No. 64 | 21.08.2021


Taliban takes over Afghan capital after 20-year US-led war, while China is expected to play a key role in country’s reconstruction

Costing over US $2 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives, the war has left Afghanistan in turmoil; Beijing maintains its embassy operations and dialogue with Washington and the Taliban, stressing cutting ties with East Turkestan Islamic Movement linked to Xinjiang terrorism

Months after Xinjiang cotton boycott, Adidas and H&M suffer decline in sales (16.3% and 28.1%, respectively), while Chinese sports brands grow

Propelled by data-driven marketing, first-half year profits expected to grow for Li Ning (nearly 200%) and Xtep (65%), while Anta’s market share (16.6%) nears Adidas’ (17.4%); US threatens sanctions on these companies

Science and Technology

China leads in artificial intelligence research quality, receiving more citations (20.7%) than the US (19.8%) for the first time in 2020

Global leader of AI publication volume since 2012, China is focusing on developing domestic talent; Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence team created Hua Zhibing, an AI “person” who can write poetry and draw

National Politics

Government suspends English final exams in Shanghai elementary school in another educational reform to ease pressure on students

Math and Chinese final exams will be given only in third (9 years-old) and fifth (11 years-old) grades, while other evaluation forms will be encouraged; English has the same weight as math and Chinese in the gaokao (entrance examination)

Ride-hailing app Didi will improve payment transparency for its 13 million drivers, while government announces cap on share of platform’s earnings

Newly-launched feature allows drivers to view earning proportion for each ride over the past day and week; with 493 million users (90% of market), Didi was removed from China’s app store after July national security probe


Economic opening boosted net FDI in China*, rising from US $80,000 to US $149 billion (1979-2020), second to the US (US $156 billion)

Foreign trade grew from US $20.6 billion to US $4.64 trillion (1978-2020), and the main export shifted from primary to mechanical and electronic products for 230+ trading partners

*Gross FDI in China (US$163 billion) becomes world’s largest for the first time in 2020

As global trade recovers, shipping costs hit record high, increasing nearly tenfold since the pandemic began

Costs to ship a container from China to US west coast (US $15,800) increases 50% in one month; container shortages and pandemic restrictions at key Chinese ports push freight costs and times up, disrupting supply chains and posing inflation risks

Agriculture and Environment

China promotes agricultural digitization, but agribusiness technologies only benefit large-scale farms

Modern Agriculture Platform, from seed and pesticide giant Syngenta, provides crop-monitoring and other services for over 773,000 hectares of farmland; with focus on more profitable large-scale farms, expanding services to the country’s majority small peasant economy will be difficult

People’s Life and Culture

Thousands helped to save relics after floods in Henan, home to 65,500 heritage sites (one-tenth of China’s total)

Over 1,500 museum workers, soldiers, and volunteers helped reinforce the river dam in historic Xunxian county after 3,600 year-old ancient city walls were flooded, while 1,000 cleaned up the Longmen Grottoes UNESCO World Heritage site

Museum culture thrives in China, fueled by investment in new facilities, TV programs, and consumer products that popularize cultural heritage

From 2016 to 2020, an average of one museum was opened every two days (totaling 5,788); despite the pandemic, last year’s 29,000 exhibitions and 225,000 educational activities received 540 million visitors

Visitors at the Nanjing Museum in Jiangsu Province, 22 August 2019 [Visual People via ChinAfrica]

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No. 63 | 14.08.2021


Over 30 major business organizations appeal to Biden against tariffs on imports from China (US $550 billion/year), which have fueled US inflation

With imports from China equivalent to ¼ of US manufacturing output (US $2.4 trillion), ending the 20% tariff applied to half of imports from China could reduce durable goods cost by 2% in the US

Science and Technology

Chinese companies and mobile payment apps boost Africa’s fintech sector, serving populations without access to formal banking

Offering insurance, loans, funeral cover, and remittances on e-banking apps compatible with non-smartphones on 2G networks, hundreds of locally and foreign-funded fintech companies serve unbanked Africans; Huawei powers TeleBirr (Ethiopia) and M-Pesa (Kenya), which transacts more than most banks

National Politics

Alibaba Group will lose tax breaks given to high-tech companies, adding US $1.7 billion to its taxes this fiscal year

Key enterprises pay less taxes (10-15%) than the country’s average (25%); China’s top e-commerce platform warned investors that its total tax burden will increase (from 18% to 23-25%), amid government’s targeted suspension of the sector’s tax benefits

Government issues national fitness plan to promote public health, driving sports industry to US$773 billion by 2025 (+72% from 2019)

Plan includes creating 2,000 fitness venues within 15-minutes walking distance, making a sports instructor available for every 500 residents, and ensuring 38.5% of people exercise regularly, with two hours/day of sports for students

Agriculture and Environment

Record algae bloom covers 60,594 km2 of Shandong’s coast, diminishing oxygen levels essential for marine life

Believed to originate from neighboring Jiangsu’s seaweed farms – which expanded from 29,751 to 102,961 acres (2004-19) – Qingdao’s government has deployed 12,686 vessels to collect what could total one million tonnes of Ulva prolifera


China’s industrial production increased from 2.7% to 25.4% of global total (1990-2020), totaling US $4.8 trillion in 2020

China’s manufacturing surpasses the US, Germany, and Japan’s combined; China leads in high-tech exports (US $715.8 billion) – followed by the US (US $156.1 billion) – but still relies on imported strategic inputs, such as chips

China’s 2020 household debt hits record high, reaching 130.9% of disposable income and hurting domestic consumption growth

In June 2020, credit cards bills over six months overdue totaled US $13.1 billion, ten times more than a decade earlier, with total household debt equivalent to 62% of GDP

People’s Life and Culture

China’s competitive, test-oriented education system fueled for-profit tutoring industry boom (2010-18) reinforcing social classes

Due to pressures on only-children to “get ahead”, over 30% of primary and middle schoolers participated in extracurricular classes in 2018, doubling parents’ spending (US $51 billion) since 2016; experts warn industry overhaul could result in underground tutoring

China’s elderly who use the internet are happier, using digital tools to maintain relationships and access services

Rather than being “digital refugees”, Tsinghua research of 200 elderly (2018-20) found higher levels of happiness for those online, using technology to create relationships that mirror close-knit rural society; online scams and fake news are common problems

Women fill labor shortages in construction and transportation sectors, spurred by China’s declining working-age population and new rural revitalization initiatives

In 2018, 9.5 million women worked in construction, comprising 14% of construction workers (from 10%, 2014); in some projects, ⅓ of city construction workers are women (from near-zero in 1980s), despite gender wage gap

Women maintenance road workers in Beijing, 2016 [Xinhua/Li Xin]

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No. 61 | 31.07.2021

National Politics

China overhauls private tutoring sector (US $125 billion), banning for-profit, foreign, and listed companies in school-curriculum teaching

New regulation targets institutions teaching school curriculum content to address unequal access to education, lower costs and children’s workloads, and improve public online education; enrollment grew from 202.6 to 325.3 million students (2015-9)

Government announces new guidelines to improve delivery workers’ wages, safety, social security, and working conditions

Increasing oversight concerning Big Tech, policy guidelines address controversial outsourcing practices, formalizes employment agreements, and prohibits platforms from using stringent algorithms to complete deliveries; national trade union federation encourages the creation of local unions in the gig economy

Online music player Tencent receives government orders to end exclusive copyright deals within 30 days

Acquiring China Music Corporation in 2016, Tencent Music holds 66 million licensed tracks (80% of total) and over 622 million monthly active users (2020); Tencent Holdings was fined US $77,143 and their fintech businesses are under separate scrutiny


Xinjiang exports to EU grow 131%, reaching US $373.2 million in first half-year

Main goods include tomato-based products, cotton goods, components for artificial fibers, and wind energy equipment; despite US sanctions, Xinjiang’s exports to Germany (+143%) and Holland (+187%) grew well above China’s total exports (+35%) to the EU


