China Press Review – June 23, 2020

EU leaders talk tough to Beijing over long list of unmet promises
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says EU-China relationship ‘not an easy one’ after first meeting     Points finger at Chinese for cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns and warns of negative consequences over Hong Kong security law  But it was during the coronavirus pandemic that EU-China relations hit their lowest point. The EU was alarmed by China’s mix of “mask diplomacy” – which favoured hardest-hit Italy and Spain and drew complaints from the latter of EU inaction – and the “wolf warrior diplomacy” of outspoken Chinese diplomats who used social media to try and discredit Western governments’ response to Covid-19.Brussels’ suspicion of Beijing was further deepened when the Chinese government attempted to pressure the EU’s diplomatic service into watering down a report which documented Chinese state-backed disinformation campaigns.  “The EU has laid down its rules and fired a shot across Zoom’s bow,” an EU source said after the summit. “The ball is now in Xi’s court.”

EU-China summit: Beijing puts focus on consensus, while Brussels highlights differences
Investment agreement, human rights and Hong Kong raised in talks between Premier Li Keqiang and European Union leaders, according to bloc    But there was ‘progress’ on treaty, according to Beijing, with Li telling Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel that cooperation outweighed competition

China gives Europe’s left and right wings something to agree on
Video summit reflects emerging consensus on need for EU to get tough  Over the past year, political pundits in the U.S. have argued that a tougher foreign policy on China is the only issue uniting the country’s increasingly disparate Republican and Democratic parties. In Europe, too, there are signs of a growing consensus that the halcyon “golden age” of relations with China is over, and that governments must somehow stand up to Beijing.

European Union leaders urge Xi Jinping to drop Hong Kong national security law, or risk ‘negative consequences’
‘China risks very negative consequences’ if it imposes national security law, says European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen     But she sidesteps questions as to the exact measures the EU would take

Why China cannot pin its hopes on global demand to boost economic recovery
The US-China trade war, Donald Trump’s ‘America first’ policies and marginalisation of major institutions have hurt the world’s ability to deal with the Covid-19 fallout     China needs to forget about export-led recovery and go for growth at home through more deficit spending, bigger deficits and more government debt issuance

Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao to speed up delivery times to meet boom in online shopping
To benefit its merchants running 100,000 online stores, Cainiao plans to quadruple its chartered flights to 1,260 from 260 over the next nine months   E-commerce players across China have been expanding their infrastructure to meet the needs of millions of consumers who have embraced online shopping To benefit its merchants running 100,000 online stores, Cainiao plans to quadruple its chartered flights to 1,260 from 260 over the next nine months while airfreight delivery time will drop to three to five days from the current seven to 10.   In addition, Cainiao will double the floor space of its overseas warehouses over the next three years to 2 million square metres so that Chinese merchants can store their goods closer to customers, which will further speed up delivery times.

Exclusive: China’s Fosun seeks sale of $1.3 billion stake in Alibaba’s Cainiao – sources
Fosun International (0656.HK) is in talks with Alibaba and others to sell a stake worth $1.3 billion (£1.04 billion) in the e-commerce giant’s Cainiao, three people said, at a time when Alibaba has been increasing its holdings in the logistics affiliate.

Cainiao to upgrade last-mile logistics
Cainiao Smart Logistics Network, the logistics arm of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba, will upgrade its last-mile network to deliver digitalized community life services, the company announced on Tuesday on an online logistics conference

INSIDER | E-commerce is back and big on 6.18
Chinese shoppers are returning in full force after Covid-19 slumpThe 6.18 shopping festival was China’s largest shopping holiday since the coronavirus outbreak. It was long-awaited as a barometer of how much Chinese consumption has rebounded after lockdowns were lifted.   To observers’ relief, sales have picked up significantly since the pandemic outbreak. The 6.18 sale outpaced Labour Day and Shanghai 55 shopping festivals, both considered significant shopping events. 
The 55 shopping event in early May achieved $35.3 billion in sales across online and offline channels, data released from Shanghai municipality suggests. This is roughly equal to the transaction volume of’s 16-day long 6.18 shopping festival.

Alibaba’s 6.18 Logs Record Sales As Consumption Rebounds
Alibaba Group concluded its largest-yet 6.18 Mid-Year Shopping Festival last week, setting new record highs across categories, the company said early Friday.     Brand participation this year surged in what was the biggest sales event since the outbreak of Covid-19, with the number of Tmall brands nearly doubling from last year. Small and medium-sized businesses on Alibaba’s Taobao Marketplace also received a billion more orders during this year’s campaign year-over-year.

E-Commerce Giant Taobao Steps Into China’s Online Education Market
Taobao, an e-commerce platform owned by Alibaba, is seeking to penetrate China’s already crowded online tutoring market with a massive plan aimed at connecting more than 1,000 online education service providers with 100 million new students over the next three years.

China’s banking system begins to crack at its grass roots as two bank runs take place within a week
Local governments and police in both Hebei and Shanxi provinces were forced to intervene after rumours concerning Baoding Bank and Yangquan Commercial Bank   China is hoping to rely on its small lenders amid the fallout from the coronavirus to provide funds to small factories and farmers

Hong Kong stocks see big swing to gain as Trump says US-China trade deal is ‘fully intact’; Tencent on track for highest close ever
Trump issues clarifying Tweet after aide says his comment that trade deal is ‘over’ was taken out of context      Tencent shoots up, putting it on track for highest close ever

Hong Kong national security law: how will China introduce it and who will be consulted?
The Standing Committee of mainland China’s legislature met last week to discuss security legislation that it is to impose on Hong Kong  With the committee holding a special meeting this weekend, who has the power to pass the law, and when might its text be made public??

