Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce (BCECC)

China Press Review – March 14, 2022

Chinese companies continue to increase investment in domestic chip production as Beijing keeps focus on self-sufficiency
China’s IC sales hit 1.05 trillion yuan in 2021, up 18.2 per cent from a year earlier. Chinese companies are lining up to invest in semiconductor sector amid Beijing’s efforts to spur greater self-sufficiency amid US tech rivalry. The gig economy has flourished in China under both Xi and the previous Hu Jintao administration. Like in other countries, the explosive growth in the Chinese tech sector over the past decade has forced millions of people into new and increasingly precarious labor regimes. With China still very much committed to capital accumulation, the question going forward is twofold. First, how far is Beijing willing to go to strong arm the billionaires who have made a killing on the backs of rural migrants? Recent events may look promising, but assurances have been made to capital also. The second, and perhaps more fundamental, question is whether genuine equity and justice can be achieved without truly empowering China’s new working class. Common prosperity marks a step in the right direction, but expect more labor scandals inflaming Chinese social media over the coming months and years. In a vast country of 1.4 billion people where workplace violations are rife, paternalism is only likely to go so far. Before long, the leadership in Beijing may find it has to put more power in the hands of workers to struggle against capital from the bottom up.

Podcast: How Beijing could make progress with its common prosperity agenda, with Bert Hofmann and Mikko Huotari
At the National People’s Congress that is about to wrap up in Beijing, Premier Li Keqiang reiterated the ambitious “Common Prosperity” policy. Joint efforts in line with the opening-up policy would be needed to achieve this ambitious goal, Li said at a press conference. In this episode of our podcast, Bert Hofman, the Director of the East Asian Institute at National University of Singapore and MERICS Executive Director Mikko Huotari discuss the instruments China relies on in its efforts for a more equal distribution of income and wealth with MERICS Director Communications and Publications Claudia Wessling. If you want to listen to the other parts of our series on common prosperity, you can find them on our website and wherever you listen to our podcast. We had seasoned China watchers like Barry Naughton, Isabella Weber, and Sarah Eaton on the show, please check our podcast archive.

Will ‘Common Prosperity’ Reach China’s Takeout Drivers?
Systemic burdens facing rural migrants, combined with the tech sector’s exploitative tendencies, resulted in shocking working conditions for China’s couriers. Now the workers are pushing back.

China’s ‘common prosperity’ drive hits a snag as local officials wonder how to put policy in place
China’s plan to reduce wealth inequality is being hampered by confusion, especially at the local level, about how best to help the poor. The country’s development needs vary significantly from province to province, meaning a one-size-fits-all approach does not work.

China will cut interest rates further to stabilise economy, Yu Yongding says
Former central bank adviser Yu Yongding believes China has policy tools to prevent severe capital outflows. The yuan’s flexibility can also improve further to offset the impact on monetary policy independence from cross-border capital flows.,2022:newsml_L2N2VH025:5-ex-pboc-adviser-expects-china-to-cut-rates-further-china-securities-journal/

China could make two small changes that don’t cost the Earth to phase out coal
A study has found that the central government’s policy framework is already suitable for facilitating a rapid curbing of coal market development, but the incentive structure for local governments and state-owned enterprises needs to be improved. The indicators could be based on, for example, the carbon intensity of provincial economies (in keeping with the target of the 14th five-year plan to reduce the carbon intensity of the national economy by 18 per cent), or the collective provincial performance under China’s emissions trading system (which has been suggested to be an information-gathering instrument more than a direct price setter). If provincial cadres start factoring in such measures in the same way that they have incorporated economic growth targets in their policies over past decades, this will be a major step towards a national coal phase-out. Besides, rather than investing in coal capacity, the Chinese state could use part of its income from state-owned enterprises to set up a fund to compensate communities and companies that have either closed down facilities or forgone a planned expansion. These proposed institutional changes could trigger climate mitigation at a globally significant scale at negative economic costs and – with a functioning compensation mechanism – at no harm to vested interests. In this way, China can single-handedly make relatively minor changes that drastically reorient itself – and the world – onto a development path consistent with the ambitious climate change mitigation commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index drops nearly 4% as investors monitor China’s Covid wave
Investors continued to monitor developments around the Russia-Ukraine war and Covid wave in China, both of which threaten to further disrupt global supply chains. The U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan are set to announce their interest rate decision later this week.

