TikTok US sale faces fresh hurdle after China tightens tech export rules
Beijing says some exports will now need government approval in move believed to be linked to Trump sale order
Mon 31 Aug 2020 05.34 BST
New Chinese government restrictions could complicate ByteDance plans to sell TikTok to a US company and avoid a ban threatened by Donald Trump.
Late on Friday, Beijing issued new restrictions or bans on tech exports, requiring companies to seek government approval – a process that can take up to 30 days. In mid-August, Trump gave the company 90 days to sell up or face a shutdown.
The rules, which hadn’t been updated since 2008, are believed to be aimed at delaying the sale of TikTok to US buyers, as ordered by the US president.
Some technologies were removed from the list of regulated exports, including vaccine technologies, but the 23 new additions included tech relating to AI interfaces, voice recognition, and content recommendation analysis.
TikTok’s recommendation algorithm relies on domestic technology that might need to be transferred to a new overseas owner, Chinese trade expert Professor Cui Fan told state media.
Cui told news agency Xinhua China was not in favour of “decoupling” from the US, but “some forefront technologies, however, might impact national security and public welfare, and need to be included in catalogue management”.
Cui said ByteDance should “seriously and cautiously consider whether it is necessary to suspend the [TikTok sale negotiations]”.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/ ... port-rules
China Freezes Credentials for Journalists at U.S. Outlets, Hinting at Expulsions
CNN, The Wall Street Journal and Getty Images are affected. Chinese officials told journalists, who can still work, that their fate depends on what the United States does to Chinese media employees.
By Edward Wong
Sept. 6, 2020
WASHINGTON — The Chinese government has stopped renewing press credentials for foreign journalists working for American news organizations in China and has implied it will proceed with expulsions if the Trump administration takes further action against Chinese media employees in the United States, according to six people with knowledge of the events.
The actions and threats raise the stakes in the continuing cycles of retribution between Washington and Beijing over news media organizations. Those rounds of retaliation are a prominent element of a much broader downward spiral in U.S.-China relations, one that involves mutually hostile policies and actions over trade, technology, education, diplomatic missions, Taiwan and military presence in Asia.
American news organizations immediately affected by China’s latest actions include CNN, The Wall Street Journal and Getty Images. Journalists from all three organizations tried to renew press cards with the Foreign Ministry last week, but were told the cards, which are usually good for one year, could not be renewed. In total, at least five journalists in four organizations have been affected, several reporters said.
One journalist said Foreign Ministry officials told him that his fate depended on whether the United States decided in the fall to renew the visas of Chinese journalists working in America who are under new visa regulations imposed by the Department of Homeland Security in May. Other journalists have received similar messages.
The journalist said he was told by Chinese officials that if the Trump administration decided to expel Chinese journalists, Beijing would take reciprocal action. Many of the Chinese journalists work for state-run news organizations.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/06/us/p ... sions.html
China, in Pointed Message to U.S., Tightens Its Climate Targets
President Xi Jinping pledged, among other goals, to achieve “carbon neutrality by 2060.” It was China’s boldest promise yet on climate change.
By Somini Sengupta
Sept. 22, 2020
President Xi Jinping of China pledged on Tuesday that his country would adopt much stronger climate targets and achieve what he called “carbon neutrality before 2060.” If realized, the pledges would be crucial in the global fight against climate change.
The announcement, made at the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, is significant because China is currently the top producer of greenhouse gas emissions. What the country does to curb its emissions, therefore, is crucial to slowing down global warming on the whole.
Todd Stern, the chief United States negotiator at talks for the 2015 Paris Agreement, called the carbon neutrality target “big and important news.”
“The closer to 2050 the better,” Mr. Stern said.
The timing of the announcement was equally notable, coming so close to United States elections in which climate change has become increasingly important to voters.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/22/clim ... sions.html
With Covid-19 Under Control, China’s Economy Surges Ahead
Exports jumped and local governments engaged in a binge of debt-fueled construction projects. Even consumer spending is finally recovering.
By Keith Bradsher
Oct. 18, 2020 Updated 10:49 p.m. ET
BEIJING — As most of the world still struggles with the coronavirus pandemic, China is showing once again that a fast economic rebound is possible when the virus is brought firmly under control.