Coronavirus: asymptomatic patients may shed virus for longer than others, study says
Team in southwest China finds median duration was 19 days, a third longer than for people with mild symptoms   But they say releasing the virus into the environment doesn’t necessarily lead to infection of others, and more research is needed is offering heavy discounts to reignite travel demand, one of China’s biggest online travel agencies, introduced on Tuesday a range of initiatives in an effort to revitalize its core business after the Covid-19 pandemic brought most of the world to a standstill.

Coronavirus: Beijing market outbreak ‘coming to an end’, health expert says
New cases mostly caused by community spread by those who had been exposed to Xinfadi, Feng Zijian, deputy director of Chinese CDC says      Outbreak ‘was discovered very early’ and strong control measures helped contain it, he says

Coronavirus case in northern China reveals mystery of carrier who tests negative and has no symptoms
Tianjin kitchen worker tested positive to Sars-CoV-2 but close contacts, workplace and even food in kitchen held no clues to source of infection     CDC retested workers and found chef returned negative nucleic acid test but positive serological result

India in the next normal after COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the weaknesses and the strengths of India’s large businesses. Now executives have an opportunity to make changes that will see their companies through the downturn and position them for long-term success.

Guangzhou is using 5G to keep buses on time
Guangzhou is the first city in China to pilot 5G for optimizing bus schedules

Sexist and racist AI can result in wrongful arrests, fewer job opportunities or even death. Now, more are taking notice
Researchers have found that social biases can be amplified in AI algorithms that determine access to jobs, health care diagnosis outcomes and more     Society can only achieve fair AI outcomes if it works as a whole, not just with the effort of a few individuals, one expert says

Australia, US must boost defence, cybersecurity ties to counter China: report
The report by the University of Sydney comes ahead of the annual Australia-US Ministerial Consultations forum   Coming at a difficult time for China-Australia relations, it describes the shifting balance of power from declining US influence and China’s ‘coercive statecraft’

US Federal Reserve’s coronavirus recovery plan is ‘America first’, like it or not
The Fed will be guided solely by US domestic considerations as it charts a course for economic recovery. If that upsets other countries, so be it    If sustained ultra-accommodative monetary policy results in a falling US dollar, that’s a price the central bank is willing to tolerate

Donald Trump may lack a coherent China policy, but he got something right
The US president understood that his predecessors gave away far more to China than the US received and that Beijing respects power, not diplomacy    Post-Trump, Washington and its allies will need to play a long game, demanding from China changes that should have been made a long time ago

What the US really wanted from its summit with China in Hawaii
Pompeo and Yang stuck to their countries’ positions on the key strategic issues at last week’s meeting, initiated by the US and described as constructive     Whatever was said at the meeting, there would have been just one objective for Pompeo’s overture – to improve Trump’s chances of re-election

Donald Trump needs China trade deal or war to beat Joe Biden in 2020 presidential election, research shows
Guotai Junan Securities studied US elections since 1870, and predict incumbent Donald Trump currently has a 30 per cent chance of winning a re-election     But cooperation with China on the phase one trade deal, or a military conflict, will take his chances of beating Democratic nominee Joe Biden to over 50 per cent

Contract for Kenya’s China-funded railway ruled ‘illegal’
Court of Appeal finds against US$3.2 billion contract for belt and road project which started operating in 2017   Ruling throws question mark over future of this and other construction agreements

China’s BRI trap
As its domestic strain increases, Beijing may turn more aggressive abroad to show that it is unperturbed by the pandemic or slowdown. That its chutzpah is unparalleled   As its domestic strain increases, Beijing may turn more aggressive abroad — Ladakh (India), South China Sea, near Taiwan — to show that it is unperturbed by the pandemic or slowdown. Its chutzpah is unparalleled. In June 2020, Naypitaw discovered to its chagrin that China is covertly building a Hong Kong-size city in Shwe Kokko fishing village in Kayin State, on the banks of Moei river, its border with Thailand. Possibly it would be used to leverage Myanmar debt at a future date—s-bri-trap.html

China ‘interested’ in Trans-Pacific trade deal but keen to gauge Japan’s ‘attitude’ ahead of potential talks, ex-minister says
Last month, Premier Li Keqiang expressed Beijing’s interest in joining the Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP)   Doubts though remain over China’s ability to meet the requirement of the successor to the defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)

US v China: is this the start of a new cold war?
If China is at risk of blowing its chance to lead, then others have calculated that a fleeting chance exists for the middle-power democracies, some with nuclear weapons, to hold greater sway. There is talk of a D10 of democracies – in essence, the G7 plus Japan, India and Korea. It is an idea that might fly if Joe Biden is elected US president. But it would require greater restraint from Washington about how far to push the confrontation with China.   He never got to run an international thinktank, but the Italian communist Antonio Gramsci, reflecting on a previous interregnum, was right: “The old world dying, and a new one struggling to be born. Now is the time for monsters.”

China’s global aspirations lift as BeiDou satellite launches into orbit
Third generation navigational network makes Beijing an ‘aerospace power’ says design engineer after successful launch    Development puts Chinese coverage on equal footing with US, Europe and Russian global satellite constellations
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