No. 72 | 23.10.2021

Chinese-built train in program to update the Cuban railway system, Havana, Cuba, 2019 [Xinhua/Zhu Wanjun]

Dear reader, www

Today, we are delighted to announce the public launch of our latest publication, Chinese Voices. Every Sunday, Dongsheng will bring you a view into the key debates and critical thought guiding Chinese politics and society.

We draw from a broad range of sources, covering the work of important Chinese intellectuals, academics, and public opinion leaders – voices that are rarely published outside of China.

The opinions of the authors are not necessarily shared by the Dongsheng editorial collective, but the goal is to give our international readers a view into the richness of public debate in China today. Subscribe here in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Also, check out Tings Chak’s interview about common prosperity, the private tutoring industry, and climate change with Rania Khalek and Eugene Puryear of BreakThrough News.

Dongsheng editorial collective


Cuba joins the Belt and Road energy partnership, seeking Chinese investments and technology in renewable sector

Energy sector receives 40% of investments in the BRI, whose renewable energy share increased from 39% to 57% (2019-20); Cuba becomes the 4th country in the region (Venezuela, Bolivia, and Suriname) to join the partnership

Global Times, 18.10.2021

China’s state banks lent US $137 billion to Latin American governments and state-owned enterprises (2006-21)

Washington promises investment in the region to regain lost influence, but its “Build Back Better World” project remains without a budget; Venezuela (US $62.2 billion) and Brazil (US $29.7 billion) have been the biggest beneficiaries of Chinese loans

Financial Times, 18.10.2021

China delivered 85% of eight major initiatives and 70% of funds (US $60 billion) committed to Africa, despite pandemic setbacks

To equalize trade imbalance, President Xi pledged more investment and non-commodities imports from Africa in 2018; in 2019, China imported US $95.5 billion of goods (crude oil, base metals, precious stones) and African imports totaled US $113.2 billion (machinery, transport equipment, electronics, textiles)

South China Morning Post, 18.10.2021

National Politics

Property prices fell in 36 of China’s 70 largest cities in September – highest rate since 2015 — and sales plummeted 16.9% year-on-year

With a 0.5% monthly drop in national average prices, sales of the top 100 builders (US $119 billion) plummeted 36.7% year-on-year (20.7% in August); government policies to curb property speculation and builders’ leverage are beginning to show results

Nikkei Asia, 20.10.2021

Nikkei Asia, 19.10.2021


In first three quarters, China’s GDP grows 9.8% year-on-year to US $12.88 trillion, despite COVID-19 outbreaks and energy shortages

In the same period, industrial production grew by 10.6% (US $5.02 trillion) and household consumption by 16.4% (US $4.98 trillion); state-owned companies recovered faster than private ones (+87% vs +34% in profits)

National Bureau of Statistics of China, 18.10.2021

Nikkei Asia, 18.10.2021

China’s foreign trade grows 22.7% year-on-year in first three quarters of 2021, reaching US $4.37 trillion

Despite rising tensions with the US (3rd trading partner), bilateral trade (US $543 billion) increased by 24.9%; ASEAN remains China’s largest trading partner (US $630.5 billion, +21.1%), followed by EU (US $599.3 billion, +20.5%)

CGTN, 13.10.2021

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Agriculture and Environment

China faces challenges of balancing rising coal consumption to boost economy with 2060 carbon neutrality goal

Nearly 70% of the country’s electricity comes from coal, with prices rising over 50% since 2020, causing losses for 70% of thermal plants in June; the government’s goal is to decrease coal to 11% of total energy production by 2050

Nikkei, 18.10.2021

Science and Technology

China sends longest-ever crewed mission to Tiangong space station for six months, carrying out technology tests, construction work, and spacewalks

China’s young space program is advancing with six more missions planned next year, including two crewed ones to complete the “Heavenly Palace” space station; European, Russian, Indian, and Israeli missions have failed in recent years

Asia Times, 17.10.2021

People’s Life Culture

Wang Yaping of Shenzhou-13 mission becomes the first female taikonaut on China’s space station and conduct a spacewalk

Wang is a pioneer in the male-dominated science fields, as government adjusts criteria and prioritizes funding for women; 49% of university degree-holders are women, but comprised only 5.3-6% of academicians in China’s top two science institutions (2019)

Global Times, 15.10.2021

South China Morning Post, 19.10.2021

Public square dancing, emerged during 1990s mass urbanization, is a popular activity among middle-aged and elderly Chinese women

Like Mao-era dance troupes, group leaders organize collective choreography and meet-ups, providing “dancing grannies” an economical way to exercise and find a sense of belonging; popular activity was included in 14th National Games

South China Morning Post, 18.10.2021

“Dancing grannies” in China [Shine]

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No. 71 | 16.10.2021

Poster for the UN’s COP15 Convention on Biological Diversity in China [People’s Daily]

Dear reader,

For this week’s News on China, we share work done by Marco Fernandes who writes on the conglomerate HNA Group and the jailing of its founder (English) and updates us on the failure of the US trade war against China (English) in Brasil de Fato. Tings Chak publishes an article in Capire Magazine on the role of women in China’s poverty alleviation programme (English, Portuguese, Spanish, and French).

