No. 66 | 04.09.2021

National Politics

Supreme People’s Court reaffirms illegality of the “996” work culture and details 10 common labour dispute cases

The controversial 9am-9pm, 6-day workweek generated public outrage again after recent cases of deaths related to overworking; from delivery workers to programmers, the Big Tech sector exacerbates this practice and could be most affected

US $5 billion in donations from seven major Chinese companies and billionaires already exceeds last year’s total by 20%

This comes amid President Xi’s call for contributions to the “common prosperity” goal, which aims to reduce China’s inequality; after 89% jump in sales, Pinduoduo platform pledges US $1.5 billion donation for rural development

Government regulates “chaotic” online celebrity fan clubs to curtail profit-driven practices and protect the well-being of Chinese youth

Self-organized fanquan (“fans circle”) became a competitive profit-making industry (US $21.6 billion by 2022) that hire “professional fans” to popularize celebrities online; government removed 5,300 social media accounts and groups and issued 10-point rectification plan

China limits online video game playing time to three hours per week for youth under 18 years old

62.5% of minors are online gamers and will be restricted from playing on school days, controlled through real-name verification; US-stocks dropped for NetEast (-3.4%) and Tencent (-1.1%), but minors still account for small portion (2.6%, Tencent) of the industry’s domestic revenue (US $359 billion, 2021 estimate)

Government deepens education reform, reducing the amount of written tests and homework assignments in primary and middle schools

Modifying exam formats and evaluation criteria and preventing test scores from being ranked or published aims to reduce pressure on students and families in a highly competitive educational system; 67% of students lack sleep according to national survey

To promote education equity, Beijing introduces a rotation system of its top teachers and principals among the city’s public schools

Addressing the concentration of top educators in a small number of schools, the program begins in two districts, will expand to six others by year-end, and also aims to combat real estate speculation generated around areas with the elite schools


President Xi Jinping and his Cuban counterpart, Miguel Díaz-Canel, reaffirm their mutual commitment to building socialism

In a phone call, the leaders defend national sovereignty and criticize unilateral sanctions, including the US blockade preventing Chinese medical donations to Cuba; the island will apply a combination-vaccine with two doses of Sinopharm and one dose of Cuba’s Soberana Plus (>90% effectiveness)

18 months after initiating diplomatic tensions towards China, Australia loses China’s frozen meat and coal market to its “ally” US

Between April and July, Australian meat exports to China plummeted (US $80-35 million), while US exports soared (US $68-107 million); US producers take advantage of China-Australia conflict despite Washington’s promise to support oceanic partner

Agriculture and Environment

China plans to open 60 new national parks by 2035 and debates solutions for the 12 million people living in the country’s 1,600 nature reserves

Government faces challenges of keeping residents in conservation areas where jobs offered often pay little and many still violate livestock and waste management rules; ecotourism and controlled agricultural production could help sustain families

People’s Life and Culture

Chinese fandom industry turns young fans into “data laborers” to boost celebrity popularity while profiting from social media platforms

Mostly women from lower social class, fan club members are obliged to “like, repost, comment” on idols’ posts, participate in celebrity rankings, and buy idol-endorsed products, while algorithms manipulate fan activity and encourage excessive behaviors

The fan club industry takes a hit [China Daily]

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