Chinese-built train in program to update the Cuban railway system, Havana, Cuba, 2019 [Xinhua/Zhu Wanjun]
Today, we are delighted to announce the public launch of our latest publication, Chinese Voices. Every Sunday, Dongsheng will bring you a view into the key debates and critical thought guiding Chinese politics and society.
We draw from a broad range of sources, covering the work of important Chinese intellectuals, academics, and public opinion leaders – voices that are rarely published outside of China.
The opinions of the authors are not necessarily shared by the Dongsheng editorial collective, but the goal is to give our international readers a view into the richness of public debate in China today. Subscribe here in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Also, check out Tings Chak’s interview about common prosperity, the private tutoring industry, and climate change with Rania Khalek and Eugene Puryear of BreakThrough News.
—Dongsheng editorial collective
Cuba joins the Belt and Road energy partnership, seeking Chinese investments and technology in renewable sector
Energy sector receives 40% of investments in the BRI, whose renewable energy share increased from 39% to 57% (2019-20); Cuba becomes the 4th country in the region (Venezuela, Bolivia, and Suriname) to join the partnership
China’s state banks lent US $137 billion to Latin American governments and state-owned enterprises (2006-21)
Washington promises investment in the region to regain lost influence, but its “Build Back Better World” project remains without a budget; Venezuela (US $62.2 billion) and Brazil (US $29.7 billion) have been the biggest beneficiaries of Chinese loans
China delivered 85% of eight major initiatives and 70% of funds (US $60 billion) committed to Africa, despite pandemic setbacks
To equalize trade imbalance, President Xi pledged more investment and non-commodities imports from Africa in 2018; in 2019, China imported US $95.5 billion of goods (crude oil, base metals, precious stones) and African imports totaled US $113.2 billion (machinery, transport equipment, electronics, textiles)
Property prices fell in 36 of China’s 70 largest cities in September – highest rate since 2015 — and sales plummeted 16.9% year-on-year
With a 0.5% monthly drop in national average prices, sales of the top 100 builders (US $119 billion) plummeted 36.7% year-on-year (20.7% in August); government policies to curb property speculation and builders’ leverage are beginning to show results
In first three quarters, China’s GDP grows 9.8% year-on-year to US $12.88 trillion, despite COVID-19 outbreaks and energy shortages
In the same period, industrial production grew by 10.6% (US $5.02 trillion) and household consumption by 16.4% (US $4.98 trillion); state-owned companies recovered faster than private ones (+87% vs +34% in profits)
China’s foreign trade grows 22.7% year-on-year in first three quarters of 2021, reaching US $4.37 trillion
Despite rising tensions with the US (3rd trading partner), bilateral trade (US $543 billion) increased by 24.9%; ASEAN remains China’s largest trading partner (US $630.5 billion, +21.1%), followed by EU (US $599.3 billion, +20.5%)
Agriculture and Environment
China faces challenges of balancing rising coal consumption to boost economy with 2060 carbon neutrality goal
Nearly 70% of the country’s electricity comes from coal, with prices rising over 50% since 2020, causing losses for 70% of thermal plants in June; the government’s goal is to decrease coal to 11% of total energy production by 2050
Science and Technology
China sends longest-ever crewed mission to Tiangong space station for six months, carrying out technology tests, construction work, and spacewalks
China’s young space program is advancing with six more missions planned next year, including two crewed ones to complete the “Heavenly Palace” space station; European, Russian, Indian, and Israeli missions have failed in recent years
People’s Life Culture
Wang Yaping of Shenzhou-13 mission becomes the first female taikonaut on China’s space station and conduct a spacewalk
Wang is a pioneer in the male-dominated science fields, as government adjusts criteria and prioritizes funding for women; 49% of university degree-holders are women, but comprised only 5.3-6% of academicians in China’s top two science institutions (2019)
Public square dancing, emerged during 1990s mass urbanization, is a popular activity among middle-aged and elderly Chinese women
Like Mao-era dance troupes, group leaders organize collective choreography and meet-ups, providing “dancing grannies” an economical way to exercise and find a sense of belonging; popular activity was included in 14th National Games
“Dancing grannies” in China [Shine]
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