China Press Review – June 22, 2020

Germany ‘won’t take bad deal’ on investment with China
Bloc hasn’t given up on negotiating a level playing field for European companies in China but progress has been limited, German envoy to the EU says    Issue expected to be on the agenda on Monday for the EU-China summit

EU continues to open up markets outside Europe in midst of rising protectionism
Thanks to the European Union’s successful intervention, European companies generated €8 billion in additional exports in 2019. The high number of new restrictions that hinder EU exports shows however that protectionism has become deeply ingrained in global trade. These are some of the findings of the Commission’s annual Trade and Investment Barriers Report published today.

Commentary: China-EU Summit to offer certainty in uncertain time
Amid the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic, the upcoming 22nd China-EU leaders’ meeting on Monday is expected to boost much-needed confidence in the global fight against the virus and offer more certainty in a time of unprecedented instability.

In Dealing With China, The ‘European Way’ Should Be One Of Courage And Integrity
As human rights advocates, we are appealing to European Union member states to condition trade relations with China on specific improvements in China’s human rights practices, and on transparency as regards the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic. China’s economy depends on European imports; trade between the two entities exceeds over one billion Euros per day. In this situation, Europe has a historic opportunity, and a responsibility to the moral principles upon which it was founded. The EU should use its immense soft power to help China stop persecuting religious, ethnic and political minorities, and start working with the international community to protect global public health.

Pdf : EU China Relations
The EU’s approach towards China was set out in a Strategy adopted in 2016 and updated in March 2019 in a Joint Communication of the European Commission and the High Representative. The balance of challenges and opportunities presented by China has shifted over time. For the EU, China is simultaneously (in different policy areas) a cooperation partner, a negotiation partner, an economic competitor and a systemic rival.   The EU pursues realistic, effective and coherent engagement with China, based on our values and interests.

Foreign Curbs Cut Into Chinese Overseas M&A   Meanwhile, western investors see bright Chinese future
For the first time in a decade, Chinese outbound mergers and acquisitions have fallen below inbound M&A as scrutiny of Chinese investment has increased by recipient countries including the US, Sweden, France, Germany and Australia. At the same time, however, western firms have been piling into China, with announced foreign M&A hitting US$9 billion in the first five months this year, surpassing Chinese outbound M&A activity in both volume and value.

US-China US$200 billion trade deal leaves European suppliers feeling left out
China’s focus on buying more agricultural products from the US will ‘negatively affect other suppliers’, chief economist at Mercator Institute for China Studies in Berlin saysreement ‘has effectively sucked most of the air from the room when it comes to agricultural deals, and left firms and governments frustrated’, EU diplomat says

China warned to prepare for being cut off from US dollar payment system as part of sanctions like Russia
Fang Xinghai said that as China mainly relies on the US dollar payment system in international deals, it makes it vulnerable to possible US sanctions   The US imposed sanctions on Russia due to numerous events, including the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014

To stay competitive, Hong Kong needs to reconcile
City has tumbled down the global rankings, reflecting how a year of headwinds including violent social unrest has hurt the economy

Coronavirus has brought out ‘Hong Kong spirit’, as firms borrow to adapt to new normal, Bank of East Asia says
About 1,800 of bank’s customers have applied for HK$1.3 billion in government guaranteed loans since April     Companies are adapting, with clothes manufacturer making masks, restaurant operator expanding its takeaway and delivery services

China ‘unsurprisingly’ keeps benchmark loan rate unchanged for second straight month
The one-year loan prime rate (LPR) remained at 3.85 per cent, while the five-year LPR was also steady at 4.65 per cent    The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) rolled over some maturing medium-term loans last week, while keeping interest rates unchanged for the second straight month in a row

Coronavirus hastening a global fight over taxes on carbon and digital services
Governments around the world looking for new revenue sources are targeting tech giants, most of which are American, for taxes, at the risk of Trump’s wrath   EU’s plan to tax carbon at its borders also threatens to launch a new trade war with the US

Alibaba ratchets up cross-border e-commerce initiatives in Yiwu, home to the world’s largest wholesale market
The e-commerce giant’s latest effort in Yiwu marks another push to help revive global trade, as Covid-19 continues to threaten various parts of the world    Yiwu recorded more than US$41 billion in total international trade last yea

UK said to tell telecoms operators to stockpile Huawei gear in face of US sanctions
British officials said they are reviewing the specific guidance on how Huawei equipment should be deployed to best secure the country’s telecoms networks    London designated Huawei a ‘high-risk vendor’ in January, capping its involvement in 5G mobile network roll-outs at a 35 per cent market share

Trump versus Huawei: right target, disastrous strategy
The United States has valid complaints about Huawei, but US President Donald Trump is botching the negotiation. The principal issue with Huawei is the lack of reciprocal market access. As long as Huawei has access to all three major markets — the United States, European Union and China — and foreign tech companies are prevented from having full access to the Chinese market, it will soon dominate the global 5G market. With access to all markets, Huawei can sustain research and development budgets larger than its major competitors — Ericsson and Nokia — combined; they cannot compete with Huawei’s superior technological advance. Their imminent unfair destruction is unacceptable.