The Chinese economy surged 4.9 percent in the July-to-September quarter compared with the same months last year, the country’s National Bureau of Statistics announced on Monday. The robust performance brings China almost back up to the roughly 6 percent pace of growth that it was reporting before the pandemic.
Many of the world’s major economies have climbed quickly out of the depths of a contraction last spring, when shutdowns caused output to fall steeply. But China is the first to report growth that significantly surpasses where it was at this time last year. The United States and other nations are expected to report a third-quarter surge too, but they are still behind or just catching up to pre-pandemic levels.
China’s lead could widen further in the months to come. It has almost no local transmission of the virus now, while the United States and Europe face another accelerating wave of cases.
The vigorous expansion of the Chinese economy means that it is set to dominate global growth — accounting for at least 30 percent of the world’s economic growth this year and in the years to come, Justin Lin Yifu, a cabinet adviser and honorary dean of the National School of Development at Peking University, said at a recent government news conference in Beijing.
Chinese companies are making up a greater share of the world’s exports, manufacturing consumer electronics, personal protection equipment and other goods in high demand during the pandemic. At the same time, China is now buying more iron ore from Brazil, more corn and pork from the United States and more palm oil from Malaysia. That has partly reversed a nosedive in commodity prices last spring and softened the impact of the pandemic on some industries.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/18/busi ... covid.html
When will the T administration match the challenge?
Police officers salute paramedics after they help test over 9 million people for coronavirus in China's Qingdao
Police officers saluted paramedics after they helped test over 9 million people for coronavirus in five days in eastern China's Qingdao.
In the video, filmed on October 18, police officers stood either side of a road while saluting the paramedics as they drove past on buses.
Shandong Province has deployed over 2,500 paramedics to support Qingdao city to finish the coronavirus tests for over 9 million people in only five days.
Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Lawmakers Say They Will Resign in Protest
Fifteen members of the opposition in the territory’s legislature will step down after Beijing authorized the removal of four of their colleagues.
By Austin Ramzy, Tiffany May and Elaine Yu
Nov. 11, 2020 Updated 5:23 a.m. ET
HONG KONG — Pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong’s legislature said on Wednesday that they would resign en masse after Beijing forced the ouster of four of their colleagues, a dramatic act of protest that will leave the political opposition without a voice in one of the city’s last major forums for dissent.
The departures will reshape the city’s political landscape, which has been upended since China imposed a national security law on Hong Kong this summer. With the imprimatur of Beijing, the authorities have arrested pro-democracy leaders and activists as they resolved to bring Hong Kong to heel and put an end to the protests that engulfed the semiautonomous Chinese territory for much of last year.
The four lawmakers who were removed from office — Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki, Kenneth Leung and Alvin Yeung — had previously been barred from running for re-election this year. Hours after their removal, the remaining 15 members of their camp said they were stepping down.
“Together we stand!” lawmakers in the pro-democracy camp chanted as they held hands in a conference room in the Legislative Council building. One of the legislators, Wu Chi-wai, told reporters that they would tender their resignations in protest on Thursday.
“Many people will consider today a dark day. It is hard for me to say it isn’t,” said Kwok Ka-ki, one of the four lawmakers who was removed. “As long as our resolve to fight for freedom, equality and justice remains unchanged, one day we will see the return of the core values we cherish.”
Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed government appeared to welcome the resignations, which will give it much freer rein to carry out its policies. The legislature has been one of the main scenes for opposition to the government, after street demonstrations have been largely shut down by social distancing requirements and increasingly aggressive police tactics.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/11/worl ... otism.html
Interesting scientific challenge ahead - disturbing the sleep of The Man In The Moon
China Set to Retrieve First Moon Rocks in 40 Years
Chang’e-5 has just one lunar day to collect material from a previously unexplored region of the moon’s near side
By Smriti Mallapaty,
Nature magazine on November 11, 2020
Later this month, a Chinese spacecraft will travel to the Moon to scoop up lunar rocks for the first time in more than 40 years. The mission, named Chang’e-5, is the latest in a series of increasingly complex trips to the lunar surface led by the China National Space Administration (CNSA), following its first touchdown of a craft, Chang’e-4, on the Moon’s far side last year.
much more in the article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... -40-years/
China Says It Remains Open to the World, but Wants to Dictate Terms
China’s leader, Xi Jinping, is pursuing a strategy to make the country’s economy more self-sufficient, while making other places more dependent on it than ever.
