Archive for ‘Shanghai’

23/06/2019

Xi Jinping’s state visit to North Korea aims for ‘new impetus’ in ties

  • Stalled denuclearisation talks also expected to be on the agenda when Chinese president meets Kim Jong-un this week
  • Analysts say Korean peninsula has become intense diplomatic battleground between Beijing and Washington
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (right) attends a welcome ceremony in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping in January. Xi will begin a visit to Pyongyang on Thursday. Photo: AP
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (right) attends a welcome ceremony in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping in January. Xi will begin a visit to Pyongyang on Thursday. Photo: AP
Xi Jinping’s upcoming trip to 
North Korea

will be a state visit – a higher status than the last trip to the hermit kingdom by a Chinese president, highlighting the close bilateral ties between Beijing and Pyongyang.

Xi’s two-day trip, which 
begins on Thursday

, is the first by a Chinese president to North Korea in 14 years and comes just a week before he is due to meet US President Donald Trump for talks on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Japan.

“Leaders of the two countries will review the development of the bilateral relationship and carry out an in-depth exchange of opinions on the development of Sino-North Korean relations in the new era, and chart the future course of development,” state news agency Xinhua reported on Tuesday.
Xi’s predecessor, Hu Jintao, went to North Korea in October 2005 on a three-day trip described as an “official goodwill” visit.
Speaking at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Xi’s visit aimed to “inject new impetus” into relations in the year the two countries marked the 70th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties, and to give stalled denuclearisation talks a much needed push.
“Regarding the progress on denuclearisation, as I said, the result of the Hanoi leaders’ meeting in February was indeed a little unexpected. But after that, everyone actually looks forward to the resumption of dialogue in a good direction,” Lu said, referring to the failed talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the Vietnamese capital four months ago.

Trump hinted at the possibility of another meeting with Kim after receiving what he called “a beautiful letter” from the North Korean leader last week. On Tuesday, South Korea’s chief nuclear negotiator, Lee Do-hoon, said the US had been in contact with the North.

Life in North Korea the ‘admiration and envy’ of others, state media says

Washington will also send US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun to South Korea next week, days after Xi’s visit to Pyongyang, to fully align its position on North Korea with its ally.

Meanwhile, Trump confirmed he would meet Xi for talks in Osaka next week, saying in a tweet on Tuesday they had “a very good telephone conversation” and would hold “an extended meeting” at the G20 summit, where they are

expected to try to cool tensions

over an almost year-long trade war.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Had a very good telephone conversation with President Xi of China. We will be having an extended meeting next week at the G-20 in Japan. Our respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting.

Analysts said the Korean peninsula had become an intense diplomatic battleground between Beijing and Washington.
Cha Du-hyeogn, a visiting research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul, said China and the US were competing for influence over the peninsula.
“The US and China are seeking a greater sphere of influence in the region. After the Singapore summit between Trump and Kim last year, the US and North Korea are the only key players on peninsula matters. China may want to restore its influence and become a major player,” Cha said.
“But China is less likely to have a so-called strategic competition with the US – that is to say, it won’t challenge the US-led sanctions regime and its goal in achieving North Korea’s denuclearisation. In fact, it is likely to persuade Kim to come to the negotiating table for complete denuclearisation.”
Chinese tourists flood North Korea as Beijing remains Pyongyang’s key ally

Pyongyang has demanded the lifting of sanctions imposed on the regime following its nuclear and missile tests, while Beijing has said the livelihoods of North Koreans should not be affected. But Washington insists full sanctions should remain in place.

The US has also voiced scepticism about Chinese compliance with the sanctions. At a security summit in Singapore earlier this month, US acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan – who on Wednesday stepped down from his role 

amid domestic abuse claims

– presented his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe with photographs and satellite images of North Korean ships transferring oil near China’s coast.

Analysts said Xi would seek to use the visit to boost China’s diplomatic leverage on the North Korean nuclear front, strengthening its hand in dealing with the US.
Exports from North Korea to China, which account for the bulk of its trade, plunged 87 per cent last year from 2017, and the country has faced other economic problems at a time when Kim has vowed to deliver on the economy.
A diplomatic source said China was expected to offer a large amount of humanitarian assistance, such as food and fertiliser, to North Korea, which could weaken the impact of sanctions.