Chinese tech giant Tencent plunges 10% after report of record anti-money laundering fine
Tencent shares dived in Hong Kong on Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported the Chinese tech giant could face a record fine for violating anti-money laundering rules. Tencent shares fell nearly 10% to close at 331.80 Hong Kong dollars ($42.38), their lowest closing level since Dec. 5, 2019. Hong Kong-listed shares of other Chinese tech names also took a battering on Monday as already-fragile sentiment towards the country’s internet sector continues to get tested.

China banker optimistic deal on US accounting can be reached to ease delisting concerns, calls sell-off ‘somewhat irrational’
The SEC listed five companies on a provisional list for delisting, triggering the biggest sell-off in US-listed Chinese stocks since the 2008 financial crisis. The sell-off was ‘somewhat irrational, CICC banker Wang says, adding that it’s too early to conclude they will be struck off.

China tech crackdown: Beijing to tighten regulation on internet platforms that profit from teenage users
The regulatory tightening comes as shares of Chinese game and live-streaming companies are being hammered in Hong Kong amid broader market volatility. Beijing has already banned profit-making in off-campus tutoring to reduce the burden on students, and has limited video game playing time for teenagers.

China Slams Firms for Falsifying Carbon Data
China’s environment ministry has slammed firms for falsifying carbon data, part of the country’s efforts to improve data quality as it prepares to expand its national emissions trading scheme into more industrial sectors. The findings published on Monday follow a campaign launched by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) in October-December last year aimed at ascertaining the accuracy of carbon emission verification reports submitted across the country. “Accurate and reliable data is the lifeline for the effective and standardized operation of the carbon emissions trading market,” the MEE said in a statement on Monday.

Chinese automaker SAIC pours $43bn into advanced tech: chairman
Self-driving cars will be mass-produced, Chen Hong says. SAIC Motor plans to invest 300 billion yuan ($43 billion) in advanced technologies over the five years through 2025, the Chinese automaker’s chairman told Nikkei. The spending focuses on new-energy vehicles — which include electrics and plug-in hybrids — as well as connected and smart cars, including autonomous driving tech, Chen Hong said. SAIC aims to lift sales of new-energy vehicles to more than 2.7 million units in 2025, a 270% increase from 2021.

Evergrande EV unit gets China’s permission to begin vehicle sales
First model under Hengchi brand will enter highly competitive domestic market Embattled Chinese property company China Evergrande Group’s electric vehicle unit has obtained sales approval from authorities for its initial vehicle, Nikkei has learned. China Evergrande New Energy Vehicle Group has already “lined off” its first mass-produced car under the Hengchi brand and will start selling the SUV soon.

Chinese graphite stranglehold threatens global EV ambitions
A rise in demand for electric cars is seen as boosting demand for graphite, a key battery component. As battery and EV-makers look to secure supplies, China’s domination of the graphite market has come under the scanner.

In Congo, China Hits Roadblock in Global Race for Cobalt
For more than a decade, Chinese companies have spent billions of dollars buying out U.S. and European miners in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s cobalt belt — the world’s richest source of a mineral that has become critical to the global transition to cleaner energy. Now the Chinese firms are running into trouble after a court ordered one of the largest to temporarily cede control of one of its mines. Just one electric vehicle can require between 10 and 30 pounds of cobalt to build its battery, depending on the manufacturer, though.

The Commodities Feed: Supply risks vs. China Covid concerns
However, the market could be focusing more on the latest Covid developments in China. More than 3,300 new cases were reported on 12 March. The rising number of cases has seen the city of Shenzhen go into lockdown. This will raise concern over the potential hit to demand. But also importantly, it suggests that China is not ready to let go of its zero-covid policy. In China, weaker than expected credit data has also weighed on sentiment. However, the latest severe Covid outbreak in some Chinese megacities is more worrying amid the upcoming stronger demand season. Some cities such as Shanghai are seeing the worst outbreak since early 2020, which has prompted a flurry of restrictions or partial lockdowns.

