Private economy boost, Kerry in Beijing, Xi meets Kissinger, and where is Qin Gang?
+ China wins 12 of 13 golds at diving worlds and stooping is suddenly cool
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Lawmakers Challenge Ford and Chinese Battery Partner Over Forced Labor – The New York Times
Republicans are raising fresh concerns about CATL, the battery maker Ford is working with to bring new technology to the U.S., and its connections to Xinjiang.
The shareholder association, which represents small investors on environmental, social and governance issues, had asked Volkswagen in its letter how it would ensure results were independent given heavy-handed censorship in the region and China's anti-espionage laws.
The carmaker did not directly address these concerns in its response, but said human rights were a key part of its behavioural code of conduct and that it adheres to the UN guiding principles for business and human rights.
Official Data Hinted at China’s Hidden Covid Toll. Then it Vanished. – The New York Times
The data was deleted from a provincial government website just days after it was published on Thursday. But epidemiologists who reviewed a cached version of the information said it was the latest indication that the country’s official tally is a vast undercount.
The number of cremations in the eastern province of Zhejiang rose to 171,000 in the first quarter of this year, the website said. That was 72,000 more cremations, a roughly 70 percent increase, than had been reported in the same period last year.
An analysis by The New York Times published in February estimated that China’s recent Covid wave may have killed between a million and 1.5 million people, based on research from four teams of epidemiologists.
The new data from Zhejiang — which is limited to a province of 65.8 million people — when extrapolated to the country’s population of 1.4 billion people, is roughly consistent with that range, experts from two of those teams said.
POLITICS & SOCIETY
Qin Gang has not been seen at any diplomatic events for over three weeks, just months after taking on the role. His mysterious absence has underlined the secrecy of Beijing’s top-level politics.
For students enrolled in discontinued majors, they arrived on campus full of high expectations for their future. Sadly, as the enthusiasm for their chosen fields has waned, their studies and employment prospects have become increasingly uncertain.
Criticized for their high-pressure tactics to get clients to make purchases, travel agencies in Yunnan province are barring journalists from taking their tours to suppress negative coverage.
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In some ways, China was always likely to be fertile ground for stooping. Though older Chinese traditionally shun second-hand goods, this isn’t the case for the country’s younger generations. The market for used goods here is predicted to soar from 300 billion yuan ($42 billion) in 2015 to 3 trillion yuan by 2025.
Jewish Conspiracy Theories Find an Audience in China – China Media Project
Anti-Jewish content and conspiracies take up significant real estate among the top results on Chinese media platforms including Douyin, WeChat and Bilibili. Though borrowed from the West, they have taken on a localized identity.
HONG KONG & MACAO
China's appointment of a top intelligence official to run Hong Kong's national security regime underscores its determination to tighten its grip on the financial hub, according to diplomats and analysts.
Dong's appointment comes as Hong Kong prepares to bolster its national security regimen with a new law, called Article 23, that Hong Kong officials say will encompass espionage and treason among other offences not covered in the 2020 legislation.
The authorities are considering cases of “soft resistance” and “internet loopholes” when drafting Article 23 – the city’s own security law, Secretary for Security Chris Tang told state-backed newspaper Wen Wei Po on Monday.
Article 23 of the Basic Law stipulates that the government shall enact laws on its own to prohibit acts of treason, secession, sedition and subversion against Beijing. Its legislation failed in 2003 following mass protests and it was not tabled again until after the onset of the separate, Beijing-imposed security law in 2020. Pro-democracy advocates fear it could have a negative effect on civil liberties.
Officers, some in tactical gear, arrested eight men and two women, carrying out stop-and-search actions on the anniversary of the mob attack. Police were accused of reacting slowly to the incident during the 2019 protests and unrest.
In a gaming competition with the China team, the Hong Kong player used a name which included the two Chinese characters for “Liberate,” according to the livestream of the competition.
A Hong Kong court sentenced a man to three months imprisonment on Thursday for allegedly insulting China's national anthem by splicing a protest song onto a video clip of a Hong Kong athlete being presented a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Taiwan is investigating a possible leak of official documents including diplomatic cables and classified reports on the island's sensitive bid to join a global trade pact, according to two officials familiar with the probe.
The Biden administration is steeling itself for potential Chinese government reprisals for U.S. transit stops by Taiwan’s Vice President Lai Ching-te as he travels to and from Paraguay’s presidential inauguration next month.
Taiwan’s Presidential Office confirmed on Monday that Lai will transit in the U.S. to and from the August 15 inauguration of Paraguayan President-elect Santiago Peña.
China sent dozens of warplanes, including fighter jets and bombers, toward Taiwan, the island’s Defense Ministry said Saturday, marking a forceful display days before the democracy plans to hold military exercises aimed at defending itself against a possible invasion.
Taiwan is due to hold its annual Han Kuang exercise next week, during which its military will hold combat readiness drills for preventing an invasion. It will also conduct the annual Wan’an exercises aimed at preparing civilians for natural disasters and practicing evacuations in case of an air raid.
Coming up next:
Kerry’s trip to China
Q2 GDP miss
Alipay and WeChat Pay now accept Visa and Mastercard
China’s addiction to coal
And so much more…
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