No. 166 | 30.09.2023

Dear readers,

Next week  is the Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Holiday. So, we will be back with our newsletter in the second week of October.


Syria and China elevate relationship to “strategic partnership”, in first visit of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after almost 20 years 

China expressed that illegal unilateral sanctions against Syria should be lifted, and that it opposes the illegal military presence and illegal plundering of the country’s natural resources. Xi stated that China will help rebuild Syria’s economy through the Belt and Road Initiative, which the Middle Eastern country joined in 2022

South China Morning Post, 22.09.2023

Al Jazeera, 22.09.2023

Mexico increases import tariffs from 5 to 25% that apply to almost 90% of Chinese exports to the country

The change affects 392 imports from countries with which Mexico does not have a free trade agreement. To circumvent US trade restrictions, some Chinese companies have transferred their factories to Mexico; experts say that China should increase investments in the Latin American country and in Vietnam, as their importance grows for Beijing.

South China Morning Post, 22.09.2023

National Politics

China explores the creation of new technologies to circumvent sanctions imposed by the US and allies on lithography machines to produce semiconductors

Researchers at Tsinghua University aim to build a particle accelerator with a circumference of 100 to 150 meters to create a new laser source for various lithography machines. The approach is different from that of the global leader, Dutch company ASML, which prioritizes smaller chip production machines to be able to export.

South China Morning Post, 25.09.2023

The government is asking state-owned companies and provincial governments to pay debts owed to private companies to strengthen economic recovery and increase market confidence

The campaign is part of the intensification of support for the private sector, which will also include the creation of a government agency dedicated to developing the private economy. Arrears owed to small and medium-sized enterprises by large companies, local governments, and other entities reached at least 6.7 billion yuan (USD 104 billion) in 2021.

Caixin Global, 22.09.2023


Increased sanctions against China could leave the US economy vulnerable, especially in defense and basic infrastructure areas

The US does not have the factories or skilled labor to replace Chinese imports. The North American country imported USD 33 billion in capital goods from China for electricity generation and distribution in 2022, items that are no longer manufactured in the US. One of the country’s largest defense contractors, Raytheon, says it has several thousand suppliers in China and that “disassociation” is impossible.

Asia Times, 16.09.2023

In spite of Germany joining the “risk reduction” strategy, its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in China almost reached record levels in the first half of the year

German FDI in China was EUR 10.31 billion in the period, just below the record EUR 12 billion year-on-year comparison, rising from 11.6% in 2022 to 16.4% in the first half of 2023. Most of Germany’s FDI was the reinvestment of profits earned (EUR 8.5 billion), indicating that companies are doubling down in the country.

China Briefing, 22.09.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) plans to triple annual loans for climate change projects by 2030

In eight years, the bank’s climate financing will increase from USD 2.6 billion to around USD 7-8 billion, representing more than half of the entity’s funds. In addition to mitigation, AIIB will focus on creating infrastructure resilience to combat the next 3-4 decades of temperature increases.

FT, 24.9.2023

People’s Life and Culture

After a one-year delay due to COVID-19, the Asian Games were inaugurated in Hangzhou with 80,000 spectators

The 19th edition of the games features 12,500 athletes from 45 countries and territories competing in 42 sports, including original Asian sports such as Kabaddi, Sepak Takraw, and Wǔshù. China, which has led the medal table in the last 10 editions, is participating with 886 athletes, including 36 Olympic champions such as swimmer Zhāng Yǔfēi.

Global Times, 23.09.2023

Strait Times, 23.09.2023

Chinese documentary about the lives of “comfort women” debuts at a Japanese film festival, as youth help to carry on the history

In 1930-1940s wartime, an estimated 400,000 women from China, the Korean Peninsula, and Southeast Asia were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military. In 2014, the documentary by Guo Ke told the story of 22 surviving Chinese victims; today only one woman survives.

Global Times, 19.09.2023

Link to film (with English subtitles)

The province of Chengdu inaugurates an international film and series award  with the theme: A Community with a Shared Future for Humanity

The Panda Awards received 7,000 entries from 104 countries and regions and awarded 25 prizes in four categories: films, series, animations, and documentaries. Zhang Yongxin won the Best Director award in the television drama category for The Age of Awakening, a series about the history of how the Communist Party of China was founded in 1921.

China Daily, 21.09.2023

The final torchbearers Wang Shun and the digital torchbearer light the main torch at the 19th Asian Games opening ceremony in Hangzhou – Gao Erqiang | China Daily

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No. 165 | 23.09.2023

For listening while reading, we recommend the song ‘Fearless’ (‘Huo Yuanjia’ 霍元甲 ) by Jay Chou, linked to our People’s Life and Culture section.


The European Union launched an “anti-subsidy investigation” to find out if Chinese new energy car companies benefit from state subsidies

The Commerce Ministry called the move “blatant protectionism,” and said that the industrial advantage of Chinese companies is not the product of “huge state subsidies” but of a concerted effort to “push the boundaries of innovation”; according to manufacturers, Chinese cars may be cheaper than those made in Europe, but they are sold at a much higher price than in China, sometimes even twice as much

Caixin Global, 14.09.2023

Reuters, 14.09.2023

The Ministry of State Security called on the population in the anti-spying campaign following the recent discovery of three US spies

The ministry provided information on how to avoid attacks on phones, and devices on its new WeChat account, and during the first class of the new semester, schools across the country offered a special class on identifying and increasing national security surveillance; this new campaign, especially aimed at detecting US spies, coincides with increasing interactions between senior Chinese and US officials

Global Times, 18.09.2023

G77+China summit called for “comprehensive reform of the global financial architecture” and rejected unilateral sanctions

Li Xi, China’s special envoy for the summit held in Cuba, said that regardless of the stage of development reached, “China will always be part of the developing world and a member of the Global South”; China created a Global South-South Development and Cooperation Fund with a total financing of US$4 billion, and Chinese financial institutions will soon establish a special US$10 billion fund under the Global Development Initiative

Global Times, 16.09.2023

Telesur, 17.09.2023

National Politics

China wants to build a high-speed rail linking Taiwan to Fujian as part of “integrated cross-strait development”

The roadmap aims to turn Fujian, Taiwan’s neighboring mainland province, into a demonstration zone for integrated development including energy cooperation and linkage between the cities of Xiamen (Fujian) and Kinmen (Taiwan); China considers these proposals as models for advancing the process of peaceful reunification, but Taiwan rejected the plan as “wishful thinking”

CGTN, 12.09.2023

South China Morning Post, 14.09.2023

For the first time, police arrested Evergrande employees after new default on payments to investors

On Saturday, China’s securities regulatory commission filed a case against Evergrande, the world’s most indebted real estate company, for alleged violations of disclosure rules; state-owned Haigang Life Insurance, which was set up recently, took over another Evergrande operation (its life insurance division) after years of insolvency

South China Morning Post, 17.09.2023


Retail sales grew by 4.6% (US$ 527.4 billion) and industrial production by 4.5% year-on-year in August

The Chinese economy showed a notable improvement in August, exceeding expectations and bringing the country closer to its annual growth target, although imports and exports as well as foreign investment and investment in the real estate market continue to fall; the improvement is due, among other factors, to active government measures, such as the 25% cut in banks’ reserve requirements and the stimulus to foreign investment

Report of the National Bureau of Statistics, 15.09.2023

China Briefing, 18.09.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

China’s food trade with the New Silk Road countries increased 162% compared to 10 years ago when the initiative began

During this period, China cooperated on customs inspection and quarantine with 171 countries and regions, and signed nearly 400 international cooperation agreements on access for agricultural and food products; in the first eight months of this year, China’s trade in food products with the countries of the Belt and Road Initiative reached 553.82 billion yuan (US$76.1 billion), an increase of 10.4% year-on-year

Global Times, 15.09.2023

China’s soybean imports in the period 2022/23 (October-September) reached a new record of 100 million tons

According to a US Department of Agriculture report, total imports to date are up 10% year-over-year, with the United States capturing about 40% of that growth; China also sources competitively priced soybeans from Argentina and Brazil, where imports are expected to increase in the coming year, while those from the United States are expected to decline

Farm Policy News, 13.08.2023

USDA Report

People’s Life and Culture

Online influencers targeting China’s older population has sparked debates about the vulnerabilities of elders in a digital age

Xiu Cai, a popular influencer among elderly women in small cities, had his account shut down on 2 September and is undergoing a tax investigation, sparking online discussions about emotional support for lonely elders (100 million live alone) who are susceptible to online marketing, scams, and false content

South China Morning Post, 18.09.2023

Sixth Tone, 11.09.2023

Huo Yuanjia, the martial arts fighter who inspired Chinese patriotism at the end of the 20th century, continues to live on through the Jingwu school

Huo is remembered as a patriot who fought for the dignity of the nation and a celebrity with strong connections to Sun Yat-sen, and his life has been portrayed in multiple films; he challenged a Russian fighter first and an English fighter later, both of whom had boasted of their powers and underestimated Chinese martial arts, but both gave up before fighting

The World of Chinese, 07.09.2023

Jet Li plays Huo Yuanjia, in the 2001 film of the same name (in English, Fearless).

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No. 164 | 16.09.2023

Today, we recommend “The Wind Continues to Blow”(風繼續吹) by Leslie Cheung (张国荣), one of the pioneers and leading exponents of ’80s cantopop.


China’s bilateral ties with Venezuela upgraded to “all weather strategic partnership”, during Nicolás Maduro state visit 

In the meeting between the leaders, Xi affirmed that China “will continue to firmly support Venezuela’s efforts to defend national sovereignty, national dignity, and social stability” and “will resolutely support Venezuela’s cause against external interference”; Maduro announced a joint development plan between the city of Shenzhen and the Special Economic Zone of La Guaira and the Development Agreement between Shanghai and the state of Carabobo

Brasil de Fato, 13.09.2023

The government said that “there are no laws or regulations” prohibiting the purchase or use of foreign brands such as iPhone

The statements were made by Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning after Western media talked about an alleged guidance by some ministries for their officials to stop using iPhone cell phones; meanwhile, Foxconn, known as the world’s largest iPhone factory located in Zhengzhou, is stepping up hiring ahead of the launch of its new phone

South China Morning Post, 12.09.2023

Global Times, 13.09.2023

National Politics

Guangzhou province removed caps on housing prices imposed in 2016

Real estate developers can now determine sales prices on their own, and although they will have to submit them in a planned manner to the authorities, the authorities no longer provide pricing guidance; government price controls on the real estate industry have been relaxed from the second half of 2022, although the measures may be reintroduced if prices go beyond expectations

Nikkei Asia, 11.09.2023


China’s exports (US$ 284.9 billion) fell by 8.8% and imports (US$ 216.5 billion) by 7.3% year-on-year in August

Despite the year-over-year drop, there was an improvement over July when exports fell by 14.5% and imports by 12.4%, and the trend is expected to continue; in particular, shipments to the European Union fell by 19.58% year over year, while both US exports and imports continue to decline

South China Morning Post, 08.09.2023

People’s Bank of China seeks to strengthen the yuan with measures that will release US$16 billion to the market

The reserve requirement ratio (RRR) – the amount of money that financial institutions must hold in reserve for foreign currency deposits – will be reduced from 6% to 4% as of September 15; this will free up more money to be lent and bring the ratio to the same level as 2006, which had last had its last cut in September last year

South China Morning Post, 01.09.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

Rules regulating excessive product packaging came into full application in September

Packaging waste accounted for about 30% to 40% of China’s urban household waste in 2021, including paper, plastic, metal, glass, and other composite materials; the measures, announced in 2021 with a two-year adaptation period, include reducing the maximum number of packaging layers from four to three and the maximum packaging cost from 20% to 15% of the selling price

Beijing Review, 08.09.2023

Tibet Autonomous Region achieved carbon neutrality and can contribute to China’s dual carbon targets

The carbon sink, i.e., the natural carbon reservoir of Tibet’s ecosystem, reached about 47.6 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, while its annual emission reaches 11.5 million tons; the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau has a carbon sink of 162 million tons per year, accounting for 8 to 16% of China’s total ecosystem

Xinhua, 10.09.2023

Science and Technology

For the world’s first time, Chinese scientists develop mostly human kidneys inside pig embryos

Of the more than 1,800 embryos involved in the study, five managed to grow without degenerating, and these embryos developed kidneys containing 50-60% human cells, but gestation was stopped at 28 days due to ethical considerations and risk of embryonic degradation; the CRISPR gene editing tool was used to limit the growth of pig cells and allow the growth of human cells

South China Morning Post, 08.09.2023

Tencent unveiled its own AI model, which the company says is “better” than ChatGPT at typing long texts and mathematics

Hunyuan is a large language model with more than 100 billion parameters, compared to the 175 billion that OpenAI’s GPT-3 had in 2020; while the models are still far behind the latest version of ChatGPT, companies such as Huawei, Tencent, Baidu, and Alibaba are in a race to develop their own AI models, with some 130 language models currently in China

Reuters, 07.09.2023

Caixin Global, 08.09.2023

People’s Life and Culture

Small town and rural bookstores get boost in government support to alleviate “cultural poverty”

In 2013, Chinese people only read 4.39 books per capita annually, lagging behind countries like Korea (11) and the US (7); in response, in 2018, Beijing announced measures to support physical bookstores, followed by local government policies to increase the number of bookshops and provide tax exemptions for owners

The World of Chinese, 08.09.2023

Children participate in an activity where they dress and act as famous Chinese poets at a bookstore [Anson Zong-Liscum]

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No. 163 | 09.09.2023

Listen to the traditional folk song I Have a Dream (我有一个梦), made in honor of the creator of hybrid rice, Yuan Longping (袁隆平).


Huawei overcomes US sanctions and resumes production of 5G phones with technology believed to be out of reach for China

Experts confirmed that the Mate Pro 60 has a 7-nanometer chip developed by Huawei’s subsidiary, HiSilicon, with technology also from China’s SMIC. Huawei couldn’t use its previous 5G chip, Kirin 9000, because it was produced by Taiwan’s TSMC with US equipment and technology, which, combined with other sanctions, caused Huawei to plummet from its global leadership in cellphone sales in 2020.

Caixin Global, 30.08.2023

South China Morning Post, 05.09.2023

US Commerce Secretary says export restrictions for “national security” are non-negotiable

Gina Raimondo described her visit to China as an “important start” in managing tensions, and the two countries have created a mechanism to assess how to jointly address sensitive trade and technology restrictions in the coming months. After the visit, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that with export restrictions, the US is acting with a “zero-sum Cold War mentality”.

South China Morning Post, 04.09.2023

South China Morning Post, 30.08.2023

National Politics

Nine ministries call on retirees and veterans to return to their hometowns to contribute to rural revitalization

The request was aimed at retirees with experience in public service, education, healthcare, and technology, and military veterans to take on roles as village development advisors. The policy may have a very limited effect because urban retirees cannot buy, sell or inherit homes in rural areas.

South China Morning Post, 03.09.2023

New foreign state immunity law will allow cases against foreign states in Chinese courts

China’s previous position was that states and their properties were immune from the jurisdiction of other states’ courts. The Civil Procedure Law has also been amended to allow embassies to collect evidence in foreign countries if requested by a Chinese court.

South China Morning Post, 01.09.2023


Real estate market giant Country Garden recorded a record loss in the first half of the year of nearly $7 billion

Despite having less debt than Evergrande, the company – which ranked first among China’s 100 largest developers in sales in 2021 and 2022 – plays a larger role in China’s real estate market due to its wider presence in smaller cities. The company’s shares fell 67% this year, reducing its market value to $3.1 billion.

South China Morning Post, 02.09.2023

Manufacturing sector hits fastest pace since February in August, with employment growing at its quickest pace in over 13 years

The Caixin Purchasing Managers’ Index shows that new orders expanded in August due to improvements in the domestic market, while new export orders continued to shrink. The services sector grew for the eighth consecutive month but recorded its slowest pace of the year.

Caixin Global, 01.09.2023

Caixin Global, 05.09.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

Abundant harvest of giant rice in China’s Guanxi region could play a key role in ensuring food security in the country

The farmer in the Zhuang Autonomous Region of Guangxi planted just over 13 hectares and harvested up to 3,000 kg per hectare more than in previous years of the hybrid variety of “giant rice”. In addition to higher yields, the variety has other advantages such as drought tolerance and resistance to flooding, diseases, and pests.