JD Logistics to buy rival Deppon for $1.4 billion
JD Logistics, a Hong Kong-listed logistics arm of the e-commerce giant JD, has entered an agreement to buy a 67% stake in courier rival Deppon Logistics Co., Ltd. for RMB 9 billion ($1.4 billion).

The more things change, the more China’s Xi Jinping focuses on stability
China’s president projects stability in a ‘turbulent era’ as he is about to start a third term as the Communist Party’s head. Xi signalled assurance to the coal and agricultural sectors and contrasted the ‘orderly governance of China’ with ‘the chaos of the West.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang highlights his caring side as he bows out
Unlike his predecessors, there was no grand gesture in his last big set piece. Instead there was an emphasis on his efforts to protect people’s livelihoods. Li steered clear of controversy in his final press conference, but focused on the plight of trafficked women, migrant workers, and delivery drivers.

Ukraine war, inflation put China’s GDP growth target at risk
China’s GDP growth, inflation and budget deficit targets could be in tension with easier monetary policy to support domestic demand. The Ukraine crisis has wide implications for global business activity when growth is slowing.

Top US and Chinese officials hold high-stakes meeting in Rome
US national security adviser Jake Sullivan met Monday with top Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Rome, Chinese state broadcaster CGTN reported. The Chinese state media report provided no further details on Monday’s meeting, including the exact timing, what was discussed and whether the meeting had concluded.

US and China to meet in Rome for high-level talks focusing on Ukraine
Jake Sullivan, US national security adviser, will travel to Rome on Monday for high-level discussions with Yang Jiechi, China’s top foreign policy official, that are expected to focus on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The White House said Sullivan would lead a delegation of National Security Council and state department officials for what would be only his third meeting with Yang since the Biden administration took office in January last year. “This meeting is taking place in the context of Russia’s unjustified and brutal war against Ukraine and as China has aligned itself with Russia to advance their own vision of the world order,” said one person familiar with the agenda, adding that they would discuss the impact of the Russian invasion on “regional and global security”. The “war in Ukraine will certainly be a significant topic of conversation”, said the person. “It is important for PRC [People’s Republic of China] officials to hear directly from the [US] national security adviser.”

Ukraine crisis: US warns China against helping Russia
The US says China will face harsh “consequences” if it aids Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, according to US media reports. In a CNN interview, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said they were “communicating directly, privately to Beijing that there will absolutely be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them”. “We will not allow that to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from these economic sanctions from any country, anywhere in the world,” he said. In response, a spokesman for the foreign ministry in Beijing, Zhao Lijian, said the US was spreading disinformation. Mr Sullivan is due to meet Yang Jiechi, a member of China’s top decision-making body, the Politburo, and the head of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission, on Monday in Rome. Reuters news agency quoted a US official as saying that during the meeting, Mr Sullivan would spell out the consequences and isolation China would face if it increased support for Russia. China has so far refrained from condemning Russia for the invasion and has said Moscow’s “legitimate security concerns” should be taken seriously. But Beijing at the same time has expressed “unwavering support” for Ukraine’s sovereignty. It has also called for peace and has said it is ready to help end the war through diplomacy. Several countries have urged China to do more to stop Russia’s invasion.

