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Ant uses Artificial Intelligence accessing trillions on data points and historical data to produce credit worthiness scores. Ant produce the basis for a loan in seconds, then sells this service to real banks who make the loans. Ant gets its fintech fee and goes on to produce another loan client. Chen Yongqi.

Ant Group and regulators have agreed to turn the fintech giant into a financial holding company, making it subject to bank capital requirements. All of Ant’s businesses will be placed in holding company, including its blockchain and food delivery. Read full article →

January auto sales rose 30% YoYRead full article →

China's 15,000 hedge funds returned 30% last year, dwarfing the 12% of their global peers. Read full article →  

Huawei's 2020 revenue was $136.7 billion, up 11.2%. The company will reward its employee-owners with cash dividends worth at least $6.2 billion. Global 5G network deployment has entered the fast lane and the number of 5G users will cross 500 million this year. Read full article →

TikTok announced its first major deal with an advertising agency, giving WPP access to its vast, largely untapped, audience of young users. 40% of TikTok users do not use Facebook account and 63% are not on Twitter.  “With TikTok you are looking at campaigns in the billions of views. On other platforms . . millions”.  Read full article $→

410,000 new companies in Shanghai, up 13.7% YoY, Shanghai's market watchdog reports.  Read full article $→

Hitachi provided 201 escalators for 14 stations along Shanghai's new Metro Line 15, which has the highest level of fully autonomous operation, and is the longest in China opened for service in one go. Hitachi equipped 24 urban rail projects across China and deploys AI, cloud computing and IoT in its solutions. Read full article →


Above: IMF treasuries' department's currency values in terms of Special Drawing Rights (SDR).

China wants Special Drawing Rights, not RMB, to replace the US$. SDRs are a synthetic currency derived from the trade-weighted average of the first four currencies above. The value in terms of each national currency of the SDR is the reciprocal of the value in terms of the SDR of each national currency. SDRs become more widely each year since the GFC.  Read full article →

China’s effective boycott of Australian wines has been a boon for South African winemakers, whose exports to China jumped 50% over the past three months.  Read full article →

Trade with the 17 nations in Central and Eastern Europe exceeded $100 billion for the first time. YoY growth of 8.4%, to $103.45 billion, was faster than trade growth with the EU, thanks 12, to400 China-Europe trains China-CEEC FDI hit $3.14 billion, while CEEC FDI in China was $1.72 billion. Read full article →

Mark Cohen' upcoming talk: “Over the last several years, China’s authorities have taken major steps to improve the Chinese intellectual property (IP) regime. Every major IP law has been amended, new specialized IP courts have been established, IP-related international agreements have been signed, and China’s IP offices and litigation dockets have grown astronomically.  Register to attend 


EHang AAV Manned Flight Tests. Urban Air Mobility

EHang's Model 216 and Falcon autonomous aerial vehicles will transport medical supplies in Belgium’s Antwerp, Germany’s Aachen, and the Netherlands’ Heerlen and Maastricht. EHang will write flight performance assessments to help the EU operate drones, and is helping build an urban air mobility system near Paris. Read full article $→

1 billion pictures are uploaded on WeChat daily: "We have the data of how almost every Chinese’s face changed in the past 10+ yrs. We can predict how they will look when they get old," says Pony Ma, Tencent founder and CEO. Read full article →  

Origin Quantum Computing launched the first homegrown operating system (OS) for quantum computers. It supports  superconducting, semiconductor, ion trap, and hybrid quantum processors, enabling access to high-performance quantum workstations with multiple quantum processor cores for users. It calibrates the quantum chips and  multiplies their efficiency. Read full article →

Shanghai's SMIC, the world's #3 semiconductor manufacturer, has ordered a US$12 billion plant for its 14nm and 7nm lithography. The plant plans 35,000 12-inch wafers per month, a large portion of the company’s sub-14nm production. Read full article →

Baidu processes 3 billion monthly voice queries. The OS provides over 4,300 skills for its mobile apps, Xiaodu smart speakers, Xiaodu Smart Earphones, various third-party hardware devices, and its automotive platform Apollo. 100 automotive companies are developing self-driving platforms with its Apollo, and Baidu and Geely are producing autonomous EVs. Read full article $→

Baidu's 40 autonomous robotaxis, robobuses, and minibuses pick up and drop off passengers at 50 stations and transport them to specific communities, parks and lakes. Passengers book on Baidu Maps. A “new species of vehicle" will function as mobile retail stores, street cleaners, disinfection machines, and patrol cars. Read full article $→   

Tesla is completing its new Shanghai R&D center to engineer and design a new $25,000 electric car. A year ago, Tesla announced the center to build “a Chinese-style” electric car and started hiring shortly after. The center integrates vehicle design, engineering, development, and testing. Read full article → 

The 3,422 km Lianyungang – Ürümqi rail corridor, the longest east-west route in the nations' ‘8 vertical and 8 horizontal’ HSR grid is complete. Seven trains will run each way daily at 300 km/h, and later, 350 km/h.  Read full article →

The U.S. Postal Service issued a stamp ranking Chien-Shiung Wu with Einstein, Fermi, and Feynman. Wu, who died in 1997 at age 84, never received a Nobel Prize for her demonstration of parity violation. She was among the women many scientists think were unfairly overlooked by the Nobel Committee. Read full article $→


Peter Ben Embarek, zoonotic disease authority, above, says the WHO has four hypotheses: 
  1. Covid jumped directly from a source animal to humans;
  2. it entered human populations via an unknown intermediary reservoir of host animals close to humans;
  3. food chain, in particular, cold chain logistics and food-related infections that acted as an ‘interface’ for Covid’s spread; and
  4. a lab leakage or incident that unleashed the virus. 
He said the second scenario is the most likely and that frozen food from outside of China could have caused the first cases at Wuhan’s Huanan market. WHO ruled out Covid laboratory accident: “Nowhere was SARS-CoV-2 researched or worked upon at any labs across the world before the pandemic and there were no publications about the virus… We have visited labs in Wuhan and talked to staff there and we believe a lab leakage was the least likely cause”. Read full article →

WHO China team member, American Peter Daszak, said  "US intelligence on the supposed origin of the coronavirus pandemic is not reliable. Please don’t rely too much on US intel: increasingly disengaged under Trump & frankly wrong on many aspects.” Read full article →

Some media stories and WHO responses:
  • The New York Times: "For months, China resisted allowing World Health Organization experts into the country to trace the origins of the global pandemic”. WHO: "We were in China from Day One.  Large WHO teams also visited in February, 2020, and again in June".
  • AFP, the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Guardian, The Express, Al Jazeera and The Times, said the Chinese Government acted uncooperatively during the WHO visit. WHO: "The Chinese government has fully cooperated and behaved impeccably.
  • The Chinese government has ‘threatened’ witnesses. WHO: "our officers had access to any who wanted to give evidence without prior arrangement or limitation. Not one Chinese citizen spoke of being ‘forced’ in any way.
  • The Chinese government would not allow ‘full’ access to the virology lab at the centre of the controversy. WHO: "We received full access and security clearance to ALL staff and areas of the virology lab concerned. 
  • The Chinese government tried to prevent access to the ‘wet’ markets in Wuhan. WHO: "We travelled wherever and whenever we wanted – always being greeted by friendly Chinese citizens willing to help and assist". 
  • The Chinese government stage-managed the interviews with surviving members of families who have lost loved-ones to Covid19. WHO: "We interviewed any one we wished without prior arrangement or appointment. WHO officers were ‘touched’ by the continuous kindness and concern they received from the Chinese people who were very grateful that they had risked their lives to travel during this pandemic and try to assist China! In-shortRead full article $→

China's Ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, suggested that WHO experts visit the US: “There have been numerous media reports about early cases in other places in the world. So there's certainly a need for more tracing to be done all over the world".  Read full article $→ 

China will provide vaccine aid to 53 countries, and export vaccines to 22 countries. PakistanCambodiaLaos, and Equatorial Guinea are receiving donated vaccine this week. If China didn’t distribute vaccines overseas, it would produce enough doses to cover 70% of its 1.4 billion people by year’s end. Read full article $→

Sinovac said late-stage vaccine trial data from Brazil and Turkey showed it is 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 sufferers from being hospitalized or dying and 83.7% effective in avoiding cases that require medical treatment, but only 50.65% effective at preventing infection.  Read full article →

"It was a fine Wednesday afternoon in mid-January when I got the call: A worker at a hospital in downtown Shanghai had tested positive for COVID-19”. Pan Hao,  of the Shangha’s COVID-19 prevention and control task force, tells track & trace war stories. Read full article $→

Three officials  were sentenced to 12–27 months in prison for dereliction of duty after supervising a Shandong prison with a Covid-19 outbreak that infected 200 inmates. A former prison guard and a driver were given 12-month and 16-month probations for obstructing prevention and control of infectious diseases. Read full article →
Refusal to suspend IP provisions on COVID vaccines should be grounds for International Criminal Court genocide prosecutions. The poorest and most vulnerable nations have been left far behind in prevention, containment, treatment, and vaccination programs.  Read full article $→

COVID OPINION: In the history of virology, has any outbreak ever been definitively traced to the first successful mutation and the first transmission?
  • Every serious scientist knows the reason for viral outbreaks and they know as a certainty that outbreaks will occur. It has something to do with human development robbing wild animals of their natural habitat, and making it more likely for humans and wild animals to cross paths, sometimes through intermediate agents. What happens when a raccoon passes a virus to a cat or a dog and starts the next pandemic? Will the Americans decide to die rather than to cull their pets? 
  • The reason people want to waste time doing this news cycle show in Wuhan is so that the Lying Machine wants to perpetrate a lying narrative. To follow this narrative is to give it credence which keeps the delusional public in their stupor. So the flock won't question why half a million people in America died because of this virus while only several thousands did in China. A real investigation should be done quietly and across the globe. All suspects should be questioned. There should be no grave unturned. America the Exceptional will of course not allow any of the sort. Anyone who dares to question America about the China flu will be bombed to the Stone Age. 
  • Everyone in America is doubling down on the illusion that their vaccines will stop the pandemic, including the CDC. I'm no expert, but I have a fairly good idea what needs to be done. Shut the damn place down completely as the first cases show up, massive testing, rapid testing, quick test results, mandatory tracing, quarantine everyone who has the possibility of having been infected, make everyone mask up in public, disinfect frequently, avoid crowds and hot zones, and reopen only after three to four weeks of zero cases; yes, zero cases, not when the curve appears to be flattening. This area-wide quarantine means that the virus has been stopped in this area. Open up again with precautions. Since America refuses to do it and they do not have the will to do anything nationwide, they can only delude themselves that they will be saved by vaccination alone. They are doomed. The brainless virus of Covid-19 is actually smarter than some human beings. Homo sapiens? Homo delusionalis, maybe; certainly Homo ignoranmus.  Peter Man
China has demanded an apology from the BBC for using a clip of an anti-terrorism exercise, claiming it was for pandemic control. The BBC responded that it 'will continue to uphold the principle of justice'. CGTN talked to Martin Jacques, senior research fellow at LSE.  Watch video

