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7.5 million new vehicles registered in Q1, up 63% from 2020, and 20% above the same period of 2019. 500,000 were new-energy vehicles, or NEVs, up 87% from 2019. The average NEV price fell by $5,000 in the first two months of 2021 from a year earlier.  Read full article →

Three out of five new cars sold in China will be electric by 2030–18 million EVs worth $360 billion if the average car costs $20,000. Secondary industries will bloom in financing, navigation, software, autonomous hardware components, traffic surveillance, and more. Read full article →

Smartphone shipments up 35% YoY to 94 million units in Q1 2021. 340 million smartphone units shipped worldwide in Q1 2021, up 24% YoY, and the top five vendors combined took a 76% market share in Q1 2021, up from 71% one year ago.  Read full article →

SOE (state-owned enterprise) net profits tripled in Q1 to $63.7 billion, up 31% from the same period in 2019. Petroleum, metallurgy, machinery, construction and defense recorded first-quarter net profits that more than doubled from the same period a year earlier. Read full article →

In April, China's 2021 box office already exceeds $3 billion US dollars, almost as much as the total ticket sales for all of 2020Read full article →

Trade & Travel

Coal Wars? From Alex Turnbull: The charts above are a broad summary of the story behind China and Australia’s bust up over coal, and China’s energy policy.

  • First chart (above): China’s coal consumption and balance of imports. As you can see, imports are something of a rounding error - it is a big deal if you are an Aussie coal miner but, to a bureaucrat at China’s NDRC or planning commission, it is an odd lot market.
  • Second chart: Most power in China is consumed by secondary industries, the vast majority by heavy industry. Construction and infrastructure related are 85% vs. households are 13-14% of power demand.
  • Third and Fourth chart: Global coal shipping volumes with, and without, intra-country flows. Most coal travels from a producing country to an end buyer in another country and that market has been shrinking sharply.
  • There’s a clear reason for this - China ramped up spending on infrastructure in coal production and coal logistics and now can get more coal from its key production areas of Shanxi and Inner Mongolia to its Southern ports, which used to buy more coal from abroad. Read full article →
China owns, manages, or backs 33 of the world’s top 50 container ports–up from 20% a decade ago, including terminals at Los Angeles and Seattle and leads the world with seven of the ten largest ones.  Read full article $→

South African wine sales in China rose 50% in Q1 after Beijing imposed 212% tariffs on Australian wines. Last month it extended the tariffs for five years and raised them to 218% as relations between the countries continued to plummet. This could cost the Australian wine industry US$1.2 billion annually. Read full article $→

Record $72.6 billion Q1 trade surplus with US (vs. $40.7 billion surplus in Q1 2020), despite the trade war. Chinese imports, at $46.5 billion, grew 69.2% YoY, the highest since 1993, while exports to the US rose 74.7%, due to pandemic-driven demand for Chinese goods. Read full article $→

Xinjiang's  Q1 US exports up 113% YoY to $64.4 million, despite Washington’s import ban on cotton and other products. Read full article $→

China, which consumes 60% of global tungsten, is actively developing a large scale opencast tungsten mine in Bakuta, eastern Kazakhstan.  Read full article $→

Technology & IP

The world’s renewable energy generation capacity increased by an astonishing 10.3% in 2020, beating the previous record by 50%. Asia accounted for 61% of this and China alone installed in 72.4 gigawatts of new wind.  Read full article →

Alibaba Cloud's market share reached 9.5%, ranking third in the world, ahead of Google Cloud's 6.1%. Amazon Web Services' share fell from 53.7% in 2016 to 40.8% in 2020. Read full article →

21 AI chips investments in 17 companies totaled $3.1 billion in Q1. Eleven companies are developing cloud AI chips. The AI ​​chip market will reach $35 billion in 2022 and multiply tenfold in the next five years. Read full article →

China  proposes to double its energy storage capacity to more than 65 gigawatts (GW) by 2025. The proposals exclude so-called pumped hydropower, paving the way for the industrial-scale battery technologies. Read full article →

China launched a large-scale, $260 million experimental network to test future internet technology. It connects the top 40 research universities with huge bandwidth and negligible latency.  The consortium will develop a new operating system and hardware–from routers and servers to computer chips. China expects billions of smart devices, each with a unique ID, to connect to the 5G internet  and demand a huge amount of data and tolerate little delay in communication. Read full article $→

The first commercial passenger car fitted with Huawei's autonomous driving system has gone into pre-order. Arcfox started taking pre-orders for the Polar Fox Alpha S, a four-door electric sedan equipped with Huawei’s self-driving technology and the Harmony operating system. Read full article →

Solar and wind will generate 11% of electricity output this year. To achieve net-zero emissions in 2060 it is targeting peak emissions by 2030. By 2025 hydro, biomass, solar, and wind should reach 50% of installed generation capacity, up from 42.4% now. Read full article →


How to Enter China Under Covid-19 Restrictions. Here's a thorough analysis of travel restrictions with detailed guidance on the different categories of foreigners based on their visa type, inoculation status, nationality, and related requirements. Read full article $ →

China has begun accepting U.S. coronavirus vaccination records in travel applications to the country, as it seeks to negotiate mutual recognition of vaccine passports with other nations. Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine records can be submitted as part of an application for a coronavirus QR “health code” — China’s version of a vaccine passport and a requirement to enter the country. Read full article $ →

Coronavac vaccine was 67% effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19, 80% at preventing death, 85% effective at preventing hospitalization with serious coronavirus symptoms, and 89% at preventing intensive care admissions, according to real-life results from 10.5 million people in Chile's inoculation campaign. Read full article $ →

Doctors spend 15 hours a week on data query, collation and interpretation. Multi-answer summarization (MAS) technology automatically summarizes lengthy answers to convey the main idea of the original texts. PingAn's MAS ranked #1 in MEDIQA 2021, an AI healthcare Q&A contest hosted by the Association for Computational Linguistics. Read full article $ →


Dan Cohen speaks with Gordon Gao, a native of Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Gao discusses growing up as a Mongolian ethnic minority in XUAR, and how the propaganda war against China hurts Uyghur interests, but will ultimately backfire on the United States. 
Danish architecture studio BIG has designed the O-Tower for Chinese smartphone manufacturer OPPO in Hangzhou.The circular skyscraper will surround an open courtyard. It will be built within Hangzhou's Future Sci-Tech City and act as an "iconic landmark and gateway" to the business district. The tower will be built alongside a natural lake and a 10,000 square-meter park. Read full article → 

ByteDance, parent of TikTok, sells a desk lamp that uses AI to help kids do their homework and allows busy parents to supervise them remotely. The Dali Smart Lamp sells 10 million units a month at $120 - $170. The lamp sent shockwaves through Chinese media and entrepreneurs are now fighting “The War of a Thousand Lamps.” China’s education sector will be a $690 billion market by 2025. Watch the Video → 



China’s Installed Power Capacity 2010 vs 2020

The EU generates 34% of its electricity from water, wind and sun (WWS), followed by China at 27%, Japan at 19%, and the US at 17%. Examine China's performance in detail, since it is now the world’s largest burner of coal, operates the world’s largest electric power system, and is responsible for the highest levels of carbon emissions. Read full article → 

Xi Jinping spoke to the Leaders Summit on Climate, hosted by President Joe Biden. Xi said that China will reach peak coal in 2025: “China will strictly control coal-fired power generation projects, and strictly limit the increase in coal consumption over the 14th Five-Year Plan period [2020-2025] and phase it down in the 15th Five-Year Plan period.” Read full article → 

NGO Friends of Nature is contemplating the next steps for its dozens of lawsuits. The NGO’s litigiousness is the result of careful strategy: courts had accepted 42 of its cases as of March, with 22 concluded and 20 still in various trial stages. Read full article → 

Digital currency will take market share from private payment services like Alipay, but both will likely coexist. Digital currency poses risks to traditional business models for banks but opens up new opportunities. Digital currency is anonymous for daily use, but still traceable, especially for large transactions. Experts believe the digital RMB can boost the yuan’s internationalization. Read full article →


Biden's nuclear threat. President Biden and Japan' PM Suga said China actions “are inconsistent with the international rules-based order peace and prosperity in the region. "The alliance between Washington and Tokyo has become a cornerstone of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world. Japan resolved to bolster its own national defense capabilities…The United States restated its unwavering support for Japan’s defense… using its full range of capabilities, including nuclear"Read full article →

Taiwan has given millions of dollars to the largest and most influential think tanks in the United States. This has coincided with a strong upsurge in anti-China rhetoric in Washington, with reports warning of China’s economic rise and demanding that the U.S. intervene more. The think tanks are filled with prominent figures from both parties and have the ears of the most powerful politicians in Washington and churn out experts who appear in agenda-setting media, helping to shape and control the public debate on political and economic issues. Read full article $ →

“The Australian Defence Force was planning for a potential worst-case scenario if the United States and China clashed over Taiwan, prompting debate over the scope and scale of Canberra’s contribution to what would be an unprecedented conflict in the region. Options include contributing to an allied effort with submarines, as well as maritime surveillance aircraft, air-to-air refuellers and potentially Super Hornet fighters operating from US bases in Guam or the Philippines, and even Japan”. Read full article $ →

Australia has revoked a major state’s participation in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, after deeming its agreements with Beijing to be at odds with Canberra’s foreign policy. The Chinese embassy responded, “It further shows that the Australian government has no sincerity in improving China-Australia relations. It is bound to bring further damage to bilateral relations, and will only end up hurting itself". Read full article $ →

