No. 170 | 04.11.2023

The song “Lady Shexiang” (奢香夫人), by the duo Legend of the Phoenix (凤凰传奇), was composed to praise Lady Shexiang, leader of the Yi ethnic minority during the Ming Dynasty.


IMF report shows that Chinese loans by far do not represent the main debt burden in Sub-Saharan Africa

China’s share of the region’s total external public debt went from less than 2% before 2005 to around 17% in 2021 (or US$ 134 billion out of a total of US$ 790 billion); China’s share of Sub-Saharan Africa’s total sovereign debt remains relatively small (6% of the total)

South China Morning Post, 24.10.2023

Chinese banks grant loans totaling US$ 1.3 billion to African financial institutions to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

The credits are part of the plan, announced by Xi Jinping at the 8th China-Africa Cooperation Forum in 2021, to allocate US$10 billion for the development of African SMEs; between 2000 and 2022, China made loans worth US$ 2.94 billion to African regional banks and institutions

South China Morning Post, 24.10.2023

National Politics

The reform of the People’s Liberation Army in the last eight years has transformed the military command structure and significantly improved Chinese arsenal technology

The main objective of the changes led by Xi Jinping is to make the PLA a fully modern army by the centenary in 2027, also keeping up with the growing military presence of the US in the Pacific, and one key aspect has been a massive anti-corruption campaign; this year, the PLA budget (US$ 224.3 billion) – the second largest in the world – increased by 7.2%, representing less than 15% of the actual 2022 US military budget (US$ 1.53 trillion)

South China Morning Post, 30.10.2023

Monthly Review, 01.11.2023

Urbanization and reform were part of the governance strategy of former Prime Minister Li Keqiang, who recently passed away

Li’s career highlights include accelerating industrialization and urbanization and promoting agricultural modernization in Henan province, which led to the first double-digit increase (14.2%) in eight years in rural per capita income in 2004, and increasing medical subsidies thanks to the National Health Reform, whose supervisory group was headed by Li as vice-premier

Caixin Global, 27.10.2023


China made its first international oil payment in digital yuan

China National Petroleum Corporation bought 1 million barrels of oil using digital yuan, advancing the internationalization of the Chinese currency; from January to September 2023, cross-border settlement volume in yuan reached 38.9 billion yuan (US$5.32 billion), a year-on-year increase of 24%, but its share of international payments is still low (3.77% of the total)

Global Times, 27.10.2023

China approves 1 trillion yuan (US$139 billion) in new bonds to boost economic recovery

In its first budget revision since 2008, the government increased China’s budget deficit for 2023 from 3% to 3.8% of GDP; the additional funding will be used for reconstruction in disaster-stricken regions, seeking to alleviate the rise in local government debt and the decline in revenue from land sales, although some analysts believe it is also a stimulus to boost growth and confidence

Nikkei Asia, 25.10.2023

Category Icons

Agriculture and Environment

Air pollution has hit major cities in northern China due to increased industrial activity, heavy transportation, and agricultural fires

Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, and northern Henan have experienced moderate to severe air pollution levels that improved with the arrival of cold air currents a few days later; recently, China announced a target to reduce PM2.5 levels by 10% by 2025, which is related to over one million deaths nationwide  in 2020 (out of a global total of 4.2 million) 

Reuters, 31.10.2023

Sixth Tone, 23.10.2023

Science and Technology

Chinese YMTC has developed the “most advanced memory chip in the world,” entirely domestically produced

Yangtze Memory Technologies Company is China’s leading memory chip producer and, before US sanctions, had become a strong competitor to world leaders in memory chips; its new 3D NAND chip is at the forefront of memory chip design and is an important component for high-performance computing in AI and machine learning applications

South China Morning Post, 26.10.2023

Xiaomi has launched its new operating system designed to work on mobile phones, vehicles, and home appliances

HyperOS combines an Android system and Xiaomi’s Internet of Things software platform, Vela, and will come pre-installed on Xiaomi 14 phones and devices released in the local market, such as smartwatches and televisions; Huawei will also launch HarmonyOS next year aiming to become completely independent from the Android ecosystem

South China Morning Post, 30.10.2023

People’s Life and Culture

The Asian Para Games ended in Hangzhou, which made great strides in accessibility for people with disabilities

The facilities of the Asian Games were adapted, adding ramps, elevators with braille buttons, and 1,100 accessible beds; the city has 140,000 adapted facilities, including hotels, subway stations, and public service areas, as well as 75 streets, over 3,000 km of sidewalks with paths for the blind, 50 pedestrian overpasses and tunnels, and over 1,600 accessible public restrooms

CGTN, 27.10.2023

Diário do Povo, 30.10.2023

Members of the Palestinian delegation at the opening ceremony of the Hangzhou Paralympic Games, February 22, 2023 [Xinhua]

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