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  • Weekly News – July 9-19, 2021

     

    • INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

     

    Xi Jinping attends the informal meeting of APEC leaders

    习近平在亚太经合组织领导人非正式会议上的讲话 

    Xi Jinping attended the informal meeting of APEC leaders and listed four goals to be achieved:

    • Strengthen international cooperation in the fight against the epidemic. 
    • Deepen regional economic integration by promoting liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment and safeguarding the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its center. 
    • China supports APEC to achieve sustainable development cooperation. 
    • Seize opportunities for technological innovation through the implementation of an APEC roadmap for the Internet and digital economy in a comprehensive and balanced manner

    Source: 新华 (original in Chinese)

     

    • BUSINESS

     

    The world’s largest carbon market is finally about to start trading in China

    China’s national carbon market finally began online trading on Friday, as stated by Bloomberg. The credits will be cheap at first and only cover a fraction of China’s total emissions, but the system will expand in the coming years to help the country achieve its climate goals.

    At its launch, the system covers more than 2,200 power generators responsible for more than 40% of the country’s emissions and 14% of the world’s energy-generation-related emissions. The idea of the system is to “set quotas for the amount of greenhouse gases that a company can emit during a certain period”.

    Source: SupChina

     

    • COVID-19

     

    Chinese Counties to Ban Unvaccinated Adults From Public Facilities

    In several eastern Chinese counties, adults not vaccinated against COVID-19 will soon lose access to certain public buildings — including hospitals, schools, and shopping malls — as well as public transport. 

    Unvaccinated people showing up to public buildings will have their information recorded and told to get inoculated, in certain counties in Shandong province.

    On social media Weibo, people responded to the new measures with anger and confusion, calling them too rigid and abrupt. “In the beginning, they said (vaccination) was voluntary,” wrote one user. “Turns out it’s mandatory after all.”

    Source: Sixth Tone

     

    • CULTURE

     

    北京中轴线申遗工作亮相世界遗产大会

    Beijing Central Axis Appearance at the World Heritage Conference

    The 44th World Heritage Conference “Urban Historical Landscape Protection and Sustainable Development”, co-sponsored by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage and the Beijing Municipal People’s Government, was held at the Fuzhou Strait Cultural Exhibition Center.

    The side event invited more than ten internationally renowned experts to share the heritage protection cases of historical cities such as Kyoto, Rome, Brasilia, and at the same time to discuss in depth the effective ways of urban historical landscape protection and the protection and management practices under the framework of the world heritage. 

    In recent years, Beijing has paid attention to the overall protection of culturally famous cities. The newly promulgated “Regulations on the Protection of Famous Historical and Cultural Cities in Beijing” in 2021 will protect the overall structure of the old city, and demonstrate a gentle, open, magnificent and orderly spatial order. 

    Source: 新华网 (Original in Chinese)

     

    • ECONOMY

     

    China’s digital yuan pilot tally reaches $5.3bn in six months

    On Friday, the People’s Bank of China released a white paper stating that trials of China’s digital yuan had reached 34.5 billion yuan ($5.34 B) worth of transactions by the end of June.

    The trials show the results of Beijing’s efforts to achieve a central bank digital currency, an idea that is generating curiosity amid other central banks, also in the U.S. For many experts, the Chinese crackdown on digital currencies earlier this year is to linked Beijing’s effort of affirming a more stable and easy to manage digital currency.

    Source: Nikkei

     

    • CHINA-US

     

    No. 2 U.S. diplomat Sherman may visit China if talks pan out

    China and the U.S. are liaising a potential visit of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, to China at the end of her upcoming Asia trip after she visits Japan, South Korea and Mongolia.

    An official said that there is a concrete possibility that the meeting may happen, in a period in which, since the acrimonious meeting in Alaska, there haven’t been many high-level talks. The officer also added that  Washington was always open to engagement with Beijing if it was “substantive and consequential”.

    Source: Reuters

     

     

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  • Weekly News – June 29 – July 9, 2021

     

    • 100th ANNIVERSARY OF THE CCP

     

    The Chinese Communist Party is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

    The first of July marked the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which was founded in Shanghai back in 1921. Despite initial years of war, first against the Japanese then against the KMT, the CCP managed to secure its rule over the country in 1949, creating the PRC. It has become the biggest Party in the world, with 92 million members. 

    For the Party, this has been a key date to demonstrate the sociopolitical predominance of the CCP and the economic prosperity generated over the past few decades in China. Supporters of the CCP argue that it is only under their leadership that China has arrived at where it is today. The Party pushes a narrative that only the CCP will help realise the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, which President Xi called the “China dream”.

    The anniversary has been welcomed with huge celebrations all across the country, but the main event happened in Tiananmen Square, where after parades, choreographies, helicopters, airplanes and fireworks, President Xi delivered a speech demanding foreign powers to stay out of Chinese internal affairs.

    Concerning domestic relations, Xi also stated that “no one should underestimate the resolve, the will and ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and that China will pursue the reunification of Taiwan with “unshakeable commitment”.

    Sources: BBC, Nikkei, The Guardian

     

    • INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

     

    COP15 will paint a new picture of “the harmonious coexistence of man and nature”

    COP15将描绘人与自然和谐共生

    The 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations “Convention on Biological Diversity” will be held in Kunming, Yunnan in Autumn 2021. Representatives from all over the world will participate in the grand meeting to draw a new picture of the “harmonious coexistence of man and nature” on the earth. Elizabeth Murema, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, said that choosing to host the conference in Kunming will allow friends from all over the world to witness the achievements of China’s ecological civilization construction, and at the same time provide new ideas for global biodiversity conservation.

    Source: 新华网 (Original in Chinese)

     

    • CLIMATE CHANGE

     

    China will no longer be a developing country after 2023. Its climate actions should reflect that.

    China will transition from a middle-income to a high-income country in a few years. Its GDP per capita has grown explosively from $150 in 1978 to $10,000 today, and it is on course to surpass the World Bank’s high-income country threshold of $12,536 in 2023. Last year China announced it had eradicated poverty, and a few years from now, it will officially be a high-income country. Consequently, any reason for China to be treated as a developing country on climate ambitions is gone. This is because global climate change efforts are rooted in countries contributing based on their income level, however, Beijing’s past and present rhetoric on climate change stresses that China is a developing country and should contribute accordingly.

    Source: The Diplomat

     

    • SOCIETY

     

    Gradually realize the equalization of compulsory education 

    逐步实现义务教育资源均等化

    Unbalanced and insufficient compulsory education still grapples with China today, and the pace of equalization of educational resources needs to be accelerated. The Ministry of Education, the National Development and Reform Commission, and the Ministry of Finance recently issued the “Opinions on Further Promoting the Improvement of Weak Links in Compulsory Education and Capability Improvement”, requesting continuous improvement of the basic conditions of school running, improving the teaching level and quality of compulsory education, and highlighting the strengthening of rural compulsory education.

