No. 99 | 21.05.2022

Skateboarder in a precautionary zone in Shanghai, 8 May 2022 [China Daily/Gao Erqiang]


New C919 jet by China’s state-owned COMAC completes its first pre-delivery test in Shanghai, already receiving 815 orders

Considered an example of China’s “new development model”, the aircraft will be a competitor to Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, which cost about 10% to 20% more; the company may be the target of US sanctions, where most of its components come from

South China Morning Post, 14.05.2022

Caixin Global, 12.05.2022

Sri Lanka defaults on two payments (US$2.5 billion) in its US$51 billion foreign debt, with only 10% owed to China

Chinese loans (US$5 billion) fueled the island’s post-civil war infrastructure boom (⅓ of 313 projects); in 2021, hit by soaring debt-to-GDP (85-104%, 2019-21), Sri Lanka declared economic emergency and signed US$1.5 billion currency swap with China to reduce IMF-reliance

Nikkei Asia, 13.05.2022

Financial Times, 19.05.2022

National Politics

As daily Covid-19 cases fall below 1,000, Shanghai announces gradual measures to return to normality on June 1st

No new transmissions were reported in non-controlled communities for five days in a row, while it reopens select businesses and will resume partial operations of domestic flights and public transport on 22 May; the city recorded 575 deaths of 620,000 total cases (0.09% fatality rate)

Global Times, 16.05.2022

South China Morning Post, 16.05.2022

Chinese market regulator launches antitrust investigation into the country’s largest online academic database

China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) suffers from lawsuits and complaints, mainly for the exclusivity of dissertations and lack of transparency in pricing; CNKI – with US$194 million revenue in 2021 – owns 90% of the academic journals published in mainland China, and 40% of its material is exclusive

South China Morning Post, 16.05.2022

Renmin, Nanjing, and Lanzhou universities withdraw from international rankings, shifting away from Western evaluation criteria

Critics say performance evaluation should focus on impacts on communities rather than “publications, patents, and money”; >60% of the country’s basic research and >80% of National Natural Science Foundation projects are done by Chinese universities – the world’s largest higher education sector with 240 million graduates

Global Times, 17.05.2022

South China Morning Post, 13.05.2022


Real estate sector investments drop 2.7% year-on-year in the first four months of the year, due to declines in land purchases (-46.5%) and new construction (-28.4%)

In April, property sales in China saw the biggest drop since 2006 (-46.6%); contraction occurs despite mortgage policies aimed at recovering the market, affected by Covid-19 outbreaks, geopolitical conflicts, and reduced household income expectations

Caixin Global, 16.05.2022

Reuters, 16.05.2022

April retail sales – the main indicator of consumer activity – fall 11.1% year-on-year, with food and vehicles demand among the hardest hit

Industrial production also drops by 2.9%, the highest since March 2020, while unemployment rate increases (5.8%-6.1%); growth expectations for Q2 are maintained with prospects of gradually overcoming the pandemic

Nikkei, 16.05.2022

CGTN, 16.05.2022

Category Icons

Agriculture and Environment

Clean Energy Bases could increase installed wind and solar energy capacity of to over 1,200GW by 2026

China can add at least 570GW of wind and solar power in the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25) thanks to such bases, designated for the simultaneous construction of large wind and solar farms, and concentrated mainly in deserts and other arid regions

Carbon Brief, 03.05.2022

Major grain-producing provinces order farmers and businesses not to destroy crops for construction nor harvest unripe wheat

Warning comes after videos viralized of farmers harvesting unripe wheat to sell as feed to livestock companies, earning nearly a doubled price; China has heightened food security concerns this year due to weather-damaged harvests and inflationary pressures caused by the war in Ukraine

South China Morning Post, 14.05.2022

Science and Technology

China builds Yangqu hydropower plant using artificial intelligence on the Tibetan Plateau, aiming to produce nearly 5 billion KWh/year

Applying 3D printing techniques, the AI-operated machinery without human drivers (including excavators, trucks, tractors, pavers, etc.) will take on dangerous tasks and enable construction in hostile environments; energy produced will be transmitted over 1,500km eastward for use in Henan province

South China Morning Post, 08.05.2022

Yangqu dam on the Tibetan plateau is built using AI-controlled machinery [Weibo]

Subscribe to News on China. The digest is published every Saturday in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

Follow our social media channels: