2023 Retrospective | No. 177 | 23.12.2023

Dear readers,

Another year is coming to an end, the fourth since we founded Dongsheng and started publishing News on China. We want to thank you for your support, your attentive reading, your criticisms, and comments. This year we surpassed 100,000 followers on all platforms where we provide content in Spanish, English, and Portuguese. As usual, we close the year with a retrospective of the most important events for China. Next week, we will also publish a video summary of China’s 2023. Finally, for some extra reading to take you into the new year, we launched our fourth and last issue of the year of Wenhua Zongheng, “Chinese Perspectives on Twenty-First Century Socialism”. We hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for continuing to grow with us. We wish you a very happy and healthy end of 2023!

– Dongsheng Editorial Collective


The opening of the Chinese borders to the world in the second week of January this year – after three years of the pandemic and restrictions on the entry of foreigners into the country – made it possible to resume an intense Beijing diplomatic agenda, increasingly dedicated to strengthening its ties in the Global South. China played an important role in the historic expansion of the BRICS, realized in August in South Africa. In March, Beijing mediated the agreement to resume diplomatic relations – broken seven years ago – between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which opened the doors for Riyadh and Tehran to join the BRICS11.

Musaad al-Aiban, Saudi Minister of State; Wang Yi, China’s top foreign policy official; and Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of the National Security Council of Iran [Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China]

In October, Beijing organized the 3rd Forum of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – with the participation of 151 countries – and celebrated 10 years of its principal foreign policy, which has already mobilized around 1 trillion dollars in hundreds of projects, mainly infrastructural, around the world.

The strategic relationship between China and Russia deepened in 2023, with two meetings between their presidents. In March in Moscow, Vladimir Putin said that the relationship between the two countries is at the highest level in their history, while Xi Jinping said that they are leading changes unprecedented in a hundred years. Trade between Russia and China hit a record high this year, reaching US$218 billion in November, up 26.7% year-on-year. 95% of their bilateral trade is now in rubles and yuan, taking another step towards to de-dollarization between their countries.

Xi Jinping and  Vladimir Putin at the  Kremlin [TASS]

In fact, China has made progress in internationalizing the yuan and creating alternatives to using the dollar. For the first time in history, most of China’s foreign trade (49%) was carried out in yuan. The country signed an agreement with Brazil to conduct trade and investments in local currencies, and now has similar agreements with more than 20 countries. Beijing also carried out currency swaps with Argentina, which paid installments of its debt to the IMF in yuan, something unprecedented in the fund’s history. China reached an agreement to buy oil from Iraq – its third largest supplier – in yuan, and made the first purchase of this strategic commodity in digital yuan. However, the yuan’s share of world trade is still low, having reached less than 4% between January and September.

Xi Jinping and Joe Biden with their government teams [Xinhua/Rao Aimin]

Tensions between China and the US increased over the course of the year, mainly due to Washington’s ambiguous policy towards Taiwan and the progress of sanctions aimed at blocking China’s access to state-of-the-art semiconductors. Even so, China’s Huawei surprised the world (more on this later). The meeting between Xi and Biden in November served to minimize tensions somewhat, resuming dialogue between their defense ministers and cooperation in the fight against global warming, but the year ended with controversial statements by US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. She said that “China is not our friend” and represents “the greatest threat we’ve ever had”. She told the CEOs of US chip companies – whose profits are expected to fall as a result of the White House sanctions – to conform, because national security is more important than their short-term profits.

Finally, in the face of the genocide of the Palestinian people, China has strongly condemned Israel’s actions and insisted on a ceasefire and an international conference to agree on the right of the Palestinian people to have their state.

National Politics

The year began with the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, which had seen a spike of cases and related deaths. From Chinese New Year onwards, cases fell, restrictions eased, and there was a return to normalcy for the rest of the year.

A community health center in Shanghai, 04.01.2023 [Xinhua]

With temperatures dropping this winter, China saw an increase in pre-pandemic levels of respiratory diseases among children. Despite speculations and fake news circulating in Western media about a new virus outbreak, no new pathogens were detected, pointing instead to an “immunization gap” due to lowered exposure during the Covid–19 pandemic years. 

A major theme of domestic policy continued to be the country’s anti-corruption campaign, which made efforts to take the campaign to a “deeper level” by zoning in on major arenas such as defense, health, and sport

In the first ten months of 2023, 115,000 CPC cadres were investigated with 80,000 disciplined for violating anti-extravagance measures. A record 41 senior CPC cadres were arrested in graft probes, including retirees, ministerial, and state-owned enterprise-level positions, such as the former vice president of the China Development Bank. Over four million regional-level CPC cadres and 533 at the vice-ministerial level and above have been investigated since its launch, following Xi’s election as CPC General Secretary in 2012. 

Amid increased US sanctions, meeting internal demands and establishing self-reliance were key priorities. To stimulate economic growth, greater efforts were made to integrate university graduates into the workforce and to address rising urban youth unemployment; plans are to increase the hiring of civil servants by 16%. 

Another major focus has been the development of the western and northeastern regions of China. The northeast, a region that had suffered deindustrialization during the reform period, has received renewed attention. With a 5.3% increase in GDP between Q1–Q3 2023 (year-on-year) – higher than the national GDP of 5.2% – Liaoning Province will be at the center of building a modern industrial system to boost self-sufficiency, as the US continues its attempts to block China from participating in the hi-tech global supply chain. 

Cotton harvest in Xinjiang, 12.10.2023 [Xinhua]

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region’s foreign trade rose by 51.25% year-on-year to reach 219 billion yuan (US$30 billion) between Q1-Q3 2023 and trade with five Central Asian nations grew by 59.1% to hit 176.64 billion yuan. A Free Trade Zone planned for the region aims for export-oriented, labor-intensive industry chains from the east of China to migrate west and extend the industrial reach to China’s coastal areas. 


To address the real estate market crisis that has been going on for several years, in 2023 the government initiated a pilot program to boost private investment in the sector and help developers reduce debt, leverage ratios, and recover liquidity. The People’s Bank of China announced the extension of a special loan program for real estate companies, which allows them access to 200 billion yuan (US$28 billion) at almost zero cost. Lastly, the government relaxed the mortgage policy and expanded tax incentives for real estate developers to stimulate the housing  market.

The number of billionaires in China has fallen for the second consecutive year: there are 224 individuals (15%) less than two years ago when it was at its peak. Total wealth fell 4% to US$3.2 trillion with almost 500 people dropping off the list in the last two years. However, China remains the country with the most dollar billionaires in the world (895).

If you want to know more about the Chinese real estate market, you can read our Dongsheng Explains on the subject.

China’s GDP reached 91.3 trillion yuan (US$12.48 trillion) in the third quarter, growing by 5.2% in 2023, above the target of 5%. But amid the world’s economic slowdown and geopolitical tensions, China’s foreign trade has been affected: in the first 11 months of 2023, the exports contracted by 5.2%, while imports dropped by 6%. Decreasing trade with the U.S., EU, Japan, and major trading partners in Southeast Asia contributed to the drop. 

