Archive for May, 2019

31/05/2019

China’s manufacturing index drops into negative territory in May as economic pressures mount

  • The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI), a gauge of sentiment among factory operators, fell to 49.4 in May
  • This was a decrease on April’s performance of 50.1, and below the median expectations of a poll of Bloomberg analysts, which had predicted a drop to just 49.9
An index reading above 50 indicates growth, while anything below 50 indicates a contraction. Photo: AFP
An index reading above 50 indicates growth, while anything below 50 indicates a contraction. Photo: AFP
China’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index fell further in May, suggesting the economy is continuing to slow amid the escalating trade war with the United States.
The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI), a gauge of sentiment among factory operators, fell to 49.4 in May, a decrease on 
April’s performance

of 50.1, and well below the median expectations of a poll of Bloomberg analysts, which had predicted a drop to 49.9. A reading of below 50 means that the activity in the sector is contracting.

The 49.4 reading was the lowest since February’s 49.2.
Non-manufacturing PMI, which covers the services and construction sectors, remained the same as last month at 54.3, in line with the expectations of the Bloomberg poll.
“The fall in the headline index was mostly driven by weaker new orders. Export orders dropped back particularly sharply, which suggests that [US President Donald] Trump’s latest tariff hike may already be undermining foreign demand,” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics.
“Stocks of raw materials continued to decline, reversing the build-up of inventories ahead of the 1 April VAT cut that helped to temporarily boost output in March.”

The composite PMI, which combines both manufacturing and services activity, was 53.3 in May, a slight decrease on 53.4 a month earlier.

An index reading above 50 indicates growth, while anything below 50 indicates a contraction.

The fall in the headline index was mostly driven by weaker new orders. Export orders dropped back particularly sharply, which suggests that [US President Donald] Trump’s latest tariff hike may already be undermining foreign demand.Julian Evans-Pritchard

The dip into contractionary territory for China’s manufacturing sentiment will be a concern to policymakers in Beijing, as they struggle to contain the effect the trade war is having on both economic mood and investment sentiment. While both composite and non-manufacturing PMIs remained above contraction levels, their stagnation points to continued challenges facing China’s economy.
The new data, released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), combined with weaker economic data readings for April, suggest that Chinese growth slowed in the second quarter after stabilising at 6.4 per cent in the first quarter.
Details of the data show that within the manufacturing PMI, new orders were 49.8, down from 51.4 in April. Output also fell to 51.7, from 52.1 last month, while employment fell to 47.0 from 47.2 and new export orders plunged to 46.5 from 49.2.
Within the non-manufacturing PMI, the service sector was up to 53.5 from 53.2 in April, which the NBS said showed that “the service industry continued to maintain rapid growth”.
Details of the data show that within the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index, new orders were 49.8, down from 51.4 in April Photo: AFP
Details of the data show that within the manufacturing purchasing managers’ index, new orders were 49.8, down from 51.4 in April Photo: AFP

“China’s non-manufacturing business activity index was 54.3 per cent, which was the same as last month, indicating that the non-manufacturing industry continued to develop steadily and rapidly,” said the NBS statement.

Zhao Qinghe, senior statistician at the Service Industry Research Centre at the NBS, said that “there was some fluctuation in the manufacturing boom” and pointed to slowing demand as the cause of the slump.

“In May, the manufacturing PMI fell back. Among the 21 industries surveyed, 13 of the industry’s production indices are located in the expansion range, indicating that most industries in the manufacturing industry are relatively stable in production and operation,” said Zhao.

Among the 21 industries surveyed, 13 of the industry’s production indices are located in the expansion range, indicating that most industries in the manufacturing industry are relatively stable in production and operation.Zhao Qinghe

Zhao added that “the overall production and operation activities of Chinese enterprises have maintained a stable development trend”.
The deterioration in the PMI sentiment data was expected after the US escalated the trade war on May 10. From Saturday, a higher tariff of 25 per cent – increased from the earlier 10 per cent rate – will apply to US$200 billion of Chinese imports to the US. The US is also processing a tariff of up to 25 per cent on a further US$300 billion of Chinese goods, which would put significant further pressure on the Chinese economy. China has already retaliated by placing variable tariffs on US$60 billion of US imports.
Even before the escalation of the trade war, Chinese economic data in April was disappointing.
Retail sales growth slowed to 7.2 per cent in April – the lowest rate in 16 years – from 8.7 per cent in March, while industrial production growth slowed markedly to 5.4 per cent from 8.4 per cent. Exports fell 2.7 per cent in April compared with the same period in 2018, a sharp reversal from the 14.2 per cent rise in March.
While many private analysts expected the Chinese government to enact further 
fiscal and monetary stimulus

to offset the slowdown in growth, Beijing has so far refused to commit to doing so.

