Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine
  13-17.7.2020, No. 825  
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Foreign Policy

What cards could China play in response to UK's Huawei ban? (Global Times)
When the UK made the unwise decision to join the US' politically driven crackdown on Chinese telecom giant Huawei based on fabricated "national security risks," it seemed to be ready to take the countermeasures from China even at the cost of the interests of the UK's businesses. As China is evaluating the development and is expected to take countermeasures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises, here is a list of the available options for China to fight back. Chief among the options, China could call for businesses to revise their investments in the UK. With the discriminatory act, the UK has made it questionable whether the country can provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries. The UK is China's largest investment destination in Europe. If some Chinese companies, especially state-owned enterprises, start to pull back investments and sell assets in the UK, this could cause more Chinese companies and even other Asian countries' businesses to reconsider their plans to invest in the UK. For UK companies in China, especially those largely benefiting from bilateral cooperation, the UK has complicated their situation by taking the first step of politicizing commercial and technological issues. The UK's interference in the Hong Kong issue had already made companies like HSBC suffer. HSBC's support of the national security law and further investment plans in China have clearly shown its objections to the UK's practice of curbing China. Companies like HSBC may start lobbying the UK government as their interests are further impacted. China-UK trade remains in a stable condition despite the impact of COVID-19. But since the UK has started violating free-market principles, China may take corresponding measures. China could even consider cancelling the UK' s most-favored-nation treatment. Overall, bilateral trade may see a decline, but China could tackle the impacts by expanding domestic demands. In terms of the financial sector, China is a vast market for the UK's financial services. If China starts to transfer parts of its financial cooperation with UK companies to their European competitors, their profits will see severe impacts. China can also expand the influence of the yuan in Europe and we can join forces with the euro. Following Brexit, it is very difficult for the UK to maintain the dominance of the pound in Europe. Because the EU is also reluctant to see the strengthening of the pound, it means that the yuan and the euro can gradually expand in the European market and finally suppress the pound. And this is feasible. The UK should not forget that China's economy has gained significant strength and the UK's available options are fewer than China's in a showdown over not just technology but also the Hong Kong issue. Of course, although China may fight back, it will not blindly escalate the situation. China's possible countermeasures are expected to be accurate, reciprocal and justified. It should be noted that the UK government has given a buffer period in its Huawei ban, indicating that banning Huawei is a difficult action for it to take. There is reason to believe that giving the UK some time, as more UK companies taste the pain and start to be dissatisfied, they will let the government understand that the Huawei ban is a very unwise decision and the UK should change its attitude, before it is too late. ^ top ^

Chinese netizens mock US consulate's 'Black Lives Matter' lecture in Guangzhou as 'ill-intentioned, hypocritical' (Global Times)
An upcoming "Black Lives Matter" (BLM) lecture organized by the US consulate in Guangzhou drew a backlash on Chinese social media on Thursday, with many Chinese netizens mocking the consulate for having "ulterior motives" of inciting a color revolution in Guangzhou, saying that the best place to hold such an event is the Oval Office. The US Consulate General in Guangzhou posted an announcement of the lecture, titled "Black Lives Matter, Beyond the Hashtag," on its Weibo account on Thursday, inviting people to attend the Saturday event. "It's been nearly impossible to avoid the phrase 'Black Lives Matter' in the news and social media over the past month, but there's more to the movement than a hashtag. Come join speakers Jason Boyd and Alexis Partee as they dive into Black Lives Matter as a civil rights movement and an activist group," the notice said. The consulate's BLM event goes against the stance of the current US administration. Almost two months after the BLM protests swept the US, the Trump administration continues to reject the movement. US President Donald Trump even called New York City's decision to paint "Black Lives Matter" on Fifth Avenue "a symbol of hate," US media reported. The post immediately drew the ire of Chinese netizens. Many slammed the US consulate general for attempting to incite unrest among Africans in Guangzhou, and asked it to hold such events in the US, and especially the Oval Office. "What's wrong with you? African Americans died in your country, but now you come to China to promote Black Lives Matter? Have you apologized for slaughtering the indigenous people of America?" one Weibo user said. "You'd better mind your own business before trying to make trouble in other countries. Are you trying to incite Africans in Guangzhou for a color revolution? Or are you feeling unbalanced when African Americans in the US stage protests but live a good life in China?" another netizen said. Guangzhou is believed to host the largest African population in China. A total of 86,475 foreigners are currently living in Guangzhou, of whom 13,652 are Africans. In April, Western media outlets launched a smear campaign, hyping misunderstanding caused by China's strict epidemic control policies, claiming "Africans are discriminated in Guangzhou." US State Department even issued an alert in April advising African-Americans to avoid traveling to Guangzhou over concerns they could be targeted for quarantine by local officials. The claim was absurd and nothing more than a malicious attempt to sow discord between China and African countries, analysts said. China has implemented comprehensive epidemic prevention and control measures, which are applied to all groups, races and nationalities. In an email reply to the Global Times on Thursday, the US Embassy in Beijing said attending the event would provide "an accurate picture of the event, certainly more accurate than comments by netizens who have not attended." Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday that as the atmosphere between China and the US has been deeply poisoned by a series of US actions, Chinese netizens now tend to expect the worst from what the US does. In the latest and most extreme move, the Trump administration is reportedly considering banning members of the Communist Party of China and their families from traveling to the US. ^ top ^

Any motive to muddy waters in South China Sea doomed to fail (People's Daily)
China is firmly opposed to and strongly dissatisfied with the so-called statement concerning the South China Sea released by the US Department of State on Monday. The statement, in total disregard of the efforts made by regional countries to safeguard peace and stability in the region, is an arbitrary distortion of facts about the South China Sea and international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It heightens the tension in the region, deliberately drives a wedge between China and its neighbors, and makes groundless accusations against China. This irresponsible statement only exposes the US neglect of the history and facts of the South China Sea, and violated the US government's commitment of not taking sides on relevant disputes. The activities of the Chinese people in the South China Sea date back to over 2,000 years ago. China is the first to have discovered, named, explored and exploited Nanhai Zhudao (the South China Sea Islands) and relevant waters, and the first to have exercised sovereignty and jurisdiction over them continuously, peacefully and effectively. China's sovereignty over Nanhai Zhudao and relevant rights and interests in the South China Sea have been established in the long course of history, and are solidly grounded in history and law, which is in accordance with the international law, including the Charter of the United Nations and the UNCLOS. The Chinese side holds a clear and consistent position on the South China Sea issue, and always treats countries in the region as equals and exercises maximum restraint when safeguarding China's sovereignty, rights and interests in the South China Sea. Pursuant to the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) signed by China and the ASEAN Member States in 2002, China is committed to resolving territorial and jurisdictional disputes through friendly consultations and negotiations with sovereign states directly concerned and to jointly maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea with ASEAN countries. Currently, with the joint efforts of China and ASEAN states, the situation in the South China Sea is basically stable, and shows a good development momentum. China and ASEAN states have made much progress in cooperation in maritime search and rescue, marine conservation and scientific research. The talks on a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) are proceeding smoothly and speedily, with the second reading of the text already begun. In the Joint Communique of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Meeting, the ten foreign ministers of the ASEAN states welcomed efforts to complete the first reading of the Single Draft COC Negotiating, and said they were encouraged by the progress of the substantive negotiations. They also stressed that jointly safeguarding peace and stability benefits all parties. Amid the ongoing global efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, China has worked with ASEAN states to fight the public health crisis in good faith. Both sides have assisted and supported each other, and further strengthened mutual trust. Ships and planes carrying anti-epidemic supplies sail in and fly over the South China Sea, a body of water that's witnessing mutual assistance and cooperation between China and ASEAN. The US, as a country outside the region, wishes nothing but chaos in the South China Sea so that it can gain from the muddied waters. To this end, it goes to great lengths to stoke troubles and sow discord between China and other regional countries. It flexes its muscles by sending the most advanced aircraft and vessels to the South China Sea, and frequently jeopardizes regional peace and stability with its navigation hegemony practices. Without doubt, it is the US who started to militarize the South China Sea, sabotages and interferes in peace and stability of the region. Under the pretext of the South China Sea issue, the US drives a wedge among regional countries, which runs counter to the regional countries' pursuit of peace. Recently, the US has purposely sent powerful military force to the relevant waters for large-scale exercises, which only revealed its malicious motives to promote militarization of the South China Sea. Relevant countries must remain highly alert. Peace and stability in the South China Sea is vital to the security, development and prosperity of the countries and the well-being of the people in the region. To realize peace, stability, prosperity and development in the South China Sea is a shared aspiration and responsibility of China and ASEAN Member States, and serves the common interests of all countries. China will stay committed to safeguarding its sovereignty and security, maintain the friendly cooperative relations with regional countries, and resolutely safeguard peace and stability in the region. The US tricks to stir up troubles will be in vain, and so will its motive to muddy the waters in the South China Sea. ^ top ^

