No. 19 | 26.09.2020

Peasants of Xiaogang, Anhui province play tug-of-war to celebrate Spring Festival in 1982 [Wang Qiang/China Photographers Association]

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China pledges carbon neutrality by 2060 and is set to meet emissions peak before 2030 commitment, but coal dependency remains greatest challenge

World’s largest carbon dioxide emitter (28.8%) relies heavily on coal energy (58%) but leads renewable energy investment (45% of global growth in 2018); meanwhile US withdrew from Paris Agreement in 2019

EU-China Summit makes progress in strategic investment deal expected to close by end of year, but Europe remains divided

China could become largest export destination for Germany – the biggest supporter of the agreement on market access, technology transfer, subsidies and the environment – but receives strong criticism about Hong Kong and ethnic minorities

China replaces US to become the EU’s largest trading partner between January and July (US $382.5 billion), with 2.6% year-on-year growth

Most European imports come from China, which increased by 4.9% (to 21.9%), while its exports decreased 1.8% (to 10.3%) to the Asian country

China is Indonesia’s largest trading partner with commercial activity having grown tenfold in the past decade, reaching US $79.4 billion

After Singapore (US $6.5 billion), China is country’s second biggest investor (US $4.7 billion) with signature Belt and Road high-speed railroad between Jakarta and Bandung (US $6 billion)

US energy sector suffers billions in losses in the Chinese market as a consequence of Trump’s trade war policies

As the former largest buyer of US shale oil in 2018 (US $5.42 billion), China has also withdrawn planned investments in US natural gas plants; Chinese-Russian energy alliance expected to jeopardize commercial success of US oil

National Politics

Government releases report on developments in employment, labor rights, income and education in Xinjiang from 2014-2019

Employment increased 17.2% (to 13.3 million) and per capita disposable income increased by about 50% (US $5,125 urban, US $1,935 rural); 453,800 students are enrolled in university (up 47.5%)

Shanghai’s plan to establish 150+ preschool daycare centers by 2022 could become model for country

2016 universal second-child policy was launched to face dual challenges of rapidly aging society and lowest number of births since 1961 (14.6 million in 2018); provincial subsidization plan will relieve social and financial pressures on families


China’s non-financial investment in Belt and Road countries grew 31.5% year-on-year between January and August

BRI accounted for 17.2% of total Chinese outbound investments (12.4% last year) and US $137.7 billion (up 7.3%) was spent on large engineering projects abroad, but total investments in other countries fell 2.6%

Chinese yuan reaches 16-month high due to economic recovery and lowered interest rates, while the dollar continues to fall

Yuan trade demand in July (US $115.1 billion) reached 2020 high as the dollar devalued 6% since May (DXY index), due to US Federal Reserve monetary policies and economic crisis

Category Icons

Agriculture and Environment

Chinese state-owned Sinograin develops smart grain storage systems to ensure food security, grain quality and peasants’ income

Grain-procurement app helped 650,000 peasants sell 19 million tons of grain, and smart inspection and storage systems have been adopted by 98% of Sinograin’s 980+ granaries

Science and Technology

Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) develops infection-resistant pigs to the three major swine diseases

Technique deletes receptor genes and prevents infections by the reproductive and respiratory syndrome, gastroenteritis virus and delta coronavirus, responsible for hundreds of billions of dollars in damages to pig producers in 2019


Pandemic exacerbated China’s shortage of nurses, who work long hours in high stress and low-paying environments (75% earn less than US $738/month)

Country’s 2.94 nurses/1000 people and nurse-to-doctor ratio fall short of targets; Wuhan medical workers faced depression (50%), anxiety (41%), elevated stress (62%), highlighted by suspected suicide of nurse Zhang Yanwan

People’s Life and Culture

Xiaogang village transformed collectivized agricultural production into a household contract system that defined China’s post-1978 rural reform

18 peasant families developed a model of combining state-owned land with individual production (becoming national policy in 1982) and today’s industrial park, high-standard farmland, tourism and e-commerce brings villagers US $3,768/capita income

China’s US $33.1 billion gaming industry appeals to country’s ancient history and culture at home and abroad

Collaborations with museums and TV networks build national “confidence” among China’s 640 million gamers, while promoting Chinese culture overseas – Tencent became world’s highest grossing gaming company after 2016 majority acquisition of Finland’s Supercell

Scene from NetEase’s Ni Shui Han, a multiplayer role-playing game set in Song dynasty China (10-13th c.) [@逆水寒 on Weibo]