In part, the government is counting on already implemented personal and business tax cuts – including the trimming of the value-added tax rate for manufacturing firms – to gradually provide support for the economy.
Industrial profits stood at 515.39 billion yuan (US$74.7 billion) last month, down 3.7 per cent compared to a year earlier. Photo: AFP
Industrial profits stood at 515.39 billion yuan (US$74.7 billion) last month, down 3.7 per cent compared to a year earlier. Photo: AFP

The PMI rounds off a poor week for China’s economy after Monday’s industrial profits released by the NBS showed the fastest slump in almost three and a half years in April.

Industrial profits

stood at 515.39 billion yuan (US$74.7 billion) last month, down 3.7 per cent compared to a year earlier, the largest percentage decline since December 2015. With further tariffs about to kick in on

Chinese exports

, there is significant capacity for the downward trend to continue.

Fitch Ratings, in a

report earlier

this month, said that the escalation could lead to half a per cent being detracted from the Chinese economy this year, which would bring it to the lower limits of Beijing’s target growth range of between 6.0 and 6.5 per cent.

It is expected that a surge in orders will lead to a bumper month of exports in May and June as US importers and Chinese exporters attempt to front-load their stocks to beat the tariffs. 
Some exporters

are already shipping their stocks earlier, reporting has shown, as they look to manage the risk of the trade tariffs.

Source: SCMP
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31/05/2019

China’s middle class growing desperate and anxious about US trade war impact

  • Fears of trade war impact also appear to be affecting willingness to spend and prompting moves to safeguard wealth in foreign currencies and gold
  • Rising food prices and unemployment levels adding to concerns despite state and social media urging nation to stand strong in face of adversity
Food prices jumped 6.1 per cent in April due to higher pork and fruit prices, with pork price increases accelerating to 14.4 per cent from 5.1 per cent in March. Photo: Reuters
Food prices jumped 6.1 per cent in April due to higher pork and fruit prices, with pork price increases accelerating to 14.4 per cent from 5.1 per cent in March. Photo: Reuters
China’s middle class, particularly better-educated white collar workers, are growing increasingly confused and anxious over how the trade war with the United States will affect the lives of ordinary citizens, in contrast to official press and social media which have been dominated by messages urging the country to stand strong in face of the adversity.
Concerns about the impact of the trade war, combined with rising food prices, are already affecting consumers’ willingness to spend, which could cause a further deceleration in Chinese economic growth.
These concerns may also increase efforts by the upper and upper middle classes to safeguard their wealth by buying gold or foreign currency and moving their wealth abroad.

For China’s urban middle class, who have benefited from the country’s economic boom in the last few decades and may have taken it for granted that life would be better, the intensified rivalry between China and the US is bringing a strong sense of uncertainty about their future, pushing citizens to scramble for any information about the trade war away from the official propaganda rhetoric.

“Please tell me the proper understanding of what the impact of the trade war will be on the lives of ordinary people like us. Thanks!” wrote Su Gengsheng, a popular online writer and blogger with more than 300,000 followers on China’s largest social media platform Weibo, four days after the 

US raised tariffs

on US$200 million of Chinese imports.

The post was unusual for Su’s extremely non-political account after she rose to popularity with cosmetics recommendations and make-up tips. However, the trade war question seemed to speak to the heart of the concerns shared by many of Su’s followers, and rapidly attracted thousands of replies and likes as well as more than 10,000 shares. Comments on the post were soon blocked because they “violated relevant laws and regulations”, although the original post was still visible.

Despite a lack of access to uncensored news, the adverse effects of the trade war have started to be felt and are rapidly becoming known throughout Chinese society. This is especially true for those who now have things to lose, including the value of their stocks and real estate, the chances of sending their children to study in the US, or even just being able to watch the final season of Game of Thrones on television.