Applicants to work in the civilian sector after completing an examination in Zhenjiang [VCG]

Over the year, the government promoted measures to stimulate the economic activity: 

–        The provincial governments planned to increase annual hiring of civil servants by 16% (totaling 192,000 positions) focusing on young people, while urban youth unemployment has reached an all-time high in 2023 (19.9% in July).

–        The Central Bank transferred 1.13 trillion yuan (US$162 billion) in profits to the Ministry of Finance to increase fiscal spending, reduced the compulsory deposit to 7.6% to inject 500 billion yuan (US$72.6 billion) in liquidity into the market, and cut key loan rates to spur investment and consumption. 

–        Investments by public companies reached 1.7 trillion yuan (US$234 billion) in the first half of the year, an increase of 12.5% over the previous year. China’s rail investment reached its highest level since 2013 in the first quarter, 113.55 billion yuan (US$16.5 billion).

–        In its first budget revision since 2008, the government approved 1 trillion yuan (US$139 billion) in new bonds and increased its deficit from 3% to 3.8% of GDP.

Great Wall full of tourists, 02.10.2023 [VCG]

Near the end of the year, domestic tourism exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the first time during Golden Week. But unoccupied high-level office rates in China are higher now than during the zero-COVID policy; in Shenzhen it reached 27%, and the rate in Guangzhou reached a 10-year high of 20.8%.

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Agriculture and Environment

Over 60% of all the 146 million tonnes of China’s imported food were soybeans, mainly from the US and, in recent years, Brazil, given the deteriorating China-US relationship. To address this pressing issue and prioritize food security as outlined in this year’s No.1 central document, a momentous step has been taken in the legalization of genetically modified (GM) crops. After conducting meticulous preparations and strict evaluations spanning several years, on February 21, 2023, China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs pledged to expand the pilot projects for the industrialization of GM corn and soybeans. Subsequently, on October 17, an approval was granted, allowing the cultivation of 37 GM corn varieties and 14 GM soybean varieties in designated areas beginning on November 15. By embracing genetically modified crops, the nation aims to enhance domestic production capabilities and mitigate the risks associated with an overreliance on foreign food sources.

Floods caused by typhoon Doksuri in Fuzhou, 29.07.2023 [VCG]

Climate change continues to wreak havoc on China. This summer, Northern China recorded its heaviest rainfall in 70 years. Torrential rain brought on by two successive typhoons intensified concerns over China’s food security amidst export restrictions imposed by other nations, which have led to a surge in global food prices. Farmers in the country’s primary grain producing region struggle to save crops affected by the floods. 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.

Despite remaining the largest consumer of coal, China positioned itself as the largest producer of renewable energy for yet another year. In 2023, China built as much new solar capacity as the total installed capacity in the US.

The country controls more than 80% of the global solar panel supply chain and can manufacture more than twice the annual global demand. 

By 2023, installed battery storage capacity exceeded the total added in the last decade. With the announcement or start-up of solar and wind power construction, China will exceed clean energy targets five years ahead of schedule. China’s carbon dioxide emissions are expected to decline next year as a result of record growth in new energy sources.

Solar power plant built on a fish farm in Anhui, 29.03.2023 [VCG]

Science and Technology

Undoubtedly, China’s great technological accomplishment  in 2023 was achieving  the domestic manufacture of the 7 nanometer microchip. Huawei surprised the world with its new Mate 60 Pro cell phone. Without announcing it, the Chinese company used a 7nm chip manufactured by its subsidiary HiSilicon with technology from SMIC, also Chinese. While still lagging behind the most advanced 3nm microprocessors, China achieved this goal in just 5 years. State support was key to offset the high production costs resulting from US sanctions. In the last year, Huawei received more than 6.5 billion yuan (US$948 million), while SMIC received about 6.8 billion yuan in the last three years.

Mate 60 Pro has 47% of the value of its components made in China [Huawei]

The phone marked Huawei’s return to the 5G smartphone market, which this year also launched 5.5G or 5G Advanced. It is 10 times faster than traditional 5G, which is already widely distributed across China. On the other hand, Chinese scientists achieved the first wireless transmission using 6G technology, although it is still far from being applied in cell phones.

China officially announced its plan to reach the Moon in 2030 and would be the second country to do so, after the last U.S. lunar landing in 1972. The Chinese space agency is collaborating with Russia to build a joint lunar base in the mid-2030s. For that, some Chinese researchers propose to make bricks with lunar soil using a robot, 3D printers, and lasers, although it could take 20 to 30 years and there are multiple challenges such as low gravity, lunar earthquakes, strong cosmic radiation, and lack of water. But just this year, Chinese scientists discovered a reservoir of water on the Moon inside glass spheres generated by the solar wind. In 2025, the Chang’e 6 mission will be the first in history to collect samples from the dark side of the Moon. 

With the new CR450 train, the trip between Beijing and Shanghai will take two hours less [VCG]

China Railway completed testing of the new CR450 high-speed train, reaching 453 km/h, making it the fastest in the world. Bullet trains already installed in China currently reach 350 km/h.

Finally, this year China went from being a buyer to a producer of high-end steel sheets. In less than a decade, it was able to develop the product that has come to cost as much per gram as gold.

People’s Life and Culture

According to the Ipsos global happiness survey of 2023, China claimed the top spot with 91 percent of the Chinese respondents expressing overall happiness, with 83 percent expressing satisfaction with the social and political landscape, while dipping to 78 percent regarding the economic situation. Notably, the survey unveiled that Chinese individuals attribute their happiness primarily to the presence of friends and children in their lives.

Closing Ceremony of the Asian Games in Hangzhou [19th Asian Games]

2023 was a year of sports, from the international stage to the grassroots level. 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 featured 12,500 athletes from 45 countries and territories competing in 42 sports, including original Asian sports such as Kabaddi, Sepak Takraw, and Wǔshù, and new areas, such as breakdancing. More than 3 million tickets were sold, generating more than 600 million yuan (US$ 85 million) in sales. 15 world records, 37 Asian records, and 170 Asian Games records were established , with China topping the gold medal tally with 200 medals.

Grassroots sports competitions also garnered popularity nationwide. In small villages in Guizhou Province, southwest China, the Village Basketball Association and Village Super League, also known as Cun Chao, attracted hundreds of thousands of tourists and millions of online viewers. The tourism industry of the hosting village Rongjiang generated revenue exceeding 2.8 billion yuan while its hotel and lodging industry saw a year-on-year increase of 172.6 percent. The counties in Guizhou are leading innovative approaches to rural revitalization by combining China’s comprehensive physical and digital infrastructure with unique rural traditions, culture, and ethnic diversity.

This year, surveys revealed that more than 200 million Chinese are self-employed. According to data, in 2021, 16% of recent graduates – which in 2022 will reach a record 10.76 million – began to work independently.

