No. 56 | 26.06.2021

Science and Technology

China sends first crewed mission to Tiangong (“heavenly palace”) space station, likely to become the only in Earth’s orbit by 2022

After exclusion from the International Space Station by the US, China will be first with exclusive station, promising access for developing countries; taikonauts Nie, Liu, and Tang – of peasant backgrounds – will spend three months in space


FBI agent confesses in court that spying charge against Chinese university professor was based on false information

Associate professor of engineering at the University of Tennessee, Hu Anming was first charged under the “China Initiative” – created by Trump to combat alleged Chinese espionage; Hu claims he was charged after refusing FBI offer to spy on China

Armin Laschet – frontrunner to succeed German chancellor Merkel – warns of dangers in pursuing a cold war against China

CDU leader says many in Europe are skeptical of Biden’s confrontational attitude, viewing China as both a systemic rival and an important European partner; possible coalition with Greens – highly critical of China – will create tensions in government


As of June, 29 Chinese tech companies raised US $5.9 billion in initial public offerings (IPOs) on Wall Street (US $2 billion, 2020)

With tighter rules on Shanghai Stock Exchange, Chinese companies take advantage of US market’s high liquidity with IPOs expected to exceed 2020’s (US $13.5 billion), despite risk of sanctions from Washington

Of world’s 100 most valuable brands (US $7.1 trillion) in 2020, China’s account for 14%, surpassing Europe (8%)

56 US brands account for 74% of top 100, while Chinese tech giants Pinduoduo (US $9.5 billion) and Tiktok (US $16.9 billion), liquor maker Moutai (US $53.8 billion) doubled in value (2020-21)

National Politics

Hainan increases supervision to prevent island from becoming “tax haven”, one year after being turned into a free trade zone

Last year, income tax (15%) was cut for selected individuals/companies, number of registered foreign companies (1005) rose 197.3%, FDI (US $3 billion) doubled, and duty free sales (US $4.6 billion) more than doubled

Agriculture and Environment

China’s hydrogen industry could reach US $152.6 billion (2030) and help reach emissions target, but high costs limit commercialization

16 provinces and cities adopted five-year plans on hydrogen (refueling stations, vehicles, infrastructure); transportation, storage, and production costs remain a challenge (70% of extraction cost is electricity); price to refuel cars (US $11/kg) needs to fall to US $6/kg

China accounts for 25% of global growth in leaf area (1990-2020), turning deserts and farmland to forests and grasslands

UN’s FAO ranks China as global leader in reforestation (1,937 ha/year); since 1950s, anti-desertification efforts transformed one of country’s four largest deserts, Maowusu (42,000 km²), to 93.24% green area, reducing annual sand/dust storm days (169 to 28)

People’s Life and Culture

As rural internet access expands to 255 million people, e-commerce boom creates new market for peasants

Strategy includes state support to stimulate consumption and alleviate poverty, popularizing live streaming and short videos on digital platforms in the countryside (200 million users) and creating a direct relationship between rural producers and consumers

New historical TV drama, The Awakening Age, about CPC’s founding wins over young audiences and awards

Show follows lives of revolutionaries Li Dazhao, Chen Duxiu, and Lu Xun in pre-1921 development of New Youth magazine, Marxism, and workers movement in country, receiving 1.93 billion views (Weibo), 9.3/10 review (Douban), and top-three Magnolia Awards

Scene from TV show, “The Awakening Age” [Yang Yipei via Global Times]

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