How China Can End the War in Ukraine
My recent commentary, “Only China Can Stop Russia,” stirred up strong arguments on both sides of the increasingly contentious debate over the horrific war in Ukraine. While most in the West recognize the need for extraordinary actions in extraordinary times and agree that China has an important role to play in resolving the conflict, those sympathetic to Russia’s concerns over border security and NATO enlargement argue that China has no reason to weigh in. But both posed the obvious and important follow-up question: What exactly can China do to restore peace and stability to Ukraine? To be sure, as underscored in its recent partnership accord with Russia, China has expressed concerns over NATO expansion and Russia’s border security. Again, this is where China can take the lead in arguing these concerns in an emergency G20 forum. In assuming a leadership position, China will have ample opportunity to play the role of honest broker in weighing the risks and resolving this debate. But the war must end first. Xi has been determined and methodical in charting a new path for China over the past ten years. At times his rhetoric has soared, steeped in aspirations of rejuvenation after a century of humiliation, great-power status for a “modern socialist nation” by 2049, and, more recently, “common prosperity” for the world’s largest population. Yet at some point, rhetoric starts to ring hollow. This crisis calls for more than slogans and promises: It is China’s opportunity to demonstrate that it is willing to step up and act on its long-sought goal of a responsible global leadership. That may well raise tough questions for the rest of the world. But that’s our problem. After all, we in the West have not done a particularly good job in preventing this tragedy. The message bears repeating: Only China can stop Russia.

Will China heed US, European calls to help restrain Russia in Ukraine?
Both Washington and Brussels have urged Beijing to step in and take action against Moscow. But relations with the US are clouding prospects, analysts say. The first big chance for Beijing and Brussels to test that willingness will be at the EU-China summit on April 1, which was skipped last year amid tit-for-tat sanctions and the stalling of a major investment agreement. Both parties have shown eagerness to mend relations, but European sources in Beijing said they were worried that there could be little show apart from goodwill gestures. “If China was willing to take on a genuine mediation role, I don’t think the US would have any inherent objections. The question is what responsibilities China is really ready to assume,” Small said. “They can’t do the detailed work of mediation, lacking any familiarity with European security issues, and they don’t seem willing to exert any quiet pressure on Moscow as part of the process, which is implicitly what the Europeans are hoping for. “In fact what China has done with Russia is precisely the opposite of this – refusing to coordinate even modestly with the US or Europeans, conveying US attempts to do so directly to Moscow, holding the pro-Russian line in private, and very publicly agreeing a ‘no limits’ partnership.”

China–US cooperation is the key to peace
More and more people in Japan and South Korea want to their own nuclear weapons, and Russia has launched a war against Ukraine that challenges the fundamental principles of the world order: territorial sovereignty and the non-use of force to address international disputes. Even on climate change, China–US cooperation remains hesitant and limited. This is just the beginning — the worse is yet to come. Seven years ago, when the world celebrated the 70th anniversary of the victory of the anti-fascist war, few people appreciated the fact that the post-World War II world order is not just liberal, but more importantly, realistic and pragmatic. It is realist and pragmatic because its founders realised that, if the world wants peace, countries need to acknowledge and respect each other’s core interests, especially those of the great powers. China and the United States need to stabilise and improve their relations based on shared interests and stakes, rather than competing and confronting each other over conflicts of interests and values, or over ideological aspirations. They must work together to maintain the international order on this basis. Other countries need to encourage China and the United States — it is in their own interest to do so. Under the current circumstances, this may sound like wishful thinking. But if China and the United States want to defend their interests — and if the world wants to defend the international order — they have no better alternatives. For this to happen, our leaders need to demonstrate foresight, political wisdom and courage if they want to leave a positive historical legacy. They can begin with finding a way to put an end to the current Ukraine crisis. We hope they can do this before it is too late.

The Winner in Ukraine Won’t Be Russia or America. It Will Be China.
A seat at the European table won’t be too much to ask for the man who saves Europe from nuclear war  So where is resistance to Chinese overtures for diplomatic predominance over the Ukraine crisis going to come from? Probably not from Germany, which recently authorized a major Chinese acquisition in the Port of Hamburg, where Chancellor Olaf Scholz cut his teeth as mayor. Not from France, which has inked at least $45 billion worth of Chinese deals since 2019, including $15 billion for national champion Airbus to supply China with 300 jets. Not from smaller countries like Hungary, which hides Chinese infrastructure investment from Brussels by using shell companies that borrow from Chinese lenders, or Greece, which has given China a 35-year lease on Europe’s largest sea port. EU elites in general have been happy to watch the continent’s technology, design, production, revenues, and profits shift significantly to China — just as American elites have been made incredibly wealthy and satisfied by their own 20-year offshoring orgy. In reality, Europe is a fragmented continent increasingly distrustful of the reliability and sanity of the United States, unhappily but helplessly dependent on German economic interests, destabilized by serial crises, eager to diversify away from fossil fuels, and terrified by the return of Russian imperial power and the prospect of a nuclear exchange. Far from being strategically autonomous, Europe needs a partner and protector. And if the answer isn’t Washington, then Beijing is the only other game in town.

