The 'two sessions' begin, China refuses to condemn Russia's Ukraine invasion at G20 meeting, and report says China beating West in competition for critical technologies
+ China’s BGI, Inspur added to US trade blacklist and Trudeau rejects calls for public inquiry into Chinese election interference
Welcome to another edition of What’s Happening in China. In this week’s issue, all you need to know about China’s ‘Two Sessions’, China’s refusal to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at the Group of 20 foreign ministers’ gathering in New Delhi, and the findings of a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute that concludes China has established a lead in high-impact research across various domains. Keep reading to stay informed on these topics and more. Don't forget to share this newsletter with friends, family, and colleagues.
New here? Subscribe to get What’s Happening in China in your inbox every Saturday.
Feel free to send tips and feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org, or just hit reply. I want to hear from you!
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
The works council, which is represented on Volkswagen's supervisory board, in a statement following Ralf Brandstaetter's comments said the company must make clear the plant's value for the business and take a stance on human rights violations in China.
Reuters assembled this account of China's path to reopening after speaking to more than half a dozen people with knowledge of the discussions. The previously unreported details offer a rare window into deliberations among top Chinese officials and healthcare experts, including differences between Li and Xi about the pace of reopening. The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the subject's sensitivity or because they weren't authorised to talk to the media.
China on Wednesday (Mar 1) relaxed COVID-19 testing requirements for travellers from several countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia and New Zealand.
It is the first public confirmation of the FBI's classified judgement of how the pandemic virus emerged.
The Global Times warned Musk that he could be “breaking the pot of China” after the Tesla and Twitter CEO responded to tweets that asserted that the Covid pandemic originated in a Wuhan research laboratory.
POLITICS & SOCIETY
As China's rubber-stamp parliament gathers in Beijing this weekend, President Xi Jinping is officially set to kick off his third term, while China's Communist Party is gearing up for more institutional reform.
"The new line-up of the two sessions seems to reveal Beijing's clear priority to strengthen its technological capacity to achieve self-sufficiency and stay competitive with the United States," said Angela Zhang, director of the Center for Chinese Law at the University of Hong Kong.
Who Is Li Shangfu, China’s Next Defense Minister? – The Diplomat
Like Wei Fenghe, who also rose within the PLA under Xi’s tenure, Li will continue to be a steward of China’s defense modernization programs, which have received sustained and continuous support of Chinese leaders from Jiang Zemin to Xi Jinping. Moreover, as the highest-ranking state councilor and a CMC member, Li will enjoy direct access to Xi and serve as his key military advisor.
China has ordered closer adherence to the dictates of the ruling Communist Party and leader Xi Jinping in legal education, demanding that schools “oppose and resist Western erroneous views” such as constitutional government, separation of powers, and judicial independence.
Josh Chin and Liza Lin on China’s Domestic Surveillance – The Diplomat
China’s government has more and better access to individuals’ data than any other government anywhere else in the world, but it’s far from seamless.
Media Freedoms Report 2022: ‘Zero Covid, Many Controls: Covering China in 2022’ – Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China’s latest working condition report summarizes yet another tough and draining year in 2022.
In China, Lawyers Don’t Need to Keep Your Secrets – The Diplomat
Chinese law is deliberate about this. All interests ultimately bow to the state, not to the individual, the corporation, or the company. One cannot have attorney-client privilege in a state in which all information is considered fair game for the state to possess.
Struggling to woo applicants that are fewer in number, kindergartens once difficult to get into have now lowered their entrance thresholds, and some are close to shutting down.
The announcement comes amid growing calls to address short video addiction among minors. According to a report released by China’s gaming industry association last November, many children simply switched to short video platforms including Kuaishou, Douyin, and Bilibili after China restricted the time allowed for playing games in 2021.
China witnessed an overall increase in offenses against minors over the past five years, including an uptick in sexual assault cases.
Though the lockdowns hit the village hard, it also spurred innovation. With tourist revenues cut off, the villagers realized that tourism could be unreliable, and started focusing on making money by diversifying their crops.
As demand grows across China for outdoor activities that include camping, hot air balloon rides, archery, and water skiing, the eastern Zhejiang province has announced new rules aimed at regulating the sector and addressing mounting calls for better safety.
How to Price a Bride – Sixth Tone
Between 2018 and 2020, my fellow sociologist Jia Yujing and I conducted several short-term research trips to study marriage practices in this part of China. What we found suggests that bride prices follow a moral logic as well as an economic one. Indeed, the poorer a prospective groom, the higher a bride price his family is expected to pay. Conversely, the higher a groom’s family’s status or wealth, the lower the bride price.
A new section of Line 5 in Southwest China’s Chongqing opened on Monday, extending the megacity’s total rail transit network to more than 500 kilometers. Chongqing’s railways, which include the country’s first monorail, run across the mighty Yangtze River, navigate its mountainous terrain and even pass through residential buildings.
Renowned photographer Wang Yuwen, who captured generations of northeastern China’s working class amid rapid industrial transformation, passed away last Saturday, according to the China Photographers Association. He was 75.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to What's Happening in China to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.