Dongsheng editorial collective

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Agriculture and Environment

China announces US $233 million fund to protect biodiversity in developing countries at UN COP 15 Convention on Biodiversity

Held in Kunming (Yunnan), China’s most biodiverse province, the Convention set 21 new goals, which included protecting at least 30% of land and sea areas globally and US $200 billion annual financing (2021-31)

China Daily, 12.10.2021

South China Morning Post, 09.10.2021

National Politics

Chinese government implements measures to contain the energy crisis, increasing coal production and imports and lowering energy prices

Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, and Shaanxi regions will increase production by 145 million tons, with 4 billion tons national consumption last year; government will allow energy price increases of up to 20%, without adjustments for households, agriculture, and public goods

Nikkei Asia, 09.10.2021

Caixin Global, 09.10.2021

President Xi advocates peaceful reunification with Taiwan at 110th anniversary meeting for 1911 Revolution that established China’s first republic

Xi said that “the Taiwan issue is entirely China’s internal affair, and no external interference can be condoned”; Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen responded “nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us”

South China Morning Post, 09.10.2021
Global Times, 10.10.2021

Hong Kong government announces “Northern Metropolis” plan to provide up to 926,000 housing units for 2.5 million people over 20 years

Plan aims to advance the city’s integration with the mainland, develop new “Silicon Valley”, provide 650,000 jobs with IT sector focus, and address severe housing crisis, which some blame for contributing to 2019 protests

South China Morning Post, 07.10.2021

Caixin Global, 07.10.2021

Government fines food delivery platform Meituan US $533 million for monopolistic practices, demanding exclusivity from merchants

Regulatory agency force the company to modify fee mechanisms, algorithm rules, and guarantee merchants’ rights, who will receive US $200 million compensation; in July, Meituan was ordered to increase wages and benefits for delivery drivers and allow unionization

South China Morning Post, 08.10.2021


CIA creates intelligence center dedicated to China and will double mission centers for Iran and North Korea established by Trump

In line with Biden’s assertions that confrontation with China is one of the nation’s highest priorities, the CIA will invest in more language experts and technicians around the world to gather intelligence and counter China’s interests

Financial Times, 07.10.2021

Washington Post, 07.10.2021


Investment in real estate – with high prices and speculation – drove Chinese GDP growth, but government must look to consumption for new engine

In 2018, 87% of home buyers already owned another property (only 30% in 2008) and 78% of Chinese assets are in real estate (US, 35%); household debt/GDP grew from 26% to 61% (2010-21), posing challenges to advancing consumption

Financial Times, 06.10.2021

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People´s and Life Culture

Last year, 8.13 million couples registered marriages, down 40% and the seventh consecutive annual decline from the 2013 peak

Out of 3,000 urban residents (age 18-26) surveyed, 1/3 did not want to enter a relationship due to high living costs, while 44% of female respondents are reluctant to marry, mostly not wanting to have children

South China Morning Post, 09.10.2021

National Holiday hit, The Battle of Lake Changjin, set to be highest-grossing Chinese film ever, as domestic industry surpassed the US’s in 2020

For six years in a row, Chinese films have exceeded foreign productions in domestic box office, reaching US $3.9 billion in first half-year; country limits imported films (34 ann.) and streaming content (30%)

Nikkei Asia, 08.10.2021

Global Times, 07.10.2021

China celebrates 110th Xinhai Revolution anniversary, that established the 1st Chinese Republic and ended 2000-year-long imperial rule

After failed uprisings and Western and Japanese imperialist incursions – where Hong Kong and Taiwan were ceded – the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) was overthrown by a national democratic revolution, headed by Sun Yat-Sen, modern China’s founding father

China Daily, 08.10.2021

South China Morning Post, 09.10.2021

Revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen after the 1911 Xinhai Revolution [Wikimedia Commons]

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No. 70 | 02.10.2021

Meng Wanzhou welcomed at the Bao’an International Airport in Shenzhen, 25 September 2021 [Jin Liwang/Xinhua]

Dear reader,

In this edition, we’re sharing with you what members of Dongsheng News have been working on.

In conversation with Rania Khalek, Kambale Musavuli and Dongsheng’s Mikaela Erskog debunk myths on China’s role in Africa and Western interventions on the continent (in English). Marco Fernandes was interviewed by João Pedro Stedile, a leader of Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement (MST), going behind the headlines on topics from Evergrande to China’s foreign policy and its impact on the Global South (in Portuguese). Tings Chak talks about China’s poverty alleviation in the context of the US’s “new cold war” against China, along with historian Vijay Prashad and economist Richard Wolff (in English).