How will China’s Belt and Road Initiative fare when partners Russia, Ukraine are at war?
China’s ambitious plan to grow global trade has resulted in collaborations with 147 countries and 32 international organisations, but an uncertain outlook has cast a pall on development. Chinese authorities recently acknowledged that geopolitical risks facing the belt and road project are mounting, though Beijing is attempting to maintain ‘normal’ ties.

The Cold War 2.0 is overblown. China’s economic bailout of Russia is far less than it appears.
Experts tell Fortune that China is walking a delicate tightrope at the moment. Russia’s relatively small market size and international sanctions means there isn’t much commercial benefit for China to remain engaged with the country, but it is still reliant on two key Russian exports: energy and wheat. And they add that the projections of a “Cold War 2.0,” in which China welcomes Russia into its open arms, similar to what the USSR enjoyed with communist China up until the late 1950s, is unlikely. Some Chinese companies and services have provided relief to Russia while it is cut off from the rest of the world.  Experts say that even before it invaded Ukraine, Russia’s economy was relatively inconsequential on a global scale, and their departure does not represent a huge loss for commercial brands. “Russia’s economy is so weak, so small compared to what it could be,” Scott Kennedy, trustee chair in Chinese Business and Economics at the Center for International and Strategic Studies, a policy-focused think tank, told Fortune. “It’s not as deeply integrated into the global economy as others, so the downsides of sanctions and decoupling from Russia are relatively small. ”Some Chinese companies also haven’t been afraid to pull out of Russia already, as the scale of Western sanctions escalate. China, experts say, has been playing a cautious, wait-and-see game. Despite the rhetoric used to criticize Western sanctions, China’s activities in Russia would heavily depend on what direction the sanctions take. Should they encompass more sectors, the relatively meager business opportunities in Russia might not be enough to convince Chinese companies to continue engaging with the country. But even though China has deepened its ties to Russian energy and agriculture, experts say that the country has to be careful not to become dependent on these products. “Russia is a significant partner for China, but China has been careful not to be dependent on any one source,” Dollar said, pointing out that China has been increasing its energy imports from other countries. “I’m sure that in the current environment, China will be willing to buy some more oil and gas from Russia, but it probably won’t be a huge amount.” Also, as global sanctions continue to hit Russia, Chinese companies might find fewer and fewer incentives to continue operating there, and they don’t want to get caught in the crossfire.“ The Chinese do not like the U.S. and the EU imposing sanctions. China is already facing lots of sanctions from the United States, and they’re worried that that’s going to ramp up,” Dollar said.