The government’s nationalistic rallying cry, asking people to tighten their belts and to prepare for prolonged hardships, has further amplified concerns among those citizens who have worked hard to earn a comfortable lifestyle.

We used to think [a trade war] used to be absolutely impossible. Now I start to fear there will be a devaluation of the [yuan] in the near future, and even a more horrible situation aheadUnnamed Guangzhou-based exporter

“Recently, I often chat with my classmates and clients who live and work abroad. We talk very carefully as we are afraid of our WeChat account being blocked because of any sensitive content related to trade war news. But I really need to know more about what is really happening in the trade war and what will come next,” said a Guangzhou-based exporter in his 40s, who asked not to be named.
“In just two weeks, the mentality of my friends around me has changed. We used to think [a trade war] to be absolutely impossible. Now I start to fear there will be a devaluation of the [yuan] in the near future, and even a more horrible situation ahead if the two sides engage in a full-scale war, not only in trade and technology, but also in finance and the currency market.
“I would love it if all my fears were unnecessary, but I can’t help but have them. I think I might need to make a contingency plan, like keeping a certain amount of either yen, US dollars or Australian dollars in cash at home, only for emergencies in extreme situations. A problem may not arise, but now I really need to be aware of the possibility because of my family.”
The latest news on the economy and on the government’s response to the trade war has been unsettling for some, and came as a fresh blow to Chinese middle-class confidence on top of growing risks of inflation and unemployment.
Food prices jumped 6.1 per cent in April due to higher pork and fruit prices, with 
pork price

increases accelerating to 14.4 per cent from 5.1 per cent in March. Last week, Beijing set up a

special task force,

the State Council Employment Work Leading Group, to monitor the country’s employment situation, underscoring the government’s increasing concern over unemployment due to the continuing escalation of the trade war with the US and in the wake of recent high-profile lay-offs by the likes of Sony Mobile, Cisco Systems and Oracle.

“The yuan is sliding towards 7 to the US dollar, a 500-gram package of grapes has soared to 30 yuan (US$4.3) at the wet market, and Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua will head the group watching job market stress. There is more and more news on the effects of the trade war and how it is starting to impact our daily life,” said Yan Chao, a 30-year-old operations manager at a Shanghai-based advertising company.
“My job is very important for me as my wife is a housewife and we have a daughter who is just two years old. My parents are retired doctors and pay most of the mortgage for me. My wife and I are going to buy a new car through a car loan, but maybe it’s better to delay that plan until maybe next year when the economic situation becomes certain.”

The exchange rate with the US dollar hovered around 6.9 last week, but Li Yue, a veteran Shenzhen-based electronics engineer, has been converting some of his yuan savings at exchange rates of around 6.3, 6.5, and 6.7.

“It was very difficult to search for foreign technical information via the internet in the 1990s, and now I look longingly to that time. As a technologist, I have a full understanding that if Sino-US relations continue to deteriorate, or if China loses more orders from Western countries, many of the industrial supply chains developed in the past will soon be scrapped,” said Li Yue.

Other Chinese citizens are taking steps to safeguard their wealth due to fears of the effects of the trade war.

There is more and more news on the effects of the trade war and how it is starting to impact our daily lifeYan Chao
“I even heard some wealthy people are going to banks in Hong Kong to buy gold bars and keeping them in the bank for safety,” said Li Zhenbiao, a Guangzhou-based agent helping wealthy Chinese citizens emigrate and buy property overseas. “It’s a good choice if you are not optimistic about the [outlook for the] economy and the value of the yuan … but it’s a very new [practice] and just emerging. Not many people have acted yet to buy gold bars. After all, the investment threshold is high. Buying and stockpiling some dollars is the easiest thing to do for ordinary people.”
The high levels of debt held by many individuals is also of particular concern if the economy slows down further.
Eli Mai, a sales manager in Guangzhou, owns two flats with a total market value of 7 million yuan (US$1 million), with around 2 million yuan outstanding on the mortgages.

Mai, 35, spends most of his monthly salary, about 15,000 yuan (US$2,200), on his mortgage, while the family uses his wife’s income for daily expenses. At the beginning of last year, Mai felt that his career was stagnant and that his expenses were greater than his income. Therefore, he borrowed 300,000 yuan (US$43,400) from a local bank, with an average interest rate of over 5 per cent, and used the money to invest in a friend’s travel agency.