Australia urged allies to back an overhaul of the WHO, including "recruiting investigators akin to weapons inspectors to determine the source of major disease outbreaks". The prime minister, Scott Morrison, raised the plan in a series of telephone calls with the leaders of the US, France, Germany and New Zealand. Watch video →


Chengdu Future City, above, is a car-free masterplan designed by OMA. The 4.6-square-kilometre town in the rolling hills outside Chengdu will contain six clusters that are modelled on traditional village settlements in the city. Zones will blend with surrounding landscape and incorporate dedicated spaces for education and innovation. Read full article →

Chinese emissions of a banned gas that harms Earth’s ozone layer, CFC-11, have sharply declined after increasing for several years, scientists said, a sign that the Beijing government had made good on vows to crack down on illegal production of the industrial chemical. Read full article →

Grid companies will steadily increase the amount of power purchased from clean sources from 28% in 2020 to 40% by 2030, according to a draft policy from the National Energy Administration (NEA). Read full article →

The wife of Jiang Fan, an Alibaba partner, used Weibo to warn another woman not to “mess” with her husband. Weibo instantly deleted the posts, shut down comments and took down trending search topics, rankling government officials: “It was unprecedented and scary how fast the posts were deleted. We must pay attention to and crack down on this, because the power of capital can be used by us but can also be the enemy.” Read full article →

There were 10 million newborns registered in China last year, 15% less than 2019. Birth rates declined  in the second half of 2020 in some Chinese cities. Civil Affairs Minister Lǐ Jìhéng urged the government to introduce more effective measures to boost the country’s “dangerously low” birth rate. Read full article →

China added 517 new species to a list of nationally protected animals, including the wolf, large-spotted civet and golden jackal, taking the number of protected species to 980. Read full article $→

A new information platform allows the public to track the emissions of polluting enterprises and help authorities prosecute those that break the rules, the environment ministry said, “For illegal behaviour such as the discharge of pollution without permits, there are continuous penalties issued on a daily basis, and they will also be ordered to cut production or shut down. Those found evading supervision will be detained". Read full article →

"I spent a year interviewing Chinese women in Australia about their dating preferences and online dating habits on platforms. Their dating practices were as rigid as they were polarized: Every interviewee expressed a strong racial preference, either pursuing white men exclusively or maintaining a strict 'never swipe right on whites' policy". Read full article →

46% of white-collar workers identified as being “overworked,” compared with just 35.5% of manual laborers. Yet the white-collar workers were far less likely to have actually worked overtime in the previous week than their blue-collar counterparts. Read full article →

China's biggest internet companies employ 40% female staff, compared to 42% at America's largest tech companies. Indian women make up 34% of India's tech workforce; British women, 19%. 70% of Chinese startups have at least one female executive, a higher proportion than most companies and 1,000+ are directors of public tech companies. Read full article →

Stats, Stats, Stats

Some surnames that may be particularly common in a certain region may not add up to be particularly high in the list of the most common surnames of China as a whole. As Kang-Lin Cheng says, the most common surnames in mainland China, such as Zhang, will also be common in Taiwan, but there are many surnames that are common in Taiwan that are not common as a whole in mainland China. Read full article →

The South-to-North Water Diversion Project, the world's largest, has transferred over 40 billion cubic meters of water (60,000 Olympic swimming pools) through its middle and eastern routes since it went into operation,  ensuring the drinking water safety of hundreds of millions of people, promoting economic and social development along its route, while improving the ecological environment, said the Ministry of Water Resource. Read full article →


The Ministry of Ecology and Environment accused the National Energy Administration (NEA) of failing to make environmental protection a priority and rein in coal-fired power capacity. “The result is that what should have been built was not built but what shouldn’t have been was built,” the ministry said. Read full article →

In his New Year greeting, Xí Jìnpíng summarized the nation’s 2020 achievements: COVID-19 control, positive economic growth, “making historic progress in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and accomplishing the poverty eradication tasks on time.” Read full article →

Beijing Province will invest $202 billion 100 major infrastructure projects, 100 major livelihood projects, and 100 projects for sci-tech innovation and high-tech industries.  Read full article →

The PBOC said its urgent priority is regulating big Internet platforms. "In particular, transparency of information disclosures, to protect the long-term and fundamental interests of financial consumers”. Read full article →

Xi emphasized that the New Development Concept is holistic, entailing innovative, coordinated, green, open, mutually-shared development. The rural-urban divide, regional divide, and income inequality problems must be tackled, along with employment, education, social security, elder and child care, housing, healthcare, must be addressed.  People's Daily

NPCSC Session Watch: NPC Preparations, Stamp Duty & Mid-Term Report on Civil Litigation Reform PilotsNPC Observer


Blast from the past: Watch and wonder as Mike Wallace insults President Jiang Zemin–in Beijing–in 2000.
BBC World News has been banned from China after the UK media regulator, Ofcom, revoked the broadcast license of the Chinese CGTN network, saying that the BBC’s reports “violated the requirements that news should be truthful and fair, harmed China’s national interests, and undermined China’s national unity.” The reports in question likely refer to BBC coverage of Xinjiang province. Read full article →
Indian Minister V.K. Singh: "India has transgressed LAC more often than China. No-one knows how many times we have transgressed as per our perception. Chinese media does not cover it…Let me assure you, if China has transgressed 10 times, we must have done so at least 50 times.’” Read full article →

China and India began to disengage their troops from the Pangong Lake border hotspot  on their disputed border on Wednesday. Read full article →

"The spectacular Beijing Winter Olympics next year will transform winter sports forever by introducing 300 million Chinese people to them," said IOC President Thomas Bach. Read full article →

“Boycotting 2022 Beijing Winter Games, an unpopular idea, won’t receive wide support. IOC and athletes will both oppose it, and China will seriously sanction any country that follows such a call.” Hu Xijin Editor in Chief of Global Times Twitter.

Echoing Hong Kong's US-sponsored protests (‘Five demands, not one less’) and Thailand's US-sponsored protests, Malaysia's US-sponsored demonstrators made ‘five demands’ to the king. The #KitaMintaLima (We ask for five) hashtag is similar to Hong Kong protesters’ slogan. Read full article $→

To understand US-sponsored regime change we should acknowledge that allowing a foreign power occupy the field of cultural production, dominate public discourse, and frame the narrative is tantamount to giving a burglar in your home a guest pass. And that is exactly what the Hong Kong government did for over twenty years.. Read full article →

The Chinese ‘Debt Trap’ Is a Myth. The narrative wrongfully portrays both Beijing and the developing countries it deals withChina's Port In Sri Lanka's Is Good Business - The NYT's Report On It Is Propaganda. 'Financial imperialism' and 'modern-day colonialism' is what the U.S. exercises when it blocks IMF and Worldbank loans or binds them to political conditions. China is so far not known for doing such. Read full article →

China and 17 Central and Eastern European countries convened for the "17+1" summit: China’s expanding economic footprint and political influence have deepened and widened, with profound implications for the region’s economic development and long-term dependency. Read full article →

Above: a non-exhaustive list of instruments in China’s tiered development finance systemRead full article $→

Australian PM calls on NZ to align more against China: The US and Australian governments are concerned that New Zealand’s government is strengthening economic relations with Beijing while the US and its allies are preparing for war with China. Read full article $→ 

US marines to touch down in Darwin within days. All 2,200 US marines will need to do a do a COVID-19 test and be able to show a negative result before boarding the plane to Australia. A secure facility has been rented outside Darwin to quarantine the new arrivals Read full article $→

Q: What is your opinion about a Chinese origin professor at MIT being charged with hidden ties with China?

A: I’m glad to see that MIT president and faculties are standing up to fight this. The big picture is that the US government has significantly reduced science funding since President Reagan, so all the universities started trying to raise additional funding to make up for it. Alumni + foreign student recruitment + research sponsorship/collaboration. All of them.

Academic research was one of the first to jump start international collaboration, because the subject they work on are Significant Problems of the Mankind, and the goal of this whole thing is - publication! Publish your work on Science or Nature! Let the whole world know about it! Get other people to replicate, and cite your work! The more people citing it, the better! A dozen Science/Nature/Lancet publications and a couple thousand citations, and you’ll get your tenure! At that level, nationality is almost a quaint concept. It’s not like physics works differently in different countries.

So the rule of academic research is the complete opposite of the Government or Private companies. The government likes to splash “top secret” or whatnot all over. Private companies want you to sign a CDA (Confidential Disclosure Agreement) before you can talk about weather. In academia you’d be begging journal editors to publish your work. If we address these 300 questions from the reviewers, and do 500 more experiments, could you please please please publish our paper? It’s like that.

This is why accusing academicians of “spying” is so ludicrous. What do you want to know, just ask, and they’ll tell you! Unless it’s an exam question, then they’ll only tell you after the exam! If you want a sample of whatever, just ask nicely, and they’ll give it to you, ’cause why not. Good grief. People don’t seem to understand, with governments and private companies, they like to say “only we can do this because trade secret”.

In academia, other people NEED TO BE ABLE TO REPLICATE it. If they can’t it’s a red flag for academic fraud. So if you write to the professor, “I’m trying to replicate your data and I’m having trouble. Could you share your stuff with me.”, they’ll happily oblige, and go the extra mile to trouble-shoot with you to make it work! If nobody can replicate it, the journal will ask the original authors to retract their paper, it’d be a big scandal, and the authors’ whole lives will be ruined!

Also this “financial disclosure” thing is equally ludicrous. The way it works in real life is that the funding is deposited with the university. The professor gets an account number from the university. He gives the account number to his grad students and his post-docs. Then these guys go to the universities purchase system to order materials and equipment, and charge against this account number. All the vendors on the university purchase system have bulk-purchase agreement with the university since forever and so you get discount so the research funding will last longer.

Thus if the university really wants to, it can monitor how many bottles of water the professor drinks a day, ok? How else will it work in real life? Do you think the professor will personally keep the books, negotiate like a million purchase agreement and service agreement on like thousands of lab equipment and consumables, and do his own employment agreement / taxes / immigration docs for all his grad students / post-docs / lab technicians? All these while teaching and doing research and running the department 5 days a week? Of course not. The university does all this, and charges “overhead” against the Grant for the work. Thus the university accounting department often knows where the money comes from, where the money is going, even better than the professor himself.

Basically if the US Government is really unhappy about this, the best thing to do is just to pay a visit to the President of MIT, and tell him “we are not happy with all these collaborations with China. Tell your tenured professors not to do it anymore, and we’ll come back and audit everybody next Spring, ok? Here is a check to make up for the shortfall.” It still wouldn’t make any sense, but at least it would not be so pointlessly bloodthirsty. Robin Daverman. 


