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CONTENTS

Economy

Auto sales rose 36.6 percent year on year to 10.88 million units in January-May as business activities continued to pick up pace amid sustained economic recovery, data from an industry association showed on Friday. Read full article →

A little-known automaker in China’s southwest has been dominating the world’s largest electric car market since last July, outselling even Tesla every month with a tiny, bare-bones EV that starts at just $4,500. Watch the video →

Tesla deliveries rise 30%. In May, the carmaker delivered 33,463 of its Model 3 sedans and Model Y SUVs to Chinese buyers, compared with 25,843 units in April. Read full article $→

Economy on track for 8.5% growth in 2021, up 0.6% from the World Bank's previous projection. The global economy is expected to expand 5.6%, up from the 4.1% forecast in January, marking the strongest recovery from a recession in 80 years. Read full article $→

Foreign holdings of Chinese government bonds reach $327.3 billion and reached $564.6 billion in Chinese stocks in April. Chinese 10-year bonds offer high yields (3.089%) than US Treasuries (1.576%); foreign ownership of Chinese bonds is expected to increase from 10% to 15% by 2024.  Read full article →

Shares in China Three Gorges Renewables Group Co. were up 44%  in early trading, surpassing their IPO price of 2.65 yuan, making it the largest listing in 2021 so far in China. China Three Gorges Corp’s renewables unit is valued at 140 billion yuan since the company completed China’s first floating offshore wind project. Read full article →

In line with Beijing's wish to bolster credit for micro and small enterprises, MSEs, loans reached $2.63 trillion in April, up 32.5%YoY. China's 44 million MSEs and 95 million self-employed individuals are primary national job providers. Read full article →

Trade & Travel

Imports grew 51% last month, their fastest growth since January 2011 and exports grew 28% YoY. Imports fell 16.7% in May last year due to the impact of the coronavirus. Read full article $→

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) is a national initiative aimed at building a world-class city cluster in Southern China. Guangdong is China’s richest, most developed, most open and internationally connected province, and the GBA includes two SARs with internationally accepted legal systems and fully convertible currencies. By 2035, GBA should be the world’s leading “bay area” by doubling the region’s GDP, surpassing Greater Tokyo, Greater New York and Greater San Francisco.  Read full article →

Europeans increasing China investments and move supply chains there. 60% of European companies plan to expand their China operations in 2021, up from 51% last year. 50% reported higher China profits, up from 38% last year. Read full article $→

EU companies warn Beijing-Brussels political tensions are hurting business. “An ‘alarming’ 41% of respondents believe business has become more political in the past year, adding that there is ‘growing concern’ over further tensions during 2021.” Read full article $→

Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun warned that a prolonged trade deadlock between the U.S. and China threatens the comeback of its 737 Max and, ultimately, his company’s longstanding role as a U.S. industrial champion. Read full article →

Russia-China trade jumped 25% in 2021 to $50.65 billion. In May, Russia-China trade reached $10.5 billion. Exports of Chinese goods to Russia increased by 35.3% to $23 billion, while imports of Russian products surged 15.4%, to $28 billion. Read full article →

The first China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) industrial park, Rashakai SEZ, broke ground in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, on the Afghanistan border. It occupies 4 square kilometers, will be built in 3 stages, and host manufacturers in mechanical equipment, food processing, electronic appliances and more. Read full article →

An 18,000 m2 international exposition center, scheduled for completion in 2022, is being built in the China-Belarus Industrial Park. With meeting spaces, a hotel, catering halls, and support for large meetings, it lets companies from around the world set up operations and enjoy tax benefits and free access to Russian and Kazakh markets under the Eurasian Economic Union free trade block. The park's transport links east and west are a major lure for the German and Austrian companies that are key investors in it. Read full article →

Shein beat Amazon as top shopping app, ahead of Nike, Zara, H&M, and Uniqlo in May. Last year, it sold $10 billion worth of apparel, nearly half of Inditex, Zara’s parent company. The Chinese app is a global force with over 22 million users shopping daily. Who is behind Shein? Read full article →

Technology & IP

Self-driving cars now ferry supplies across locked-down Guangzhou because they can navigate the quiet streets. They operate without a human backup driver and are classed as Level 4: being able to drive under limited conditions. Read full article →

The number of newly registered chip-related companies in China more than tripled from January through May: 15,700 new companies involved in everything from designing to manufacturing chips. Read full article $ →

China's integrated circuit industry grew 20% annually during the 13th Five-Year Plan, to hit $137.85 billion in 2020, and become world's largest, Sina Finance reports. Read full article $ →

Scientists from UST Hefei have experimentally demonstrated a “quantum magpie bridge” for the first time, increasing the speed of quantum communication four-fold, and facilitating the practical construction of solid-state quantum repeaters and high-speed quantum networks.  Read full article →

"If you talk about AI in China, everyone is optimistic about an AI-enabled future. In the United States..I think we've been conditioned by movies, TVs and books...to a more skeptical, possibly fearful view of an AI-enabled future.”  Watch the video  →

Huawei expects 300 million devices to be running on its new operating system, HarmonyOS, by year's end. HarmonyOS will dominate the Internet of Things, IoT, making cross-platform applications easy. The first HarmonyOS refrigerator went on sale last weekend. Read full article →

New wind tunnel simulates flights 30 times the speed of sound, putting China ahead in hypersonic technology. Technology could make flying anywhere in the world in under two hours possible, cut space launch costs 90%. The advance comes as the US Air Force's hypersonic weapon failed its recent test. Read full article $→

Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence unveiled a new natural language processing (NLP) model more sophisticated Google's and OpenAI's.  WuDao 2.0 uses 1.75 trillion parameters to simulate conversations, understand pictures, understand Chinese and English, compose essays, poetry, and couplets in traditional Chinese, and generate alt text from a static image and nearly photorealistic visuals from natural language descriptions. Read full article $→

Zu Chongzhi, a fifth-century astronomer in Nanjing, observed that the simple fraction 355/113 is incredibly close to π, only about 2 in 10 million away. He called it milü (“very close ratio”). Zu’s book on mathematical methods is lost, so we don’t know how he came up with the milü. But it was no simple find; it would be 1,000 years before the approximation was rediscovered in India, another 100 before it was known in Europe, and another century after that before it was conclusively proved that π was actually irrational. Read full article →

Health

China currently has seven vaccines approved for conditional or emergency use in its mainland territory, including five inactivated vaccines, one adenovirus vaccine and a protein subunit vaccine. It ranks number one globally in terms of the number of vaccines in use.