US travel ban on CPC members 'paranoid,' risks dragging ties to 1972: analysts (Global Times)
The Trump administration is reportedly considering banning members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and their families from traveling to the US, a paranoid and McCarthyist move driven by ideological bias that will drag bilateral ties back to 1972, analysts said. The presidential proclamation, still in draft form, could authorize the US government to revoke the visas of CPC members and their families who are already in the country, leading to their expulsion, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. Members of the People's Liberation Army and executives at state-owned enterprises may also face travel restrictions to the US. The newspaper, which is usually harshly critical of US President Donald Trump, noted that the president might ultimately reject the proposal. As the CPC has more than 91 million members in China, the travel ban targeting CPC members and their families would affect a wide range of Chinese people and rock the already strained China-US ties. The travel ban is unrealistic and fully displays a Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice, Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times. The travel ban, once it starts, would probably be followed by reciprocal measures from China, and would ruin the decades-long bilateral ties and draw the relationship back to 1972 with few people-to-people exchanges and the cutting of trade exchanges and investments, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Thursday. 1972 marked the year when then US president Richard Nixon visited China, starting the process of the normalization of China-US relations. The two countries established formal diplomatic relations in 1979. Bilateral trade, investment, cultural, education and people-to-people exchanges have flourished since then. Chinese students have been the largest source of foreign students in the US for 10 years. In 2019, the US had around 370,000 Chinese students, according to the Institute of International Education. Some US politicians are paranoid and have always wanted to create a split between the CPC and Chinese people, but seem not to think further about who nurtures the CPC. The CPC comes from the Chinese people, and it cannot be alienated from the Chinese people. The US' sanctions and attacks against the CPC are imposed on the Chinese people, Xin said. The 99-year-old CPC had 91.91 million members, with 4.68 million primary-level Party organizations as of the end of 2019, according to the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee. In less than 100 years, the CPC has seen its membership grow from more than 50 when it was founded in 1921, and 4.49 million in 1949 when New China was founded, to more than 91 million. The US is trying to drag China into an ideological war and a similar Cold War battlefield from decades ago. By portraying the CPC as a "tyrant," the US wants to whitewash its image as the "beacon of freedom" and "democracy" to form domestic consensus and pull distracted allies together to contain China, Xin said. Many Chinese netizens believed the possible ban will become another US policy that is all talk without action, and some said the US has become increasingly deranged in its China policies out of pure jealousy of China. "Now, the US is simply jealous of China, and the more the US fails, the crazier it becomes. Its growing craziness revealed its failure and total disgrace to the whole world," a netizen surnamed Huang commented. Wang Wen, a professor and executive dean of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Thursday that the ban on CPC members is nonoperational as neither the passports nor other required materials show the CPC member identity in applying for a visa to the US. Like US sanctions on Chinese officials over Hong Kong affairs, it is just a paper tiger that has no actual effect, Wang said. Wang has visited the US some 50 times, and his 10-year visa to the US was canceled in 2019. As a CPC member, Wang said "it makes no difference to me whether I go to the US, and each time I visited the US, I was invited by the US side… The next time I visit the US, I am sure it will still be at an invitation from the US side." He said he has been to 100 countries, and he would proudly tell them he is a CPC member each time he's asked. Wang also refuted groundless claims that Chinese people apply for CPC membership to get promoted in their career. This claim is illogical. CPC members are among the outstanding people in all walks of life. And most of those who applied to the frontline to fight disasters or coronavirus were CPC members and the backbone of society are CPC members, Wang said. Many well-known entrepreneurs like Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, and Wang Jianlin, founder of Dalian Wanda Group, are CPC members. US politicians, including Pompeo, have frequently tried to place Chinese people in opposition to the CPC. In the latest example, the US National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said in an article published by the Washington Post on Monday: "Under Marxism-Leninism, the self-proclaimed ideology of the Chinese Communist Party, individuals do not possess inherent value. People are merely a tool to achieve the ends of the collective nation-state." Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying slammed O'Brien's article on Wednesday, saying the CPC represents the fundamental interests of the vast majority of the Chinese people, seeks to advance their interests and serve them heart and soul. People's interests are its guiding compass, which is why the CPC has maintained a satisfaction and support rate of higher than 90 percent for many years. "The CPC leadership has enabled China to grow into the world's second biggest economy without resorting to warfare, colonialism or slavery, which is unprecedented in past decades. The CPC puts people and lives first. In stark contrast, the US parties put selfish political gains and capital first," Hua said. Pathetic US In response to the report on the possible travel ban, Hua Chunying, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told a press conference on Thursday that the move only makes people feel pathetic about the US. It also violates the international code and will do no good to the US' image. "As the most powerful country in the world, what impression will the US leave on the world apart from various sanctions it imposes on others?" Hua said. It also revealed an old trick that the US has been using since the Cold War, which was to place a country's people in opposition to its government so that it would face weak resistance when launching attacks on the country, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times. "The international community has clearly seen the chaos and disaster the US' tricks have brought the world, and this misjudgment from the US can only harm the world without benefiting itself," Li said. The US has intensified pressure on China recently on various issues, including the South China Sea, Hong Kong and Xinjiang. Analysts said that it showed the US is desperately trying to decouple with China in key areas, as it knows a complete decoupling is impossible. Li predicted that in the next four months before the presidential election starts, the US will launch more attacks targeting China in the military, political and public opinion domains, which will help its politicians gain more votes. Diao noted that some politicians, including US State Secretary Mike Pompeo and Peter Navarro, President Trump's top trade adviser, are using Trump's eagerness to win the election to play all their cards against China. Their extreme and unreasonable behavior of stirring up confrontations between China and the US is not driven by national interests but ideological bias. They have realized the US is declining but can do nothing to stop it. All they can do is spare no efforts to contain a rising China, which has a totally different model from the US and made tremendous achievements in all key fronts, Diao said. ^ top ^

China-Africa trade takes big hit from coronavirus in first half (SCMP)
Two-way trade between China and Africa fell 19.3 per cent in the first half of the year to US$82.37 billion as coronavirus ravaged economies and cut demand for commodities. China, one of the biggest importers of raw materials from Africa, including copper, cobalt and oil, cut its imports from the continent by 31 per cent while its exports to Africa fell by 8.3 per cent as restrictions to curb the spread of the pandemic hurt both exports and imports, according to figures from China's General Administration of Customs. The world's second-biggest economy sold US$48.42 billion of goods in the six-month period and imported US$33.95 billion in goods and raw materials from Africa. South Africa, one of China's key markets for goods and also a source for raw materials, saw trade between the two countries fall by 27.6 per cent. China cut imports from South Africa by nearly a third, or 32.2 per cent, to US$8.68 billion while exports to the country slumped by about a fifth to US$6.20 billion, according to the customs data. Coronavirus: South Africa becomes continent's clear leader in Covid-19 infections However, the customs authority said the trade volume in the first half of the year was "better than expected". It said the world was undergoing profound changes due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the global economy plunging into a deep recession and a sharp contraction in international trade and investment. As a result, "China's foreign trade development is now facing a more grim and complicated external environment", it said. Analysts attributed the sharp drop in China-Africa trade to the fall in commodity prices as lockdowns and port and airport closures cut demand. Charles Robertson, global chief economist and an emerging markets analyst for Moscow-based investment bank Renaissance Capital, said that the fall in Chinese imports was commodity price-related and "so is a price, not a volume effect". "The fall in exports to the continent could reflect the lockdown in countries like South Africa – as well as a slowdown in investment projects," Robertson said. China is Africa's largest trading partner, having surpassed the United States in 2009. In 2019, two-way trade rose 2.2 per cent year on year to US$208.7 billion, though that gain was much smaller than the 19.7 per cent increase reported for the previous 12 months, according to figures from China's Ministry of Commerce. Ties between China and Africa have been bolstered by the Belt and Road Initiative, President Xi Jinping's massive trade and infrastructure development plan, which has funded the construction of roads, hydropower plants and railways across the continent. However, many belt and road projects are either on hold or at near-standstill due to coronavirus disruptions. Trade between the two sides was further interrupted by the decision by many African airlines to suspend flights with China, in line with the global response to the pandemic. More than 13.6 million people around the world have been infected with the coronavirus since it was first identified in the central city of Wuhan at the end of last year, including more than 580,000 who have died. China has reported 83,612 coronavirus cases and 4,634 deaths while in Africa, more than 644,000 have been infected and 14,044 have died. South Africa is the worst-hit country on the continent with 311,049 cases and 4,453 deaths. John Ashbourne, global emerging markets economist at London-based Fitch Solutions, said those were "very grim numbers". He also said that a large part of the drop in trade was due to commodity prices, which were much lower over the first six months of this year compared with the corresponding period in 2019. "I suspect that this was probably the biggest single effect on the overall number," Ashbourne said. China is the world's largest oil importer but demand for the fuel from suppliers in African countries like Congo-Brazzaville, Angola and Nigeria slumped in line with the economic slowdown, and its price nosedived on international markets. Brent crude prices dropped below US$20 a barrel to their lowest level since the Gulf War in 1991, and US oil futures fell into negative territory for the first time in history, but prices have since recovered to about US$40 a barrel. Ashbourne said coronavirus-related shutdowns might have also caused mineral and oil output to fall in some African economies. Ashbourne said the slump in commodity sales and prices went beyond China's trade with Africa. "Look at the figures for Chinese imports from Canada, for instance, which are also very dependent on energy and agricultural goods," he said. He said African countries would remain a key source of resources for China over the longer term but trade would remain weak and commodity prices depressed this year. "And with South African moving back into lockdown, disruptions to export-facing sectors are also likely," Ashbourne said. ^ top ^

China summons US ambassador in protest over 'HK Act' (Global Times)
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang on Wednesday summoned US Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, and lodged solemn representations over the US signing of the so-called Hong Kong Autonomy Act and related executive orders. Analysts said signing into law the so-called Hong Kong Autonomy Act indicates that the game between China and the US has turned into a "hand-to-hand combat" on Hong Kong affairs, which will force China to be more resolute in countering the US, and more intolerant to Hong Kong opposition forces' actions that may violate the national security law for Hong Kong. Zheng pointed out that the US Act and executive orders are aimed at viciously attacking the national security law for Hong Kong, scrapping the special status of Hong Kong, and threatening to sanction Chinese entities and individuals, which is blatant interference into China's domestic affairs, and severely violates the international law and the basic norms governing international relations. China severely opposes and strongly condemns the US conduct. In order to protect its righteous interests, China will fight back against the US and impose sanctions on relevant US entities and individuals. Zheng noted that Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. It is totally China's internal affairs for the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress to make the national security law for Hong Kong based on the Chinese Constitution, Hong Kong's Basic Law and the related decision of the National People Congress, and other countries have no right to criticize or interfere. The national security law for Hong Kong targets the behavior and activities of secession, subverting the state power, committing terrorist activities, and collusion with overseas forces to harm national security. It is to safeguard the rights and freedom of Hong Kong residents. The national security legislation for Hong Kong would help China safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests, as well as Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability. It will also serve to ensure the stable and long-term run of the "one country, two systems" principle. It has gained the firm support of Chinese people, including Hong Kong residents, and international society. Zheng pointed out that the so-called Act and executive orders concocted by the US are not concerned with the "democracy" and "freedom" of the residents in Hong Kong, but with attempts to obstruct and contain China's development. This attempt will never succeed. China urges the US to correct its mistakes, not to implement the so-called Act and executive orders, and to stop interfering in China's internal affairs. Zheng said that the US has also recently taken vicious actions to interfere in China's internal affairs and harm China's interests on issues involving the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Tibet Autonomous Region, and the South China Sea, which has further exposed the blatant hegemony practiced by the US. In this regard, China has and will continue to take countermeasures, and resolutely safeguard its own core interests. "I want to tell the US that any bullying and injustice imposed on China by the US will be resolutely countered by China. The US attempt to block China's development is doomed to fail. We urge the US to immediately change its course, stop defamation and provocation against China, and avoid going further on the wrong path," Zheng said. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the Chinese government firmly opposes the Act and strongly condemns it, and China will impose sanctions on relevant US personnel and entities to safeguard China's legitimate interests. ^ top ^