Check out the powerful panels at the China and the Left conference organized by Qiao Collective, The People’s Forum, CodePink, and the Monthly Review (in English).

As a treat, this week’s News on China links to Zhang Liping’s 2018 series for Sixth Tone on the history and future of China’s favorite liquor, Maotai, and her visit to Maotai City.

Finally, as the People’s Republic of China celebrates its 72nd anniversary, News on China will also take a one-week break, returning after the Chinese national holiday.

Dongsheng editorial collective


To circumvent the Evergrande crisis, Beijing asks state-backed companies to buy the builders’ assets, while local governments control its revenue

Among many deals, Guangzhou’s state-owned construction company is considering purchasing a soccer stadium (US $1.9 billion) and surrounding condominiums; municipalities in 10 provinces centrally manage the company’s cash flow to ensure continuity of projects

Reuters, 29.09.2021

Caixin Global, 27.09.2021

National Politics

Over 20 provinces and regions face power cuts, mostly affecting heavy industry, while authorities vow to prioritize power supply for people’s needs

Due to soaring coal prices, coal plants reduce production to avoid losses, but the government agrees to increase electricity rates by up to 10%; state measures towards carbon emission goals are among the factors

Caixin Global, 30.09.2021

Bloomberg, 28.09.2021

HNA Group founder Chen Feng and CEO Tang Xiandong are arrested days after the restructuring of one of China’s largest private conglomerates

HNA ballooned with Hainan Airlines’ success and massive loans to buy assets – majority Deutsche Bank stake and 25% of Hilton Group – accruing US $77.3 billion in debt; part of group will be acquired by state-owned companies

South China Morning Post, 24.09.2021

Caixin Global, 25.09.2021

Yuan Renguo, ex-chairman of state-owned beverage giant Kweichow Moutai, is given a lifetime sentence for receiving US $17.5 million in bribes

Yuan gave distribution privileges of the liquor, a national symbol commonly gifted in business and politics, with bottles costing up to US $2,700; anti-corruption policy targeted the custom, but company remains the world’s most valuable beverage-maker (US $260 billion, 2020)

Caixin Global, 24.09.2021

Financial Times, 24.06.2020

Read the three-part series on Moutai’s past and present


US drops extradition charges against Huawei’s finance chief Meng Wanzhou, who returns to China after three years in Canadian detention

In 2018, Canadian authorities arrested Huawei founder’s daughter, at the behest of the US, on charges of violating sanctions against Iran, for which Meng pleaded not guilty but acknowledged wrongdoing; Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – convicted for spying – left China hours after

Global Times, 25.09.2021

CGTN, 26.09.2021

Accusations against IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva represent anti-China pressure from the US Congress, says Jeffrey Sachs

Republicans allege that Georgieva – as then head of World Bank – pressured her staff to improve China’s “Doing Business” ranking, denied by lead economist; China increased from 31st to 25th (2020-21) in rank, now canceled by current (Republican) director

Financial Times, 27.09.2021

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Agriculture and Environment

New hybrid rice variety resistant to diseases, floods, and saline-alkaline soils is featured at the 2021 Chongqing Harvest Festival

Cultivated alongside fish, shrimp, and crayfish farming, the 2-meter tall “Giant Rice” is increasing peasants’ income while combating food insecurity; festival attracted over 100,000 visitors who participated in harvest-related activities

iChongqing, 26.09.2021

Chinese scientists succeed in synthesizing starch from carbon dioxide for the first time ever

According to a Chinese Academy of Sciences paper, synthetic starch production could save over 90% of the necessary arable land, reducing pesticide use and carbon emissions; the average age of the young team of scientists is 30 years

Global Times, 24.09.2021

People’s Life and Culture

Chinese people enthusiastically welcome Meng Wanzhou home after 1,028 days in Canadian detention

A trending topic receiving 1.5 billion online views, Meng’s return was met with hundreds gathered at the Shenzhen airport carrying banners and singing patriotic songs, with live broadcast reaching 100 million people

What’s on Weibo, 25.09.2021

South China Morning Post, 26.09.2021

Parents are satisfied with new education reforms aimed at easing the burden on students, according to Ministry of Education surveys

Surveys of 108,000 elementary and middle schools show that 96.3% of schools are offering after-school activities to assist working parents, 97.5% of the surveyed parents (57 million) are satisfied with “double reduction” policies

Sixth Tone, 23.09.2021

2021 Chinese Farmers’ Harvest Festival in Dazu, Chongqing [Dazu Media]

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No. 69 | 25.09.2021

Model of Evergrande real estate development in Shenyang [Sina]


Founded in 1996 with few employees and benefitting from the 2000s real estate boom, developer Evergrande earned US $78.4 billion last year

The company specializes in middle-class real estate with low production costs; founder Xu Jiayin was the richest Chinese person in 2017 (US $45 billion) and joined the country’s top advisory body (CCPPC)