By Steven Lee Myers and Keith Bradsher
Published Nov. 23, 2020 Updated Nov. 24, 2020, 2:18 a.m. ET
After Australia dared last spring to call for an investigation into the origins of the coronavirus, China began quietly blocking one import after another from Australia — coal, wine, barley and cotton — in violation of free-trade norms. Then this month, with no clear explanation, China left $3 million worth of Australian rock lobsters dying in Shanghai customs.
Australia nonetheless joined 14 Asian nations and just signed a new regional free-trade deal brokered by China. The agreement covers nearly a third of the world’s population and output, reinforcing China’s position as the dominant economic and diplomatic power in Asia.
It’s globalization with Communist characteristics: The Chinese government promotes the country’s openness to the world, even as it adopts increasingly aggressive and at times punitive policies that force countries to play by its rules.
With the United States and others wary of its growing dominance in areas like technology, China wants to become less dependent on the world for its own needs, while making the world as dependent as possible on China.
“China wants what other great powers do,” said Yun Jiang, a researcher and editor of the China Story at the Australian National University. “It wants to follow international rules and norms when it is in its interest, and disregard rules and norms when the circumstances suit it.”
China’s strategy is born out of strength. The coronavirus has practically disappeared within its borders. The country’s economy is growing strongly. And China’s manufacturing sector has become the world’s largest by a wide margin, leaving other nations heavily dependent on it for everything from medical gear to advanced electronics.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/23/worl ... ation.html
The legay of this US administration
Hong Kong’s Courts Are Still Independent. Some Want to Rein Them In.
The judiciary is crucial to the city’s status as a global hub for trade and finance. But the Chinese Communist Party has been gaining more authority over it.
By Austin Ramzy
Nov. 30, 2020
HONG KONG — They were arrested on one of the most violent days in Hong Kong last year, when protesters threw firebombs at the main government offices and set a barrier aflame outside Police Headquarters. But last month, a judge quickly dismantled the prosecutors’ case against them.
In his ruling, District Judge Sham Siu-man said that police officers had given unreliable testimony, and that they appeared to have gone against their training by using batons to subdue one protester. He found all eight defendants not guilty, saying one had merely been asking the police to do their job when she used a loudspeaker to urge restraint.
The next day, a Chinese government-owned newspaper in Hong Kong splashed a photo of the judge, wearing his court wig and robes, on its front page beside images of protesters and burning barriers. “Strange opinion issued by the court,” the headline read. The judge, it continued, says the protesters “were actually the ones wronged.”
As the Chinese Communist Party extends its grip over Hong Kong, pro-Beijing forces are increasingly targeting the city’s independent judiciary, an institution that forms the backbone of this global center for commerce and capital.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/30/worl ... ourts.html
China Lands Chang’e-5 Spacecraft on Moon to Gather Lunar Rocks and Soil
The mission will now collect samples, aiming to return with them to Earth by mid-December.
By Steven Lee Myers and Kenneth Chang
Dec. 1, 2020
China has landed a robotic spacecraft on the moon, Xinhua, the official statenews agency reported on Tuesday. The probe will spend two days gathering rocks and dirt from the lunar surface, with the goal of returning the first cache of moon samples to Earth since 1976.
The spacecraft, Chang’e-5, was the third successful uncrewed moon landing by China since 2013, when Chang’e-3 and its Yutu rover became China’s first visitor to make a lunar soft landing. In 2019, Chang’e-4 landed on the moon’s far side, the first spacecraft from Earth to ever do that. At least three more Chang’e moon landers are planned for the coming decade, ahead of China’s aspiration of building a moon base for astronauts in the 2030s.
A Long March 5 rocket carrying the probe launched on early last Tuesday from a site on China’s southern Hainan Island. In an unusual move for China’s typically secretive space program, the liftoff and journey to orbit was covered live by state broadcasters, complete with footage made by cameras mounted on the rocket. The live program suggests the Communist Party has growing confidence in the country’s space program.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/01/scie ... nding.html
In 2017, the impeached lame duck directed NASA to focus on crewed landings on the moon, and later Mars.