Defense white paper shows Tokyo's prudence between Beijing, Washington (Global Times)
Japan's Ministry of Defense on Tuesday issued a defense white paper. China has been a country Japan has attached great importance to in its defense white papers and this one is no exception. This year's paper continues its cliché about China. It continues to criticize China's legitimate military operations in the surrounding sea areas, airspace of Japan, and the South China Sea. On Diaoyu islands, it said that China has "relentlessly" continued unilateral attempts to alter the islands' status quo. When it comes to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the white paper said, "while actively providing medical goods and dispatching medical experts to countries where the infection is spreading, China has been making propaganda efforts in various manners, including the spread of disinformation." Tokyo has recently played tricks on the Diaoyu Islands. For example, Japan's Ishigaki Municipal Assembly approved a bill to change the Diaoyu Islands' administrative designation, which China firmly opposed. Tokyo also lodged its diplomatic protests with Beijing over China Coast Guard vessels' normal operations near the Diaoyu Islands. By virtue of the publication of the defense white paper, Japan may hope to express its dissatisfaction with China's moves on the Diaoyu Islands issue. Japan pays great attention to the islands and wants to sound louder in order to protect its security interests. In the initial stage of the COVID-19 outbreak, Japan spoke highly of China's positive achievements in the fight against the virus. The two countries engaged in extensive cooperation to jointly fight COVID-19. However, Japan later shifted comments about China's successful measures - these were partly because of pressure from the US. Washington has groundlessly slandered China's effective work against the virus. The US does not want to see China closely cooperate with Japan, a vital anchor for Washington to deal with Beijing. Therefore, Washington may have repeatedly put pressure on Tokyo to keep a distance from Beijing during this crucial period. Tokyo's blame over China's military operations and Beijing's work in coping with COVID-19 may also be a pretext for Tokyo to increase its defense budget and enhance the capability of the Self-Defense Forces. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been active in revising Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution to add a provision to recognize the Self-Defense Forces. Emphasizing imagined threats from China could be a public relations offensive to whip the Japanese public up into supporting this. Washington has stepped up its accusations and actions toward Beijing over issues such as the Taiwan question and the South China Sea issue. The US will continue to lean heavily on Japan to deter China by stirring up flash-points. A case in point: Japan may strengthen its patrol in waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands. As a close ally of the US, Japan has to coordinate with the US' strategy to suppress China. In this way, it can also seek its own interests. Undermining China's status in East Asia to boost Japan's regional status is Tokyo's actual objective. But joining the US may not always be consistent with Japan's intent. For example, Japan used to be prudent over China's Hong Kong affairs, as it worried that making public statements on Hong Kong could influence overall China-Japan ties. When riots raged in Hong Kong in 2019, Japan seldom commented. But when it comes to the national security law for Hong Kong, Japan joined the chorus of the other six members of the Group 7. In June, the foreign ministers of G7 made a statement accusing the law of undermining the "one country, two systems" principle and the territory's high degree of autonomy. Japan is also fully aware of the great importance of maintaining cooperation and positive relations with China. Due to the pandemic, the global economy has been gravely hit. Against this backdrop, economic cooperation with China is very significant. Despite pressure from the US, Japan will try to avoid souring its relations with China. ^ top ^

China, the Philippines should safeguard friendly ties: FM (Global Times)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday called on China and the Philippines to cherish the hard-won friendly situation, consolidate the political foundation for improvement of bilateral relations, and safeguard important achievements of cooperation between the two countries. The remarks came when Wang, also State Councilor, held talks with his Philippine counterpart Teodoro Locsin via video link. Wang said since taking office, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has made an important political decision and reached important consensus with Chinese leaders on putting aside maritime differences, controlling situations through bilateral consultations, and enhancing dialogue and cooperation. Wang said China is willing to continue working with the Philippines to launch a fast lane to facilitate people-to-people exchanges as soon as possible, and build "green corridors" for the flow of goods to contribute to the resumption of work and production. Expounding China's principles on the South China Sea issues, Wang said with the joint efforts of China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the situation in the South China Sea remains stable in general. However, the United States, out of its geopolitical needs, keeps making waves and promoting militarization in the South China Sea, said Wang, adding that the so-called statement recently made by the United States blatantly violated its commitment of holding a neutral position on South China Sea disputes, and is intentionally sowing discord between China and ASEAN countries in an attempt to provoke conflicts and damage regional stability. The United States' flip-flopping practice will only damage its own reputation, he said. Wang said China will continue working with regional countries, including the Philippines, to resolve maritime issues through dialogue and consultations, uphold the principles of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and reach a binding Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) as soon as possible. Locsin voiced the Philippines' support of the joint construction of the Belt and Road. Maritime disputes are not the whole of bilateral relations, Locsin said, adding that such disputes should not and will not undermine friendly relations between the two countries. He said the Philippines is willing to work with China to resolve disputes in the South China Sea through friendly bilateral consultations, actively promote maritime cooperation, and jointly safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea. ^ top ^

China, India make progress in border troops disengagement: Chinese FM (Xinhua)
The border troops of China and India held their fourth commander-level talks on Tuesday, with the two sides making positive progress in further disengaging the frontline troops in the western section of the border, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, made the remarks at Wednesday's media briefing. Hua said that the talks also helped to ease the border situation. We hope that India can work with China to implement the consensus reached by the two sides with concrete actions and jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in the border areas, Hua said. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Xi voices confidence in China's economy, pledges wider opening-up (People's Daily)
The fundamentals of China's long-term sound economic growth have not changed and will not change, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Wednesday in a reply letter to global CEOs. He also pledged that China will keep deepening reform and expanding opening-up, and provide a better business environment for the investment and development of Chinese and foreign enterprises. Writing back to representatives of Global CEO Council members, Xi said he appreciates their firm confidence in China's peaceful and open development, their commitment to staying rooted in China, and their constructive suggestions on China's economic development. China, he added, is dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic and socio-economic development in a coordinated manner, striving for a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and eradicating poverty. He said China will comprehensively implement major policies and measures aimed at ensuring the six priorities of employment, people's livelihoods, development of market entities, food and energy security, stable operation of industrial and supply chains, and smooth functioning at the community level, and ensuring stability in the six areas of employment, finance, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment and market expectations. China will foster new opportunities and create new prospects for Chinese and foreign enterprises, Xi said, adding that those CEOs have made the right choice to stay rooted in China. In today's world, the interests of all countries are highly integrated, the human race is a community with a shared future that shares weal and woe, and win-win cooperation is the trend of the times, stressed the Chinese president. China, he added, will be unswervingly committed to pursuing the path of peaceful development, making economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, and promoting the building of an open world economy. Xi expressed his hope that those CEOs will adhere to the principle of win-win cooperation and common development, strengthen exchanges and cooperation with Chinese companies, and contribute to the world economic recovery. Xi's letter was in reply to a recent joint letter from 18 CEOs of the Global CEO Council, which groups 39 multinational companies that are global leaders in their respective industries. The CEOs spoke highly of the fact that China, under Xi's strong leadership, has rapidly contained the coronavirus epidemic, taken the lead in resuming work and production, and played a positive role in supporting the global COVID-19 fight and maintaining world economic stability. They added that Xi's proposition on creating new opportunities out of crises and opening up new prospects in changing circumstances, as well as his resolve to unswervingly promote economic globalization in a manner that will be more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, have further consolidated their confidence in China and commitment to staying rooted in and serving China. In their letter, the business leaders also offered suggestions on China's economic development and international cooperation in the post-pandemic era. ^ top ^

Curtains rise again in Chinese cinemas (Global Times)
Movie-goers in China were thrilled on Thursday to hear that cinemas nationwide will reopen on July 20, under the requirement of careful social distancing, after being shuttered for about half a year. The first movie to greet them will be a Xinjiang youth film about love and friendship. The China Film Administration announced on Thursday that cinemas in low-risk areas can reopen starting from July 20, while those in high-risk areas will remain closed, as the country has contained the virus spread. To ensure the safety of viewers, cinemas that reopen must strictly implement epidemic-related measures such as the wearing masks, limiting seating capacity for each showing to 30 percent, reducing the number of films to half that of the pre-epidemic period, and banning food and beverages, according to the announcement. Moviegoers must occupy alternate seats with a space of at least one meter between one another. The intervals between showings will be extended for thorough cleaning and disinfection. The news dropped like a bomb among movie fans, who have been waiting a long time. Real-time searches for the keyword "cinema" on Chinese search engine Baidu surged 1,011 percent within an hour after the announcement. On social platform Sina Weibo, netizens gave the titles of movies they wanted to see, even though the playlists for the first day have not been released. These topics had been viewed more than 500 million times as of press time. Some netizens expressed their concerns over potential infection risks. "Despite strict preventive measures, the infection risks are still there. After all, cinemas are not like open parks. The possibility of sitting with potential asymptomatic virus carriers in a confined space for two hours really worries me," commented one Weibo user. A First Farewell, a movie filmed in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region that tells the story of a Xinjiang boy with his friends and mother, was the first movie identified for release on the resumption day. The director of the movie Wang Lina told the Global Times on Thursday that she hoped viewers could feel the warmth of theaters through her movie after such a long hiatus. As the epidemic in China has eased, it is about time to reopen cinemas, said Wang Peiyu, a deputy head of Peking University's School of Public Health. Wang also stressed the importance of rigorously carrying out the preventative measures in cinemas considering the high infection risks posed by confined spaces and high density of viewers. After experiencing a long downturn due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the announcement has brought hopes to the film industry in China. Alibaba Pictures said on Thursday that "it has fully prepared to resume work" and plans to premiere some films such as the Oscar film 1917. IMAX and Wanda, China's largest exhibitor, announced they would expand a longstanding partnership with a 20-theater agreement, which underscores the value of IMAX to the impending reopening and long-term future of the Chinese exhibition industry, said a document that IMAX sent to the Global Times on Thursday. Ticketing platform Maoyan said it has confidence in the recovery of the film industry. "The resumption of theaters is a good start," the company told the Global Times. It said that it would cooperate with local governments to distribute ticket discount coupons to help the industry recover. However, Shi Wenxue, a film critic and teacher at the Beijing Film Academy, said that the resumption may not completely relieve the industry's financial pressure, as the strict operating requirements would affect cinemas' normal operations. Tian Qingxin, an employee of Daan Pictures, a Beijing-based film company, said that new films are unlikely to be released anytime soon due to a new requirement that the running time of each movie should not exceed two hours. ^ top ^

China's job market improves in June as economy recovers (People's Daily)
China's surveyed unemployment rate in urban areas stood at 5.7 percent in June, 0.2 percentage points lower than that of May, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed Thursday. A total of 5.64 million new urban jobs were created in the first half of 2020, completing 62.7 percent of the annual target, said the NBS. The surveyed unemployment rate among those aged between 25 and 59, the majority of the labor market, stood at 5.2 percent in June, down 0.2 percentage points from May. Meanwhile, the surveyed unemployment rate in 31 major cities was 5.8 percent last month, down 0.1 percentage points from May, according to the NBS. Liu Aihua, a spokesperson for the NBS, noted that positive changes have taken place in the job market in the first half of the year with the surveyed unemployment rate declining gradually as the country took a string of effective measures to stabilize employment and ensure people's well-being. Liu, however, acknowledged that the pressure on employment situation cannot be overlooked this year due to the impact of COVID-19, especially for some key groups, such as migrant workers and college graduates. Faced with higher employment pressure in urban areas, fewer rural laborers migrated to work in cities this year. The number of migrant rural laborers who had left their hometowns for work decreased 2.7 percent year on year at the end of June, the NBS data showed. The surveyed unemployment rate among job seekers holding junior college diploma or higher degrees and aged between 20 and 24, the majority of whom are fresh college graduates, stood at 19.3 percent in June, up 3.9 percentage points from the same month of last year. More work should be done to implement policies of cutting tax and fees and reducing social securities costs and rents for market entities in order to help them tide over difficulties and stabilize employment, Liu said. She emphasized measures to make the market play a better role in boosting the employment of college graduates while enhancing employment assistance to rural migrant workers and encouraging new business modes and flexible employment to help them find jobs in places close to their homes. Liu also expressed confidence in the generally stable employment situation in the second half of the year, saying the upbeat of the economy will lead to further development of enterprises and contribute to the stability and expansion of employment. The surveyed urban unemployment rate is calculated based on the number of unemployed people who have participated in the employment survey in urban areas, including migrant workers in cities. China will give priority to stabilizing employment and ensuring living standards this year, aiming to add over 9 million new urban jobs and keep the surveyed urban unemployment rate at around 6 percent, according to the government work report. ^ top ^