South China Morning Post, 05.09.2023

For the first time, China replaces Europe in offshore wind power capacity, with more than 31 GW

Of the total of 64.3 GW of offshore wind power capacity generated worldwide in 2022, Europe was responsible for 47%, and China for 49%. Europe’s offshore wind industry faces supply chain problems and high interest rates following the pandemic and the start of the crisis in Ukraine that increased costs for everything from turbines to labor.

FT, 28.08.2023

People’s Life and Culture

China’s population lives two years longer due to air pollution control

Pollution levels fell by 42% between 2013 and 2021 thanks to various government measures, according to the latest Air Quality Index report from the University of Chicago. Responsible for 30% of global industrial production, China is the world’s 13th most polluted country, and Beijing’s particle pollution still far exceeds WHO guidelines, 40% higher than that of the most polluted country in the world, the US.

CNN, 30.08.2023

Informe anual del Índice de Vida de la Calidad del Aire

Research by Chinese scientists published in Science found that humans were on the brink of extinction a million years ago

During the “transition from early to middle Pleistocene”, which lasted over 100,000 years, only 1,300 individuals of reproductive age remained on Earth, a common evolutionary phenomenon called a “bottleneck”. This “ancient human census” was possible thanks to a new method that allows for determining demographic footprints through analysis of current human genomes.

South China Morning Post, 03.09.2023

Particle pollution in China’s main regions between 1998 and 2021, and changes in life expectancy by region between 2014 and 2021.

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No. 162 | 02.09.2023

Amani is a song by the famous Hong Kong rock and cantopop band Beyond. After visiting Kenya, the singer wrote the song’s chorus in Swahili, a language spoken in several African countries.


Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met to discuss the need to resolve the border dispute between the two countries

Both sides agreed to accelerate efforts to withdraw troops and reduce tensions along the “Line of Actual Control”.  In the 19th round of dialogue between Indian and Chinese army corps commanders held in mid-August, both sides withdrew troops from five points of friction and agreed to maintain peace and continue negotiations to unlock other issues.

Global Times,25.08.2023

The Hindu,25.08.2023

African countries request Beijing to change the focus of investments to prioritize industrialization instead of infrastructure

In response to the request, Xi announced, during the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue in Johannesburg, the launch of the Africa Industrialization Support Initiative, to allocate more assistance, investment, and financing resources to industrialization programs on the continent. According to the China-Africa Cooperation Vision 2035, launched in 2021, China will invest more than $60 billion in African countries by 2035.


Global Times,23.08.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

China announces plan to support Agricultural Modernization in Africa, which includes support for the agricultural industrial chain and the pursuit of self-sufficiency in cereals

Through the new proposal, the country is expected to encourage Chinese companies to increase agricultural investments and seed production in Africa. China – which in 2022 eliminated tariffs on 98% of goods imported from several of the poorest countries in Africa – will also reduce trade barriers for imports and exports to the continent.

South China Morning Post,23.08.2023

Plano para a China apoiar a modernização agrícola de África,  25.08.2023

Environmental regulation strengthened in deep seas to meet goals of food security

Coastal regions will have to accelerate the introduction of local standards for the discharge of water contaminated by aquaculture, while the Ministry of Environment will support satellite monitoring. China has room to expand deepwater aquaculture as production currently (390,000 tonnes) represents about 1% of freshwater production.

South China Morning Post, 28.08.2023

Global Times, 28.08.2023

People’s Life and Culture

Chinese consumers promote a boycott of Japanese brands in response to the release of radioactive water from the Fukushima incident

The most affected sectors are Japanese restaurants, travel, and even cosmetics,  where China is the largest market for this Japanese sector. Due to the release of radioactive water (which can reach China in about 240 days), the Chinese government has lodged complaints with international organizations and banned the import of seafood from Japan, for which  China is  its main market.

Sixth Tone, 24.08.2023

Global Times, 26.08.2023

After the discovery of missing objects in the British Museum, Chinese netizens once again demanded the return of looted relics

The museum holds a total of 23,000 Chinese relics, of which 2,000 are on long-term display, ranging from the Neolithic period to the present and including paintings, engravings, jade objects, and ceramics. It is estimated that 10 million artifacts were stolen from China beginning with  the First Opium War (1839-1842) until the  War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-1945).

Global Times, 23.08.2023

National Politics

The government is promoting the hiring of people under 40 years old in major research and development (R&D) projects, aiming to have  half of the teams in this age group

The age limit for applying for key research in Science and Technology will be lowered to 40 years old, and there will be no restrictions related to professional or academic background. The average age of R&D teams in strategic projects such as the BeiDou Satellite Navigation System or Martian and Lunar detection is 30 years old.

Global Times, 28.08.2023

The government relaxes mortgage policy and expands tax incentives for real estate developers to stimulate housing market

Family members of those who own property are now eligible for the credit policy for first-time homebuyers, and those selling their homes and buying another within a year will be reimbursed for the income tax paid on the sale. Down payments have been reduced from 73% to 33% of the house price. Total sales in the first seven months this year dropped 4.7% year-on-year. 

Global Times, 25.08.2023

Caixin Global, 26.08.2023


Evergrande’s shares plummeted 79% on its first day of trading after a suspension of more than 17 months

The company filed for bankruptcy protection in a New York court on August 17 and revealed that it has 9.34 billion yuan in debt and lawsuits involving 10.88 billion yuan. The government implemented a series of measures to encourage investors, such as cuts in stamp duties, lower deposit rates for margin financing, and a more selective process for Initial Public Offerings (IPOs).