US companies lead foreign direct investment in China (US $13.9 billion, Q2), despite escalating diplomatic tensions

Led by acquisitions for controlling stake in financial, real estate, and logistics sectors – topped by Blackstone’s two acquisitions (US $4.3 billion) – Q3’s main investments came from North America (US $6.8 billion) and Asia (US $6.1 billion)

Agriculture and Environment

“Once in a millennium” floods in Henan province kill at least 99 and affect 13.91 million people

A year’s worth of rainfall fell in three days (617.1mm), devastating transportation, power, and telecoms systems in Zhengzhou, a “sponge city” whose intensive urban drainage is designed to capture 70% of rainfall only in cases of moderate precipitation

Henan flooding kills millions of animals and affects 1,678 large livestock farms and 972,100 hectares of crops fields

The province produces nearly ⅓ of China’s wheat – already harvested – and about 10% of corn, vegetables, and pork, which are vulnerable to damage as Ministry of Agriculture works to ensure seed supply

“Sponge cities” aim to make China’s 126,000 km² of coastal areas resilient to rising sea levels from climate change

Since 2014, thirty pilot sponge cities were named, using permeable water systems and green infrastructure to manage floods, replenish water supplies, and restore ecosystems, though experts continue to stress importance of reducing carbon emissions

Science and Technology

China deploys drone to restore communication services and map damages in hardest-hit areas by the Henan flooding

The Wing Loong 2H captures satellite signals and ensures telephone and internet access for thousands of people in the affected area, including in a Zhengzhou hospital; telephone company sends SMS to warn of drone’s arrival

People’s Life and Culture

Across China, people use social media to express support for Zhengzhou flood victims, circulate crucial information, and facilitate rescue operations

Weibo and WeChat users share videos of rescue efforts, while hundreds of people contribute to an online spreadsheet that crowdsources, organizes, and prioritizes data to connect rescuers with those trapped by floods

Flooding rescue efforts in Zhengzhou, Henan Province [People’s Daily]

Moment in History

In the early years of the CPC, the Party developed a “patriotic financial system” to support its activities, expand the revolutionary army, and support workers and peasants. Proposed by Mao Zedong, the first Peasant Bank (1926) was established in Hunan, creating convertible currencies that promoted agricultural production, solved material difficulties, and provided an alternative financing to loan sharks (50-100% interest rates) for peasants.

“Red finance” initiatives during the Civil War period (1927-37, 1945-49) helped break the Kuomintang’s economic blockade and build trust among the peasant base. This included secret institutions, the first state-bank (1932), the Red Army’s first bank (1937), and the People’s Bank of China (1948). The Party’s ability to lead the economic sector during this period built the foundation for China’s economic system post-Revolution.

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No. 58 | 10.07.2021

National Politics

Government investigates ride-hailing app Didi for national security risks, shortly after US $4.4 billion IPO on Wall Street

Didi (90% of Chinese market) is the first big tech investigated since Data Security Law passed in June, followed by US-listed Full Truck Alliance and Boss Zhipin; China may revise foreign investment criteria for domestic tech companies


China produces 80% of the silicon used in solar panels worldwide, half of them in Xinjiang province, the target of US sanctions

Low-priced Chinese panels (80% of global production) have helped industry grow, but price increase (+20%) in the last year raises concern; White House imposed arbitrary sanctions on four Chinese companies producing silicon

China proposes cooperation with Germany and France for Africa’s development and aims to reopen investment deal with EU

President Xi tries to persuade Chancellor Merkel and President Macron out of shared commercial interests; between January and May, Chinese trade with Germany (US $92.8 billion) grew 36% year-on-year and France (US $32.9 billion) rose 44%

Science and Technology

Huawei responds to US sanctions and accelerates global hiring, with plans to increase R&D budget by “several billion dollars”

Chinese giant seeks to hire hundreds of engineers in Europe and Canada to develop chips, software, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, etc.; meanwhile, supercomputer running on Huawei’s AI system wins two world championships