US Attorney General William Barr says American businesses ‘part of problem’ in tech war with China
Barr reiterated the Trump administration’s efforts in confronting China’s drive to supplant the West in areas including 5G mobile technology   He urged western countries to ‘rally around’ Nokia and Ericsson as 5G network equipment suppliers to shut out Huawei

Green or black? China urged to curb coal addiction and recover from coronavirus sustainably
Carbon emissions were down a quarter during lockdown in February, but back at pre-pandemic levels by late March   McKinsey report calls on China to ‘show leadership in a new, low-carbon economy’

White elephant? China’s Belt and Road Initiative deserves more credit in pandemic-ruined economy
China’s infrastructure initiative, which has been unfairly singled out for criticism, has made more progress than similar projects proposed by the US and others. It should be seen as an exercise in positive thinking and innovation

China launches new Go West development drive to counter post-coronavirus geopolitical risks
China is looking to its western regions to help steady the economy amid friction with the US and potential isolation in the post-coronavirus world    Beijing’s new Go West plan will build on its Western Development strategy, which had only mixed results in boosting regional growth after it was launched in 1999

Trump’s trade adviser Navarro links coronavirus to China government
Peter Navarro, a fierce China hawk, revives a long-standing dispute over the origin of the novel coronavirus   China firmly rejects any allegation that it deliberately unleashed the virus

COVID-19 may continue till mid-2021: China’s top epidemiologist
The global spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is likely to continue until the first half of 2021 even if vaccines become available, predicted Zhang Wenhong, a prominent Chinese infectious disease expert and leader of Shanghai’s COVID-19 medical team.     The global pandemic is still spreading with the number of confirmed cases expected to surpass 10 million over the next 10 days, Zhang wrote on his Twitter-like Weibo on Saturday.

Coronavirus may be here for much longer – due to rapid mutations
Since January, the virus has gone through at least six major gene changes that boosted its ability to infect and evade the human immune system   The US and Britain are the two major virus mutation hotbeds at the moment, say scientists

Coronavirus: recovered Chinese patients may be defenceless against foreign mutation, study says
Antibodies found in blood of people who have fought disease failed to stop D614G, Chinese scientists say   Mutant form identified in genetic data of samples collected at Xinfadi food market in Beijing where latest outbreak began

Uncertain future as coronavirus infection rates hit global records
Experts reluctant to predict the course of the pandemic as some countries ease lockdowns and Beijing suffers new outbreakWhat happens next will depend on response, but without vaccine it may be years before virus runs its course

Coronavirus second wave: which Asian countries are most at risk?
Some Asian countries are seeing new Covid-19 outbreaks as they reopen battered economies   But experts say that while many are now better equipped to handle new clusters, those with ongoing local transmissions are still at risk

Coronavirus: boss of Chinese pharmacy chain gets 15 years for selling counterfeit face masks
Li Dong, chairman of Beijing Jinghai Kangbaixin Medicine Co, and two associates said to have made US$608,000 from sale of ‘3M’ products    Company was earlier fined US$14,000 for profiteering on PM2.5 masks

Chinese company sued by US for selling ‘fake’ masks wasn’t certified, Beijing says
King Year Packaging and Printing was not on list of enterprises approved or registered as meeting foreign standards, according to commerce ministry    Complaint alleges the firm falsely claimed that the nearly half a million masks it shipped to American buyers met the N95 standard

How regulation of endangered wildlife trade can prevent the next pandemic
In ensuring wildlife trade is legal, sustainable and traceable, CITES also provides a framework to protect animal welfare and raise awareness of health risks    To aid vaccine work and study, CITES is working to expedite transport of scientific specimens and biological samples

Chinese seafarers stranded as ships remain adrift in coronavirus limbo
Close to 35,000 cruise ship workers are stuck on the high seas as ports turn vessels away to prevent a wave of imported cases   While some countries have repatriated their nationals, China has not indicated it will do so as it battles new infections in its capital

Coronavirus: South Korea confirms second wave of infections
Health officials in South Korea believe the country is going through a second wave of coronavirus, despite recording relatively low numbers.