“The business is not profitable yet. I just pray that the trade war will end as soon as possible,” Mai said. “But on the other hand, I think it will be far from a happy ending.”

Source: SCMP

31/05/2019

Tesla announces prices of made-in-China Model 3. At 328,000 yuan it’s 13 per cent cheaper than US imports

  • Deliveries will start in the next six to 10 months, carmaker says
  • Tesla will take on Chinese carmakers such as Geely and SAIC, and electric car start-ups including Nio and Xpeng Motors
Tesla said on Friday that its Model 3 electric car, which will be assembled in China, will be ready for deliveries in six to 10 months. Photo: AFP
Tesla said on Friday that its Model 3 electric car, which will be assembled in China, will be ready for deliveries in six to 10 months. Photo: AFP
Customers can pre-order the Model 3 assembled in China after Tesla announced on Friday that it would be priced 13 per cent lower than the US imports, taking the electric carmaker a step closer in tapping the world’s largest EV market.
The standard range plus Model 3 car that Tesla plans to assemble at the Gigafactory 3 in Lingang, Shanghai, will be priced at 328,000 yuan (US$47,529), 49,000 yuan cheaper than the same model currently imported from the US.
Tesla’s US-built cars are now subject to a 25 per cent import duty in China. The bestselling US electric carmaker plans to start deliveries in the next six to 10 months.

“Today we announced that Model 3 Standard Range Plus vehicles built at Gigafactory Shanghai will begin at 328,000 yuan for our customers in China,” Tesla said in a statement.

Aerial view of the Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory under construction in Lingang, Shanghai, on May 10, 2019. Photo: Imaginechina
Aerial view of the Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory under construction in Lingang, Shanghai, on May 10, 2019. Photo: Imaginechina

The model has a range of 460km and a top speed of 225km/h.

Industry observers said that the price of the locally made car aimed at the mass market is on the higher side, adding that a 300,000 yuan price tag could attract thousands of Chinese buyers.

“If a Chinese customer can buy a Tesla car for less than 300,000 yuan, many of them will make a decision on the spur of the moment since it is viewed as the best EV in the world,” said Tian Maowei, a sales manager at Shanghai-based Yiyou Auto Service.

Tesla rushes Model 3s to China before trade war truce expires

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order barring US companies from using telecoms equipment made by companies that pose a threat to national security, a move aimed at shutting out Huawei Technologies.

US technology companies including Google and Microsoft have severed business ties with Huawei to comply with the US trade ban.

Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 is expected to make around 3,000 Model 3 vehicles a week in the initial phase. Photo: AP
Tesla’s Gigafactory 3 is expected to make around 3,000 Model 3 vehicles a week in the initial phase. Photo: AP

In January, Tesla started construction on a US$5 billion wholly-owned plant in Shanghai, the city’s single largest foreign direct investment just three months after it secured a land parcel to make electric cars locally.

The factory will produce Model 3 and Model Y electric vehicles that are seen as affordable to drivers in China.

Podcast: Here’s how the US-China tech war is affecting small electronics companies

Gigafactory 3 is expected to make around 3,000 Model 3 vehicles a week in the initial phase, ramping up to 500,000 per year when it becomes fully operational, Tesla said.

Tesla will take on Chinese carmakers such as Geely and SAIC and electric car start-ups including Nio and Xpeng Motors in China where sales of new-energy vehicles including battery-powered and plug-ins are expected to jump 27 per cent this year to 1.6 million units, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

In March Beijing announced a cut in cash subsidies offered to NEV buyers by up to 60 per cent, believing it was time to remove the crutches and cull an industry that had spawned hundreds of small manufacturers.

It is unclear whether Tesla vehicles will receive subsidies from the Chinese government.

Source: SCMP

31/05/2019

Taiwan question brooks no foreign interference: spokesperson

BEIJING, May 30 (Xinhua) — Taiwan is a part of China and Taiwan question is China’s internal affairs that brooks no foreign interference, said Wu Qian, a spokesperson with the Ministry of National Defense, on Thursday.