    Source: 新华网 (original in Chinese)

     

    • CULTURE

     

    Digging for the Roots of China’s Archaeology Craze

    In recent years, as the concept of “public archaeology” has made its way from the West, China’s archaeologists have increasingly attached importance to sharing their findings with the public. Something of a “cultural relics craze” has taken hold in the country, exemplified earlier this year by the mass enthusiasm for the hundreds of items unearthed at the Sanxingdui site in Sichuan province, southwestern China. Chinese e-commerce users have recently flocked to a hot product: little boxes of dirt. They come with a miniature “Luoyang shovel,” a tool to extract columns of soil, and allow buyers to commence their own archaeological digs.

    Source: Sixth Tone

     

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  • Weekly News – June 19-29, 2021

     

    • VACCINE DIPLOMACY

     

    China’s COVID vaccine fail

     

    In the Seychelles, Chile, Bahrain and Mongolia, 50 to 68 percent of the population have been inoculated and all these nations have relied on vaccines from two Chinese manufacturers, Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech. However, all four ranked in the top 10 countries with the worst Covid outbreaks as of late last week.

    This revelation undermines China’s vaccine diplomacy, which Beijing has prioritized in the developing world to win influence and commercial deals. China had previously celebrated the contrast with the U.S., which has been slow in allocating surplus vaccines abroad. Now, developing countries are likely to look increasingly to the West, and not to Beijing, for effective vaccines.

    Source: Axios

     

    • DOMESTIC POLITICS

     

    Hong Kong’s famous Newspaper “Apple Daily” is forced to close

     

    The Apple Daily printed one million copies for its final edition, with Hong Kong citizens rushing out to buy the very last edition, generating long queues around the Fragrant Port. Magazines across the world have printed photos showing large crowds under the balcony of the headquarters who came to say goodbye.

    The shutdown came in accusation of national security offenses and after the imprisonment of the owner, Jimmy Lai, and of its chief executive and editor-in-chief.

    Source: The Guardian

     

    • BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE

     

    China holds slimmed-down Belt and Road conference

     

    On June 23, China held a virtual conference on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), titled the “Asia and Pacific High-level Conference on Belt and Road Cooperation.” The meeting was hosted by Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Two new BRI-themed initiatives were launched: the new “Belt and Road Partnership on COVID-19 Vaccines Cooperation” to boost international cooperation in vaccine research and development, alongside improving the vaccines’ global accessibility, especially in developing countries.

    Second, the new “Initiative for Belt and Road Partnership on Green Development,” which aims to boost cooperation among BRI countries in developing green energy and finance, alongside promoting green, low-carbon and sustainable development.

    Source: The Diplomat

     

    • ECONOMY

     

    Chinese central bank said that it is going to reform its monetary policies

     

    On Monday, June 28 the Chinese Central Bank released a statement addressing the issue of future monetary routes which said that new monetary policies are going to be flexible, targeted and appropriate, while keeping interbank liquidity reasonable, all to protect and consolidate post-Covid-19 economic recovery.

    The People’s Bank of China declared that it is going to use re-lending, re-discounting and other monetary tools that would directly help the real economy, and at the same time it will try to increase the flexibility of the Yuan exchange rate to help the Chinese economy.

    Source: Reuters

     

    • SOCIETY

     

    Beijing subway adopts anti-sexual harassment ads to educate public

     

    The Beijing branch of the state-run All-Women’s China Federation is using audio-visual mediums at mass transit hubs in the capital in order to increase public awareness about sexual harassment. Sexual harassment has been a pervasive issue on the city’s public transportation network.

    Currently, the organization is targeting the city’s subway stations — with an average of 13 million daily commuters — to educate the masses on what constitutes sexual harassment and how to prevent it from occurring. According to the organization the purpose is to encourage women to be brave and to take action when experiencing harassment.

    Sources: BJwomen (original in Chinese), Sixth Tone

     

    • INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

     

    Xi Jinping held a video meeting with Russian President Putin

     

    On the afternoon of June 28, President Xi Jinping held a video meeting with Russian President Putin in which he inaugurated the 20th anniversary of the signing of the “Sino-Russian Treaty of Good Neighborhood, Friendship and Cooperation”. President Xi said China and Russia will continue to join forces and move forward with determination. 

    Putin warmly congratulated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, saying that Russia loves the history of exchanges with the Communist Party of China and is willing to strengthen inter-party exchanges with the Communist Party of China.

    Sources: 求是网 (original in Chinese)

     

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  • Weekly News – June 12-18, 2021

     

    • INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

     

    G7: U.S. calls on allies to follow its lead in containing China

     

    Leaders of the strongest democracies have agreed on creating a new investment plan to fight back Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, the plan is entitled “Build Back Better” and aims to create a new net of infrastructure to assist growth in underdeveloped nations.

    Many believe that this move might help Washington to reduce or slow the rise of China which is seen as a direct threat to the U.S.-led international order. China has grown consistently over the last forty years becoming the second biggest economy in the world and aiming for the first place.

    Source: Reuters

     

    • INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

     

    G7: China’s Response 

     

    China denounced the G7 meeting held in Cornwall, citing it as a means to attack Chinese interests and stating that the unified declaration of Monday would be a gross interference with Beijing’s internal affairs. 

    China declared that in a period of global recession and in the middle of a pandemic, the world needs cooperation between international actors rather than cliquey power politics sowing divisions. The spokesperson in Beijing’s embassy in London said the conference revealed “the sinister intentions of a few countries such as the United States”.

    Source: Reuters

     

    • DEFENSE

     

    Shifting Focus, NATO Views China as a Global Security Challenge

     

    During the NATO meeting on Monday, the 30-nation organization warned that China is posing considerable global security “challenges”. According to Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary-general, China has the second-largest military budget after the United States and the world’s largest navy.

    China responded to NATO saying that they “slandered” China’s peaceful development, misjudged the international situation, and indicated a “Cold War mentality.” Adding that: “China will not pose a ‘systemic challenge’ to anyone, but if anyone wants to pose a systemic challenge to us, we will not remain indifferent”.

     The NATO statement also promised to “engage China with a view to defending the security interests of the alliance” and vowed to maintain a “constructive dialogue with China” on issues such as climate change.

    Sources: The New York Times, Reuters, EUobserver

     

    • ALLIANCES

     

    June 15, 2021 marked the 20th anniversary of SCO’s birth 

     

    On June 15, 2001 Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan signed the “Declaration on the Establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization” in Shanghai, and a comprehensive regional organization with extensive influence in Eurasia was born: SCO.