Xi urges all-out effort to protect people from flood (China Daily)
President Xi Jinping urged more effective flood response measures and all-out efforts to protect people's lives and assets as China upgraded its national emergency response for flood control to level II, the second-highest in the country's four-tier response system. In an instruction released on Sunday, Xi pointed out that waters in the Yangtze River and the Huaihe River, as well as the Dongting Lake, Poyang Lake and Taihu Lake, had exceeded warning levels, and the flood control situation is grim. Xi said the severe flood disaster in Chongqing municipality and Jiangxi, Anhui, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces has caused casualties and losses of assets. At this critical time for flood response work, Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, instructed Party committees and governments of all levels to shoulder their responsibilities and take more measures to monitor the floods and relocate people in flood-hit areas. Xi required the relevant authorities, including the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, the Ministry of Emergency Management and the Ministry of Water Resources, to enhance coordination and mobilize rescue forces and flood relief materials. The People's Liberation Army and the People's Armed Police should take an active part in the flood relief work in the areas where they are stationed, he added. Xi instructed the relevant authorities to make plans for rebuilding work and restoring normal life and production as soon as possible and to help prevent people in the flood-hit areas from falling back into poverty. A total of 212 rivers nationwide have seen alert-triggering floods since July 4, and the water level in 19 of them has hit record highs, according to the Ministry of Water Resources. Meanwhile, with the water level of Poyang Lake, China's largest freshwater lake, exceeding its previous record high seen in 1998, Jiangxi has activated its highest level emergency response on Saturday, and military forces are participating in local flood control efforts. A total of 190 boats, 3,000 tents, 10,000 folding beds and 10,000 blankets have been sent to Jiangxi to facilitate flood control and disaster relief work, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management. Early on Sunday morning, the water level at Poyang Lake's Xingzi hydrological station had risen to 22.53 meters, 1 centimeter higher than the record in 1998, according to the province's water resources department. Incessant downpours and upstream inflows have kept the water level in the lake above its danger level since July 5, it said. The water level of the Jiujiang section of the Yangtze River was 3 meters above the danger level on Sunday and was still rising, local authorities said. Faced with the grim situation, the government in Jiujiang, Jiangxi, decided on Sunday to evacuate residents from its Jiangzhou Island. All people younger than 18 or older than 65 will be evacuated before Monday. People aged between 18 and 65, apart from those who are sick or disabled, have to stay to help fight the flood. From July 6 to Sunday, floods had affected about 5.5 million people in Jiangxi, with 475,000 people being evacuated from flood-prone areas. Floods also damaged over 510,000 hectares of crops and caused direct economic losses of 8.13 billion yuan ($1.16 billion) in Jiangxi, the headquarters said. After the activation of the highest flood-control response level on Saturday in Jiangxi, over 53,000 people were mobilized to fight the flood, including 6,525 from the Jiangxi Provincial Military Command and 2,537 from the People's Armed Police. "We will prioritize safeguarding people's lives and make every effort to fight against these historic floods," said Xu Weiming, secretary-general of the Jiangxi Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. ^ top ^

Beidou Navigation Satellite System mirrors China's ambition of independent innovation (People's Daily)
As a Long March-3B rocket blasted off at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China's Sichuan province on June 23, sending the last Beidou Navigation Satellite-3 constellation satellite into the space, China accomplished the full deployment of the Beidou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) constellation six months ahead of schedule. "Beidou", the seven brightest stars of the Ursa Major constellation, has always been a reference of navigation for the Chinese people, and its movement has been used since ancient times to indicate the seasons. In this day and age, the navigation system named after the seven brightest stars is providing high-quality services for the people around the world. Growing from strength to strength, the BDS constellation fully reflects the Chinese wisdom, speed, and precision, and is also a Chinese contribution to the global development of satellite navigation. The successful deployment of the BDS constellation indicates that China can independently make breakthroughs in key technologies, as long as it remains committed to innovation. "The development of the BDS is made by ourselves," said Li Hongzu, chief commander of BDS-1 navigation system, adding that facing the technological monopoly of the western technology giants, the Chinese engineers had no choice but to become giants themselves. Today, all the satellites and key components of the BDS are made in China. Apart from the precise positioning service, the BDS will also give the Chinese people full strategic confidence and a stronger sense of security. Key technologies are often universal and can be applied to a wide variety of sectors in economic and social development, and the BDS is no exception. It played a significant role in the measuring of Mount Qomolangma's height in May. Earlier this year, while China was grappling with the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19, it was the BDS that provided high-precision positioning and plotting services, accelerating the construction of the Huoshenshan makeshift hospital in Wuhan, former epicenter of the epidemic. In addition, it also supported drones in spraying disinfectant. Moreover, the BDS has, in recent years, empowered many industries, seeped further into everyday life and helped yield positive economic and social effects. It is used in the real-time monitoring and warning of geological disasters. It contributes to agricultural activities across the country and greatly enhances the efficiency. Besides, it supports China's dynamic monitoring system. As of the end of 2019, more than 6.5 million freight vehicles and more than 70,000 fishing boats and law enforcement vessels had been equipped with the BDS system. And more than 70 percent of China's registered smart phones have access to the BDS services. It is believed that the BDS will be further applied in consumption, the sharing economy and public wellbeing, and enable people to live a better life. From a long-term perspective, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital economy, which has placed a higher requirement for navigation system. Just as water and electricity are indispensible for a city to function, spatio-temporal reference is of paramount significance for digital economy. Many new infrastructure projects rely on the BDS. "It will also lay a foundation for new infrastructure construction," remarked Chen Zhonggui, chief designer of the BDS-3 satellites. Meanwhile, the BDS is breaking new ground in emerging application areas including the industrial internet, the Internet of Things and internet of vehicles, accelerating the development of automatic driving, automatic parking and automatic control in logistics. As "BDS+" and "+BDS" industries continuously develop and improve, new infrastructure such as 5G and data center will enjoy a faster speed, therefore usher in a new era of greater development of digital economy and smart society. At present, the BDS has been used in more than half of the world's countries. In the future, it will make greater contributions to the building of a smarter, more convenient and better world. ^ top ^



PLA Tibet Military Command conducts nighttime flight exercises (People's Daily)
A brigade under the Tibet Military Command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) recently conducted high-altitude night flying exercises in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region. ^ top ^



Urumqi, capital city of Xinjiang, reports 1 new COVID-19 case, 3 asymptomatic cases (Global Times)
Urumqi in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region reported 1 new confirmed case of COVID-19, and 3 new asymptomatic cases, on Wed. All are under medical observation. ^ top ^

Xinjiang speeds up 5G rollout, smart hospital project (Global Times)
China Mobile, the country's largest telecom operator, and the First Affiliated Hospital of Xinjiang Medical University, conducted a joint 5G smart hospital trial on Wednesday to speed up smart hospital construction, as Urumqi, capital of Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, is to be fully covered with 5G networks at the year end. 5G coverage will provide a foundation for new infrastructure construction and 5G technologies have been applied in smart hospitals, telemedicine, VR, mining with unmanned aerial vehicles and other fields, according to Xinjiang Communications Administration in June. To boost 5G construction, Xinjiang plans to invest over 2 billion yuan ($282 million) to erect 4,900 5G base stations this year. As of June 30, Urumqi had built 2,379 5G base stations. Meanwhile, the number of 5G users in Urumqi has reached 234,300. Industry and tourism will take the lead in the construction and application of the 5G networks, said the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region government in April. 5G application scenarios will be expanded throughout Xinjiang to cultivate the digital economy. As a result of the fast development of 5G, electricity consumption in Xinjiang in the first half of the year increased 7.26 percent year-on-year to 63.9 billion kilowatt-hours, according to data released by the Urumqi government. One of the latest industrial applications was the new infrastructure innovation base cooperation agreement signed on July 2 between Urumqi local government and Siemens industry software (Shanghai) Co, for the China-EU digital industry development. ^ top ^

China strongly opposes claim from US business advisory on Xinjiang supply chain (Global Times)
China has strongly refuted and condemned a statement from the US' Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory, saying the statement is a lie aimed at suppressing Chinese business under the name of human rights and that it will disrupt the global supply chain. The Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory's claim that there are forced labor and human rights abuses in businesses in Xinjiang is a "crude" lie and not worth refuting, said Hua Chunying, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Tuesday. The statement, published on July 1 by the US Department of State, Department of the Treasury, Department of Commerce and Department of Homeland Security, claimed there are entities in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region engaged in large-scale human rights abuses, including arbitrary mass detention, physical and psychological abuse and forced labor against China's ethnic minorities. The advisory said businesses with potential supply chain exposure to such engagement in Xinjiang should be aware of the reputational, economic and legal risks that poses. "The core issue in Xinjiang is not human rights as the US claims, but anti-terrorism and anti-secessionism," the spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Tuesday. "China is strongly opposed the US' interference in China's internal politics and to the US' attack on Chinese business under the name of human rights." MOFCOM also strongly refuted the statement, noting that the US' actions will hinder normal business cooperation and disrupt the global supply chain. The ministry warned that China will take necessary measures to defend the rights of Chinese businesses. Some of the US' false accusations related to Xinjiang are the biggest lies of the century, Hua said on Tuesday. Over the past four decades, the Uygur population in Xinjiang has more than doubled to 11.68 million, and the total number of mosques is now more than 10 times the number in the US, according to Hua. "We sincerely hope that US politicians care about the severe race issue in their own country, and make efforts to protect the human rights of their own ethnic minorities," Hua said. ^ top ^

China takes reciprocal measures against US agencies, individuals over Xinjiang-related issues (Global Times)
China has decided to take reciprocal measures against US agencies and individuals with egregious practices on Xinjiang-related issues, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Friday. Zhao told a daily news briefing that the decision was made in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement that the United States has imposed sanctions on multiple Chinese officials in Xinjiang. Zhao said the US practice constitutes serious interference in China's internal affairs, severe violation of basic norms governing international relations, and grave harm to China-US relations. "China firmly opposes and strongly condemns that," he said. Zhao said Xinjiang affairs are entirely China's internal affairs, and the United States has no right and is in no position to intervene. The Chinese government is determined to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, combat violent terrorism, separatism and religious extremism, and oppose foreign interference in Xinjiang affairs and China's other internal affairs. "We urge the United States to immediately rescind its wrong decision and stop making any remarks or moves that interfere in China's internal affairs and undermine China's interests," Zhao said, adding that the Chinese side will firmly fight back if the United States obstinately pursues such agenda. ^ top ^