WHO re-tests 30 Italian Covid samples from 2019–taken in Italy between October and December, 2019–at Rotterdam’s Erasmus University  laboratory. The University lab’s conclusions "Are very similar to what (Italy's National Cancer Institute) discovered. The combined results make a convincing case that the coronavirus or a similar virus was in circulation in Italy months before the country's first officially recorded case. Read the full Covid timeline, below, in Long Reads  →

Biosecurity expert and former French government official, Gabriel Gras, who supervised the construction and accreditation of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s BSL-4 laboratory in 2017, says he has ‘no doubt’ about the safety of the facility, despite growing scrutiny over the possible role of a lab accident in the origins of Covid-19. He said he did not believe SARS-CoV-2 originated or escaped from the WIV. Read full article $→

China should allow a Wuhan lab leak probeif the US does the same at Fort Detrick. If Beijing plays defensive it risks feeding Washington’s narrative that China has something to hide. It is natural for the world to demand a definitive answer as to the origins of the coronavirus. For that, a hard look at not only China, but the US and the rest of the world, is needed.  Read full article $→

Sinovac reduced COVID-19 deaths by 95%. “The Butantan Institute, the São Paulo-based public-research center, said Monday that cases and deaths from the disease had plunged in Serrana, even as neighboring regions struggled with rising infections.” Read full article  →

Soon after Beijing informed the WHO that 41 people in Wuhan had fallen ill with a mysterious pneumonia, China’s A.I. companies deployed “doctor” chatbots to connect rural communities with hospitals and opened four new AI fronts: public health monitoring, medical imaging, robotics, and human-computer interaction. Read full article  →

China is vaccinating a staggering 20 million people a day. “Scientists are impressed by China’s juggernaut of a vaccination drive, through which it is currently administering nearly 60% of all COVID-19 vaccine doses globally.” Read full article  →

Shenzen's Yantian International Container Terminals was partially closed late last month due to efforts by the local authorities to disinfect and enforce quarantine measures that have led to labor shortages. Vessels are spending as long as five days at port, as containers for export are piled high at yards stretched to capacity. Read full article  →

Members of the WHO team investigating the origins of SARS-CoV-2, Peter Daszak, Thea Kølsen Fischer, and Marion Koopmans, join TWiV to explain the work done by the committee during phase one, their conclusions, and the extent of work that remains to be done in phase two.
Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most-populous country, is the leading recipient of Chinese vaccines. Meanwhile, “The Asian giants are getting closer, while Washington seems unserious and disengaged.” Read full article  →

Because its population is largely Covid-free, China cannot analyze its vaccines's efficacy, so it can’t start easing pandemic restrictions like the U.S. "If we open when 60% or 80% of population are vaccinated, it could still lead to a severe outbreak,” says the CCDC's Feng. “It largely depends on technical considerations, societal consensus and political concerns”. Read full article  →

A nucleic acid testing lab built in 10 hours. China built Huoyan, Fire Eye Laboratory, in 10 hours on Friday to battle the COVID-19 outbreak in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province. Read full article  →

Latin America will become the largest recipient of Chinese vaccines with agreements for 225 million doses (36 per 100 people). China is LatAm's second largest trading partner and foreign direct investor ($60 billion since 2016), with 8% of global population but 33% of deaths. Read full article  →

Society

On May 5, 278 BC, after the King of Chu ignored his warnings about official corruption, State Minister Qu Yuan protested by drowning himself in the Miluo River and, ever since that fateful May day, Dragon Boats have renewed their search for his body. Read full article  →

Infant mortality drops to 5.4/1,000 live births and China's child mortality rate (children under five) is 7.5. America's infant mortality rate is 5.69 and its child mortality rate is 6.5. Read full article  →

The number of Hong Kong students seeking to study at universities in mainland China and Taiwan has reached its highest point in years, with the latter experiencing a 30 per cent spike in applications compared to 2020. The trend could be related to political concerns at home or a perception of better prospects abroad. Read full article  $→

In 2015, Liu Jiasen was Hengshui High School’s  “No. 1 Scholar,” in that year’s gaokao, and had been accepted into Peking University's Chinese language and literature course. Since he wanted to “contribute to society,” he expected the state to “give me a driver.” He wasn’t prepared for what came next. Read full article  →

The life satisfaction and health levels of Hong Kong schoolchildren are far below international levels. Compared to the international average, 10% more children reported feelings of depression, while five times more were not exercising at all compared to their peers elsewhere. Read full article  →

Kaiser Kuo's excellent, in-depth chat with Yingyi Ma, author of Ambitious and Anxious: How Chinese College Students Succeed and Struggle in American Higher Education. The book examines push-pull factors that have made studying abroad–and in the U.S. in particular–a “new education gospel” for some Chinese parents. Listen now.