Wu made the remarks in response to the United States’ recent frequent provocations on Taiwan-related issues, including the passing of the “Taiwan Assurance Act of 2019” by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The one-China principle is a universal consensus of the international community and the important political foundation for the China-U.S. relationship, Wu said.

The recent moves by the U.S. side have severely damaged the development of the relationships between the two countries and the two militaries, undermining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, Wu added.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has firm determination, full confidence and sufficient capacity to thwart any separatist activities and safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, Wu said.

Source: Xinhua

31/05/2019

China, Russia see sound military exchanges in 2019: spokesperson

BEIJING, May 30 (Xinhua) — Chinese and Russian military forces have maintained in-depth exchanges in 2019 to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, the Ministry of National Defense said Thursday.

They have engaged in cooperation in high-level exchanges, real-combat training and military competitions, and had sound interaction and collaboration on international multilateral occasions, the ministry’s spokesperson Wu Qian said at a press conference.

Armies of the two countries have provided positive energy for safeguarding world peace and regional stability, Wu added.

Speaking of the joint naval exercise earlier this month in Qingdao, east China’s Shandong Province, Wu said the drill achieved a new high in making China-Russia joint naval exercises more real combat-oriented, information-based and standardized.

The two navies have also strengthened their capabilities of joint command and addressing maritime security threats, Wu said.

Source: Xinhua

31/05/2019

Wife of Chinese president meets international students

CHINA-BEIJING-PENG LIYUAN-CWU-INT'L STUDENTS-MEETING(CN)

Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, meets with a group of international graduate students from China Women’s University (CWU) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, May 30, 2019. The students are from CWU’s International Master’s Program of Social Work in “Women’s Leadership and Social Development,” established to implement initiatives announced by President Xi at the 2015 Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. So far, 72 female students from 27 countries have studied under the program. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

BEIJING, May 30 (Xinhua) — Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, on Thursday met with a group of international graduate students from China Women’s University (CWU).

Peng and the students watched a short film on their study and life in China. She also watched poetry recital, chorus and dancing performed by the students.

As the students are about to finish the study and return to their home countries, Peng said she believes that studying in China had helped them deepen their understanding of the country.

She expressed her hope that the students will play a role as a bridge between China and their home countries, and contribute to the promotion of global women’s development and the building of a community with a shared future for humanity.

Peng briefed the students on her work as a special envoy for the Spring Bud Project to promote girls’ education in China, and as a UNESCO Special Envoy for the Advancement of Girls’ and Women’s Education.

She said China attaches great importance to the cause of women, and stands ready to work with the international community to create favorable conditions for women’s development, provide equal and high-quality education opportunities for women, and help women acquire knowledge and skills for greater achievements.

The students said they will make full use of the knowledge and skills learned in China to promote the development of women’s cause in their own countries and the cooperation between their countries and China.

The students are from CWU’s International Master’s Program of Social Work in “Women’s Leadership and Social Development,” established to implement initiatives announced by President Xi at the 2015 Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. So far, 72 female students from 27 countries have studied under the program.

Source: Xinhua

30/05/2019

China’s top political advisor meets Hong Kong delegation

CHINA-BEIJING-WANG YANG-HONG KONG-DELEGATION-MEETING (CN)

Wang Yang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, meets with a delegation of the Hong Kong Association for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China in Beijing, capital of China, May 29, 2019. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

BEIJING, May 29 (Xinhua) — China’s top political advisor Wang Yang on Wednesday met with a delegation of the Hong Kong Association for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China.

Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, stressed the historical trend that China must and will be reunified and urged Hong Kong to fully leverage its unique advantages to continue promoting Hong Kong-Taiwan exchanges and cooperation.

Wang, who also heads the China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification, called for telling a good story of the “one country, two systems” practice in Hong Kong to allow more people in Taiwan to understand its advantages and increase their support for the principles and practice of “peaceful reunification” and “one country, two systems.”

Source: Xinhua

30/05/2019

China’s top political advisor meets Taiwan delegation

CHINA-BEIJING-WANG YANG-YOK MU-MING-MEETING (CN)

Wang Yang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, meets with a delegation from Taiwan led by New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming in Beijing, capital of China, May 29, 2019. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)

BEIJING, May 29 (Xinhua) — China’s top political advisor Wang Yang on Wednesday met with a delegation from Taiwan led by New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming.