A rural basketball game in the village of Taipan [Jimu News]

Despite substantial government initiatives, China continues to grapple with demographic challenges. For the first time in 60 years, China’s population decreased to 1.411 billion in 2022, and was surpassed by India. Over the past three decades, the national average age for a first marriage increased approximately 6 years reaching 28.67 in 2020, with the pursuit of education being the main reason for delaying marriage. With a drop of 9.98% in births and a growth rate of -0.6 per thousand people, the country has 850,000 fewer inhabitants due to cultural changes, the higher costs of raising children, and an economic slowdown. However, some analysts show that the falling birthrate together with rising youth unemployment could also be explained by increasing university enrollment and years of study amongst young people. With consumption picking up, demand for labor is increasing while recruitment difficulties persist, especially in the manufacturing sector, as migrant workers prefer to work in their hometowns and young people avoid low-wage, labor-intensive jobs.

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No. 176 | 16.12.2023

Sing a Song for the Party (唱支山歌给党听) is a revolutionary classic composed in 1963, and we share with you Han Hong’s (韩红) version.


China became Vietnam’s largest investor, doubling its investments in the first eleven months to US$8.2 billion

Vietnam’s exports to China increased by 5% to reach nearly US$50 billion, while exports to the United States fell by 15% in the same period; following Xi Jinping’s visit last week, focus will be given to the relationship between each country’s communist parties and building a community of shared future with comprehensive strategic importance

Asia Financial, 08.12.2023

Xinhua, 13.12.2023

China-Russia trade hit a record US$218 billion through November, up 26.7% year-on-year

The target set in 2019 to increase bilateral trade to US$200 billion by 2024 was reached ahead of schedule, thanks to energy trade (the Eastern Route pipeline transported more than 20 billion cubic meters of natural gas this year) and the growing use of the yuan; China’s exports to Russia increased by 50.2% and imports from Russia by 26.7%

Global Times, 07.12.2023

National Politics

Hong Kong’s 2023 District Council Elections voter turnout set a record low of 27.5%

With low turnout historically, this year’s election suffered a computer glitch that led to the election being extended for an extra hour and a half; with 1.19 million voters having cast their ballots for 88 directly elected seats, the city leader will elect another 179, local committees will decide another 176, and rural leaders will hold the remaining 27 seats

South China Morning Post, 11.12.2023

South China Morning Post, 10.12.2023


China’s exports rose 0.5% year-on-year in November, following a six-month slump 

After a 6.4% drop in October, November exports reached US$291.9 billion, driven by sales of cars and cell phones, which rose 54%; on the other hand, imports fell 0.6% to US$223.5 billion after a 3% increase in October

Nikkei Asia, 07.12.2023

The number of Chinese billionaires fell again, now 15% or 224 individuals less than two years ago when the peak was reached

Total wealth fell 4% to US$3.2 trillion with almost 500 people dropping off the list in the last two years – 522 saw their wealth increase however; China remains the country with the most dollar billionaires in the world (895), almost 200 more than the U.S. and more than three times as many as India

Hurun, 24.10.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

At COP28, China questioned trade restrictions justified by climate policies, which affect the trade of green technologies

Climate envoy Xie Zhenhua said China supports fair trade in climate-friendly technologies and products, such as renewable energy equipment and low-carbon products; thanks to China’s progress, the cost of wind power has decreased by 80% and solar power by 90%

Global Times, 10.12.2023

Annual grain production returns to growth and reaches an all-time high of 695.41 million tons (+1.3% y-o-y)

Corn production grew by 4% and its planted area reached a record 44.2 million hectares, an increase of 2.7% y-o-y, and the soybean harvest grew by 2.8% y-o-y to 20.84 million tons; the area under grain cultivation in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region grew by 16% y-o-y, contributing significantly to national production

Forbes, 11.12.2023

China Daily, 11.12.2023

South China Morning Post, 11.12.2023

Science and Technology

China has gone from being a buyer to a producer of high-end steel sheets in less than a decade

Steel sheets, whose cost per gram became almost the same as gold, has a wide range of applications, such as aerospace components, solar panels, folding cell phones, and surgical equipment; it can be sold at a profit of 300 to 500% more than the cost of stainless steel before processing

South China Morning Post, 07.12.2023

People’s Life and Culture

New study indicates that cancer deaths in China increased by 21.6% between 2005 and 2020

Researchers found a 5% increase in years of life lost – i.e. standard life expectancy minus the age at which the person dies – and attribute this to the aging population; since 2010, cancer has been the leading cause of death in China, which has a much higher mortality rate than the world average despite having a similar incidence rate

Sixth Tone, 08.12.2023

China’s rural women trend on social media, visiblizing their work and even increasing their purchasing power

Research from a China Women’s Federation magazine found that 40% of the content analyzed focuses on making domestic and agricultural work visible, while 34% breaks down traditional perceptions of rural women; social media introduces the digital economy to rural women, enabling different opportunities than those traditionally offered

Sixth Tone, 09.12.2023

Estudio completo

“Sister Yu,” 45-year-old agricultural worker, has more than 10 million followers on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok [@东北雨姐 in Douyin].

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No. 175 | 09.12.2023

Today, we’re sharing the song “大雪” (Major Snow), named after one of China’s 24 solar terms. The term indicates the onset of heavy snowfall, and this year was on 7 December.


At the UN Security Council, China calls for a roadmap and a concrete timetable for a two-state solution to the Palestinian question

In its first published position paper on the conflict, China called for the convening of an international peace conference; foreign minister Wang Yi said that the only way to achieve sustained peace in the Middle East is to establish an independent state of Palestine and that this position is “very much in line” with the Arab and Muslim world

Global Times, 04.12.2023

South China Morning Post, 30.11.2023

US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo says that “China is not our friend” and is “the biggest threat we’ve ever had”

Addressing several US chip company executives who are losing millions because of sanctions against China, Raimondo said that “protecting national security is more important than short-term revenue”; the Chinese foreign ministry again called for abandoning the “cold war mentality” that is “deeply ingrained in some people in the US”

Global Times, 04.12.2023

South China Morning Post, 03.12.2023

National Politics

In the first 10 months of the year, nearly 115,000 CPC cadres have been investigated and 80,000 disciplined for violating anti-extravagance measures

Shortly after becoming CPC General Secretary, Xi Jinping issued the “eight directives” to reduce bureaucracy, extravagance, and undesirable work practices ; today, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection says corruption has taken new forms, such as bribes in the form of luxury gifts or excessive fees for conferences or consultancies

South China Morning Post, 04.12.2023

See the original eight directives here.

