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. 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. 167 | 14.10.2023

To listen while you read, we recommend ‘My People, My Country’ by Faye Wong (王菲), an iconic song from the 1980s, which in turn was used by the movie of the same name.


China reiterated its advocacy of the creation of an independent State of Palestine as a solution to the Palestinian crisis

When asked about the U.S. announcement to send even more ammunition and military equipment to Israel, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Mao Ning stated that dialogue and negotiation are the way out of this critical situation; in an official statement, the Chinese government asserted that the only solution to the crisis is the creation of a Palestinian state

South China Morning Post, 08.10.2023

Total trade between Russia and China increased by 32% between January and August, totaling more than US$ 155 billion in goods

In Manzhouli (Inner Mongolia), where China’s largest land port is located, it was necessary to extend operating hours from 12 to 24 hours a day; Chinese imports of goods from Russia increased by 14% to over US$ 83 billion and exports doubled compared to last year, reaching US$ 72 billion

Nikkei Asia, 04.10.2023

China Briefing, 08.09.2022

National Politics

The cultural axis was added to Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for the New Era

Xi’s thoughts on culture, which covers propaganda, communication, and public opinion, form the sixth pillar of the series of ideas that seeks to adapt Marxism to the Chinese context, presented in 2017 and incorporated into the Party’s Constitution; the other pillars are economy, diplomacy, armed forces, environment, and legal affairs

Xinhua, 08.10.2023

South China Morning Post, 09.10.2023

“New jobs” workers participate in the 18th National Congress of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions

Representatives of workers in the 84 million-strong sector will present proposals to improve protection of the group’s legal rights and interests; one-fifth of the more than 2,000 delegates to the congress, which is held every five years, are workers in new jobs, such as delivery, e-hailing, and truck drivers

Global Times, 08.10.2023


Domestic tourism exceeds pre-pandemic levels for the first time during Golden Week, but per capita spending fell by 2%

With 826 million people traveling and revenues of 753.4 billion yuan (US$ 103 billion), domestic tourism exceeded 2019 levels by 1.5% and 4.1% (respectively, 130% and 71% higher compared to 2022); the popularity of patriotic activities and products has increased, with the movie Volunteers: Off to War grossing 100 million yuan (US$ 13.9 million) in two days

Caixin Global, 07.10.2023

Yicai Global, 02.10.2023

Unoccupied high-level office rates in China are higher now than during the zero-COVID policy

Vacancies in Shenzhen reached 27%, the worst figure among the four major cities, and the rate in Guangzhou reached a 10-year high of 20.8%; many companies continue to implement home offices after the pandemic but, however, some cities prevent the conversion of these buildings into housing or hotels

Asia Nikkei, 05.10.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

China issues new measures to improve energy demand management

The new document requires provinces to reduce between 3% and 5% of their maximum electricity demand by 2025; the National Energy Administration, in turn, seeks to improve the gas use policy for the winter, when the fuel reaches its maximum utilization

Caixin Global, 05.10.2023

Science and Technology

Geologists find new niobium ore reserve in Inner Mongolia, key to steel and semiconductor industry

Alloys made from niobium are used to manufacture construction materials, oil, and gas pipelines; China imports 95% of its niobium, which in the future could replace lithium in the production of batteries, as they last 10 times longer and can be charged in just 10 minutes

South China Morning Post, 08.10.2023

People’s Life and Culture

The 19th Asian Games ended in Hangzhou, with China topping the gold medal tally for the eleventh consecutive time

15 world records, 37 Asian records, and 170 Asian Games records were accomplished, in which China surpassed 200 gold medals for the first time, with Japan second and South Korea third in the medal tally; more than 3 million tickets were sold, generating more than 600 million yuan (US$ 85 million) in sales

Global Times, 08.10.2023

Breakdancing is becoming increasingly popular in China, which won its first title at the Asian Games

Liu Qingyi, 17, won breakdancing gold for China and qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, while in the men’s competition, China’s Qi Xiangyu won bronze; in Zhejiang province alone, there are more than 20,000 breakdancers, although it still encounters some resistance from parents who prioritize academic studies

Sixth Tone, 07.10.2023

Liu Qingyi, also known as B-Girl 671, competing at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou [Hangzhou2023]

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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. 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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No. 156 | 22.07.2023

For your listening while reading our summary and apropos of the People’s Life and Culture article, we share with you “Countless” (無數) by Joker Xue (薛之謙), a famous singer of Mandopop, i.e. Chinese popular music.