China’s active labour force will remain steady or slowly increase until 2050, based on the working hours reserves for the population capable of participating in economic and social activities following continuing health improvements and continual gains in education. Read full article  →

Chengdu is the heartland of Chinese electronic music, and its clubs rely on local talent. Week-long ragers go for eight nights. For this year’s final event, one club threw a 36-hour-long rager that tested partygoers' endurance. Read full article  →

In 2000 China had fewer than 1,200 museums. By the end of last year there were 7000 and five open every week. Helped by free entry to most government-run ones, visits have soared more than fourfold, to 1.2bn. The country will be a “museum power” by 2035. Read full article  →

Statistics

Above: Australia's exports to China since 2019. The value of the PRC’s investment in Australia fell by 5.4% in 2020, while Australia’s direct investment in the PRC collapsed by more than half. Bilateral tension has sparked concerns over commodity trade between the two countries, including iron ore, one of the main products China imports from Australia and a major contributor to Australia's economy. FM spokesman Jin said the NDRC will strengthen the domestic exploration of iron ore and accelerate new iron ore projects. Read full article →

Governance

Communist Party members average 28 years old. There are more than 91 Party million members, 25 million of whom are women. Read full article →

The death of a local government leader in the county that hosted a fatal ultramarathon last month is raising questions. Li Zuobi, Party Secretary of Jingtai County, Gansu province, died after falling from his high-rise apartment building. The 56-year-old official’s death came after he was visited by Communist Party discipline officials earlier that day, people said. Read full article $→

Shenzhen–whose modest-size apartments cost $1 million–plans to manage home-sale values by setting guidance prices for banks to follow when approving mortgage loans. Maximum prices were laid out in an 84-page document listing 3,500 property developments citywide. Several banks pledged to limit financing on properties whose sales prices exceeded the prescribed values. Read full article $→

A new anti-sanction law gives legal backing and protection to the country’s retaliatory measures against punitive actions by Western governments on Chinese officials and companies over such issues as Hong Kong’s freedoms and the treatment of Uyghurs. The law offers a legal basis for the central government to take retaliatory measures against foreign sanctions. Read full article →

Zhou Xiaochuan, former PBOC governor, on issues China must address to go carbon neutral:
  1. Whether we need to mainly depend on market forces or on administrative measures to cut carbon emissions.
  2. Whether the carbon markets are used mainly to adjust supply and demand for the short term, in other words temporarily, or to guide and incentivize investment for relatively longer terms.
  3. How to set up a Chinese carbon market.
  4. We need some inter-temporal instruments to manage the risks in new technology and R&D investments. Read full article →

Beijing will collect revenue from provincial land sales as part of efforts to crack down on local authorities’ freewheeling use of the money. Local governments must transfer the power for collecting land sales revenue to the State Taxation Administration (STA), which will then remit the money to them, in full. Read full article →

Propaganda

Max Blumenthal documents the deceptions behind the US government's accusation that China is committing "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims in its Xinjiang region, picking apart NED-funded studies that rely on botched statistics and exposing extremist Adrian Zenz and his error-filled research.
US forces ‘Xinjiang forced labor’ narrative on enterprises, industry agencies.  The Better Cotton Initiative head office seemed less than "satisfied" with the results of its China office report. So the head office invited Verité, an organization that "provides businesses with tools that help to eliminate labor abuses," to investigate cases in Xinjiang.  But members of Verité responsible for the "investigation" never went to Xinjiang to carry out any surveys, but searched online and cited information from the US Congress, anti-China forces, including the World Uyghur Congress, and biased US-based organization, Human Rights Watch. The Verité report called this "flawless data," thus reaching "flawless" conclusions. Read full article →
Above: From Manya Koetse & Miranda Barnes: A virtual candle posted on the British Embassy's Weibo account, with 1.8 million followers, was meant to commemorate June 4, but Chinese netizens responded with “The Queen of England Has Died”. By Friday night the hashtag page was viewed 16 million times and comments were getting wilder. Some suggested Her Majesty had died of illness, others suggested childbirth, and some blamed AstraZeneca's vaccine. The Embassy post disappeared from Weibo. Read full article →

Geopolitics

Ex-Mossad chief Yossi Cohen expressed skepticism over Washington’s increasingly tough approach to China on Monday during a lecture at Bar-Ilan University, reported Israeli newspaper Haaretz:

I do not understand what the Americans want from China. If anyone understands, they should explain it to me. China isn’t against us and is not our enemy.

Dino Patti Djalal, former Indonesian Ambassador to the United States, and deputy foreign minister:

Southeast Asians hear the alarm sounded by the Biden administration on the danger democracy is facing from autocracy, explicitly referring to China. Yet the reality on the ground is that no Southeast Asian country particularly minds China’s political system, mainly due to the principle of non-interference, but also because they simply have no interest in China’s domestic politics.

W Gyude Moore, former Nigerian FM says, "The African continent is best served by charting its own course and sitting out the coming Cold War.”

China is elevating its ties with Asean to a comprehensive strategic partnership, Beijing’s highest level of diplomatic recognition for regional groups, Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a meeting with his counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Chongqing on Monday. Read full article $→

China's Congressional Standing Committee approved a new anti-foreign sanctions law:

  • China reserves the right to retaliate against “any individual or organization that is directly or indirectly involved in the formulation, decision or implementation” of “discriminatory restrictive measures” against Chinese citizens or organizations, or those who “interfere in China’s internal affairs.”
  • In addition to those individuals and organizations, immediate family members of the individuals and senior management at designated organizations can be targeted.
  • Retaliation could include asset freezes, visa bans, travel restrictions, or “other necessary measures.”  (In Chinese
In an example of flagrant hypocrisy, Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, told Reuters that the new anti-foreign sanctions law is “not conducive to attracting foreign investment or reassuring companies that increasingly feel that they will be used as sacrificial pawns in a game of political chess.” Read full article $→

130 Chinese NGOs are active in 100 countries, with projects ranging from donations of essential goods to medical assistance and training to policy advocacy. A handful of Chinese NGOs have even set up overseas offices, in Myanmar, Ethiopia and Nepal, for example. Read full article →