WHO certifies malaria eradication in China, which shares disease-control experiences with African and Asian countries

Prior to 1949, China recorded 30 million cases and 300,000 deaths annually; anti-malaria efforts began in 1956 with distributing medicine and reducing breeding areas, advancing with the discovery of the artemisinin drug by Nobel Prize-winning scientist Tu Youyou (2015)


In the first quarter, the Chinese renminbi’s share (US $287.46 billion) in global reserves rose to the highest (2.45%) since 2016, according to IMF

Driven by appreciation, renminbi is still outpaced by the euro (20.57%) and the dollar (59.5%), which has fallen from 71% (1999) to its lowest rate in 25 years

Agriculture and Environment

After US $43 billion acquisition by ChemChina in 2017, Swiss-based Syngenta applies for record US $10 billion IPO in Shanghai’s STAR Market

World’s leading pesticide producer and third largest seed supplier will use IPO proceeds towards domestic growth and acquisitions, while its Modern Agriculture Platform (MAP) helps farmers maximize yields through 900 demonstration farms and 365 training centres

Community seed banks are preserving China’s agrobiodiversity, involving 260 million smallholder farmers across 691,510 villages

Seed banks protect farmer livelihoods, improve food security, and help preserve crop diversity – which decreased from 11,590 to 3,271 in China’s grain varieties (1956-2014); neglect by formal policies and national genebank system remains a challenge

People’s Life and Culture

Record-breaking female student wins car mechanic contest, sparking debate on gendered division of labor and value of vocational education

17-year-old Gu Huijing attends one of China’s thousands of vocational/technical secondary schools and colleges, which the government promises to expand (35 million students, 2020-21) to stabilize job market and increase rural and migrant worker skills

70 years ago, construction began on China’s first socialist workers’ village to rebuild war-torn Shanghai and house its growing working class

1,002 “model worker” families were selected nationwide to live in Caoyang New Village, including housing, a hospital, a market, and shops; community has since gone into decline, but local government hopes to preserve

Oil painting by Yin Chengzhong, “Workers Moving Into the New Village”, 2014 [China Art Museum via Sixth Tone]

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No. 19 | 25.06.2021

Chinese doctor conducting acupuncture treatment at a TCM center in Antananarivo, Madagascar, 6 November 2019 [Xinhua/Xie Han]

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Congo-Brazzaville secures restructuring on US $2.4 billion low-interest Chinese loan, while trying to unlock IMF loan (US $404 million)

Third largest sub-Saharan Africa oil producer (70% of national revenue) sees debt rise (110% of GDP) due to pandemic and oil price drop (70% in 2014); Swiss oil traders Trafigura and Glencore hold US $1.7 billion of national debt

People’s Life and Culture

As Zambian independence leader Kenneth Kaunda (1924-2021) dies, Chinese-supported Tanzania-Zambia railway built under his leadership remains a symbol of internationalism

With interest-free loan (US $500 million), 56,000 Chinese (1970-76) alongside African workers constructed 320 bridges, 22 tunnels, and 93 stations of the 1,860km railway, reducing dependency on neighboring colonial states; >60 Chinese died in the process


Marking 50 years of cooperation with Equatorial Guinea, China has sent 586 medical workers in 31 teams for specialized treatment and training

With limited medical facilities, Traditional Chinese Medicine – with still-low popularity – is being introduced to treat chronic diseases and taught in universities (South Africa) on the continent, where 46 Chinese teams are currently based

Led by Kenneth Kaunda (1924-2021), Zambia was the first southern African nation to establish relations with China in 1964 based on international solidarity

No. 55 | 19.06.2021

Dear reader,

This week, we talked to Daniel Dumbrill about the White House’s latest sanctions against China, Huawei’s domestic and global strategies in the face of growing restrictions, and the new law passed by the US congress to fund its tech industry and try to contain China’s advance.

In other news, we are debuting the new format for our weekly News on China video, now two minutes long.

Watch, enjoy, and share!