Nikkei Asia, 22.09.2021

With over US $300 billion in debt, construction giant Evergrande risks bankruptcy, facing protests from creditors for months

Due to the new state policy to limit high indebtedness of construction companies since last year, about half of the company’s 800+ projects are on-hold; Chinese government is expected to intervene

Brasil de Fato, 21.09.2021

Caixin Global, 20.09.2021

Backed by government funding, China leads the US in many high-tech sectors – particularly hardware – but lags behind in software

Chinese companies dominate sales of smartphones (58% 2021, US 15%), solar panels (67% 2020, US 1%), commercial drones (80% of US market 2020 Q1, US 4%), and telecoms equipment (36% of 2021 revenue, US 9%) but still lag in semiconductors (4% of 2020 sales, US 47%)

Washington Post, 21.09.2021


Australia, US, and UK announce new military alliance (AUKUS) and agreement to supply nuclear submarines to Oceanian country

Although not explicitly mentioned, China is the target of the “security pact” that signals a regional “arms race”, causing Indonesian president Joko Widodo to cancel scheduled visit to Canberra; Australia cancels submarine contract with France in “backstabbing” move

People’s Dispatch, 22.09.2021

Global Times, 21.09.2021

Iran becomes a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at the 20th anniversary summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan

After 16 years of observer status, Iran joins China, Russia, Pakistan, India and other Central Asian members; stabilizing Afghanistan – an observer state – is SCO’s priority as the joint declaration calls for “a more representative, democratic, just, and multipolar world”

The Diplomat, 21.09.2021

Xinhua News, 18.09.2021

Read the full Dushanbe declaration

Beijing orders Chinese mining companies that broke laws in DR Congo to leave, as Kinshasa reviews infrastructure-for-minerals deals

Wu Peng, senior diplomat for the region, said companies will be punished by the Chinese government, while IMF gives DRC pressure to “clean up” foreign deals to get access its US $1.5 billion credit line

South China Morning Post, 16.09.2021

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Agriculture and Environment

At the UN General Assembly, President Xi pledges China will stop building coal plants abroad and support developing countries in low-carbon energy projects

China is the world’s largest coal producer and public financier but funds only 13% of total coal power capacity (2013-19) overseas; 44 international coal plants (US $50 billion) could be impacted

South China Morning Post, 22.09.2021

Reuters, 22.09.2021

China’s leading coal producers join green energy trading pilot to boost renewables and achieve carbon emission goals

The program allows CO2 emitters to directly buy green energy, thereby offsetting emissions and financing high-cost renewables sector; this should see 20-30 billion kWh of green energy traded next year

Caixin Global, 16.09.2021

South China Morning Post, 09.09.2021

People’s Life and Culture

Chinese version of TikTok limits app use for children under 14 years-old to 40 minutes/day

Douyin announcement comes amid government measures to discourage minors from spending too much time online and recommends providers “implement time management tools, feature restrictions, and purchase restrictions for underage users”

Sixth Tone, 18.09.2021

China commemorates 90th anniversary of the September 18 Incident, that began the 14-year-long war against Japanese aggression (1931-45)

During the 1931 “Mukden Incident”, the train station explosion in northeastern Shenyang was used as pretext for full-scale Japanese invasion; activities were organized and sirens wailed in cities nation-wide to remember the 35 million Chinese casualties of that war

China Daily, 20.09.2021

China Daily, 18.09.2021

September 18 Incident [Li Min/China Daily]

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No. 68 | 18.09.2021

“Ghost city” of Kangbashi in Inner Mongolia, 2019 [Caixin/Chen Liang]


President Xi announces additional donation of over 100 million vaccine doses for developing countries this year

China provided one billion doses to over 100 countries and pledges to reach two billion by year-end, adding to US $100 million donation to COVAX; WHO calls for G20 to fulfill their commitment to distribute vaccines

CGTN, 10.09.2021

CGTN, 09.09.2021

China opposes military coup in Guinea and calls for release of president Alpha Condé, amid region’s growing instability

Home to the world’s largest undeveloped iron deposit in Simandou, Guinea is the second largest producer of bauxite (essential material for aluminum), supplying 50% of imports to China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of aluminum

South China Morning Post, 12.09.2021

Global Times, 06.09.2021


Coal price soars (US $177.50/t) due to increased demand from China and India, approaching 2008 all-time high (US $180/t)

Economic recovery and summer weather increase energy demand in both countries, which consume 65% of global coal; Chinese power distributors ask government for rate increase to avoid multi-million dollar losses

Nikkei Asia, 13.09.2021

South China Morning Post, 10.09.2021

Increasing demand for high-tech products drive up rare earth prices, expected to hit component manufacturer profits

Since September 2020, prices increased for praseodymium (73.7%), holmium (109.4%), and terbium (60.4%), and other essential metals for electronics, electric cars, wind turbines, etc.; China is the only country to control the whole supply chain, producing 85% of global refining outputs

