China Press Review – June 17, 2021

China climbs list of world’s most competitive economies, as Hong Kong and Singapore slide
China’s post-pandemic economic performance has been a driver of its improving global competitiveness, says the Swiss-based Institute for Management Development.  Hong Kong saw a slight decline in its overall economic performance compared with last year, amid a worsening investment and employment environment.

Restrictions are needed but full US-China tech decoupling isn’t wise, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says
‘If we are too broad in our policies we can lose the benefits that come from having globally integrated technology systems,’ she tells US lawmakers    Yellen also says she hopes China will join in G7 plan for minimum global corporate tax rate

China must consider environmental effect and economic fragility for belt and road projects, study says
China’s ambitious effort to address global inequality and boost trade has an unequal problem of its own     Study finds some countries are in desperate need of economic development but their environment could collapse in rapid growth

US optimism to reshore supply chains from Asia ‘overblown’, with region’s share of global exports set to rise
Biden administration is keen to loosen supply chain dependence on Asia, especially China, and has established a trade ‘strike force’ to strengthen US production    But The Economist Intelligence Unit says firms and investors will remain deterred by North America’s lack of competitiveness compared to Asian economies

US to counter China’s ‘malign’ influence on United Nations, says senior official
US to build alliance at UN to investigate the source of Covid-19 and address human rights abuses in Xinjiang, ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield says    China has moved aggressively to boost its influence at the United Nations, securing top positions for its nationals

China attempting to ‘seize control’ of multilateral organisations to ‘weaponise’ them, UK report says
UK parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee releases new report alleging Chinese actions   Report focuses on organisations including the WHO and the UN Human Rights Council

Hong Kong’s e-dollar study in spotlight as city’s US dollar peg remains strong
Hong Kong Monetary Authority has set up a working group to look into ‘legal and regulatory issues’ related to an e-Hong Kong dollar    Local currency’s peg to US dollar is regularly questioned amid concerns that the de facto central bank might be forced to abandon the currency board

China to release copper, aluminum and zinc reserves to stabilize prices
China announced plans to release industrial metals from its national reserves to curb commodity prices  Some analysts said it could be the first such move in a decade by the world’s top consumer of metals.   China will release copper, aluminum and zinc in batches to nonferrous processing and manufacturing firms “in the near future” via public auction.

Huawei continues move into microchips with subsidiary investments
giant Huawei Technologies has continued expanding its presence in the cutting-edge microchip sector with an investment in high-powered lasers, amid the continued fallout from US sanctions, reported Caixin.  Hubble Technology Investment Co. Ltd., fully owned by Huawei, has purchased a 4.76% share of RS Laser, a company whose products are used in the lithography process, a key element of microchip production. Hubble’s holdings in RS Laser make it the seventh largest shareholder according to publicly available information.   The investment is among 28 by Hubble to date, mostly in various parts of the semiconductor supply chain that includes chip design, manufacturing and testing.

China-US relations: pushing against Beijing, Washington lawmakers plan pro-Taiwan bill
This week, Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Asia subcommittee will introduce the Taiwan Peace and Stability Act    New bill does not advocate a move away from the long-standing US stance of ‘strategic ambiguity’ despite calls from hawkish members of Congress

Coronavirus pandemic: Major Hong Kong firms ready to embrace innovation, technology in aftermath to stay competitive
The Covid-19 pandemic has sped up adoption of digital technology     Our focus going forward is to have the whole company embrace innovation, Chinachem executive says

How China’s treatment of international students hurts its public diplomacy
International students remain barred from returning to China to continue their studies, and some are venting their frustration on social media     China’s inability to control user responses on Twitter is undermining its careful social media messaging and the reputation of its higher education sector   Another possibility is the introduction of “vaccine passports” that would allow holders to cross borders with greater ease. China is proposing that passports be based on the digital health certificate system that it launched in March. The certificates work through the WeChat social media platform and contain information about the user’s coronavirus and antibody test results and vaccination status.   While diplomats praised the move as a step towards opening international travel, there are no details about how those certificates could be used more broadly. People familiar with the negotiations said travellers would not be able to serve shorter quarantines or skip them entirely based on countries’ mutual recognition of vaccinations any time soon. One diplomat from a country in talks with China to use such passports said the challenges included ensuring the authenticity of the certificates and finding a common technical platform for the information. “It will take a long time but we hope we will have reached an agreement on the technical difficulties when both countries are ready to take that step,” the diplomat said.However, with unbalanced vaccine supplies, a slow vaccination rate globally and “more transmissible and vaccine evading variants”, Chin-Hong said the world would probably never fully return to the pre-pandemic normal.   “Immunity passports will become de rigueur for travel and [travellers will have to] be prepared for closings of borders as outbreaks continue,” he said. “Just like we are used to adjusting our travel because of weather, we will undoubtedly need to consult regional Covid-19 reports and adjust our travel accordingly.