Was China Betting on Russian Defeat All Along?
China has been seen by many as the most important ally of Russia in the invasion of Ukraine. However, after nearly two weeks of fighting, confusing episodes have been culminating around China’s attitude to the war. Regarding both the UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, China has abstained rather than voted on the side of Russia. Regarding the sanctions on Russia, China hasn’t shown much of a willingness to help thus far, and two major Chinese banks, the Bank of China and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, have even refused to help Russia process export transactions. Instead of supporting Russia, Chinese minister of foreign affairs, Wang Yi has called for de-escalation of the conflict. China seems to be pulling back its’ support from Russia, everywhere from diplomacy to economics. How would a Russian victory or a Russian defeat come into this picture? A Russian victory would definitely not be in the interest of China. By raising the population of the Eurasian Union, Russia’s broader sphere of influence, from 185 million to 226 million through the incorporation of Ukraine, and enhancing Russia’s strategic positions against the NATO and EU by eliminating a buffer country of 41 million inhabitants, Russia would become significantly stronger than it was before the war, and such a change would be close in geopolitical terms to a kind of re-establishment of the Soviet Union. Significantly stronger, which means less willing to cooperate with China, more willing to pursue its’ own great power agenda, to pursue it to a degree where it may even harm Chinese interests, aiming to position itself as a third player between the US and China equal to both, rather than the ally of China We don’t know whether if China has rolled back its’ support for Russia for the reasons stated above or not. We do know, however, that if China wanted Russia to win, it would need to adopt a different approach than the one that it is following right now, and the Beijing elite is doubtlessly aware of this. China may have concerns about Western sanctions in case it provided additrional assistance, however as Beijing didn’t seem afraid to embark on a trade war with the US and Australia before, these concerns would unlikely prevent it from helping Russia if it saw a Russian victory as something vital for its’ global aspirations. Thus, the simplest explanation is that China doesn’t want Russia to win because a victorious Russia would likely become too assertive to handle, while a defeated, weakened, isolated Russia would have no choice but become a docile strategic ally of China, granting access to the natural resources of Siberia in the process. Given the fact that China seems to have been aware of the Russian plans to invade Ukraine from the very beginning, and encouraged Russia to do so, only to roll back its’ support once the war started, this all suggests that China may have been betting on a Russian defeat all along.

Is China in a Bind?
By straddling support for the international order and support for Russia, China could be playing for time. This from ‘Xi Jinping places a bet on Russia: China’s backing for Vladimir Putin’s war is all about its contest with America’ in The Economist: ‘Chinese communist party elites can picture an endgame to the Ukraine war that suits China very well.’ ‘In Beijing, scholars and high-ranking government advisers predict that today’s shows of Western unity will fade sooner or later, as sanctions fail to break Russia and instead send energy prices soaring.’ ‘In their telling the conflict will hasten America’s decline and slow retreat from the world.’ ‘A crumbling of American-led alliances will then usher in a new global order, involving spheres of influence dominated by a few, iron-willed autocracies, China chief among them.’ ‘If Mr Xi believes his own rhetoric and is sure that China will secure the might-is-right world order he seeks, then Ukraine’s agonies matter less to China than might be supposed — as long as Chinese firms are not hit by sanctions on Russia, and trade ties with Europe remain intact.’ ‘Such self-absorption is good for domestic morale. It is a perilous way to calculate risks.’ And pretty perilous for the rest of us, as well. Maybe China is not in that much of a bind.

China’s secure contribution to peace in Ukraine
Dialogue and peace are to be promoted through four steps that must adhere to the purposes and principles of the United Nations’ Charter; respect and protect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity; adhere to the principle of indivisibility and security; and accommodate the parties’ concerns about their own national security. The People’s Republic of China – a recent friendly neighbour of Russia – insists on dialogue and negotiations to resolve disputes by all peaceful means. For China, it is important to focus on the long-term stability of the region and to build a balanced, effective and sustainable European security mechanism. Minister Wang Yi clearly and vigorously expressed China’s open, transparent and consistent basic position on the Ukrainian issue, saying that the vast majority of countries oppose the “new cold war” and the division of the world. Minister Wang Yi said that in the face of a turbulent and changing world, the People’s Republic of China has always represented stability and positive energy, and has always positioned itself in the right direction of historical progress. China will continue to take its responsibilities, to hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation and benefit for everyone, to promote the construction of a new type of international relations and contribute to building an international community with a future shared by all mankind. We are certain that only the People’s Republic of China has the possibility of making Russia see reason and leading it, first of all, to the cessation of hostilities, and to the organisation of a “Helsinki 2” Conference that would ensure to everyone – as forty-seven years ago – respect for the security of one another.