New Chinese developed cancer drug is approved by the US but will cost over 31 times more than in China

The drug Loqtorzi will cost US$8,892 compared to US$280 in China while in China, prices are determined by the state through the public healthcare system, in the United States, they are decided by pharmaceutical corporations, with no relation to production costs, as demonstrated by a recent study

South China Morning Post, 29.11.2023


State support for Huawei nearly tripled between 2021 and 2022, exceeding 6.5 billion yuan (US$948 million) with the 7nm chip as a result

Amid heavy US sanctions on China’s semiconductor industry, the state compensated for high chip production costs – in addition to Huawei, SMIC also received around 6.8 billion yuan in the past three years; now both companies are also trying to produce replacements for Nvidia processors

Financial Times, 30.11.2023

Zhongzhi financial conglomerate’s crisis exposes lack of legislation on some high-risk financial institutions

On 25 November, authorities opened a criminal investigation into Zhongzhi Enterprise Group Co Ltd after it declared itself “seriously insolvent” with a US$36.5 billion deficit; asset management or “internet finance” companies do not have risk control systems like banks and, according to experts, even if they did their own operation is highly risky

Caixin Global, 02.12.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

China pledges to reduce methane emissions but calls for joint efforts as it does not yet have the capacity to do so

With 14% of global emissions, China is the largest emitter of methane, which is responsible for more than a quarter of global warming; on the sidelines of COP 28, special climate envoy Xie Zhenhua also announced that China will set new emission reduction targets for 2030 and 2035 in two years

South China Morning Post, 03.12.2023

CropWatch, China’s leading agricultural monitoring system, is an alternative that is not reliant on the West for developing countries

First developed in 1998 by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the system analyzes data from satellites and ground stations generating information on crop yields and environmental changes, and analysis of agricultural trends; until now, the main systems for forecasting changes in world prices were controlled by the US and the EU

South China Morning Post, 28.11.2023

People’s Life and Culture

Falling birth rate and rising youth unemployment could be explained by China’s growing university enrollment

Taking all those born 24 years ago, the percentage of graduates rose from 6% at the turn of the century to 63% in 2023, at nearly 12 million, with 40% studying science, technology, engineering, or mathematics majors (18% in the US); as a result, employable 16-24 year olds fell by 43% since 2017 and at the same time college students often delay their families’ education

Asia Times, 27.11.2023

ReelShort, China’s platform for short dramas, surpasses TikTok in October downloads in the US and gains popularity inside and outside China

“Microdramas” are online series with one-minute episodes, with the first few usually free to hook the audience, and then the platforms charge a fee; recent survey shows 70% of ReelShort users are women, showing the potential of women’s consumption in the “sheconomy” 

Global Times, 26.11.2023

Hunan Daily, 20.11.2023

Promotional material for ReelShort, with record downloads in the US [ReelShort]

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No. 174 | 02.12.2023

Listen to Oghuz, an innovative band from Xinjiang that mixes rock with Uyghur traditional music.


Belt and Road Initiative will prioritize “green development”, digital cooperation, supply chains, and international health cooperation

The plan for the next decade proposes greater cooperation and exchange in AI governance and rules, in addition to R&D in this area; projects related to digital connectivity will include the construction of terrestrial and submarine communications cables, while border facilities and seaports will remain a priority; Xi announced US$107 in new financing at the third BRI forum.

Global Times, 24.11.2023

South China Morning Post, 24.11.2023

National Politics

Respiratory diseases increase to pre-pandemic levels with dropping temperatures, filling hospitals in northern China

Amid rumors of an emerging new virus circulated outside China, the National Health Commission reports that there are no new pathogens in the latest spike; the government points to an immunization gap due to  people having less exposure to these respiratory viruses and bacteria during the Covid-19 pandemic years

Caixin Global, 24.11.2024

Disease Outbreak News – World Health Organization,23.11.2024

Taiwan’s two main opposition parties rule out coalition option and register separate candidacies

Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan People’s Party (TPP), both considered more mainland-friendly, could not agree on a candidate for the joint ticket but despite the failure of the coalition, voting intentions for the KMT increased (31%), while the candidate of the ruling separatist Democratic Progressive Party, William Lai, remains ahead with 34% of voting intentions

South China Morning Post, 24.11.2024

South China Morning Post, 28.11.2023

Premier Li Qiang is appointed head of the Central Finance Commission, the newly established top planner of China’s financial system

Since 2018, all party leading groups have been turned to commissions, which is headed by Xi Jinping; however, Li is the first official appointed to head a top CPC organization and was also sent to represent Xi at the September G20 summit in New Delhi

South China Morning Post, 25.11.2023


For the first time since the beginning of the series, in 1998, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) was negative (-US$11.8 billion) in Q3

In the first nine months, FDI totaled just US$15 billion, a drop of almost 92% compared to the total for 2022, according to the State Foreign Exchange Administration, which measures net FDI; the Ministry of Commerce reported that gross FDI in the same period was US$ 128 billion, a drop of 33% in the same comparison

FT, 27.11.2023

Nikkei, 04.11.2023

Industrial profits increased for the third consecutive month in October, albeit at a slower pace, 2.7% year-on-year

Profits grew 11.9% in September and 17.2% in August, but accumulated an annual drop of 7.8% in the first 10 months of the year, totaling US$ 852.8 billion; the central bank published 25 measures to support the private sector, prioritizing loans and the real estate sector, which struggles to secure financing

Yicai Global, 27.11.2023

Nikkei Asia, 28.11.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

With projects for 226 renewable energy bases in desert areas of the country, China could reach peak emissions well before 2030

Bases would achieve a capacity of 455 GW of wind turbines and solar panels, equivalent to the current combined renewable energy capacity of Canada, Japan, Germany, and France; China’s total renewable energy capacity will reach about 3.9 TW by 2030, which would more than triple the 2022 figure

Bloomberg, 27.11.2023

Programs to promote public transport, tree planting, and energy reduction are part of a campaign to lower CO2 emissions

Schemes reward people with shopping vouchers or travel cards to encourage the public to practice low carbon activities; the consumption of domestic emissions is responsible for more than half of the country’s total emissions, which currently reach 10 billion tons per year, according to a 2021 study by the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Reuters, 26.11.2023

People’s Life and Culture

“Artificial Intelligence Labelers” become a new workforce in rural China

AI labeling is a labor-intensive process of tagging and categorizing large amounts of data to train AI models; it is relatively easy to learn with practice and offers financial stability, which is why it has become popular, especially in rural areas, with almost two million AI taggers across China now

Sixth Tone, 24.11.2023

Young people are increasingly seeking to obtain certificates and training in order to be competitive in the job market

More than 11 million people across the country obtained professional certificates in 2022, with the training market reaching 38.6 billion yuan in 2021 and expected to double by 2026; in some cities, the local government provides subsidies to citizens with certain qualifications or who have resident certificates applying for household registration (hukou)

The World of the Chinese, 27.11.2023

Many young people seek to improve their position with professional courses after completing their degree [VCG]

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No. 173 | 25.11.2023

Today, we share “The New Drunken Concubine” (新贵妃醉酒) performed by Li Yugang (李玉刚), who specializes in “nandan” roles, males playing a female role in the Beijing opera, and known for his ability to sing across vocal ranges typically associated with male and female singers.