National Politics

China commits to raising teachers’ salaries, compensating for longer working hours, and equalizing pay among civil servants of similar categories

Public school teachers’ salaries vary by region, but average annual income was about US $16,500 (2020); announcement comes after recent education reforms that reduced extracurricular activities and increased working hours for teachers

Government-led investment revives China’s “ghost cities”, attracting private businesses and residents through jobs, housing, and schools

As urban population grew from 18-64% (1978-2020), over-construction, debt, and insufficient migration created “ghost cities” like Kangbashi, Binhai, and Zhengdong, now home to 945,000 residents (up 27.5%, 2019-20) and manufacturing (iPhone, pharmaceuticals, automobile), driving up property prices tenfold in 10 years

Bloomberg, 02.09.2021

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Agriculture and Environment

Government invested US $5.09 billion in subsidies for new energy vehicle (NEV) production in five years, but plans to reorganize sector

Aiming to make the industry more competitive globally, China will remove subsidies by the end of 2023 and encourage mergers of national companies; since January, NEV sales jumped 190% year-on-year, reaching 1.8 million units

Caixin Global, 08.09.2021

CGTN, 13.09.2021

China doubles target for next 5 years after failing to meet energy storage commitment with pumped-storage hydroelectricity (PSH)

Storage reached 31.5 of the 40GW planned for 2020, while 2025 target will increase to 62GW; China is the global leader in installed PSH storage capacity, but this system accounts for only 1.4% of the national grid

South China Morning Post, 13.09.2021

People’s Life and Culture

Art and sports training industry grow after government bans private tutoring sector from teaching core school subjects

National plan to increase weighting of art and physics in school exams also boosts art education – expected to reach US $46.4 billion market value by 2022 – but focus on grades may counter government goals to ease burden on students

Beijing Review, 10.09.2021

South China Morning Post, 05.09.2021

Xi Jinping’s “common prosperity” is rooted in ancient history of philanthropy carried out by politicians, scholars, and merchants

Under the Confucian ideal that the rich should contribute to the well-being of all, philanthropist Fan Li gave away fortunes three times 2,500 years ago and Song dynasty politician Fan Zhongyan turned his home into a school for the poor

The World of Chinese, 09.09.2021

A dance teacher with her students in Chongqing, 2021 [Xinhua via Beijing Review]

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No. 60 | 24.07.2021


China commits to playing a “constructive” role for regional stability, as US troops withdraw from Afghanistan after 20-year war

China is a leading investor in Afghanistan, which shares 90-km border with Xinjiang, is key to the region’s BRI projects, reportedly holds the world’s largest unused energy and mineral reserves (US $1 trillion), and is a member of regional security Shanghai Cooperation Organization

South China Morning Post, 18.07.2021
Global Times, 17.07.2021


China ranked first in port cargo (14.55 billion tons) and container throughput (260 million TEUs) last year

With eight of the world’s top 10 ports (in cargo throughput) and 95% of trade delivered by sea, China’s foreign trade volume reached US $2.8 trillion in first-half of 2021 (+27.1% year-on-year)

Beijing Review, 16.07.2021
China Briefing, 19.07.2021

70.8 million transactions totaling US $5.3 billion in digital yuan trials were made since 2019, according to Central Bank report

China will continue trials through the Winter Olympics in Beijing (2022), expecting to launch next year; research on monetary and financial impacts advances, while improvements in data security and legislation creation will be needed

Nikkei Asia, 17.07.2021
Central Bank, July 2021

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Agriculture and Environment

China’s national carbon trading market reaches US $32.48 million on opening day, with participation from 2,225 power-generation companies

Representing 40% of China’s energy-related carbon emissions, over 4.1 million tons of quotas were traded – averaging US $ 7.92/ton vs. EU’s US $38.60/ton in 2020 – in what will become the world’s largest carbon market

Global Times, 17.07.2021
Caixin, 15.07.2021

Science and Technology

Huawei more than doubles Chinese market share in cloud computing, tying with Tencent (11%) and trailing behind Alibaba (40.6%, Q4 of 2020)

Shifting from hardware to services (less affected by sanctions), Huawei Cloud grew 168% last year; cloud services grew 50% in China to reach US $19.4 billion (2020), behind the US

Nikkei Asia, 16.07.2021

China boosts training of domestic semiconductor engineers, towards adding 230,000 workers to the sector (total of 745,000) by 2022

Amid US sanctions, “chip schools” across China are partnering with industry heavyweights like Huawei, SMIC, and US-based Synopsis to meet growing industry needs and achieve technological self-reliance

South China Morning Post, 16.07.2021
Nikkei Asia, 07.07.2021

National Politics

Chinese big tech companies sign anti-monopoly agreement, including “self-discipline”, fair competition, and consumer protection, amid government’s regulatory push