Sanctions on Russia’s central bank could undermine the US dollar for good
If central bank assets are no longer inviolate, then countries, especially China, could finally be pushed into dumping reserve dollars and cutting dollar reliance in trade, finance and banking. The attack on Russia’s freedom to use its foreign exchange reserves in support of its war effort appears to be particularly ill-considered. At a stroke, the United States may have tipped Russia, China and others into a definite decision to start dumping the dollar and hoarding gold, among other things. China, which has the world’s biggest foreign exchange reserves (some US$3.2 trillion as of January this year according to global database CEIC), has long been seeking to diversify out of dollars, which were revealed to have made up 58 per cent of those reserves at end-2014. As Chinese economist and professor at Tokyo’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies Yuqing Xing noted to me: “Freezing the assets of the Russian central bank will definitely make other countries, in particular China, nervous and think about diversifying their assets away from the US dollar.”

From Samsung to Sony, Asia tech grapples with Russia sanctions
Asia’s tech industry is scrambling to figure out how to comply with US sanctions on Russia, which potentially apply to shipments of everything from telecom equipment and smartphones to PCs and gaming consoles. Trade restrictions were slapped on Russia days after its invasion of Ukraine; they took immediate effect and could cover any product made with American technology. The suddenness and sweeping scope of the rules caught many Asian tech companies off guard. This has been especially true for those not caught up in the US crackdown on Huawei Technologies. “We quickly set up a team of eight people to study the economic sanctions and US export laws,” James Hwang, chair of Taiwan’s Getac Holdings, told Nikkei Asia. “They are so difficult, complicated and vague. I even had to look up the term ‘dual-use’, and we still aren’t very sure if our products fall into the scope of the controls.”

This Cold War May Come With a Second Front
Yoon Suk-yeol speaking at the National Assembly in Seoul, South Korea, on March 9. A former top prosecutor, Yoon won election as South Korea’s president, returning the conservative opposition to power after five years, and signaling a hawkish turn in the country’s relations with China and North Korea. South Korea is a prime example of how China’s pressure tactics have backfired.  But far from encouraging the Chinese leadership to become even more belligerent, the war in Ukraine is likely to give Beijing pause. Putin’s botched attack — and how it unified much of the world in condemnation and crushing sanctions — makes an invasion of Taiwan less likely. Ukraine, said Rory Medcalf, head of the Australian National University’s National Security College, “is an extraordinary example now of democratic solidarity building.” For many Western politicians, the lesson of Ukraine (like similar, bloodier lessons from the previous century) is that autocrats must be stopped before it’s too late. As the world divides again into hostile blocs, the new Cold War is looking truly global in a way the last one was not. That reality hasn’t been lost on Washington.“ Russia’s brutal attack on Ukraine reminds us that, for U.S. allies and partners facing authoritarian aggression, we need to provide the arms and other systems they need before an attack happens,” Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Politico. “The Republic of Korea certainly falls into that category.”

Why Taiwan matters to China (and the rest of the world)
The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has led many to cast their eyes over to China and its claims over Taiwan, but why does China attach such importance to the island nation?

Ukraine: How China is censoring online discussion of the war
China has sought to keep a diplomatic distance from the war in Ukraine, choosing to abstain in a UN vote condemning Russia’s invasion. It is also making concerted efforts to stifle strong views about the conflict on Chinese social-media platforms. It’s a fine line to tread. Only last month, Chinese leader Xi Jinping declared there was “no limit” to Beijing’s newly strengthened relationship with Russia.

China-US relations and 50 years of the Shanghai Communiqué
On the 50th anniversary of the Shanghai Communiqué this year, Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi made an interesting statement calling on the United States to jointly collaborate on the Belt and Road Initiative and the Build Back Better World (B3W) project. Initially perceived as rival projects of power assertion, the offer comes at an interesting juncture as Washington and Beijing prepare for the road ahead in the background of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

An Examination Of The Two Weaknesses In China’s Information Management System – Analysis
The internet age has presented new difficulties to the traditional information environment and control system. Even though China has an impressive information control system and capabilities, its management system has begun to display faults in the new environment in the face of major events that garner widespread attention. Comprehending the new information environment and the features of information dissemination would be crucial for the Chinese government departments at all levels to suitably adapt to the era of information explosion.

