China wants more babies; China’s women have other plans
The Chinese labour force population of people aged between 16-59 has fallen for eight straight years. Beijing has tinkered with policies to encourage population growth but examining gender balance among core leadership might be a starting point, say observers.
Chinese women’s group video challenges government’s idea of a real man
For years, Chinese state media has marked International Women’s Day with effusive praise for the country’s women, thanking them for their contribution and sacrifices to their family, society and nation.
But this year, a video asking pointed questions about deep-rooted gender prejudice disembarked from the usual compliments — taking Chinese social media by the storm. The two-minute clip, which challenges gender stereotypes for both women and men, is surprisingly progressive for a state-run publication. It is all the more remarkable considering some of its lines are a bold contradiction — and seemingly thinly-veiled criticism — of the Chinese government’s recent efforts to entrench certain gender norms, such as promoting often narrowly defined “masculinity.” The video was a collaboration between Chinese skincare brand Proya and China Women’s Daily, the official publication of the state-run All-China Women’s Association, to mark International Women’s Day on Monday.
As of Monday afternoon, it had been shared tens of thousands of times on Weibo and Wechat, two of China’s most popular social media platforms. A related hashtag — “It is prejudice, not gender, that draws the boundary” — had racked up more than 100 million views on Weibo, China’s heavily-censored version of Twitter.
China’s Female Students Want to Abolish Girls’ Day
Fed up with sexist, paternalistic “well-wishes” on Girls’ Day, young women on college campuses are fighting to reclaim International Women’s Day and the feminist values it was founded on
China’s January-February exports and imports above expected on strong demand
Exports grew by 60.6 per cent in combined figures for January and February compared to a year earlier, partly skewed by low base from 2020 Imports grew by 22.2 per cent in combined figures for January and February from a year earlier
China Exports Soar To Highest Level In Decades After COVID-19 Hit
Electronics and textile exports such as masks contributed to the spike in outbound shipments, as demand for work-from-home supplies and protective gear against the virus outbreak soared during the pandemic.
Why China can’t end its romance with GDP growth target
In a battle between those who love or hate China’s economic growth target, a compromise appears to have emerged: a goal low enough to be more easily ignored. China’s leaders have an ambivalent relationship with the gross domestic product (GDP) target they have set almost every year since the 1990s. It’s celebrated as the key to mobilizing millions of bureaucrats who compete for promotions by increasing growth rates in their provinces, and blamed for social evils from pollution to excessive investment and fake statistics. Uncertainties caused by the coronavirus pandemic led Beijing to drop the numerical goal last year, and there were expectations party leaders would do the same for 2021. Instead, China’s Premier Li Keqiang on Friday (March 5) set an objective of more than 6 per cent growth, with annual targets likely until at least 2025. Growing awareness of environmental destruction caused by the single-minded pursuit of GDP – a measure of the value of newly-produced goods and services in the economy – led the central government to begin warning about over-reliance on the goal more than a decade ago
China says manufacturing ‘greatness’ still 30 years away
China is at least 30 years away from becoming a manufacturing nation of “great power”, a government advisor told party delegates on Sunday.
Multinational Supply Chains in a Post-Pandemic China
China’s consumer spending, factory production, and private investments all experienced upswings in the second half of last year as China recovered from a COVID-induced recession. In the end, its economy managed to grow by 2.3 percent, making China the only country to experience growth in 2020. Still, supply chain shocks were felt around the world as countries scoured for masks and medical products. Shortages of other goods, like semiconductor chips, still exist today. Last week, President Biden mandated sweeping reviews of US critical supply chains, a first step toward preventing the shocks and that wreaked havoc last year. National security imperatives aside, economic growth predictions indicate that moving manufacturing away from China could be a long and arduous road.
‘Two sessions’ 2021: China is ‘30 years off being a top-tier industrial powerhouse’
Former industry minister says the country needs to plug huge gaps in basic areas before it can rise to the level of the US or Germany Bigger tax cuts and greater financial support also needed to lift manufacturing up the value chain, he says Before the coronavirus pandemic, China was known as “the world’s factory” but the health crisis disrupted the global supply chain. Meanwhile, China’s services sector has taken over as the country’s leading economic driver, accounting for 54.5 per cent of its economic output last year. The contribution from manufacturing slipped further to 37.8 per cent from 39 per cent in 2019. “We should emphasise the strategic role and contribution of manufacturing … and stabilise its share of the economy,” Miao said. “We should protect our most comprehensive manufacturing system and upgrade our self-reliance in industry and supply chains.”