A car bomb hit a hotel where Nóng Róng, China's ambassador to Pakistan, was due to stay for the night, killing five and wounding twelve. Nong Rong had not yet arrived at the hotel when the blast occurred, but they were only “minutes” away. Tehreek e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the blast. Read full article $ →

According to “The Chinese Must Go policy”, in the mid eighteen-eighties,  at least a hundred and sixty-eight communities forced their Chinese residents to leave. In 1885, white miners in Rock Springs, in the Wyoming Territory, massacred at least twenty-eight Chinese miners and drove out several hundred others. Read full article $ →

Sino-Serbian foreign relations have straightened to a very high level, with China establishing itself as a valuable ally to Serbia. Since the recognition of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 by Yugoslavia and the formal establishment of diplomatic relations between the two states in 1955, both countries have been on warm relations that soon transformed into a strategic alliance.  Read full article $ →
The Greater Eurasian Partnership: Connecting Central & South Asia. China and Russia have committed to 'The Great Eurasian Partnership', which envisages mutual China/Russia influence extending on a region from East Asia to the borders of the European Union. At its heart lies Central Asia, a region rich in mineral resources yet until now, geographically isolated. Read full article $ →


“The US always attacks other countries, it holds itself sacrosanct.”
Xi's Boao Forum Speech And The Messed Up Reporting Around It

Moon of Alabama, April 20, 2021

Reuters piece about a speech held by China's President Xi Jinping reveals how 'western' reporting skew the view of global issues:

China's Xi calls for fairer world order as rivalry with U.S. deepens

BOAO, China (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for a rejection of hegemonic power structures in global governance, amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over a widening range of issues including alleged human rights abuses.

Speaking at the annual Boao Forum for Asia, Xi criticised efforts by some countries to "build barriers" and "decouple", which he said would harm others and benefit no one.

China has long called for reforms of the global governance system to better reflect a more diverse range of perspectives and values from the international community, including its own, instead of those of a few major nations.

The bolded sentence is wrong. China has not called 'for reforms of the global governance system' but for a return to the existing global governance system that the 'west' over the last years tended to ignore. Here is the relevant section of his speech (emphasis added):

- We need consultation on an equal footing to create a future of shared benefits. Global governance should reflect the evolving political and economic landscape in the world, conform to the historical trend of peace, development and win-win cooperation, and meet the practical needs in addressing global challenges. We need to follow the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, uphold true multilateralism, and make the global governance system more fair and equitable. We need to safeguard the UN-centered international system, preserve the international order underpinned by international law, and uphold the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core. World affairs should be handled through extensive consultation, and the future of the world should be decided by all countries working together.

To 'safeguard', 'preserve' and 'uphold' existing laws and organizations is not a 'call for reform' of the global governance system but a call for a return to its foundations which were set after the second world war. The Reuters writer pretends, like some 'western' politicians, that those foundations no longer exist.  The Reuters piece continues:

[China] has also repeatedly clashed with the biggest stakeholders in world governance, particularly the United States, over a range of issues from human rights to China's economic influence over other countries.

"The world wants justice, not hegemony," Xi said in remarks broadcast to the forum.

"A big country should look like a big country by showing that it is shouldering more responsibility," he said.

While Xi did not identify any country in his remarks, Chinese officials have in recent times referred to U.S. "hegemony" in public criticisms of Washington's global projection of power in trade and geopolitics.

Who, please, are 'the biggest stakeholders in world governance'? While the US might be a 'big stakeholder' China is by population size and economic power a way bigger one. And who are the other 'biggest' besides the U.S.? India and Russia may come to mind but both have offered the same critic about a 'western' centric system as China does.The above Reuters snippet also leaves out the most central quote from Xi's speech (emphasis added):

We must not let the rules set by one or a few countries be imposed on others, or allow unilateralism pursued by certain countries to set the pace for the whole world. What we need in today’s world is justice, not hegemony. Big countries should behave in a manner befitting their status and with a greater sense of responsibility. We must not let the rules set by one or a few countries be imposed on others, or allow unilateralism pursued by certain countries to set the pace for the whole world. What we need in today’s world is justice, not hegemony. Big countries should behave in a manner befitting their status and with a greater sense of responsibility. 
Reuters also includes this slightAs the Biden administration rallies other democratic allies to harden their stance on China, Beijing is seeking to strengthen ties with its autocratic partners and economically dependent neighbours in Southeast Asia.

It is a rhetorical trick to put the U.S. into the corner of 'democracy' and to associate China with 'autocratic partners'. For one - many of the U.S. 'partners', especially in the Middle East, are 'autocratic' ones or even worse. China itself is a democracy:

Elections in China are based on a hierarchical electoral system, whereby local People's Congresses are directly elected. All higher levels of People's Congresses up to the National People's Congress (NPC), the national legislature, are indirectly elected by the People's Congress of the level immediately below.

The Boao forum is not Chinese, it is international. It was initiated by former leaders of the Philippines, Australia and Japan - all three democracies. The 26 founding countries of 'Asia's answer to Davos' are mostly democracies. In his speech Xi Jinping lists democracy as a 'common value of humanity':

We must advocate peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, which are common values of humanity, and encourage exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations to promote the progress of human civilization.

To purpose of the Boao forum is not to peddle to autocrats. Unless of course one counts the high profile U.S. businessmen who are taking part as such:

A slew of U.S. business leaders will be participating in the conference, including Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook, Tesla Inc.’s Elon Musk, Blackstone Group Inc’s Stephen Schwarzman and Bridgewater Associates’ Ray Dalio.

To sum up: The Reuters piece about Xi's speech at Boao is framed with a 'western' mindset and colored by 'western' hegemonic ideology. It leaves out the essence of the speech then adds bits that make the reader assume that the high level international event is a solely Chinese one, thereby disturbing its context. It does not inform but propagandizes. Read full article at Moon of Alabama →


After Chimerica And EuRussia

By J.Hawk. SouthFront.


In light of current events, it is remarkable that the term “Chimerica” was coined by Nial Ferguson and Moritz Schularick a mere 15 years ago. Reflecting on the growing interdependence era between the United States and People’s Republic of China, they argued the two countries in practice represented a single, symbiotic economy featuring a closed cycle of manufacturing, consumption, spending, and debt.

Chimerica, alas, hit a rough patch at about the same time as another similar project which never developed any catchy nicknames but which we can provisionally refer to as “EuRussia” which was similarly predicated on a closed cycle of resource extraction, manufacturing, finance, and consumption. The 2008 financial crisis undermined the self-confidence of US and European elites and also their legitimacy in the eyes of their own electorates which were poorly shielded against its effects.

It is quite telling that while Western leaders and media genuinely love to paint a picture of autocratic, oppressive China and kleptocratic, corrupt Russia, in the end neither of these non-Western powers suffered from the 2008 financial crisis as badly as their Western counterparts whose financial systems proved to be rife with insider trading, regulatory capture, backroom deals, and other forms of corruption which ultimately meant the perpetrators of the crisis were shielded from the consequences of their actions. The spectacle of US and European “too big to fail” banks having to be propped up by constant infusions of cash under the guise of “quantitative easing” and enjoying unprecedented monetary stimulus by the US Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, economy-warping measures sustained for well over a decade now solely in order to protect the big financial institutions from bankruptcy.

The dry rot of Western institutions the crisis revealed also shook Western powers’ confidence in their ability to continue the center-periphery relationship they established with Russia and China. The former would provide abundant raw materials to Europe, the latter would serve as America’s giant assembly warehouse, with neither threatening the West’s comfortable self-image as rulers of the world. Neither Russia nor China appeared to be particularly unhappy with that state of affairs, either, since the relationship did facilitate their economic development and relieved the two countries of the burden of military modernization.

China’s leadership, including General Secretary Hu Jintao, were content with that state of affairs and focused their attention on economic development and growth while at the same time assigning a far lower priority to military modernization. As of 2012, the year of Barack Obama’s “Pivot to Asia”, the People’s Liberation Army was not a serious competitor, in terms of quality to the US military. The degree to which armaments were de-emphasized during the “Chimera” period plainly visible when one examines China’s naval shipbuilding programs of the past two decades. The initial batches of China’s  most important domestically designed guided missile destroyer class, the Type 052, ran between two and six ships, creating a veritable “fleet of samples” with the main goal being the establishment of trained cadres, the expansion of shipbuilding infrastructure, and of course the While today’s People’s Liberation Army Navy overshadows the US Navy in terms of sheer number of warships if not tonnage, the vast majority of that build-up took place under the leadership of Hu’s successor Xi Jinping. China’s development of stealth fighters was similarly a product of the breakdown of Chimerica.

In Russia

Matters were not all that different in Russia. The Medvedev presidency which ended in 2012 represented the high water mark of Russia’s liberal economic elite which was less concerned with the country’s great power status than with making money for itself, though incidentally also modernizing the Russian economy. The state of affairs was neatly summarized by Obama’s ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul who, when asked about Russia’s liberal elites, pointed out that these elites’ foreign bank accounts, foreign real estate, children at foreign universities, actually made it the West’s elites, a veritable Fifth Column that could be relied upon to do the West’s bidding in Russia’s politics. The condition of Russia’s military during the EuRussia era was not much to write home about either, though Georgia’s aggression against South Abkhazia and Ossetia in 2008 which on the one hand ended with a  Russian military victory but on the other revealed the profound inadequacies of Russia’s military of that era, was an early wake-up call that prompted urgent defense reforms which bore fruit just in time for Ukraine’s Maidan. The so-called Serdyukov reforms named after a defense minister of that time resulted in the disbandment of Ground Forces divisions and their replacement by far smaller brigades intended mainly for low-intensity warfare rather than pitched battles against peer opponents. To understand the thinking of Russia’s leaders during the EuRussia era, one should only remember this was the time when Russia placed orders for Mistral-class helicopter carriers in France, explored the possibilities of license-producing Italy’s Iveco trucks and Freccia wheeled infantry fighting vehicles, and even contracted with Rheinmetall to equip a military training facility near Moscow. These projects would ultimately fall victim to the breakdown in relations following the reunification of Crimea and the outbreak of civil war in Ukraine.