President Joe Biden announced A new Pentagon task force to address China, "The task force will work quickly, drawing on civilian and military experts across the department to provide recommendations so that we can chart a strong path forward. That's how we will meet the China challenge and ensure the American people win the competition in the future". Read full article →

The US is conducting joint exercises with Australia and Japan on Guam to counter its increasing vulnerability to attack from Russia or China. Drills include air combat exercises designed to improve ability to use smaller airfields in case major bases come under attack. The exercise will see the base hosting F-35A joint strike fighters for the first time. Read full article $→

CCTV's National Defense Science showed four attack helicopter models, including the Z-10 medium and Z-19, light attack helicopter. Another episode  introduces sniper rifles. The advanced PCL-181, a vehicle-mounted 155 mm gun-howitzer, and the Type-15 light tank also appeared. Read full article $→


Ant Trap

I’m not sure anything in the U.S. tech world can compare to Ant Group Co. In 2018, an exclusive group of global private-equity firms and mutual-fund managers including Silver Lake, Warburg Pincus LLC, Carlyle Group Inc. and T. Rowe Price Group Inc. took part in a coveted fundraising by Ant that raised $14 billion and minted the financial-technology giant as the world’s most valuable startup

The investors agreed to terms that were highly favorable to Ant, and which limited their ability to cash out if the company didn’t end up going public, according to people familiar with the matter. Ant also didn’t provide a listing time frame or guarantee investors a return while it stayed private, the people added.

The foreign investors didn’t receive any voting rights in Ant, which was valued at $150 billion in the June 2018 deal, the world’s largest-ever startup fundraising. None was given a seat on Ant’s board.

The Financial Times said, "Under an arrangement between Ant and its so-called international Class C investors, the cash was put into an offshore subsidiary that owns nothing. Aside from not having voting rights, there is little detail of the commercial terms of the agreement in Ant’s heavily redacted IPO prospectus".

Basically Ant could go to international investors and say “you put money in a bag, and we will hold onto the bag, and you will go away, and perhaps one day, if we feel like it, we will go public and list our shares and then send you some shares for the money, but in the meantime you will be very quiet and far away.”

And the investors thought, well, one day Ant will feel like going public, and then we’ll get our shares, so let’s not worry too much about the legal niceties in the meantime. And that was not even a bad thought, though the problem is now that the Chinese government called off Ant’s initial public offering in November. And now the investors remain very quiet and far away: “We are patient investors and don’t agitate for an IPO when investing in private companies,” a Baillie Gifford spokeswoman said.

Well, what would they say? What good would agitating for an IPO do them? 

Meanwhile here is a claim that you have to put in articles like this, but that I do not believe: "Ant’s recent debacle could make some international investors think twice about buying stakes in hot Chinese startups in the future, though others believe there still is significant profit to be made in the sector".

It makes sense: Investors gave Ant money without protections, their money is trapped, they wish they had protections, maybe next time they will ask for protections. I just don’t buy it. I mean, sure, next time they will ask for protections, and the company will say “absolutely not, put your money in this bag and shut up,” and they’ll meekly oblige. The thing that will make some international investors think twice about buying stakes in hot Chinese startups will be when the Chinese market is fully saturated, everyone in China has a phone and a mortgage and a car and a line of credit and a brokerage account and a meal-kit-delivery subscription, and there are no prospects of fabulous riches to dangle in front of international investors.

Until then “we’re growing really fast, give us a bag of money and maybe one day we’ll give you something back for it if we feel like it” is a perfectly serviceable pitch that will not be undermined by a few high-profile disasters. The investors need the companies, not the reverse. From Bloomberg's MoneyStuff, by Matt Levine. If you'd like to get Money Stuff in handy email form in your inbox, subscribe at this link.

Polysilicon Valley

Polysilicon Valley

How Solar Manufacturing Got Its Chinese Characteristics

Ilaria Mazzocco

Over the past decade, China has become both the largest market and the biggest supplier of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels globally. The country dominates manufacturing: only two of the ten largest solar PV manufacturers globally are not Chinese (see Figure 1). [Note: Hanwha and First Solar are American and South Korean firms, respectively. All other firms are Chinese.
Source: GlobalData; Power Intelligence Center.]

1. A Solar Cost Revolution

Thanks to the dramatic fall in PV panel costs, solar energy is now much more competitive with coal, facilitating the global clean energy transition (see Figure 2). Chinese manufacturers were key in making solar panels a commodity that is both widely available and affordable. As of 2019, China was home to almost 80% of the world’s solar panel production capacity.
Figure 2. Solar PV Panel Cost as of 2019 ($/Watt)

Although estimating the precise “China impact” on global PV cost is difficult, particularly since costs were dropping well before Chinese manufacturers arrived en masse, there are some proxies. For instance, in 2012, the lowest price that a Chinese monocrystalline silicon solar panel producer could set while maintaining acceptable returns (Minimum Sustainable Price) was estimated to be 23% lower than that of a comparable American firm.

2. How China Did It

China’s solar industry, unlike its wind turbine industry, is dominated by private firms. Local governments, however, were key early players. This was especially so in the Yangtze River Delta region, which could be dubbed the “Polysilicon Valley” given the concentration of major solar firms that led the Chinese industry’s development. These companies were attracted by a variety of local incentives, including industrial parks, subsidized land, tax breaks, and, importantly, discounted electricity.

Initially, Chinese solar producers relied almost entirely on imported components and machinery and exported the vast majority of the end products. But as the industry expanded, so did upstream investment in polysilicon and wafer production, as well as manufacturing equipment. The result was an increasingly indigenized and vertically integrated supply chain, economies of scale, and cost advantages for local manufacturers.

Yet that scale—the average Chinese factory was four times the size of the average American one—led to exports flooding the global market, triggering punitive trade responses (see below). At the same time, demand faltered in European countries as they cut feed-in-tariffs (FiT) after the global financial crisis.

As the export market faced uncertainty, Beijing threw its weight behind the domestic renewables market by adopting its own FiT in 2011. The policy support was effective in bolstering domestic demand. By 2015 China had the most installed solar capacity and electricity generation of any country.

The solar industry continued to grow, attracting more investment. New market entrants proliferated, and an increasingly crowded playing field intensified competitive pressures to cut costs. Industry pioneers like Suntech were driven to bankruptcy, unable to adapt quickly enough. Between 2000 to 2016, for example, Chinese manufacturers were estimated to have scaled up solar module production 500 times, bending the cost curve while also enabling the rapid expansion of solar installations globally.

Beijing actively fueled this competition in order to weed out weaker firms and raise the quality of products. In particular, it launched a top-runner program in 2015 which had the effect of increasing R&D spending to improve efficiency in the value chain and to shift toward higher performance monocrystalline panels. In addition, Beijing slashed the FiT in 2018 pushing the industry towards consolidation. Read full article →


Cheap Solar (Part 1): How Globalization and Government Commercialized a Fledgling Industry. Ilaria MazzoccoWaiting for Electric Buses: Competition and Complexity in the US Market, Ilaria Mazzocco

Weekly Debunk

Uyghur Dilraba Dilmurat, #11 in Forbes China Celebrities.

The US is ‘deeply disturbed’ by reports of systematic rape of Muslims in China camps

(Xinhua) Some anti-China forces in the West, including the United States, have concocted and disseminated plenty of false information about China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Xinjiang-related issues are not about human rights, ethnicity or religion at all, but about combating violent terrorism and separatism. The Chinese government has launched anti-terrorism and de-radicalization efforts in Xinjiang in accordance with the law to protect people's lives, which has garnered ardent support of people from all ethnic groups. People in the region continue to embrace peace and prosperity and Xinjiang society continues to develop steadily. These facts are the most powerful tool to debunk lies on Xinjiang. Facts and truthfulness will eventually bust all lies. Please see the attachment for the full text.

Bunk #1

Mike Pompeo claimed that the Chinese government had committed "genocide" against Uygurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

Debunk: In recent years, the Uygur population in Xinjiang has been growing steadily. From 2010 to 2018, the Uygur population in Xinjiang rose from 10.17 million to 12.72 million, an increase of 2.55 million or 25.04 percent. The growth rate of the Uygur population is not only higher than that of Xinjiang's total population, which is 13.99 percent, but also higher than that of all ethnic minority groups, which is 22.14 percent, let alone the Han population's 2 percent.

-- Xinjiang enjoys social stability, with the people living and working in peace and contentment. The region has made unprecedented achievements in economic and social development and improvement of people's livelihood. From 2014 to 2019, the GDP of Xinjiang increased from 919.59 billion yuan to 1.36 trillion yuan, with an average annual growth rate of 7.2 percent. The per capita disposable income in Xinjiang increased by an average annual rate of 9.1 percent. Remarkable achievements have been made in poverty alleviation. All 3.09 million impoverished people in Xinjiang have been lifted out of poverty. The absolute poverty problem in Xinjiang has been resolved historically.

-- The legitimate rights and interests of the people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang have been protected. All ethnic groups, regardless of their population, have the same legal status and enjoy various rights in accordance with the law, including participation in the management of state affairs, freedom of religious belief, receiving education, using their own languages, and preserving their traditional culture.


Bunk #2

Adrian Zenz released reports claiming Xinjiang has carried out "forced sterilization" on the Uygur women, resulting in a sharp decline in the Uygur population.

Debunk: Adrian Zenz is not a so-called "expert on China studies," but a member of the far-right group "Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation" sponsored by the U.S. government. He is also a key figure in an anti-China organization set up by U.S. intelligence agencies and a notorious racist.

-- Adrian Zenz's "reports" are full of fabrications and data manipulation. The so-called evidence of "forced sterilization" in the "reports" claims that 80 percent of the new intrauterine device (IUD) insertion procedures in China for 2018 were performed in Xinjiang and that the natural population growth rate in Hotan and Kashgar of Xinjiang in 2018 was only 2.58 per 1,000 people. The "evidence" is extremely inconsistent with the facts.

-- According to data from China Health Statistics Yearbook 2019, published by the National Health Commission, the number of new IUD insertion procedures in Xinjiang in 2018 came in at 328,475, accounting for only 8.7 percent of China's total, which was 3,774,318.

-- According to the 2019 Xinjiang statistical yearbook released by the statistics bureau of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the natural population growth rates in Kashgar and Hotan were 6.93 per 1,000 people and 2.96 per 1,000 people, respectively, in 2018.

Bunk #3 

BBC Newsnight reported that Zumrat Dawut (Zamira Dawut) was "forced to go through sterilization" in a vocational education and training center.

Debunk: Zamira Dawut has never studied in any vocational education and training center. Her elder brother Abduhelil Dawut has previously clarified that.

-- She claimed that after "her release" from a center, she was forced to be sterilized and her uterus was removed because she has already had three children. In fact, in March 2013, when Zamira Dawut gave birth to her third child in Urumqi Maternal and Child Care Service Center, she signed a childbirth consent form voluntarily to have a cesarean section and tubal ligation, and then the center conducted the operation. She was never sterilized, not to mention uterus removal.

-- She claimed that her aging father was repeatedly detained and investigated by Xinjiang authorities, and died not long ago from an unknown cause. In fact, her father had been living with his children until he died from heart disease on Oct. 12, 2019. He had never been investigated or placed in detention. Her brothers Abduhelil Dawut and Elkin Dawut have both substantiated the facts.

-- She claimed that she was served with pork in a relative's home. In fact, the relative she referred to is her elder brother Abduhelil Dawut's pairing relative Zhao Qilin. In October 2017, Abduhelil was paired up with Zhao as "relatives," as part of an ethnic unity program. In January 2018, Abduhelil was invited to Zhao's home as a guest, in company with his younger sister Zamira Dawut. The meal was prepared by Zhao's mother, who herself is an ethnic Hui and a Muslim, and only eats halal food. It was impossible for her to provide a "pork meal."

Bunk #4

In interviews with foreign media, Mihrigul Tursun said that she was forced to take unknown medications in a vocational education and training center and was diagnosed as infertile by American doctors.

Debunk: On April 21, 2017, Mihrigul Tursun was taken into custody by the public security bureau of Qiemo County on suspicion of inciting ethnic hatred and discrimination. During this period, she was found to have infectious diseases such as syphilis. Out of humanitarian consideration, the county public security bureau terminated the measures against her on May 10, 2017. Except the 20 days of criminal detention, Mihrigul was totally free while in China. She was never sentenced, nor did she study in any vocational education and training center, let alone being forced to take medications. There are no records of her undergoing a sterilization procedure in China.

Bunk #5

Xinjiang sets up "re-education camps" to detain millions of Uygur Muslims.

Debunk: Xinjiang has never had any so-called "re-education camps."
-- The vocational education and training centers established in Xinjiang in accordance with the law were education and training institutions in nature and were preventive counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures taken by Xinjiang. The aim was to eradicate the breeding ground for terrorism and extremism from the source. The relevant measures drew on the international community's experience in combating terrorism and deradicalization and implemented the idea of using development, education, and other resources to curb extremist ideologies, as advocated in the UN Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism. It fully complied with the principles and spirit of a series of international counter-terrorism resolutions, including the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy. Xinjiang's counter-terrorism and deradicalization measures have achieved positive results. There have been no violent terrorist cases for over four consecutive years in the region.

-- The vocational education and training centers offered a curriculum that included standard spoken and written Chinese, understanding of the law and training in vocational skills to achieve the goal of deradicalization. By October 2019, all the trainees in such centers had completed their studies and graduated, and most of them have found stable jobs and lived a peaceful life.

 Bunk #6

Xinjiang vocational education and training centers exercised "religious control," political indoctrination, intimidation and torture over the trainees.

Debunk: The vocational education and training centers fully respected and protected trainees' freedom of religious belief, ethnic customs and habits, and the right to use their own ethnic spoken and written languages. The trainees could decide on their own whether to take part in legal religious activities when they got home; a variety of nutritious Muslim food was provided free of charge; and the regulations, curriculum, and menus at the centers all used local ethnic languages as well as standard Chinese.

-- The vocational education and training centers fully guaranteed the trainees' personal freedom and dignity. The centers employed a residential education model which allowed trainees to go back home on a regular basis, ask for leave to attend to personal affairs, and enjoy the freedom of correspondence. The centers strictly prohibited any form of humiliation or mistreatment. There were no such things as "suppressing ethnic minorities" or "persecuting Muslims."

-- The centers had well-equipped facilities. The dormitories were equipped with radio, TVs, air-conditioners or electric fans. Medical facilities, legal-counseling and mental-counseling rooms provided relevant services free of charge. The centers had sports venues for basketball, volleyball and table tennis, facilities for cultural activities, such as reading rooms, computer rooms and movie-screening rooms, as well as cultural and art performance venues, such as small auditoriums and open-air stages. Extra-curricular activities, such as folk songs and dances, sports competitions, etc., were held regularly to meet the various needs of trainees in study, life and entertainment to the maximum extent. All the trainees were covered in the public pension and medical insurance schemes, and were entitled to free health examinations.

Bunk #7

Some overseas Uygur people have been claiming "their relatives or friends in Xinjiang cannot be contacted and have gone missing" on overseas media and social media platforms.

Debunk: Xinjiang protects the freedom of travel of people of all ethnic groups, including the Uygurs, and their communication with overseas relatives according to law.

-- Verification with relevant departments shows that some allegedly "missing" people, mentioned by the "East Turkistan" separatists overseas, are living a normal life, while other "missing" incident reports are pure fabrications.

-- The Australian Broadcasting Corporation once reported that Azmat Omar, a Chinese citizen living in Australia, claimed that he had lost contact with his family in Xinjiang. They included his father, stepmother, three brothers, two sisters, and over 20 other relatives. However, the fact is that all his relatives in China are living a normal life.

-- During a UN Human Rights Council session in February 2020, the "World Uygur Congress" organized an activity outside the Palace of Nations in Geneva. They posted pictures of so-called "Uygurs persecuted by the Chinese government." These pictures were later discredited as disinformation. Those in the pictures are living normal lives. Separatist groups stole their photos and personal information.

Bunk #8

Xinjiang uses the coronavirus to wipe out Uygurs, with many tragic deaths after infection.

Debunk: Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Xinjiang has resolutely fought against the virus and effectively contained the epidemic within a short period. With the support of the expert team from the State Council joint prevention and control mechanism, the local government made all-out efforts to treat patients. The regional government adopted a targeted prevention and control approach with differentiated, scientific measures. It also strengthened epidemic prevention and control in places such as crowded and key venues to minimize the risk of virus spread. The local government has also made every effort to ensure the production and supply of food and other daily necessities while maintaining their sufficiency, quality and stable prices. These measures were widely supported by people of different ethnic groups in Xinjiang. Thanks to concerted efforts, all 826 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Xinjiang have been discharged from hospital after treatment, without even a single death.


Bunk #9

China systematically transferred 80,000 Uygurs out of Xinjiang and assigned them as "forced labor" to factories in other provinces.

Debunk: The government of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region works with a strong sense of responsibility to promote employment. Southern Xinjiang was an underdeveloped area with a low degree of industrialization and urbanization, where many people suffered from poverty due to lack of job opportunities. Based on the realities, local governments at all levels have taken active measures to help those in need of secure employment. These measures included creating job opportunities nearby, facilitating work in other areas in Xinjiang, or transferring work forces to other provinces and cities paired up to assist Xinjiang. Such measures have helped residents rise above poverty through employment and lead fulfilling lives, while guaranteeing various ethnic groups' right to labor and employment.

-- Since 2018, 151,000 people in poverty-stricken families in southern Xinjiang have secured jobs away from their homes. Most of them worked in other parts of Xinjiang, while about 14,700 worked outside the region with the help of fellow villagers and relatives, or through human resources agencies. Those who work outside Xinjiang have their rights to customs, language and culture, and religious belief fully guaranteed. Many earn an annual income of 45,000 yuan, several times higher than the income from farming or working in their hometowns.

Bunk #10

Xinjiang forced a large number of Uygurs to pick cotton, contaminating the global supply chain.

Debunk: A few years ago, when cotton matured in autumn, many migrant workers from Henan, Sichuan and other places would take trains to Xinjiang to pick cotton. They were called "the cotton-picking forces." Migrant workers of various ethnic groups in Xinjiang would also go to pick cotton. They worked together, cared for each other and forged a deep friendship. These cotton pickers in and out of Xinjiang were all voluntary, and their incomes could reach over 10,000 yuan in just a month.

-- In recent years, with the development of science and technology, cotton production has been highly mechanized in Xinjiang. Even in the busy cotton harvesting season, there is no need for a large number of cotton pickers. For example, since 2015, most of the cotton in the Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture of Bayingolin in Xinjiang has been harvested by machines.

Bunk #11 

Xinjiang adopts an assimilation policy towards ethnic minorities in an attempt to systematically eliminate the Uygur culture.

Debunk: All ethnic groups in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region enjoy full freedom to preserve or reform their own customs and habits. Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region strictly abides by the Constitution and laws, and attaches great importance to the protection and development of excellent traditional culture of all ethnic groups.

-- The cultural heritage of all ethnic groups has been protected in Xinjiang. A batch of renowned architectural sites representing the preeminent historical and cultural heritage of the Uygur, Mongolian, Hui, Xibe and other ethnic minority groups have been properly renovated and preserved, including the Tomb of Afak Hoja in Kashgar, the Tomb of Tughluk Tumur in Huocheng, the Zhaosu Lamasery, the Former Residence of a Mongolian Prince in Hejing, and Chimtoghrak Manor.

-- The excellent traditional culture of the ethnic groups has been passed on. Traditional cultural events, such as the Uygur's "Meshrep," the Kazak's "Aytes," the Kirgiz's "Kobuz Ballad Singing Fair," the Mongolian "Nadam Fair," the Xibe's "West Moving Festival" and the Han people's "Lantern Festival," have been widely carried out. A number of impressive dramas with rich ethnic and regional characteristics have been staged, such as the Uygur play "Gherip and Senem," the Kazak "Aytes," and the Kirgiz "Manaschi" ballad drama "Manas."

-- The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has fully protected the customs and habits of all ethnic groups in the diets, festivals, weddings and funerals. Large and medium-sized cities and small towns with Muslim people in Xinjiang maintain a certain number of halal restaurants; "halal canteens" or "halal kitchen facilities" are set up in major traffic arteries and institutions with ethnic minority employees; beef and mutton supplied to Muslim people are slaughtered, processed, stored, transported and sold according to their customs. All ethnic groups enjoy statutory holidays during their traditional festivals, such as Corban Festival and Eid al-Fitr.

-- Currently, people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang mainly use 10 spoken and written languages. Ethnic minority languages are widely applied in various sectors, including the judiciary, administration, education, press and publishing, radio and television, and the Internet. Xinjiang People's Broadcasting Station offers 12 radio channels in five languages: Mandarin, Uygur, Kazak, Mongolian and Kirgiz. Primary and secondary schools in Xinjiang offer courses in ethnic minority languages, such as Uygur, Kazak, Kirgiz, Mongolian and Xibe. Chinese RMB banknotes have five languages on them: Chinese, Tibetan, Uygur, Mongolian and Zhuang.

Bunk #12

Some places in Xinjiang destroyed graveyards of ethnic minority groups.

Debunk: Xinjiang has always respected the funeral and burial customs of ethnic minority groups and formulated a series of regulations and policies to protect their basic funeral and burial rights. Measures, including allocating designated land and establishing special public cemeteries, are taken for some ethnic minority groups who traditionally bury their dead in the ground. Their traditional practices such as funeral pray, burial and holding Nazer (memorial activities), are preserved.

-- With the economic and social development and the improvement of people's living standards in Xinjiang, governments at all levels have stepped up the planning and construction of public welfare cemeteries. Cemetery facilities and their environment are continuously improving. People of different ethnic groups in some places have relocated graveyards of their own free will.

Bunk #13

The Chinese government sends children of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang to boarding schools and "forces" them to be separated from their parents.

Debunk: The Compulsory Education Law of the People's Republic of China stipulates: "Where necessary, the people's government at the county level may set up boarding schools to ensure that school-age children and adolescents who are dwelling in scattered areas receive compulsory education." Xinjiang is a vast region with long distances between villages and towns, and it is not convenient for some students to go to school, making it hard to ensure their study quality. Parents have a heavy burden to transport their children to and from schools. To solve this problem, Xinjiang built 400 primary and secondary boarding schools in the 1980s. In recent years, Xinjiang, like the rest of the country, made scientific plans and reasonable arrangements for boarding school construction. They comply with the relevant construction standards of the state and the autonomous region to ensure sufficient learning and living facilities. Time has proved that boarding education has become an effective measure to accelerate education modernization and aid targeted poverty alleviation in Xinjiang. Parents of students of all ethnic groups support the boarding school model.