China’s goal of denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula is unwavering and will not changeLu Chao, North Korean affairs expert at Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences

Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily on Tuesday said via its social media account that Xi would discuss economic and trade cooperation with Kim during the visit.

Quoting Zheng Jiyong, director of the Centre for Korean Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, the newspaper said Pyongyang had taken steps to reform its economy and introduced China’s industrial manufacturing blueprint.

In September, Beijing proposed building a rail link from the city of Dandong, in China’s northeastern Liaoning province, to Pyongyang and then on to Seoul and Busan in the South, as well as a new road between Dandong and Pyongyang through Sinuiju.

Lu Chao, a North Korean affairs expert at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, said large-scale economic cooperation between China and North Korea was unlikely because of the sanctions, but smaller moves were possible.

Chinese tourists flood North Korea as Beijing remains Pyongyang’s key ally

“For example, China may export daily necessities to North Korea. And if it’s needed, China is very likely to provide [food] assistance to North Korea,” Lu said. “I believe the UN sanctions on North Korea should change, because it has shown a more substantive approach to [achieving] denuclearisation.”

But analysts said Beijing remained firm on the need for Pyongyang to honour its pledges so that denuclearisation could be achieved.

“China’s goal of denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula is unwavering and will not change … China supports [North Korea] and the US continuing to hold talks,” Lu said.

Beijing also had an important part to play in the peace process, according to Boo Seung-chan, an adjunct professor at the Yonsei Institute for North Korean Studies in Seoul.

“China can have a positive role as a mediator to facilitate the peace process on the Korean peninsula,” Boo said.

Source: SCMP

Advertisements
22/06/2019

The BeiDou-linked satnav chip tracking guns in China

  • Beijing-based hi-tech firm says its technology keeps real-time tabs on firearms and is already in use in the military
A Chinese company has developed a chip to track the location of firearms. Photo: Shutterstock
A Chinese company has developed a chip to track the location of firearms. Photo: Shutterstock
China has developed a satellite positioning chip to pinpoint the location of firearms and trigger an alert when guns are taken out of designated areas, according to a Chinese hi-tech firm.
Beijing Bailineng Technology, the developer of the technology, said in Beijing that the chips used China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System to send real-time location data back to a control centre.
Authorised handlers of the weapons would also be issued with BeiDou watches to send alerts if they are separated from their firearm, with the aim of stopping the weapons falling into the hands of criminals.
“At the moment the accuracy of positioning is about 3 metres,” Ge Chunsheng, a company spokesman, said at a defence equipment fair which ended on Thursday.
“The chips are built in inside, can’t be seen from the outside and very difficult to remove … without damaging the gun.”
China’s BeiDou satellite navigation system breaks underwater barriers, naval shipbuilder says
Ge said the chips were too big for pistols at the moment and could only be fitted in bigger weapons.
The chips use the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System to relay real-time data to a control centre. Photo: AP
The chips use the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System to relay real-time data to a control centre. Photo: AP

China has strict gun control regulations banning civilians from owning firearms. Only the military, police and some specific personnel such as armed transport crews can legally possess firearms.

Previous gun-tracking systems relied on the US-owned and operated Global Positioning System (GPS). But China hopes the BeiDou system, set to be completed in 2020, will be able to replace GPS in China and compete with it globally.

China adds new satellite to its Beidou network that aims to rival US global positioning system

BeiDou was developed for military use but also has civilian applications. It began to cover parts of China in 2000, and launched a basic global service in December 2018.

The Chinese government has ordered all of its buses, heavy trucks and fishing boats to install BeiDou technology for real-time monitoring and tracking. As of 2017, 22 million vehicles and 50,000 vessels had been equipped with BeiDou terminals.

Source: SCMP

22/06/2019

Can China sort its household waste recycling problem by 2020?

  • After two decades of inaction, Chinese President Xi Jinping has set a deadline for the nation
  • Small, local successes show education is the key
The sorting of household waste is more of a novelty than the norm in China. Photo: Xinhua
The sorting of household waste is more of a novelty than the norm in China. Photo: Xinhua
As 60-year-old Xu Mingan hurried to the rubbish bins on her Beijing estate, she saw an abandoned aluminium clothes rack.
Standing in front of several bins labelled “recyclables”, “kitchen waste” and “other waste”, she tore apart the rack, packed the aluminium parts together for selling to the recycling men who drop by occasionally, and threw the remaining plastics randomly into the bins.
“People don’t sort their waste here. We can’t even tell the difference between these bins,” she said.
But unlike other residents of the estate, Xu likes to rummage through the bins, picking up recyclables and selling them, as well as sharing discarded clothes, shoes, quilts and blankets that are still in good condition to the janitors.
The concept of sorting waste is still new in China. Photo: Xinhua
The concept of sorting waste is still new in China. Photo: Xinhua

Xu, who has lived in Beijing for 10 years, admitted her family never sorted its household waste, despite two decades of encouragement from the government to do so. Her attitude may be about to change.