—Dongsheng editorial collective


G7 nations unite to compete against China on vaccines, climate, and infrastructure for developing world but without concrete plans

G7 promises one billion vaccine doses within a year, criticizes China on Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Taiwan, and announces “Build Back Better World” (B3W) rival to BRI; Chinese embassy in UK criticizes “small circle” power politics

Target of numerous US and EU sanctions, China passes anti-sanctions law to create legal defense against Western attacks

Law introduces penalties for those who comply with foreign sanctions against China – such as visa cancellation and freezing or seizing of assets; companies would have to choose between complying with Western sanctions or Chinese law

National Politics

With 20 million people vaccinated/day (60% of global total), China administered over 923 million vaccine doses by June 15

China accounts for 37% of world’s total vaccination doses (2.5 billion), followed by the US (311 million) and India (255 million); China exported 350 million of doses to over 75 countries

China passes Data Security Law to protect domestically-stored data from US jurisdiction and strengthen national security, effective September 1

Data was declared a factor of production in April 2020 alongside capital, labor, and land; international companies located in China must store data domestically, with fines up to US $1.55 million for noncompliance regarding state data


Between January and May, foreign direct investment in China (US $75.3 billion) increased 30.3% from same period in 2019

FDI grew in service industry (41.6%, US $59.7 billion) and tech sector (34.6%) year-on-year; investments increased from ASEAN (56%), Belt and Road countries (54.1%), and EU (16.8%)

Three Gorges Renewable Company raises US $3.5 billion to invest in wind energy, in largest initial public offering (IPO) in 17 months

Company’s profit (US $558 million) and revenue (US $1.7 billion) grew by about 27% last year; IPO capital will finance seven coastal projects, including country’s first offshore wind plant combined with aquafarming

Agriculture and Environment

China publishes most papers globally on decarbonization technologies in 16 of 18 research areas (2015-20)

With US $250 billion government budgeted R&D in 2018 (US, US $140 billion, 2019), China leads in battery storage – critical for renewable energy supplies — solar cells, and electric vehicles, and is reaching US lead in paper quality and impact

From January to May, China imported 38.23 million tonnes of soybeans (US $19.35 billion, +44.2% year-on-year)

Primarily used for pig feed, soybeans accounted for 22% of total expenditure on food imports, which grew 33.8% year-on-year; top suppliers were US and Brazil (+12.8% year-on-year)

People’s Life and Culture

Henan TV’s underwater dance for Dragon Boat Festival becomes an online hit, as public television broadcasters find new platforms and audiences

Through innovative adaptation of traditional TV to online programming, the viral performance featured former synchronized swimmer He Haohao portraying ancient story about Luo River goddess; the two-minute video took 26 hours to film

Chinese artists’ political satire of G7 leaders go viral, criticizing Western hegemony and interference in China’s internal affairs

Bantonglaoatang recreated “The Last Supper” painting (1498), replacing Christian religious figures with imperialist animals in “The Last G7”; Wuheqilin combined photographs of G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in May with Eight-Nation Alliance’s invasion of China (1900)

“The Last G7” illustration [Bantonglaoatang]

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No. 54 | 12.06.2021


US approves bill to finance technological competition (US $250 billion), among numerous measures against China

Plan provides investment in semiconductors (US $52 billion), artificial intelligence and quantum computing (US $120 billion), and tries to contain Beijing’s participation in multilateral organizations, among other initiatives; China reproaches US for projecting an “imaginary enemy”

Despite pressure from Washington, growing number of African and other developing countries embrace Chinese 5G technology

With 70 contracts (>1/3 in Africa) in 41 countries for cloud infrastructure and government services, Huawei remains largest telecoms equipment and technology provider in Africa and, with ZTE, accounted for 50-60% of wireless equipment sales in Africa and Middle East (2020)

Science and Technology

Huawei launches new HarmonyOS operating system, two years after the US banned its access to Google apps

Chinese tech giant increases software self-sufficiency and seamless experience across “Internet of Things” devices (cell phones, home appliances, drones, etc.); over 500,000 developers adapt apps to HarmonyOS, but breaking the Android and iOS monopoly remains a challenge