-- The construction of boarding schools is an arrangement made by Xinjiang in light of the actual conditions of the autonomous region to alleviate poverty through education and improve the quality of compulsory education. It helps improve education modernization at primary and secondary schools of ethnic minorities and promote exchanges among different ethnic groups in Xinjiang. The practice here is not fundamentally different from that of other parts of China or the rest of the world.

Bunk #14

Schools in Xinjiang replace ethnic languages with Chinese to "brainwash" the students. Xinjiang has banned ethnic minority students from using their own languages and closed schools of the Uygur language.

Debunk: The Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language stipulate that citizens have the right to learn and use the standard Chinese spoken and written language. The state provides them with related conditions. While promoting education in the Chinese language, Xinjiang also offers courses in the spoken and written languages of ethnic minority groups in accordance with the national curriculum plan for primary and secondary schools. This safeguards the right of students from ethnic minority groups to learn their own spoken and written languages. It also effectively promotes the inheritance and development of ethnic minority languages and cultures.

-- Primary and secondary education in Xinjiang is conducted in seven languages. At present, preschools and primary and secondary schools across Xinjiang provide bilingual education in the national standard spoken and written language, as well as one ethnic language. Learning to use the national standard language can help people better integrate and adapt to modern society. It brings more convenience in studies, job hunting, communication, business, and work.

Bunk #15

Xinjiang suppresses ethnic minorities under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

Debunk: Incomplete statistics show that from 1990 to 2016, ethnic separatists, religious extremists, and violent terrorists plotted and conducted several thousand violent terrorist acts. They killed many innocent civilians and several hundred police officers and caused immeasurable property losses. These terrorist activities inflicted untold suffering on the people of various ethnic groups in Xinjiang.

-- In the face of a complicated counter-terrorism situation and the demands from people of all ethnic groups to stop terrorism, China's Xinjiang region has taken a series of active measures. Responding to the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and other counter-terrorism resolutions, Xinjiang has upheld the principle of not linking terrorism with any particular region, ethnic group, or religion. It acted within the law to crack down on violence and terrorist activities that violate human rights, endanger public security, undermine ethnic unity, and aim at separating the country. Since 2014, a total of 1,588 violent and terrorist groups have been taken out, 12,995 violent terrorists arrested, and 2,052 explosive devices seized. Such operations have effectively curbed the infiltration of extremism, significantly improved public security, and protected the right to life, right to health, right to development, and other basic rights of people of all ethnic groups. Xinjiang has reported no violent terrorist cases for more than four consecutive years.

Bunk #16

The "fanghuiju" campaign, in which civil servants are dispatched to grass-roots communities to offer help to people of various ethnic groups, as well as the "ethnic unity campaign" and solidarity activities among cadres and people of different ethnic groups, are all adopted by Xinjiang with the aim of intervening in and monitoring Uygur families.

Debunk: Xinjiang has been carrying out the "ethnic unity campaign" and solidarity activities among cadres and people of different ethnic groups since 2016. More than 1.1 million cadres and workers of different ethnic groups have paired up with 1.6 million people of different ethnic groups as "relatives" and made friends with each other. Among them, Han cadres have paired up with ethnic groups, including the Uygur. Cadres of ethnic minority groups, including the Uygur, have also paired up with Han people.

-- Based on mutual exchange, communication, integration, respect and help, cadres and workers of different ethnic groups have given full play to their own advantages, guiding the grass-roots residents to expand their approaches to prosperity, and helping them solve difficulties in healthcare, employment and education, and doing many good deeds that have won public support. According to the statistics, the cadres and workers participating in the "ethnic unity campaign" and solidarity activities among cadres and people of different ethnic groups have donated 940 million yuan and more than 49 million material items to the grass-roots people, accomplishing some 18 million deeds that benefit locals.

Bunk #17

Xinjiang monitors Uygur Muslims through ubiquitous cameras, mobile phone apps, the internet and other high-tech means.

Debunk: In accordance with the law, Xinjiang has installed cameras in urban and rural public areas, major roads, transportation hubs and other public places in order to improve social governance and effectively prevent and crack down on crime. These measures have enhanced social security and won widespread support from people of all ethnic groups. The measures do not target any particular ethnic group.

-- The use of modern scientific and technological products and big data to improve social governance is a common practice in the international community. According to the South China Morning Post, a new study found that Britain, Germany, France and the Netherlands are among the top 10 countries in terms of the number of surveillance cameras in the world.

Bunk #18 

Chinese embassies and consulates have refused to renew the passports of overseas Uygur people, forcing them to return home to face extrajudicial detention or imprisonment.

Debunk: Chinese citizens' personal freedom and rights of exit and entry are protected by law. As long as they are Chinese nationals and admit themselves that they are Chinese citizens, and do not violate Chinese laws and regulations, they can apply to the Chinese embassy or consulate where they live for the renewal or replacement of passports.

-- Chinese embassies and consulates conduct their services in accordance with the Exit and Entry Administration Law of the People's Republic of China, the Passport Law of the People's Republic of China and other laws and regulations to protect the legitimate rights and interests of overseas Chinese of different ethnic groups. Chinese citizens from Xinjiang who apply for the renewal or replacement of passports at Chinese embassies and consulates have been accepted and approved after being examined to comply with relevant laws.

Bunk #19

The Chinese government bans foreign journalists from going to Xinjiang for reporting.

Debunk: Xinjiang is an open place. Foreign journalists are allowed to report in Xinjiang on condition that they abide by Chinese laws and go through relevant procedures, according to the Regulations of the People's Republic of China on News Coverage by Permanent Offices of Foreign Media Organizations and Foreign Journalists. There are no circumstances in which the Chinese government forbids foreign journalists to report in Xinjiang.

-- Since the end of 2018, more than 1,200 people from over 100 countries and regions, including officials from international organizations, diplomats, journalists and religious leaders, have visited Xinjiang.

-- From Sept. 3 to 7, 2019, NBC reporters went to Xinjiang for reporting.

-- In December 2020, BBC reporters went to Kuqa County and other places in Xinjiang for reporting.

Bunk #20

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights will be restricted from visiting Xinjiang.

Debunk: China welcomes the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to visit China and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and has always maintained close communication with the United Nations.

Bunk #21

Xinjiang suppresses Islam and freedom of religious belief.

Debunk: Respecting and protecting the freedom of religious belief is a basic long-term policy of the Chinese government. Article 36 of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China stipulates that Chinese citizens have freedom of religious belief. The principle of religious freedom enshrined in the Constitution has been fully implemented in Xinjiang. Xinjiang citizens' right to freedom of religious belief has been fully guaranteed. The religious feelings, belief-based needs and customs of religious citizens have been fully respected, legal religious activities guaranteed by law, and religious and cultural heritage protected.

-- Xinjiang has translated and published religious classics and books, such as the Koran and Selections from Al-Sahih Muhammad Ibn-Ismail al-Bukhari, in Mandarin Chinese, the Uygur, Kazak and Kirgiz languages, providing convenience for religious believers of all ethnic groups to acquire religious knowledge.

-- Since 1996, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region government has organized local Muslims to take charter flights for a pilgrimage every year, except for the cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and has provided high-quality services in entry and exit, medical care, catering, etc., so as to ensure the safe and orderly pilgrimage activities and ensure that local Muslims of all ethnic groups successfully complete their pilgrimage.

Bunk #22

Xinjiang demolishes many mosques.

Debunk: Mosques in Xinjiang meet the regular religious demands of followers in terms of quantity. Governments at various levels in Xinjiang have consistently improved the public services of mosques. The government has funded the introduction into mosques of running water, electricity, natural gas, roads, communication, radio and television, and libraries. Ablution facilities and flushing toilets have been installed. Mosques have also been equipped with medical services and electronic displays. They also have computers, electric fans or air conditioners, firefighting equipment, drinking water dispensers, shoe coverings or machines for shoe coverings, and lockers. These measures have been welcomed by religious personnel and believers.

Bunk #23

Xinjiang "persecutes" religious personnel.

Debunk: The cultivation and training of clerical personnel have been strengthened in Xinjiang. The region has ten religious colleges and schools, including the Xinjiang Islamic Institute, its eight branches in places like Kashgar, Hotan and Ili, and the Xinjiang Islamic School. These colleges recruit a certain number of undergraduate, junior, and technical secondary school students every year, with student numbers exceeding 3,000.

Bunk #24

Xinjiang bans fasting of Muslims.

Debunk: Muslims of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang, in accordance with their teachings, canons, and traditional customs, practice regular religious activities such as fasting and Islamic festivals in mosques and their own homes. Such activities are totally of their own free will, without any interference or restriction.  During Ramadan every year, it is an entirely personal choice for Muslims to fast or not fast. Governments at all levels in Xinjiang make every effort to ensure the market supply and security of religious activities of Eid al-Fitr and other festivals. Read full article → 

War With China

The U.S. is Set on a Path to War with China.
What Is to be Done?

KJ Noh

A civilization without hereditary aristocrats was unfathomable and terrifying to the Western ruling class. Montesquieu, (borrowing from Giovanni Botero) thus concocted the trope that China’s more egalitarian system had to be “despotic”—despotic for him because it threatened the “liberties” (aristocratic privileges) of his class. These allegations of “despotism”—despite being total distortions of Chinese governance–have infused all Western discourses about China since.

It was a gripping, stunning testimony. Before Congress, a 15 year old volunteer nurse, Nayirah, struggled to compose her trembling voice, barely holding back tears, as she testified that marauding soldiers had thrown babies out of incubators in a hospital, leaving them to die on the floor.

Later, Amnesty International confirmed authoritatively that 312 babies had been killed this way. [1] All the news agencies ran with the story, and the country and Congress were in a total uproar.

There was only one problem: it was completely, utterly, totally fraudulent. It was engineered, perjured, coached testimony concocted by PR experts, designed to manufacture consent for a U.S. war on Iraq.

At the time, it was also crystal clear that the claims were absurd—Kuwait had a population of less than 1.5 million at the time, and given its birth rate, would have had a few hundred premature babies a year. It’s inconceivable that over 300 of them could have been clustered in a single hospital on a single day.

Nevertheless, this was the story that was sold to the U.S. people. Representative John Porter stated, “We have never heard…[such] a record of inhumanity and brutality and sadism…I don’t know how the people of the civilized countries of this world can fail to do everything within their power to remove this scourge from the face of the earth.”

Not long afterward, the U.S. went to war with Iraq.  It would wage war again, 12 years later, doubling down with even more monstrous lies about weapons of mass destruction.

Today, we are facing a similar situation: the U.S. is escalating rapidly towards a shooting war with China, and similar absurd, astonishing, and monstrous lies are being spread. In fact, the U.S. is already engaged in “multi-domain” “hybrid warfare” with China. This is warfare just below the threshold of direct military engagement. On the ground this involves:

  • Economic Warfare: trade sanctions and tariff war, as well as technological warfare: attempted seizure of Chinese companies (TikTok); attacks on China’s international 5G contracts; sanctions on the primary & secondary supply chains of key sectors of Chinese industry (e.g. Huawei’s semiconductor supply chain); attacks on Ant Financial's IPO.