As part of the three major tasks Chinese President Xi Jinping has set the nation to achieve by 2020, China has adopted a new plan which aims to build a standard waste sorting system.

China must heed Xi’s call on tackling waste

In 2000, the government chose eight cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, as pilots for the waste sorting plan, but the slogans fell on deaf ears and there have been few signs of progress.

But Xi appears to have given the grass-roots environmental policy his attention once more, delivering a long statement on June 3 about how the country needs to do better on sorting its waste.

“[We should have] extensive education and guidance, to let people realise the importance and necessity of waste sorting; through effective supervision and guidance, [we should] let more people take action and form a good habit on waste sorting,” he said.

In 2000 the Chinese government chose eight cities to pilot a waste sorting plan but it made little progress. Photo: Xinhua
In 2000 the Chinese government chose eight cities to pilot a waste sorting plan but it made little progress. Photo: Xinhua

In March 2017, the government set out a plan to formalise a standard system and regulations for rubbish sorting by 2020, with a target for 46 major cities – including Beijing – to recycle 35 per cent of their waste by that year. Three months later, the housing ministry published a notice requiring the cities to classify their waste and build a basic sorting system.

The recent attention from the top leaders has seen a spike in activity among local officials. Shanghai’s Communist Party chief Li Qiang was among the first to release local plans to implement household waste sorting in February, going in front of television cameras to demonstrate how to recycle plastic bottles.

“Waste sorting is a now a political task for local officials, and they might lose their jobs if they can’t do the job well,” said Zhang Yi, an expert with the ministry, which has primary responsibility for waste management.

G20 set to agree on ways to reduce problem of plastics in oceans

But the political will still needs time to translate into actual sorting and recycling, with environmental activists pointing out that little has been done in the two years since the plan was published.

“The vast majority of cities are still at the same level they were two years ago. They just change one bin into two or three bins in the community, but in the end, they are emptied into a single garbage truck,” said Chen Liwen, co-founder of Zero-Waste Villages, a non-government environmental organisation.

Waste classification should be done systematically, she said, with residents, government and sorting companies working together, “but we don’t have that at all”.

“The government should do a vast amount of work on education in the early stages, as well as change the sorting system in the later stage,” she said.

The recent attention from the top leaders has seen a spike in activity among local officials. Photo: Handout
The recent attention from the top leaders has seen a spike in activity among local officials. Photo: Handout

Build the system

There are four main processes in the sorting of waste: dumping, collection, transport and treatment, Chen said. But currently, “not even one city has got the first step, trash sorting, sorted out”.

On May 31, China’s environment ministry published a report into its citizens’ thoughts on green issues and found a large gap between people’s recognition of the problem and their actions.

According to the study, 92 per cent of respondents believe rubbish sorting is important for environmental protection, but only 30 per cent said they were doing it “very well” or “fairly well”.

More than half gave their reasons for not sorting waste as “no classification bins in the community” and “no classification for the garbage truck, so no need to sort in the dumping process”. More than 30 per cent said they did not know how to classify their rubbish.

A government report found a large gap between people’s recognition of environmental problems and their actions. Photo: Handout
A government report found a large gap between people’s recognition of environmental problems and their actions. Photo: Handout

Wang Xi, a 29-year-old Beijing resident, said she did not know the standards for “recyclables” and “non-recyclables” so had never sorted her household waste. She only began to understand when she spent some time in Japan.

The difference there, she said, was that there was a guide in every home that showed how to sort waste into the different types – kitchen waste, plastic, paper – and designated collection days for each kind.

“If you mix the garbage, like put plastic in with the kitchen waste, the garbage company will send it back to you,” she said.

“But in China, all the bins are emptied into one garbage truck, so I don’t know what the point is for us to sort it in the first place.”

I don’t know what the point is for us to sort it in the first place – Beijing resident Wang Xi

Chen said the government needed to take the lead in waste sorting as a matter of public interest instead of only paying lip service to the issue.