Alibaba, Tencent, and Bytedance are among the 33 companies that made the pledge at Beijing’s China Internet Conference; companies like Kuaishou and Tencent have begun to reduce overtime in controversial 996 culture (9am to 9pm, 6-day workweeks)

South China Morning Post, 15.07.2021
South China Morning Post, 25.06.2021

Government launches pilot project of “common prosperity” in Zhejiang province to address regional inequalities and expand middle class

By 2025, the province of 65 million people aims to increase GDP/capita by 30% (to US $20.340), as well as invest in education, health, and advanced technology; after eradicating poverty, reducing inequality is a national goal

Global Times, 19.07.2021
CGTN, 28.06.2021
Caixin Global, 11.06.2021

People’s Life and Culture

Grandparents who move to cities to raise grandchildren comprise 43% of elderly migrant population, which grew from 5 to 13 million (2000-15)

In keeping with traditional values, retirees hope to support their adult children, but challenges include differences in language, social habits, and opinions about child-rearing, and feelings of isolation and homesickness

The World of Chinese, 17.07.2021

China’s successful space program begins to challenge US hegemony over space exploration in the popular imagination

Fashion, toys, fast food, and cinema reference the country’s space program, which makes use of Chinese mythology, such as Chang’e lunar mission named after moon goddess; Liu Cixin and other science fiction writers gain international fame

The Conversation, 26.06.2021
The Diplomat, 26.03.2021

Mars rover “Zhurong” (God of fire) takes a selfie [CNSA via CGTN]

No. 59 | 17.07.2021


Chinese manufacturers strike COVAX deal to supply 550 million doses to developing countries by mid-2022

110 million Sinovac and Sinopharm doses will be made available immediately; Chinese manufacturers exported over 500 million doses (⅙ of global production) to 112 countries and territories (January-June 2021)

Reuters, 12.07.2021
Caixin Global, 14.07.2021

Majority of international coal energy loans come from Japan, US, and UK (87%), according to US study

Though the biggest public financier (50% of total), China only accounted for 13% of total funding for new plants (2013-19); China is phasing out coal loans to achieve carbon-neutrality and declined funding projects in Kenya and Zimbabwe

South China Morning Post, 10.07.2021
GCI Policy Brief, 07.2021

National Politics

Chinese companies with data of over 1 million users will have to undergo stricter cybersecurity review before being listed overseas

Announced after Didi’s controversial Wall Street IPO, the new rule aims to protect domestic data as technology competition with US escalates; cybersecurity industry expected to be worth US $39 billion by 2023

SCMP, 10.07.2021
Global Times, 12.07.2021

New anti-monopoly government law sees banning of Huya and Douyu merger, China’s two largest video game live-streaming platforms

Merger would create a US $5.3 billion giant with nearly 300 million monthly users (80% of total), controlled by Tencent (67% of shares), which dominated 43% of Chinese market (2020); the ban protects consumer interests and competition

South China Morning Post, 10.07.2021


Economic recovery maintained as China’s GDP grew 12.7% year-on-year (US $8.22 trillion, January-June 2021)

Economy increases expansion in retail sales (23%, US $3 trillion), industrial production (15.9%) – including high-tech manufacturing (22.6%) – and fixed asset investment (12.6%, US $4 trillion), with 6.98 million jobs created

National Statistics Bureau, 15.07.2021
Global Times, 15.07.2021

Baowu overtakes ArcelorMittal as world’s largest steelmaker in 2020, with crude steel production rising 21% to 115.29 million tons

ArcelorMittal loses the top spot since 2001 merger; China has 60% of global share of steel production (1 billion tons), seven of the world’s top 10 steel producers, and higher R&D spending than competitors

Nikkei Asia, 09.07.2021

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Agriculture and Environment

China invests US $15 billion to build world’s largest wind power plant (10GW) in Gobi Desert after four-year delay

Plant’s capacity is expected to double by 2025, cut fossil fuel use by 35%, and generate jobs and billions of yuan for China’s poorest province of Gansu; low local demand and distance from major centres pose challenges

South China Morning Post, 09.07.2021

Giant pandas are no longer classified “endangered” as China’s wild panda population grows to 1,800 from 1,100 in 2000

As the status of pandas is upgraded to “vulnerable,” World Wildlife Fund praises Chinese government’s conservation efforts, which have also helped Siberian tigers, Asian elephants, and crested ibises to thrive

NPR, 09.07.2021
Guardian, 09.07.2021

People’s Life and Culture

Launched in 2011, National school meal program (US $22 billion) has fed 40 million rural children in the past decade

Improving child health, school attendance, and nutrition, the average height increased for girls (1.69cm) and boys (1.54cm); rising food and labor costs, insufficient supervision, and food quality remain challenges for budget of US $0.62/meal

Sixth Tone, 12.07.2021

Photographer documents public life and fashion of China’s aging population in “Senior Fashion Club” project

Since 2018, Qin Xiao has photographed over 1,000 elders’ daily life in Shanghai’s streets and parks to give them an online voice, reflect aging society, fight against prejudice, and learn from the their “earnest attitude towards life”

Sixth Tone, 08.07.2021
Sina News, 03.01.2021

Photographs by Qin Xiao of Shanghai’s elders [老年时装俱乐部]]

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No. 57 | 03.07.2021

The First Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) took place in Shanghai in 1921 — attended by 13 people. On the 100th anniversary since its founding, the CPC has grown to over 95.1 million members.