  • Legal Warfare, or “lawfare,” including over 380 anti-China bills in Congress, and 14 individual and state lawsuits against China for over $30 trillion in “Covid damages”; the long arm “legal” kidnapping of Huawei’s executive

  • Diplomatic Warfare, including consulate shutdowns, harassment of diplomats, breaching of diplomatic pouches and compounds, and calls for regime change.

  • Military Brinksmanship and posturing in the South China Sea, the East China Sea, the Taiwan straits; complete encirclement of China with strategic weapons, surveillance, and 400 offensive bases (“The Pacific Pivot”), the use of air bases in Taiwan for military surveillance, and plans to station intermediate range nuclear missiles all along China’s periphery. [2]

  • Civil Subversioncolor revolution, urban terror, destabilization and delegitimation operations in Hong Kong (and other places where China has interests), including millions of dollars of funneled for organization & training, and encrypted communications infrastructure built to coordinate anti-government activities.

  • Academic Warfare: through the FBI’s China Initiative, every 10 hours a case is opened against a Chinese student or researcher in the U.S. (currently 2700 cases) and all Chinese students are considered potential “non-traditional” “collectors" and “spies” involved in a “thousand grains of sand” collection strategy.

  • Information Warfare: last but not least, we are seeing total Information warfare.
    The stories about so-called “massive human rights abuses,” “Chinese concentration camps,” “Chinese-made-and-released Covid,” “China has harmed us economically,” “China has stolen its way to the top,” “China is oppressing independent Hong Kong,” are part of this information warfare.

This mass propaganda incites people to hate China irrationally and unconditionally, to manufacture consent for war. The U.S. military calls this information warfare, “the firehose of falsehoods” and we are all being drenched with these lies. This is necessary to justify war against an enemy and to curtail any rational discussion or questioning.

Questions the public is kept from asking:

  • Are these allegations supported by any facts?
  • Has China threatened us? Is the U.S. at risk from China?
  • Is this war justifiable by any means? Is it legal?
  • Do the citizens of the U.S. want to go to war? Could the U.S. even fight, let alone win a war with China?

A careful, reasoned approach to these questions, would lead one to say, No.

Before we try to play whack-a-mole with the blatant war propaganda, a more useful and clarifying approach is to ask, why is the U.S. telling these lies to go to war?

For this, we have to look at history.


Culture shock and the challenge to supremacy:

The earliest European travelers were astonished to discover in China a country, in many ways, far more advanced than the West: a rich, diverse, multi-cultural civilization with sophisticated systems of governance, and vibrant cities built with complex systems of planning and management. Above all, they marveled at a harmonious multi-religious, multi-ethnic society, free of sectarian strife, and an inclusive merit-based [3] system of political power that selected the most competent people to govern and rule, regardless of creed, color, background, or religion. [4] This contrasted the Western system of hereditary aristocratic rule within a society torn apart regularly with religious strife. These ideas of diversity, tolerance, inclusion, and earned—not inherited–privilege, would strongly influence the leaders of the Enlightenment, so much so that Western philosophers such as Voltaire and Leibnitz believed that the Chinese had “perfected moral science,” and that Chinese statecraft was the model for the West to emulate if it wanted to develop into an enlightened civilization.

These discoveries struck a hard blow at Christian and Western supremacy. Western colonization was built on a foundational belief that the West was more advanced, more evolved—closer to God—than the “barbarous” countries it was invading, subjugating, exploiting, and destroying. It needed at least the pretense of being more “advanced” to justify its colonial “civilizing mission.” Reactionary thinkers like Herder—who had never visited China—lashed back rapidly by propagating a theory of the depravity of Chinese: that China was an “immoral land with no honor,” an “embalmed mummy” characterized by stagnation, in contrast with Western “dynamism.”

In addition, the Chinese system of meritocratic government was deeply troubling to a West built on stratified class privilege. A civilization without hereditary aristocrats was unfathomable and terrifying to the Western ruling class. Montesquieu, (borrowing from Giovanni Botero) thus concocted the trope that China’s more egalitarian system had to be “despotic”—despotic for him because it threatened the “liberties” (aristocratic privileges) of his class. Hegel chiseled this canard into the Western consciousness with an armchair theory of “Oriental Despotism,” whereby the Chinese had failed to evolve due to inherent, characterological flaws in its people and its political culture. Marx chimed in with the “Asiatic mode of production,” and Weber and Wittfogel also reinforced it. These allegations of “despotism”—despite being total distortions of Chinese governance–have infused all Western discourses about China since.... Read full article →:

Class Consciousness

A Beijing Couple Tackles the Wedge of Class

LM: My name is Li Mo. I turn 31 this year. I’m a PhD student who’s about to graduate. She is a junior graduate student. We share the same adviser. I started my program in 2014 and switched to a PhD track in 2016. She started her master’s studies in September 2016. We first met at a group meeting with our adviser. I was clueless about her personal background back then, but at first glance she reminded me of a quote from famed Chinese painter Chen Danqing: “When I first visited America I realized that everyone looks like they have never suffered any hardship or injustice.” My first impression was that she has a face that looks like that. Small in stature, she strolled into the meeting giddily, backpack in tow, and effortlessly made conversation with everyone.

XJJ: My name is Xiao Ju Ju. I turn 27 this year. I’m a native of Beijing. The first time we met he delivered a spiel about data analysis, which I couldn’t quite follow. Initially I was quite attracted by his appearance. He was wearing a simple polo shirt, khaki pants and a pair of oxfords. His tiny glasses and pale skin made for a standard PhD student look, but not the country bumpkin type, rather the type that’s slightly westernized and petit bourgeois. So at the time I thought this person seems interesting.

LM: Once I gave a demonstration on how to perform a personal credit rating. She thought at the time: “This guy is so good. This is what a real academic should look like.”

XJJ: Just from chatting with him and listening to him break down individual topics I could tell he has a broad knowledge base that covers a wide range of areas. I had never met someone his age who had such a big spectrum of interests. That’s why I took an instant interest in him.

After becoming a disciple of the same adviser, the adviser’s most senior female student told me that I was the only woman who could keep him in check.

I messed with him a bit the third time we crossed paths. Other folks were around. I asked: “Senior, how old are you? How come you don’t have a girlfriend? Is there something wrong with you?”

At the time I did suspect that he might be gay because his wardrobe and appearance were somewhat feminine.

The question left him flabbergasted. He was at a loss as to how to respond. Everyone got a big kick out of it. Later someone told me in private: “We’ve been wanting to ask the same question for years, but no one had the guts to do so. Except for you.” Li Mo also told a dormmate: “I was pinned to the wall by a female junior student today.”

Eventually we started talking more. After completing chores for my adviser, instead of heading back to my dorm, I’d stop by the graduate student office to see what he was up to, ask him if he had any books to recommend.

LM: She used to stop by the office all the time. I thought she had work to do. Eventually she told me that she stopped by because she wanted to talk to me.

XJJ: He was a bit clueless back then. He couldn’t tell I was interested.

In 2017, about a year into my program, I asked a senior female student to test the waters for me. But what she did was say directly: “So and so likes you. Do you like her?” She didn’t allow for any leeway for me to process or ponder.

LM: The night I found out she was interested I couldn’t sleep the entire night. I gave serious thought to the matter of whether we were a good match. I was interested in her too, but first, we had to tackle a major issue—the fact that we grew up in vastly different circumstances.

She comes from a middle-class family in Beijing, whereas I’m from a village in a county classified by the central government as falling below the poverty line. That entails a massive difference in lifestyle. For example, she probably doesn’t pay much attention to price when she shops. She’ll just pay if she thinks it’s a decent product. Meanwhile, I have to mull things over. Is it too expensive? How long will it last?

If we got together, it might lead to many problems. She had zeroed in on me with a certain expectation. If tensions mounted after we started dating or if I caused her any emotional harm, it wasn’t something I could live with. That’s why I didn’t sleep the entire evening, instead contemplating the class issue repeatedly.

XJJ: He looked me up the next day. We made plans to have dinner at a restaurant together. He was hilarious—he actually prepared a cheat sheet for this kind of a discussion with a girl. It was like a contract. It had quite a few rules. I remember the first one was: “If we have a disagreement, we must deal with it in a civil manner, not have a violent argument complete with smashed bowls and dishes.” I think the second one was: “Study hard together.” I can’t remember the rest. I remember thinking to myself: “I haven’t even agreed to become a couple yet. What’s with the contract?”

But I figured he was a bit of an oddball at the outset. This was probably another manifestation. So I was OK with it. Let’s give it a go then, I thought.

After that we chatted every night. Once he furtively grabbed my hand and thus we got together. He never formally confessed his feelings for me. To this day I think it’s something I will lament for the rest of my life. I feel like I missed out on a proper courtship.

Eventually I found out from our conversations that the reason he liked me was because I wasn’t like other girls. By comparison, we were able to make better conversation.

LM: I think my girlfriend is very down-to-earth. For example, when I was reading Seven Pillars of Wisdom (the autobiography that inspired the film Lawrence of Arabia), she wouldn’t say something like that: “You’re so weird. Why do you care about Islam?” When I told her that Islam doesn’t allow charging interest, she actually tracked down a book about Islamic finance to figure out how it worked. I think that’s a very important point.

Of course, when the subject of dating a Beijing woman comes up, people tend to think about the perks of Beijing residency and a major leap in standard of living. But I think that’s far from being relevant. I think the most important thing is whether you have compatible values, whether you have drastically different views about various issues.

His Background.

XJJ: He confessed at the very beginning of our relationship that he came from a rural village in Henan Province. Initially, even our adviser, who had supervised him for years, was skeptical, let alone me. Maybe it’s because his appearance and dress don’t point in that direction and he’s quite knowledgeable. He’d tell us about the plot his family is farming back home, how the performance of his family’s mushroom crops are a frequent topic of conversation in phone calls with his parents. Only then did I believe he actually grew up in a village. My paternal grandparents are also from a village. My father moved to the city by winning admission to a university in Beijing. At the time I thought: “Rural villages are all the same. They should more or less resemble each other.”

LM: I was born and raised in a small village in Henan. I didn’t leave home until I was 19, to pursue further studies. Our administrative-level village has about 5,000 residents. The main source of income is farming and working in larger cities.

In the early 1990s, it was common for construction sites to owe migrant workers a significant amount of back pay. At the time my uncle worked in a bigger city for about a year but wasn’t paid on time. He came home with a mere 50 yuan (US$8). My aunt was furious and tore up the bills. The whole family was waiting on that cash for Chinese New Year expenses. But even 20 years ago, 50 yuan couldn’t buy much.

When I was in primary schools, snacks were nowhere to be found. If we got hungry, we just grabbed steamed buns. Plain steamed buns don’t have much taste, so I sprinkled them with the condiment packets that came with instant noodles. In retrospect, that was quite a high-sodium diet—not healthy at all.

Now our village is filled with overweight kids. They’re feasting on junk food these days. But back in my time, it was a matter of getting a basic carbs fix. We were still at the stage of achieving basic sustenance. Both my parents and my two elder sisters still live in my home village. They have never lived elsewhere. You could say they eat from the earth.

But my girlfriend is a different story.