‘I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This’: Chaos Strikes Global Shipping
The pandemic has disrupted international trade, driving up the cost of shipping goods and adding a fresh challenge to the global economic recovery. In recent weeks, shipping carriers have aggressively moved empty containers to Asia, increasing availability there, according to data from Container xChange, a consultant in Hamburg, Germany. Some experts assume that as vaccinations increase and life returns to normal, Americans will again shift their spending — from goods back to experiences — reducing the need for containers. But even as that happens, retailers will begin building up inventories for the holiday shopping binge. The stimulus spending plan moving through Congress may generate hiring that could prompt another wave of buying, as previously jobless people replace aging appliances and add to their wardrobes. “There could be a whole other subset of consumers out there that haven’t been able to consume,” said Michael Brown, a container analyst at KBW in New York. “You are potentially looking at some shortages for quite some time.”
China’s ‘two sessions’ 2021: Beijing zeroes in on eight core areas for country to become manufacturing superpower
The renewed focus on advanced manufacturing forms an integral part of China’s 14th five-year plan The strategy would help offset rising production costs, reduce reliance on foreign technologies and enhance competitiveness against the US
As China seeks to boost its legal muscle, what should the West expect?
The good news is that China is keen to continue supporting international institutions, using Western legal rules However, law firms currently dominated by US experts must brace themselves for fierce competition ahead
China will live up to its word on EU investment treaty: foreign minister
Wang Yi says China backs European Union playing a bigger role in global affairs But issues around labour rights and forced labour are causing a backlash from EU parliamentarians
China to revise anti-monopoly law
Legislation will rectify market irregularities, prevent foreign firms from abusing customer data
President of EU Chamber in China: 6% GDP target for qualitative growth
With the global economy still facing serious challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, China aims to achieve a higher than 6 percent GDP growth for 2021. “By setting it at 6 percent, I think his [Premier Li’s] message is to all the governors, to everyone across China is go for qualitative growth; don’t stretch yourself and go for quantity,” said Joerg Wuttke, the president of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China. According to him, China’s GDP growth would easily exceed 8 percent this year.
Technology key to China’s vision for the future as a world leading power
Ambitious road map unveiled at National People’s Congress to transform the country by 2035 Strategy presented along with five-year plan with focus on encouraging innovation and technological breakthroughs
China’s ‘two sessions’ 2021: plans for ‘Digital China’ transformation come with increased regulations for personal data
In a new work report and 14th five-year plan, China seeks to nurture digital industries such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and cloud computing Policymakers at the ‘two sessions’ are also speeding up the roll-out of two laws protecting personal information and data security
In China, Huawei’s smartphone star is quickly fading as US sanctions bite
The Chinese telecoms giant is expected to produce much fewer smartphones this year after US restrictions blocked its access to key hardware and software Plunging supplies of Huawei phones are forcing franchise retailers to close stores or switch to selling other domestic brands
Electric cars may get the chance of a lifetime to replace petrol guzzlers faster as they emerge unscathed in chips shortage
Global output of petrol-guzzlers may shrink by up to 700,000 vehicles in the first quarter, or 4 per cent of worldwide production, IHS Market said Ford slashed its first-quarter roll-out including the bestselling F-150 truck by 20 per cent, while General Motors said extended down time in Kansas, Canada and Mexico until mid-March will erode its 2021 bottom line by between US$1.5 billion and US$2 billion
China’s Carbon Neutral Opportunity: Economic Growth Driven By Ambitious Climate Action
China energized international climate ambitions in 2020 by pledging to peak emissions before 2030 and reach carbon neutrality before 2060, building upon an earlier European Union commitment to do the same by 2050. President Biden’s election has sparked hope the United States will follow suit at the United Nations’ COP26 climate summit in November 2021. Climate ambition on the part of the world’s three largest economies could set a new global pace. China and other countries are recognizing scientific consensus that only rapid decarbonization can prevent dangerous climate change impacts. And China also has a strong incentive to reduce local air pollution, a highly visible and deadly problem.
China’s EV war: titans driving revolution in sector spell out challenges and strategies
China’s consumers want next-generation electrics vehicles to be more intelligent, says Baidu’s Robin Li Not just a revolution to improve ourselves, we are joining hands with the right partners to transform the sector, Geely chairman Li Shufu says
Is Pinduoduo Ready To Compete With China’s Biggest Players?
During the first two days of the Chinese Lunar Year, Pinduoduo’s daily active users (DAU) surpassed Taobao’s for the first time in the company’s six-year history. Over February 12 and 13, Pinduoduo had 259 million DAUs, dwarfing Taobao’s 237 million. This landmark was even more notable given that the former did not cooperate with CCTV’s Spring Festival Program this year.US-listed Pinduoduo is the third-largest e-commerce player behind Alibaba Group and JD.com. Pinduoduo’s market value now stands at over $190 billion, and its founder, Huang Zheng, is now worth $30.6 billion, ranking him seventh on the China Forbes list of the country’s richest citizens.