    Over the past 20 years, following the “Shanghai Spirit” of mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilizations, and seeking common development, the SCO cooperation in various fields has yielded fruitful results. This regional organization with great potential is increasingly becoming an important constructive force in Eurasian regional and international affairs.

    Source: 新华 (Original in Chinese)

     

    • DOMESTIC AFFAIRS

     

    89.14 million trips have been made during the Dragon Boat Festival, recovering to 98.7% of pre-pandemic levels

     

    June 14th, 2021 marked the fifth day of the fifth month in the traditional Chinese calendar — a yearly celebration known as Duanwu in China and the Dragon Boat Festival in the West. It is a tradition dating back more than 2,000 years and an important annual event in China.

    Chinese travelers made more than 89 million trips during the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holidays, celebrated from Saturday to Monday, an increase of 94.1 percent year-on-year with a recovery of about 98.7 percent of pre-pandemic levels, according to data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) on Monday.

    Source: Global Times

     

    • SPACE

     

    Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship launched in northwest China on Thursday

     

    On Thursday, June 17 a rocket carrying the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft with three Chinese astronauts on board has blasted off from China’s Inner Mongolia in a historic launch that is critical for the completion of the country’s own space station.

    Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo will carry out the Shenzhou-12 manned spaceflight mission, and Nie will be the commander.

    The mission is China’s first crewed space mission since 2016. Blaine Curcio, a Hong Kong-based space industry analyst, says: “The launch will be a big moment for the Chinese space program”.  

    Sources: 人民日报 (original in Chinese), Sixth Tone, CGTN

     

     

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  • Weekly News – June 5-11, 2021

     

    • VACCINE DIPLOMACY 

     

    Beijing offers to vaccinate Taiwan’s population after more than 200 new daily cases are found on the island. 

     

    Taiwanese citizens could fly to China to take the vaccine, says the Taiwan Affairs Office, the main body for inter-strait relations.

    This could be a new chance for mainland China to appear as a benevolent neighbor to the self-governed island after years of rising tensions, but the island’s government already refused a previous offer, preferring Japanese and Western help and receiving two million doses of Astrazeneca.

    Source: SCMP

     

    • DOMESTIC POLITICS

     

    Xi Jinping visit to Qinghai – 习近平在青海考察时强调

     

    From the 7th to the 9th of June, accompanied by Qinghai Provincial Party Secretary Wang Jianjun and Governor Xin Changxing, president Xi Jinping visited Xining City, Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, to conduct investigations into enterprises, communities, nature reserves, and rural areas.

    During his inspection tour, Xi Jinping emphasized the importance of a people-centered approach, the necessity of deepening reforms and opening-up, and further promoted ecological protection and high-quality development on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Moreover, Xi Jinping emphasized that Qinghai is a strategic location for stabilizing Xinjiang and Tibet.

    Source: 新华

     

    • SPACE

     

    China set to launch astronauts to space station for the first time with Shenzhou-12

     

    China rolled out a Long March 2F rocket on Wednesday in preparation to send the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft and three astronauts to the Tianhe core module for China’s space station which launched April 28.

    Shenzhou-12 will set a record for Chinese human spaceflight mission duration and will be the third of 11 missions planned for the construction phase of the three-module Chinese space station across 2021 and 2022. China’s first crewed mission was Shenzhou-5 in 2003 which made the country only the third to demonstrate independent human spaceflight capabilities.

    Source: Space news

     

    • SOCIETY

     

    Chinese students take crucial ‘gaokao’ exams in Covid isolation

     

    The gaokao — which began on Monday and ended Wednesday — is typically the most stressful point of a Chinese student’s life, with results determining admission into universities and shaping career prospects.

    Guangdong has reported dozens of Covid-19 cases in recent days, prompting authorities to impose travel curbs and mass testing just ahead of the infamous exams, an annual moment of peak anxiety for students and parents. The local government has dispatched hundreds of taxis and buses to ferry students from neighborhoods affected by the outbreak to exam venues, with state broadcaster CCTV showing footage of drivers in hazmat suits spraying down their cars.

    Source: AFP

     

    • INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

     

    China passes law to counter foreign sanctions

     

    China previously had neither the economic power nor the political will to use legal means to retaliate against U.S. sanctions. It now has both.” – Wang Jiangyu, a law professor at City University of Hong Kong.

    The National People’s Congress (NPC) standing committee passed a new law on Thursday. It consists of a legal tool, and it is intended to give more legitimacy and predictability to Chinese measures to counter foreign sanctions.

    The Chinese government can decide to put on an anti-sanctions list, those entities who discriminate against Chinese citizens. Those on the list may be denied entry or be expelled from China. Also, business restrictions can be implemented with entities or people within China.

    Sources: Reuters, Global Times

     

    • INDUSTRIAL POLICY – SEMICONDUCTORS

     

    New Chinese semiconductors tripled in 2021 as results of Chinese push for self-sufficiency in the sector

    The semiconductor sector has been one of the main fields of the dispute between China and the U.S. referred to as “Tech War”, the supply of edge-cutting chips is fundamental for the high tech industry. 

    American sanctions made it almost impossible for some Chinese firms to buy the most advanced chips from the Taiwanese TMSC, Korean Samsung Electronics and Intel, world’s biggest producers, forcing Chinese firms to resort to Chinese chips.

    Source: SCMP

     

     

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  • Weekly News – May 29 – June 4, 2021

     

    • CHINA-US

     

    Trade talks resume as China and the U.S. agree to pragmatically resolve problems for producers and consumers. 

    Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had a call with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Wednesday after talking with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai last week. 

    Bilateral trade talks occurred after nine months of a break with two high-level talks in a week on issues of mutual concern, showing an increase in the engagement between trade and economic officials of the two main world powers.

    Source: Reuters

     

    • ECONOMY

     

    China boosts measures to cool renminbi rally

    After the soaring commodity prices and risks from high amounts of leverage across the economy, the strength of the renminbi is a further headache for Chinese policymakers. To rein in the surging yuan, China forced banks to hold more foreign currencies in reserve: it is the first time in more than a decade. 

    The move, which the People’s Bank of China said will help liquidity management, effectively reduces the supply of dollars and other currencies onshore — putting pressure on the yuan to weaken. The nation’s financial institutions will need to hold 7% of their foreign exchange in reserve from June 15, according to a Central Bank statement Monday.

    Sources: Bloomberg, Financial Times

     

    • DOMESTIC POLITICS

     

    Beijing Introduces Three-Child Policy

    After census data showed a steep decline in birth rates, China has announced that it will allow couples to have up to three children. China scrapped its decades-old one-child policy in 2016, replacing it with a two-child limit. The latest move was approved by President Xi Jinping at a meeting of top Communist Party officials to address the problems of an aging population and the consequent loss of human resources.

