “business as usual” scenario where countries implement fewer carbon emissions restrictions and miss Paris climate accord targets.   China leads the field with plans to add 187GW of coal-power capacity to the existing supply of more than 1,000GW. India follows with 60GW in the pipeline, compared to current capacity of 248GW.

Alibaba to enter first big deal since antitrust fine
E-commerce giant Alibaba is set to make its first large investment since the company’s record antitrust fine, reported Bloomberg. Alibaba and the Jiangsu provincial government are closing in on a deal to purchase a stake in Chinese billionaire Zhang Jindong’s Suning conglomerate. The deal would be an addition to the 20% stake that Alibaba currently owns in Suning, a retail giant in China for appliances, electronics, and consumer goods.   The investment could signal a return of the e-commerce giant since its $2.8 billion fine for monopolistic practices in April. The fine was the company’s first loss in 9 years.

China food security: Syngenta buyout shows Beijing’s haste to plug technology gap with foreign expertise
China has quickly used the agritech expertise of Switzerland-based Syngenta to meet food security goals after it bought the firm for US$43 billion in 2017     But acquisitions of foreign technology have become more difficult in recent years as developed countries erect barriers to China’s purchases

Xi Jinping warns China won’t be bullied in speech marking 100-year anniversary of CCP
Chinese Communist party leader warns foreign forces seeking to oppress China are on a ‘collision course’ with 1.4 billion people   In his speech Xi reiterated longstanding pledges to “restore” Taiwan. The CCP has never ruled over Taiwan but considers it to be a breakaway province of China that must be unified, by force if necessary. Xi said this remained an “unshakeable commitment”.     “No one should underestimate the resolve, the will and ability of the Chinese people to define their national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.

Communist Party centenary: Xi warns foreign powers will ‘have their heads cracked and bleeding’
Xi says China has ‘never bullied, oppressed nor enslaved the people of other countries’ and will not allow others to do that to China    President perceived as sending a warning shot to the West as well as a signal to the people of China to prepare for the worst

China-Australia relations: WTO trade disputes rehash old question of whether China is a ‘market economy’
One analyst calls ‘market economy’ debate a moot point, because United States and others will not treat China as such in anti-dumping cases   The general hope is that arbitration proceedings at the World Trade Organization could serve as a forum for Beijing and Canberra to work out their differences  China complained at the WTO and pursued a case against the EU before withdrawing the case in 2019.
Australia, however, had agreed to treat China as a market economy in 2005 as a precondition for what would end up being a decade of negotiations leading up to 2015’s signing of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.   Thus, the costs and prices actually charged in China were not used to determine if dumping occurred. Instead, prices taken from a third country were used.    Weihuan Zhou, an international economic lawyer at the University of New South Wales Law’s Herbert Smith Freehills CIBEL Centre, said in an analysis three years ago that Australia’s increasing anti-dumping actions against China could lead to conflicts.  “What’s been annoying China more has been Australia’s treatment of it as a non-market economy in anti-dumping investigations,” he said at the time. “The designation flies in the face of a commitment Australia made as long ago as 2005 to treat China as a market economy as a precondition for the negotiation of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.”

China’s tech hub Shenzhen looks to restrict surveillance cameras in public spaces
Surveillance cameras in areas such as hotel rooms, hospital wards, dormitories, public bathrooms, and fitting rooms will be banned when the law passes     Draft law aims to better regulate public surveillance while also protecting the privacy and property rights of citizens

Meng Wanzhou extradition case: Canadian lawyer says ‘irrelevant’ HSBC documents must not be allowed as evidence
The documents have no bearing on the extradition hearing and are instead a matter for Meng’s trial, government lawyer Robert Frater says      Huawei executive’s lawyers say the documents undermine the US fraud case against her

In wake of Apple Daily’s demise, European Parliament considers resolution on Hong Kong
European Parliament action would follow strong condemnation by the US and other Western countries    EU parliamentary resolutions are not binding but are seen as calls to action

Children of the Revolution: The Lives of China’s Model Communists
Caoyang New Village in central Shanghai is a symbol of the prestige China’s “model workers” enjoyed after the Communist revolution — and how their status has faded in the decades since

webinar :  China’s Greater Bay Area: Exploring Key Sectors for Direct Investment and M&A Tue, Jul 13, 2021 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM CEST
China’s Greater Bay Area (GBA) represents the country’s next wave of innovation, economic development, and market reform as it transforms into a globally competitive, connected, and innovative mega-region by 2035. As China continues to accelerate its progress, numerous opportunities are arising in key sectors, such as manufacturing, sourcing, healthcare, and financial services for foreign investors to seize. To help investors gain a clearer understanding of this vital and dynamic region and to help them better prepare for growth and opportunities, we bring together a panel of top foreign business experts from four leading China business consulting organizations to address the sector opportunities in the GBA for trade, FDI, and M&A. Speakers from The 48 Group, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to the United Kingdom, China Investment Research, Charltons Law, and Dezan Shira & Associates will discuss the growing number of business and investment opportunities within the GBA, focusing on several key sectors, through keynote presentations, a panel discussion, and Q&A session.

Alain Gillard
Information Officer
Service Asie Pacifique
Place Sainctelette 2
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