No.10 | 25.07.2020

Li Ziqi cooking with her grandmother in rural Sichuan province [YouTube]


In escalating diplomatic tensions, White House orders the shutdown of Chinese consulate in Houston, and China responds with the closure of US consulate in Chengdu

US action violates international law and China-US consular treaty; Chinese government says its response was justifiable and necessary

CGTN, 23.07.2020
CGTN, 24.07.2020

US guarantees its corporate and geopolitical interests through the extraterritorial use of its laws, as Huawei and Alstom cases show

French multinational Alstom executive was arrested in 2013 for alleged corruption, resulting in a US $700 million fine and the selling to its US competitor, General Electric

Pandemic caused 19.3% drop in China-Africa trade in the last 12 months (to US $82.7 billion), due to fall in commodities and economic crisis

China imported US $48.4 billion (-31%) and exported US $33.9 billion (-8.3%). Belt and Road projects slowed down

National Politics

Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) cut US $17.1 billion in fees for small and medium businesses and were crucial in economic recovery

Largest reductions were in electricity (US $7.7 billion), telecommunications (US $6 billion) and rent (US $570 million); January-June SOE profits dropped 37.7% compared with last year

Government announces urban revitalization model in 14 cities, with US $62.2 billion financing until 2025 by two state-owned banks (China Development Bank and China Construction Bank)

The project will benefit 7 million households in 39,000 communities in first year, and aims to improve precarious construction, sanitation and public services 


Fiscal policy helped economic recovery in first half of 2020, through tax cuts and government-issued bonds for strategic public spending

Fiscal revenue decreased 10.8% due to exemptions and the pandemic, but spending fell only 5.8%; governments issued US $140 billion in bonds for pandemic efforts and US $530 billion for infrastructure investment

Due to economic recovery and low international prices, China increased imports of oil (9.9% year-on-year) and natural gas (3.3%) in the first half-year

Oil imports jumped in June (34.4%), totaling 269 million tons in the first half-year; natural gas reached 48.3 million tons with new long-term contracts with Russia

Science and Technology

Tianwen-1 mission launches Mars probe, which could make China the third country to reach the red planet

Chinese are the first to attempt to orbit, land, and rove on Mars in the same expedition; if successful, research will be the most comprehensive ever done; Tianwen (“heavenly questions”) is named after a 4th century BC poem

Targeted by sanctions, Huawei’s global sales may decrease but will grow in China’s 5G market, which will reach 800 million users by 2025

Between 2014 and 2019, Huawei increased domestic sales from 38% to 59% of its total; by the end of 2020, China should have 500,000 5G base stations and 70% of the world’s users

China’s largest chip manufacturer, SMIC debuts on the Shanghai Stock Exchange with US $7.5 billion in share sales, the largest in the last decade

Company is the country’s hopet to overcome US sanctions; previously listed on Wall Street, SMIC joins wave of Chinese companies returning to the Shanghai and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges


Owing to “patient zero’s” good memory and cell phone data, Beijing authorities located the coronavirus origin and avoided a massive outbreak

“Grandpa Tang’s” recollections and cellphone payment, chat and navigation records allowed Beijing CDC to discover the Xinfadi market source, declaring its lockdown in less than 24 hours

Eating disorders on the rise while public awareness and accessible mental health treatment still behind

Key Shanghai clinic treated 1,916 patients last year (1,000 in 2015). Social media challenges including “4-centimeter wrist” and online “pro-bulimia” forums promote unrealistic beauty standards

People’s Life and Culture

Research shows that LGBTQ Chinese in heterosexual “paper marriages” find coming out to parents easier, after meeting childbearing expectations

Evolving intergenerational family norms – due to family planning policy and decreased social safety net in the 1980s – increased reliance on younger generations and pressure to have grandchildren

Chinese online influencers, and increased e-commerce during the pandemic, bring Guangxi street food to international markets

Li Ziqi’s popular videos depicting rural life (14 million YouTube subscribers) helped popularize luosifen noodles; projected online international sales of the pre-packaged noodles total US $1.4 billion this year (up 66% annual)

Documental revive la historia de una compañía itinerante de músicos ciegos formada durante la Segunda Guerra Sino-Japonesa (1937-1945) que sigue actuando hoy en día

CPC’s Blind Men Propaganda Troupe was organized to clandestinely perform songs to inspire the Red Army and civilian supporters; songs survived through subsequent generations, today with seven members

Li Tielin, grupo de hombres ciegos que hacian agitación y propaganda