No. 102 | 11.06.2022

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Geopolitics

Cuba and China announce patent for new Pan-Corona vaccine, aiming to protect against future Covid-19 variants

China-Cuba research center in Yongzhou (Hunan province), led by Cuban scientists from the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, developed the vaccine on China’s request; Pan-Corona has the technology of other Cuban Covid-19 vaccines (e.g., Abdala) and Hepatitis B

Granma, 02.06.2022

Joint Columbia-Oxford Universities study refutes Chinese “debt-trap diplomacy” in Africa and highlights debt owed to European bondholders

Chinese entities account for 8% (US$78 billion) of sub-Saharan Africa’s government debt (US$954 billion) and 18% of total external debt, of which ⅓ was owed to bilateral official partners, ⅓ to international financial institutions, and ⅓ in Eurobonds

South China Morning Post, 06.06.2022

Find study here

National Politics

Regular mass testing marks new phase in China’s fight against Covid-19, requiring world-first planning and organization

State-funded system already operates in 55 cities (40% of the population), and requires negative tests from residents (every 2-7 days) to move freely; with 530,000 samplers and 730,000 lab technicians, costs could total US$ 67 billion by 2022 

Caixin Global, 03.06.2022

Record 11.93 million students take college entrance exam (gaokao) with hundreds taking the test in quarantined locations

Class of 2022 is the first to have graduated from high school under the pandemic, which intensified the stress generated by the exam; Shanghai postponed the gaokao to July 7, amid the fight against a Covid-19 outbreak

Sixth Tone, 07.06.2022

South China Morning Post, 07.06.2022

Economy

As Asia’s factory offshoring intensifies, China loses ASEAN countries’ export orders to the US, especially Vietnam

Between October 2021 and March 2022, falls in textiles (-5%), furniture (-7%) and mechanical and electrical products (-2%), intensified by Covid-19 outbreaks, but the relocation trend began ten years ago; China’s share of US furniture imports, for example, fell from 68% (2009) to 55.1% (2019)

Caixin Global, 28.05.2022

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Agriculture and Environment

China is expected to meet canola production self-sufficiency with 6.67 million hectares of crops this summer, largest area since 2015

Canola is the largest source of edible vegetable oil in China; harvest jump is due to higher market prices, local government policies, and special fund allocation of US$ 448.2 million to support planting

Global Times, 06.06.2022

Use of plastic mulch in Chinese agriculture in recent decades helped farmers emerge from poverty, but soil contamination has become a problem

China accounts for 74% of total plastic film used globally (1.95 million tons/year), generating US$18.8-23.6 billion/year; government tries to combat use of ultra-thin plastics as research into biodegradable alternatives advances

China Focus, 02.06.2022

Science and Technology

Shenzhou 14 spacecraft begins six-month mission with three taikonauts who will oversee final construction phase of Tiangong space station

Trio will be responsible for docking the 20-ton Wentian and Mengtian laboratory modules, which will enable materials exploration and space science and medicine research; the crew includes Liu Yang, first Chinese woman to go into space (2012)

South China Morning Post, 05.06.2022

South China Morning Post, 04.06.2022

People’s and Life Culture

Older migrant workers face increasing difficulties finding jobs in cities due to hiring age limits and the modernization of industries

Of the 300 million migrant workers, 27.1% are employed in industry, 19% in construction, and 50.9% in services, with 80 million aged 50+ (27.3% of the total); migrants have little social protection, with low skills and education levels 

Caixin Global, 01.07.2022

Bobby’s Factory documents life inside a cosmetics factory run by a Nigerian and Chinese couple in Yiwu, China

Director Zhang Yong uses documentaries to tell everyday stories of Chinese people living in Africa, and vice versa, strengthen Chinese-African relations, and overcome mutual stereotypes, often reinforced by Western and Chinese commercial productions

Sixth Tone, 04.06.2022

A still from the 2021 documentary “Bobby’s Factory” [Douban via Sixth Tone]


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