No. 21 | 10.10.2020

Party secretary, Zeng Liyuan, visits a peasant family as part of the poverty-alleviation work in Qingbei, Jilin province [My Year of Poverty Alleviation/CCTV9]

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Over 3500 US companies are suing their government for economic losses due to tariffs imposed on Chinese imports

Trade war against China has seen US companies’ share value cut by US $1.7 trillion (Fed/Columbia University) and is expected to cost the US economy around US $316 billion by end of 2020 (Bloomberg)

US chief trade negotiator and China critic, Robert E. Lighthizer, softens tone in attempt to maintain trade deal with China

Faced with Washington’s escalating attacks on Beijing, Lighthizer is under internal pressure from sectors of the US economy that depend on the success of the agreement, such as agribusiness, banking, and energy

Kenya’s transport committee recommends that government renegotiate loan with China on the Mombasa-Naivasha railway, due to poor profitability and the pandemic

The country’s 580km rail line cost US $4.7 billion and received low-interest financing from Chinese state-owned companies; Kenya could follow path of Ethiopia, Congo and Angola and seek debt relief from China 

National Politics

Since 2012, three million CPC cadres have been sent to rural communities, reducing absolute poverty (US $587/year) from 98 to 5.51 million people

Progress stems from system of personal accountability of Party secretaries, who live for years in remote villages far from their families, conduct home visits/surveys and report to official bodies

Between 1995-2018, China made important improvements in women’s education, health and poverty rate, but discrimination remains a challenge

Women’s illiteracy (24.1%-7.5%) and maternal mortality (61.9-18.3/100,000) were reduced, undergraduate (35.4%-51.2%) and graduate students (23.5%-45.8%) increased, but only 25% hold leading positions in companies

Government invests US $14.7 billion in vocational education reform, prioritizing access to peasants, migrant workers and veterans

At least one new technical school will be built in 14 impoverished areas, with the goal of training one million new skilled workers in 5 years

Science and Technology

China opens market to Tesla as part of “catfish effect” to stimulate Chinese companies and competitiveness in fast-growing electric car industry

Opening the Chinese market to Apple created a supply chain with 380 high level domestic suppliers, propelling Chinese manufacturers (Huawei, Xiaomi, etc.) to the global market in just a few years”

Huawei prepares for transition from Android to its own operating system, HarmonyOS, for its 200 million smartphones in 2021

While Android and iOS use centralized systems (kernels), Huawei’s new decentralized system (microkernels) allows use on different devices and improves connectivity; complexity of adapting Android apps remains an issue

Over half of peasants are now online (285 million), making up 30% of China’s internet users and narrowing rural-urban gap

With 30 million new users since March, internet plays a significant role in poverty alleviation; in June, 34.6% of Chinese internet users bought agricultural products through e-commerce platforms from 400,000 livestreamers

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Agriculture and Environment

China could reach 2060 carbon-neutrality goal and cut 0.2–0.3°C from global warming projections, according to US expert

90% emissions reduction, long-term planning and investments would be required for China, which is already leader in renewables with 1/3 solar panels/turbines, 50% of e-vehicles, 98% of electric buses of the world

Flood control is a 4,000-year battle in governing China, where major flood disasters were recorded every 2.07 years (206 BCE-1936)

Since 1998 disaster – that resulted in huge economic (3% of GDP) and human (4,000) losses – floods are causing fewer casualties (-50% than 5-year average) despite more Chinese living on floodplains (453.3 million as of 2015)

People’s Life and Culture

China’s film industry recovers to pre-pandemic levels as “golden week” box office hits US $544 million (88% of 2019)

Patriotic comedy produced by Zhang Yimou, My People, My Homeland, tops weekend box office (US $97.5 million) and covers China’s poverty-alleviation efforts in five segments

Modern Chinese literature and cinema pioneer, Eileen Chang (1920-1995), is remembered on the 100th anniversary of her birth

Despite the male-dominated fields, Chang’s work tackled women’s issues, questions of Chinese feudalism and everyday life, set against the backdrop of her hometown Shanghai while it was under Japanese occupation

Writer Eileen Chang in Hong Kong in 1954 and one of her manuscripts [Wikipedia and University of Southern California Libraries]