Given the dramatic transformations that took place in China and Russia since that time, Barack Obama’s “Pivot to Asia” in retrospect proved to be a declaration of hybrid war against the two Eurasian powers and was certainly received as such, prompting a major rearrangement of political objectives and economic priorities, accompanied by a suitable re-evaluation of defense needs. The aim was relatively straightforward: to reassert control by United States and the European Union over their wayward “peripheries” which were now expecting to be treated like great powers on an equal footing with the Western ones, an expectation that unfortunately was not going to be satisfied, certainly not without a fight. The relatively high level of interdependence between US and China on the one hand, and Russia and the EU on the other, combined with the US dominance of the global financial markets, meant that the leaders of these countries expected Russia and China would be forced to abandon their great power ambitions and prepare for a far less “symbiotic” relationship with their Western “partners”. This time it would be a relationship of outright exploitation which the dire state of US and EU economies demanded.

The desperation of Europe’s leaders, even supposedly Russia-friendly ones like Angela Merkel, was evidenced by their commitment to absolutely insane actions, such as the promotion of Ukrainian and Belorussian nationalism, and of various subversive forces within Russia itself. The fake Navalny poisoning followed by Josep Borrell’s disastrous lecture tour of Russia seems to have been the proverbial last straw. Whatever vestiges of hope that the EU would come to its senses vanished with Borrell’s departure from Moscow.

When it comes to China, the steadily escalating trade war waged by Obama, Trump, and now Biden administrations also escalated into support of Hong-Kong militants and the invention of the “Uighur genocide”, a charge far surpassing any fake accusations leveled at Russia during the same period of time. Europe’s sanctions on China over said “genocide” seem to have had the same effect on its politics that Borrell’s visit had on Russia’s. Prior to those events, the leaders of both countries appear to have maintained a belief that perhaps the EU would exercise a certain level of strategic autonomy and craft its own foreign policy. China’s comprehensive investment agreement with the European Union which entailed considerable concessions on China’s part, was motivated by that apparently mistaken belief. The dispatch of European naval warships to the South China Sea did not help matters either.

Toward Eurasia and Amerope

If Biden felt compelled to suddenly referred to Russia as a “great power” in a televised address and plead for a de-escalation, it is only because it has dawned on the leadership of Western powers that non-Western powers have agency too. Neither America nor Europe are indispensable. If Chimerica and EuRussia complete their unraveling that vacuum will be filled by new power combinations. China and Russia can fill each other’s voids left by the collapse of cooperation with US and EU. Europe and the US can pursue closer integration as well. Michael McFaul was infamously reduced to trolling his Russian audience by raising the specter of Russia becoming a “tributary state” to China. Apart from considerably misreading the nature of the relationship, it should be noted that the West’s own designs on Russia, voiced at an Atlantic Council virtual conference in March 2021, amount to dismemberment of the country through promotion of not only Aleksey Navalny but various separatist movements across the country, under the guise of “promoting democracy” in Russia. Whereas US and EU have an official opinion on literally everything that happens in the domestic politics of non-Western powers and are not above inventing atrocities and even genocides to justify acts of military and non-military aggression, the Russia-China relationship is characterized by mutual recognition of juridical equality of the two partner states. China certainly is not financing the Communist Party of the Russian Federation or promoting a Bolshevik coup. Russia likewise is not trying to impose its own model of governance onto China.

America’s fear of Eurasia is accompanied by EU’s fear of becoming Amerope in which the Europeans will full the heavy hand of American dominance and actually be reduced to the status of tributary states. UK’s experience in the aftermath of Brexit is indicative of what awaits European countries in that relationship. Germany’s defense of Nord Stream 2, European countries’ embrace of Sputnik V vaccine, are motivated by the dual fear of actually having an unbound Russia on its eastern flank and their sovereignty lost to United States desperately fighting to avert their own decline. The future course of global politics still chiefly depends on choices made in Washington, it remains to be seen whether the resistance their policies have provoked will actually lead to genuine and lasting moderation and recognition of equal status of other major international actors. SouthfrontDonate to Southfront: PayPal: 



China Doesn’t Respect Us Anymore — for Good Reason

We’ve stopped following our formula for success.

Tom Friedman, The New York Times

Sometimes a comedian cuts through foreign policy issues better than any diplomat. Bill Maher did that the other week with an epic rant on U.S.-China relations, nailing the most troubling contrast between the two countries: China can still get big things done. America, not so much.

For many of our political leaders, governing has become sports, entertainment or just mindless tribal warfare. No wonder China’s leaders see us as a nation in imperial decline, living off the leftover fumes of American “exceptionalism.” I wish I could say they were all wrong.

“New Rule: You’re not going to win the battle for the 21st century if you are a ‘silly people.’ And Americans are a silly people,” said Maher. “That’s the classic phrase from ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ — when Lawrence tells his Bedouin allies that as long as they stay a bunch of squabbling tribes, they will remain ‘a silly people.’ …

“We all know China does bad stuff. They break promises about Hong Kong autonomy; they put Uyghurs in camps and punish dissent. And we don’t want to be that. But it’s got to be something between authoritarian government that tells everyone what to do and a representative government that can’t do anything at all.”

Maher added: “On a national level, we’ve been having Infrastructure Week every week since 2009, but we never do anything. Half the country is having a never-ending ‘woke’ competition. … The other half believes we have to stop the lizard people, because they’re eating babies. … China sees a problem and they fix it. They build a dam. We debate what to rename it.”

Yes, China has huge problems. Its leaders are not 10 feet tall, but they are focused on real metrics of success. “China’s leaders are fierce but fragile,” argues James McGregor, the chairman of the consultancy APCO Worldwide, Greater China. “Precisely because they were not elected, they wake up every day scared of their own people, and that makes them very focused on performance” — particularly around jobs, housing and clean air.

By contrast, many U.S. politicians these days are elected from safe, gerrymandered districts and seek to stay in power by just “performing” for their base with populist theatrics.

Whenever I point this out, critics on the far right or far left ridiculously respond, “Oh, so you love China.” Actually, I am not interested in China. I care about America. My goal is to frighten us out of our complacency by getting more Americans to understand that China can be really evil AND really focused on educating its people and building its infrastructure and adopting best practices in business and science and promoting government bureaucrats on merit — all at the same time. Condemning China for the former will have zero impact if we’re not its equal in all of the latter.

At last week’s Alaska meeting between America’s and China’s top diplomats, Chinese officials made it quite clear that they no longer fear our criticism, because they don’t respect us as they once did, and they don’t think the rest of the world does, either. Or as Yang Jiechi, China’s top foreign affairs policymaker, baldly told his U.S. counterparts: “The United States does not have the qualification … to speak to China from a position of strength.”

Surprised? What did you think, that the Chinese didn’t notice that our last president inspired his followers to ransack our Capitol, that a majority of his party did not recognize the results of our democratic election, that a member of our Congress believes that Jewish-run space lasers cause forest fires, that left-wing anarchists were allowed to take over a section of downtown Portland, creating havoc for months, that during the pandemic the U.S. printed money to help its consumers keep spending — much of it on Chinese-made goods — while China printed money to invest in even more infrastructure, and that gun violence in America is out control?

You think they didn’t notice?

Which brings me to the 2022 Winter Olympics, scheduled for China.

A rising number of voices are beginning to suggest that we boycott the China Games. I have sympathy with that call, as we watch China crush the infrastructure of democracy in Hong Kong and use internment camps to brutally suppress Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang with utter indifference to world opinion. How do we just ignore all that and focus on ice skating?

But here’s the thing: The competition that we really need to focus on winning is not the 2022 Olympics but the 2025 Olympics.

Oh, you haven’t heard of the 2025 Olympics? They are not on your NBC calendar? Well, they are on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s calendar. Xi unilaterally declared the 2025 Olympics in 2015 and suggested that there would be only two competitors: China and America. It was an initiative that Xi’s government called “Made in China 2025.”

It was a 10-year plan to modernize China’s manufacturing base by massively investing government resources to dominate what Xi defined as the 10 key high-tech industries of the 21st century, and he was implicitly daring America to go head-to-head.

The industries include artificial intelligence; electric cars and other new energy vehicles; 5G telecommunications; robotics; new agricultural technologies; aerospace and maritime engineering; synthetic materials; and biomedicine.

And just a few weeks ago, when China issued its 14th five-year plan, to run through 2025, Xi basically doubled down on his government’s investment in “innovation-driven development.” Message to America: We will try to beat you at your own game so we will never, ever again be dependent on you for high-tech goods.

My message to China is: Be careful. Some of your diplomats sound awfully arrogant. As the proverb says: “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” America still excels in a lot of areas.

But my message to my fellow Americans is:

We now have to return to and double down on what was our formula for success.

And that is: educating our work force up to and beyond whatever technology demands; building the world’s best infrastructure of ports, roads and telecommunications; attracting the world’s most energetic and high-I.Q. immigrants to enrich our universities and start new businesses; legislating the best regulations to incentivize risk-taking while curbing recklessness; and steadily increasing government-funded research to push out the boundaries of science so our entrepreneurs can turn the most promising new ideas into start-ups.