Survey shows US tech firms rely on China for a good chunk of their sales

The biggest source of revenue in 2022 for Qualcomm, Lam Research, and four other US companies in the semiconductor industry was China; the US-based Semiconductor Industry Association has been lobbying the White House to back off the sanctions, as they could end up hurting US companies themselves

Nikkei, 12.07.2023

South China Morning Post, 12.07.2023

By the end of the year, Huawei could return to the 5G phone market thanks to advances in its semiconductor design tools and chips from China’s SMIC

Due to US and European bans, Huawei’s revenue peaked at 483 billion yuan (US$67 billion) in 2020, before falling nearly 50% a year later; HiSilicon, Huawei’s chip design subsidiary, has had a 0% global smartphone processor market share for four consecutive quarters since April 2022

Caixin Global, 14.07.2023

Reuters, 12.07.2023

National Politics

New regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) services takes a lighter approach, aiming to balance innovation and oversight

Rules apply to services that employ generative AI technologies to create text, images, audio, and video, specifically targeting Chinese audiences; providers can only launch their generative AI products after safety review and registration of the algorithm, and data used must be accurate, legally obtained and respect intellectual property

Caixin Global, 14.07.2023

Sixth Tone, 14.07.2023

As the grace period ends, investors from mainland China will no longer be able to trade shares through the share programs with Hong Kong

Considered “fake foreign capital”, Chinese investors used the mechanism to gain cheaper financing costs and greater leverage in Hong Kong; the practice can distort data on foreign investment inflows into China, while allowing them to manipulate their share prices on the mainland

Caixin Global, 13.07.2023


China’s GDP grows 5.5% in first half of 2023 to 59.3 trillion yuan (US$8.3 trillion)

Among the reasons for this performance in the first half of the year are: the rapid recovery of the services sector and the steady growth of infrastructure investment.

The total value added of industrial enterprises with annual revenue from their activities greater than 20 million yuan (US$2.79 million), grew by 3.8% year-on-year. Retail sales of consumer goods rose 8.2% year-on-year to 22.76 trillion yuan (US$3.17 trillion).

Some economists also consider that in order to ensure the achievement of the 5% GDP growth target in 2023, the central government may intensify stimulus measures for the second half of the year.

National Bureau of Statistics of China, 17.07.2023

Global Times, 17.07.2023

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Agriculture and Environment

China has lowest summer harvest in 5 years (down 0.9%) as a result of prolonged rains and high temperatures

Adverse weather could also affect the fall harvest, which accounts for 75% of the country’s annual grain production; in this context, the company Alibaba announced that it will promote research to improve seeds through artificial intelligence so that they have greater yield and resistance to diseases and climate change

South China Morning Post, 12.07.2023

South China Morning Post, 18.07.2023

Science and Technology

China announces its plan to reach the Moon in 2030, which would be the second country to do so after the last lunar landing by the US in 1972

Unlike the Apollo 11 mission, China will launch the landing module and the manned spacecraft separately, and they will dock in lunar orbit to complete the landing, the same system that will be used by the remote-controlled Tianwen 3 mission to Mars; the Chinese space agency is collaborating with Russia’s Roscosmos to build a joint lunar base in the mid-2030s

South China Morning Post, 13.07.2023

Asia Times, 15.07.2023

People’s Life and Culture

Durian, a tropical fruit from Southeast Asia, is gaining popularity in China

Known as the king of fruits, the durian is presented to newly engaged or married couples, and also to future mothers-in-law; with lower taxes and customs procedures under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade pact between China and ASEAN countries, fruit imports increased by more than 150% in this year’s first quarter

South China Morning Post, 13.07.2023

Shijiazhuang wants to become the city of Rock music and will organize several festivals in the coming months

With the post-pandemic return of larger-scale, mass events, the city located in Hebei province wants to capitalize on the sector to boost its economy; other cities have already done so, such as Quzhou in Zhejiang province, where a two-day Joker Xue concert attracted 107,200 tourists and generated revenue of more than 814 million yuan (US$113 million)

South China Morning Post,16.07.2023

Rock bands play in public places in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province [Liang Zidong/]

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