Zhang said waste classification was a social issue but local officials had so far not paid enough attention to it. Most of the targeted 46 cities now had a plan on paper and had established offices with specific targets but, at the moment, waste sorting remained on paper too, he said.

How China’s ban on plastic waste imports threw recycling efforts into turmoil

Pilot projects in rural areas

Despite the challenges ahead, some projects have shown promising results. Chen has been classifying waste in rural areas since 2017 and today her pilot projects have been replicated across more than 20 villages.

The greatest success has been in Jiangxi province, where 12 villages have been sorting their rubbish since December.

A government official in Dongyang county checks if a woman has correctly sorted her rubbish. Photo: Handout
A government official in Dongyang county checks if a woman has correctly sorted her rubbish. Photo: Handout

Wang Qinghai, party chief of Dongyang county in the northeastern part of the province, said preparation work began last June.

“We investigated the scale of household residents in our county, and the number of hotels, restaurants and schools, to estimate the garbage production per capita and how much we could reduce after sorting,” he said.

The hardest part was educating the public, he said. “We organised training and meetings and sent materials, we also guided people when they dumped their garbage.”

Wang said the effect had been very good and people’s understanding of environmental protection and their cooperation with the government had been beyond his expectations.

Beijing struggling to contain its growing garbage problem

According to his estimates, after the introduction of classification system the amount of waste had decreased by 50 per cent. Now, the amount of waste being classified correctly in Dongyang county was over 99 per cent.

A successful waste programme needed the government’s lead and the cooperation of the relevant departments, Wang said. In Dongyang, the agricultural, water resources and urban-rural development departments had all taken part.

As for investment, Zhang estimated China needed to double its financing to introduce sorting facilities and build treatment systems but, speaking from his experience, Wang said waste sorting had not required any extra money.

Zhang remains optimistic that the 46 cities named in the latest waste management plan can achieve their goal by 2020.

“Waste sorting was a big problem in China that hadn’t been solved for nearly two decades, but as our ‘big boss’ pays attention to this, it will be solved,” he said.

Source: SCMP

17/06/2019

Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He says ‘external pressure’ can actually help China’s economy

  • President Xi Jinping’s chief US trade war negotiator did not specifically reference rising tensions with United States during surprise speech in Shanghai
  • Keynote address at Lujiazui financial forum his first public appearance in three weeks since tour of Jiangxi province with Xi
The keynote address by Liu He (second left) at the Lujiazui financial forum in Shanghai on Thursday was his first public appearance in three weeks. Photo: Xinhua
The keynote address by Liu He (second left) at the Lujiazui financial forum in Shanghai on Thursday was his first public appearance in three weeks. Photo: Xinhua
Vice-Premier Liu He believes the “external pressure” now hitting China’s economy was inevitable and could actually boost the country’s innovation and development.
Liu, the top economic aide to President Xi Jinping and chief negotiator in the trade talks with the United States, backed up comments last week from

People’s Bank of China governor Yi Gang

that Beijing has sufficient policy tools to address the risks and challenges to ensure that China’s long-term growth prospects remain sound.

He did not directly mention the US-China trade war in remarks at the Lujiazui financial forum on Thursday, but said that there was ample room in China’s macroeconomic system to support growth and that recent moves by the government to cut taxes and government administrative fees were starting to have a positive impact on the economy.

“We do face some external pressure at the moment, but this is the inevitable test that China’s economic upgrade must experience,” Liu told the forum, which is an annual event organised by the Shanghai government and the People’s Bank of China. “The external pressure will help us improve innovation and self-development, speed up reform and opening up and push forward with high quality growth.”

Liu was critical of economists for focusing solely on monthly economic data that has shown signs of weakness in the Chinese economy, while neglecting positive trends that support long-term growth in the world’s second largest economy.

Chinese employment, consumer prices and the balance of payment remained at “reasonable” levels, he said, although 

China’s consumer price index

did rise to the highest level in 15 months in May, partly because of the rising price of pork and fresh fruit.

“No matter what happens temporarily, China’s long-term growth remains positive, which won’t change,” Liu said. “After the global financial crisis, our financial system has been stable. The rapid growth of debt in the system has been contained.”

The keynote speech, which was Liu’s first public appearance since accompanying Xi on a tour of Jiangxi province three weeks ago, was only confirmed at the last minute having initially been announced as a speech by “a State Council leader”.