“C-Dramas” draw ten million African subscribers in 30 countries due to shared values and expansion of streaming services. With 300 African voice-actors, media giant StarTimes has dubbed over 20,000 episodes of Chinese TV series into 11 local languages (including Swahili and Yoruba) since 2011. Read full article →

The fourth annual BRI survey finds the Covid‑19 pandemic has disrupted many projects. No central bank reported a reduction in funding from China; 87% expect BRI projects to contribute to post-Covid recovery; The majority of respondents expect the BRI to boost GDP in the next five years; Most development is taking place in transport and logistics, power, and oil and gas. Read full article →
LONG READS

A Covid Timeline

A Covid Timeline 

1943-2021

by Godfree Roberts

 

In September 1943, the US Army created “Operation Capricious,” a secret biowarfare program described as purely defensive against insect pests enemy nations might use against America by bombing America with germ-infected insects. Under the direction of George W. Merck, president of Merck & Co. The program stockpiled bacillus anthracis (anthrax), clostridium botulinum (botulism), and other deadly bacteria until President Truman approved and operationalized its use by the U.S. military, in 1952, on North Korea and China where, like previous biowarfare efforts, it proved ineffectual.  

On March 15, 1976 President Ford, informed of an outbreak of Swine influenza A, planned an immunization program and, once pharmaceutical companies were guaranteed a profit and legal indemnity, they produced a vaccine. But cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome affecting vaccinated patients were reported, and the program was abandoned. 

On March 18, 2008, the FBI falsely cast suspicion on former government scientist, Dr. Steven Hatfill, for releasing an anthrax strain developed by the US Army and media implied that Hatfill was the culprit. The long-time Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote, “I had been told soon after Sept. 11 to secure Cipro, the antidote to anthrax. The tip came in a roundabout way from a high government official. I was carrying Cipro way before most people had ever heard of it.”

In 2009, H1N1, Swine Flu, a novel virus with a combination of influenza genes previously unseen in animals or people, spread quickly from the US across the world, killing 284,000. 60 million people, mostly children, received Glaxo Smith Kline’s H1N1 vaccine, Pandemrix, but it caused lifelong narcolepsy and cataplexy–an incurable, lifelong condition requiring extensive medication–in thousands of them. H1N1 still circulates as a seasonal flu, causing hospitalizations and deaths

Throughout 2015, two hundred US biosafety level 3 and 4 labs worked with dangerous pathogens. Their determination to keep their safety records secret stirred nationwide controversy: Lab-Made Coronavirus Triggers DebateBaric lab: Circulating bat coronaviruses and the risk of SARS re-emergence; New SARS-like Virus Can Jump Directly From Bats to Humans, No Treatment Available.

In 2016, researchers began issuing public warnings like SARS-like WIV1-CoV poised for human emergence and, in February, 2018, H7N4 bird flu sickened 1,600 Chinese and killed 600. Despite this, the White House dissolved the US Pandemic Response Team. “It would be nice if the office were still there,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress. 
 

2019

May 2, 2019 The chemical and biological defense unit of USA Defense Fort Detrick, MD, bids to develop SARS and MERS virus detectors.

June 14. CDC finds the US Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, MD, non-compliant with its pathogen control agreement.

June 30. Unidentified pneumonia in Springfield, VA nursing home kills two and sickens dozens.

July 9. White House withdraws the CDC’s epidemiologist embedded with China’s CCDC. “The message from the administration was, ‘Don’t work with China, they’re our rival”. 

July 12: Three dead, 54 sickened in respiratory outbreak at Springfield, VA care home, one hour from Fort Detrick. Since respiratory illness usually spreads in winter, officials can neither explain the number of cases nor the season.

Jul 14. Chinese researcher escorted from infectious disease lab by Cnd’s RCMP for sending biological samples to China.

July 17. Still-unexplained pneumonia epidemic reported at a Burke, VA nursing home, one hour from Fort Detrick, MD.  

Jul. 19. CDC shuts down Ft. Detrick Lab, MD. Senior scientist describe its atmosphere as one of “fear and mistrust.”

July 26. VA State stops all nursing home collective activities, screens residents, and mandates cleanliness measures to prevent the spread of pneumonia epidemic.

August 4. First case of EVALI (vaping) reported to CDC. Shortness of breath, pain in breathing, cough, fever, chills, nausea, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, ground glass lung CT scan. By Feb 18, 2020, 2,807 EVALI cases and 68 deaths were recorded. No cases reported outside the US. 

October 3. Doctors studying EVALI lung tissue rule out vaping, deepening the mystery over the cause of uniquely American illness. 

October 3. US Army team arrives in Wuhan for Military Games
 
Oct. 18. CIA Deputy Director participates in Event 201, Gates Foundation pandemic exercise modeling a fictional coronavirus pandemic. 

November 12. A couple from Inner Mongolia is admitted to Beijing hospital with pneumonic plague. Says physician Li Jifeng: “I am very familiar with diagnosing and treating the majority of respiratory diseases but, this time, I could not figure out what pathogen caused the pneumonia.”

Nov. 15. CDC advertises for quarantine managers in all major cities:

Dec. 5. FBI arrests Chinese medical researcher taking biological samples to China. His labmates succeed in taking specimens to Beijing.  

Dec 17. South Korean coronavirus exercise was ‘blind luck’: a hypothetical South Korean family contracts pneumonia after a trip to China, where cases of an unidentified disease had arisen. It quickly spreads to colleagues and medical workers. Experts develop tests, algorithms to find the pathogen and its origin.

Dec 27. Wuhan’s Dr. Zhang Jixian detects & reports suspicious cases of a ‘pneumonia of unknown origin’ to CCDC. Three more patients arrive, all related to Huanan Seafood Market.

Dec. 30. Wuhan Municipal Health Committee issues notice of an unknown viral illness.  
 