    In fact, many are asking if a three-child policy will be effective, especially when the two-child version did not do much to alleviate the demographic problem. Others have questioned why birth restrictions have remained here at all given the demographic trend. The fundamental issue is living costs are too high and life pressures are too huge.

    Source: BBC News

     

    • TECHNOLOGY

     

    The Development of Emerging Science and Technology and Its Ethical Challenges 

    新兴科技发展及其伦理挑战

    On the morning of May 28, 2021, the 20th Academician Conference of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the 15th Academician Conference of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and the 10th National Congress of the China Association for Science and Technology were held in Beijing. On this occasion, Xi Jinping delivered an important speech. 

    He said that national science and technology self-reliance should be the strategic support for national development. But he pointed out that “technology may also become a source of risk”. For this reason, it is necessary to foresee and judge rule conflicts, social risks, and ethical challenges brought about by technological development, and improve relevant laws and regulations, ethical review rules, and regulatory frameworks.

    Source: 财新 Caixin (original in Chinese)

     

    • EDUCATION – ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

     

    Tsinghua University welcomes original virtual student “Hua Zhibing” – 能写诗会作画 – 清华大学迎来原创虚拟学生“华智冰”

    Enrolled at Tsinghua University’s department of computer science and technology, Hua Zhibing is a virtual student. According to Professor Tang Jie – Hua’s tutor – she can already write poetry and paint; she also has some reasoning and emotive capabilities. Peng Shuang, the co-founder of chatbot Xiaoice, hopes that in the future the virtual student will be able to have more human-like interactions with other students.

    The Chinese government has great national plans for the AI sector: they want to achieve a “major breakthrough” in the basic theory of AI by 2025. Technology will hopefully have a key role in the country’s economic transformation and in upgrading its industrial capabilities.

    Sources: Digital paper ( Original in Chinese), Sixth Tone

     

     

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  • Weekly News – May 22-28, 2021

     

    • CHINA-EU 

     

    EU parliament ‘freezes’ EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment 

    The European Parliament has overwhelmingly voted to freeze the ratification of the EU-China CAI. The resolution was passed on 20 May 2021. MEPs demanded that China needs to lift its sanctions on five of its members before the European Parliament would be willing to reconsider the matter. MEPs also urged the Chinese government to ratify and implement several conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

    The Chinese government reacted by calling on Brussels to “immediately stop interfering in China’s internal affairs (and) abandon its confrontational approach”. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reiterated that the agreement is a “balanced and win-win deal that benefits both sides, rather than a gift or favor bestowed by one side to the other.”

    Sources: Euronews, SupChina

     

    • DOMESTIC Economy

     

    China’s debt clampdown stokes the risk of first local government credit defaults

    Local governments’ high debt spikes are concerning, as early this year the central government announced that it’s not going to bail out local governments in case of risk of defaults.

    One of Beijing’s top priorities has been to reduce the exposure of local governments to extreme debt, in order to promote a restructuring of Local Government Financing Vehicles (LGFVs), resulting in the slowing of new debt issuance from LGFV’s.

    Source: SCMP

     

    • FOREIGN RELATIONS 

     

    Lithuania pull out of 17+1 in Eastern Europe

    The Chinese Diplomatic initiative created to increase diplomatic contacts with Central and Eastern European countries is now going to be 16+1, with the risk of decreasing furthermore, if other countries will follow Lithuania’s example.

    The reason for this decision from the Lithuanian government lies in a better approach to organize in concert with the EU, the Lithuanian foreign minister stated: “From our perspective, it is high time for the EU to move from a dividing 17+1 format to a more uniting and therefore much more efficient 27+1″.

    Source: Politico

     

    • SOCIETY

    Yuan Longping, China’s ‘Father of Hybrid Rice,’ Dies at 91

    The Chinese agronomist Yuan Longping died last Saturday. In China, he was known as “the father of hybrid rice” as he first cultivated the high-yield hybrid rice varieties that helped combat poverty and famine in China.

    In the 1970s the first hybrid rice yields were 20% higher than normal rice yields. Consequently, Yuan Longpin’s hybrid rice varieties have been distributed to 8.5 billion (1.4 billion acres) of farmland across China, feeding 80 million people each year.

    In 2019, Yuan Longpin received the Medal of the Republic by Chinese President Xi Jinping. He then kept on researching the salt-tolerant “sea rice” and the high-yielding “super hybrid rice” varieties.

    Sources: Sixth Tone, China Development Brief 

     

    • CULTURE

     

    The Greater Bay Area: a cultural circle with the same roots – 粤港澳大湾区:同根同源的文化圈

    The Lingnan culture (represented by the Cantonese opera, the dragon boat festival, martial arts, lion dance, etc) is the natural cultural link of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, as stated in an article on Qiushi. In 2006, Cantonese opera was included in the national list of intangible cultural heritage and in 2009 in the “List of the representative works of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity” by UNESCO.

    In 2019, Guangdong formulated the “Three-Year Action Plan to Promote the Construction of the” Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Cultural Circle” (2019-2021),《广东省推进“粤港澳大湾区文化圈”建设三年行动计划(2019—2021年)》in order to cooperate in organizing various cultural heritage exhibits and performances, and to protect, publicize and make good use of cultural relics in the Area.

    Source: 求是网 (Original in Chinese)

     

    • ENVIRONMENT

     

    World Environmental Justice Conference opens in Kunming, Yunnan – 世界环境司法大会在云南昆明开幕

    The conference: “Role of the Judiciary in Advancing Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth” co-sponsored by the Supreme People’s Court and the United Nations Environment Program opened in Kunming, Yunnan province, on Wednesday. 

    President Xi Jinping sent a letter to the conference. He affirmed China’s willingness to cooperate with other nations and international organizations to strengthen global ecological and environmental governance. China adheres to new development concepts of innovation, coordination, green promotion, opening-up and sharing.

    Inge Annoson, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, attended the opening ceremony. She highlighted the right to a healthy environment as a key to sustainable development and the important role which plays the rule of law on the environment.

    Sources: 新华人民网 (Original in Chinese).

     

     

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  • #79 – Event Report – China’s Covid-19 Vaccine Diplomacy

     

    SPEAKER

    HUANG Yanzhong, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations; Director of Global Health Studies, Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations.

     

    FULL VIDEO ON OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

     

     

    REPORT

     

    On May 6th, 2021 ThinkINchina online event#79 focused on China’s COVID-19 vaccine diplomacy, welcoming as speaker Professor Huang Yanzhong, that first gave the audience a general overview of China’s vaccine diplomacy starting with a brief explanation on the general definitions, for then going deeper into examining global vaccine developments. Professor Huang discussed some of the promises of China’s vaccine diplomacy according to the Chinese government, where China decides to send its vaccines and their commercial implications. Finally, Professor Huang outlined the outcomes and the challenges of implementing such diplomacy.