National Politics

Facing Covid-19 Delta strain outbreak, Guangzhou tests 28 million people in 12 days and enforces travel restrictions

While authorities still search for “patient zero”, world’s largest testing program detected 119 cases; the variant’s high transmissibility and viral load are the first real test of the administered vaccines’ effectiveness (13 million doses, 31 May)


Government prioritizes reduction of domestic debt, which reached 270.1% of GDP by end of 2020 due to pandemic (180.8% in 2010)

China’s domestic debt-to-GDP for corporations reached 162.3% (120.6%), household 62.2% (27.3%), government 45.6% (32.9%); debt was reduced to 248% of GDP in Q1

May imports (US $218.4 billion) surged 51% year-on-year, while exports (US$263.9 billion) grew 27.9%

Trade with EU (US$67.17 billion) – second largest trading partner – rose 27.36% in April, while China overtook Germany to be UK’s biggest import source (US $24 billion, 16.1% of total) in Q1

Agriculture and Environment

Supply chain disruptions during pandemic sparked growth of high-tech greenhouses in China, world’s largest vegetable producer

Efficient glass greenhouses grew 28% in 2020, largely producing to sell directly to e-commerce platforms and supermarkets, which reduces logistics “middlemen”; China is world’s top producer of spinach (92%), asparagus (88%), green beans (81%), cucumbers (80%)

China’s dairy sector (US $62 billion) plans to add 200 farm projects and 2.5 million cows to meet growing taste for milk

World’s third largest producer generated 34 million tonnes of milk last year, meeting 70% of domestic demand – annual per capita consumption is 6.8 liters (vs. 50 liters in US)

People’s Life and Culture

Record 10.78 million students take the national university entrance exam (gaokao), while facing new challenges in Chinese education

2020 educational reforms responds to lack of students in humanities and basic sciences; this year’s gaokao introduced 37 new majors (law, education, history, etc.) and expanded options for exam subjects in eight pilot regions

China cultivates next generation leaders through international exchanges, increasing overseas cadre training institutes from 144 to 243 (1999-2016), primarily in the Global North

History of sending leaders for administrative, technical, and political education includes Moscow’s Toilers of the East University (1921), 10,000 cadre sent to Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (1951-63), and opening-up to Western institutions (since 1980s)

Huawei products using HarmonyOS at the company’s flagship store in Shanghai [Wang Gang/China Daily]

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No. 53 | 05.06.2021

Dear reader,

In this week’s News on China: New Kids on the Blockchain, Tings Chak and Marco Fernandes speak with Daniel Dumbrill about China reining in bitcoin mining and the international contributions of Yuan Longping, “father of hybrid rice”. You can also listen to the show on all major podcast platforms.

—Dongsheng editorial collective


Latin America becomes largest recipient of Chinese vaccines with agreements for 225 million doses (36 per 100 people)

China is second largest trading partner and foreign direct investor (US $60 billion since 2016) for region hardest-hit by pandemic – 8% of global population but ⅓ of deaths; upcoming elections (Peru, Chile, Brazil) could establish progressive and China-friendly governments

Eyeing China’s growing US $18.9 trillion wealth market, Goldman Sachs set to own 51% of new joint venture with state-owned ICBC bank

Last month, BlackRock partnered with China Construction Bank as the world’s largest banks announce expansion with focus on Greater Bay Area (Hong Kong, Macau, Guangdong); China’s financial opening creates unease in Washington


Foreign holdings of Chinese government bonds reach US $327.3 billion and $564.6 billion in Chinese stocks in April

Chinese 10-year bonds offer high yields (3.089%) compared to US (1.576%); foreign ownership of government bonds are expected to increase from 10% to 15% in next three years

Inclusive loans to support micro and small enterprises (MSEs) reach US $2.63 trillion in April, up 32.5% year-on-year

Loans supported 82.4% of MSEs (36.27 million) with focus on pandemic-hit sectors (foreign trade, tourism, offline sales); China’s 44 million MSEs and 95 million self-employed individuals are primary national job providers