Dec 31. A team from Beijing investigates, informs the WHO of  “cases of pneumonia unknown etiology.” Since no medical worker was infected, they find no evidence of human-to-human transmission, and verify this on January 4. Wuhan announces the virus on CCTV and CGTN.
 

2020

Jan. 1. Huanan Seafood Market shut down.  

Jan. 2. WHO incident management system activated across WHO country office, regional office, and headquarters. 

Jan. 3. Dr. Gao Fu, head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC), phones the CDC’s Dr. Robert Redfield to warn him of the virus. 
 
January 4. WHO reports that Chinese authorities had informed it of “a cluster of pneumonia cases, with no deaths, in Wuhan”.
 
Jan. 5, WHO’s Disease Outbreak News: “There is limited information to determine the overall risk of this reported cluster of pneumonia of unknown etiology. The symptoms reported among the patients are common to several respiratory diseases, and pneumonia is common in the winter season; however, the occurrence of 44 cases of pneumonia requiring hospitalization clustered in space and time should be handled prudently.” 
 
Jan 8 ‘Unknown cause’ identified as a novel coronavirus. 

Jan. 3. China reports 44 suspected patients with the mystery pneumonia, classifies it as highly pathogenic, orders all labs without high pathogen licenses to destroy or transfer samples to secure labs.

Jan. 9. Chinese labs begin genetic sequencing of the virus. China reports the death of an infected  61-year-old male in Wuhan with several underlying medical conditions.

Jan. 9. Chinese officials announce 44 confirmed cases of the coronavirus outbreak.

Jan 11. Beijing uploads the genetic sequence of the coronavirus to an international database and distributes preliminary test kits in Wuhan. 

Jan 13. Germany develops a test and test protocol

Jan 17. WHO adopts refined version of German test and protocol.

Jan 15. Wuhan Health Commission: “Although significant evidence confirming human-to-human transmission has yet to be found, the possibility cannot be ruled out.”

Jan 16. President Trump evacuates Americans from Wuhan and bars entry to the US.

Jan. 18. HHS begins six-month Crimson Contagion scenario of a respiratory virus pandemic that begins in China and quickly spreads around the world.

January 20. Respiratory disease expert, Zhong Nanshan, announces the first verified human-to-human transmission.

January 21. China’s National Health Commission reports that the novel coronavirus is a Class B infectious disease and that Class A methods of prevention must be adopted. Chinese epidemiologists publish first Covid-19 paper, A Novel Coronavirus Genome Identified in a Cluster of Pneumonia Cases. Wuhan, China 2019-2020. CCDC Weekly. 

Jan 20-21. WHO Field Team Visits Wuhan. "We were at the hospital where the first patient was identified in the last week of December, 2019. We met with staff there, and with one of the earliest known patients". Team leader Peter Ben Embarek calls the visit "very informative."

Jan. 22. Scott Liu, 56, a Wuhan native and a textile importer who lives in New York, caught the last commercial flight out

Jan. 23. Cordon sanitaire around Wuhan. China suspends flights after 571 confirmed cases and 17 fatalities, builds a 1,000-bed hospital over the weekend

Jan. 24. Following private briefings on COVID-19, five US senators sell major stock holdings, avoiding significant losses before markets fall.

Jan. 24.  Slate: “Many of China’s actions to date are overly aggressive and ineffective in quelling the outbreak.”  LA Times: “China boasts of ‘people’s war’ against coronavirus, but Wuhan residents see shoddy propaganda”. 

Jan. 26 – First clinical cases published in The Lancet: “No epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases. Their data also show that, in total, 13 of the 41 cases had no link to the seafood marketplace". Daniel Lucey, infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University: "If the new data are accurate, the first human infections must have occurred in November 2019—if not earlier—because there is an incubation time between infection and symptoms surfacing. The virus came into that marketplace before it came out of that marketplace.”

Jan. 27. WHO's Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warns against “unnecessarily interfering with international travel and trade” in trying to halt the spread of coronavirus. China bans citizens from reserving overseas tours. Japan Tourism Company faces 20,000 cancellations from coronavirus outbreak. Tourism industry hit hard as Chinese tourists stay home. China screens people leaving the country.

Jan 29. WHO rejects accusations that China was responsible for the global spread of COVID-19: “[China’s] actions helped prevent the spread of coronavirus to other countries.”

Jan. 30. With 82 cases outside China and zero deaths, WHO declares Covid-19 a global health emergency. 
 
Jan. 30. US State and Federal officials refuse permission for Dr. Chu, U. Washington infectious disease expert, to use ongoing flu tests to monitor for coronavirus.

Jan. 30. NYT: “The fallout from the virus in China will accelerate the return of jobs to North America, with millions at the time placed under lockdown in Wuhan and elsewhere”. The Guardian: “Coronavirus deals China's economy a bigger blow than global financial crisis”. 

Feb. 3. US CDC rejects WHO tests, ships 200 of its own test kits

Feb 4. 57 personnel arrive at a Nebraska military base from Wuhan. Infectious disease specialist Dr. James Lawler asks to test them. CDC refuses: “The CDC does not approve this study. Please discontinue all contact with the travelers for research purposes.” 

Feb. 15. CDC recalls its flawed test kits.

Feb. 25. Against CDC instructions, UW’s Dr. Chu begins testing and gets an immediate Covid-19 result dating from January 28. By then, the virus had contributed to two deaths and would soon kill twenty more. “It must have been here this entire time. It’s just everywhere already,” Dr. Chu recalls thinking. 

March 4. US ignores international investigators’ repeated requests for EVALI postmortem lung tissue samples.

March 9. The White House orders federal health officials to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified, an unusual step that hampers response to the contagion. 

Mar. 11. US tests 5,000 people suspected of Covid-19 infection. 

Mar 12. White House classifies scope of infections, quarantines, and travel restrictions. Moves discussions to Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility, SCIF, “It has something to do with China.” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield testifies that some early fatalities attributed to flu ‘have been attributed to C-19 after post-mortem analysis,’ does not identify dates or locations.