Nikkei, 27.08.2023

Asia Times, 28.08.2023

Profits of BYD, the world’s largest electric car maker, increased 205% in H1, reaching 10.95 billion yuan ($1.5 billion)

The company delivered a record 703,561 electric and hybrid vehicles during this period, representing a year-on-year increase of 98%. Recently, BYD Electronic bought the printed circuit board manufacturing business of  U.S.-based manufacturer Jabil in China for 15.8 billion yuan ($2.175 billion).

South China Morning Post, 29.08.2023

Reuters, 28.08.2023

Yangwang U8, BYD’s new luxury car, can go from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.6 seconds [Kyodo].

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No. 161 | 26.08.2023

Regarding the Qixi Festival, covered in the People’s Life and Culture section, we recommend a song by Xu Song (许嵩), a pop musician famous for the style of traditional Chinese music he imprints on his contemporary songs.


BRICS add six new countries after summit in South Africa, with Xi Jinping calling the expansion “historic”

Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Ethiopia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates will become full members as of January 1, 2024; the group asked its finance ministers and central banks to initiate studies on alternatives to the use of the dollar and to present the results at the next summit, to be held in October in Russia

South China Morning Post, 24.08.2023

CGTN, 24.08.2023

CGTN, 23.08.2023

China and South Africa signed US$2.2 billion Belt & Road agreements on infrastructure, tourism, and education 

Xi Jinping met with President Cyril Ramaphosa ahead of the BRICS summit, and said the relationship between the two countries had entered a “golden age”; agreements include improvements in South Africa’s energy sector, an increase in exports to China, and a space exploration partnership that envisions South African participation in manned missions and the future International Lunar Research Station

Bloomberg, 23.08.2023

South China Morning Post, 23.08.2023

National Politics

Xu Shanshui is the latest executive targeted in anti-corruption investigations in the tobacco industry

Chairman of Anhui Genuine New Materials, a cigarette packaging company, joins over 20 senior executives and officials involved in anti-graft investigations since 2021, including from the state-owned monopoly, China Tobacco, which controls 97% of the market and shares offices with the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration

Caixin Global, 22.08.2023

Government allocates 2.65 billion yuan (US$364 million) to support repairs and compensation in flood-affected areas in northern China

While the existing flood control system was key, the Ministry of Water Resources said the worst flood since 1963 exposed some weaknesses in disaster monitoring and forecasting capabilities; as a result, in Hebei alone, 15,000 grassroots officials and agricultural technicians have been mobilized to assist farmers in post-disaster production recovery

Global Times, 21.08.2023


China cuts prime rate, but seeks “reasonable returns” for lenders

A decision of the country’s 18 main banks, the reduction was 10 basis points (from 3.55% to 3.45%) and not 15 as expected, while the People’s Bank of China announced the extension of a special loan program for real estate companies until May 2024, which allows them access to 200 billion yuan (US$28 billion) at almost zero cost

Caixin Global, 18.08.2023

Financial Times, 22.08.2023

China’s budget deficit reduced by more than one-third so far this year

The increased deficit (the general and public funds budget combined) was 3.3 trillion yuan (US$449 billion) in the first seven months of this year, down 37% from the same period in 2022; total revenue increased by 6%, while spending fell by 4.8%

Caixin Global, 22.08.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

China turns to coal to meet high energy demand due to heat wave

From January to June, 2.3 billion tons of raw coal were produced, an increase of 4.4% year-on-year, while coal imports increased by 93% (220 million tons); the increase in coal power capacity, however, has not reversed the accelerating expansion of renewable energy: from January to June, wind and solar power accounted for 71% of newly added power capacity

China Dialogue, 17.08.2023

China and Russia say Japan will dump Fukushima nuclear-contaminated wastewater into the sea to cut costs, not based on scientific grounds

In a series of letters to the International Atomic Energy Agency, they asserted that the more costly steam release “has less impact on the ocean and neighboring countries,” and is less likely to cause leaks or pollution; if Japan persists in its unilateral action, the Chinese government stated it will take necessary measures to safeguard the marine environment, food safety, and public health

South China Morning Post, 22.08.2023

Global Times, 22.08.2023

People’s Life and Culture

Nearly 35% of the Chinese population is overweight and 14% are classified as obese, according to new study

The Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism journal study classified 15.8 million people, showing that overweight and obesity are more prevalent in men, with 41.1% vs 27.7% in women, and that obesity rates are higher in the north of the country; in 2020, the China’s authorities set a target of reducing the number of overweight and obese children and adolescents by 70% in the next 10 years

Global Times, 21.08.2023

Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism journal study.

The guochao trend, where young people appropriate and reinvent traditional Chinese culture, gives a new impulse to millenary festival

The Qixi Festival, known as Chinese Valentine’s Day, was celebrated on August 22, and young people are finding new and varied ways to celebrate it; many choose this day to get married, others participate in activities for singles, and traditional and new trends such as personalized gifts, visits to museums, or cultural activities in parks are practiced

Global Times, 21.08.2023

People in traditional hanfu dress participate in a Qixi event, Beijing, 20.08.2023 [VCG]

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No. 160 | 19.08.2023

We recommend the Tiny Desk session by Cui Jian, a pioneer of Mainland China rock and one of the first Chinese artists to compose contemporary rock songs in Mandarin.