The external pressure will help us improve innovation and self-development, speed up reform and opening up and push forward with high quality growthLiu He

In an unusual move, Liu used charts and slides, both in Chinese and English, to address Chinese and foreign bankers and investors as well as other Chinese officials including Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission chairman Guo Shuqing and People’s Bank of China governor Yi.
It remains to be seen whether Liu will resume trade talks on China’s behalf, with a meeting between 
Xi and US counterpart Donald Trump

at the G20 summit at the end of June yet to be confirmed after negotiations broke down in early May.

“We noticed that the US side had repeatedly expressed the hope that the two presidents could meet during the G20 summit later this month. Right now I have no new information to offer about the China-US trade talk,” said Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesman Gao Feng during Thursday’s regular press conference.
“Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”
Since the last round of talks in Washington, which were attended by Liu, the US has increased tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 per cent to 25 per cent, while Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on the US$300 billion worth of imports not yet covered by duties.
“The US used state power to suppress Chinese enterprises and generalise the concept of national security. These are the behaviours of distorting the market,” Gao added.
“It was the US who reneged and was dishonest in the trade talks, unilaterally escalated the trade tensions and made the negotiation fall into an impasse.”

Source: SCMP

13/06/2019

Ex-chemistry teacher Zhong Huijuan poised to become China’s third-richest woman after founding US$10.4 billion Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group

  • Firm is expected to go public in Hong Kong on Friday, with Zhang’s 68 per cent stake giving her a US$7.9 billion fortune
  • She and husband Sun Piaoyang will join world’s richest pharmaceutical families, rivalling the Sacklers and Bertarellis
A technician loads containers on a rack at a Cyagen Biosciences facility in Jiangsu province, China, in March. Photo: Bloomberg
A technician loads containers on a rack at a Cyagen Biosciences facility in Jiangsu province, China, in March. Photo: Bloomberg
Zhong Huijuan quit her job teaching chemistry to teenagers and got into the drug business.
The career switch has paid off handsomely.
Her Hansoh Pharmaceutical Group, China’s largest maker of psychotropic drugs, is poised to go public on Friday in Hong Kong with a market value of US$10.4 billion. Zhong holds a 68 per cent stake, giving her a US$7.9 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Zhong, 58, is not even the richest person in the family. Her husband Sun Piaoyang, 60, is worth US$9.2 billion, thanks to the success of his Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine, a maker of anti-tumour drugs whose stock has returned about 16,300 per cent since it went public in Shanghai almost two decades ago.
Longfor Group Holdings Chairwoman Wu Yajun attends the company’s interim results announcement at the JW Marriott Hotel in Hong Kong in August 2016. Photo: May Tse
Longfor Group Holdings Chairwoman Wu Yajun attends the company’s interim results announcement at the JW Marriott Hotel in Hong Kong in August 2016. Photo: May Tse

They are poised to be among the world’s richest pharmaceutical families, with a combined fortune that rivals the Sacklers, who made a fortune selling opioids, and the Bertarellis of Switzerland.

Health-care spending in China has surged to 5.9 trillion yuan (US$853 billion) last year from 3.5 trillion yuan in 2014, and is projected to top 9.4 trillion yuan in 2023, Hansoh said in a prospectus for the offering.

Cen Junda, a long-time investor of the Lianyungang, Jiangsu-based company, is also a billionaire with a stake valued at about US$1.7 billion.

Iris Luo, a spokeswoman for Hansoh, declined to comment on their fortunes.

Who is Yang Huiyan, China’s richest woman?

The IPO will make Zhong China’s third-richest woman, after two real estate moguls: Country Garden Holdings co-chairman Yang Huiyan, and Longfor Group Holdings

Chairwoman Wu Yajun, who are worth US$21.4 billion and US$9.9 billion, respectively.

Zhong graduated with an undergraduate degree in chemistry from Jiangsu Normal University in July 1982 and taught chemistry at Yan’an middle school in Lianyungang in the early 1990s, according to the website of All-China Women’s Foundation. She founded Hansoh in 1995.

The company, which researches and produces drugs for six major therapeutic areas, reported 1.9 billion yuan in profit in 2018, an 18 per cent increase from a year earlier, the prospectus shows. The drug maker gets almost half of its revenue from cancer treatments.

