China Press Review – June 22, 2021

Chinese imports of US goods slowed in May, delaying progress on US Trade Deal
China’s imports of US goods slowed in May, pushing back purchase targets agreed with the US in a 2020 trade deal, reported Bloomberg.
In May, China purchased nearly $10 billion in US manufactured, agricultural, and energy products. This was the lowest monthly total since October of 2020, bringing the total imports to nearly $157 billion since January 2020, 41.4% of the agreed upon targets.  Manufactured products were the number one import in May, taking up over 64% of the total amount spent on imports. Electrical equipment and machinery was the category with the second highest spending amount

Is a commodities supercycle looming, and what risks does it pose for China?
Soaring commodity prices have stirred debate about whether the world is entering another commodities supercycle    A long-term trend of high commodity prices could sting Chinese manufacturers and hurt recovery from the pandemic

China’s slowing railway investment contributing to signs that economic growth is losing steam, analysts say
Growth in the world’s second-largest economy said to be on the decline as China clamps down on excess debt that increased as a result of coronavirus stimulus measures     But Beijing’s fine-tuning of its policy direction ‘is a turn, but not a U-turn’

China’s Progress on U.S. Trade Deal Slowed Again in May
China bought almost $10 billion worth of manufactured, agricultural and energy goods from the U.S. in May, the lowest monthly total since October 2020. That took total imports to almost $157 billion since January 2020, 41.4% of the targets the two nations agreed at that time. The slowdown was despite corn imports surging to a record in the month, with ships carrying the crop stuck waiting for weeks off China’s coast before they could offload the crop. China is also buying agricultural products for delivery from later in the year, and these will bump up the totals somewhat once they actually arrive in China.

US FCC can ban Huawei equipment subsidies, rules appeal court
According to a federal appeal court, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has the authority to ban the use of subsidies for equipment deemed a national security risk, reported the South China Morning Post.   The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a request by Huawei to remove a rule used to ban rural phone carriers on national security grounds from purchasing its equipment using government money.   The court also dissolved the claim that the FCC lacked the expertise to label Huawei’s technologies as a security risk to US telecommunications infrastructure.

The Connection of Everything: China and the Internet of Things
The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming economic systems and social relations worldwide. China is a key actor shaping this transformation, thanks to the scale of its digital industries and state-led ambitions to lead in new technologies. Beijing committed early on to the IoT’s development, using sustained state policy to leverage China’s huge markets and central position in global manufacturing. Chinese actors, which before the late 1990s had little influence over design of the world’s digital infrastructure, are becoming major players in shaping the international IoT, and by extension the power relations embedded within it.

China’s man in Washington Cui Tiankai heads for home after eight years as envoy
Foreign vice-minister Qin Gang tipped to replace the diplomat known for his relatively moderate stance     In farewell message Cui calls on overseas Chinese to play ‘key role’ in US-China relations

The counter to China’s bullying in the region
In its race to gain supremacy in the world order, China uses the carrot and stick policy by being a bully, now habitually seeking to harm or intimidate those they perceive as vulnerable. This is further supported by its three warfares which are public opinion warfare, psychological warfare, and legal warfare. PLA’s; General Political Department’s Liaison Department (GPD/LD), China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and United Front Work Department are four of the organizations responsible for three warfare’s. China has incorporated three warfare’s into local governments and institutions.

US removes TikTok, WeChat from prohibited transactions list
On Monday, the US Commerce Department pledged to remove TikTok and WeChat from a list of prohibited transactions that were implemented in September to obstruct US downloads of both apps, reported Reuters.  The move comes after the Biden administration rescinded a series of executive orders earlier this month intended to ban Tencent-owned WeChat and TikTok. WeChat has been downloaded over 19 million times by users in the US and has grown to be a popular social platform.   Biden also ordered the Commerce Department to review national security risks posed by the apps and to recommend ways to protect US data accessible by foreign firms.