On this front there is some hope, noted McGregor: “Congress has begun sorting through the hundreds of China bills introduced in the last Congress to forge bipartisan legislation to invest in science and technology, R&D and U.S. leadership in the same technologies that China has declared as the next frontiers.” And President Biden is talking about spending trillions!

Nothing could be more important. Because good ideas — respect for human rights, democracy, an independent judiciary, free markets, protection for minorities — don’t just win in the world because they are good ideas. They diffuse and are embraced because others see them producing justice, power, wealth, opportunity and stability in countries that practice them.

American ideals infused every global institution in the 20th century because we were powerful, and we were powerful because more often than not we implemented our ideals.

But, if we as a country continue to act as we have of late — “dumb as we want to be” — then our power will be diminished and with it the power of our ideals. We will have steadily less influence on China and on the world at large no matter how loudly we chant “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.” So, let’s make sure we win the Olympics that count. The New York Times

Middle East 

A Middle East in Motion

Alastair Crooke

U.S. sanctions are easily done, but not easily undone – even temporarily. Lifting them completely is institutionally almost impossible. If we view the Middle East as a complex network system, it is possible to discern a number of dynamics that now are touching on their potential to shift the regional matrix entirely – to put it on a fresh path. Some of these ‘seeds’ were sown, a while past: President Putin, in 2007 at Munich, told the largely western audience that the West had taken an adversarial stance toward Russia, challenging it. ‘Ok’, said Putin: We accept the challenge, and we shall prevail. His statement was met with open derision from the Munich audience.

Now, many years later, following the contentious exchanges at Anchorage, Putin’s riposte has emerged fully-fledged: China told Washington flatly, that it refused the imposition of western values and hegemony. China thus accepted, with Russia, the ‘western challenge’: It had its own values and vision that it intended to pursue, and noted that the U.S. was in no position of strength to demand otherwise. China (or Russia) does not seek war with the U.S. – nor want Cold War, either – but both stand steadfast by their ‘red lines’. They should be taken literally (i.e. they were no ‘posture’), China indicated.

Two days later, the Chinese FM and Lavrov advised other states not even to contemplate siding with the U.S. against the Russia-China concerted ‘team’; it would be pointless. A few days later Wang Li was in the Middle East – Saudi Arabia, UAE and then Tehran. The message was uniform: throw off the yoke of hegemony; resist ‘pressures’ on human rights issues; and embrace your own sovereignty. A Rubicon crossed.

In Iran, FM Wang Li signed-up, in principle, to $400bn in transport and energy infrastructure projects. From the perspective of China, a Eurasian spider’s web of inter-connecting rail tracks and pipelines potentially slashes the costs of transportation; creates new markets – whilst investment in Iranian energy gives China energy security.

The Chinese-Iranian roadmap however, also envisages security co-operation (with China endorsing Iranian full membership of the SCO), joint naval exercises, intelligence sharing, and more. Even more significant perhaps will be Iran’s incorporation into the Eurasian Digital Silk Road, incorporating telecommunications, fibre optic cabling from China to France, 5G, ‘Smart City’ AI systems, digital payment platforms (U.S. hedge fund manager Kyle Bass argues that China’s digital payment systems will reach an estimated 62% of the world’s population), cloud storage analytics, and ‘sovereign’ internet structures.

Iran, although not yet a part of the Digital Road, effectively is already (loosely) digitally ‘Chinese’, as is much of West Asia. Some estimatessuggest that one-third of the countries participating in BRI—138 at this point—are cooperating on DSR projects.

Western narratives generally overestimate the extent to which DSR-related projects are part of a coordinated Chinese strategy. Projects lumped under DSR however, are largely private sector-driven, and allow Chinese companies to take advantage of policy support provided under the DSR brand (a type of franchise), while responding to growing demand in BRI countries for digital infrastructure. Until recently, BRI was understood largely in the more traditional mode (i.e. railways and pipes), than as a digital ‘road’; but it is the latter that ultimately will separate a ‘Chinese standards Eurasia’ from the West.

Just to be clear, whichever way you slice the RBI snakes and ladders matrix of interconnectivity – either, east-west, or north-south – Iran lies plumb-centre on the map. The point here is that much of the northern tier of the Middle East – from Pakistan to the Caspian, to the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and Europe – is on Moscow and Beijing’s drawing board.

As the physical and digital network emerges from its chrysalis, no Gulf State will be able wholly to disregard this unfolding geo-political entity stretching from Vladivostok to Xingjian. In fact, they are not; they are cautiously (mindful of Washington’s ire), extending tentacles out to Moscow and Beijing (Saudi and UAE are already on the DSR) – but they seem unlikely to go the whole hog of the full engagement, as Iran has done with China. How long it is viable to juggle both Chinese protocols and standards with those of the West, is an open question – eventually duplication of standards becomes clumsy, and expensive. Read full article $ →

Xi at Boao

Xi Jinping Keynote Speech at the Boao Forum for Asia Conference:

Op/Ed by Chris Devonshire-Ellis  

President Xi Jinping gave the opening, keynote speech at the Boao Forum for Asia Conference 2021 yesterday. The Boao Forum includes Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, The Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. 

The Boao Forum is a non-profit organization that hosts high-level forums for leaders from government, business and academia in Asia and other countries to share their vision on the most pressing issues in the Asian region and the world at large. About 60 diplomats from 35 countries attended the Forum, which is held annually in Boao in China's Hainan Island Province. President Xi's complete speech, interspersed at intervals with my own comments in italics and useful links, follows: 

Xi: "Pulling Together Through Adversity and Toward a Shared Future for All"  

Dear Friends,  

'True friendship brings people close however far apart they may be.' 

It gives me great pleasure to attend the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 and meet you all in this cloud meeting. Let me begin by extending, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and in my own name, a warm welcome to all the guests participating both in person and online, and cordial greetings and best wishes to all friends old and new.  

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Boao Forum. Over these two decades, Asian countries have advanced regional economic integration and worked in unison to pursue both economic and social development, which has turned Asia into the most vibrant and promising region in the global economy. Asia has also stood with the rest of the world in the face of terrorism, the Indian Ocean tsunami, the international financial crisis, COVID-19, and other traditional and non-traditional security threats, which has helped maintain stability and security in the region. As an important member of the Asian family, China has kept deepening reform and opening-up while promoting regional cooperation, thus achieving progress and development in tandem with the rest of Asia and the world. It is fair to say that this Forum has borne witness to the extraordinary journey of China, of Asia and of the world, and has exerted a significant influence in boosting development in Asia and beyond.  

This year’s annual conference is convened against a very special background. The theme of the conference - “A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Cooperation” - is most opportune and relevant under the current circumstances.  

Now, the combined forces of changes and a pandemic both unseen in a century have brought the world into a phase of fluidity and transformation. Instability and uncertainty are clearly on the rise. Humanity is facing growing governance deficit, trust deficit, development deficit, and peace deficit. Much remains to be done to achieve universal security and common development. That said, there is no fundamental change in the trend toward a multi-polar world; economic globalization is showing renewed resilience; and the call for upholding multilateralism and enhancing communication and coordination has grown stronger. While we live in an age rife with challenges, it is also an age full of hope.  

Where should humanity go from here? What kind of future should we create for future generations? As we try to answer these important questions, it is crucial that we bear in mind the shared interests of mankind and make responsible and wise choices.  

China calls on all countries in Asia and beyond to answer the call of our times, defeat the pandemic through solidarity, strengthen global governance, and keep pursuing a community with a shared future for mankind. 

  • We need consultation on an equal footing to create a future of shared benefits. Global governance should reflect the evolving political and economic landscape in the world, conform to the historical trend of peace, development and win-win cooperation, and meet the practical needs in addressing global challenges. We need to follow the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits, uphold true multilateralism, and make the global governance system fairer and more equitable. We need to safeguard the UN-centered international system, preserve the international order underpinned by international law, and uphold the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core. World affairs should be handled through extensive consultation, and the future of the world should be decided by all countries working together. We must not let the rules set by one or a few countries be imposed on others, or allow unilateralism pursued by certain countries to set the pace for the whole world. What we need in today’s world is justice, not hegemony. Big countries should behave in a manner befitting their status and with a greater sense of responsibility."  
Devonshire-Ellis: This is an obvious criticism of the United States, which China feels has acted unilaterally and out of step with the United Nations. China is a member of the UN and holds veto power. The political conundrum here then becomes an issue within the UN charter where opposition to sometimes much needed actions can be vetoed for national, rather than global interests. The UN will need reform to adequately deal with this current unsatisfactory status quo. 

Xi: "We need openness and innovation to create a future of development and prosperity. Openness is essential for development and progress. It also holds the key to post-COVID economic recovery. We need to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, deepen regional economic integration, and enhance supply, industrial, data and human resources chains, with a view to building an open world economy. We need to deepen partnerships for connectivity and strengthen infrastructural links to keep the arteries of economic activities unclogged. We must seize the historical opportunities in a new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation, boost the digital economy, and step-up exchanges and cooperation in such areas as artificial intelligence, biomedicine, and modern energy, so that the fruits of scientific and technological innovation can be turned into greater benefits for people in all countries. In this age of economic globalization, openness and integration is an unstoppable historical trend. Attempts to “erect walls” or “decouple” run counter to the law of economics and market principles. They would hurt others’ interests without benefiting oneself."

Devonshire-Ellis: China has been very active in promoting free trade, whereas the United States and to some extent the EU has been withdrawing from this. It is a contemporary paradox that Communist China is now a Free Trade advocate whereas Capitalist America eschews competition unless it is on its own terms. Xi, the Chairman of the Communist Party, is calling for greater trade and free market access - essentially capitalist values.  