     

    What does Vaccine diplomacy mean?

     

    According to P. J. Hotez [1], vaccine diplomacy is the branch of global health diplomacy that relies on the use or delivery of a vaccine. The term was coined two decades ago; nonetheless, the history of vaccine diplomacy dates back to the Cold War era, when the United States and the Soviet Union cooperated to produce and distribute a vaccine for the eradication of infectious diseases like Poliomyelitis [2]. However, according to Professor Huang, China’s vaccine diplomacy has developed in a very different context and under different circumstances.

    Even before the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, China was already undergoing and witnessing a shift in the attitude towards global leadership. Since 2012 China has been on a trajectory of asserting itself within international organizations and displaying capability and drive for more international responsibilities. This global leadership’s ambition was evident during the administration under President Donald Trump, which catalyzed the opportunity for China to rise within the international order that America was otherwise retracting from. China’s “mask diplomacy” (meeting worldwide sudden demands for surgical masks) and the subsequent vaccine diplomacy have demonstrated its ambition to be a global leader and its willingness to play a more pro-active role in the foreign policy front.

     

    China Vaccine Diplomacy – an overview

     

    Vaccine diplomacy in China is a state-driven process. 22 institutions and firms have been working on 17 vaccine development projects, and, until last summer, the global vaccine race was led by China.

    China has developed many different types of vaccines: (SinoVac and Sinopharm), adenovirus vector vaccines (Cansino), recombinant protein subunit vaccines (CAS), nucleic acid vaccines (mRNA). Professor Huang pointed out that China’s decision to focus on inactivated vaccines is significant to understand the trajectory of Chinese vaccine diplomacy.

    On the domestic level, China launched its emergency program in June 2020: two vaccines, developed by CNBG/Sinopharm and one by Sinovac Biotech, still in Phase 3 trials, have been administrated. More than 4.5 million doses have been given on a voluntary basis to high-risk or priority groups (medical workers and people going overseas to work).

    China’s first COVID-19 vaccine was developed by an affiliate of state-backed pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm and on 31 December 2020, it received approval for public use by the National Medical Products Administration. It earlier gained approval for general use in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

    In February, China developed a vaccine Ad5-nCoV, then on March 16, it started the Phase 1 trial, and published results of the trial in late May. The Phase 3 clinical trial required a study on an area with a significant number of COVID-19 cases, considering China’s rapid containment of the virus, it was necessary to build partnerships with other countries to carry forward experiments for Phase 3. Subsequently, the UAE and Egypt decided to test Sinopharm; Brazil, Indonesia, and Turkey the Sinovac; Pakistan and Saudi Arabia the CanSino.

    According to Professor Huang, this operation can morph those countries into regional hubs, working together to produce vaccines locally and distribute them. The registered efficacy rate of the Chinese vaccine tested abroad are the following: Sinopharm: 79% (Peru), 86% (UAE); Sinovac: 91% (Turkey), 68% (Indonesia), 50% (Brazil), 67% (Chile); Cansino: 66% (one-shot).

     

    Why did COVID-19 Vaccine diplomacy commence?

     

    Vaccine diplomacy was launched following the partial failure of “mask diplomacy”. “Mask diplomacy” started in early March 2020, as the epicenter of the pandemic shifted from China to Europe. China authorities affirmed to have great control over the virus outbreak, thus China decided to send medical aid, equipment, and supplies to European partners. At first, the donations received a great welcome, especially in Italy; however, Western countries displayed concerns over quality control, which significantly affected China’s overall mask campaign. For instance, the Spanish government tested kits from a Chinese company in Shenzhen and the results showed that they were only 30% accurate. In the Netherlands, the government recalled 600,000 masks because the filters were ineffective.

    The distribution of vaccines in lower- and middle-income countries may be an attempt to recover from the failure of “mask diplomacy” in the West, and a way to showcase China’s global health leadership in lower- and middle-income countries, according to Professor Huang.

     

    What are the objectives of Chinese Vaccine diplomacy?

     

    Following the Chinese government’s official discourse, China’s vaccine diplomacy has three major objectives:

    1. To showcase China’s technological prowess and global health leadership.
    2. To present an image of China as a responsible great power.
    3. To expand the market share for its vaccine products at a time when the vaccine’s product market is dominated by Western powers and India. It can now represent a launchpad for China.

    Moreover, during a speech at the World Health Assembly in May 2020, President Xi Jinping promised that China’s vaccine, once developed, would have been made a “global public good”. However, the President did not give an extensive explanation of the meaning of this goal. The government also promised priority access to vaccines to many developing countries in South East Asia, Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

    In October 2020, China joined COVAX – the WHO-supported vaccine distribution mechanism to ensure equitable access to vaccines for less developed countries – declaring to donate 10 million doses to COVAX.

    Behind those promises, however, there are also commercial objectives. China exported 206 million doses abroad, accounting for around 30/40 percent of global exports, thus becoming the largest vaccine exporter in the world. Among the exported doses, 10 million were shipped as donations, while the rest of them have been purchased. At what price? According to the New York Times, Hungary revealed that the cost of vaccine purchased is about 30 euros per dose (36 $) [3]. This is a much higher cost in comparison to AstraZeneca, which is $2.15 per dose.

     

    Where does China send vaccines?

     

    By the end of March 2021, China has committed about 800 million doses to more than 60 countries and started collaborating with 10 countries including Serbia, Malaysia, Egypt, to produce Chinese vaccine locally. The distribution of Chinese vaccines is wide, however, there are different opinions on where China decides to send its vaccines.

    First, China is more likely to send vaccines to countries with high mortality rates. This demonstrates that China is, indeed, making vaccines a “global public good”, meaning that the humanitarian factor plays a primary role in vaccine diplomacy. Second, China is donating vaccines to its long-term allies. Pakistan, for example, is the largest receiver of vaccine: 1.5 million donations from China and it has bought more than 1 million doses of Chinese Sinopharm and CanSino Biologics COVID-19 vaccines.[4] Third, China sends vaccines to strategically important regions, such as South East Asia, with the only exception of Vietnam, while the largest purchaser is Indonesia (100 million doses). Considering the number of coronavirus cases, the Southeast Asia region registers a lower number compared to African countries, where poverty and low life conditions exacerbate the situation. Nonetheless is still the greatest receiver of Chinese vaccine donations, while African countries are at second place on a worldwide scale. Southeast Asia has a geopolitical value for China as other relevant actors like the US and the Quad have political and economic interests and influence on the region.

