No. 164 | 16.09.2023

Today, we recommend “The Wind Continues to Blow”(風繼續吹) by Leslie Cheung (张国荣), one of the pioneers and leading exponents of ’80s cantopop.


China’s bilateral ties with Venezuela upgraded to “all weather strategic partnership”, during Nicolás Maduro state visit 

In the meeting between the leaders, Xi affirmed that China “will continue to firmly support Venezuela’s efforts to defend national sovereignty, national dignity, and social stability” and “will resolutely support Venezuela’s cause against external interference”; Maduro announced a joint development plan between the city of Shenzhen and the Special Economic Zone of La Guaira and the Development Agreement between Shanghai and the state of Carabobo

Brasil de Fato, 13.09.2023

The government said that “there are no laws or regulations” prohibiting the purchase or use of foreign brands such as iPhone

The statements were made by Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning after Western media talked about an alleged guidance by some ministries for their officials to stop using iPhone cell phones; meanwhile, Foxconn, known as the world’s largest iPhone factory located in Zhengzhou, is stepping up hiring ahead of the launch of its new phone

South China Morning Post, 12.09.2023

Global Times, 13.09.2023

National Politics

Guangzhou province removed caps on housing prices imposed in 2016

Real estate developers can now determine sales prices on their own, and although they will have to submit them in a planned manner to the authorities, the authorities no longer provide pricing guidance; government price controls on the real estate industry have been relaxed from the second half of 2022, although the measures may be reintroduced if prices go beyond expectations

Nikkei Asia, 11.09.2023


China’s exports (US$ 284.9 billion) fell by 8.8% and imports (US$ 216.5 billion) by 7.3% year-on-year in August

Despite the year-over-year drop, there was an improvement over July when exports fell by 14.5% and imports by 12.4%, and the trend is expected to continue; in particular, shipments to the European Union fell by 19.58% year over year, while both US exports and imports continue to decline

South China Morning Post, 08.09.2023

People’s Bank of China seeks to strengthen the yuan with measures that will release US$16 billion to the market

The reserve requirement ratio (RRR) – the amount of money that financial institutions must hold in reserve for foreign currency deposits – will be reduced from 6% to 4% as of September 15; this will free up more money to be lent and bring the ratio to the same level as 2006, which had last had its last cut in September last year

South China Morning Post, 01.09.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

Rules regulating excessive product packaging came into full application in September

Packaging waste accounted for about 30% to 40% of China’s urban household waste in 2021, including paper, plastic, metal, glass, and other composite materials; the measures, announced in 2021 with a two-year adaptation period, include reducing the maximum number of packaging layers from four to three and the maximum packaging cost from 20% to 15% of the selling price

Beijing Review, 08.09.2023

Tibet Autonomous Region achieved carbon neutrality and can contribute to China’s dual carbon targets

The carbon sink, i.e., the natural carbon reservoir of Tibet’s ecosystem, reached about 47.6 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, while its annual emission reaches 11.5 million tons; the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has a carbon sink of 162 million tons per year, accounting for 8 to 16% of China’s total ecosystem

Xinhua, 10.09.2023

Science and Technology

For the world’s first time, Chinese scientists develop mostly human kidneys inside pig embryos

Of the more than 1,800 embryos involved in the study, five managed to grow without degenerating, and these embryos developed kidneys containing 50-60% human cells, but gestation was stopped at 28 days due to ethical considerations and risk of embryonic degradation; the CRISPR gene editing tool was used to limit the growth of pig cells and allow the growth of human cells

South China Morning Post, 08.09.2023

Tencent unveiled its own AI model, which the company says is “better” than ChatGPT at typing long texts and mathematics

Hunyuan is a large language model with more than 100 billion parameters, compared to the 175 billion that OpenAI’s GPT-3 had in 2020; while the models are still far behind the latest version of ChatGPT, companies such as Huawei, Tencent, Baidu, and Alibaba are in a race to develop their own AI models, with some 130 language models currently in China

Reuters, 07.09.2023

Caixin Global, 08.09.2023

People’s Life and Culture

Small town and rural bookstores get boost in government support to alleviate “cultural poverty”

In 2013, Chinese people only read 4.39 books per capita annually, lagging behind countries like Korea (11) and the US (7); in response, in 2018, Beijing announced measures to support physical bookstores, followed by local government policies to increase the number of bookshops and provide tax exemptions for owners

The World of Chinese, 08.09.2023

Children participate in an activity where they dress and act as famous Chinese poets at a bookstore [Anson Zong-Liscum]

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