Law education base for HK, Macao youths set up (Global Times)
China is gearing up to carry out national security education for Hong Kong and Macao youths, as China's first juvenile education base for the Constitution and Basic Law of the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions (SARs) was set up in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province on Wednesday. Jointly established by Shenzhen University's Center for the Basic Law of Hong Kong and Macao SARs and the Shenzhen Overseas Friendship Association (SOFA), the base aims to help Hong Kong and Macao young people enhance their constitutional and national awareness through education, the Xinhua News Agency reported. All the courses will be taught by teachers from the center, and they will develop a unique curriculum that is in line with the characteristics of young people in Hong Kong and Macao, Zou Pingxue, director of the center, told the Global Times on Thursday. The center will also supplement teaching content by holding visits to giant enterprises like Tencent, DJI and Huawei in Shenzhen, Zou disclosed. "The exact curriculum has not been announced… However, our courses involve the Constitution, the Basic Law, the national security law for the HKSAR, as well as instruction in cultural and national conditions, "an employee with the center told the Global Times on condition of anonymity. The employee said that as it is the first base in this field, it is still in the exploratory stage. But if the project works well, more educational bases could be set up. A person close to the project from SOFA, surnamed Deng, told the Global Times on Thursday that the exact starting date was uncertain due to the recent COVID-19 resurgence in Hong Kong. However, quite a few schools and youth organizations in Hong Kong have expressed a desire to participate. The courses will mostly be held on holidays and weekends, when students from Hong Kong and Macao visit Shenzhen, Deng said, noting that this is not a long-term, classroom-based course, but one that will consist of one or two classes during their visits. Du Ling, one of the main Party leaders of Shenzhen, said on Wednesday that she hopes the base will become a first-class research and educational facility with great influence and a good reputation among young people in Hong Kong and Macao. SOFA has been in constant contact with schools and youth organizations in Hong Kong and Macao, and it frequently organizes exchange activities for young people in these cities. Founded in 1987, SOFA is a non-profit organization composed of volunteers from all walks of life in Shenzhen and compatriots from Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and overseas Chinese groups. Fifteen minutes from Hong Kong by high-speed train, Shenzhen is a window to learning more about the Chinese mainland for many Hong Kong youths, who visit the city to see the great development and achievements made by the motherland. The new curriculum combines theory with practice to better help students understand "one country, two systems" and the importance of national security, said Deng. On Wednesday, Hong Kong Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung told media that about 100 staff members from primary schools and kindergartens had been arrested since social unrest started in June last year. According to, students accounted for more than 40 percent of those arrested amid the riots in Hong Kong, with the youngest being only 12 years old. Observers said the social unrest shone a light on the way that separatists have long used political issues to disrupt Hong Kong's education system, causing chaos on and off campus and harming students. Earlier this month, the Hong Kong education bureau vowed to remove textbooks and materials in schools that incited subversion and separatism, after Yeung noted that the national security law for the HKSAR would be introduced to local students through courses. ^ top ^

When it comes to Hong Kong's stability, Beijing won't budge (Xinhua)
The signing of the so-called "Hong Kong Autonomy Act" into law on Tuesday by the White House is yet another example of Washington's reckless decisions to meddle in China's internal affairs. According to the new piece of legislation, Washington seeks to sanction foreign individuals and entities allegedly involved in extinguishing freedoms in Hong Kong. The new U.S. law, as those that came before it, once again tramples on international law and the basic norms of international relations, turns a blind eye to the Chinese government's legal jurisdiction in Hong Kong, and tries to delegitimize Beijing's efforts to maintain national security in the Chinese city. All sanctions are a double-edged sword. Hong Kong is one of the world's most dynamic financial and trade hubs, and home to tens of thousands of foreign firms. Hurting Hong Kong means hurting foreign businesses. Take the United States for example. The country has vital interests in Hong Kong. It has more than 1,300 enterprises, including almost all of America's major financial firms, operating in the Chinese city. Also, Hong Kong was the source of America's largest bilateral trade surplus last year, at 26.1 billion U.S. dollars, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Thus, if Washington goes ahead with its sanctions, its own interests are at stake. The newly signed legislation does not come as a surprise. In recent months, China hawks in Washington have launched a ferocious campaign against Beijing. They have left no stone unturned in their attempts to interfere in China's domestic affairs. Utilizing a variety of pretexts, like freedom in Hong Kong and human rights in Xinjiang, the purposes are the same: to divert public attention from the widespread protests against racial discrimination and Washington's failure to control the COVID-19 crisis; to flex some political muscle with presidential elections merely four months away; and to stymie China's development. Imagine if China were to sanction the United States for the brutal treatment of its African American population or its catastrophic attempt at home to contain COVID-19, a threat to the common health of the entire world. In the case of Hong Kong, China hardliners in Washington want to encourage extremist violence there, thereby severely compromising Hong Kong's social stability and economic viability. As long as their own political interests are met, who cares about the people of Hong Kong. The Declaration on Principles of International Law, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1970, clearly notes that no country or group of countries has the right to directly or indirectly interfere in the internal or foreign affairs of any other country for any reason. It is not up to Washington to decide the degree of autonomy in Hong Kong. Moreover, the law to safeguard national security in Hong Kong has clearly demonstrated China's resolve to ensure a steady and sustained implementation of the "one country, two systems" principle, a high degree of autonomy, and the long-term stability and prosperity of the global financial center in order to better protect the freedom and rights of people working and living there. Washington should not test China's determination to safeguard its national security on its own territory. Those who try to inflict damage to Hong Kong should not expect Beijing to sit on its hands and watch as its sovereign rights are eroded. The Chinese foreign ministry said on Wednesday that China would appropriately respond and impose sanctions on relevant personnel and entities of the United States. A stable and prosperous Hong Kong is a prerequisite for the Chinese city to continue functioning as an international financial and trade hub and serve U.S. and other foreign interests seeking to benefit from the city's economic vitality. If Washington continues to meddle in China's internal affairs and compromise its sovereignty, it will prove to be a dead end. ^ top ^

China to sanction relevant US personnel and entities over Hong Kong Autonomy Act: FM (Global Times)
China will impose sanctions against related US personnel and entities in response to the Hong Kong Autonomy Act signed by the US government, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday. Disregarding China's solemn representations, the US side signed into law the so-called Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which maliciously smeared the national security law for Hong Kong and threatened to impose sanctions on China. The act seriously violated international law and basic norms governing international relations, and grossly interfered in Hong Kong's affairs and China's internal affairs. The Chinese government firmly opposes it and strongly condemns it, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement. US President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed into law the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which imposes sanctions on Chinese officials and banks. The US attempt to obstruct the implementation of the national security law for Hong Kong will never succeed. To safeguard China's legitimate interests, China will impose sanctions on relevant US personnel and entities, the statement said. We urge the US side to correct its mistakes, refrain from implementing the act and stop interfering in China's internal affairs in any way. China will firmly respond if the US goes ahead, the statement said. ^ top ^