Science and Technology

New wind tunnel capable of simulating flights 30 times the speed of sound, putting China ahead in hypersonic technology

Technology could make flying anywhere in the world in under two hours possible, cut 90% of space launch costs, and have military uses; China’s advance comes as US Air Force’s hypersonic weapon failed recent test

Agriculture and Environment

China’s digital industries’ energy consumption will surge 289% to reach carbon-emissions peak in 2035, five years behind national goal

61% of this sector’s electricity was coal-generated last year; by 2035, digital infrastructure will make up 5-7% of national power consumption (+2.7% from 2020) with fastest-growing 5G sector increasing 488% (297 billion kWh)

National Politics

National policy for creating data center hubs aims to meet growing needs of US $6 trillion digital economy

Plan prioritizes green targets to balance data demands of east and renewable energy supply of west; China increased data centers from 1.25 to 5 million (2015-20) with market reaching US $36.18 billion by 2025

“Three-child policy” announced to cope with aging population and declining birthrate, after enabling families to have two children in 2016

“One-child policy” introduced in 1979 – with exceptions for rural and ethnic minority families – reduced 400 million births during period; more social support for families and women expected to come with new policy

People’s Life and Culture

Three-child policy sparks online debate, raising concerns about cost of living, access to education and childcare, and burden on women

State media poll on Weibo social media showed that 90% of 30,000 people would not consider having a third child; one-child era Chinese already bear the burden of caring for elderly parents and children

“C-Dramas” draw ten million African subscribers in 30 countries due to shared values and expansion of streaming services

With 300 African voice-actors, media giant StarTimes has dubbed over 20,000 episodes of Chinese series into 11 local languages (including Swahili and Yoruba) since 2011; some African viewers prefer Chinese themes and styles absent in Western productions

“The Untamed” is among Chinese TV series reaching African audiences

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No. 16 | 04.06.2021

Ghanaian student at Shandong Lanxiang Technician College in Jinan, Shandong Province, 26 Feb 2019 [Xinhua]

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Ethiopia strikes telecoms deal with US-backed consortium in largest-ever foreign direct investment (US $8 billion, 2021-31)

Ethiopian Ambassador in Washington dismisses claims of US-China “proxy war” as country launches e-payment platform developed by Huawei and expanded its 4G contract; Ethiopia is Africa’s second biggest borrower of Chinese funds (US $13.8 billion, through 2018)

People’s Life and Culture

“C-Dramas” draw ten million African subscribers in 30 countries due to shared values and expansion of streaming services

With 300 African voice-actors, media giant StarTimes has dubbed over 20,000 episodes of Chinese series into 11 local languages (including Swahili and Yoruba) since 2011; some African viewers prefer Chinese themes and styles absent in Western productions

Science and Technology

As part of Ghana’s industrialization plan to move “beyond aid”, China invests US $130 million to upgrade the country’s technical education system

Inspired by Chinese model, Technical and Vocational Education Training (TVET) initiative will train 700 teachers, revise curricula, and refurbish 35 and construct 20 new institutes, focusing on engineering (mechanical, civil, automobile, etc.)

In June 2017, archaeologists discovered 1,000-year-old Chinese coins and pottery in the ruins of an ancient trade hub near Harlaa, Ethiopia

No. 52 | 29.05.2021

Dear reader,

Time flies! It is with great excitement that we are publishing our 52nd issue of News on China, completing one year of Dongsheng sharing weekly highlights about Chinese politics and society.

To celebrate this anniversary, we are announcing our revamped website ( with new features available in English, Spanish and Portuguese. We are also amplifying our social media presence – please follow, share and look out for our one-year anniversary special content.

We look forward to continuing to build with you in the years to come. We thank you for reading and supporting us.