Xi Jinping called for an immediate “ceasefire” in Gaza and again advocated for the creation of a Palestinian state as part of the two-state solution

On Monday, a delegation of Arab and Muslim ministers visited Beijing and on Tuesday the BRICS countries held an extraordinary summit virtually to address the Israeli-Palestinian crisis; Xi said that China has sent about US$4 million in humanitarian assistance, food, and medicine to Gaza, and will continue shipments

Reuters, 20.11.2023

Global Times, 21.11.2023

One of the two Canadians who were detained in China for espionage admitted that they leaked information to Canada and the Five Eyes alliance

Canada has always denied the espionage allegations and used the fact to smear and demonize China; now, more than two years after his return to Canada, Spavor told a Canadian media outlet that Kovrig shared intelligence on North Korea and is seeking millions of dollars from the Canadian government as compensation

South China Morning Post, 19.11.2023

Global Times, 21.11.2023

National Politics

Taiwan’s ruling party to nominate “die-hard secessionist” as vice-presidential candidate for January 2024 election

Hsiao Bi-khim has been sanctioned by Beijing twice for “colluding with the US” and undermining cross-Strait peace and stability; the two opposition parties, more inclined to dialogue with mainland China, are trying to put together a coalition that would give them a better chance in the elections

South China Morning Post, 20.11.2023

Global Times, 20.11.2023

Record 41 senior CPC cadre busted in anti-corruption campaign probes since January

This included retirees and ministerial and state-owned enterprise-level positions, such as Zhou Qingyu, former vice president of the China Development Bank, who was expelled from the CPC for serious violations of the law and party discipline; four million regional-level CPC cadre and 533 at the vice-ministerial level and above have been investigated since the campaign launched in 2012

Bloomberg, 13.11.2023

Caixin Global, 18.11.2023


Mastercard has received approval to begin operating in China and issue bank cards in yuan

The authorization of the billion yuan (US$139 million) joint venture – of which Mastercard will control 51% – was seen as a sign of Beijing’s efforts to ease tensions with the US, granting more access to foreign companies; this was the second such approval, following the authorization of American Express in 2020

South China Morning Post, 20.11.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

China and the US agreed to accelerate efforts to triple renewable energy capacity globally by 2030

In a joint statement, both countries committed to advancing at least five large-scale carbon capture, utilization, and storage projects, each by 2030; they also agreed to include more greenhouse gasses, such as methane and nitrous oxide, in the emission reduction targets for 2035

FT, 16.11.2023

Global Times, 16.11.2023

Renewable energy represents almost 60% of the 80 GW of energy projects to be installed overseas as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

The percentage of renewable projects in the BRI rose from 19% in 2012 to 47% in 2022; having announced in 2021 that it would stop financing coal-fired thermoelectric plants abroad, China canceled a third of these projects this year, avoiding 6.2 billion tons of CO2 emissions

SCMP, 20.11.2023

Science and Technology

Huawei cell phone that surprised with its domestically manufactured 7 nm chip has 47% of the value of its components manufactured in China

The value of components made in China for the Mate 60 Pro increased to US$198, around 90% more compared to the Mate 40 Pro; the proportion of the cost of Japanese components fell from 19% to 1%, while parts from South Korea increased by 5 points to 36%

Nikkei Asia, 11/13/2023

People’s Life and Culture

Government aid for students with financial difficulties sparks online debate after student “flaunts wealth and excessive spending”

While scholarships are awarded for academic achievement, financial aid – which benefited 14 million students who received 50 billion yuan (US$ 7.045 billion) in 2022 – is allocated according to socioeconomic criteria and students are expected to “live frugally”; recently, a student had her aid withdrawn after posting about spending US$209 on a concert ticket

Sixth Tone, 16.11.2023

Tang Qunying, one of China’s first feminists, fought against the Qing dynasty and for women’s rights

She led an army of women during the revolution against the last dynasty, and once the republic was established, she slapped one of the country’s top leaders for not including women’s rights in the principles of the Kuomintang; to prepare women to take political office, she founded newspapers and about 10 schools for girls in Beijing and Hunan

The World of Chinese, 17.10.2023

On the left, the founding conference of the Kuomintang and, on the right, Tang Qunying around 1905 [Fotoe]

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No. 172 | 18.11.2023

This week, we’re sharing the song “Fly” (飞) by the band ANU, sung in the Zang (Tibetan) language.


The US and China agree to restore dialogue between their militaries after Xi Jinping and Joe Biden met in San Francisco

The countries also agreed to establish an intergovernmental dialogue on artificial intelligence, restrict trade in ingredients used to make fentanyl, and renew climate cooperation; Xi criticized the unilateral sanctions and called on the US to adhere to its official position and not support “Taiwan independence” and to stop supplying weapons

South China Morning Post, 15.11.2023

Global Times,  16.11.2023

Morocco builds US$1 billion EV technology and manufacturing hub financed by China

With its proximity to Europe, abundance of critical minerals, tax incentives, and free-trade agreements, Morocco is expected to attract around 200 Chinese companies and major investors in electric vehicles; Sino-German EV battery maker Gotion High-Tech plans to build a US$6 billion battery and energy storage systems factory

South China Morning Post, 11.11.202

National Politics

The GDP of the Xizang Autonomous Region (formerly Tibet Autonomous Region) grew at an annual average of 8.6% in the last decade

From 2012 to 2022, public funding for the region’s education system was 251.51 billion yuan (US$34.5 billion), with an annual average per student of 4,200 yuan (US$576), benefiting more than 6.55 million students; university graduates have doubled and the region’s workforce now has an average of 13.1 years of education

Global Times, 10.11.2023

Global Times, 10.11.2023

Global Times, 12.11.2023

For the full white paper on governance policies in Xizang

Xi Jinping promotes “Fengqiao experience” to resolve social conflicts at the grassroots level

Originating in the Mao-era, Fengqiao experience aims to galvanize mass participation in local governance and avoid over reliance on higher legal bodies; this model focuses on collective approaches to problem-solving and conflict resolution, relying on preventive measures (mediation, education) and grassroots organizations (neighborhood committees, community forums)

South China Morning Post, 11.11.2023

International Journal of Conflict and Violence, 2023


In the third quarter, BYD increased sales by 23% worldwide, selling just 3,500 fewer electric cars than Tesla

The company lowers costs by controlling much of the supply chain: it not only manufactures its own batteries, but even its transport ships, and produces up to 75% of the components of its cars; BYD sold over two million units in 2023, and leads in sales in China, Thailand, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Brazil

Nikkei Asia, 08.11.2023

Yahoo Finance, 17.11.2023

China’s chipmaking equipment imports rose 93% despite restrictions by the US and its allies

The increase was in the third quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2022; imports from the Netherlands increased more than six-fold (with China accounting for 46% of ASML’s sales), from Japan up by 40%, and even from the US, which has export restrictions, increased by 20%

Nikkei Asia, 14.11.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

More than 96% of autumn grains were harvested and annual production to reach record high despite weather events