Mar. 12. Chinese FM spokesman Zhao Lijian: “When did patient zero begin in the US? How many people are infected? What are the names of the hospitals? It might be the US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan. Be transparent! Make your data public! The US owes the world an explanation”.

Mar. 15. Santa Clara, CA, reports 114 infections. Fifteen were associated with travel to China or other infection hot zones, 28 had close contact with infected people, and 52 had no travel or contact with known cases, indicating local acquisition.  

Mar. 17. American, British, and Australian virologists: “We do not believe that any type of laboratory-based scenario is plausible…. Our analyses clearly show that SARS-CoV-2 is not a laboratory construct or a purposefully manipulated virus”. 

Mar. 18. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vows to prevent Iran from purchasing medicines and ventilators. US sanctions on Venezuela increase the cost of tests 300%.

Mar. 19. The US sees the sharpest increase in deaths and new infections per day of any country in the world. US doctors exhaust supply of N95 masks.

Mar. 20. White House website petition

  • Why did the U.S. erase internet news reports of the Ft. Detrick Lab shutdown?  

  • Why was Fort Detrick military lab shut down? 

  • Why did flu-season come earlier this year? 

  • What caused vaping pneumonia?

  • Why not allow people to do coronavirus testing? 

  • What are you trying to hide? 

  • “You owe everyone an explanation,” Julius Ryde tweets to President Trump. 

  • Why did we withdraw from 1972 Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in 2001?

  • Why did the US threaten and prevent UNSC from setting up BTWC monitoring?

Mar. 20. US State Department cables all officials: “[PRC] Propaganda and Disinformation on the Covid-19 Pandemic. Chinese Communist Party officials in Wuhan and Beijing had a special responsibility to inform the Chinese people and the threat world since they were the first to learn of it. Instead, the... government hid news of the virus from its people for weeks, while suppressing information and punishing doctors and journalists who raised the alarm. The Party cared more about its reputation than its own people’s suffering”. Says one official, “These talking points are all anyone is really talking about right now. Everything is about China. We’re being told to try and get this messaging out in any way possible, including press conferences and television appearances.”

Mar 21. Oxford University's Evolutionary Ecology of Infectious Disease Group says Covid-19 reached the UK no later than mid-January and may have infected half the population by March 21. 

Mar. 24. Covid samples taken from Italian patients in Sept-Nov. 2019 prove genetically distinct from China’s strain. Prof. Massimo Galli, at the University of Milan, describes ‘a very strange pneumonia” circulating in Europe in 2019. 

April 16. Peter Daszak, disease ecologist, "I’ve been working with that [Wuhan] lab for 15 years. And the samples were collected by me and others in collaboration with our Chinese colleagues; they’re some of the world’s best scientists. There was no viral isolate in the lab and no cultured virus that’s anything related to SARS coronavirus 2. So it’s just not possible."

April 17. Chris Cuomo says, “Cristina believes that at least two of the kids had it in the last few months. It’s atypically long-duration sinus, fever, lethargy. I think we’re going to learn that coronavirus has been in this country since October. How many people do you hear saying, ‘I think I had it, I had this and this, I lost my sense of smell and this and that, but I never got tested’?”.

May 5. Brazilian virologists find antibody samples from November 2019: “We analysed human sewage located in Florianópolis from late October. Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 has been circulating in Brazil since late November 2019”. The tests were repeated in three laboratories independently, with internal controls and negative controls. 

May 7. First peer-reviewed Covid article: Identification of a novel coronavirus causing severe pneumonia in humans: a descriptive study. 

June 17. Spanish virologists find traces of C-19 in Barcelona wastewater from March 2019: “The levels of SARS-CoV-2 were low but were positive,” said research leader Albert Bosch.

June 20. French virologists find SARS-CoV-2 was spreading in France in December 2019. “Early community spreading changes our knowledge of the COVID-19 epidemic”.

Nov. 16Italian Researchers find Coronavirus in Italy from September, 2019. “Traces of SARS-Cov-2 have been found in samples of waste water taken in Milan and Turin between September 2019 and March 2020”.

Nov. 30. American researchers find high levels of Covid-19 antibodies in archived Red Cross blood samples throughout the USA from Dec. 2019.  Serologic testing of U.S. blood donations to identify SARS-CoV-2-reactive antibodies: December 2019-January 2020.  
 

2021 

January, 2021. US monthly Covid deaths peak at 95,000. MIT says the number is 133,000.

Feb. 25. “Analyzing Covid genomes using k-mer natural vector method, we conclude that the virus likely already existed in France, India, Netherlands, England, and USA before the Wuhan outbreak”. 

Mar. 30. Joint WHO-China Report on Jan.-Feb. China visit: “Researchers reviewed 76,000 clinical records from October to November 2019, in which were 92 possible cases of Covid-19. 67 of those had no signs of infection based on antibody tests done a year later, and all 92 were ultimately ruled out based on the clinical criteria for Covid-19”. 

May 4. Mutations of the progenitor and its offshoots have produced many dominant coronavirus strains, which have spread episodically over time. Fingerprinting based on common mutations reveals that the same coronavirus lineage has dominated North America for most of the pandemic in 2020. There have been multiple replacements of predominant coronavirus strains in Europe and Asia and the continued presence of multiple high-frequency strains in Asia and North America. We have developed a continually updating dashboard of global evolution and spatiotemporal trends of SARS-CoV-2 spread: An evolutionary portrait of the progenitor SARS-CoV-2 and its dominant offshoots in COVID-19 pandemic 

June 1. WHO sends 30 Italian 2019 biological samples to Rotterdam’s Erasmus University laboratory for re-testing.

June 3. WHO says the search for Covid’s origins is being "poisoned by politics”. 