Xi: "We need solidarity and cooperation to create a future of health and security. In the ongoing fight against COVID-19, victory will be ours at the end of the day. We must put people and their lives above anything else, scale up information sharing and collective efforts, enhance public health and medical cooperation, and give full play to the key role of the World Health Organization (WHO). It is important that we bolster international cooperation on the R&D, production and distribution of vaccines and increase their accessibility and affordability in developing countries so that everyone in the world can access and afford the vaccines they need. It is also important that we take comprehensive measures to improve global governance on public health security and work together for a global community of health for all. We need to follow the philosophy of green development, advance international cooperation on climate change, and do more to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change. The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities must be upheld, and concerns of developing countries on capital, technology and capacity building must be addressed."  

Devonshire-Ellis: Xi makes one point here, with two main themes, the need for improved global interaction and coordination to deal with both Covid-19 and global warming. Concerning the Covid pandemic, there is still pushback, mainly from the West, concerning the sharing of technologies, supplies and vaccines and this is undoubtedly delaying global recovery. Calls for the dropping of patents and subsequent royalty payments for Covid related medicines have been pushed by China, India, and most countries in Asia, yet the United States and Europe, where much of the patents lie, have been reluctant to release them into the public domain stating that it would disincentivize pharmaceutical MNCs from conducting future research. On a purely pragmatic basis, this is having the effect of the capitalist need for revenue colliding with globally human needs for a worldwide cure. 

Xi points out that on global warming, the United States and China have been able to agree terms and intend to cooperate on issues relating to the climate crisis - using that as an example as to how a better response to the Covid pandemic should be orchestrated. 

Xi: "We need commitment to justice to create a future of mutual respect and mutual learning. Diversity is what defines our world and makes human civilization fascinating. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clearer to people around the world that we must reject the cold-war and zero-sum mentality and oppose a new “Cold War” and ideological confrontation in whatever forms. In state-to-state relations, the principles of equality, mutual respect and mutual trust must be put front and center. Bossing others around or meddling in others’ internal affairs would not get one any support. We must advocate peace, development, equity, justice, democracy, and freedom, which are common values of humanity, and encourage exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations to promote the progress of human civilization. In this context, I would like to announce that once the pandemic gets under control, China will host the second Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations as part of our active efforts to promote inter-civilization dialogue in Asia and beyond."

Devonshire-Ellis: Further veiled criticism of the United States - and interestingly considering who Xi represents - a call for democracy. 

Xi: "I have noted on various occasions that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a public road open to all, not a private path owned by one single party. All interested countries are welcome aboard to take part in the cooperation and share in its benefits. Belt and Road cooperation pursues development, aims at mutual benefits, and conveys a message of hope. Going forward, we will continue to work with other parties in high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. We will follow the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and champion the philosophy of open, green, and clean cooperation, in a bid to make Belt and Road cooperation high-standard, people-centered and sustainable.    
  •  We will build a closer partnership for health cooperation. Chinese businesses have already started joint vaccine production in BRI participating countries such as Indonesia, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Turkey. We will expand cooperation with various parties in infectious disease control, public health, traditional medicine, and other areas to jointly protect the lives and health of people in all countries. 
  • We will build a closer partnership for connectivity. China will work with all sides to promote “hard connectivity” of infrastructure and “soft connectivity” of rules and standards, ensure unimpeded channels for trade and investment cooperation, and actively develop Silk Road e-commerce, all in a bid to open bright prospects for integrated development.  
  • We will build a closer partnership for green development. We could strengthen cooperation on green infrastructure, green energy, and green finance, and improve the BRI International Green Development Coalition, the Green Investment Principles for the Belt and Road Development, and other multilateral cooperation platforms to make green a defining feature of Belt and Road cooperation.  
  • We will build a closer partnership for openness and inclusiveness. A World Bank report suggests that by 2030, Belt and Road projects could help lift 7.6 million people from extreme poverty and 32 million people from moderate poverty across the world. We will act in the spirit of openness and inclusiveness as we work with all willing participants to build the BRI into a pathway to poverty alleviation and growth, which will contribute positively to the common prosperity of humankind."

Devonshire-Ellis: These points all allude to various aspects of the Belt & Road Initiative, dividing the concept into specific industrial and new tech sectors. Xi further welcomed all nations to participate. The sectoral aspects Xi mentioned as part of the BRI (which now includes 147 countries and territories) are the Green Belt and Road, Green Finance, the Health Silk Road, Hard infrastructure build, supporting regulatory infrastructure, e-commerce, and the concept of eradicating poverty and creating new wealth - the end game being peace through trade.  I deal with each of these as follows:

The Green Belt & Road 
China has been active in this and has recently declined to fund any further coal power stations overseas. It has committed to green technologies, including incentivising EV usage, and financially motivating its own citizens to reduce their domestic carbon footprint. 

The Belt & Road Initiative now has a Green Standards Eco-Commitee made up of international experts to vet projects. The BRICS New Development Bank largely finances green-only infrastructure projects. While a great deal still needs to be done, China is embracing green technologies. Xi Jinping has agreed to meet US President Biden at the proposed Climate Change Summit - 50% of the attendees are from BRI nations. China's stance on green technologies and Climate change will create new standards and new technologies and is very much to be welcomed. 

The Health Silk Road 
Much of this is still being worked out, with Covid a priority, however China has been investing billions of dollars in creating partnerships with international medical institutions, development 
programmes and infrastructure. This includes minority level equity acquisitions in the UK as well as the United States and elsewhere - funding the research to better provide global medical security - which Covid has unmasked as being woefully inadequate. In response, China has been part of the global Covax programme which aims to provide poorer countries with free vaccines. Russia and India have done the same, with millions of vaccines now being distributed at cost. Tellingly, the United States is not part of Covax - the 'America First' policy still taking the priority status during a global pandemic that has done little to promote the US as a globally responsible leader. 

It is this issue that Xi continues to push - in an era where global leadership has been lacking - Xi is stating that China is ready to step into those shoes, cooperate and participate. 

Meanwhile, Chinese infrastructure efforts in healthcare continue, one example being in Pakistan where under CPEC, China has financed, built and is opening up medical production facilities  to service domestic and overseas regional markets. Overall, Xi's comments concerning the Health Silk Road mirror those which he made at the 75th United Nations summit last September. 

Hard and Soft Infrastructure Build 
There are two, complimentary aspects to China's BRI, the much-debated infrastructure build, including rail, road, ports and so on, and the less recognized soft infrastructure, which Xi refers to as 'rules and standards, to ensure unimpeded channels for trade and investment cooperation'. China has been extremely active in this regard, signing over 100 Bilateral Investment Treaties, which offer mutual investment protection and rights to businesses investing in each other's respective markets, double tax treaties, for which China has signed off 84 with BRI countries alone, and which reduce the tax burden for investors, and free trade agreements, which do away with or reduce import tariffs, the recent RCEP agreement being the latest example. That deal harmonizes tariffs and introduces common standards on trade between China, all ten ASEAN nations, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea, and is estimated to amount to US$12.4 trillion in regional trade. At the same time, China is currently negotiating similar agreements with the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Eurasian Economic Union. When enacted these will have a significant impact on global trade - an issue I outlined in my recent book "Identifying Opportunities Within the Belt & Road Initiative" which can be downloaded for free here

E-Commerce goes together with the other sectors mentioned, and especially green technologies - no more having to drive cars to shopping malls when goods can be delivered to your home using digital and electric technologies. China has issued numerous incentives to introduce and expand e-commerce throughout China and beyond. To that end, it has installed 105 e-commerce free trade zones around its entire borders, where special investment incentives apply to foreign investors in this industry. E-commerce is the shopping of the future, and with China poised to become the world's largest consumer market by 2025, the impact of technologies empowering this are significant. China is a market leader, and additional technologies such and Fintech, Blockchain and the Digital Yuan will only underpin this commercial, consumer revolution. 

Finally, Xi mentioned the Belt and Road in the context of "building the BRI into a pathway to poverty alleviation and growth, which will contribute positively to the common prosperity." These are very much communal philosophies at the essential moral heart of communist ideology. While authoritarianism within communism has been hugely problematic in the past, giving rise to some dreadful dictators, Xi's version has become far more liberal, meaning wider global acceptance. For many, China is delivering, bringing peace, and upgrading standards. Xi's comments were designed to showcase this.  

Xi: "2021 marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Over the last century, the CPC has striven forward against all odds in a relentless pursuit of happiness for the Chinese people, rejuvenation for the Chinese nation, and the common good for the world. As a result, the Chinese nation has achieved a great transformation from standing up to growing rich, and to becoming stronger, and has thus made a notable contribution to human civilization and progress. China will continue to play its part in building world peace, promoting global development, and defending international order.

China will stay committed to peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit, develop friendship and cooperation with other countries based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, and promote a new type of international relations. China will continue to carry out anti-COVID cooperation with the WHO and other countries, honor its commitment of making vaccines a global public good, and do more to help developing countries defeat the virus. However strong it may grow, China will never seek hegemony, expansion, or a sphere of influence. Nor will China ever engage in an arms race. China will take an active part in multilateral cooperation on trade and investment, fully implement the Foreign Investment Law and its supporting rules and regulations, cut further the negative list on foreign investment, continue to develop the Hainan Free Trade Port, and develop new systems for a higher-standard open economy. All are welcome to share in the vast opportunities of the Chinese market."   