Since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, China went from being the world’s 11th poorest country in a semi-colonial, semi-feudal state to the second largest economy in the world today. Significant social advances have been made, including doubling life expectancy to nearly 80 years and increasing literacy from 20% to 97.33%.

Led by the CPC, China combatted Covid-19 and eradicated extreme poverty in 2020, lifting 853 million Chinese people out of poverty in four decades. (See last week’s ‘China’s Path to Zero Poverty’ webinar with Dongsheng’s member, Tings Chak).

Celebrations are taking place nationwide, remembering the country’s past in order to build a more prosperous future for China and an international community with a shared future for humanity.

National Politics

President Xi CPC centenary speech highlights developments of socialism while asserting that China will not be “bullied”

To 70,000 people in Tiananmen Square, Xi celebrated the country’s history and achievement of building a moderately prosperous society (xiaokang) and emphasized necessity of developing Marxism to create a modern socialist country – China’s second “centenary goal”


Former President Lula praises CPC’s leadership in fighting the pandemic, defends multilateralism and strategic Brazil-China partnership

In an interview with Chinese site Guancha, Lula denounces Washington’s participation in the illegal operation behind his arrest, criticizes US aggression against China, and vows to rebuild BRICS if elected in 2022

China and Russia renew 20-year-old cooperation treaty, issuing a joint statement against unilateral sanctions and foreign interference in internal affairs

In the second meeting between Putin and Xi in a month, China’s president says the relationship between the two countries displays “a new type of international relations,” while criticizing politicization of pandemic and sporting events


China’s economy grew 189 times (US $15.5 trillion, 2020) since 1949, as CPC celebrates 100 years of achievements

Economic success is grounded in a planned and self-corrective system (14 five-year plans since PRC’s founding), reform and opening-up, and focus on self-sufficiency and innovation; China’s share of global economy increased from 4.4% to 17% (1960-2020)

Global Times, 26.06.2021
CGTN, 28.06.2021

Between January-May, industrial profits (US $530.4 billion) grew 83.4% year-on-year due to strong demand

Profits rose in 39 of 41 industrial sectors; chemical raw materials and products – including vaccine inputs – more than doubled profits (US $49.5 billion), while computer, communication, and electronic equipment (US $39.4 billion) increased by 49.3%

CGTN, 27.06.2021
National Bureau of Statistics of China, 28.06.2021

Science and Technology

China partially opens world’s second largest hydropower station (16GW) and accelerates construction of new plants to expand renewable energy

Baihetan plant (between Sichuan and Yunnan provinces) cost US $34 billion, with the world’s most powerful turbines (1 GW each); hydropower represents 17% of the country’s energy consumption (2020), key to reducing emissions 

South China Morning Post, 28.06.2021

Government approves merger of state-owned tech giants CETG and Potevio to establish self-reliant supply chains

CETG supplies military IT products while Potevio provides semiconductors and telecoms equipment; the two “core SOEs” (of country’s 100) employ 220,000 workers in 15 publicly traded companies with revenue expected to exceed US $50 billion after merger

Nikkei Asia, 26.06.2021

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Agriculture and Environment

China’s US $200 million Earth simulation lab that calculates carbon emissions could increase country’s impact in international climate negotiations

Fully operational next year, EarthLab can deepen global knowledge of Earth’s history, measure climate risk, provide data for preventing and mitigating natural disasters, and help China to achieve carbon neutrality goals (2030 peak, 2060 net-zero emissions)

Caixin, 26.06.2021

Scientists use genetic editing to “reinvent” potatoes, improving cultivation efficiency, costs, and plant health

Yunnan trial of hybrid seed “Upotato No. 1” yielded 45 tonnes/hectare, requiring 20g/hectare of potato seeds versus conventional cultivation – slower and more vulnerable to diseases – requiring 3,000kg/hectare of potatoes to produce same quantity

CGTN, 25.06.2021
Cell, 24.06.2021

People’s Life and Culture

Museum of the Communist Party of China opens in Beijing after 1,000 days of construction involving 50,000 people

Focusing on 100-year CPC history, museum (150,000 m²) is shaped like the Chinese character for “worker” (工) and uses cutting-edge technologies, including Long March (1934-36) immersive experience with 24K-resolution screens, 4D films, and 3D scanning

Xinhua, 22.06.2021, 26.06.2021

Light show to celebrate the CPC’s 100th anniversary, Huangpu River, Shanghai [Photo IC via Global Times]