I say she comes from an urban middle-class background because both her parents graduated from university in the 1980s. Even though they don’t hold leadership posts, they both have jobs in the establishment. They enjoy a decent income level.

In 2008, when I left my home county to attend university, it was the first time I used a computer. We were tested on our computer skills during first year. Back then I didn’t even know how to use the most basic programs like Excel.

My girlfriend started university in 2010. She found it unfathomable when she came across classmates who didn’t know how to turn on a computer. She thought to herself at the time: “People like this actually exist—folks who don’t even know how to turn on a computer.” She started doing PowerPoint presentations in third grade. Back then I didn’t even know what a computer was.

Yet she doesn’t consider herself middle class compared to her schoolmates. She graduated from Beijing 101 Middle School. Among the parents of her classmates are senior government officials, Tsinghua University professors and fellows of the Chinese Academy of Science. There are also noted businessmen and businesswomen, the kind of people you see on TV. She told me that one of her senior high classmates had already visited several dozen countries. That’s way beyond my imagination. To this day I still haven’t set foot outside China.

XJJ: My class wasn’t one of the top classes, just one of the better-performing ones among the regular classes. I would say we represented the average student at 101. The best students in my class all went abroad for university instead of attending Peking University or Tsinghua. Those who didn’t go abroad for their undergraduate studies did so for graduate school. Out of the 56 students in my class, you could count on one hand those who stayed in China for both undergrad and grad school like myself.

LM: Let me give you an example that illustrates the urban-rural divide. One of my girlfriend’s junior high classmates was a talented singer, but he was quite naughty. Teachers hated him. Eventually the boy pursued undergraduate and graduate studies at a famous university overseas. He’s been singing professionally since graduation. If I had a classmate who enjoyed singing, he would never been able to afford such a quality education. At most he could sing for fun in our village or on the construction site he works at. That’s it.

XJJ: According to him, less than 40 percent of the Chinese population have undergraduate degrees. Whereas my friends mostly attended top-tier universities, even holding Tsinghua and Peking University as the golden standard. It’s hard for me to imagine a kid who grew up in Beijing not going to college—at least I haven’t come across someone like that among my circle of friends. I wasn’t aware of people who didn’t attend university. Only after I met him did I realize that so many people didn’t go to college. In fact, they have fared just fine. It’s just that initially they have to work a bit harder. But not having been exposed to higher education doesn’t mean that your life is destined to suffer. Everyone has their own path to follow.


She Meets His Parents.

LM: She went home with me for Chinese New Year in 2019 to meet my parents.

XJJ: He said at the time that city dwellers tend to paint a romantic pastoral vision of rural villages. When I arrived at his home that fantasy was shattered instantly. Chickens scrambled all over their front yard and I stepped on multiple blots of chicken shit the moment I crossed the threshold. What a lovely country smell that was.

In my memory, even my grandmother’s home wasn’t that rundown. Their home comprised three small rooms. The outer walls were all chipped. The rooms were a bit dimly lit. None of the rooms were organized by function. Their family ate and watched TV in the same room. You could tell another room had a fresh coat of paint. His parents had the room painted especially for me, also ordering a custom-made bed and cabinet. These were the only furnishings in the room. I could tell they went out of their way to prepare for my arrival.

And yet I spent less than 24 hours at their home because there wasn’t any heating.

LM: Rural villages don’t have built-in heating. Even though my family installed an air conditioner way in advance, knowing that she was coming from Beijing, it was still too cold. And the timing was awful because the few days she happened to visit were the coldest days of the entire year.

XJJ: I already wore my thickest down jacket on purpose. At their home, I sat on my bed covered in a comforter and an electric blanket. I was also equipped with a plastic pouch filled with hot water. I felt like a hen nesting her eggs. Even turning the air conditioner to the highest temperature didn’t suffice because the walls were so thin. They also didn’t look like they had insulation. It was way too cold, so I suggested to Li Mo we head back to Beijing the next day. I knew it was impolite to leave after spending less than a day there, but at the time I couldn’t take it anymore. It was just too cold.

Eventually we decided to leave, but his parents and two elder sisters took turns trying to talk us out of it. “Stick around for a bit longer. It’s not every day you get to visit,” they said. I feel it was quite poor form on my part. I spent the first two days of Chinese New Year at my parents’ place, so Li Mo was all alone in Beijing. On the third day of the Lunar New Year we went back to his hometown together and yet I started asking to return to Beijing after just a day. He ended up spending less than 24 hours with his own family that year.

That’s why I wanted to return to Beijing alone and let him spend a few more days at home. But his mom insisted that he return to Beijing with me. I was quite confused at the time. “Don’t you miss your own son? Don’t you want him to spend a few more days at home?” I thought to myself at the time. Only later did I find out that his mom thought that if I went back to Beijing alone it would spell the end of our relationship.

I felt the same at the time. I didn’t realize his home would be so rundown, plus I couldn’t understand the local dialect his parent spoke. The barriers to communication were quite significant. For example, everyone knows that changing your train ticket requires certain procedures and that only one change of date is allowed. His parents were clueless about that despite my repeated explanations on my part.

That’s not to mention other differences in lifestyle. His little nephew would openly piss in their courtyard in front of everyone. That led me to wonder: “We grew up in such different environments. Will we really be OK if we live together?”

XJJ: I’m influenced by my parents’ position on the relationship too. They don’t approve. They’ve been strongly opposed since the beginning without letting up at any point.

My dad said: “I’m not looking for you to land a rich husband, nor do I care whether he is a local or not. I just want to make sure his parents have pensions and health insurance, so that you two don’t have to worry too much when they’re old, so that they don’t become a major financial expense. If you marry him, what happens when his parents are elderly?” He has two elder sisters. He is the only son. The traditional expectation in a rural village is for the son to support the entire family. Everyone’s medical and retirement expenses are on him.

My dad also said something that hit me hard. He said: “I’m from a rural village. The first half of my life wasn’t easy. I worked hard most of my life to get where I am today and now you get together with someone from a village. What’s the point of my effort then?” My dad had a bit to drink at the time and was teary eyed. It pained me to see him that way. I felt horrible too.

My mom is from a city, so I asked her: “How come you got together with someone from a village?” My mom said: “The times were different. The urban-rural divide wasn’t as big as it is now. None of us were that well-off. Today is a different story. The gap between you two is so much more significant than the one between your dad and I.” Plus my mom said she still regrets choosing my dad. My maternal grandparents were opposed to the union at the time too.

My mom also said: “Villagers have bad habits. They don’t wash their feet and their towels reek. They also like scratching their feet. When they wash up in the morning, they gargle like a hippo drinking water. Plus they value men over women. Come Chinese New Year it’s always the women cooking. And the women can only eat when the men are done.” My mom eventually stopped cooking for her in-laws when they returned to my dad’s hometown for Lunar New Year. Either they dine out or they don’t go back at all. That’s why my mom regrets her decision. She told me: “Whatever you do, don’t go down my path. Your choice doesn’t even measure up with your dad.”

LM: Another complicating factor is her cousin also married someone from out-of-town.

XJJ: My cousin also grew up in Beijing. Her husband is from a village near Zhangjiakou. Her family was opposed to the marriage at the time too, but she insisted on having her way. Now she regrets the decision. She and her husband have different daily habits and think differently. She can’t get along with her mother-in-law.

Even my cousin’s husband told me: “You must think this through. Now I’m a stranger in my own family, nor am I accepted by my wife’s family.”

With these two examples looming large in my life, it’s hard for me to not have second thoughts.

LM: The more she thought about it, the more she realized our difference in backgrounds was an issue. I could sense her change in mood during our trip back to Beijing. I don’t peek at her WeChat messages as a matter of habit, but I unintentionally saw a message she sent to her cousin that said: “What should I do now?”

My girlfriend used to be mighty determined. She used to think we were destined to be together. After reading the WeChat message I knew things didn’t look out. I thought our relationship was going to take a major turn for the worse.

When we got back to Beijing we ate out together. After seeing her off in her ride and shutting the car door, I broke down in tears, luggage in tow. I felt I hadn’t done anything wrong. I had already tried extremely hard. I treated her very well and we got along very well. Why should we be torn apart on account of my family circumstances? I felt an injustice had been inflicted on me.

Trailed by my suitcase, I cried from the entrance of ICBC headquarters to the entrance of Bank of China headquarters. She must have sensed my shift in mood before we parted. She kept calling but I didn’t answer.

XJJ: I had never seen him that upset. When I got home, I was incredibly sad too. On one hand, I didn’t want to give up someone who shared so many of my values and life goals and someone this interesting. On the other, I felt our family backgrounds were way too different.

LM: I never complained about her parents—not in front of others, not in front of her, not even in my heart. I think it’s perfectly normal for parents to envision a better life for their kids.

Of course I want to win over her parents, but such is the state of our society now. Whether it’s online or chatting with friends, more and more people value the compatibility of family backgrounds in marriage, especially in the past two years. It probably has something to do with the amount of economic growth. Perhaps further back there was a greater degree of social mobility—as long as you worked hard, you were bound to earn a very good standard of living. Social mobility has decreased in the past few years, which is why this kind of thinking is on the rise.

This is the reality of our relationship right now. I even thought about suggesting a pre-nuptial accounting of our assets to mitigate her parents’ worries.

No Matter What

LM: Later we chatted about the matter some more and her resolve stiffened. She told me: “No matter what, regardless of whether my parents agree, I want to be with you.”

XJJ: Neither of us are happy with the families we were born into. I quite dislike my family.

My parents haven’t gotten along since I was a young child. The result is now they don’t communicate unless there is something important to discuss. I think that’s worse than arguing.

As for him, it’s not that he doesn’t like his family, it’s just that he can’t do anything about being born into this particular family. Neither of us had a choice. In the future, we’ll just limit contact with our families and focus on the life we build together. Considering the fact that I can’t get along with his parents and he can’t with mine, we should just have less contact.

Now that I’m about to graduate, it’s better timing for me to try to set up a meeting between him and my dad again. I have to be strategic about it. I want to tell my parents: “I’m going to get married to him anyway. If you don’t want to meet him, then we will just keep putting it off. I’m not getting any younger. I’m already 27. If you’re determined not to meet him, then I’m going to go ahead with registering our marriage. I’m in possession of our family’s household registry booklet anyway.”

LM: I think her parents are gradually coming to terms with the fact that we are definitely going to get married.

I was under immense academic pressure before June 24, 2020. I was worried I wouldn’t graduate from my PhD program. After June 24, my graduation was confirmed. At that point, I started feeling more pressure from daily life. She earns more than I do, even though I have a doctorate degree, and I’m not sure my projected income will even reach half her paycheck.

XJJ: We are renting an apartment together right now. It’s tough when we have to switch flats. It feels like we don’t have any roots. I had never leased an apartment before. Only now can I empathize with the feeling of homelessness that Beijing residents from other places speak of. I feel that way even though Beijing is home. I still want to own my own home, but that’s an unrealistic goal if we rely on our incomes alone without financial help from my family.

I tested the waters the other day, telling him: “Let’s eventually buy a flat.” He actually started crying. Maybe it had something to do with the pressure of graduation. He was a bit fragile emotionally. He thinks he’s poor.