Wang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee, stressed the greater national interests of pursuing reunification, which he said is an undeniable duty for every Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Wang expressed the mainland’s willingness to engage in talks and consultation with political parties, organizations and individuals from Taiwan on the basis of upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing “Taiwan independence.”

He also pledged efforts to implement the consensus reached during consultations, deepen cross-Strait exchanges and integrated development, promote more favorable policies benefiting Taiwan, and encourage young people from Taiwan to study, work and start businesses on the mainland.

Noting that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one China, Yok expressed hope for the two sides to cooperate more, and better understand each other, forging a strong common identity and the sense of mission to pursue peaceful reunification, so as to realize the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation at an early date.

Source: Xinhua

30/05/2019

China’s top legislator meets Nigerien president

CHINA-BEIJING-LI ZHANSHU-NIGER'S PRESIDENT-MEETING (CN)

Li Zhanshu (R), chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), meets with Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, May 29, 2019. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

BEIJING, May 29 (Xinhua) — China’s top legislator Li Zhanshu met with visiting Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou on Wednesday, exchanging views on pushing forward the relationship between the two countries.

Li, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), said China stands ready to work with Niger to implement the important consensus made by the two heads of state to lift the bilateral ties to a higher level.

Both the Chinese and African people experienced anti-imperialist and anti-colonial struggles in the past, and both face the task of getting rid of poverty and backwardness and achieving development and prosperity, Li said.

China and Africa have created a new model of South-South cooperation, Li said.

The NPC is willing to strengthen exchanges with the National Assembly of Niger and promote state-to-state friendly cooperation, he said.

Issoufou said Niger thanks China for its long-term support and assistance, and is willing to learn from China’s development experience, actively participate in jointly building the Belt and Road and strengthen pragmatic cooperation.

Source: Xinhua

30/05/2019

Chinese communists disciplined for letting statue of Chairman Mao topple over in strong winds

  • Cadres in Hebei village ordered to undergo self-criticism after photo of statue lying face down in the shrubbery was widely circulated online
  • Reinforced plastic structure had been leaning against the wall awaiting repair when it was blown into the bushes
The photograph was widely circulated online, prompting a response from the local authorities. Photo: Weibo
The photograph was widely circulated online, prompting a response from the local authorities. Photo: Weibo
A couple of grass-roots Communist Party members from northern China have been disciplined after a statue of Mao Zedong was photographed lying face down surrounded by overgrown bushes.
The government of Fuping county in Hebei province issued a statement late on Tuesday that the party chief of Huashan village, where the statue used to stand, had been given a “serious warning” for failing to protect the statue.
His immediate superior, the party head of Chengnanzhuang township, also received a warning.
The disciplinary action came after a picture of the statue lying amid the shrubbery was widely circulated online, triggering an angry response from Mao’s admirers.
The village has become a revolutionary tourist destination because the founding father of the People’s Republic spent some time there in 1948.
100 years on from China’s May Fourth Movement, its message is being co-opted by the Communist Party
The local government said on Sunday that the statue, showing Chairman Mao with a clenched right fist, had been erected in 2017.

It was removed from its plinth earlier this month after cracks appeared in the reinforced plastic model and its colour started to fade.

The government said it had been leaning against a wall after its removal on May 3, but was blown over by strong gusts of wind several days later.

It has now been sent to the manufacturer for repair.

Mao’s image still adorns the banknotes and many public spaces in China. Photo: Alamy
Mao’s image still adorns the banknotes and many public spaces in China. Photo: Alamy

The local officials were punished for “lacking ideological understanding” of the removal, failing to give enough protection to the statue and being careless in their daily work, the local government said.

Besides penalties for the individuals, the township party committee was also ordered to undertake self-criticism – a practice that began under Mao.

Statues of Chairman Mao used to be a common scene all across China, many of them built in the late 1960s at the height of the Cultural Revolution.

Shenzhen official kicked out of Chinese Communist Party for ‘trading power for personal gain and sex’.

Although many of them were removed after his death when the government began the process of reform and opening up, they can still be seen in spaces such as town squares and university campuses. Mao’s face also remains on the country’s banknotes and a large portrait of him hangs in Beijing overlooking Tiananmen Square.

Source: SCMP

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