China to roll out urban hukou welcome mat for rural residents in push for economic growth
The government plans to revamp residency rules to speed up the shift to cities to spur the economy and cushion blows from the US trade war The hukou system has blocked many migrant workers from access to social services and deterred them from spending, analyst says
China’s ‘two sessions’: billionaire tech investor Neil Shen sees drive to ‘Buy China’ at home and abroad
Shen tells state TV Chinese investment and policies make it easier for young people to start businesses But work still had to be done on intellectual property and market access, he said
US-China tech war: Drone giant DJI hit by geopolitical tensions, staff defections
Current and former employees say key managers have left DJI’s North American operation recently DJI was added to the US “Entity List” in December 2020
China’s restrictions on overseas academic exchanges ‘could harm policy’
A proposal submitted to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference says measures have gone too far Jia Qingquo does not advocate removing all limits but warns excessive approvals are hampering advice to government
China, the US and how tensions cloud climate change prospects
They are the world’s biggest carbon polluters and both need to act to make the fast cuts needed to stop warming the atmosphere Beijing and Washington have appointed veteran negotiators to but other issues threaten to get in the way
China aims for greener energy mix with higher non-fossil fuel target
Beijing’s 2025 goal is in line with climate commitments made last year by Xi Jinping, analysts say Wind and solar sources offer best potential, given nuclear reactor risks and little room for hydropower growth
China’s five-year plan could push emissions higher unless action is taken
Target is in line with previous trends and could mean greenhouse gas emissions continuing to rise
US senate approves bill to tighten controls on China-funded Confucius Institutes on university campuses
The Senate on Thursday approved by unanimous consent — without a roll-call vote — a bill that would increase oversight on Confucius Institutes, China-funded cultural centers that operate on university campuses, reported CNBC. “Confucius Institutes are under the control of the Chinese Communist Party in all but name,” said Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., who introduced the bill. “This bill would give colleges and universities full control over their resident Confucius Institutes and restore freedom of thought on their campuses.” In 2020, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., introduced a similar bill. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., one of that bill’s co-sponsors, said, “For far too long, the Communist Chinese government has attempted to infiltrate American universities through the disguise of the government-run Confucius Institute”, reported CNBC. The bill approved by the Senate on Thursday, S-590, would cut federal funding to universities and colleges that have Confucius Institutes on campus that don’t comply with new oversight rules and regulations.
How China’s foreign policy priorities could change in post-pandemic world
A push for economic self-reliance may have implications for international policies including the belt and road strategy Observers will be watching Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s press conference on Sunday for clues to any shift in Beijing’s focus
China will make ‘efforts’ to outlaw forced labor: Foreign minister
Wang Yi says China won’t drive a wedge between Washington and Brussels — but hails EU’s strategic autonomy. The minister also defended Beijing’s overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system, saying: “Hong Kong had no democracy whatsoever under colonial rule. In the 24 years since the handover, nobody’s cared more about Hong Kong’s democratic development than the central government.”
China and Russia should work together to combat ‘colour revolutions’, says Chinese foreign minister
Wang Yi, speaking on the NPC sidelines, said the two countries could work together to fight against mass protests in their region US President Biden may see colour revolution as an opportunity to bring about change in foreign countries, says analyst The joint effort to fight against revolution together with countries including Russia was brought to the table by China during a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Council of Foreign Ministers in Moscow last year. Wang Yi suggested at the time that the SCO member countries should “never allow external forces to intervene in the internal affairs of SCO member countries, never allow a colour revolution to succeed, or regional peace and stability to be undermined”. In 2015, Russia and China agreed at the 11th round of Russian-Chinese consultations on strategic security to redouble efforts to counter the threats of colour revolution.
The ‘Guyana incident’ and lessons for Taiwan’s international space
On 4 February 2021, the Taiwanese government announced the establishment of a ‘Taiwan Office’ in Guyana. Within 24 hours, Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared its continued adherence to the ‘one China’ policy and terminated the agreement with Taiwan. Unsurprisingly, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration in Taipei reacted angrily, accusing Beijing of bullying and suppressing Taiwan’s international space. The reality is that Taiwan’s foreign relations cannot be decoupled from cross-Strait relations. The expansion of Taiwan’s international space is possible with cross-Strait agreement and understanding, as the Ma administration demonstrated. Therefore, improving cross-Strait relations, which requires effort from both sides, is the key to ending the vicious circle. Fredrick Chien, former ROC Foreign Minister, stated long ago that for Taiwan cross-Strait relations are more important than foreign relations. But now the ruling party and public opinion in Taiwan have changed, and hostility across the Strait has grown. Unless either Taipei or Beijing changes its mind, the cross-Strait stalemate will not be broken any time soon.
