No. 159 | 12.08.2023

This week, we talk about the Tang Dynasty in our newsletter. For this reason, we suggest listening to the album “Chinese Music of the Tang Dynasty” (中國唐樂), published in 1990, with 20 songs recovered by various specialists and performed by the Shanghai Ancient Chinese Music Ensemble (上海中国古乐团).


A total of 103 deals worth US$43.3 billion were closed under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the first half of 2023

With an increasing focus on smaller projects, the average value of agreements was almost US$392 million, while in 2022 it was US$617 million; China’s trade with the 151 member countries of the BRI in the first seven months of 2023 reached US$1 trillion, contrasting with total Chinese foreign trade, which was only 0.4%

Global Times, 08.08.2023

South China Morning Post, 05.08.2023

At the slowest pace since 2006, China’s investment in mergers and acquisitions in the US totals just over US$221 million this year

In the same period last year, the figure was US$3.4 billion in the US, while its investments in Germany also registered a decade-low (US$189 million) so far this year; overall Chinese  overseas investment (US$12.2 billion) contrasts with the 2016 peak (US$212 billion), but shows signs of growth in other regions such as Peru and Singapore

Financial Times, 04.08.2023

Foreign direct investment in China reached its lowest level in 25 years in the last quarter, around US$4.9 billion

The drop was 87% compared to the same period last year, and 76% less compared to the previous quarter; some foreign companies have canceled local operations or expansion plans and others have relocated manufacturing and sourcing outside the country, while the CPC Politburo announces the adoption of various measures to stabilize foreign investment

Caixin Global, 07.08.2023

National Politics

Ministry of State Security determines the restrictions and supervision requirements defined in the recently reformulated Counter-espionage Law

In counterintelligence work, employees of national security agencies must work with a minimum of two individuals present when carrying out different actions such as inspection, apprehension or interrogation; evidence collections must also be recorded, and anyone has the right to report or accuse the national security agency and its employees of any illegal activities

Global Times, 07.08.2023


Exports contract 14.5% in July, year-on-year, marking the biggest drop since the beginning of the pandemic

Imports in the same period also fell more than expected, by 12.4%, and so far this year represent an accumulated drop of 7.6% (US$1.46 trillion), while exports in the same period decreased 5%, totaling US$1.94 trillion; high global inflation and rising interest rates are among the causes of lower demand for Chinese products in the world

Financial Times, 08.08.2023

Category Icons

Agriculture and Environment

Farmers in the country’s main grain producing region struggle to save crops affected by the floods, adversely affecting China’s food security

Typhoon Doksuri hit the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning, known as the breadbasket of China, responsible for more than 1/5 of the country’s grain production; the central government has provided 432 million yuan in aid and sent 11 task forces and hundreds of experts, as concerns grow over export restrictions in other countries that drive up global prices

South China Morning Post, 08.08.2023

South China Morning Post, 04.08.2023

China could install 15-20 GW of battery storage capacity by 2023, surpassing total added over the past decade

This year, China has already added 8 GW of battery storage capacity, bringing the total capacity to 21.1 GW; central government policies and the price of lithium – which fell by almost 1/3 in the first half of 2023 compared to average prices in 2022 – accelerated installations

Caixin Global, 04.08.2023

Science and Technology

300,000-year-old skull found in China may belong to a third, never-before-seen human lineage

A team of paleontologists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences rules out that the remains found in Hualongdong, in eastern China, were of a Denisovan Hominid and Homo erectus origin, but rather is working with the hypothesis that it is a completely new lineage, a hybrid between the branch that gave rise to modern humans and the one that evolved into other ancient hominids in the region

Science Alert, 07.08.2023, 04.08.2023

People’s Life and Culture

App drivers, couriers, and other temporary workers face lower wages and longer work hours

In the first post-pandemic months, platforms receive fewer requests while more people look for jobs in this sector; recently, the central government has been mediating collective agreements to improve conditions for platform workers, who account for 240 million jobs, and represent 27% of the working-age population

South China Morning Post, 05.08.2023

The animated film 30,000 miles from Chang’an depicts the history of the Tang dynasty and is the new blockbuster in the country

The story focuses on the friendship between poets Li Bai and Gao Shi, and the rise and fall of Chang’an, the capital of the Tang dynasty, and is told through 48 classic poems well known to Chinese audiences. Interviewed by SCMP, our member Tings Chak, said that China’s cultural industry offers its population an alternative to Hollywood, which has for decades dominated local cultures.

South China Morning Post, 06.08.2023

A scene from 30,000 Miles from Chang’an

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