Hong Kong elections: tougher action expected from Beijing against opposition camp after frontline activists' win at primary (SCMP)
Hong Kong's opposition camp could face tougher action from Beijing in the coming Legislative Council elections, analysts have warned after activists on the front lines of anti-government protests outperformed their rivals in the bloc's primary. Two days after the weekend primary, two central government offices overseeing Hong Kong affairs, alongside the city's leader, had already lashed out at organisers in a coordinated salvo, warning the camp of potentially breaching the new national security law by trying to subvert state power. The primary, in which more than 610,000 Hongkongers voted to determine who should represent the opposition to run in the September Legco elections, was held with the bloc's "35-plus" campaign – alluding to the majority needed in the 70-seat legislature. The aim was for a "massive constitutional weapon" to veto the annual budget and disrupt the government. ctivist Joshua Wong Chi-fung, along with five allies who all advocated a more confrontational approach against the establishment, had won the primary in their respective constituencies by a wide margin, according to preliminary results announced by organiser Power of Democracy. "The victory of activists in the primary implies the continuation of the spirit of our resistance against China's growing curbs over Hong Kong's freedoms," Wong said. "In the eyes of voters, the candidates' spirit of resistance overrides other traditional elements like policy platforms, as well as academic and professional backgrounds." More than 610,000 vote in Hong Kong's pro-democracy opposition primary elections But Wong also expected more political censorship and disqualification of candidates, pointing to the high-profile statements from Beijing denouncing the primary. Wong's allies in the weekend race included lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, who was arrested for his role in occupying the Legco chamber during a meeting on the now-withdrawn extradition bill; student leader-turned-district councillor Lester Shum; ex-journalist Gwyneth Ho Kwai-lam who shot to fame for her live coverage of the anti-government protests and district councillor Tiffany Yuen Ka-wai, formerly with the now-disbanded group Demosisto, which Wong co-founded. Joshua Wong was among candidates in the primary who won big. Photo: Xiaomei Chen Hong Kong's opposition camp could face tougher action from Beijing in the coming Legislative Council elections, analysts have warned after activists on the front lines of anti-government protests outperformed their rivals in the bloc's primary. Two days after the weekend primary, two central government offices overseeing Hong Kong affairs, alongside the city's leader, had already lashed out at organisers in a coordinated salvo, warning the camp of potentially breaching the new national security law by trying to subvert state power. The primary, in which more than 610,000 Hongkongers voted to determine who should represent the opposition to run in the September Legco elections, was held with the bloc's "35-plus" campaign – alluding to the majority needed in the 70-seat legislature. The aim was for a "massive constitutional weapon" to veto the annual budget and disrupt the government. In the eyes of voters, the candidates' spirit of resistance overrides other traditional elements like policy platforms, as well as academic and professional backgrounds Joshua Wong, activist Activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung, along with five allies who all advocated a more confrontational approach against the establishment, had won the primary in their respective constituencies by a wide margin, according to preliminary results announced by organiser Power of Democracy. "The victory of activists in the primary implies the continuation of the spirit of our resistance against China's growing curbs over Hong Kong's freedoms," Wong said. "In the eyes of voters, the candidates' spirit of resistance overrides other traditional elements like policy platforms, as well as academic and professional backgrounds." More than 610,000 vote in Hong Kong's pro-democracy opposition primary elections But Wong also expected more political censorship and disqualification of candidates, pointing to the high-profile statements from Beijing denouncing the primary. Wong's allies in the weekend race included lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, who was arrested for his role in occupying the Legco chamber during a meeting on the now-withdrawn extradition bill; student leader-turned-district councillor Lester Shum; ex-journalist Gwyneth Ho Kwai-lam who shot to fame for her live coverage of the anti-government protests and district councillor Tiffany Yuen Ka-wai, formerly with the now-disbanded group Demosisto, which Wong co-founded. Voters lining up at a polling station during the weekend primary. Photo: Dickson Lee For traditional pan-democratic parties, Roy Kwong Chun-yu and Ted Hui Chi-fung – both from the Democratic Party and who were frequently seen on protest front lines – emerged as the biggest winners in their constituencies. But their veteran colleagues in the legislature, James To Kun-sun and party chairman Wu Chi-wai, almost lost in the primary, while Helena Wong Pik-wan, another incumbent lawmaker, was booted out in Kowloon West. Former lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung of the League of Social Democrats, and Civic Party's Lee Yue-shun were also eliminated. My image of resisting the regime is not distinctive enough. The previous efforts on livelihood issues were seen as insignificant in the unprecedented political tide Helena Wong, Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong on Tuesday admitted defeat and said she would "deeply reflect" on her inadequacies. "My image of resisting the regime is not distinctive enough. The previous efforts on livelihood issues were seen as insignificant in the unprecedented political tide," she said. A Democrat insider said the party was not surprised by the result, as Wong had been unpopular among members for her unsatisfactory performance, and gave assurance that they were not worried about being marginalised. A core member of the party said: "The results did not reflect voices of some voters who support a more peaceful way of resistance, as they did not cast their vote in the primary. "We will not become more radicalised because of this blow." Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says primary election might have violated national security law The shift in voter preference was also reflected in the defeat of pan-democrats from parties that focused on livelihood issues, including Labour Party's Carol Ng Man-yee, who sought to improve workers' rights, and two candidates from the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, who had years of experiences in serving the grass roots. "Defeat could be a disastrous blow to the small parties, and this further narrows the city's political spectrum," said Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a political scientist from Chinese University. But analysts also feared that the radicalisation and narrowing of the political spectrum would prompt Beijing to adopt a more hardline approach towards the opposition by banning them from running in the race. A number of localist candidates had been disqualified from entering different elections over the past years on the grounds of their political stance. Legislator Helena Wong saw a poor result at the primary. Photo: Sam Tsang Veteran China watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu said Beijing's strategies could be seen in recent strongly worded statements by state agencies and local authorities against the opposition camp. "They might see the high turnout as a result of mobilisation of foreign forces and then denounce the primary as a collusion plot that threatens China's stability," he said. "They are now planting the seeds for concrete action in future to bar candidates." Pro-establishment lawmaker Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, a member of the Basic Law Committee, on Tuesday called on the authorities to investigate candidates who vowed to paralyse the legislature, saying this would trigger a "a serious constitutional crisis". She also said she received complaints from residents for being "misled" in the primary. "The pro-democracy camp's mobilisation in the campaign had misled residents into believing it was the official election," she said, adding she would refer the complaints to authorities. What you should know about China's new national security law for Hong Kong But Lau warned that mass disqualification without reasonable justification could trigger a public backlash. A veteran member of the pro-establishment camp also echoed such concerns, pointing out that a hardline stance from Beijing would not help his bloc in retaining the majority in the legislature. Democratic Party's To, striking an upbeat note, said he did not see remarks of the two offices as substantial threats that would lead to the mass disqualification of candidates. "[The two offices'] criticisms only show concern that we could capture the majority in the legislature," he said. While suggesting the huge turnout for the primary had shored up morale for the opposition, political scientist Edmund Cheng Wai, of City University, said there were still enormous obstacles ahead for the bloc in the coming elections. He questioned whether such a line-up that focused on a campaign to vote down government proposals would provide a spectrum wide enough to absorb conservative voters from the opposition camp. "There is a silent group of voters who hope pan-democrats continue to perform their duties to scrutinise bills and advocate policy issues," he said. Starry Lee (centre) among members of her pro-establishment camp. Photo: K. Y. Cheng Meanwhile, the leading pro-establishment party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), announced on Tuesday it would field 55 candidates under 12 teams for the Legco polls. Eight of the party's 13 incumbent legislators are seeking another term, including party chairwoman Starry Lee Wai-king, who will lead a team to contest the so-called superseats. Five others have opted not to run: Ann Chiang Lai-wan, Wong Ting-kwong, Wilson Or Chong-shing, Edward Lau Kwok-fan, and Leung Che-cheung. Among the new faces, Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, a local delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and a standing committee member of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce of Hong Kong, will contest the functional constituency of import and export, in hopes of succeeding Wong Ting-kwong. "We recognise that the September elections will be an unprecedentedly difficult battle," said Lee, citing the landslide victory of their rivals in the district council elections last year. Her party presently holds 13 seats in the legislature. Lee declined to comment on the results of the primary, but said it had no impact on DAB's election strategies. She also declined to address the legality of the event, but said: "The opposition camp tries to control Legco and force Beijing and the city's government to bow to their demands by paralysing council operations. We all know that. ^ top ^



Taiwan's counter-landing drill with PLA in mind a 'naïve, meaningless show' (China Daily)
A counter-landing drill, as part of Taiwan's annual Han Kuang exercises, was held on Thursday. It simulated a joint operation featuring land, naval and air troops against incoming landing forces, which obviously attempted to represent the Chinese mainland's People's Liberation Army (PLA). The drill failed to acknowledge a potential real combat scenario in which PLA would likely launch intensive missile attacks first, and it also assumed the PLA could not seize air superiority and would not attack while landing, said Chinese military analysts, who called the drill a naive and meaningless show. The drill took place at Jianan Beach in Taichung, a location the Taiwan military believes to be a potential spot for the PLA's landing, on Thursday morning, with Taiwan's regional leader Tsai Ing-wen in attendance, Taiwan media reported. Designed to simulate PLA tactics, the exercise started with Taiwan military's fighter jets attacking the landing fleet, with a warship as support, after which artillery forces, attack helicopters and tanks fired and eventually "effectively stopped the hostile forces' landing operation," Taiwan media reported. After watching the drill, military observers soon pointed out that its setting is nearly impossible, because it assumed Taiwan would automatically hold air superiority, Taiwan's weapons and equipment would remain intact prior to the counter-landing operation, and its troops would not suffer losses during the battle. According to a computer combat simulation published by the Chinese mainland's Naval and Merchant Ships magazine in May, as well as many other military analysts, a reunification-by-force operation by the PLA will very likely start with intensive waves of missile and rocket attacks that would neutralize most of Taiwan's air defense capabilities, and PLA warplanes would then seize air superiority and sweep enemies, with PLA warships, including two aircraft carriers, also engaging in naval battles. PLA landing operations would take place after this first round of assault, meaning that the scenario Taiwan military simulated on Thursday will not happen, because any weapons and troops they deployed in the drills will be mostly destroyed before their counter-landing operation, observers noted. Song Zhongping, a Chinese mainland military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times on Thursday that the Taiwan military's exercises are a meaningless show, as they were set under ideal conditions. The Tsai Ing-wen authority and Taiwan military know the Taiwan military does not stand a chance against the PLA, but they still wanted to give themselves a false sense of courage, Song said, noting that this mentality is also boosted by the US, which is selling weapons to the island. In the previous days of this year's Han Kuang exercises, Taiwan launched missiles, torpedoes and carried out fighter jet sorties, Taiwan media reported. Another Chinese mainland military expert told the Global Times on condition of anonymity that the exercises remained at a level in which only weapons were test-fired, and were far away from real joint drills. The drills underestimated the PLA's determination and capability to achieve reunification, the expert said. In the afternoon, a military helicopter participating in Taiwan's Han Kuang exercises crashed at an air force base in Hsinchu, Taiwan media reported. ^ top ^

Safeguard national sovereignty: Mainland spokesperson
A mainland spokesperson on Thursday called on both sides across the Taiwan Straits to safeguard national sovereignty after the island authority's remarks on the South China Sea issue. The island's "foreign affairs" authority claimed that Taiwan is entitled to all rights over the South China Sea Islands and their relevant waters in accordance with international law and the law of the sea. The remark was made after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Beijing's claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful. Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said in a statement that China's sovereignty over the South China Sea Islands and relevant waters is beyond dispute. Both sides of the Straits belong to one and the same China and should jointly safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the overall interests of the Chinese nation, she said. ^ top ^

Lockheed Martin faces China's sanctions over Taiwan deal (Global Times)
China will impose sanctions on US-based arms producer Lockheed Martin, the main contractor of the recertification of its Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) air defense missiles of the island of Taiwan. The sanctions will likely feature the cut-off of material supply including rare earths, which are crucial to advanced weapons production, and business restrictions on Lockheed Martin's suppliers that have business in the Chinese mainland, Chinese aviation industry experts said on Tuesday. The US on Thursday announced the approval of an arms deal to Taiwan involving the recertification of PAC-3 air defense missiles at an estimated cost of $620 million. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a regular press conference on Tuesday that China had decided to take necessary measures to impose sanctions on the US company. Zhao did not elaborate on the details of the sanctions. Lockheed Martin is an arms producer focused on advanced weapons and equipment, and China does not have many direct business with the company, Wang Ya'nan, a Chinese aviation industry expert and chief editor of Aerospace Knowledge magazine, told the Global Times on Tuesday. However, it is possible that China will restrict the supply chain of Lockheed Martin, as the company would inevitably import raw materials including non-metals, metals and minerals including rare earths from China, via its suppliers who do have businesses with China, Wang said. Other component manufacturers and system designers that are related to China could also be restricted from doing business with Lockheed Martin as part of the sanctions, Wang said. Many of Lockheed Martin's key products, including F-35 fighter jets and Patriot missiles, rely on components made with rare earths, analysts said. China is the world's largest rare-earth exporter, and the US imports about 80 percent of its rare-earth needs from China, reports said. Also, the UK's defense ministry revealed in 2019 that Exception PCB, a Chinese-owned company, was making circuit boards for F-35 fighter jets, the UK's Sky News reported at the time. The parts "control many of the F-35's core capabilities," the network reported. Though not large scale, Lockheed Martin has some business in China in new energy, civilian aviation and space industries, according to Weihutang, a program on military affairs affiliated with China Central Television. "Actual effects aside, this is a political statement. US wantonness won't be unchecked when it comes to China," He Weiwen, an executive council member of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday. Lockheed Martin has thus become the first US company since the start of the China-US trade war to be directly designated by Chinese authorities for sanctions, according to He. Previously, although China has said it would roll out an unreliable entity list as a response to foreign governments' and companies' crackdowns on Chinese companies, no actual foreign company had been named by a top Chinese government official, He noted. Wang said that the sanctions will deter other US arms firms from selling arms to the island of Taiwan, and unlike Lockheed Martin, companies like Boeing may get hit even harder in potential sanctions because they have more direct business ties with China. This is not the first time that China has imposed sanctions on US arms producers that are involved in weapons sales to the island of Taiwan. For instance, after the US government approved a plan to sell $2.22 billion of arms to Taiwan in July 2019, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that China would impose sanctions on US enterprises participating in the sales. The companies included Raytheon, General Dynamics, and BAE and Oshkosh, according to media investigations. China is resolutely against US arms sales to the island of Taiwan and any form of military connection between the island and the US, Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, China's cabinet, said on Tuesday. The attempts of the Democratic Progressive Party authority to seek "independence by force" will not succeed, and will only sabotage peace and stability and bring about a bigger catastrophe to Taiwan people, Zhu warned. ^ top ^