So for now I’m steering clear of the issue of home purchase, but deep down I still want to buy an apartment. Buying a flat would inevitably require help from my family—at that point we won’t be able to avoid dealing with my parents’ attitude toward him. If my parents are willing to chip in, then they are bound to butt in on our relationship. Gushi

Xinjiang Timeline

Based on a handful of think tank reports and witness testimonies, Western governments have levied false allegations of genocide and slavery in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. A closer look makes clear that the politicization of China’s anti-terrorism policies in Xinjiang is another front of the U.S.-led hybrid war on China. This resource compilation provides a starting point for critical inquiry into the historical context and international response to China’s policies in Xinjiang, providing a counter-perspective to misinformation that abounds in mainstream coverage of the autonomous region. 

Part 4 - Chinese Anti-Terrorism Policy and International Context (2012-2016)  by Qiao Collective
  • 2012 October 30  – Chinese officials announce that since May 2012, ETIM/TIP has been participating in the Syrian Civil War, which had started in early 2011. (Later Anadolu Agency report from 2014).
  • 2014 May 25 – The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region issues a notification on “Striking Hard Against Terrorist Activities Within the Confines of the Law,” indicating a turn of attention towards the problem of terrorism in Xinjiang.  For an example of news coverage on Xinjiang’s society after this notification but before the De-radicalization Regulations of 2017, see Daily Sabah, “Uighurs do not face harsh oppression, Anadolu Agency reporters claim.” Daily Sabah, July 8, 2015. (based off “Anadolu Ajansı Uygur Özerk Bölgesi'ne Gitti: Oruç Yasağı Bildirimi Yok.” Haberler, July 8, 2015 [Turkish language])
  • 2015 – A “Turkish passport plot” (see Global Times report) is exposed in which Turkey provided false passports to Chinese nationals in third countries (usually Thailand & Malaysia) for passage to Turkey.
  • 2015 January 1 – Shohrat Zakir, a CPC cadre of Uygur nationality, assumes his current position of Chairman of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. He additionally remains the Deputy Party Secretary of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a position he has held since December 2014, and Secretary of the Party Group of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a position he has held since December 2013. This is in culmination of a decades-long career serving the CPC and Xinjiang, including serving on the Party Standing Committee of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC) from December 2005 to June 2011.
  • 2015 May 29 – China receives a loan from the World Bank on the “Xinjiang Technical and Vocational Education and Training Project,” a five-year project lasting until April 30, 2020. It is the “fourth technical and vocational education and training project that the World Bank has supported in China since 2007.” This loan would be reviewed by the World Bank later on November 11, 2019. On March 31, 2019, it was reported that 113,880 students had enrolled in schools funded by this project, of which 40,413 were women and 65,015 were minorities. 
  • 2015 July – Thailand repatriates 109 Chinese nationals allegedly en route to Turkey to join terrorist groups in Syria. A few weeks later on August 17, 2015, terrorists detonated a bomb in Bangkok, claiming 20 lives. 2 Chinese nationals of the Uyghur nationality were charged. The prevailing theory is that it was in retaliation for the repatriation.
  • Mid-2015 – The ETIM/TIP becomes settled in Idlib Province, Syria, particularly in the city of Jisr al-Shughur, near the border with Turkey. The ETIM/TIP occupation of Jisr al-Shughur is marked by “changing demographics” (p. 15) and sectarian violence.
  • 2015 October – France begins operating “de-radicalization programs.” It would seem these programs have since garnered mostly criticism from the public, but mainstream Western discourse has not accused France of cultural genocide. While France’s de-radicalization program largely attracted controversy, programs like Denmark’s preceding France’s mostly went unnoticed, even being praised as a “groundbreaking de-radicalization program focused on providing opportunity to reintegrate versus punishment.” A year later in October 2016, the United Kingdom began the “Desistance and Disengagement Programme” aimed at “address[ing] the root causes of terrorism, build resilience, and contribute towards the deradicalisation of individuals.” New York Times reported on Kazakhstan’s de-radicalization program on August 10, 2019.
  • 2015 December 27 – The 12th Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress passes the “Anti-Terrorism Law” (Chinese-language text), the first of its kind in the country.
  • 2016 July 29 – The 12th Standing Committee of the People’s Congress of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region passes the “Xinjiang Implementation of the Anti-Terrorism Law,” adapting the Anti-Terrorism Law to Xinjiang’s regional context.
  • 2016 – Chen Quanguo is appointed the Party Secretary of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the First Commissar of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (The First Commissar of XPCC is always held by the Party Secretary of Xinjiang). As his previous tenure from 2011 to 2016 was as the Party Secretary of Tibet Autonomous Region, Western NGOs cite Chen’s influence for alleged increase in human rights abuses in Xinjiang. A year later in 2017, Chen would be appointed a seat in the Politburo while retaining his two posts.
  • 2016 December 23 – Adrian Zenz begins his career pivot to Xinjiang after a brief focus on Tibetan language and culture (and born-again Christian writings) with a Foreign Affairs article about Xinjiang’s police and surveillance apparatus. Read full article →

The Korean War

Five Things You May not Know
About the Korean War

Seventy years ago, the Chinese People's Volunteers (CPV) crossed the Yalu River and fought alongside the army of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) against the Republic of Korea (ROK) and U.S.-led UN forces. A total of 2.9 million CPV soldiers entered the battlefield, 197,653 of whom sacrificed their lives in the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea (1950-1953 Korean War). As 2020 marks the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War, here are five facts you may not know about the conflict:

1. China, US never officially declared war

Neither China nor the United States officially engaged in the conflict as nation states: China sent a“volunteer” force and the U.S. dominated and led UN forces. 

On June 27, 1950, two days after the war in Korean Peninsula broke out, U.S. President Harry Truman ordered navy and air force to intervene and the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet into the Taiwan Strait. Three days later he approved the use of ground forces on the Korean Peninsula.

The U.S. Constitution states that Congress should decide when and where the country should go to a war. However, Truman's order was made without congressional approval, and war was never officially declared.

Truman later argued a United Nations resolution gave him authority, but he ordered armed forces to the peninsula before the UN acted and before an agreement with the UN was reached.

China sent forces under the banner of "volunteers" following a request for help from the DPRK and to protect China's national sovereignty, security and interests.

Chairman Mao Zedong on October 8, 1950 issued an order saying, "In order to assist the Korean people's war of liberation against the attacks of U.S. imperialism and its running dogs, thereby safeguarding the interests of the people of Korea, China and the other countries in the East, I hereby order to change the Northeastern Border Defense Army into the CPV."

On October 19, 1950, as requested by the DPRK, CPV forces crossed the Yalu River to aid the DPRK's fight. The CPV launched its first battle on October 25 against a battalion of Syngman Rhee's troops. In 1951, the CPC Central Committee decided to commemorate the war annually on that date.

2. Misperception between China and the U.S

The Chinese government repeatedly cautioned that if U.S. forces crossed the 38th parallel China would not sit idle, but the U.S. disregarded the warning, seeing it as only diplomatic parlance.

After the U.S.-led UN forces landed at Inchon, 160 kilometers south of the 38th parallel, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai publicly warned on September 30, 1950 that, "The Chinese people enthusiastically love peace, but in order to defend peace they never have been and never will be afraid to oppose aggressive war."

"The Chinese people absolutely will not tolerate foreign aggression, nor will they supinely tolerate seeing their neighbors being savagely invaded by imperialists," he added.

On October 1, 1950, DPRK leader Kim Il Sung sent a telegram to Mao reporting the grim picture on the battlefield and requesting military aid from China.

Since diplomatic relations between China and the U.S. had not been established, Indian Ambassador Kavalam Madhava Panikkar acted as a communication channel between the two camps.

On October 2, Zhou formally notified Panikkar that if the U.S. crossed the 38th parallel, China would act. In Washington, Secretary of State Dean Acheson dismissed the warning as the "mere vaporings of a panicky Panikkar."

In a document titled "Two Strategic Intelligence Mistakes in Korea, 1950," the CIA admitted U.S. intelligence erred: it believed that China, with limited military and economic capability, would not follow through on its warnings.

U.S. forces crossed the 38th Parallel on October 7, and the CPV launched its first battle on October 25.

3. Soviet Union sent air support

Declassified documents from Russia show the Soviet Union was closely involved in the Korean War.

In addition to diplomatic and logistical support, the Soviet Union sent air forces to the war from early November 1950. In order to avoid the appearance of direct military clashes with the U.S., Soviet pilots wore CPV uniforms and their aircraft carried CPV or DPRK markings.

Records from the Soviet 64th Fighter Aviation Corps claim that from November 1950 till July 1953, the Soviets shot down 1,309 U.S. planes.

The Soviet Union provided the CPV with enormous supplies of weapons, equipment and ammunition. China's military debt to the Soviet Union reached 3 billion yuan during the war.

4. Japan was a major beneficiary 

Japan, which didn't send troops to the battlefield, was a major economic beneficiary during the Korean War. 

U.S. troops were stationed in Japan, so military goods were often purchased from Japanese companies. These companies received more than $3.5 billion over the three years of the conflict. 

Japan's production increased by nearly 70 percent and military procurement peaked at a level equivalent to seven percent of Japan's gross national product in 1953. 

By the time the three-year war ended in a truce, Japan's gross domestic product had returned to pre-World War II levels.  

5. A never-ending war 

The Korean Armistice Agreement was signed on July 27, 1953, but a peace treaty is yet to be inked. So although hostilities ceased in 1953, the war has not formally ended. 

"We cannot commemorate the Korean War in a genuine manner yet. That is because the war has yet to come to an end," ROK President Moon Jae-in said in June when attending a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. Read full article →

From Amazon

The ISC Report

The Report of the International Scientific Commission for the Investigation of Facts Concerning Bacteriological Warfare in Korea and China (the ISC report), published at the height of the Korean War, validated claims by North Korea and China that the US had launched bacteriological warfare (biological warfare, BW) attacks against both troops and civilian targets in those two countries over a period of several months in 1952.

The most vilified document of the 20th Century.

The report’s release in September, 1952, brought a withering international attack. It was roundly denounced by American and British politicians of the highest rank, ridiculed by four star generals, accused of fraud by celebrated pundits, misquoted by notable scientists, and scorned by a compliant Western press. Charges were made against the quality and truthfulness of its science. Its “unstated” political agenda was denounced. The ethics of interviewing captured US pilots was excoriated and its authors were publicly flayed as communist dupes. The report was red baited in the US halls of Congress and deemed unpatriotic to read, and therefore went unread and deliberately forgotten over the years, which has been the fate of Korean War history in general. In subsequent decades, volumes placed in American university library collections were quietly and permanently removed from circulation.
When the rare copy came up for auction, it was discretely purchased and disappeared from public view. This critical 67 year old truth commission document from the Korean War was slipping towards oblivion. For these very reasons, historians and truth seekers should exalt the wondrous rebirth of the ISC Report from near extinction with the publication of this new electronic edition. We welcome the sunshine that re-publication brings to a shadowy and suppressed chapter of American Cold War history. (from the introduction by Thomas Powell) 800 pages.  $9.99. Amazon.

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