China Press Review – July 9, 2020

Press review

US-China trade war reaches second anniversary, with superpower relations at ‘alarming’ lowest ebb
Two years after the US imposed the first trade war tariffs, its trade deficit with China has narrowed, but wider relationship are being held together by the sticking plaster of a phase one deal China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi says ties are ‘facing the most serious challenges since the establishment of diplomatic relations’ in 1979

China’s statistics agency publishes year-old monthly inflation, producer price data for June causing confusion
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) initially said China’s producer price index (PPI) was unchanged from the same month last year before confirming a 3.0 per cent year on year fall   It also said China’s consumer price index (CPI) was up 2.7 per cent in June before a rise of 2.5 per cent was confirmed

Price pressure on China’s manufacturing sector fell in June as coronavirus impact eased
China’s producer price index (PPI) fell 3.0 per cent year on year in June after declining 3.7 per cent in May   Consumer inflation rose 2.5 per cent from a year earlier, up from a 2.4 per cent gain in May

China has shown it is willing to pay the economic price of suppressing Hong Kong
Now that it has its own financial hubs on the mainland, Beijing may be prepared to risk the fate of its golden goose

BT, Vodafone need 5 years to replace Huawei without ‘blackouts’
BT estimates that it would take ‘ideally seven’ years to swap out Huawei gear because of the practical limitations on closing streets and dispatching engineers to sites    Vodafone said replacing thousands of Huawei base stations and antennas across the country would cost in the lower end of ‘single-figure billions’

Britain in Huawei Dilemma as China Relations Sour
Prime Minister Boris Johnson approved Huawei’s involvement in the construction of non-core elements of Britain’s 5G mobile network in January. The United States strongly criticized that decision, warning that the company is closely linked to the Chinese government and poses a big security risk. It appears Johnson may be about to heed that warning.

China’s Huawei says Italy should not act on ‘baseless allegations’
China’s Huawei Technologies defended its record as a private sector infrastructure group on Thursday following reports Italy was considering excluding it from building its planned 5G network over security concerns.

US inches closer to federal contract ban for firms that use Huawei, others
Any company that uses products from the five Chinese firms will no longer be able to sell to the US government without getting a federal waiver   The move comes amid increasing US-China tension over the handling of the coronavirus and a nearly two-year trade war

Tech war between China and the US does not need to have just one winner
People love to pit the United States and China against each other, but the two are on very different paths in terms of technological domination    Technological advancement is not a zero-sum game and innovation is not about winning and losing – both countries can greatly benefit from each other’s progress

China benefits from tech moves in crisis
Adversities – from the pandemic to US antagonism – may prove to be blessings in disguise with the convergence of capital and technology    The Covid-19 pandemic has forced people confined to their homes to use online access in everything from doing their jobs to completing university classes. Growing hostility from the United States also means China has to develop its own tech capacities in such strategic areas as artificial intelligence and semiconductors. It is especially fast in closing the gap with AI chips, the report says.  In sum, this digital convergence has led to an accelerated transformation of the mainland’s tech landscape. For example, against the backdrop of Washington’s aggressive global “war” on Huawei and other Chinese telecoms companies, the nation is pushing ahead with a massive domestic build-up of 5G networks to usher in a new mobile computing era. The Chinese 5G market is worth about US$70 billion-US$85 billion with an estimated 160 million-175 million 5G subscribers, according to the report.

Despite the rhetoric, US-China financial decoupling is not happening
For all the fireworks over tariffs and investment restrictions, China’s integration into global financial markets continues apace

Jack Ma encourages more AI cooperation as Elon Musk says Tesla is close to L5 autonomous driving
Ma explained how Chinese technicians developed a machine powered by algorithms during the pandemic that was 60 times more efficient than a human doctor    Musk says Tesla is close to achieving full autonomous driving

Jack Ma Calls For Wisdom And Innovation At World AI Conference
Machine intelligence must go hand-in-hand with human wisdom, Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma said Thursday.   Speaking at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference, Ma said that humans should strive to better understand themselves and the Earth, especially in the face of a global crisis like the Covid-19 outbreak.

China calls for joint development in AI to reduce risk of technology gap between rich and poor countries
China’s AI industry continues to grow, with core activities in the sector valued at US$7 billion and the number of AI enterprises exceeding 2,600 at the end of 2019    The conference attracted executives from nearly 500 companies and institutions, including US firms Intel, Tesla, Microsoft and Nvidia, as well as scientists and scholars

Exodus of US firms from Hong Kong to avoid sanctions imposed in wake of security law would hit office market already hurt by unrest, coronavirus
The fallout could be as much as a 30 per cent cut in rents, given that American companies are now the single largest occupier of prime office space   If the scenario plays out, it will further damage an office market that has been battered by a year of social unrest, and the coronavirus pandemic

China’s yuan surges to four-month high as financial market reform stokes rally
China has announced a series of steps to open its financial markets in recent weeks, boosting investor sentiment and leading to an inflow of foreign money   The yuan rose 0.24 per cent to 6.98 per dollar on Thursday, its strongest level since March 13

Coronavirus crisis exposes the politics of division in the international community
Far from encouraging unity, the crisis has exacerbated antagonism, with the UN embroiled in superpower rivalry, the EU lacking a cohesive strategy and divisions in many countries over how to handle the pandemic

An estimated 49,000 deaths in Beijing and Shanghai this year were caused by smog, say pollution trackers
Based on per capita measurement New Delhi bears the highest cost of air pollution, losing 25,000 lives and 5.8 per cent of GDP since January 1   Pollution dropped during Covid-19 lockdowns but environmental groups warn that efforts to restart the economy may be damaging

How China’s Greater Bay Area wealth management connect could help millionaires move their money across borders
Size of quota, launch date as well as decisions on movement of people and capital still need to be fleshed out, say industry practitioners
Cross-border banking partnerships seen as key to implementation

China Manufacturing: Don’t Be Too Eager to Make a Deal
I recently worked on a matter that involved reviewing multiple contracts and weeks’ worth of emails and WeChat correspondence to piece together how a China manufacturing deal went awry, with the aim to salvage the relationship between the Chinese manufacturer and our client, but mostly with the aim to determine whether we can help our client recover some of its funds that are now in the manufacturer’s Chinese bank account. The funds were paid in exchange for some substandard products.