—Dongsheng editorial collective


Beijing announces humanitarian aid to Palestine after Egypt mediates ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, in the biggest conflict since 2014

China announces donation of US $2 million and 200,000 vaccines, support for two-state solution, and call for Israel to lift Gaza blockade, while pressuring US to support UN Security Council position

Presidents Xi and Putin inaugurate construction of four new nuclear reactors in China using Russian technology in US $2.9 billion project

With 4.9 GW of installed capacity – nearly 10% of China’s total nuclear output – the country aims to reduce coal dependency; Russia-China relations have reached their “highest level in history” says Putin

EU parliament votes to freeze ratification of trade deal with China, their largest trading partner in 2020 (US $709 billion)

Vote (599 for, 30 against, 58 abstentions) comes after China issued retaliating sanctions based on Europe’s Xinjiang human rights allegations; halting CAI deal hinders EU companies’ access to Chinese market

National Politics

Government announces “zero tolerance” against commodity market speculation to curb record-high prices in April

Last month, the producer price index (PPI) rose 6.8% year-on-year, the highest in three and a half years, but announcement of government measures has already lowered thermal coal (15.9%), iron ore (6.5%) and steel rebar (9.4%) prices

State Council announces “crackdown on bitcoin mining and trading behavior” to reduce financial risk and energy consumption

As largest cryptocurrency mining location (65% of total), decision follows China’s aims of reducing fossil fuel dependence and carbon emissions (65% by 2030); bitcoin uses 121.36 terawatt-hours/year – equivalent to Argentina’s national consumption

China accelerates implementation of pilot property tax reform, aiming to boost local government revenues and curb rising property prices

Impact on real estate prices should be limited, but local governments hope to increase tax revenue, totalling US $305 billion (20% of the total) in 2020; Shenzhen and Hainan may test taxation by year’s end


Average wages for urban workers grew 7.7% year-on-year in the private sector (US $8,965) and 7.6% in the public sector (US $15,123)

Highest wages are in the information transmission, software and IT services (US $15,730; +18.7%) and finance (US $12,877; +9%), while hotel and catering wages declined (US $6,636; -3%)

People’s Life and Culture

Exhibition documents 70 years since Tibet’s liberation, as government releases “white paper” on economic and cultural development

Beijing’s “Into the New Era” exhibition includes 86 photographs and artworks; report highlights creation of 7,251 rural and monastery libraries, 6,126 performance groups, 35 protected traditional villages and US $778 million allocated for cultural and infrastructure maintenance

Agriculture and Environment

China generates most plastic waste but per capita consumption (18kg/year) is about a third of Australia’s (59kg) and US’s (53kg)

According to Australian study, Sinopec was third-largest single-use plastics producer (5.3 million tonnes) after ExxonMobil (5.9 million tonnes) and Dow (5.6 million tonnes) of 2019 global total (130 million tonnes)

Highly resistant to scab disease, new Yangmai 33 wheat variant will contribute to China’s goal of increasing grain production by 2%

Wheat scab, which reduces yields and produces toxins, affects ¼ of China’s wheat growing areas (6.67 million hectares); despite molecular breeding breakthrough, scab and immature industry continues to pose a challenge

In honor of Yuan Longping

This week, we honor the life of the agronomist Yuan Longping (1930-2021), the “father of hybrid rice,” who died on Saturday, May 22, at the age of 90.

When news of Yuan’s death came to light, people lined the streets in Changsha, Hunan to pay their respects, and millions left messages online for “Grandpa Yuan.”

Motivated by his dream of eradicating hunger, Yuan’s team cultivated the world’s first high-yield, hybrid rice strain in 1973. With an output 20% higher than conventional varieties, hybrid rice feeds an extra 70 million people in China each year.

Yuan also dreamed that hybrid rice could be planted overseas to benefit the rest of the world. His team has trained over 14,000 hybrid rice technicians from 80 countries. Today, hybrid rice is planted on 8 million hectares of paddies across Asia, Africa, and the Americas – with the goal of developing their own food security.

I saw rice plants as tall as Chinese sorghum, each ear of rice as big as a broom and each grain of rice as huge as a peanut. I could hide in the shadow of the rice crops with a friend.

— Yuan Longping, recalling a dream he once had.

Yuan Longping (1930-2021) [Wuheqilin]

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