Biden administration signs executive order imposing more restrictions on US investments in China’s high-tech sector

Targeting the semiconductor and microelectronics, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence areas, US authorities justify the measure  by citing once again supposed “national security reasons”; the Chinese government says the action is another element of the US campaign to stifle China’s technological rise

Caixin Global, 11.08.2023

Global Times, 11.08.2023

Renowned biochemist Kunliang Guan returns to China after three decades working in the US, following investigations targeting Chinese researchers

Among 250 professionals penalized for affiliation with Chinese institutions, Guan is a McArthur prize winner and one of the most cited researchers in his field; he is expected to lead a new research laboratory at West Lake University in Hangzhou, continuing his globally renowned research on cellular signaling pathways related to organ development and cancer

South China Morning Post, 15.08.2023

Science and Technology

Investment in research and development (R&D) by Chinese companies more than doubled in the last five years

Listed companies in China invested US$228 billion in R&D programs in 2022, seeking to develop their national products that can replace those of Japanese, American, and European companies; these companies have more than 3 million researchers in R&D teams, the largest of which is electric car giant BYD, with nearly 70,000 employees

Nikkei Asia, 13.08.2023

China launches world’s first high-orbit Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) to improve disaster monitoring

SAR generates high-resolution images over long distances and will contribute to disaster prevention and reduction, earthquake monitoring, and land and resource surveying, among other applications; during the recent heavy rains that hit northern China, 16 satellites provided fast image services to support relief work

Global Times, 13.08.2023

National Politics

New regulations will eliminate a third of China’s hedge funds, increasing minimum values for their liquid assets

From now on, hedge funds must maintain a net asset value of at least 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million) and limit the size of their investments to 25% of their total assets and their leverage levels to 200%; Beijing seeks to eliminate smaller actors that are often responsible for extreme volatility in a sector that has grown sevenfold over the last decade

Asia Times, 12.08.2023

An anti-corruption campaign launched this year in the healthcare sector has resulted in the detention of over 160 hospital directors across the country

The action aims to put an end to illicit practices such as using power to obtain income, bribes, and fraud in the bidding for medicines and equipment; the government aims to regulate both the public and private sector, which received US$15.2 billion in funding during the pandemic, by requiring standardization of medical service prices and payment systems

South China Morning Post, 12.08.2023


Investment in the real estate sector from January to July totaled US$943.5 billion, representing an 8.5% drop compared to the previous year

The cause of the deepening crisis was a 7.6% fall in housing investment, which accounts for about three-quarters of the total; the total value of commercial and residential properties sold in the first seven months was 7.04 trillion yuan (US$965.2 billion), a 1.5% drop from the previous year

Nikkei, 15.08.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

The central government has released renewable energy targets for all provinces this year

The guidelines, which are binding, stipulate what proportion of each province’s energy consumption should come from renewable sources, with the highest (70%) assigned to provinces with the largest hydroelectric capacities (Sichuan, Yunnan, and Qinghai); in addition, each province also received a different target for non-hydro renewable energy consumption, with Qinghai (27.2%), Ningxia (24.5%), and Jilin (23.5%) having the highest targets

Caixin Global, 10.08.2023

China has published its first set of guidelines to standardize the hydrogen energy industry

By 2025, the country aims to establish an industrial system that standardizes hydrogen energy production, storage, transportation, and utilization; as the world’s largest hydrogen producer (33 million tons per year), China sees the resource as an important means of transitioning to a low-carbon economy

Global Times, 08.08.2023

People’s Life and Culture

Two years after the ban on extracurricular private lessons, many parents continue to maintain the practice

Although regulation has put an end to the US$70 billion private tutoring market, demand from families has not diminished and they now hire illegal private teachers or study trips to give children advantages in education; the government seeks to discourage these practices, which represent the biggest expense for many families

South China Morning Post, 15.08.2023

“The Long March-2B” rocket takes off from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, carrying the “Soil Exploration – 4 01” satellite, 13.08.2023 [CNSA]

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No. 159 | 12.08.2023

This week, we talk about the Tang Dynasty in our newsletter. For this reason, we suggest listening to the album “Chinese Music of the Tang Dynasty” (中國唐樂), published in 1990, with 20 songs recovered by various specialists and performed by the Shanghai Ancient Chinese Music Ensemble (上海中国古乐团).


A total of 103 deals worth US$43.3 billion were closed under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the first half of 2023

With an increasing focus on smaller projects, the average value of agreements was almost US$392 million, while in 2022 it was US$617 million; China’s trade with the 151 member countries of the BRI in the first seven months of 2023 reached US$1 trillion, contrasting with total Chinese foreign trade, which was only 0.4%

Global Times, 08.08.2023

South China Morning Post, 05.08.2023

At the slowest pace since 2006, China’s investment in mergers and acquisitions in the US totals just over US$221 million this year

In the same period last year, the figure was US$3.4 billion in the US, while its investments in Germany also registered a decade-low (US$189 million) so far this year; overall Chinese  overseas investment (US$12.2 billion) contrasts with the 2016 peak (US$212 billion), but shows signs of growth in other regions such as Peru and Singapore

Financial Times, 04.08.2023

Foreign direct investment in China reached its lowest level in 25 years in the last quarter, around US$4.9 billion

The drop was 87% compared to the same period last year, and 76% less compared to the previous quarter; some foreign companies have canceled local operations or expansion plans and others have relocated manufacturing and sourcing outside the country, while the CPC Politburo announces the adoption of various measures to stabilize foreign investment

Caixin Global, 07.08.2023

National Politics

Ministry of State Security determines the restrictions and supervision requirements defined in the recently reformulated Counter-espionage Law

In counterintelligence work, employees of national security agencies must work with a minimum of two individuals present when carrying out different actions such as inspection, apprehension or interrogation; evidence collections must also be recorded, and anyone has the right to report or accuse the national security agency and its employees of any illegal activities

Global Times, 07.08.2023


Exports contract 14.5% in July, year-on-year, marking the biggest drop since the beginning of the pandemic

Imports in the same period also fell more than expected, by 12.4%, and so far this year represent an accumulated drop of 7.6% (US$1.46 trillion), while exports in the same period decreased 5%, totaling US$1.94 trillion; high global inflation and rising interest rates are among the causes of lower demand for Chinese products in the world