‘International education’ can play a key role in development of China’s Greater Bay Area, says pioneer Hong Kong schools veteran
The economic growth of the GBA will spur demand for ‘international education’ from local students, says Betty Chan Po-king of Yew Chung Internati onal Schools an shuns the idea that ‘international’ means transplanting a western model, favouring the concept of bringing together different cultures

China-Brazil trade on track, but Huawei tension may be threat to relations
Brazil’s exports to China in first five months jump 12.4 per cent to US$27.5 billion
Despite friction over the 5G network and coronavirus, tariff tactics against Brazil are unlikely because of China’s dependence on soybeans

Foreign purchases of Chinese bonds double to US$19.4 billion in May as ‘hot money’ flows in
Inflows likely a result of global monetary easing amid the coronavirus outbreak, analysts say   Chinese banks also report 61 per cent rise in forex trading in month as firms, individuals convert dollars into yuan

China’s promise of loan write-offs for distressed African nations barely dents a much bigger debt crisis
Study finds no evidence of asset seizure by lenders or penalty on arrears, but researchers note a lack of transparency fuels suspicion of China’s intentions    China’s lending to Africa stood at US$152 billion between 2000 and 2018, much of which went to Belt and Road Initiative projects

Coronavirus only a blip for China’s belt and road plan, says former central bank chief
Zhou Xiaochuan, a former governor of China’s central bank, says recent setbacks for the Belt and Road Initiative due to the coronavirus will be short-lived     Ample global capital and low interest rates offer opportunity to ‘optimise existing financing arrangements’, Zhou says

Pinduoduo founder becomes China‘s second-richest man on 618 surge
Pinduoduo founder and CEO Colin Huang has surpassed Alibaba founder Jack Ma to become the second-richest man in China, according the real-time billionaire list compiled by Forbes.

With the world focused on COVID-19, China is flexing its muscles from Hong Kong to the Himalayas
While President Trump is preoccupied with problems at home, China senses an opportunity to expand its power, experts say.

Beijing to set up new security office in Hong Kong
China’s new security law for Hong Kong envisages setting up an office in the territory to gather intelligence and handle crimes against national security, state media say.

EU leaders expected to raise Hong Kong in virtual summit with China
Coronavirus pandemic puts paid to face-to-face meetings and rapport building as annual summit convenes by phone   Joint statement unlikely this year with European Union determination to raise its concerns with Chinese leadership

India’s lockdown locks out the poor
The global pandemic has been a major exogenous shock for every country. But what might be the implications for India? When the Black Death scythed the population of Europe in the late Middle Ages, the long-term effects were profound. Labour became scarce, wages rose rapidly, land became relatively devalued and rural social structures were disrupted. Technical innovations and capital-intensive developments took place in citiesThe current pandemic shock might not have such wide-ranging nor long-lasting consequences. Still, it is clear that restarting India’s economy will require tens of thousands of badly scarred workers to return to the cities. Employers and governments will have to offer significant incentives to induce them to retrace the bitter journey back to the cities.

The death of Indian soldiers in skirmish with China raises questions on trade, geopolitics & security
India has some leverage over China thanks to the asymmetric economic equations.

South China Sea: if Vietnam files suit, China may take part in legal proceedings
Participating in an arbitration would be a shift from tactics in the case Beijing lost unanimously to the Philippines in 2016    Analysts debate different responses Beijing could take after Hanoi signals it may seek an arbitral resolution to South China Sea disputes

China ramps up military-civilian tech ambitions
Beijing dialled down its mentions of the strategy to help modernise the armed forces but a new document offers some clues    The policy has raised concerns in Washington that the programme will funnel US innovation to China

Positive energy: the darker side of China’s social media catchphrase
Zheng neng liang was once little more than a fashionable online catchphrase, but its meaning has taken on a political hue   The death of a student raises a question: is something deeply negative hidden behind all that relentless positivity?

Why Celebrity Endorsements Are Drastically Changing In China
Luxury brand approaches to celebrity endorsements have shifted in China over the last year, thanks to the country’s always-changing social media sphere

Dog meat festival opens in China but activists hope it is for last time
Organisers of 10-day event in Yulin ignore government drive to discourage consumption of wildlife and pets    Visitor numbers have dwindled at this year’s festival, according to campaigners

Reconstructing Chinese Fatherhood
Chinese conceptions of fatherhood are as much a product of 20th century policy and practice as Confucian cultural norms.

Alain Gillard
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