     

    How successful is vaccine diplomacy and what are the challenges?

     

    According to Professor Huang, vaccine diplomacy helps mitigate the global disparities in vaccine access. Secondly, it reaps soft power dividends in low- and middle-income countries like Malaysia and Indonesia as they are developing more positive opinions about China. For instance, in Malaysia the Foreign Minister recently stated that China is like a “big brother”[6], implying the good relations between the two countries. Thirdly, it facilitates China’s pursuit of the BRI and Health Silk Road projects. The donation of vaccines is a way to find greater consensus for the implementation of BRI infrastructural projects. After receiving vaccine donations, many African countries [7] have confirmed their support. Finally, it is aiding China’s foreign policy objectives. For instance, after receiving the Chinese vaccine, Hungary blocked an EU statement that criticized China’s new National Security Law in Hong Kong [8].

    Professor Huang concluded his talk by mentioning the main challenges and takeaways of China’s vaccine diplomacy, described as the “three Cs”:

    1. Capacity:

    China is now pushing to vaccinate half a billion of its citizens by the end of June; however, capacity constraints are slowing down China’s vaccine production. Moreover, the set domestic target is ambitious: according to the National Health Commission’s officials, Sinovac and Sinopharm have a daily manufacture capacity of 5 million, while China needs to administer 10 million doses daily to reach the goal [9]. The urgent question now is how China will balance its domestic and national needs.

    1. Credibility:

    Chinese vaccines are popular in low- and middle-income countries. However, the lack of transparency in announcing interim results of Phase 3 clinical trials is causing several delays in China’s vaccine diplomacy. In Sri Lanka even though the vaccine arrived, the export panel disapproved of the use of the Chinese vaccine due to transparency issue; Singapore had the same dilemma as the formal vaccine campaign did not approve the use of Chinese vaccine.

    Another rising question is the relatively low efficacy rate. Domestically, the Director of the China Center for Disease Control, Doctor Gao Fu, in an interview with Global Times affirmed that: “The protection rates of all vaccines in the world are sometimes high, and sometimes low. How to improve their efficacy is a question that needs to be considered by scientists around the world“. In this regard, he suggested adjusting the vaccination process by adopting sequential vaccination with different types of vaccines [10]. Safety and efficacy issues have been questioned also by the WHO [11] assessment panel regarding the vaccine used on older people (over 60 years old).

    1. Competition:

    Russia and India cannot be considered real competitors anymore. Even though Russia is strongly marketing its vaccine, the number of exports remained very small in comparison to China. India was producing AstraZeneca’s vaccine for COVAX and for other countries with whom it stipulated bilateral accords but now has temporarily stopped exporting vaccines because of the increasing number of domestic cases. The true competitor is the United States, which is set to reach herd immunity by July 4th, being able then to send its own vaccines overseas afterward (like 6 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines bought but never used).

     

    Conclusion

     

    In conclusion, China’s vaccine diplomacy seems to be paying off: more than 572 million doses have been requested by overseas countries to three Chinese vaccine makers – Sinopharm, Sinovac, and CanSino (8% of all doses under contract globally). Moreover, vaccine diplomacy is consolidating relationships with BRI countries. However, China’s vaccine production now must find a way to cope with both the demands from domestic needs and those of the countries China has signed contracts with. Moreover, questions on the efficacy and safety of China’s vaccines are rising among Chinese partners that have purchased its vaccines.

     

    The United States is the real competitor for China, as America seems to be back as a global health power. The Biden administration is fully committed to reaching herd immunity as soon as possible and distributing more vaccines for low- and middle-income countries. The United States’ more pro-active role will affect China’s influence with the distribution of its vaccines, however as said by Professor Huang, the best outcome of such competition will be for it to give the two countries a reason to work together toward more equitable vaccine access for all.

     

    Q&A Session

     

    First, we talked about the penetration of vaccine diplomacy in eastern Europe, in countries like Serbia and Hungary, and its implication considering their recent frictions with Brussels.

    According to Professor Huang, the eastern European countries showed their willingness to receive Chinese vaccine: Hungary 15 thousand doses, Serbia 2 million doses, while China sent to Montenegro vaccines in the form of donations. However, most of the countries purchased Chinese vaccines and Serbia signed an agreement with China for the domestic production and distribution in the region. China has made progress in this region concerning vaccine market share and has also achieved some foreign policy objectives. Thus, it seems that vaccine diplomacy has challenged the unit of EU and, maybe, it will be difficult to maintain a consistent unified policy toward China, however, it is still uncertain whether vaccine diplomacy will be successful or not within the region. Professor Huang has also pointed out that national agencies play an important role in the scheme as they first prioritize national interests: eastern European countries are also receiving Pfizer and Russian vaccines, for instance.

     

    The second issue examined focused on waiving Intellectual Property rights on vaccines. First mentioned, several months ago, by South Africa and India, who called for the lifting of protection on all medical products to fight the pandemic, the issue was also recently raised by US President Biden. Where does China stand in this concern?

    According to Professor Huang, China historically supported countries asking for patent waivers at the WTO, however in this case things might be different. Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have a higher efficacy rate than the Chinese ones. If they will become open-source information, that everybody can have access to, in the long-term period this might bring more competition for Chinese vaccines and make them less preferred than others.

    It is still a dilemma how China would respond to this. Officially, one would expect China to support such an initiative because it is another tool to fight the pandemic. According to our speaker, this initiative will not push a significant increase in vaccines’ global supply, even though it is a reasonable diplomatic proposal. Moreover, nowadays access to raw material is a bigger concern with respect to the waiver of IP rights. On this concern, speculation on production capacity to meet vaccines’ global demand can be advanced. For instance, Sinopharm and Moderna have already announced their goal to reach an annual manufacture capacity of 3 billion doses, which would count for a total amount of 6 billion doses. If they achieve the set target, then the situation will improve in the second half of this year.

     

    Another interesting topic discussed concerned the African countries. They are the second receiver of vaccine donations worldwide, however, the number of deliveries to the region is the lowest. According to Professor Huang, African countries are still a priority, however, looking at the data is evident that China is prioritizing the South East Asia region. The problem is that most of those countries cannot afford to buy vaccines, despite that China’s donation amount remains very small. Professor Huang believes that China in the future should collaborate with those countries possessing manufacturing capacity to produce and distribute vaccines locally. Now Egypt has signed an agreement with China on this concern.

    Professor Huang concluded by saying that it is necessary for China to improve vaccine access in the region and this action would be helpful also to improve its international image and get more soft power benefits.

     

    Report written by Susanna Guidi and edited by Natasha Lock.

     

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  • Weekly News – May 15-21, 2021

     

    Putin, Xi launch nuclear power projects in show of warming ties

     

    During a videoconference on Wednesday, China and Russia announced the start of the construction of Russia-designed reactors at China’s Tianwen and Xudapu nuclear power plants – this is part of a US$2.9 billion nuclear energy deal signed in 2018.

    Both nations have decided to deepen their cooperation on nuclear energy as a sign of their commitment to combat climate change. President Xi Jingping highlighted that energy has always been an important cooperation area for the two countries, specifically nuclear power is a “strategic priority”. Moreover, China is trying to accelerate its nuclear development to reduce reliance on coal and rach the goal of carbon neutrality by 2060.

    Sources: the Diplomat, SCMP

     

     

    Chinese mission “Tianwen-1” successfully released the rover Zhurong on Mars

     

    The mission marks a new record for Chinese space exploration, making the Asian giant the second nation able to successfully land a rover on Mars’ soil.

    Dean Cheng, a Chinese political and military affairs research fellow at the Washington-based think tank The Heritage Foundation, said that “Saturday’s success would demonstrate that China can contribute to the global pool of human knowledge”.

    Sources: the Economist, BBC

     

     

    In Shaoxing, young winemakers attempt to revive China’s original spirit

     

    A centuries-old product, Shaoxing wine dates back over 2.500 years. It became a popular drink across China during the late Qing dynasty (1636-1911). Once a luxury drink, Shaoxing rice wine has fallen out of favor with the Chinese public. Promoting rice wine abroad is easier than at home because negative stereotypes hobble its growth within China.

    For rice winemakers like Zhang and Wu, they are hoping to restore a portion of that former luster. Shaoxing officials are also vigorously incentivising the revilitazion of its prized drink.

    Source: Supchina

     

     

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  • Weekly News – May 8-14, 2021

     

    U.S. will remove Xiaomi from the government blacklist.

     

    The removal means that the Chinese company can revive its relations with American investors. After the news, Xiaomi’s shares skyrocketed 6% in Hong Kong.

    The investments in the company were blocked under the Trump administration. The U.S. Department of Defence decided that Xiaomi had ties with the Chinese military, but the company filed a lawsuit denying the accusation, ultimately winning it.

    Similar restrictions were placed on China’s Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, Huawei and several other Chinese tech firms. With news of Xiaomi being removed from the blacklist, now many other companies hope that some of those may be lifted too.

    Sources: Asia Nikkei, Reuters

     

    China is relaxing its rules on household registrations

     

    The household registration system (户口 hùkǒu) was introduced in 1950s. It is used to monitor and restrict people’s mobility to ensure urban areas do not get overcrowded, and dictates where Chinese citizens can live, work or study. In the new Five-Year Plan, the Chinese government said that local authorities, except for the megacities of Beijing and Shanghai, should relax household registration regulations.

    The hukou system has become more flexible through the years as cities compete for domestic talents: in Zhengzhou (Henan province), the new guidelines on residency aim at attracting people to support the development of high-end manufacturing and modern enterprises.

    Source: SCMP

     

    China’s fertility rate may become ‘world’s lowest’ without a strong intervention policy

     

    The number of newborns in China fell by 15% in 2020 compared to its 2019 level, according to the Ministry of Public Security. 

    Normally, once the total fertility rate slips below 1.5, a country falls into the low fertility trap and is unlikely to recover. Liang Jianzhang, from Peking University, said that China’s fertility rate will continue to drop in the coming years, and may become the world’s lowest. China needs to encourage its population to have more children, to sustain its future society.

    Some Chinese demographers also predicted that India may overtake China in population as early as 2023.

    Sources: Reuters, Global Times

     

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    • 61
      CUI Hongjian  CUI Hongjian 崔洪建, Director, Department for European Studies, China Institute of International Studies   Cui Hongjian holds a Ph.d in law from Peking University. He joined China Institute of International Studies in 1998 and has previously served as the director and first secretary of the Political Office. He is…
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    • 60
      Plamen TONCHEV  Plamen TONCHEV, Head of Asia Unit, Institute of International Economic Relations   Plamen Tonchev is Head of Asia Unit at the Athens-based Institute of International Economic Relations (IIER) and currently a European China Policy Fellow at Merics, in Berlin. He is the founding member of the European Think-thank Network…
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      HUANG Yanzhong  HUANG Yanzhong, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations; Director of Global Health Studies, Seton Hall University's School of Diplomacy and International Relations.   Huang Yanzhong is a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he directs the Global Health Governance roundtable…
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  • Weekly News – May 1-7, 2021

     

    Has the EU suspended efforts to ratify the investment agreement with China?

    The AFP’s tweet announcing “#BREAKING EU suspends efforts to ratify investment agreement with China: commissioner” sparked great debate among EU-China observers.

    But an EU spokeswoman has said that Valdis Dombrovskis’s comments had been taken out of context. The EU declared:” The agreement needs to be now legally reviewed and translated before it can be presented for adoption and ratification. However, the ratification process cannot be separated from the evolving dynamics of the wider EU-China relationship.”

    China, meanwhile, has urged EU leaders to make faster progress on the treaty.

    Sources: SCMP, Reuters, RFI (in Chinese), The Guardian.

     

    China has “indefinitely suspended” the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue.

    The suspension of high-level trade dialogue with Canberra is just the latest phase of an ongoing diplomatic and economic confrontation between the two countries, which began last year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    This action is considered a retaliation to the Australian government who stopped Victoria state’s Belt and Road Initiative Memorandum of Agreement in April.

    The former Australian trade minister said that “direct face-to-face communication is fundamental to initiating the rebuilding of our political relationship.”

    Sources: SCMP, Reuters.

     

    Domestic tourism on China’s May Day

    As for Chinese people, it is still impossible to travel abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So the May Day Holiday or International Labour Day – a five-day break for Chinese workers – was both an opportunity for domestic travel and a boost for local economies that had otherwise been severely affected by the health crisis.

    According to official data, more than 56 million trips were made on last Saturday, a 111% rise from last year. The Ministry of Transport registered 1.9 million trips made by air and 36 million on the roads.

    In Wuhan, the first city hit by the virus last year, 1 million people took a trip by train and more than 1 million vehicles hit the roads.

    Sources: SCMP, Reuters, The Insider.

     

     

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  • Weekly News – April 24-30, 2021

     

    The first section of China’s Tiangong space station has been successfully launched into orbit

    The “Heavenly Palace”, launched from the southern island of Hainan, will be reached by three astronauts and some cargo in the next weeks, it should be fully deployed at the end of next year.

    Many hope that the new developments of the Chinese space program could strengthen cooperation between different nations in new research projects, but it’s unlikely any degree of exchange with the U.S. as Congress banned any state-funded space program from cooperating with Chinese space missions.