China's FDI down 1.3 pct in H1 (Xinhua)
Foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Chinese mainland, in actual use, fell 1.3 percent year on year to about 472.18 billion yuan in the first half of the year (H1), said Gao Feng, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, at a press conference on Thursday. In U.S. dollar terms, the FDI inflow stood at 67.9 billion dollars in H1, down by 4 percent year on year. ^ top ^

State-owned enterprises crucial to China's recovery (Global Times)
As China strives to control the coronavirus outbreak and restore normal economic and social order, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are again playing an important role by leading business and production resumption, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, and stabilizing investment. Centrally administered SOEs' production and operation obviously improved starting last month, with sales up 0.6 percent year-on-year to 2.9 trillion yuan ($414.4 billion) and profits up 5 percent to 166.48 billion yuan, data from the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC) showed on Thursday. In the first half, these enterprises posted aggregate revenue of 13.4 trillion yuan, down 7.8 percent year-on-year, while profits stood at 438.6 billion yuan, down 37.7 percent. As one of China's institutional advantages, SOEs displayed their significance through such moves as ensuring people's basic needs during the battle against the coronavirus and waiving rentals for small and medium-sized enterprises, Liang Jun, a research fellow at the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences specializing in SOE reforms, told the Global Times. Despite the pressure of operations, centrally administered SOEs reduced costs for the public by 120 billion yuan by cutting electricity, natural gas and other costs in a bid to help small and medium-sized enterprises survive the outbreak, Peng Huagang, spokesperson of the SASAC, said at a press briefing on Thursday. Peng said that centrally administered SOEs will strengthen cooperation with smaller firms in their industrial and supply chains, while continuing to reduce costs to support small companies. "Unlike risk-averse private firms, SOEs tend to rush to the forefront during difficult periods by increasing investment, cementing their main business and providing more jobs," Dong Dengxin, director of the Finance and Securities Institute at the Wuhan University of Science and Technology, told the Global Times on Thursday. According to the SASAC, domestic centrally administered SOEs' fixed-asset investment reached 1 trillion yuan in the first half of the year, up 7.2 percent year-on-year. During the period, their investment in sectors including electricity generation, vehicles and telecommunications soared more than 15 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, centrally administered SOEs launched special campaigns to stabilize employment, providing more than 1 million jobs by mid-June, China Business Journal reported, citing SASAC data. For example, China National Petroleum Corp plans to recruit 8,000 fresh graduates this year, an increase of 3,000 year-on-year, it said. Peng said that the commission will launch more SOE reforms to spur market vitality, while promoting scientific and technological innovation so as to make key breakthroughs in important sectors. According to a meeting of the central committee for deepening overall reform on June 30, one of the major tasks of SOE reform is optimizing the organization and structure of the state-owned economy to make it more competitive, innovative, controllable, influential and risk-resistant. Dong said that the SASAC is expected to streamline administration to hand over more autonomy to SOEs, boost the market-oriented and dynamic supervision of state-owned assets to avoid losses, and strengthen these enterprises' economic and social responsibility. "As economic stabilizers, many SOEs also face heavy pressure, but they could do a good job in turning challenges into opportunities and contributing more to the building of a moderately prosperous society," Dong said. ^ top ^

Xi reassures global business leaders about China's opening-up (Global Times)
Chinese President Xi Jinping has sought to reassure global business leaders about China's commitment to open up its markets and create a better business environment for foreign investors, as US officials have been stirring up tensions with China on trade and other fronts. In a letter replying to representatives of Global CEO Council members, Xi pledged that China will keep deepening reform and expanding opening-up, and provide a better business environment for the investment and development of Chinese and foreign enterprises, according to the Xinhua News Agency on Thursday. The Chinese president also stressed that "China will be unswervingly committed to pursuing the path of peaceful development, making economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, and promoting the building of an open world economy." Coming at a delicate time in China-US relations, the president's letter sends clear signals to global businesses and the broader international community that China is sticking to its long-term opening-up and reform policies and supporting economic globalization, regardless of challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and rising protectionism in some countries, said Gao Lingyun, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. "If you read between the lines, the letter also contained a message that some in the US are creating obstacles for China-US cooperation and for global cooperation but such efforts are doomed to fail," Gao told the Global Times on Thursday. US officials have been constantly escalating tensions with China on a wide range of issues from trade to the COVID-19 pandemic and from Hong Kong to Xinjiang and the South China Sea. In the latest and potentially one of the most aggressive moves yet, US officials are reportedly considering visa restrictions on all members of the Communist Party of China. Gao said that the Chinese president's letter also contained a call for the US to resolve issues through dialogue and consultation rather than sanctions. In the letter, Xi expressed his hope that those CEOs will adhere to the principles of win-win cooperation and common development, strengthen exchanges and cooperation with Chinese companies, and contribute to the world economic recovery, according to Xinhua. ^ top ^

China's retail sales down 3.9 pct in Q2 (Xinhua)
China's retail sales of consumer goods declined 3.9 percent year on year in the second quarter of this year, the National Bureau of Statistics said Thursday. ^ top ^

China's services production expands 2.3 pct in June (Xinhua)
China's Index of Services Production increased 2.3 percent year on year in June as economic activities continued to recover, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed Thursday. ^ top ^

China's GDP likely expanded 2-3% in Q2 (Global Times)
High-frequency data such as industrial power consumption and raw steel production are pointing to a stronger June industrial performance that could result in the Chinese economy returning to positive territory with a growth rate of 2-3 percent in the second quarter, Chinese analysts said Wednesday. China is due to release economic numbers for the second quarter and the first half Thursday, after posting better-than-expected export data Tuesday. Recently released figures for power generation, raw steel output, excavator sales, railway cargo and express deliveries all pointed to active growth, prompting a report by financial news site, which said that a positive figure for second-quarter GDP is "a large probability event." China's average daily raw steel output in mid-June was 2.14 million tons, up 3.73 percent year-on-year and the highest in 10 years. Excavator sales in June, boosted by a special-purpose bond induced infrastructure binge, rose 63 percent year-on-year, according to Analysts reached by the Global Times tended to agree with the assumption of growth, with an average forecast of 2-3 percent for the second quarter. "The data point to stronger June growth in industrial value-added and add momentum to a recovering trend established in April and May, roughly reaching pre-virus levels," Liao Qun, chief economist at China CITIC Bank in Hong Kong, told the Global Times. Industrial value-added grew 3.9 percent in April and 4.4 percent in May, compared with a decline of 8.4 percent in the first quarter. Although positive signs are seen on the supply side, Liao said that on the demand side, the recovery is weaker, with retail sales and capital investment unable to reverse declines. Taking these figures into account, Liao estimated that the Chinese economy may have grown 2 percent in the second quarter. Liu Xuezhi, a macroeconomics expert at the Bank of Communications, told the Global Times Wednesday that a 3-percent increase for the second quarter seems likely. "It is possible that a better-than-expected result will be released on Thursday, but GDP landing in the range of 0-3 percent also aligns with people's expectation." Retail sales, a major driver of GDP, contracted 7.5 percent in April and 2.8 percent in May. Fixed-asset investment fell 10.3 percent in the first four months and 6.3 percent in the first five months. In the first quarter, the Chinese economy shrank 6.8 percent amid the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the worst reading since such data was collected. Analysts noted that it would be a hard-won achievement for the Chinese economy to show positive growth in the second quarter, thanks to the government's effective containment of the pandemic and economic reopening efforts. According to the IMF's latest forecast, China might be the only major global economy to grow this year, perhaps at a rate of 1 percent. ^ top ^

China's CPI rises 3.8% in first half of 2020 (Global Times)
China's CPI rises 3.8% in first half of 2020 ^ top ^

How China's GDP can grow by 3% or more this year (China Daily)
How to make economic policies without a headline growth target? The Chinese government did not set any specific goal of GDP rate this year. However, there is an "implicit "target to guide the growth. According to this year's Government Work Report, there are some key economic indicators, including that the Consumer Price Index, a gauge of inflation, should be no higher than 3.5 percent, the total deficit is 3.76 trillion yuan ($536 billion) and the fiscal deficit was set at above 3.6 percent of GDP. The report also listed some employment targets, such as that the registered unemployment rate should not exceed 5.5 percent and to create over 9 million new urban jobs. China has always attached great importance to the speed of economic growth in the past decades. In the absence of the economic growth target, many other important economic indicators are difficult to determine and various policies are difficult to coordinate. For example, without the nominal GDP target, it may be difficult to make the annual fiscal budget. Therefore, it is inaccurate to say that China has no economic growth target in 2020. In fact, China has an "implicit" economic growth rate target, but the government has not publicly stated the specific figure. He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, once mentioned that the key elements of growth targets have been integrated into relevant indicators and policies, including fiscal, monetary and other policies. To be specific, we can calculate China's 2020 nominal GDP target through two indicators: the deficit amount of 3.76 trillion yuan and the deficit rate of 3.6 percent, which I think is about 5.4 percent and the scale is 104.4 trillion yuan. If we assume that the inflation rate is 2 percent, the real GDP target in 2020 is 3.4 percent. If we assume that China's economic growth rate can return to the 6-percent potential economic growth rate from the second quarter this year, it is relatively easy to calculate that the actual growth rate of China's GDP in 2020 will be about 3.2 percent. So, whether China will achieve a real growth of 3.2 percent or 3.4 percent depends mainly on effective demand. Consumption, investment and net exports are the three major driving forces of the GDP, if we analyze the growth from the demand side. As consumption may contribute about 1.76 percentage points to the GDP growth, and the net exports may drive down the growth rate by 0.7 percentage point, it requires an investment growth of 5.7 percent this year. The most important variable that the government can control is infrastructure investment. Infrastructure investment should increase significantly compared with last year. Only in this way can we achieve 5.7 percent growth in fixed-asset investment to ensure that China's GDP growth can be higher than 3 percent in 2020. Therefore, promoting economic growth will depend mainly on infrastructure investment, and government policy should enable private enterprises to find investment opportunities. Effective use of the fiscal expenditure is required. As the fiscal revenue at the end of the year may be less than expected, China's actual fiscal deficit in 2020 is likely to be much larger than originally expected, which is a problem worthy of attention. This year, the central government will issue 1 trillion yuan special treasuries and local governments plan to issue 3.75 trillion yuan special bonds, which are not included in the calculation of fiscal deficits. If we take the calculation method of the World Bank Group, China's deficit rate will be 11 percent. So, the actual intensity of fiscal stimulus will be much higher than 3.5 percent. In the large-scale fiscal stimulus policy, a lot of money is likely to be used to contain the COVID-19 epidemic and help people solve living difficulties. The government should also consider the multiplier effect of fiscal expenditure, which means a certain amount of funds should be used to increase investment and spur growth. In terms of monetary policy, the central bank took very active measures in the first half of this year, doing everything it can to support firms and households. At present, the recovery of economic growth mainly depends on fiscal policy. If the fiscal policy cannot play a leading role in promoting growth, the role of monetary policy will be very limited. The major measure of the central bank is to conduct reverse repurchase operations in the open market and maintain low interest rates in the interbank money market. Another way is to reduce the rates of medium-term lending facility to guide down the benchmark lending rate (loan prime rate or LPR). These tools aim to support flow of credit, at lower financing costs, to spur economic growth. If economic growth cannot be accelerated, the central bank may have to further ease its monetary policy. And if the issuance of treasury bonds is constrained, the central bank may have an option to conduct quantitative easing measures, just as what has been done by Japanese and US central banks. I don't think we can rule out the possibility. Considering the growth potential of China's economy, a coordination of fiscal and monetary policies will support the economy to achieve a positive growth, and the real growth is possible to be 2 percent to 3 percent this year. ^ top ^