As TikTok competitors swoop in amid global pushback, is the short video app losing its ‘first mover advantage’?
In the week after India banned TikTok, negative sentiment against the app on social media rose to 80 per cent on average from 55 per cent a week before   Meanwhile, Indian alternatives are gaining traction and Western apps are also launching short video features

Europe changes its mind on China
European countries have reluctantly moved away from a China policy organized around economic engagement toward a policy of limiting China’s influence in Europe for strategic and security reasons. This is a distinctly and uniquely European style of balancing, which involves marshaling Europe’s internal power and working to build unity across member states. It has almost nothing to do with kinetic military power and is instead focused on technology, diplomacy, economics, and politics

India’s trade agreement with China was one-sided to begin with
If you scrutinise the schedules, you will find non-manufacturing items in China’s miscellaneous list, but many manufactured items in India’s miscellaneous list (light engineering, plastic manufactures, cement, agricultural implements, paper). By any yardstick, the 1954 agreement was one-sided.

Australia suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong, offers pathway to residency for Hongkongers
Canberra’s move to allow 10,000 Hongkongers on student and temporary visas to stay on in response to the national security law has been condemned by Beijing      New Zealand is reviewing its ties with Hong Kong, including extradition arrangements and exports of strategic goods

China ready to improve ties if US is willing, says Foreign Minister Wang Yi
Wang cites ‘the most serious challenges in 40 years of relations’ and is the most senior Chinese official in months to advocate warmer ties   Minister suggests drawing lists to identify areas where the two countries can cooperate, disputes that could be resolved and ones that cannot

US ‘megaphone diplomacy’ risks turning small matters into a crisis, warns Chinese minister
Foreign vice-minister Le Yucheng tells online conference that the two sides should find ways to carry on communicating and cooperating    Minister insists he is optimistic about future relations and the current ‘dark clouds’ will pass and ‘let the sun shine again’

A Beijing olive branch? China’s top diplomat calls for ‘peaceful coexistence’ with U.S.
Relations between the United States and China have hit their lowest point since diplomatic ties were reestablished in 1979, China’s top diplomat said Thursday.   Foreign Minister Wang Yi also said China had “never intended to challenge or replace the U.S.,” adding that the world’s two largest economies should “explore ways for peaceful coexistence.”

China, if you think everyone’s against you, it’s time to reflect
Beijing’s foreign policy has to take into account challenges from both nuclear-armed neighbours and strategic competitors    But it’s time for self reflection on whether ‘wolf warrior’ diplomacy is the best response, says Kai He

China-India border dispute may force South Asian neighbours to pick a side
Smaller countries in South Asia have sought to avoid being dragged into the hostility between New Delhi and Beijing    But observers say it will become harder to maintain this neutrality

Is Indonesia moving towards Japan and away from China? Just follow the railway tracks
Jakarta is looking to connect projects being separately built by the two East Asian nations into one longer line    The cost of China’s section of the venture and negative local sentiment towards Beijing all play a part, as do confrontations in the Natuna Sea

Chinese-American scientist’s world upended after he is swept up in US national security net
Original charges against Emory University researcher are dropped, but fears of continuing overreach by US Justice Department’s ‘China Initiative’ remain    Critics call the initiative counterproductive and an over-deterrent, as investigations drive experienced scientific researchers back to China amid the pandemic

Vast majority of US research institute disclosure violations related to China
Since 2018, the National Science Foundation found all but two of 16 to 20 disclosure violations were related to China   The revelation comes as the US has cracked down on perceived foreign interference in the sciences

Hong Kong pupils banned from political activity
Students in Hong Kong are now banned from any political activity in schools including singing, posting slogans and boycotting classes, the territory’s education minister has said.

China’s Silent Axis On Human Rights
Framing may be the primary point here. The Cuban (Chinese) statement, though of course a serious reflection of China’s impact on human rights mechanisms, was primarily an effort by China to assert its own frame on human rights issues — as they pertain especially to its domestic affairs. An important part of this ploy is to frame its preferred positions on national sovereignty and non-interference as reflecting the overwhelming global majority on human rights.

UK universities comply with China’s internet restrictions
UK universities are testing a new online teaching link for students in China – which will require course materials to comply with Chinese restrictions on the internet.

Coronavirus: Is India the next global hotspot?
The coronavirus took hold slowly in India, but six months after its first confirmed infection it has overtaken Russia to record the world’s third largest caseload.

Hong Kong civil servants employed from July 1 to be required in writing to swear allegiance, uphold Basic Law
Proposed rules also apply to serving officers with duties classified as ‘crucial’ or ‘sensitive’   Previous requirement covered only principal officials and those under judiciary

Beijing needs deft hand to restore image of language centres
A new organisation set up to run Chinese courses overseas has its work cut out if it is to shake off criticism levelled at Confucius Institutes for being too close to government

Alain Gillard
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