Financial Times, 08.08.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

Farmers in the country’s main grain producing region struggle to save crops affected by the floods, adversely affecting China’s food security

Typhoon Doksuri hit the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, and Liaoning, known as the breadbasket of China, responsible for more than 1/5 of the country’s grain production; the central government has provided 432 million yuan in aid and sent 11 task forces and hundreds of experts, as concerns grow over export restrictions in other countries that drive up global prices

South China Morning Post, 08.08.2023

South China Morning Post, 04.08.2023

China could install 15-20 GW of battery storage capacity by 2023, surpassing total added over the past decade

This year, China has already added 8 GW of battery storage capacity, bringing the total capacity to 21.1 GW; central government policies and the price of lithium – which fell by almost 1/3 in the first half of 2023 compared to average prices in 2022 – accelerated installations

Caixin Global, 04.08.2023

Science and Technology

300,000-year-old skull found in China may belong to a third, never-before-seen human lineage

A team of paleontologists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences rules out that the remains found in Hualongdong, in eastern China, were of a Denisovan Hominid and Homo erectus origin, but rather is working with the hypothesis that it is a completely new lineage, a hybrid between the branch that gave rise to modern humans and the one that evolved into other ancient hominids in the region

Science Alert, 07.08.2023, 04.08.2023

People’s Life and Culture

App drivers, couriers, and other temporary workers face lower wages and longer work hours

In the first post-pandemic months, platforms receive fewer requests while more people look for jobs in this sector; recently, the central government has been mediating collective agreements to improve conditions for platform workers, who account for 240 million jobs, and represent 27% of the working-age population

South China Morning Post, 05.08.2023

The animated film 30,000 miles from Chang’an depicts the history of the Tang dynasty and is the new blockbuster in the country

The story focuses on the friendship between poets Li Bai and Gao Shi, and the rise and fall of Chang’an, the capital of the Tang dynasty, and is told through 48 classic poems well known to Chinese audiences. Interviewed by SCMP, our member Tings Chak, said that China’s cultural industry offers its population an alternative to Hollywood, which has for decades dominated local cultures.

South China Morning Post, 06.08.2023

A scene from 30,000 Miles from Chang’an

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No. 158 | 05.08.2023

Today, we share with you the Chinese version ‘A Love Before Time’ (月光愛人) performed by Coco Lee, who performed that song at the 2000 Oscar Awards ceremony.


Argentina will pay part of its debt with the IMF in yuan after reaching an agreement equivalent to US$1.7 billion with the People’s Bank of China

The South American country will use the currency swap mechanism, depositing pesos in the Chinese central bank and receiving yuan in exchange; Argentina will be able to pay the financial institution without affecting its dollar reserves (only US$8 billion), setting a precedent for other economies in the Global South

South China Morning Post, 01.08.2023

For the first time, the US uses its foreign policy mechanism in “crisis situations” to send US$345 million on military aid to Taiwan

In 2022, the US Congress authorized Biden to spend up to US$1 billion in Taiwan through the Presidential Dispatch Authority, also widely used for arms shipments to Ukraine; a Chinese government spokesman said these actions are turning Taiwan into a “powder keg” and criticized the DPP for exacerbating the risk of military conflict in the Taiwan Strait

China Daily, 31.07.2023

Reuters, 28.07.2023

National Politics

Anti-corruption investigation leads to change in the command of the People’s Liberation Army’s Firearms Force

The chief and political commissioner of the force responsible for the country’s nuclear arsenal have been replaced, while the anti-corruption unit of the Central Military Commission investigates the main commanders of the force; in a recent speech on the eve of the 96th anniversary of the PLA, Xi Jinping said that anti-corruption efforts must be taken to a “deeper level”

South China Morning Post, 31.07.2023

South China Morning Post, 28.07.2023

Mining company in Shanxi province under investigation for concealing 40 accidents resulting in the death of 43 workers

In addition to committing gross negligence by operating without training, inspections, and safety procedures, the company coerced the victims’ families into accepting compensation and signing “confidentiality agreements” to avoid punishment; local regulatory authorities are also being investigated for failing to conduct proper production inspections and safety oversight

Global Times, 28.07.2023


Real estate crisis continues for the third consecutive year and begins to affect state-owned companies

New property sales by China’s top 100 property developers fell 28.1% in June to 526.74 billion yuan (US$73.4 billion), as the sector posted a 1.2% decline in the second quarter from a year earlier; the housing minister called for more measures to support home purchases, such as easing down payment rules and reducing mortgages for first-time buyers

Caixin Global, 31.07.2023

For the first time in history, the yuan surpassed the US dollar in China’s bilateral trade

Forty-nine percent of China’s international transactions in the second quarter were in yuan, mainly due to a more open market for capital and growing yuan trade with Russia; the yuan’s share of global payments reached 2.77% in June, up 11% year-on-year to US$1.51 trillion, while the dollar fell 14%, although it remains the most widely used currency

Nikkei Asia, 24.07.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

China faced the heaviest rains in 70 years due to Tropical Storm Doksuri

Floods left more than 20 dead in the cities of Beijing and Hebei and about 127,000 evacuated in the Chinese capital; on Wednesday morning, Beijing lifted its flood red alert when water flows in major rivers fell below the alert mark

South China Morning Post, 01.08.2023

Xinhua, 02.08.2023

Chinese scientists advance fertility of healthier, higher-yielding “super hybrid” rice

