No. 11 | 01.08.2020

The interest in China is growing everywhere. Yet most of the available news and analysis outside China is produced by mainstream media from the Global North. To provide access to Chinese perspectives, the Dong Feng Collective — formed by researchers from various countries — is preparing a weekly digest of news from China (with sources originally in Chinese and English). For reference, we will also include a limited selection of Western media articles. The digest is published every Saturday in Spanish, Portuguese, English, Italian, and French.

China Telecom workers install a 5G base station in Gansu province, 21 February 2019 [Zhang Tieliang/VCG/Getty Images]

Geopolitics

From trade sanctions and fake news to military and diplomatic intimidation, US offensive against China is a reaction to Chinese economic and technological advances

For the first time, US glimpses risk of losing technological superiority, its main advantage in last decades, with Huawei’s 5G technology as the biggest threat

According to president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Pompeo and Trump’s aggressive tactic against China is inefficient and weakens US hegemony

Concerned about maintaining US dominance, Haas criticizes the White House boycott of multilateral bodies and its inability to increase competitiveness against China

Faced with trade war and pandemic in the first half-year, China is strengthening relations with Southeast Asian countries, now its main trading partners

Chinese investments (US $6.2 billion) in the region jumped 53.1% annually and trade with ASEAN (US $297.8 billion) represented 14.7% of total, surpassing Europe (14%) and the US (11.5%)

Taiwanese exports to China in first half grew 9.8% year-on-year (US $66.8 billion), despite rising political tensions

Taiwan’s plan to export more to ASEAN has not worked (-4.8%), but increased dependence on China (to 42.3% of exports), followed by the US (14.5%) and Japan (7.4%)

National Politics

Government pays US $127 billion in arrears to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and launches measures for their steady development

Having already granted cheap credits and tax exemptions, additional measures taken to ensure timely payments to SMEs – the most affected by the pandemic and accounting for 70% of GDP and 80% of jobs

Economy

Industry profits fell 12.8% in the first half (to US $357.7 billion), but May (6.0%) and June (11.5%) annual highs show hopeful signs

Dividends of state-owned enterprises dropped 28.5%, and 8.4% for private companies; mining company profits dove 41.7% and electronics, communication and computing sector rose 27.2%

China’s top 500 companies saw revenue increase of 11% year-on-year ($7.2 trillion) and 16% in net profits (US $600 billion) in first half-year

Oil companies Sinopec (US $425 billion) and CNPC (US $361 billion) lead in revenues and banks lead in profits – ICBC (US $44 billion) and China Construction Bank (US $38 billion)

Shanghai Stock Exchange tech platform, STAR market, with 123 listed companies rose in value by 338% in first year

The “Chinese Nasdaq” has more flexible regulations and is attracting Chinese giants currently listed in NYC, with chip-maker SMIC’s billion-dollar debut and Alibaba’s promising return raising expectations

Science and Technology

Software industry recovers with revenue up 6.7% (to US $516 billion) and profits increasing 1.3% annual (to US $60.7 billion) after five-month decline, but international sanctions loom

In the first half-year, sector employed 6.73 million people and exports slipped 0.4% year-on-year

Ministry report predicts shortfall of ten million technology workers by 2025 given increased demand in emerging sectors

1.5 million cloud computing engineers, 5 million Internet of Things specialists, 1 million drone pilots are amongst the 38 new occupations recognized in April 2019

Category Icons

Agriculture and Environment

China plans to reduce consumption of non-biodegradable plastic by 30% by 2025, but explosion of delivery services poses challenge

In 2018, Chinese consumed 25 million tons (9 million in delivery packaging), one of the highest rates in the world; Beijing is expected to ban bags and other plastic utensils next year

China invests $12.4 billion to develop 2.9 million hectares of high-standard farmland in the first half-year

66.6 million hectares of farmland of high yield, quality and ecological soundness, and production of 500 million tons of grain is targeted for 2022

People’s Life and Culture

South African anti-Apartheid struggle leader who trained in China, Andrew Mlangeni (1925-2020), passes away – last of the generation jailed with Nelson Mandela after Rivonia Trials

59 years ago today (Army Day), Mao Zedong met and inspired the six South Africans receiving military training, which “should have been thousands”

Film projectionist’s decades-long passion for rural public screenings was revived with 2007 government policy, after 1990s decline with the advent of television and DVDs

In the tradition of 1980s rural film teams established to promote culture and agricultural science, government-subsidized projectionist and wife screen 350 films in 36 villages per year

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Projectionist Liu Liang screening a film in Maming village, Zhejiang province [Xinhua]