China’s internet watchdog pushes for deeper engagement with internet platforms in 2022 to clean, control online content
The Cyberspace Administration of China called on internet platform operators to improve online community rules and tighten control over certain user groups. Increased regulatory scrutiny of these operators last year resulted in effective curbs against the ‘chaos’ of celebrity fan culture, fake news and other issues online.

China and Russia are joining forces to spread disinformation
When Chinese leader Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the Beijing Winter Olympics last month, the two leaders signaled to the world that their relationship had entered a new era. In a joint statement, the two men spoke of reshaping the international order, and a crucial aspect of this strategy centers on information. In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the full scope of their ambitions on this front, taking shape over many years, is coming into view. The unfortunate fact, however, is that China has gone all-in with Russia in the peddling of clear falsehoods. This has made it virtually impossible, even in light of continued Russian outrages on the ground in Ukraine, for China’s leadership to change course and fully acknowledge the culpability of its partner. As the crisis in Ukraine continues to develop, China will be under growing pressure to speak out and make its position clear. But if it wishes to stand with the majority of the world’s nations in seeking peace and upholding the sovereignty of Ukraine, it will also need to end the strategic framework of disinformation that has inundated the Chinese media and Chinese cyberspace with pro-Russian lies. This, surely, would be a difficult choice for China’s leadership. And this week’s dangerous lies regarding the presence of U.S. biological weapons suggest it might be a path China is unwilling to take, concerned that it could risk a break with its only strategic partner in its effort to control global narratives.

Ukraine invasion: with the US distracted, China may have an ‘opportunity’ to expand economic influence in the Middle East
With US diplomacy focused on the Ukraine crisis, China could attempt to ‘advance its objectives’ in the Middle East, analyst says  Other experts contend Chinese companies have a specific agenda in the region, focused on getting materials like oil and gas.

You Now Need a Nucleic Acid Test to Enter or Leave Shanghai
As of yesterday, Saturday, March 13, those wishing to leave or enter Shanghai must have a negative nucleic acid test report from within 48 hours. The Shanghai government has also asked residents not to leave the city unless absolutely necessary, the city’s information office announced, citing the local pandemic prevention and control office. The move is one of a number of measures being put in place to prevent the further spread of the current outbreak in Shanghai.

Foxconn suspends iPhone factories in Shenzhen amid lockdown of China’s southern tech hub
The lockdown in Shenzhen, China’s tech hub, is the latest example of how the country’s zero tolerance approach to Covid is translating into supply chain disruptions. Foxconn has required all employees to take Covid tests, along with other measures to ensure their health and safety, a company spokesman said.

Shenzhen imposes a lockdown and Shanghai restricts nonessential travel as China’s new cases jump.
Two of China’s largest cities, Shenzhen and Shanghai, imposed stringent restrictions on Sunday on the movements of their residents, as a coronavirus outbreak continued to spread in the metropolis and across much of mainland China. While China still has far fewer coronavirus cases than most countries, the daily count of known infections has accelerated rapidly. The country’s National Health Commission reported 3,122 new cases on Sunday, up from 1,524 on Saturday and 1,100 on Friday, and a couple hundred per day a little more than a week ago. The average number of new cases has reached 1,370 per day over the past week, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

China locks down province of 24m as new Covid infections rise
Jilin residents ordered to stay at home and reservists sent to disinfect streets as 1,437 new cases reported across China.

China looks to military law to protect its overseas presence
PLA delegates at the ‘two sessions’ meetings in Beijing discuss how legislation can better protect the national interest. Experts say the country’s legal framework for its armed forces lags behind other major powers.

China plans digital version of national identification card later this year, premier says
Li Keqiang says the nationwide introduction would help meet the ‘basic living needs concerning daily lives’, especially for those living away from their home province. Digital IDs have been tested since 2018, and they are currently accepted in more than 15 major cities in China.

China leads world in top scientific papers, new study finds
Study takes a fresh look at calculation of most-cited papers, finds Chinese researchers ahead in volume and quality. But the rankings may change if the country closes itself off from the outside world, they warn.

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