Grain production again exceeded the 650 billion kg target for the ninth consecutive year; soybean acreage exceeded 10 million hectares the past two years, accounting for one-third of the total US annual acreage for the crop

South China Morning Post, 13.10.2023

China’s carbon dioxide emissions expected to fall by 2024 as a result of record growth in new energy sources, study estimates

According to a Helsinki-based Research Center, China will add 210GW of solar power, 70GW of wind power, 7GW of hydropower and 3GW of nuclear power generation capacity in 2023; in the third quarter, China’s emissions rose 4.7% year-on-year, and oil consumption increased 19%, amid efforts to ensure energy security

South China Morning Post, 13.11.2023

People’s Life and Culture

Popular trend of movie and series “recap videos” on China’s video platforms is a time-saving way to keep up with the times

Non-Chinese movies and shows are especially popular on these types of videos, as it is generally difficult to access their full versions within China; although large streaming companies sued platforms such as Bilibili or Douyin (TikTok), the popularity of these videos led to agreements to allow the use of copyrighted content

The World of Chinese, 08.11.2023

Boxing is gaining popularity among women in China, who are looking to break away from traditional gender norms

Some women are taking up boxing as a way to learn self-defense, while others are looking for a more muscular physique; professional boxing or UFC competitors are inspiring women who have re-signified the term “female boxer” (nǚ quán), sometimes used to disparage feminism, and adopted it as a badge of pride

Sixth Tone, 07.11.2023

CGTN, 26.03.2023

Wu Yu being crowned flyweight champion at the World Boxing Championships, New Delhi, India, 25.03.2023 [Xinhua]

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No. 171 | 11.11.2023

Fei Xiang (费翔), also known as Kris Phillips, is one of the most popular musicians in China, with big hits in the 1980s. We share with you the song “A Fire in the Winter” (冬天里的一把火).


Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visits Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping as part of the normalization of bilateral relations

Xi said that “China and Australia should follow the trend of the times and build a relationship based on common interests” and criticized blocs seeking to destabilize the Asia-Pacific region, though not directly name the Aukus or the “Quad” (blocs comprising Australia and its Western allies); since Albanese came to government in 2022, most of the trade barriers with China, which cost Australian exporters some US$ 13 billion, have been lifted

Global Times, 05.11.2023

South China Morning Post, 06.11.2023

The Philippines announces withdrawal from some Belt and Road projects, amid growing tensions with China

Following numerous episodes of tension over recent territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the Philippine Department of Transportation announced that several infrastructure projects that China had been financing will be completed with Japanese and Western investment; in April this year, Manila announced an agreement for the installation of four new US bases, which will now total nine in the country

Asia Times, 02.11.2023

Reuters, 03.04.2023

Following the announcement of a “strategic partnership” between China and Colombia, bilateral trade in livestock and mobile telephony is expected to increase

The Colombian president visited Xi Jinping at the end of October, where he signed 12 cooperation agreements; bilateral trade totaled US$22.64 billion last year, while Chinese companies Xiaomi and Oppo accounted for 28% of the smartphone market in Colombia during the first quarter of 2023

South China Morning Post, 05.11.2023

Saudi Aramco, the Saudi Arabian oil giant, increases its investments in refining and petrochemicals in China

Seeking to increase its petrochemical products in light of the possible fall in fossil fuel consumption in the coming years, the company will supply approx. 70% of crude oil for a new petrochemical complex in Panjin, has acquired a 10% stake in Rongsheng Petrochemical for US$3.6 billion, and could take over the same portion from a company in Jiangsu

Caixin Global, 06.11.2023

Caixin Global, 06.11.2023

National Politics

Free trade zone (FTZ) planned for Xinjiang, the first in northwest China, will promote cross-border yuan trade settlements with Belt and Road partners

While increasing access to the neighboring foreign markets’s 2.8 billion people, the FTZ aims for export-oriented, labor-intensive industry chains from the east to migrate west and extend the industrial reach of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to China’s coastal areas; despite US sanctions, Xinjiang’s foreign trade surged by 51.25% year-on-year to reach 219.19 billion yuan (US$30 billion) in Q1-Q3 2023 and trade with five Central Asian nations grew by 59.1% to hit 176.64 billion yuan

Global Times, 05.11.2023

China’s new public academic platform, PubScholar, challenges CNKI private monopoly

Led by the Chinese Academy of Science, the free platform provides access to approx. 170 million texts and is considered a better alternative to China’s largest, privately-owned academic database by 533 out of 800 netizens polled; CNKI has faced regulatory challenges, fined 87.6 million yuan – 5% of their 2021 revenue – for “abusing its market dominance” and sued for unauthorized distribution of an academic’s work in 2022

Sixth Tone, 03.11.2023


China’s private companies are experiencing a wave of succession that could bring profound changes to the industry and the global supply chain

More than 80% of China’s one billion private companies are family-owned, and ¾ of those companies went through leadership transitions between 2017 and 2022 – the largest wave of succession in China’s history; this new generation faces challenges such as economic slowdown and overcapacity, while prioritizing the adoption of new technologies, attracting talent, and expanding into new industries or markets

Caixin Global, 03.11.2023

China continues to sell its U.S. Treasury bonds, which now amount to US$ 805.4 billion, 40% less than ten years ago

According to analysts, the reduction in US bond holdings may be due to both the poor performance of the dollar and an attempt to strengthen the yuan; Japan, which together with China accounts for a quarter of all US debt abroad, has also reduced its holdings in recent months

Nikkei Asia, 04.11.2023

Nikkei Asia, 09.09.2023

Science and Technology

Huawei’s newly launched 5.5G promises improvements in industrial automation and autonomous vehicles, 10 times faster than conventional 5G

China has already established an almost complete supply chain for 5G networks, holds more than 40% of global patents, and has completed all technical performance testing of 5.5G, for which Huawei has already built the first industrial production line; separately, a state-owned computer lab will use a new processor developed by Huawei to build what is likely to be the world’s largest artificial intelligence platform

Caixin Global, 06.11.2023

Asia Times, 31.10.2023

People’s Life and Culture

The Israel-Palestine conflict generates debate on Chinese social networks, although support for the Palestinian cause predominates

On Weibo, the Chinese Twitter-like platform, the hashtag “Israel-Palestine Conflict” (#巴以冲突) exceeded 55 million posts; many users condemned Israel’s actions and some blame the United States and Britain for the current situation in the Middle East

The Print, 08.11.2023

South China Morning Post, 14.10.2023

Pro-Palestine artwork on Chinese social media (images via Weibo)

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No. 170 | 04.11.2023

The song “Lady Shexiang” (奢香夫人), by the duo Legend of the Phoenix (凤凰传奇), was composed to praise Lady Shexiang, leader of the Yi ethnic minority during the Ming Dynasty.