Hybrids of Japonica and Indica varieties are stronger and more resistant to pests, diseases and drought, but cannot produce seed due to reproductive isolation; the team discovered the workings of the genes that cause sterility, and paved the way for a new variant with a 15% yield increase and less reliance on pesticides

South China Morning Post, 31.07.2023

People’s Life and Culture

Thousands of fans said their last goodbye to Coco Lee, the Chinese pop singer who became a global cultural icon

Coco Lee provided the voice for the music of Mulan and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and to this day remains the only Chinese-American singer to have performed at the Oscars ceremony; the Hong Kong-born singer was honored in her hometown, mainland China, and Taiwan, and by Asian people from around the world

South China Morning Post, 31.07.2023

South China Morning Post, 23.07.2023

150,000 people attended the final of the Cun Chao, the Village Football Super League in Rongjiang County

People from all over the country traveled to watch the amateur players, who are farmers, students, teachers or local restaurant owners, and millions followed online; ceremonies representing the region’s ethnic diversity are also held at the games and the tourism revenue has been one of the key strategies to help the community lift itself out of extreme poverty

Sixth Tone, 29.07.2023

Global Times, 30.07.2023

Women from Rongjiang County at the closing ceremony of Cun Chao [Mauro Ramos, TVT]

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No. 157 | 29.07.2023

Today, we recommend you listen to the song ‘Chengdu’ (成都) by Zhao Lei (赵雷), a popular track in 2017 that attracted many tourists to that city.


Chinese companies increase their investments in countries of the Global South, while decreasing their investments in the West

According to the American Enterprise Institute, the  G7 received 120 investments (63 in the US) in 2016 from Chinese state-owned and private companies, which dropped to 13 projects last year, receiving only US$ 7.4 billion against more than US$24 billion invested in Asia, South America, and the Middle East; in those regions China invests mainly in energy and mining projects, as is the case of Indonesia which accounted for 17% of total investments due to its nickel reserves

Wall Street Journal, 24.07.2023

The number of Chinese scientists leaving the US to return home continues to grow amid a climate of persecution

According to OECD data, in 2021 the US lost 896 scientific authors while China gained 3,108; according to a survey last month, 70% of Chinese researchers in the US said they did not feel safe in that country and the visa rejection rate for foreign students in the US rose from 15% in 2014 to a record 35% in 2022

South China Morning Post, 21.07.2023

South China Morning Post, 23.07.2023

National Politics

Wang Yi returns to the Chinese Foreign Ministry to replace Qin Gang and a new central bank president has been appointed

The decisions were made at a special session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, following a meeting of the Politburo; at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was officially announced that Qin Gang is stepping down for health reasons, and at the People’s Bank of China, Pan Gongsheng formally replaces Yi Gang on the way to the National Financial Work Conference held every five years

South China Morning Post, 25.07.2023

South China Morning Post, 25.07.2023

The National Development and Reform Commission published a “white list” of new sectors open to private investment

Some of the key industries and state projects include transportation, water, clean energy, new infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, and modern mechanized agriculture; the government is looking to boost the private sector, which is coming from posting a 21.8% drop in earnings through May, and from accounting for 65% of total fixed asset investments in 2015 to 53% today

South China Morning Post, 24.07.2023

Caixin Global, 25.07.2023


China imported record amounts of Russian oil in the first half of 2023

China imported 11.4 million barrels of crude oil, up 11.7% year-on-year and 15.3% compared to pre-pandemic levels; that was about 2.13 million barrels per day, ahead of the 1.88 million barrels imported from Saudi Arabia, making Russia China’s top crude oil supplier so far this year

Financial Times, 20.07.2023

The STAR market, known as the “NASDAQ of China”, grew from 0 to 6.4 trillion yuan (US$ 89 billion) in just four years

It is operated by the Shanghai Stock Exchange and allows the listing of new domestic companies, mainly in science and technology; in 2022, total investment in research and development by listed companies reached 128.5 billion yuan (US$17.91 billion), a year-on-year increase of 28%

Global Times, 24.07.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

China exports domestic poultry breeds for the first time in history

The shipment of 15,500 “Jinghong 1” high-yield layers and 1,000 “Wode 188” broilers to Tanzania also marks a break in the global monopoly of European and US producers; after years of secret research to avoid cutting off supplies from foreign companies, three domestic varieties were approved by the end of 2021

Global Times, 23.07.2023

Science and Technology

The Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology developed and began mass production of a domestic magnetic resonance imaging machine

It can offer image quality equal to that of the most advanced in the world, but at a lower cost, and will allow the State to have more health resources for other purposes; it is a very important achievement in terms of technological sovereignty and health, and an example of integration between researchers, companies and state funding

Global Times, 23.07.2023

People’s Life and Culture

Chengdu hosts World University Games after being postponed for two years due to the pandemic

The city located in Sichuan province and characterized by its food, pandas and a mostly young population, will host the 31st edition of the games; at the opening, President Xi Jinping welcomes seven heads of state, including Joko Widodo of Indonesia and others he has not met since before the pandemic

Xinhua, 23.07.2023

South China Morning Post, 24.07.2023

Climate change has begun to endanger ancient murals and statues in caves of the ancient Silk Road

A recently released Greenpeace report shows that Buddhist artworks housed in caves in Gansu province are at risk as the region becomes hotter, wetter, and more prone to sudden rainfall; in 2021, Xi Jinping called for archaeologists to develop an archaeology with Chinese characteristics, style and ethos, capable of revealing to the world the splendor of their civilization

Greenpeace, 17.07.2023

Washington Post, 17.07.2023

Crumbling and detachment on a mural in the East Cave of Jinta Temple [Zhangye Cultural Heritage Administration]

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