    Sources: CNN, SCMP

     

    China plays an important role in Asian and global economic recovery.

    Helge Berger, IMF Head of China Affairs, said that in view of China’s weight in the global economy and the spillover effect of its recovery, China plays an important role in the recovery of Asian and global economies.

    The IMF forecast: China’s economic growth this year is expected to be 8.4%, mainly based on the improvement of export prospects.

    The “secret of success”: decisive timely action to contain the epidemic, introduction of many measures to reduce the impact of the crisis on the economy, macroeconomic policies to support the recovery.

    Source: Xinhua (in Chinese)

     

    General Secretary’s trip to Guanxi explained.

    President Xi’s tour to Guangxi autonomous region lasted three days, with many visits and inspections. The key highlights:

    • the imperative need to shift from poverty alleviation to rural revitalization (乡村振兴 xiāngcūn zhènxīng)
    • the focus on boosting high-quality life, ecological protection, reform and innovation
    • the relevance of ethnic culture for the realization of the “Chinese Dream”
    • the role of the past for the present New Long March, toward the realization of the “two centenary goals” (两个一百年 liǎng gè yībǎi nián).

    Source: Xinhua (in Chinese).

     

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      Plamen TONCHEV  Plamen TONCHEV, Head of Asia Unit, Institute of International Economic Relations   Plamen Tonchev is Head of Asia Unit at the Athens-based Institute of International Economic Relations (IIER) and currently a European China Policy Fellow at Merics, in Berlin. He is the founding member of the European Think-thank Network…
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      HUANG Yanzhong  HUANG Yanzhong, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations; Director of Global Health Studies, Seton Hall University's School of Diplomacy and International Relations.   Huang Yanzhong is a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he directs the Global Health Governance roundtable…
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  • Weekly News – April 17 – 23, 2021

     

    Starting from last week, ThinkINchina team will be sharing weekly suggestions, to keep our followers updated with the latest news about China.

     

    Xi’s global governance remarks strike strong tone at Boao Forum

    At the opening ceremony of the 20th edition of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021, President Xi Jinping highlighted the need for a fair global governance system by upholding multilateralism and building an open world economy. He opposed hegemony, unilateralism and a zero-sum mentality.

    Xi also addressed the issues of public health security, climate change and connectivity, saying that the BRI represents an open and inclusive platform for like-minded countries to cooperate on critical global matters.

    Sources: Xinhua; Reuters.

     

    Climate talks at high levels between China and the U.S.

    Last week, John Kerry and Xie Zhenhua met in Shanghai and agreed to take concrete actions in the 2020s to reduce emissions of China and the U.S., which are the two biggest polluting countries in the world.

    Xi Jinping attended Biden’s climate change summit online on April 22, this was the first official meeting between the two presidents since the beginning of Biden’s presidency. Xi confirmed that China will strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060

    Sources: CNBC; Euronews.

    Full Text: Remarks by Chinese President Xi Jinping at Leaders Summit on Climate

    U.S.-China Joint Statement addressing the climate crisis

     

    Hanfu: centuries-old Chinese fashion makes a comeback

    Li Guoguo is an enthusiast for the hanfu (汉服), a traditional clothing of the Han ethnic group. In 2017, Li uploaded her first video on Bilibili, showcasing her hanfu warddrobe, which then went viral online.

    Since that time, the outfit has become very popular on the streets and in social media posts. A member of the National People’s Congress has proposed establishing a National Hanfu Day.

    Source: People’s Daily Online

     


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  • #79 – China’s Covid-19 Vaccine Diplomacy

     

    SPEAKER

    HUANG Yanzhong, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations; Director of Global Health Studies, Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations.

     

    ABSTRACT

     

    During a speech at the World Health Assembly in May 2020, President Xi Jinping promised that China’s vaccine, once developed, would have been made a “global public good”. This was taken to be a sign of China’s contribution to ensuring vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries, in a united fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to now, more than 600 million doses have been sold to more than 45 countries, and a further 14 million doses have been donated by China. Inoculations have begun in more than 25 countries, with the delivery of the first 150 million doses. Indonesia, Brazil, and Mexico are so far the leading recipients of Chinese vaccines.

     

    After a slow start in the domestic vaccination campaign, with 5 approved shots, China is now pushing to vaccinate half a billion of its citizens by the end of June. This is a deeply different goal, compared to just a couple of months ago when the majority of the production was targeted to be shipped abroad. After more than a year of a “zero-infections” policy and stringent international travel restrictions to curb imported cases that have led to months without local infections, China is now rolling out mass vaccination campaigns to avoid falling into the “immunity gap” with Western countries, that are fully committed on reaching herd immunity as soon as possible. But a major question arises, can China’s production capacity cope with both the demands from domestic needs and the countries it has signed contracts with? And with the concerns about the efficacy rate of its vaccines, what should we expect for the upcoming months?

     

    For answers to these pressing questions, join ThinkINchina for a new online event with Professor Huang Yanzhong, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, director of global health studies at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations, and author of Toxic Politics: China’s Environmental Health Crisis and Its Challenge to the Chinese State.

     

    The event will be organized on Zoom, PLEASE REGISTER HERE ON EVENTBRITE, the day before the event you will receive the link to join the talk. Our speaker is based in New Jersey, USA while we are based in Beijing, China – we decided therefore to schedule the talk at 9 pm Beijing time, 9 am East Coast time.

     

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  • HUANG Yanzhong

     

    HUANG Yanzhong, Senior Fellow for Global Health, Council on Foreign Relations; Director of Global Health Studies, Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations.

     

    Huang Yanzhong is a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he directs the Global Health Governance roundtable series. He is also a professor and the director of global health studies at Seton Hall University’s School of Diplomacy and International Relations, where he developed the first academic concentration among U.S. professional schools of international affairs that explicitly addresses the security and foreign policy aspects of health issues. He is the founding editor of Global Health Governance: The Scholarly Journal for the New Health Security Paradigm.

     

    Dr. Huang has written extensively on China and global health. He is the author of Governing Health in Contemporary China (2013) and Toxic Politics: China’s Environmental Health Crisis and its Challenge to the Chinese State (2020). He has also published numerous reports, journal articles, and book chapters, including articles in Survival, Foreign Affairs, Public Health, Bioterrorism and Biosecurity, and China Leadership Monitor, as well as opinion pieces in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Foreign Policy, and the South China Morning Post, among others.

     

    Dr. Huang is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and a board member of the Institute of Global Health. He previously was a research associate at the National Asia Research Program, a public intellectuals fellow at the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, an associate fellow at the Asia Society, a visiting senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore, and a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He has taught at Barnard College and Columbia University. He obtained his BA and MA from Fudan University and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

     

     

     

     

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