China’s zero-tolerance approach helped control Covid-19, but is it time for an exit strategy?
Beijing may have no choice but to reopen its borders and face the risk of outbreaks even if most people are vaccinated, experts say    There may be more pressure to do so as other countries open up, but it could come at a political cost

Strengthening transatlantic relations in data-driven economies
The window of opportunity for an agreement between the United States and European Union (EU) on a common tech rulebook is open once again. In December 2020, the European Commission, encouraged by the victory of ardent Atlanticist Joseph Biden in the US presidential election, issued A New EU-US Agenda for Global Change, an ambitious proposal for strengthening and broadening the transatlantic relationship in multiple key domains including technology governance. In turn, the Biden Admiration has vowed to restore US alliances harmed by the previous administration and to deepen its cooperation with like-minded countries to counter the influence of authoritarian states over global technology rules. This alignment of interests on both sides of the Atlantic has created an unprecedented opportunity to overcome the differences that have prevented the two parties from adopting a common, normative framework on tech regulation, most notably on data governance, privacy protection, and digital taxation. Building on the momentum generated by the EU-US summit, leaders from both sides should take advantage of this new political climate to strengthen the transatlantic bond and adapt it to the needs of data-driven economies.  They are also highly active at the multilateral level. China, for instance, promotes its approach to internet regulation as an alternative to the current internet architecture via various standardization fora and strategic documents such as China Standards 2035 or the new IP protocol proposed by China to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). For this reason, by establishing a transatlantic framework on data governance that would ensure free flow of data while protecting human rights, the EU and United States would reiterate their commitment to free internet and set a global standard for other countries to follow.

Why Chinese military’s latest Taiwan sortie suggests PLA is expanding scope of combat training
Tuesday’s mission was the largest of its kind, but was also the first such operation conducted on the eastern side of the island, home to two key airbases   Military analysts say this suggests the PLA is trying to improve its operational capabilities and provide ‘realistic’ combat training

Ahead of Chinese space station mission, a call for more collaboration
Head of HKU’s Laboratory for Space Research says political divides must be overcome as there are ‘major problems that need solutions now’    Quentin Parker also says that while China was blocked from the ISS, it is now opening up its own space station for international experiments

China and Russia ready to shoot for the moon with ambitious research station plans
The two space agencies have invited other countries to join the programme with exploratory missions expected this year      First structures on the moon’s surface will provide a base for resource extraction, research and further exploration in space

First astronauts enter China’s Tiangong space station after successful docking operation
The three took up residence in the core module hours after the Shenzhou 12 launch craft lifted off from the Gobi Desert    ‘It feels great’ was the message from veteran commander Nie Haisheng as the crew reached earth’s near-orbit

Apple Daily: Hong Kong sends 500 officers in pro-democracy paper raid
Some 500 policemen raided the offices of pro-democracy paper Apple Daily in Hong Kong, alleging its reports breached a national security law

China sanctions Belgian lawmaker for motion warning of genocide risk against Xinjiang Uygurs
Beijing announces sanction of member of parliament Samuel Cogolati for ‘spreading lies and false information’   Belgian proposal is intended to disrupt Xinjiang’s social stability and contain China’s development, foreign ministry says

Chinese companies grab attention as sponsors at UEFA event
COVID-19, geopolitics won’t stop brands going global through sponsorship

Alain Gillard
Information Officer
Service Asie Pacifique
Place Sainctelette 2
1080 Bruxelles
Tél 02 421 85 09 – Fax 02 421 87 75
Copyright © 2020 awex, All rights reserved