IMF report shows that Chinese loans by far do not represent the main debt burden in Sub-Saharan Africa

China’s share of the region’s total external public debt went from less than 2% before 2005 to around 17% in 2021 (or US$ 134 billion out of a total of US$ 790 billion); China’s share of Sub-Saharan Africa’s total sovereign debt remains relatively small (6% of the total)

South China Morning Post, 24.10.2023

Chinese banks grant loans totaling US$ 1.3 billion to African financial institutions to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)

The credits are part of the plan, announced by Xi Jinping at the 8th China-Africa Cooperation Forum in 2021, to allocate US$10 billion for the development of African SMEs; between 2000 and 2022, China made loans worth US$ 2.94 billion to African regional banks and institutions

South China Morning Post, 24.10.2023

National Politics

The reform of the People’s Liberation Army in the last eight years has transformed the military command structure and significantly improved Chinese arsenal technology

The main objective of the changes led by Xi Jinping is to make the PLA a fully modern army by the centenary in 2027, also keeping up with the growing military presence of the US in the Pacific, and one key aspect has been a massive anti-corruption campaign; this year, the PLA budget (US$ 224.3 billion) – the second largest in the world – increased by 7.2%, representing less than 15% of the actual 2022 US military budget (US$ 1.53 trillion)

South China Morning Post, 30.10.2023

Monthly Review, 01.11.2023

Urbanization and reform were part of the governance strategy of former Prime Minister Li Keqiang, who recently passed away

Li’s career highlights include accelerating industrialization and urbanization and promoting agricultural modernization in Henan province, which led to the first double-digit increase (14.2%) in eight years in rural per capita income in 2004, and increasing medical subsidies thanks to the National Health Reform, whose supervisory group was headed by Li as vice-premier

Caixin Global, 27.10.2023


China made its first international oil payment in digital yuan

China National Petroleum Corporation bought 1 million barrels of oil using digital yuan, advancing the internationalization of the Chinese currency; from January to September 2023, cross-border settlement volume in yuan reached 38.9 billion yuan (US$5.32 billion), a year-on-year increase of 24%, but its share of international payments is still low (3.77% of the total)

Global Times, 27.10.2023

China approves 1 trillion yuan (US$139 billion) in new bonds to boost economic recovery

In its first budget revision since 2008, the government increased China’s budget deficit for 2023 from 3% to 3.8% of GDP; the additional funding will be used for reconstruction in disaster-stricken regions, seeking to alleviate the rise in local government debt and the decline in revenue from land sales, although some analysts believe it is also a stimulus to boost growth and confidence

Nikkei Asia, 25.10.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

Air pollution has hit major cities in northern China due to increased industrial activity, heavy transportation, and agricultural fires

Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, and northern Henan have experienced moderate to severe air pollution levels that improved with the arrival of cold air currents a few days later; recently, China announced a target to reduce PM2.5 levels by 10% by 2025, which is related to over one million deaths nationwide  in 2020 (out of a global total of 4.2 million) 

Reuters, 31.10.2023

Sixth Tone, 23.10.2023

Science and Technology

Chinese YMTC has developed the “most advanced memory chip in the world,” entirely domestically produced

Yangtze Memory Technologies Company is China’s leading memory chip producer and, before US sanctions, had become a strong competitor to world leaders in memory chips; its new 3D NAND chip is at the forefront of memory chip design and is an important component for high-performance computing in AI and machine learning applications

South China Morning Post, 26.10.2023

Xiaomi has launched its new operating system designed to work on mobile phones, vehicles, and home appliances

HyperOS combines an Android system and Xiaomi’s Internet of Things software platform, Vela, and will come pre-installed on Xiaomi 14 phones and devices released in the local market, such as smartwatches and televisions; Huawei will also launch HarmonyOS next year aiming to become completely independent from the Android ecosystem

South China Morning Post, 30.10.2023

People’s Life and Culture

The Asian Para Games ended in Hangzhou, which made great strides in accessibility for people with disabilities

The facilities of the Asian Games were adapted, adding ramps, elevators with braille buttons, and 1,100 accessible beds; the city has 140,000 adapted facilities, including hotels, subway stations, and public service areas, as well as 75 streets, over 3,000 km of sidewalks with paths for the blind, 50 pedestrian overpasses and tunnels, and over 1,600 accessible public restrooms

CGTN, 27.10.2023

Diário do Povo, 30.10.2023

Members of the Palestinian delegation at the opening ceremony of the Hangzhou Paralympic Games, February 22, 2023 [Xinhua]

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No. 169 | 28.10.2023

The song “Chinese Herbal Handbook” (本草纲目), performed by Jay Chou, literally lists 16 of the many herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Lyricist Vincent Fang satirizes young people who fawn over the West and seeks to demonstrate the wisdom of ancient China.


The U.S. announced more export controls for China on semiconductor and artificial intelligence chip manufacturing equipment

The aim is to further restrict China’s access to U.S. technology and eliminate some alternatives that had been taken advantage of by companies such as Nvidia, a major exporter to the Chinese market; Peter Wennink, president and CEO of the Dutch company ASML, said that “the restrictive policies of Western governments are forcing China to be very innovative”

Caixin Global, 19.10.2023

Asia Times, 21.10.2023

China implements temporary controls on the export of graphite, an essential material in the manufacture of electric vehicle batteries

The government stated that the decision responds to the need to protect national security and interests and that the country firmly complies with its international obligations, “such as non-proliferation”; China is the main source and producer of the raw material, being responsible for around 60% to 65% of the world’s production of natural graphite and 90% of the synthetic variety, with the USA, South Korea, and Japan among the main importers

Caixin Global, 20.10.2023

South China Morning Post, 20.10.2023

China-Australia relations begin to make progress in the run-up to Australian President’s visit in November

In recent days, Australian journalist Cheng Lei was released after three years of detention in China and the Asian giant said it will accelerate the review of tariffs on Australian wine, which found its largest market in China; China’s trade restrictions on Australia peaked at US$ 12.6 billion and have now been lowered to about US$ 1.26 billion

Asia Times, 23.10.2023

China Briefing, 23.10.2023

National Politics

More than 69% of delegates at the 13th National Congress of the All-China Women’s Federation were from grassroots organizations

The congress, which was attended by more than 1,800 delegates, elected State Counselor Shen Yiqin as president, who called for efforts to defend the rights and interests of women; the congress recognized the hard work of women in reducing poverty, the search for excellence in scientific and technological innovation, and their courage in combating the pandemic

China Daily, 27.10.2023

CGTN, 23.10.2023

US tech sanctions spur industrial revival in Northeastern China

For the first time in a decade, Liaoning province’s economy grew by 5.3% in Q1–Q3 2023 (year-on-year), higher than the national GDP of 5.2%; the region which led heavy industrial and military development in the 1950s, but underwent economic decline in the 1980s, will be the focus of constructing a modern industrial system to boost self-reliance after heightened U.S. efforts to block China from the global hi-tech supply chain

South China Morning Post, 21.10.2023

Li Shangfu, State Councilor and Minister of National Defense, is removed from his posts, along with other top positions

Following a presidential decree, the Standing Committee of the 14th National People’s Congress also voted to remove Qin Gang as state councilor, and to replace Wang Zhigang with Yin Hejun as minister of science and technology, and Liu Kun with Lao Fo’an as finance minister

China Daily, 28.10.2023


More than half of China’s top 50 real estate companies have defaulted since 2020

According to Bloomberg, defaults on offshore dollar bonds reached US$115 billion since 2021 and a large number of onshore bank loans also face restructurings; of the top 10 real estate companies, eight have seen their sales fall between 2020 and 2023 due to consumer distrust, who prefer to buy from state-backed companies that are viewed as less prone to bankruptcy

Financial Times, 23.10.2023

If you want to know more about the Chinese real estate market, you can read our Dongsheng Explains on the subject.