No. 20 | 02.07.2021

African and Chinese Researchers conduct land cover investigation in Kenya, 26 September 2016 [Xinhua]

Science and Technology

Senegal repatriates government data from foreign servers (US, Asia) to national centre, using Chinese financing (US $83 million) and technology

Senegal will be first African nation to house state data and platforms domestically, strengthening digital sovereignty while developing cheaper infrastructure; centre will be managed by state IT firm (ADIE) and use Huawei equipment/technical support

RFI, 25.06.2021

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Agriculture and Environment

Created in 2013, Kenya-China institute for scientific cooperation discovered six plant and one animal species in 2020

Sino-Africa Joint Research Centre (Nairobi) developed over 45 projects in agricultural technologies, biodiversity, and food security; SAJOREC published over 60 papers, provided over 149 postgraduate Chinese scholarships, and trained 160 African scientists and senior technicians (2013-19)

CGTN, 25.06.2021

Talk Africa, 01.07.2019


President Samia Hassan renegotiates Tanzania-China mega projects (US $13 billion) after talks with president Xi

Bagamoyo port and special economic zone (US $10 billion) and coal and iron ore (US $3 billion) projects were suspended (2015-19) by former president Magufuli over alleged unfavorable terms, but Hassan promises to prioritize national interests in strategic projects

South China Morning Post, 28.06.2021

Nikkei Asia, 27.06.2021

No. 56 | 26.06.2021

Science and Technology

China sends first crewed mission to Tiangong (“heavenly palace”) space station, likely to become the only in Earth’s orbit by 2022

After exclusion from the International Space Station by the US, China will be first with exclusive station, promising access for developing countries; taikonauts Nie, Liu, and Tang – of peasant backgrounds – will spend three months in space


FBI agent confesses in court that spying charge against Chinese university professor was based on false information

Associate professor of engineering at the University of Tennessee, Hu Anming was first charged under the “China Initiative” – created by Trump to combat alleged Chinese espionage; Hu claims he was charged after refusing FBI offer to spy on China

Armin Laschet – frontrunner to succeed German chancellor Merkel – warns of dangers in pursuing a cold war against China

CDU leader says many in Europe are skeptical of Biden’s confrontational attitude, viewing China as both a systemic rival and an important European partner; possible coalition with Greens – highly critical of China – will create tensions in government


As of June, 29 Chinese tech companies raised US $5.9 billion in initial public offerings (IPOs) on Wall Street (US $2 billion, 2020)

With tighter rules on Shanghai Stock Exchange, Chinese companies take advantage of US market’s high liquidity with IPOs expected to exceed 2020’s (US $13.5 billion), despite risk of sanctions from Washington

Of world’s 100 most valuable brands (US $7.1 trillion) in 2020, China’s account for 14%, surpassing Europe (8%)

56 US brands account for 74% of top 100, while Chinese tech giants Pinduoduo (US $9.5 billion) and Tiktok (US $16.9 billion), liquor maker Moutai (US $53.8 billion) doubled in value (2020-21)

National Politics

Hainan increases supervision to prevent island from becoming “tax haven”, one year after being turned into a free trade zone

Last year, income tax (15%) was cut for selected individuals/companies, number of registered foreign companies (1005) rose 197.3%, FDI (US $3 billion) doubled, and duty free sales (US $4.6 billion) more than doubled

Agriculture and Environment

China’s hydrogen industry could reach US $152.6 billion (2030) and help reach emissions target, but high costs limit commercialization

16 provinces and cities adopted five-year plans on hydrogen (refueling stations, vehicles, infrastructure); transportation, storage, and production costs remain a challenge (70% of extraction cost is electricity); price to refuel cars (US $11/kg) needs to fall to US $6/kg

China accounts for 25% of global growth in leaf area (1990-2020), turning deserts and farmland to forests and grasslands

UN’s FAO ranks China as global leader in reforestation (1,937 ha/year); since 1950s, anti-desertification efforts transformed one of country’s four largest deserts, Maowusu (42,000 km²), to 93.24% green area, reducing annual sand/dust storm days (169 to 28)

People’s Life and Culture

As rural internet access expands to 255 million people, e-commerce boom creates new market for peasants

Strategy includes state support to stimulate consumption and alleviate poverty, popularizing live streaming and short videos on digital platforms in the countryside (200 million users) and creating a direct relationship between rural producers and consumers

New historical TV drama, The Awakening Age, about CPC’s founding wins over young audiences and awards

Show follows lives of revolutionaries Li Dazhao, Chen Duxiu, and Lu Xun in pre-1921 development of New Youth magazine, Marxism, and workers movement in country, receiving 1.93 billion views (Weibo), 9.3/10 review (Douban), and top-three Magnolia Awards

Scene from TV show, “The Awakening Age” [Yang Yipei via Global Times]

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