No. 58 | 10.07.2021

National Politics

Government investigates ride-hailing app Didi for national security risks, shortly after US $4.4 billion IPO on Wall Street

Didi (90% of Chinese market) is the first big tech investigated since Data Security Law passed in June, followed by US-listed Full Truck Alliance and Boss Zhipin; China may revise foreign investment criteria for domestic tech companies


China produces 80% of the silicon used in solar panels worldwide, half of them in Xinjiang province, the target of US sanctions

Low-priced Chinese panels (80% of global production) have helped industry grow, but price increase (+20%) in the last year raises concern; White House imposed arbitrary sanctions on four Chinese companies producing silicon

China proposes cooperation with Germany and France for Africa’s development and aims to reopen investment deal with EU

President Xi tries to persuade Chancellor Merkel and President Macron out of shared commercial interests; between January and May, Chinese trade with Germany (US $92.8 billion) grew 36% year-on-year and France (US $32.9 billion) rose 44%

Science and Technology

Huawei responds to US sanctions and accelerates global hiring, with plans to increase R&D budget by “several billion dollars”

Chinese giant seeks to hire hundreds of engineers in Europe and Canada to develop chips, software, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, etc.; meanwhile, supercomputer running on Huawei’s AI system wins two world championships


WHO certifies malaria eradication in China, which shares disease-control experiences with African and Asian countries

Prior to 1949, China recorded 30 million cases and 300,000 deaths annually; anti-malaria efforts began in 1956 with distributing medicine and reducing breeding areas, advancing with the discovery of the artemisinin drug by Nobel Prize-winning scientist Tu Youyou (2015)


In the first quarter, the Chinese renminbi’s share (US $287.46 billion) in global reserves rose to the highest (2.45%) since 2016, according to IMF

Driven by appreciation, renminbi is still outpaced by the euro (20.57%) and the dollar (59.5%), which has fallen from 71% (1999) to its lowest rate in 25 years

Agriculture and Environment

After US $43 billion acquisition by ChemChina in 2017, Swiss-based Syngenta applies for record US $10 billion IPO in Shanghai’s STAR Market

World’s leading pesticide producer and third largest seed supplier will use IPO proceeds towards domestic growth and acquisitions, while its Modern Agriculture Platform (MAP) helps farmers maximize yields through 900 demonstration farms and 365 training centres

Community seed banks are preserving China’s agrobiodiversity, involving 260 million smallholder farmers across 691,510 villages

Seed banks protect farmer livelihoods, improve food security, and help preserve crop diversity – which decreased from 11,590 to 3,271 in China’s grain varieties (1956-2014); neglect by formal policies and national genebank system remains a challenge

People’s Life and Culture

Record-breaking female student wins car mechanic contest, sparking debate on gendered division of labor and value of vocational education

17-year-old Gu Huijing attends one of China’s thousands of vocational/technical secondary schools and colleges, which the government promises to expand (35 million students, 2020-21) to stabilize job market and increase rural and migrant worker skills

70 years ago, construction began on China’s first socialist workers’ village to rebuild war-torn Shanghai and house its growing working class

1,002 “model worker” families were selected nationwide to live in Caoyang New Village, including housing, a hospital, a market, and shops; community has since gone into decline, but local government hopes to preserve

Oil painting by Yin Chengzhong, “Workers Moving Into the New Village”, 2014 [China Art Museum via Sixth Tone]

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