No. 161 | 26.08.2023

Regarding the Qixi Festival, covered in the People’s Life and Culture section, we recommend a song by Xu Song (许嵩), a pop musician famous for the style of traditional Chinese music he imprints on his contemporary songs.


BRICS add six new countries after summit in South Africa, with Xi Jinping calling the expansion “historic”

Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates will become full members as of January 1, 2024; the group asked its finance ministers and central banks to initiate studies on alternatives to the use of the dollar and to present the results at the next summit, to be held in October in Russia

South China Morning Post, 24.08.2023

CGTN, 24.08.2023

CGTN, 23.08.2023

China and South Africa signed US$2.2 billion Belt & Road agreements on infrastructure, tourism, and education 

Xi Jinping met with President Cyril Ramaphosa ahead of the BRICS summit, and said the relationship between the two countries had entered a “golden age”; agreements include improvements in South Africa’s energy sector, an increase in exports to China, and a space exploration partnership that envisions South African participation in manned missions and the future International Lunar Research Station

Bloomberg, 23.08.2023

South China Morning Post, 23.08.2023

National Politics

Xu Shanshui is the latest executive targeted in anti-corruption investigations in the tobacco industry

Chairman of Anhui Genuine New Materials, a cigarette packaging company, joins over 20 senior executives and officials involved in anti-graft investigations since 2021, including from the state-owned monopoly, China Tobacco, which controls 97% of the market and shares offices with the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration

Caixin Global, 22.08.2023

Government allocates 2.65 billion yuan (US$364 million) to support repairs and compensation in flood-affected areas in northern China

While the existing flood control system was key, the Ministry of Water Resources said the worst flood since 1963 exposed some weaknesses in disaster monitoring and forecasting capabilities; as a result, in Hebei alone, 15,000 grassroots officials and agricultural technicians have been mobilized to assist farmers in post-disaster production recovery

Global Times, 21.08.2023


China cuts prime rate, but seeks “reasonable returns” for lenders

A decision of the country’s 18 main banks, the reduction was 10 basis points (from 3.55% to 3.45%) and not 15 as expected, while the People’s Bank of China announced the extension of a special loan program for real estate companies until May 2024, which allows them access to 200 billion yuan (US$28 billion) at almost zero cost

Caixin Global, 18.08.2023

Financial Times, 22.08.2023

China’s budget deficit reduced by more than one-third so far this year

The increased deficit (the general and public funds budget combined) was 3.3 trillion yuan (US$449 billion) in the first seven months of this year, down 37% from the same period in 2022; total revenue increased by 6%, while spending fell by 4.8%

Caixin Global, 22.08.2023

Category Icons

Agriculture and Environment

China turns to coal to meet high energy demand due to heat wave

From January to June, 2.3 billion tons of raw coal were produced, an increase of 4.4% year-on-year, while coal imports increased by 93% (220 million tons); the increase in coal power capacity, however, has not reversed the accelerating expansion of renewable energy: from January to June, wind and solar power accounted for 71% of newly added power capacity

China Dialogue, 17.08.2023

China and Russia say Japan will dump Fukushima nuclear-contaminated wastewater into the sea to cut costs, not based on scientific grounds

In a series of letters to the International Atomic Energy Agency, they asserted that the more costly steam release “has less impact on the ocean and neighboring countries,” and is less likely to cause leaks or pollution; if Japan persists in its unilateral action, the Chinese government stated it will take necessary measures to safeguard the marine environment, food safety, and public health

South China Morning Post, 22.08.2023

Global Times, 22.08.2023

People’s Life and Culture

Nearly 35% of the Chinese population is overweight and 14% are classified as obese, according to new study

The Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism journal study classified 15.8 million people, showing that overweight and obesity are more prevalent in men, with 41.1% vs 27.7% in women, and that obesity rates are higher in the north of the country; in 2020, the China’s authorities set a target of reducing the number of overweight and obese children and adolescents by 70% in the next 10 years

Global Times, 21.08.2023

Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism journal study.

The guochao trend, where young people appropriate and reinvent traditional Chinese culture, gives a new impulse to millenary festival

The Qixi Festival, known as Chinese Valentine’s Day, was celebrated on August 22, and young people are finding new and varied ways to celebrate it; many choose this day to get married, others participate in activities for singles, and traditional and new trends such as personalized gifts, visits to museums, or cultural activities in parks are practiced

Global Times, 21.08.2023

People in traditional hanfu dress participate in a Qixi event, Beijing, 20.08.2023 [VCG]

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