June 5.  European Medicines Agency’s reports 13,867 deaths and 1,354,336 serious injuries following injections of MRNA Moderna (CX-024414), MRNA Vaccine Pfizer-Biontech, AstraZeneca Vaccines, Vaccine Janssen (AD26.COV2.S).

June 8Erasmus University concludes the Italian samples "Are very similar to what (Italy's National Cancer Institute) discovered, though there were some small differences. The combined results made a convincing case that the coronavirus or a similar virus was circulating in Italy months before the country's first officially recorded case”.

RCEP is BIG!

RCEP’s Market is 2.5 Times Larger than that of the EU and USMCA 

Op/ed by Chris Devonshire-Ellis 

Understanding Asia's Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership in the context of the United States and Europe 

Are you aware of the implications?  


The significance of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement has flown somewhat under the radar as concerns its impact upon future global and regional trade. Often referred to as a Free Trade Agreement – which it is – comparisons have tended not however to be made on a global scale, and especially with the United States or Europe. Yet in fact, RCEP is in many ways Asia’s equivalent of these blocs. 

Although the world is divided up into various regional trade blocs, some are more effective than others. South Asia’s SAARC has long been rendered less effective than it ought to be by intra-bloc quarreling over product inclusions, South America’s Mercosur has similar issues, yet on the other hand has agreements with more Latin American countries than are full members. There are additional multi-lateral FTA between blocs themselves, such as the EAEU’s agricultural trade agreement with AfCFTA, and negotiation of deals with China and India. ASEAN exists between the ten nations of South-East Asia (identified here as part of the complete RCEP agreement) with the ASEAN bloc having agreements with India and other countries, and so on. Identifying where these agreements are and intersect would require a complicated map with hundreds of sections. 
In this article however we concentrate on the largest by trade volume – and point out the global significance of RCEP by comparing it with the USMCA (NAFTA) and European Union free trade areas. 
 

USMCA 

The USMCA (previously known as NAFTA) includes Canada, the United States and Mexico. It originally entered into force in 1994. It has a population of 490 million, a GDP of US$24.8 trillion, with annual per capita income at US$50,700. GDP growth the past three years has averaged 2%. 
 

EU

The EU began life through the Treaty of Rome in 1958, has a population of 448 million, a GDP of US$17.13 trillion and an annual per capita income at US$38,256. GDP growth the past three years has averaged 2.1%. 
 

RCEP  

RCEP was agreed in 2020, with ratification of members still underway. When completed, it will have a population of 2.6 billion, a GDP of US$26.58 trillion and an annual per capita income at US$17,059. GDP growth the past three years has averaged 6.5%. 

As can be seen, while the USMCA, mainly through the wealth of the United States, has the wealthiest consumer population, closely followed by the EU. RCEP however has by far the lowest per capita GDP but displays a wider internal variety of income levels among its members – from a high of US$58,484 (Singapore) to a low of US$1,308 (Cambodia). However, GDP growth amongst the RCEP nations has been three times higher the past three years (factoring in Covid) than in either the USMCA or EU blocs. When this is combined with a total population that is 2.5 times larger than that of the EU and USMCA combined, it becomes obvious to see where the continuing future consumer growth and wealth development will be. 

However, the emergence of RCEP also presents global trade and political challenges. While Washington dominates the USMCA, and Berlin to some extent the EU, the RCEP power base will be Beijing, although it will require diplomatic tact in a manner not always recently shown by Chinese diplomats – a point picked up by President Xi Jinping earlier this week when he called for expanding its circle of friends.  
While the Western media automatically assumed those comments were directed at Washington and Brussels, they were more likely to have been with a more regional focus in mind – and to Tokyo and New Delhi in particular, neither of whom have particularly close relations with China. Yet Beijing needs them both onside to develop RCEP to its potential – Japan as a member state, while India contemplates inclusion. The door for India participation remains open, even though India dropped out of RCEP in 2019. 
 

RCEP+  

China though has plans to develop the Asian bloc – a kind of RCEP plus – still further. It has already signed a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, which when tariff reductions are agreed will push the Asian bloc in a north-westerly direction and into Central Asia, while the Indian RCEP position remains negotiable. A new, more approachable Beijing could then oversee the development on an Asian region growing west and north to become a continental bloc during the first half of this century. In time, Asia will become a full Free Trade Area backed by a comprehensive protected digital currency with an international (and non-US controlled) financial structure. Whilst the nation states will still be sovereign, the economic development will be transnational and green. 
Asia will then stand with two other global regions – North America’s USMCA and the European Union. But new Asia will be the geographically largest, wealthiest, and most innovative. At its core will be the Chinese domestic economy, by then the worlds largest. With a strong currency, partially backed by gold rather than US debt, it will suck in huge imports mainly from Asia but also North America and Europe. This new reality – described as a ‘specter’ in the West, is what US President Joe Biden is actively trying to prevent in his G7 meetings this weekend. In fact, it is a de facto G11, as India, South Korea, Australia, and South Africa are also attending.   
As mentioned, RCEP is often thought of as a regional East Asian free trade agreement. In actuality, its rise will come to dominate Asian, and significantly impact upon North American, European, and other regional trade blocs, on a global basis. The question for businesses executives globally is: Are you prepared to take advantage of this – or wait until it arrives on your doorstep?

BYE-BYE G7

G7 No Longer Able to Order World Around 

Martin Jacques

Fine words will accompany the G7 summit this week. Much will be promised. And little will be delivered. It has long been like this. The G7 is no longer fit for purpose. Comprising the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada and Japan, in the 1970s the G7 was the overlord of the global economy. Today, the G7 is but a pale shadow of what it once was, reduced to the role of a declining faction within the global economy. It still talks in grandiose terms about its intentions, but the world has learnt to discount them. It is entirely appropriate that this week's summit will be chaired by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a grandmaster of verbal exaggeration and empty gestures. 