Devonshire-Ellis: Xi turns salesman here, looking to attract foreign investment. He specifically refers again to trade and investment, while mentioning the improved China Foreign Investment Law, and reduced Negative Investment List, both of which further open the Chinese domestic market to Foreign Investors, and which I explained the significance of in this article here.  Xi then promotes the Hainan Free Trade Port - which offers market access and other incentives to foreign investors which go even further in allowing participation in industry sectors overwise off-limits on the mainland, such as medical tourism and importation of foreign pharmaceuticals not permitted elsewhere in the PRC. Our overview of opportunities in these sectors in Hainan can be viewed here  and here. 

Xi: “By setting sail together, we could ride the wind, break the waves, and brave the journey of ten thousand miles.” We may at times encounter stormy waves and dangerous rapids, but as long as we pool our efforts and keep to the right direction, the giant vessel of human development will stay on an even keel and sail toward a brighter future.  Thank you."   

Summary: President Xi Jinping has effectively introduced himself as a true world leader, able to share China's success with the rest of the world. He has highlighted the currently differing capabilities of China and the United States in showing global responsibility, and especially within the ability for China to engage in vaccine distribution and regional healthcare development. That has been supported by China's continuing to develop infrastructure as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, and to continue to develop trade agreements as part of a tariff and barrier reducing global network. That is a capitalist methodology being attached to socially responsible human development agenda. It is in fact a liberal approach to diplomatic engagement, rather than a communist one. 

It remains to be seen how the United States will respond. But with Washington increasingly suffering from image problems related to trade and global cooperation belligerence, and overuse of sanctions, Xi currently has the upper hand, while in global terms Biden appears remote, elderly, and unreachable. The United States especially has a lot of catching up to do. Read the speech.

Chris is the Founding Partner of Dezan Shira & Associates and has a 30-year career advising foreign investors in Asia. He may be contacted at His new book, "Identifying Opportunities Within the Belt & Road Initiative" has just been published and may be downloaded for free from the Asia Briefing bookstore here.

Stages of Grief

Five Stages of Grief

How Is America Handling China’s Rise?

Whenever people face a huge loss in life — like a sudden divorce or death of a family member — they go through five stages of grief. These stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. The U.S. is about to lose its top spot as the biggest economy and is, in a textbook manner, going through the same stages.

1. Denial: People like Kishore Mahbubani predicted twenty years ago that China will eventually be the leading economic powerhouse. But Americans chose denial and laughed at the concept. The popular beliefs behind the denials were:

  • China’s economy will collapse any moment now!
  • China will eventually become just like the West and then we will have nothing to worry about.
  • China is a totalitarian, communist country. They don’t understand capitalism or free market, and thus will never be rich.
  • China can never innovate. Chinese workers are just slaves and bots.
  • China makes only crappy products and thus can never compete with western brands.
  • As soon as Chinese people travel to the West and see how glorious the West is, they will go back to China and overthrow the tyrannical and corrupt communist government.
  • China’s GDP numbers and other stats are fake!
  • China’s patents and scientific publications are of low quality.
  • Chinese products will never succeed outside China.
  • We can always nuke China and maintain our hegemony.
  • COVID19 will surely bring China down. And all the countries will start decoupling from China.

Alas, none of those happened. China miraculously kept advancing. Without a single recession in forty years, the engine of China kept roaring. China’s communist party grew the GDP 50x in forty years, lifted 800 million people out of poverty, created the world’s largest middle class, fostered innovative companies, and built a vibrant and all-around successful society. (See my blog on China’s global leadership).

2. Anger: After denying reality for a while, people become angry. They feel like victims and start blaming others. That’s exactly what’s been happening, especially since Trump came to office. The anger is reflected in following ways:

  • China stole America’s jobs.
  • China stole intellectual property from the U.S. (after all, Chinese can’t innovate, remember?)
  • Chinese are spies and hackers.
  • China doesn’t buy anything from us.
  • China doesn’t treat U.S. corporations fairly. China is too protectionist.
  • China subsidizes its corporations. Not fair!
  • China made the coronavirus in the Wuhan lab. China tricked us into a lock down.
  • China bad, China bad, China bad!

3. Bargaining: This is the hopeful phase. It’s like saying after the divorce, “Maybe I can get my wife back.” This phase is not always benign; it can involve a lot of ruthless scheming as seen in the last four years:

  • If we can just force China to buy more from us, we can close the trade deficit and make America great again.
  • Tariffs will cripple China and also force American companies to bring manufacturing jobs back.
  • If we just arrest Huawei’s CFO and kill the company with sanctions, China will bend its knee.
  • Let’s go on an all-out attack on every successful Chinese company. That should do the trick!
  • Let’s use Hong Kong and Uyghur separatists to disrupt China. How about using India and Taiwan to start a war?

None of these seem to be working, although military conflicts are possible (with devastating impact on global economy). America’s tech war will only spur more Chinese innovation and self-reliance.

4. Depression: However, with so much Sinophoba and hubris in the U.S., no politician or think tank will dare propose such a solution, so get ready for American depression.

5. Acceptance: We are not here yet. The U.S. is still trying hard to stop China, rather than planning for an inevitable post-American era, which will start within five years. The geopolitically smart strategy will be to skip the stage of depression and go to acceptance. That will translate to embracing multilateralism and partnering with China, EU and Russia to forge a multi-polar world order for the 21st century. Source: World Affairs

Genocide Failure

China Is Really, Really, Really Bad at Genocide

Somehow genocide is way harder than 5G, space satellites, and hi-speed rail

Kim Petersen

In February, I asked, “Does the West Repeating Claims of China Committing Genocide in Xinjiang Reify It?” China is continually being raked over the coals by western governments and state/corporate media on whatever charge or pretext can be thrown in the hopes that something sticks to incriminate China. China’s economic ascendancy, socialism with Chinese characteristics, has thrown the capitalists of the world into a tizzy. However, to allege something so heinous as a genocide is beyond the bounds of bizarre.

If an identifiable group were being destroyed, especially a group that in 2018 constituted 12.7184 million people, that would surely be impossible to hide — even in a region as large as the autonomous province of Xinjiang. Furthermore, if one is going to allege such a horrific crime, one should not do so without irrefutable evidence.

One French journalist based in China, writing under the byline of Laurene Beaumond, criticized western media for alleging genocide1 against Uyghurs in Xinjiang province.2 She asks,

So what is this parody of a process against China from a distance, without any concrete proof, without any valid testimony, by individuals who have never set foot in this region of the world?3

Concrete evidence should be demanded of all accusers.

This genocide is alleged to have occurred although the population of Uyghurs is vastly increasing in Xinjiang. Global Times, an English-language Chinese newspaper under the People’s Dailycites statistical data from 2010 to 2018 that show:

the Uygur population increased from 10.1715 million to 12.7184 million, an increase of 2.5469 million, or 25.04%; the population of Han ethnic group increased from 8.8299 million to 9.0068 million, an increase of 176,900 people, or 2.0%.

If factually accurate (and I have seen no refutation of the statistics), then this is an utter refutation of a genocide taking place! The only other conclusion is that the modern Chinese are absolutely incompetent genocidaires.

Western media accusations are relying, for the greatest part, on a thoroughly discredited German “academic”: Adrian Zenz.

Le Monde does not seek to buttress the allegations of genocide in Xinjiang. Instead it questions the bona fides of Laurene Beaumond. Le Monde says this person does not exist.

Global Times says she exists, but the name is a pseudonym.

This is problematic. It can be taken for granted that if one wants to work in western media then previous writings highly critical of the western Establishment and its media would shut the door quite tightly for any writing gigs in the West. But writing under a pseudonym poses ethical considerations. The monopoly media is often criticized by independent media and free-thinking readers for trotting out anonymous sources. When a source is anonymous, when substantiation is lacking for what is said or written, then that source and its claims deserve to be met with skepticism.

In my mind, CGTN or any scrupulous media, should only allow persons to write under a pseudonym under stringent conditions, for example, if the writer’s life would be endangered. Also, the media would have to vouch, up front, for the bona fides of the writer or story source. This is especially so given the seriousness of a genocide allegation.

There is a solution, and it will require a bold step by “Laurene Beaumond.” She must come forward, declare her genuine identity, and present her credentials to clear all this up. CGTN needs to develop a transparent policy on the use of pseudonyms, and I’d suggest an apology might be in order for publishing this under a pseudonym.4

The heinous allegation of genocide demands a forthrightness to dispel it as disinformation. The insidiousness of disinformation is such that it has been held to be a crime against humanity and a crime against peace. Professor Anthony J. Hall made this clear:

Disinformation originates in the deliberate and systemic effort to break down social cohesion and to deprive humanity of perceptive consciousness of our conditions. Disinformation seeks to isolate and divide human beings; to alienate us from our ability to use our senses, our intellect, and our communicative powers in order to identity truth and act on this knowledge. Disinformation is deeply implicated in the history of imperialism, Eurocentric racism, American Manifest Destiny, Nazi propaganda, the psychological warfare of the Cold War, and capitalist globalization. Disinformation seeks to erode and destroy the basis of individual and collective memory, the basis of those inheritances from history which give humanity our richness of diverse languages, cultures, nationalities, peoplehoods, and means of self-determination. The reach and intensity of disinformation tends to increase with the concentration of ownership and control of the media of mass communications.

Practice open-minded skepticism; demand evidence; demand to know who the people involved are; scrutinize the history and backgrounds of the people, media, and places. In other words, don’t allow yourself to easily be lied to. Source: Dissident Voice

Digital Yuan

China’s Digital Yuan Displaces the Dollar

$16 trillion of US dollar deposits may disappear

by David P. Goldman, Asia Times

In his annual letter to JP Morgan shareholders, bank chairman Jaime Dimon offered a startling admission: Banks already compete against a large and powerful shadow banking system. And they are facing extensive competition from Silicon Valley, both in the form of fintechs and Big Tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and now Walmart), that is here to stay. As the importance of cloud, AI and digital platforms grows, this competition will become even more formidable. As a result, banks are playing an increasingly smaller role in the financial system.