Country Garden Holdings co-chairman Yang Huiyan, who is worth US$21.4 billion, is China’s richest woman. Photo: Handout
Country Garden Holdings co-chairman Yang Huiyan, who is worth US$21.4 billion, is China’s richest woman. Photo: Handout

“We believe its R&D will focus on making generics as soon as possible to take the first-mover advantage, a strategy many leading pharma companies applied in the past,” said Zhang Jialin, a Hong Kong-based analyst at ICBC International Research.

Hansoh’s cornerstone investors include Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, and Hillhouse Capital, Asia’s biggest private equity buyer, helping to draw more market interest in Friday’s IPO. Hengrui’s earlier success also may help bolster investor confidence in Hansoh.

“The synergies between Hengrui and Hansoh, particularly in R&D and distribution, will bring the latter advantages over industry competitors,” said Mia He, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst.

Source: SCMP

13/06/2019

From cosplay to cause play: why the Communist Party supports a revival in traditional Chinese clothing

  • Han costumes are enjoying a renaissance across China, buoyed by a call to nationalism backed by President Xi Jinping
Women wear Han-style clothing in Beijing as part of April’s Traditional Chinese Costume Day celebration. Photo: AFP
Women wear Han-style clothing in Beijing as part of April’s Traditional Chinese Costume Day celebration. Photo: AFP
Dressed in a flowing robe adorned with beaded floral embroidery from a bygone era, stylist Xiao Hang looks like she emerged from a time machine as she strides across the bustling Beijing metro, attracting curious glances and questions.
While China embraced Western fashion as its economy boomed in recent decades, now a growing number of young people like Xiao look to the past for their sartorial choices and have adopted hanfu, or Han clothing.
The costumes of the Han ethnic majority are enjoying a renaissance in part because the government is promoting traditional culture in an effort to boost patriotism and national identity.

Like the film, television and comic book productions that have inspired cosplay fans in the West, period dramas on Chinese TV have contributed to the surge in interest in traditional clothing. The Story of Minglan, a series set during the Song dynasty, attracted more than 400 million viewers over three days when it was first shown this year.

The success of television drama The Story Of Minglan this year reflects China’s interest in its Han heritage. Photo: Baidu
The success of television drama The Story Of Minglan this year reflects China’s interest in its Han heritage. Photo: Baidu

While each Han-dominated dynasty had its own style, hanfu outfits were generally characterised by loose, flowing robes with sleeves that reached the knees.

“When we were little, we would drape sheets and duvets around ourselves to pretend we were wearing beautiful clothes,” Xiao said.

Once a worker at a state-owned machine manufacturing company, Xiao now runs her own hanfu business, where she dresses customers for photo shoots and plans hanfu-style weddings.

The Hanfu fashion revival: ancient Chinese dress finds a new following

In modern China, the hanfu community includes history enthusiasts and anime fans, students and young professionals.

Yang Jiaming, a high school pupil in Beijing, wears his outfit under his school uniform.

“Two-thirds of my wardrobe are hanfu,” he said, decked out in a Tang-style beige gown and black boots, adding that his classmates and teachers were supportive of his fashion choices.

A government-supported revival in Chinese culture has energised the hanfu community. Since he entered office in 2012, President Xi Jinping has supported the promotion of a Han-centric vision of Chinese heritage.

Fans of traditional Chinese clothing dare to mix old and new, and hanfu is not the preserve of women. Photo: AFP
Fans of traditional Chinese clothing dare to mix old and new, and hanfu is not the preserve of women. Photo: AFP

In April, the Communist Youth League of China launched a two-day conference celebrating traditional Chinese garb, which included hanfu and took in Traditional Chinese Costume Day.

A live broadcast of the event drew about 20 million viewers, alongside an outpouring of emotions.

“Chinese people have abandoned their own culture and chosen Western culture. The red marriage gown has now become a wedding dress,” wrote a user of Bilibili, a video-streaming platform popular among young anime, comic and gaming fans in China.

Clothes were the “foundation of culture”, said Jiang Xue, who is part of Beijing-based hanfu club Mowutianxia, which has received funding from the Communist Youth League.

“If we as a people and as a country do not even understand our traditional clothing or do not wear them, how can we talk about other essential parts of our culture?” she said.

Forget K-pop and US missiles, Korea is back in fashion with China thanks to live-stream shopping

The style has not yet gained mainstream acceptance in China.

In March, two students in Shijiazhuang Medical College, in northern Hebei province, were reportedly threatened with expulsion for wearing the outfits to class.