Code-named Artemis, NASA wants to send the first woman to the moon in 2024.
x6 x2 x4 x2
China’s ‘tainted’ cotton
China is forcing hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and other minorities into hard, manual labour in the vast cotton fields of its western region of Xinjiang, according to new research seen by the BBC.
Based on newly discovered online documents, it provides the first clear picture of the potential scale of forced labour in the picking of a crop that accounts for a fifth of the world’s cotton supply and is used widely throughout the global fashion industry.
Alongside a large network of detention camps, in which more than a million are thought to have been detained, allegations that minority groups are being coerced into working in textile factories have already been well documented.
The Chinese government denies the claims, insisting that the camps are “vocational training schools” and the factories are part of a massive, and voluntary, “poverty alleviation” scheme.
But the new evidence suggests that upwards of half a million minority workers a year are also being marshalled into seasonal cotton picking under conditions that again appear to raise a high risk of coercion.
“In my view the implications are truly on a historical scale,” Dr Adrian Zenz, a senior fellow at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington who uncovered the documents, told the BBC.
“For the first time we not only have evidence of Uighur forced labour in manufacturing, in garment making, it’s directly about the picking of cotton, and I think that is such a game-changer.
“Anyone who cares about ethical sourcing has to look at Xinjiang, which is 85% of China’s cotton and 20% of the world’s cotton, and say, ‘We can’t do this anymore.’”
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/extra/nz0g30 ... ted-cotton
also a result of the current maladminstration
Hong Kong Police Arrest Dozens of Pro-Democracy Leaders
The officials and activists were detained under the national security law for their efforts to choose candidates to run in the city’s legislative elections.
By Vivian Wang and Austin Ramzy
Jan. 5, 2021 Updated 10:11 p.m. ET
HONG KONG — The Hong Kong police arrested dozens of elected pro-democracy officials and activists early Wednesday on suspicion of undermining a new national security law after they tried to organize an informal primary election last year for the city’s legislature.
The mass arrests marked the largest roundup yet under the security law, which the central Chinese government imposed on Hong Kong in June to quash dissent after months of fierce anti-Beijing protests. The move on Wednesday suggested that the authorities were casting a wide net for anyone who had played a prominent role in opposing the government.
The Hong Kong police did not immediately identify those arrested, and said an exact count of those detained was not available. But some local news outlets reported that up to 50 people had been arrested.
The wide-ranging nature of the arrests — which included figures who had called for aggressive confrontation with the authorities and those who had supported more moderate tactics — underscored government officials’ efforts to weaken any meaningful opposition in the city’s political institutions. Along with detaining activists, the authorities arrested at least 10 former Legislative Council members and a number of district councilors, a hyperlocal elected position dominated by pro-democracy figures.
Pro-democracy forces have increasingly faced pressure over the past year. Before the latest roundup, the police previously arrested dozens of people under the national security law, including Jimmy Lai, the media mogul and founder of Apple Daily, a pro-democracy newspaper.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/05/worl ... y-law.html
Expect the loser-in-command -> they are again manipulating their currency -> more tariffs
China’s Economy Surges, and So Does Its Currency
The renminbi has reached its strongest level in more than two years, signaling Chinese dominance in manufacturing and giving President-elect Joe Biden breathing room.
By Alexandra Stevenson
Jan. 12, 2021
HONG KONG — China’s economy has come roaring back from the depths of the coronavirus pandemic, and its currency has joined the ride.
The currency, known variously as the yuan or the renminbi, has surged in strength in recent months against the American dollar and other major currencies. Through Monday, the U.S. dollar was worth 6.47 renminbi, compared with 7.16 renminbi in late May and close to its strongest level in two and half years.
Many currencies tend to jump around in value even more, but Beijing has long kept a leash on China’s, so the renminbi’s leap looks like a power move.
The stronger renminbi has implications for companies that make stuff in China, which is a pretty big group. It could make Chinese-made goods more expensive for the world’s consumers, though the effect seems muted so far.
The most immediate impact might be in Washington, where President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is set to move into the White House next week. During past administrations, a weakening of China’s currency led to anger in Washington. The renminbi’s rise may not ease the tense relationship between the two countries, but it could remove one potential issue from Mr. Biden’s plate.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/12/busi ... trong.html