No. 32 | 26.12.2020

Residents practicing tai chi next to a lotus pond in Huainan, Jiangsu province, 2019 [Caixin Global]

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Despite strong domestic and US pressures, Germany steps closer to approving Huawei to build its 5G network, but with strict security conditions

Decision is based on high cost of changing operators (Huawei supplies almost ⅔ of Germany’s 4G network), high quality of Chinese technology and aiding competitiveness of Germany’s industrial and telecoms sectors

China’s global drone market leader DJI faces sanctions by Washington and could lose access to US chips

DJI drones claimed 76.8% of US (2019) and 70-80% of global (2020) share of market, which will reach US $42.8 billion by 2025, but company could lose global lead due to dependence on US technology

Foreign Minister Wang Yi urges Joe Biden to “restart dialogue” and “rebuild trust” between China and US, pointing out possible areas of cooperation

Though critical of  Trump, Wang called for collaboration on pandemic response, economic recovery and climate change, affirming that China “was not, is not and will not be a threat to the US”

National Politics

Government issues energy development “white paper”, outlining achievements and proposals for transition to low-carbon and renewable energy economy

Between 2012-19, annual energy consumption (+2%) grew slower than economy (+7%), clean energy increased (23.4% of total) and carbon emission intensity dropped by 48.1% (2005-19); proposals highlight increased innovation, foreign investment and international cooperation

Spike in energy consumption causes regional power shortages as China responds to increased global production demand and winter weather

Energy use increased in Hunan (+19.8%), Jiangxi (+18.4%) and Zhejiang (+9,2%) in early-December, but renewables still lag behind coal energy in capacity to respond to sudden energy uptakes

Government tightens rules for foreign investment in key sectors affecting national security, following US, UK and Japan’s example

Authorities will review investment involving military, technology, infrastructure, financial services, energy and agriculture, laying foundation of further opening up instead of protectionism

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Agriculture and Environment

China will upgrade 6.66 million hectares of farmland – equivalent to the size of Ireland – in 2021 to ensure food security (up 25% from 2020)

Amid flood and pandemic-related challenges, government aims to ensure self-sufficiency of cereals (90%) and rice/wheat (95%) through subsidies, mechanization, improved irrigation and satellite monitoring

One year after completion of China’s first industrial port restoration project, marine wildlife returns to coast of Rizhao, Shandong

The US $2.3 billion project relocated two coal-handling zones and replaces 133ha of industrial land with a 460,000m2 beach, museums and exhibition halls


Lacking exercise and healthy diets, over half of adults are overweight and 20% of children aged 6 to 17 years are obese

Factors include increased consumption of meat and sugary drinks; since 2015, incidence of chronic diseases increased while related premature deaths decreased, and alcohol and cigarette consumption fell

People’s Life and Culture

Tai Chi (taijiquan) added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, topped by China with 42 officially recognized cultural practices

Originating in 17th century and rooted in Daoist and Confucian thought, the popular therapeutic exercise is practiced by 100 million people worldwide for health and self-defense purposes

Educated urban entrepreneurs return to the countryside as poverty alleviation, tourism and agricultural development efforts bear fruit

In 2017, Ministry of Agriculture estimated that seven million people (40% with high school education or above) relocated to start rural businesses in recent years, citing lower costs and competition, and proximity to family and nature

Leading US scholar on China, Ezra F. Vogel (1930-2020), dies after a lifetime of building understanding between the two countries

Influencing President Nixon’s rapprochement with China in 1972, the Harvard professor penned Deng Xiaoping’s biography (2011), criticized Trump’s trade war and recognized China’s contribution to fighting climate change, Covid-19 and assistance to Africa

Ezra F. Vogel with his book “Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China” (2011) [Caixin Global]