China spreads reforms tested by pilot FTZs nationwide (People's Daily)
A total of 260 reform measures experimented with at China's pilot free trade zones (FTZs) have been promoted across the nation in the past six years, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Friday. At local levels, 1,151 reform measures from China's 18 pilot FTZs have been adopted across the provincial-level regions where the pilot FTZs are located, said Tang Wenhong, director of the department of pilot FTZs and free trade ports of the MOC, at a press conference. The promotion of reform measures has helped improve the business environment nationwide through raising awareness of reform, opening-up level and administrative efficiency, he said. In the latest move, the State Council has decided to apply the sixth batch of measures tested by the pilot FTZs across the nation, said a circular issued Tuesday. ^ top ^



Spotlight: DPRK vigorously promotes socialist economic construction (Xinhua)
At the construction site of the Pyongyang General Hospital, heavy trucks are going in and out and workers are sweating on scaffolding. A modern general hospital is rising up out of the ground in the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). As a major project for commemorating the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), the Pyongyang General Hospital broke ground in March, and its construction "is going on in a three-dimensional way," with "frameworks, brickworks of outer walls, open caisson project for the intake of geothermal water launching simultaneously at sick ward and outpatients' ward," according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). This bustling scene is a microcosm of the DPRK's vigorous promotion of socialist economic construction through self-reliance. Kim Jong Un, the top leader of the DPRK, stressed at the Third Plenary Meeting of the Seventh Central Committee of the WPK held in April 2018 that it is the new strategic line of the WPK to concentrate all efforts of the whole party and country on the socialist economic construction. Subsequently, against the backdrop of a sharp decrease in international trade and overseas investment, the DPRK overcame various difficulties and made new achievements in fields such as industry, agriculture, education, medical care and culture and education. On Dec. 2, 2019, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the township of Samjiyon County in the northern part of the country, marking the completion of the county's construction. The Samjiyon County, where Kim's father was born, is "an example of a mountainous modern town, an epitome of modern civilization and created a model of successfully realizing the Party's idea of local construction," the KCNA said. In January, the Yangdok County Hot Spring Cultural Recreation Center in South Pyongan Province officially opened for business. As a comprehensive hot spring cure center and a multi-functional sports and cultural complex, it has been popular among customers. The center was built in less than one year by the soldiers of the People's Army and other builders, which proves the ability and determination of the DPRK people to overcome all severe challenges, according to the KCNA. In recent years, the DPRK has also made great efforts to boost the development of industries including agriculture, aquaculture, food processing and tourism, so as to continuously raise people's living standards. In order to improve labor productivity, various kinds of labor competitions are held all over the country, which are the DPRK's secret to overcoming many challenges and difficulties and achieving greater and faster development, according to the official newspaper Rodong Sinmun. At the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the WPK held in December 2019, Kim said "the key front in the offensive for frontal breakthrough today is economic front." The immediate task in the economic field is to rearrange the economic foundation and fully tap all the possible production potential to meet the demands of economic development and people's livelihood, he added. ^ top ^

U.S.-DPRK summit off table for now (Xinhua)
Despite Washington's expressions of optimism over re-starting stalled talks with Pyongyang, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has shown a lack of interest. But it remains unclear whether negotiations will pick up down the road. In a statement published Friday by the DPRK's official Korean Central News Agency, Kim Yo Jong, first vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea and the younger sister of the DPRK's top leader Kim Jong Un, said another summit with U.S. President Donald Trump was "useless" as it would only benefit Trump politically and "we have nothing to gain." "It is still my personal opinion, however, I doubt that things like the DPRK-U.S. summit would happen this year," she said. However, she added that it "does not necessarily mean the denuclearization is not possible. But what we mean is that it is not possible at this point of time." That followed U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement on Thursday that the United States is "very hopeful" about resuming talks with the DPRK. "Realistically, there's really no point to having a high-level meeting until there is a lot more progress on the working level or a significant change in concessions that the Trump administration is willing to put on the table," Jenna Gibson, a Korea expert at the University of Chicago, told Xinhua. "The Kims likely know this, and may be reluctant to engage in the summit process all over again until they are guaranteed to get concrete benefits out of it," Gibson said. At the same time, Pyongyang is not known for making negotiations easy. It's entirely possible they are playing hard to get as a tactic to feel out how serious the Trump administration is about meeting again, and see what Trump is willing to put on the table if he is indeed serious about getting another summit this year, Gibson said. "Especially with the election coming up in November, the DPRK is not the party on a timeline, and they have no reason to rush into another meeting," Gibson said. Trump and the DPRK's top leader have engaged in person three times since 2018. But talks have stalled since their second summit, which took place in February 2019. Some experts believed the DPRK is waiting until the U.S. elections have concluded, as U.S. policy toward Pyongyang could change if contender Joe Biden is elected president in November. The DPRK "likely realizes that any agreement it reached with the Trump administration might not survive a Biden administration," Troy Stangarone, senior director of congressional affairs and trade at the Washington-based non-profit Korea Economic Institute, told Xinhua. Meeting with Trump prior to the U.S. elections is not to the DPRK's advantage. For a summit to be successful, the two sides would need to avoid the failure of Hanoi and Trump would need to leave with clear DPRK concessions to make the summit domestically beneficial in the United States. "Something Pyongyang would be reluctant to do," Stangarone said. Michael O'Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Xinhua that Pyongyang is "trying to get out of the current rut by provoking attention without being too belligerent towards Trump. They feel he has forgotten them, which is probably true." The Trump administration in recent months has been in overdrive, in a battle to defeat the COVID-19, to revive the economy after the nationwide lockdown, and to restore law and order after rioters and protesters have run wild. Still, Stangarone said while a summit may be unlikely, it is not unreasonable to expect a resumption of working-level talks. "Both sides would benefit from resuming dialogue. It would provide a means for discussing technical issues that could help advance the talks more quickly once the U.S. elections have settled who will lead the next U.S. administration," Stangarone said. ^ top ^

China-DPRK friendly cooperation to grow deeper, stronger (Xinhua)
At the foot of Moran Hill in downtown Pyongyang stands the China-DPRK Friendship Tower surrounded by pines and cypresses. Erected in 1959, the monument serves as a symbol of the blood-cemented friendship between the two countries. China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) are neighbors that share strong historical ties. After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the DPRK was among the first countries to forge diplomatic relations with China. To cement and advance their traditional friendship has been a common will of the two parties and governments. On July 11, 1961, the China-DPRK Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance was signed, laying a solid legal foundation for establishing long-term friendly cooperation between the two countries. Over the past 59 years under the guidance of the friendship treaty, the two countries have supported each other and carried out friendly exchanges and cooperation in various fields, making great contribution to advancing the socialist cause in both countries, developing bilateral relations, and safeguarding regional peace and stability. Over the past decades, China-DPRK friendly cooperation has weathered the tests of international vicissitudes and been further consolidated and developed. Since March 2018, top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un visited China four times, demonstrating his particular emphasis on developing relations with China. In June 2019, as the two countries were celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic ties, Chinese President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to the DPRK, which was of great significance for the development of bilateral relations in the new era. In recent years, people-to-people exchanges between the two countries have also thrived. The Chinese government has sent several delegations to visit the DPRK, including a sports delegation, and a literary and art workers delegation. In July 2019, a group of Chinese medical experts arrived in Pyongyang to offer cataract surgeries that gave sight to the blind and have diagnostic and teaching sessions with their DPRK colleagues. In September 2019, a cooperation pact was signed to establish a Chinese language center at Pyongyang University of Foreign Studies, the first Chinese teaching institute set up under bilateral cooperation in the DPRK. In an article published in July last year to commemorate the 58th anniversary of the friendship treaty, DPRK's state media Rodong Sinmun said the current international environment requires the people of the two countries to carry forward the DPRK-China relations in conformity with the trend of the times. "Much water has flowed under the bridge and a lot of things have changed. But the truth that the peoples of the DPRK and China have inseparable relations remains unchanged," it said. ^ top ^

Pompeo says "very hopeful" to continue U.S.-DPRK dialogue (Xinhua)
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that the United States is "very hopeful" to continue dialogue with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) at various levels, though the latter has signaled its unwillingness to do so. "We're very hopeful that we can continue to have this conversation, whether that's at levels beneath the summit, or if it's appropriate and there is a useful activity to take place, to have senior leaders get back together as well," Pompeo said during a press briefing when asked whether another U.S.-DPRK summit is possible before the U.S. presidential election in November. "As for who and how and timing, I just don't want to talk about that today," he added. President Donald Trump suggested earlier this week that he is open to another summit with DPRK leader Kim Jong Un. "I understand they want to meet and we would certainly do that," Trump said in an interview with Gray Television's Greta Van Susteren. "I would do it if I thought it was going to be helpful," added Trump. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State and special envoy for DPRK Stephen Biegun also noted that Washington is ready for talks with Pyongyang. "When Chairman Kim appoints a counterpart to me who is prepared and empowered to negotiate on these issues, they will find us ready at that very moment," Biegun said Wednesday in Seoul. "I believe this is very much possible. President Trump has given us his full support to continue this effort," he noted. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said last week that his country would make all-out efforts to let the DPRK and the United States hold talks before the U.S. presidential election. Pyongyang, however, has expressed its unwillingness for more talks with Washington. Kwon Jong Gun, director general of the Department of U.S. Affairs of the DPRK's Foreign Ministry, said Tuesday that the DPRK was unwilling to talk face to face with the United States, urging South Korea to stay away from meddling in Pyongyang's affairs. Denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang have been stalled since the Hanoi summit between the two leaders in February 2019 ended with no agreement. Tensions escalated on the peninsula as the DPRK demolished the inter-Korean liaison office building in the DPRK's border city of Kaesong last month in protest against anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent across the border by South Korean civic group activists, mostly defectors from the DPRK. Pyongyang has cut off all communication lines with Seoul. ^ top ^


Eleanore Sun
Embassy of Switzerland

The Press review is a random selection of political and social related news gathered from various media and news services located in the PRC, edited or translated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Additionally the contents of the selected news mustn't correspond to the opinion of the Embassy.
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