The role and importance of the G7 has been greatly diminished by the rise of the developing world. The latter now accounts for almost two-thirds of the global economy compared with one-third by the West: in the 1970s, it was exactly the opposite, the West enjoying a two-third share and the developing world just one-third. The most dramatic illustration of the G7's waning authority came in 2008 when, at the height of the financial crisis, it was effectively displaced by the more representative G20. 

Ever since, the G7 has increasingly become an institution in search of a role. Under Biden, as if to confirm its eclipse as a global institution, there is an ongoing attempt to reframe G7 as the representative and champion of the democratic world in the struggle against autocracy, shorthand for China. To this end, South Korea, India, Australia and South Africa have been invited to attend the G7 summit this week. There is even talk of the G7 becoming the D10 (D being a reference to democracy). This, however, would only serve to emphasize the declining authority of the G7: from global leader to ideological sect.

The truth, however, is that this proposal is unlikely to gain assent either among existing G7 members or potential new members, excepting perhaps Australia. Here we get to the heart of the crisis of the G7. It is the rise of China, above all else, that has transformed the global economy, sidelined the G7 and, at the same time, reconfigured the various G7 economies. Good relations with China are fundamental to the economic prospects of Germany, France and Italy. That is why they are opposed to the G7 becoming an anti-China crusade. So is Japan; and likewise would-be recruits such as South Korea and South Africa. Here laid bare, then, are the fault lines of the G7 and any potential extended membership. The West is divided and fragmenting. The authority of the US is in decline, no longer able to get its way as it once was.

The best illustration of the growing impotence of the G7 concerns its relationship with the developing world. For eight years, the West has been trying to find a way of responding to the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The subject is due to be raised again at this week's G7 summit. All the ideas that have been offered as a basis of a Western alternative to BRI have come to nought. This failure is extraordinarily significant and most revealing about the West on the one hand and China on the other. 

BRI is an eloquent articulation of China's relationship with the developing world, rooted in its own semi-colonial past and its position as a developing country. The West, in contrast, has failed because its history has been precisely the opposite, one of colonization and the exploitation and subjugation of these countries. It has neither the experience, empathy nor motivation that is required. The existential gap between the rich Western world and the developing world is a multidimensional chasm.

A dramatic example of the West's indifference to the needs of the developing world will be on full display at the G7 summit. Although the US and UK, and increasingly Western Europe, have vaccinated a majority of their populations against COVID-19, the UK, to take one example, has not exported a single dose of vaccine to the developing world. It has kept all its vaccines for itself, even though its existing stock far exceeds its own future needs. As each new variant spreads around the world, however, it has become patently clear to everyone that no country will be protected until every country is protected. 

In a pandemic, no country is an island. The US, which has so far failed to export a single dose of vaccine, is promising to export 80 million doses of vaccines later this year. Compare this with China's record. In addition to the 777 million vaccinations already carried out in China, it has exported more than 300 million doses of vaccines to the developing world. Over half the vaccinations in Latin America, for example, have been sourced by China. It seems all too likely that the West will fail in its moral responsibility to vaccinate the developing world until it is too late and many millions have died unnecessarily. Global Times

The author was until recently a Senior Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University. He is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Modern International Relations at Tsinghua University and a Senior Fellow at the China Institute, Fudan University. Follow him on twitter @martjacques. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

BOOKS

Red Swan

China stands as a major "Red Swan" challenge to the social sciences. The political resilience of the Communist party-state, in combination with a rapidly expanding and internationally competitive economy, represents a significant deviant and unpredicted case with a huge potential impact not only on the global distribution of political and economic power but also on the global debate about models of development. China's exceptional development trajectory thus challenges conventional wisdom as well as conventional models of political change. The traditional approach to systemic classification is not helpful in understanding the dynamics in China, a system which is unexpectedly adaptable and versatile in many policy fields, particularly as regards economic and technology policy. Buy now..

Why?

 
The first–and only–book to explain all three elements of China's success: 
  1. Talent at the Top: Only the brightest, most idealistic people are are admitted to politics–a policy unchanged in 2200 years.
  2. Data in the Middle: policies are implemented, tracked, and optimized based on terabytes of data. The PRC is the world's largest consumer of public surveys.
  3. Democracy at the Bottom: ordinary people, all unpaid amateurs, assemble twice a year to check the stats and sign off on new legislation. Policies need a minimum of 66% support to become law. That's why 95% of Chinese say the country is on the right track.
The proof? There are more hungry children, more poor, homeless, drug addicted, and imprisoned people in America than in China.  

Why China Leads the World
investigates why the epidemic accelerated the change of global leadership from America to China and examines China’s bigger, steadier economy, its science leadership, stronger military, more powerful allies, and wider international support.

Crammed with charts, footnotes, and lengthy quotes, Why China Leads the World is a profoundly disturbing book that helps readers understand the tectonic shift and adapt to this new era–and even thrive in it.
***
The size of China's displacement of the world balance is such that the world must find a new balance. It is not possible to pretend that this is just another big player. This is the biggest player in the history of the world. Lee Kuan Yew: The Future of US-China Relations. The Atlantic.  
***
The Coronavirus accelerated the pace of change of global leadership from America to China. There are now more hungry children, more poor, homeless, drug addicted, and imprisoned people in America than in China. 

Suddenly, China's larger, steadier economy, its leadership in science, its stronger military, more powerful allies, and wider international support have handed it a lead that widens every day.  Crammed with direct quotes from its movers and shakers, charts, and footnotes, Why China Leads the World tells a remarkable tale, explains a tectonic shift, and helps you adapt to this new era, and even thrive in it. 
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If we could just be China for one day we could actually authorize the right decisions. Thomas L. Friedman. The New York Times  

300 pages, 27 charts and graphs. $9.99 on Amazon and in bookstores worldwide.

The ISC Report

The ISC (Needham) 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.

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