No. 61 | 31.07.2021

National Politics

China overhauls private tutoring sector (US $125 billion), banning for-profit, foreign, and listed companies in school-curriculum teaching

New regulation targets institutions teaching school curriculum content to address unequal access to education, lower costs and children’s workloads, and improve public online education; enrollment grew from 202.6 to 325.3 million students (2015-9)

Government announces new guidelines to improve delivery workers’ wages, safety, social security, and working conditions

Increasing oversight concerning Big Tech, policy guidelines address controversial outsourcing practices, formalizes employment agreements, and prohibits platforms from using stringent algorithms to complete deliveries; national trade union federation encourages the creation of local unions in the gig economy

Online music player Tencent receives government orders to end exclusive copyright deals within 30 days

Acquiring China Music Corporation in 2016, Tencent Music holds 66 million licensed tracks (80% of total) and over 622 million monthly active users (2020); Tencent Holdings was fined US $77,143 and their fintech businesses are under separate scrutiny


Xinjiang exports to EU grow 131%, reaching US $373.2 million in first half-year

Main goods include tomato-based products, cotton goods, components for artificial fibers, and wind energy equipment; despite US sanctions, Xinjiang’s exports to Germany (+143%) and Holland (+187%) grew well above China’s total exports (+35%) to the EU


US companies lead foreign direct investment in China (US $13.9 billion, Q2), despite escalating diplomatic tensions

Led by acquisitions for controlling stake in financial, real estate, and logistics sectors – topped by Blackstone’s two acquisitions (US $4.3 billion) – Q3’s main investments came from North America (US $6.8 billion) and Asia (US $6.1 billion)

Agriculture and Environment

“Once in a millennium” floods in Henan province kill at least 99 and affect 13.91 million people

A year’s worth of rainfall fell in three days (617.1mm), devastating transportation, power, and telecoms systems in Zhengzhou, a “sponge city” whose intensive urban drainage is designed to capture 70% of rainfall only in cases of moderate precipitation

Henan flooding kills millions of animals and affects 1,678 large livestock farms and 972,100 hectares of crops fields

The province produces nearly ⅓ of China’s wheat – already harvested – and about 10% of corn, vegetables, and pork, which are vulnerable to damage as Ministry of Agriculture works to ensure seed supply

“Sponge cities” aim to make China’s 126,000 km² of coastal areas resilient to rising sea levels from climate change

Since 2014, thirty pilot sponge cities were named, using permeable water systems and green infrastructure to manage floods, replenish water supplies, and restore ecosystems, though experts continue to stress importance of reducing carbon emissions

Science and Technology

China deploys drone to restore communication services and map damages in hardest-hit areas by the Henan flooding

The Wing Loong 2H captures satellite signals and ensures telephone and internet access for thousands of people in the affected area, including in a Zhengzhou hospital; telephone company sends SMS to warn of drone’s arrival

People’s Life and Culture

Across China, people use social media to express support for Zhengzhou flood victims, circulate crucial information, and facilitate rescue operations

Weibo and WeChat users share videos of rescue efforts, while hundreds of people contribute to an online spreadsheet that crowdsources, organizes, and prioritizes data to connect rescuers with those trapped by floods

Flooding rescue efforts in Zhengzhou, Henan Province [People’s Daily]

Moment in History

In the early years of the CPC, the Party developed a “patriotic financial system” to support its activities, expand the revolutionary army, and support workers and peasants. Proposed by Mao Zedong, the first Peasant Bank (1926) was established in Hunan, creating convertible currencies that promoted agricultural production, solved material difficulties, and provided an alternative financing to loan sharks (50-100% interest rates) for peasants.

“Red finance” initiatives during the Civil War period (1927-37, 1945-49) helped break the Kuomintang’s economic blockade and build trust among the peasant base. This included secret institutions, the first state-bank (1932), the Red Army’s first bank (1937), and the People’s Bank of China (1948). The Party’s ability to lead the economic sector during this period built the foundation for China’s economic system post-Revolution.

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