Beijing removes price caps on land sales in bid to boost property market

The 15% cap on the premiums that estate agents pay for land will be removed, meaning plots will go to the highest bidder, rather than a random winner from all those who bid the maximum below the cap. In addition, a rule change regarding the useful area coefficient will allow houses to be built that have fewer square meters of space than the land area outside urban areas

South China Morning Post, 23.10.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

China approves commercial use of genetically modified corn and soybeans after years of testing and public questioning

A total of 37 GM corn varieties and 14 GM soybean varieties will be allowed to be grown in designated areas as of November 15; food imports amounted to 146 million tons last year, of which 60% was soybeans, which is partly due to the unwillingness of domestic farmers to cultivate due to the low yield of existing varieties

South China Morning Post, 19.10.2023

People’s Life and Culture

Traditional Chinese Medicine gains popularity among young Chinese, a cost-effective way to treat health problems

No longer only associated with the healthy lifestyle habits of older people, herbal remedies, folk medicine, and medicinal drinks such as suanmeitang (酸梅汤, “sour plum juice”) and goji berry tea are embraced by young consumers; however, specialists warn that popularization and adaptation to cold and sweet drinks should not lead to excessive consumption that may have adverse effects

The World of Chinese, 19.10.2023

A science fiction novel, The Space-Time Painter, inspired by an artwork from the Song dynasty (960–1279) won the Hugo Award

Hai Ya became the third Chinese writer to receive the most prestigious international award for science fiction and fantasy at the 2023 World Science Fiction Convention in Chengdu, the first of its kind held in China; Zhao Enzhe, a Chinese digital artist, won Best Digital Artist, and Zero Gravity Newspaper magazine, also from China, won Best Fanzine

China Daily, 22.10.2023

“Three-Body Desk Calendar 2021” by artist Zhao Enzhe, Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist winner [Zhao Enzhe]

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No. 168 | 21.10.2023

Listen to the song of the “New Silk Road” (一带一路), composed to celebrate the 3rd Belt and Road Forum.


China condemns “heinous attack” on Gaza hospital that raised Palestinian death toll to almost 3,500

At the UN Security Council meeting, China’s ambassador, Zhang Jun, also denounced the “indiscriminate use of force”, while Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that Israel’s actions went beyond self-defense and that collective punishment for the people of Gaza must stop

South China Morning Post, 15.10.2023

China set new goals for the Belt and Road Initiative at a forum attended by 151 countries and 51 international organizations

Celebrating a decade since its founding, the 3rd BRI Forum brought together 10,000 people and announced the construction of a new logistics corridor along Eurasia, an Aerial Silk Road, and the creation of the Global Initiative for Governance of Artificial Intelligence, among other proposals

China Daily, 18.10.2023

Global Times, 18.10.2023

Xi Jinping had more than 20 state visits this week in parallel with the 3rd Belt and Road Initiative Forum

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who spoke at the forum’s opening ceremony, had a three-hour meeting with President Xi and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, where they discussed the conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza and other “confidential” matters; Xi also received the presidents and senior leaders of Chile, Cambodia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, and Congo, as well as the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, and the President of the New Development Bank, Dilma Rousseff

Fórum da Nova Rota da Seda, 20.10.2023

TASS, 18.10.2023

National Politics

China’s Central Finance Committee began functioning under the direct supervision of the Party’s highest decision-making body, the Central Committee

The new entity will be the main planner of the country’s financial system, overseeing all matters pecuniary related, including financing the real economy and the use of the yuan abroad; Central Bank responsibilities such as the supervision of financial holding company groups and consumer protection were transferred to the National Administration for Financial Regulation

South China Morning Post, 14.10.2023


China’s GDP reached 91.3 trillion yuan (US$12.48 trillion) in Q3, growing 4.9%, an accumulated growth rate of 5.2% for the year

The services sector lead with 6% growth, exceeding 50 trillion yuan and representing 55% of this year’s GDP – followed by industry (35.3 trillion yuan, +4.4%) and primary industry (5.6 trillion yuan, +4%) – and total retail sales of consumer goods reached 34.2 trillion yuan (+6.8%); in the midst of the global slowdown, China’s foreign trade reached 30.8 billion yuan this year (-0.2%), with exports (17.6 billion yuan) growing by 0.6% and imports (13.1 billion yuan) falling by 1.2%, and the September unemployment rate decreased to 5%, falling for the second consecutive month

China Briefing, 18.10.2023

Escritório Nacional de Estatísticas da China, 18.10.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

Hybrid rice turns 50 and reaches a new world productivity record of more than 1,200 kg per hectare

The world’s first high-yielding hybrid rice variety was cultivated in 1973 and has since been planted on a cumulative area of 600 million hectares across the country, feeding more than 80 million Chinese people; outside China, the annual cultivated area of hybrid rice is almost 8 million hectares in total, and feeds 40 to 50 million people

Global Times, 15.10.2023

China Daily, 16.10.2023

Hong Kong upgrades its “green machine” to be able to process up to one ton of textile waste per day

The new machine, which will be launched in the second quarter of 2024, will seek to expand its capacity to separate textiles from different materials such as cotton and polyester; in Hong Kong, 404 tons of textile waste were sent to landfill every day in 2021, representing 3.6% of the city’s solid waste

South China Morning Post, 15.10.2023

People’s Life and Culture

According to one study, the national average age for a first marriage increased from 22.87 years in 1990 to 28.67 in 2020

The proportion of couples aged 25 to 29, 30 to 34, and 35 to 39 has increased in recent years, while it has decreased among those aged 20 to 24, with study being the main reason for delaying marriage; in 1990, only 4.82% of Chinese people were single at age 30, but the rate increased to 21.75% in 2020

Global Times, 10/15/2023

China.org.cn, 10/16/2023

Young people are increasingly turning to public cafeterias for the elderly, with little time to cook or tired of unhealthy food

Community kitchens offer meals at half the price of a normal restaurant and were built in the last decade with elderly people in mind; in Anhui province, for example, there are more than 4,800 soup kitchens for the elderly, serving around four million meals a year

The World of Chinese, 12.10.2023

Neighbors share Chinese New Year dinner at soup kitchen in Jiangsu province [VCG]

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