Chinese tech names among the fastest growing valuable brands in the world but Amazon, Apple still dominate
Tencent was No 5 on the list with a brand valuation of US$241 billion, while e-commerce giant Alibaba fell to seventh with a valuation of US$197 billion     Of the five brands in the top 100 that more than doubled their value in the past year, four are Chinese companies, alongside Tesla

Wealth Management Connect: mainland Chinese investors eyeing 13 per cent returns unrealistic, HKIFA chief says
New energy, biotech and internet are top sectors favoured by mainland Chinese investors, who have little interest in ESG products     HKIFA hopes the authorities will relax restrictions in the connect scheme to allow investments in high risk products

Duo To Become Billionaires On Bubble Tea Chain’s IPO
The married couple behind Chinese bubble tea chain Nayuki look set to become billionaires as the company prepares to go public in Hong Kong.

Surprise! The EU knows how to handle China
Brussels is ahead of Washington when it comes to dealing with Beijing.   “Do we need a new adversary?” With those words, Armin Laschet summed up the European response to Joe Biden’s efforts to convince Europeans to get tougher on China.   As the politician best placed to become the next German chancellor, Laschet’s open rebuke of the U.S. president was the latest example in a series of polite disagreements between the two pillars of the transatlantic alliance over how to deal with the rising Asian superpower.  Chinese officials may complain about the term “systemic rivalry,” but they believe in it as much as Brussels. The difference is that for Beijing, there is no separation between market and state. Interestingly, this is also the view in Washington — but Europeans are convinced they have a better plan.    They will keep insisting that to do business in their territory, China will have to do it on European terms. And indeed, Chinese officials have sent some messages that they want to continue talking. “We are very calm,” said the official in Brussels.

To understand modern China, one must understand the history of the Communist Party of China
To understand China’s success story today, one must go back to the history of the Communist Party of China (CPC) which next week celebrates its centenary. This is the view of the Chinese ambassador to South Africa, Chen Xiodong, who delivered the keynote at a high-level online dialogue co-hosted by the National Press Club today

podcast : Katja Drinhausen on the CCP and digitalization
Digitalization is a crucial element of the Chinese Communist Party’s governance approach. It serves to improve governance and public service, but also enhances the party state’s surveillance and monitoring capabilities.    In this episode of the MERICS experts podcast, MERICS Senior Analyst Katja Drinhausen explains how the CCP has embraced digitization as a governance tool, the extent of digital surveillance in China, the party’s vision for a digitalized China, and its global implications.

100 Rappers, 100 Years: China Drops 15-Minute Revolutionary Rap
The song titled “100%” is said to “express the patriotic soul of each rapper.”  There’s a new soundtrack to celebrate the centenary of the Chinese Communist Party, courtesy of 100 rappers who have collaborated to compose the song.

March of the Red Souvenirs
Ahead of the Communist Party of China’s centenary next month, officials have unveiled a host of youth-oriented commemorative gear.

The digital travel pass: A safe return to international travel?
Many air travel restrictions are still in place as a result of the pandemic, and both passengers and airlines are suffering. Could a digital travel pass solve these issues and bring us back to safe international travel?   According to Vivian, “the digital health pass could be a big part of reshaping the future,” as customers will find it much easier to travel both for work and for leisure, and airlines can maintain a secure and scalable operation. She also mentions that there are three important aspects regarding the implementation of a digital travel pass: technical readiness, operational readiness, and regulatory readiness. Essentially, this means the technology must be ready to support a digital pass, the labs must be connected with the travel pass applications, and the destination countries must be accepting of the travel pass model.   In terms of privacy, Vivian states that “the protection of personal information, and especially health data, is of paramount importance, and it is the first question we ask when working with the digital health pass.” She notes that your data is completely secure in your own personal device and is not stored unless it is actually mandated by the government.
Without the implementation of a digital health pass, the future of international travel and airline efficiency and functionality may be bleak. Vivian notes that if the world comes together and drives towards a common global standard, we can see a lot of progress in a short period of time.

Alain Gillard
Information Officer
Service Asie Pacifique
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