No. 15 | 29.08.2020

A construction worker building the Diwang Building in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, 1995 [He Yanguang, Sohu]

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China’s high-tech defensive strategy, equipped with hypersonic missiles, makes the country difficult to defeat in conventional war

With the capacity to destroy enemy communications and positioning systems within minutes, now according to US Congress report, China is US’s largest AI competitor and world leader in quantum technology

China and Russia consolidate strategic partnership through energy and industrial agreements, de-dollarization and bilateral trade

Less than half of China-Russia trade in first quarter was in dollars; in 30-year agreement worth US $400 billion, Siberia natural gas pipeline will supply 38 billion m³ annually (China currently imports 90 billion); Sibur and Sinopec will jointly build massive polymer plant

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a flagship project of Belt and Road with US $62 billion investment in transportation and energy

Karachi-Peshawar railroad (1,900 km) will be modernized for US $6.8 billion as US $1.9 billion thermo coal complex construction in Tharparkar will resolve Pakistan’s 3,000 MW energy deficit

Trump deepens sanctions to prohibit the sale of any equipment with US technology to Huawei, posing a real threat to the 5G leader

Huawei’s chip stockpile is expected to run out in early 2021 and global smartphone sales could fall by 75%, and developing China’s domestic chip manufacturing to meet demand is a few years away

National Politics

Symbol of China’s economic opening, Shenzhen, celebrates 40 years as a Special Economic Zone with per capita GDP (US $30,000+), triple the national average

Megacity of 20 million (20,000 in 1970) is a global technological innovation hub and model for environmental preservation; its GDP rose from US $28.4 million to 390 billion (1980-2020)

China plans to expand high-speed rail network, doubling its tracks in 15 years and developing freight system

Increasing to 70,000 km, network will serve all cities with over half a million inhabitants and decrease China’s high logistics cost (15% of GDP), currently twice as much as US, Japan and EU spends

All-China Youth Federation shifts recruitment from elites to workers and popular culture icons

CPC-affiliated organization adds 1,375 new members — half are Party members — who “actively practice core socialist values”, including ethnic minorities (17.2%), peasants, delivery workers and online influencers like Li Ziqi (39 million TikTok followers)

Report reveals high gender inequality for birth ratio and political participation, but women’s access to education and social security improved

Despite end of one-child policy in 2015, 112 boys to 100 girls birth ratio still high (WHO’s natural ratio is 105:100) but rural education gap closing between girls (7.3 years) and boys (8.1 years)


Six of the world’s top ten brokerages belong to China, whose stock market valued at US $9.6 trillion this year

Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs top the list (US $80.6 and 72.4 billion), followed by Chinese state-owned CITIC and CSC Financial (US $54.7 and 51.7 billion), as Chinese financial market grew with loosened regulations

July industrial profits (US $85.5 billion) grew 19.6% year-on-year at fastest pace since mid-2018

As automobile (125.5%) and electronics (38.6%) sectors led growth, mining and raw materials industry declined and industrial production grew less than expected

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Agriculture and Environment

With high soy demand and limited arable land, China has increased productivity by 83% since 1978 due to technological investment

China produces 200 new varieties annually and publishes most papers globally on soybeans, but still imported 88.5 million tons (over 80% of its consumption) in 2019


Government invested US $28 billion in drinking water supply systems, ensuring access for 80% of rural population 

Benefitting 256 million peasants, these projects are an important step in the fight against poverty, but distribution and reliability of water supply in rural areas still need improvement

People’s Life and Culture

Qian Haifeng spent two decades traveling 150,000km to photograph the waning working class “green trains” of the Mao-era

As of 2019, China has 35,000 km of high-speed rail lines, though many of the country’s poor rely on the 80 cheaper trains that still operate

Sino-Japanese war blockbuster The Eight Hundred breaks single-day box office records (US $19.4 million) since the pandemic

Directed by Guan Hu, the US $79.8 million film features story of 452 Chinese soldiers that defeated the Japanese occupation and ended the three-month Battle of Shanghai in 1937

Train 6061 from Liupanshui, Guizhou province to Kunming, Yunan province, 2014 [Qian Haifeng, Sixth Tone]