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. 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

phys.org, 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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