Dimon was talking about a revolution in trade and finance. The combination of Big Tech transformation of global supply chains and fintech transformation of the global payments system will bypass the banking system. China’s digital yuan is one of the catalysts that will make this happen. That’s the financial dimension of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which I described in my book You Will Be Assimilated: China’s Plan to Sino-Form the World.

Since I warned February 6 that China’s “digital yuan could bust the United States,” a great deal of nonsense on the topic has filled the media, offset by some good sense from the economists at the US investment house Morgan Stanley. 

An April 11 Bloomberg report declared, “The Biden administration is stepping up scrutiny of China’s plans for a digital yuan, with some officials concerned the move could kick off a long-term bid to topple the dollar as the world’s dominant reserve currency.”

Either the Biden Administration or Bloomberg (or both) is confused. China has no intention of replacing the US dollar with its RMB within the framework of the existing world banking system, as People’s Bank of China Deputy Governor Li Bo said April 19. In fact, China has no incentive to this, and could not do so even it wanted to.

The $16 trillion of offshore dollar deposits at international banks won’t turn into the equivalent amount of Chinese yuan. Instead, that $16 trillion will shrink to a small fraction of its present volume, because the Big Tech/fintech revolution will make them redundant. Instead, as Morgan Stanley analysts explained this week, “banks will lose their deposit base” as digital currencies replace their most basic functions.

What Western analysts fail to grasp is that China is not trying to take the place of the United States. Rather, China is creating a new system of world trade and finance that will – as a byproduct – replace the methods of trade financing that have remained in place since the Venetian Republic introduced them in the 13th century.

The yuan won’t replace the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Instead, the role of reserve currencies that began with the pound sterling under the Pax Britannica will atrophy over time, and with it tens of trillions of dollars in zero-interest loans that the world now extends to the United States.

Fintech is not the most important driver of this transformation. The epicenter of change is what Huawei calls “smart logistics,” the application of big data/artificial intelligence to supply chain management, as I explained on February 6. Huawei’s system – one among several competing offerings in the field – seamlessly connects node operations and physical transportation, provides early warnings for active risks, and delivers the full-range of visible management, including the one-stream-of-materials concept. Through mobile apps, AIS, IoT, and other advanced logistics technologies, the system perceives the locations of vehicles, the operating status of warehouses, and other information in real time.

Big data can track a thimbleful of iron ore from a Brazilian mine to a blast furnace in Harbin to a roll of steel wire at a Tangshan steel mill, to a nail factory in Xingtai, to a warehouse in Shanghai, to a container ship en route to Long Beach, California, to a truck headed for a hardware distributor in Denver.

The production, storage, and shipment of goods will be verified every step of the way. The blast furnace will pay the Brazilian mine on delivery, and the rolling mill will pay the blast furnace, the nail factory will pay the rolling mill, and so forth. None of them will have to borrow money from an international bank and keep it on deposit for months while waiting to see whether the delivery arrives.

As Huawei advertises:

By transparently sharing information between all sections and visualizing material flows, the system better coordinates people, vehicles, goods, and warehouses. At the same time, it realizes real-time interconnections with external risk data, enabling early warnings and intelligent reminders of alternative options. In the distribution process, big data and AI make intelligent calculations on cargo storage plans and optimal transport routes to improve distribution efficiency and optimize asset use.

There’s nothing conspiratorial or nefarious about the great transformation of trade and finance. The above description is quoted from Huawei’s website, and several other firms offer the same services. China is the leader in the field because it is the first country to build out a national 5G mobile broadband network, which makes possible real-time collection and processing of information about the world’s supply chains.

Every business in the whole variegated, complex supply chain will make a digital transfer from its central bank digital currency (CBDC) account. The People’s Bank of China is collaborating with the world’s main agency for international payments, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, to expedite financial transfers in digital yuan.

Exporters and importers keep bank balances in dollars and euro (mostly), because those are the currencies in which banks lend. The majority of offshore bank deposits are in US dollars – $16 trillion worth – even though the US accounts for just 8% of world exports. China accounts for 12% and its share is growing.

With the advent of smart logistics, just-in-time inventory management and just-in-time payments for goods in world trade, exporters won’t have to write contracts in foreign currency for payments due months ahead, and buy expensive hedges against currency market fluctuations. They will just receive payment in their own CBDC.

China’s dominance in digital currency will follow naturally from its position as the world’s top exporter. And because the digital yuan will be the largest currency in international trade, and China will have a market leader advantage in introducing CBDC’s, other exporters will use the digital yuan as a matter of convenience.

This would be of minor consequence to America’s world position, except for the fact that the United States now must borrow 15% to 20% of its GDP each year to finance its internal budget deficit, and also must attract about $1 trillion of capital inflows to finance its growing current account deficit with the rest of the world.

Morgan Stanley’s chief economist Chetan Ahya and his colleagues entitled an April 19 report “Digital Disruption: The Inevitable Rise of CBDC.” They observe:

“Even though central banks will try not to disrupt the banks, CBDC accounts will increase competition for customer deposits. “Direct access to central banks will allow tech-enabled non-banks to offer payment services and digital wallets, capturing customer transaction data in the process.
“In combination with advances in AI, big tech will be able to use transaction data for credit assessment and cross selling. “In the most disruptive case, banks lose deposit base, credit creation needs to be funded wholesale or by central bank.”
The Morgan Stanley team argues that the digital yuan won’t threaten the reserve status of the dollar, which technically is correct but misses the point: The digital system will hollow out the deposit base of the banking system, most emphatically for international trade financing. Reserve currencies won’t disappear, but they will become vestigial. Chetan Ahya’s report focuses on the domestic implications of digital currencies, which may be extensive, rather than the global implications, which will be tectonic.

The United States will lose what economists call seigniorage, a term that derives from the difference between the value of gold or silver coins and the their bullion content. This amounts to about $25 trillion by my rough estimate (the $16 trillion in overseas dollar deposits plus the $8 trillion in US Treasuries owned by foreigners).

The US will lose this enormous volume of cheap credit from the rest of the world just when it needs it the most. Asia Times

Digi-RMB Timeline

Timeline of Digital RMB

by Yang Liu, founder of Beijing ChannelSubscribe now

Note: 1: items listed in this timeline are quoted from here unless otherwise linked.

Note 2: the text is sourced from a wide range of media/websites, which may follow different editorial practices, your host did his best to mend the gaps, and apologize in advance if any editorial inconsistencies were missed. 

  • 2014: With the support of then People’s Bank of China (PBoC) governor Zhou Xiaochuan, the PBoC launched a research group tasked to develop China’s official digital currency.

  • Early 2015: The PBoC expands the research group, the research group reportedly conducted serious research into the operational structure of digital currency issuance, the core technology of digital currency, the circulation environment of digital currency, legal issues facing digital currency, potential impact digital currency may have on the financial system, the relationship between official and private digital currency, and experience from other countries on issuing digital currency. The research has reportedly yielded some results.

  • Sometime 2015. A series of PBoC research reports were formulated on digital currency, and the PBoC’s plan for issuing an official digital currency has undergone two rounds of editing.

  • Jan.20, 2016: The PBoC holds a digital currency forum in Beijing, during which the goal of developing China’s official digital currency was first publically announced. The PBoC research group stated that it was their goal for speedy issuance of digital currency.

  • Feb.25, 2016: Zhou Xiaochuan tells the media that there are no timetables for issuing China’s digital currency and that it may take as long as a decade to transit from one version of RMB to the next. He says: For a very long time, digital currency and cash will be used in parallel, and cash will be gradually phased out. The transaction cost of cash will slowly rise in the later period, for example, banks offered coin counting service for free, but in the future, that may change. With incentives, people will naturally use digital currency more often, though the two will still coexist for a prolonged period.

  • Nov. 9, 2016: The PBoC lists job openings on its official website for digital currency development talents, such as those who hold doctoral or postgraduate degrees in computer, information security, and encryption major.  The job descriptions for the openings are 1) architectural design and development of software and hardware for digital currencies and related underlying platforms, 2) The research of key cryptographic technologies used in digital currencies, symmetric and asymmetric cryptographic algorithms, authentication, and encryption.

  • Jan. 29, 2017: The central bank officially establishes the Digital Currency Research Institute (DCRI). After the successful development of prototype digital currency, the institute is cooperating with institutions and industries in Nanjing, Shenzhen, among other places, to put the result of financial technology research into application. The R&D of the PBoC's digital currency is currently managed by the Currency, Gold, and Silver Bureau of the PBoC.

  • Feb. 1, 2017. The blockchain-based digital currency trading platform promoted by the PBoC has been successfully tested, and the official digital currency issued by the PBoC has been piloted on the platform.

  • March 24, 2017: PBoC Deputy Governor Chen Yulu tells the media that as the next step, fintech’s impact on personal asset safety, privacy protection, global financial stability, and global financial governance structure needs to be thoroughly studied. 

  • May 27, 2017: Yao Qian and Di Gang were named director and deputy director of the DCRI. Yao Qian was a former PBoC official, while Di Gang was previously the CTO of Silk Road Fund.

  • June 8, 2017. Five ministries of the central gov’t issue financial standardization development plan for the 13th five-year plan, in which it was stated that Continue to promote international standardization of finance, and strive to lead the development of one to two international standards in key areas such as mobile financial services, non-bank payments, digital currency.

  • Jan. 25, 2018: Fan Yifei, Deputy Governor of the PBoC, publishes a signed article in which he made several arguments for the path the future digital currency should pursue. They are:First, China's central bank digital currency should adopt a two-tier delivery system. Second, under the two-tier placement system arrangement, China's central bank digital currency should be placed in a loosely coupled way with accounts and adhere to a centralized management model. Third, the design of China's central bank digital currency at this stage should focus on M0 substitution instead of M1 and M2 substitution. Fourth, A cautious attitude should be maintained towards the loading of smart contracts with the central bank digital currency.

  • March 28, 2018 The PBoC held a national monetary and financial work teleconference of 2018, which stated, Steadily promote the research and development of the central bank's digital currency.

  • April 3, 2018: Sun Guofeng, the director of the PBoC Financial Institute,a think tank-like organization affiliated with the PBoC, wrote in a PBoC working paper that digital currency can make it easier for the central bank to adopt a negative interest rate.

  • Feb. 22, 2019: The PBoC held a national monetary and financial work conference of 2019, which stated: Deepening the research and development of the central bank's digital currency. Note: notice the change of verb from “steadily” to “deepening” in one year’s time, signaling that the development of digital currency is picking up pace in 2019.

  • Aug.2, 2019: The PBoC holds working teleconference for the second half of 2019, stating. Accelerate the pace of research and development of China's digital currency (DC/EP), and study the development trend of virtual currencies at home and abroad, and continue to strengthen the regulation of Internet financial risks.Note: Half-year after the previous meeting, the verb has changed to “accelerate”. *DC/EP stands for Digital Currency Electronic Payment

  • Sept.24, 2019: Yi Gang, PBoC Governor, further revealed some features of the future digital currency.The development of China's central bank digital currency has made positive progress, and it is proposed to combine the central bank digital currency with electronic payment instruments. The goal of the central bank's digital currency is to replace a portion of M0 (cash), not to replace M1 or broad money M2. The central bank digital currency adopts a two-tier operating system of the central bank and commercial banks, which does not change the current money delivery path and system. There is no timetable for the launch of the central bank's digital currency, and there will be a series of research, testing, piloting, evaluation and risk prevention processes to be carried out. The central bank's digital currency will adhere to centralized management, and there is no predetermined technical route in the research and development work. It can be selected on the basis of fair competition in the market, and can consider both blockchain technology and new technology evolved on the basis of existing electronic payment, fully mobilizing the market's enthusiasm and creativity.

  • Oct. 28, 2019: Huang Qifan, former mayor of Chongqing, said the PBoC may be the first central bank to roll out a digital currency. He said, ThePBoC has been working on DC/EP for five or six years and I think it is maturing. The PBoC is likely to be the first central bank in the world to launch a digital currency.

  • Nov. 28, 2019: Fan Yifei, deputy governor of the PBoC, said at a forum that the central bank's digital currency DC/EP has basically completed top-level design, standard development, function research and development, and joint testing under the premise of adhering to double-layer placement, M0 replacement, and controlled anonymity. The next step will be to reasonably select pilot verification areas, scenarios, and service scope guided by the principles of steady, safe and controllable. And also continuously optimize and enrich DC/EP functions, and steadily promote the introduction and application of digital forms of legal tender.

  • Dec.9, 2019: According to media reports, a pilot program to try digital currency in real-life settings has been slated. The central bank's legal digital currency pilot project, led by the People's Bank of China, with the participation of the four state-owned commercial banks of ICBC, ABC, BOC and CBC, and the three major telecom operators of China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, is expected to land in Shenzhen and Suzhou. The pilot will be different from the previous pilot, and will go out of the central bank system and into real service scenarios such as transportation, education, and medical care to reach consumer and generate frequent applications. According to people close to the pilot project team, the pilot (Shenzhen digital currency pilot) is planned to be divided into two phases, the end of this year is phase I, where the currency is tested in small range of scenarios, next year for phase II, the currency will be promoted throughout Shenzhen.

  • March 3, 2020: At a seminar held by the National Development and Reform Commission, more than 10 experts came to the consensus that the epidemic may speed up China’s push to roll out its digital currency. The epidemic is a catalyst for the digital economy, and rapid, comprehensive, and accurate data collection and analysis are a prerequisite for efficient decision-making. In the post-epidemic period, China will likely increase investment and procurement efforts. The central bank's digital currency may be accelerated and become a special "special fund", the flow of which can be managed.

  • April 3, 2020: The PBoC holds national currency, gold and silver, and safety teleconference, during which “Strengthen top-level design and unswervingly promote the research and development of digital currency" (加强顶层设计,坚定不移推进法定数字货币研发工作) was listed as a top priority.

  • April 17, 2020: Xinhua News Agency quoted an official with the PBoC DCRI as saying that the digital currency will first be tested in closed settings in Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an, Chengdu, and Winter Olympic facilities. The official also said testing the digital currency in closed settings does not affect normal RMB circulation.

  • July 8, 2020: Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing announced that it has signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the PBoC DCRI, and both sides will conduct research on how to implement the digital currency in rideshare service settings.

  • July 16, 2020: Media reports that the PBoC is mulling testing the digital currency on Chinese delivery platform Meituan. Other businesses that are actively seeking to play role in the rolling out of the digital currency includes video-sharing website BiliBili, Bytedance, China Postal Savings Bank of China, and Bank of Communications.

  • July 22, 2020: The government of Fuzhou, Fujian Province, said it is actively applying to be one of the hosts for second wave testing of the digital currency.

  • Aug. 15, 2020: Xinhua News Agency quotes a source from the PBoC as saying “If everything works well, the public may have a chance at seeing the digital currency’s true face.”

  • Sept.21, 2020: Chinese e-commerce company announces a strategic cooperation deal is reached with the PBoC’s DCRI, saying both sides will join hands in innovating mobile applications for the digital currency, paving the way for the implication of digital currency in cyber and real-life settings, and expand the digital currency’s wallet ecosystem.

  • Oct.9, 2020 (Eng): The government of Shenzhen says it is handing out 50,000 red packets containing a total of 10 million digital RMB to local residents via a random draw.

  • Oct. 17, 2020: A newspaper affiliated with Xinhua News Agency says despite enjoying advantages over third-party paying apps such as Alipay and Wechat, digital RMB is unlikely to shake their market share dominance.

  • Oct.20, 2020: After nearly a week of the digital RMB pilot program in Shenzhen, Xinhua ran a story recounting its rollout. The report said a total of 47573 individuals successfully collected their red packets of 200 digital yuan each, and spend a total of 8.764 mln yuan through 62788 transactions. To support the pilot program, a total of 3389 businesses upgraded their cashier system to adapt to the digital RMB at no extra cost.  Consumer Zhao Quanhai, who was interviewed in the story, commented that the experience was similar to using Alipay or Wechat Pay, but the internet environment was unnecessary. Zhao said it was “smooth and fast.”

  • Oct.24, 2020: The PBoC releases a draft to amend the People’s Bank of China Law of the People’s Republic of China and is seeking comments from the public. One of the changes proposed was to state RMB can be issued in physical or digital form, that no organization or individual may manufacture, distribute digital currency that serves as an alternative to the RMB.  The report cites a PBoC source as saying that the amendment would provide legal provision for the rolling out of the digital currency.

  • Oct. 30, 2020: Huawei unveils its Mate 40 smartphone, dubbing it as the first smartphone that supports the digital currency wallet function.

  • Nov.21, 2020: Chinese President Xi Jinping said that G20 members should explore the formulation of standards and principles on legitimate digital currencies in an open and inclusive manner.

  • Dec.4, 2020 (Eng): The city of Suzhou announces it is launching a digital RMB trial by handing out 20 million yuan worth of red packets to 100,000 residents via a lottery draw. The report says almost 10,000 businesses are equipped to receive digital RMB, and it will also be the first time for consumers to shell out their digital cash online, through the e-commerce platform

  • Dec.29, 2020: Digital RMB made available to use on the Beijing Daxing International Airport express train. Foreign nationals may also experience the digital RMB upon their visit during the 2022 Winter Olympics.

  • Feb.7, 2021 (Eng): Beijing government hands out 50,000 red packets containing 10 million digital RMB via a lottery draw

  • Feb. 24, 2021 (Eng): The PBoC’s DCRI says it is joining hands with the central banks of Thailand, UAE, as well as financial regulators in Hong Kong, to explore the application of digital RMB in cross-border transactions.

  • March 13, 2021: China’s 14th five-year plan includes language that echos Xi’s remarks during a G20 summit in Nov. 2020. It says China should Actively participate in the development of international rules and digital technology standards for data security, digital currency, digital tax, etc.

  • April 8, 2021: Per Xinhua, Shanghai banks have begun accepting applications for digital RMB wallets. Customers may put in a request that is subject to review by the PBoC, and if the application is approved, the customer may begin using the digital wallet. The application process takes from 2-3 workdays to 1-2 wks.

    Beijing Channel is penned by Yang LiuSubscribe now

Important Books

Why China Leads the World

Talent at the Top, Data in the Middle, Democracy at the Bottom

The first book that explains the three elements of China's success: 
  1. Talent at the Top means that China's brightest, most idealistic people are are admitted to politics–a policy unchanged in 2200 years.
  2. Data in the Middle means that every policy is 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 means that ordinary, honest amateurs assemble twice a year to check the stats and sign off on new legislation. Policies need a minimum of 66% popular support to become law. That's why 95% of Chinese say the country is on the right track.

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. 
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 bookstores worldwide.

The 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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