No. 50 | 15.05.2021

Family in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, 2019 [VCG]

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Dear reader,
This week, Tings Chak and Marco Fernandes talked with Daniel Dumbrill about the Chinese rocket debris, an unusual complaint about the working conditions of Meituan couriers and the latest survey on the high popularity of the Chinese government, published in the Washington Post.  Watch on YouTube here.
—Dongsheng editorial collective


WHO approves Sinopharm vaccine as China works to produce five billion doses annually and increase supply to developing countries

China shipped over 240 million doses (>50% of global total) and accelerates exports and technology transfer for international production; demand for Chinese vaccines increases as India stops exports due to its crisis

Increase in Chinese demand, government spending and bets on “green economy” drive commodity price boom

Iron ore (US $206.2/ton), palladium (US $3,000/ounce) and timber reach record prices, copper is at its highest since 2011 (US $10,000/ton) and soybeans since 2013; experts differ on duration of high price cycle

National Politics

Population reached 1.412 billion in 2020 (up 5.38% from 2010) in seventh census, the slowest growth since 1953

Last decade saw gender gap at birth improve (118.1-111.3 male to female), elderly population grow (5.44 percentage points) and working population decline (6.79 percentage points) with lower fertility rate (1.3 children/woman)

Chinese citizens’ trust in their national government increased to 98% post-pandemic, shows study published in Washington Post

York University-led survey of 19,816 people shows increased trust in national, provincial (95%) and township (91%) level governments; regarding pandemic response, confidence increased in 49% of respondents and decreased in 3%

Resuming organizing tradition, CPC increases Party branches in private firms from 27% to 48% (2002-18)

Branches grew most in central and western regions and in manufacturing sector; mutual benefits include creating channels to reach government, building corporate culture and encouraging ideological work in private sector (60% of GDP), which employs 80% of urban workers 


In April, 37% year-on-year foreign trade (US $484.99) and PMI (51.1) confirm strong economic recovery

Exports (US $263.9 billion) grew 32%, imports (US $221 billion) rose 43.1%, trade surplus (US $42.9 billion) beat expectations and Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) continued expansion for 14 consecutive months

Guochao (“Chinese fashion trend”) sees China’s youth favor domestic brands as older companies refresh branding

Market share of Chinese brands (especially food and drinks, clothing, mobile phones, electric vehicles) was 72% on Alibaba’s e-commerce platforms in 2019, with online searches on growing from 38% to 70% (2009-19)

CGTN, 10.05.2021

Agriculture and Environment

New super hybrid rice exceeds expectations, reaching 15 tonnes/hectare yield in Hainan Province

Led by “father of hybrid rice” Yuan Longping, team in charge of the fifth-phase Chaoyouqianhao strain aims for 45 tonnes/hectare yield over two seasons

People’s Life and Culture

Beijing labor division deputy director earns US $6 in 12-hour workday as an undercover Meituan delivery worker in viral video

Tech giant makes US $17.78 billion (2020) and is under probe for monopolistic practices; documentary clip denounces harsh working conditions for 2.95 million workers (27 million deliveries, 2020), which Meituan pledges to improve

Young people travel to “red tourism” sites linked to revolutionary history over May Day holiday

In leadup to CPC centenary, government built 2,442 km of road (2017-20) to connect revolutionary sites as this tourism increased tenfold to 1.41 billion trips annually (2004-19); people aged under 40 made up 89% of “red tourists” this holiday

Tourists re-enacting Red Army’s Long March in Zunyi, Guizhou, 20 April 2021 [Xinhua]