China falls in soft power ranking but US loses its crown and tumbles
United States ranked worst in the world for its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, both countries still in the overall top 10 Germany takes the crown as the leading soft power practitioner in annual global index
China’s 6.8 per cent rise in military spending expected to stoke unease in region
Defence funding will reach US$209 billion in 2021, and Premier Li Keqiang says PLA will get a training boost Analysts say it reflects strong economic recovery and increase will be concerning for neighbours
China-US rivalry: Washington must keep pace with Beijing on military spending, analysts say
America ‘must work with allies to ensure they are capable of meeting the challenges and potential threats posed by China’, political scientist Larry Wortzel says Beijing’s latest spending plans ‘confirm that China’s leaders continue to prioritise military modernisation’, Centre for Strategic and International Security report says
Why a highlight of China’s Two Sessions could pose as a double-edged sword for Southeast Asia
Even as Beijing presses on with a ‘dual circulation’ economic strategy focused on domestic consumption, it needs regional partners to secure supply chains Asean members stand to benefit, but experts warn that amid the US-China competition smaller countries risk getting ‘trapped’ in China’s orbit
Japanese firms are ‘afraid’ and will leave Hong Kong due to China crackdown, SBI boss Yoshitaka Kitao says
Kitao highlighted Beijing’s national security law as a reason Hong Kong was now ‘not a good place for financial institutions’ ‘If I want to do business in China, I would rather have an office in Beijing or Shanghai or somewhere,’ he said
China’s military ‘resolutely supports’ reform of Hong Kong electoral system
‘This is an important agenda of the Communist Party, the nation and Hong Kong,’ Central Military Commission vice-chairman Xu Qiliang says
‘It must be done at all costs and it carries great significance,’ he tells NPC deputies from PLA and People’s Armed Police
Japan considers sending in troops to help meet China’s Diaoyu challenge
The Chinese coastguard has increased its activity near the Japanese-controlled islands, raising alarm in Tokyo Observers say tensions could be a test for the Biden administration
EU urges Beijing to tread carefully on Hong Kong electoral reform
European Union says China should consider the political and economic implications of any reforms which threaten freedoms National People’s Congress hears changes are needed to protect the city from interference by external forces
Don’t cross Hong Kong, Taiwan ‘red lines’, China tells US
But there is potential for common ground on climate change and the pandemic, Chinese foreign minister says Confrontation likely to continue even if two countries can work together on some issues, analysts say
China’s ‘two sessions’: Beijing promises Covid-19 vaccination for Chinese, even those living abroad
Foreign Minister Wang Yi says ‘Spring Seedling Action’ will ensure nationals receive either home-grown or foreign vaccine Beijing says a digital health passport will ease the flow of travellers and supply chain but inequality renders the concept controversial
CAMPAIGN TO DISCREDIT BBC REVEALED AS MEDIA CONDITIONS INSIDE CHINA CONTINUE TO DETERIORATE
A newly published report by the Australian Strategic Policy Initiative (ASPI) has documented how Chinese diplomats and other state-affiliated public figures engaged in a coordinated effort to discredit and undermine U.K.’s public broadcaster, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). According to the report, the effort came after the BBC published a report alleging systematic rape in Xinjiang’s detention camps, as well as the decision by the U.K.’s media watchdog to revoke the broadcasting license of Chinese state-owned television broadcaster CGTN. ASPI’s Albert Zhang and Jacob Wallis explained how Chinese diplomats and state media accounts coordinated unified narratives about the BBC on social media networks including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, describing the level of coordination and sophistication as previously unseen in international disinformation efforts:
Chinese Women Behind the Camera
Chloé Zhao and five more female film directors of Chinese descent to watch Female directors are increasingly calling the shots in both China and Hollywood. Beijing-born, Los Angeles-based Chloé Zhao recently became the second woman (and first Asian woman) to pick up a Golden Globe award for directing, while China’s Spring Festival box office was dominated by Hi, Mom (2021), a mother-daughter comedy written and directed by comedian Jia Ling. In 2018, Taiwan’s Rene Liu became the first female director to break 1 billion RMB at the Chinese box office with Us and Them (2018). That year, women directors directed three of China’s ten top-grossing movies. While 30 percent doesn’t seem like a huge proportion, women comprised a measly 4 percent of directors working on the US top 100 films in 2018, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. Hollywood has since made an effort to reach 12 percent women directors of top 100 films in 2019, and 16 percent in 2020. To celebrate these achievements, TWOC takes a look at female directors of Chinese descent—both established and upcoming—whose films have made domestic and international headlines in the past five years.
Chinese director of ‘Nomadland’ faces controversy at home
Chloe Zhao’s success — she’s the first Asian woman and the second woman ever to win a Golden Globe for best director for her film “Nomadland” — has not been met with universal applause in her country of birth. The Beijing-born filmmaker, now a leading Oscar contender, instead finds the news of her success overshadowed by a nationalist backlash regarding her citizenship and her identity. Censors have removed some social media posts about the film, which has raised questions about whether it will still be released in China.
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