Others said they were put off by the reaction they got while wearing hanfu in public.

“I used to be very embarrassed to wear [hanfu] out,” screenwriter Cheng Xia said.

The 37-year-old said she overcame her reservations after going out dressed in a full outfit last year.

Meanwhile, the movement to revive Han ethnic clothing has prompted questions about nationalism and Han-ethnocentrism – a sensitive issue in China, where the government is wary of conflict between ethnic groups.

High school pupils and young children are drawn to China’s hanfu trend. Photo: AFP
High school pupils and young children are drawn to China’s hanfu trend. Photo: AFP

For instance, within the hanfu community there is long-running opposition towards the qipao, the high-collared, figure-hugging garment that was once a staple of women’s wardrobes.

Known as cheongsam in Cantonese, the qipao – meaning “Qi robe” – began as a long, loose dress worn by the Manchu, or Qi people, who ruled China from the 17th century until the early 1900s.

Its popularity took off in 1920s Shanghai, when it was refashioned into a fitted must-have, favoured by actresses and intellectuals as a symbol of femininity and refinement.

“Some people … think that the cheongsam was inspired by the Qing dynasty, which is not enough to represent China. There are nationalist undertones in this issue,” Chinese culture scholar Gong Pengcheng said.

Master of a dying art: traditional dressmaker recalls golden era of cheongsam in Hong Kong

“It is a good trend to explore traditional culture and clothing culture … There are many things we can talk about, and we need not shrink to nationalist confrontation.”

Yang, the high school pupil, was more upbeat. He said: “At the very least, we can wear our own traditional clothes, just like the ethnic minorities.”

Source: SCMP

11/06/2019

China sees over 6 mln entries, exits during Dragon Boat Festival holiday

BEIJING, June 10 (Xinhua) — China’s border check agencies saw about 6.13 million inbound and outbound trips made during the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday, up 6.3 percent year on year, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) said Monday.

During the holiday that ended Sunday, Chinese mainland residents made more than 3.2 million entries and exits, up 11.3 percent from the previous year, NIA data showed. Entries and exits made by residents from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan stood on a par with the same period last year at about 2.1 million.

Entries and exits made by foreign citizens increased by 5.3 percent to 812,000, according to the NIA.

Compared with major airports in places such as Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, some small and medium-sized airports reported an obvious rise in their trans-border passenger volumes during the holiday this year, said the NIA, citing that of an airport in the port city of Tianjin surging 28.6 percent.

Source: Xinhua

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

29/05/2019

China showing signs similar to Japanese housing bubble that led to its ‘lost decades’, expert warns

  • China’s housing market showing signs of bubble similar to that seen in Japan in 1980s, says Asian Development Bank Institute dean and CEO Naoyuki Yoshino
  • China’s loose policy following 2008 global financial crisis laid foundations for current housing bubble, with US-China trade war adding to concerns
The average price of a home in Beijing has soared from around 380 yuan (US$55) per square feet in the early 2000s to the current level of well above 5,610 yuan (US$813) per square foot, according to property data provider creprice.cn. Photo: Bloomberg
The average price of a home in Beijing has soared from around 380 yuan (US$55) per square feet in the early 2000s to the current level of well above 5,610 yuan (US$813) per square foot, according to property data provider creprice.cn. Photo: Bloomberg
China must exercise extreme caution in handling its housing sector because it is showing signs similar to those witnessed during Japan’s bubble period of the 1980s that contributed to the collapse of Japanese asset prices and its subsequent “lost decades” of weak economic growth and deflation, a Japanese financial system expert warned.
The parallels between China’s current landscape and Japan’s three decades ago are readily apparent, stemming from a loose monetary policy that laid the foundation for the expansion of a housing bubble, said Naoyuki Yoshino, dean and CEO of the Asian Development Bank Institute.
China flooded its economy with credit in response to the 2008 global financial crisis, fuelling rapid growth in mortgages, real estate borrowings and investments over the past decade.
In the same vein, the Japanese government’s relaxed monetary policy in the 1980s triggered an economic bubble that eventually burst and sank the economy into a recession that 
lasted almost 25 years,

with the Bank of Japan continuing to still keep interest rates at or below zero per cent to this day in an attempt to spur inflation.

The Japanese government’s relaxed monetary policy in the 1980s triggered an economic bubble that eventually burst and sank the economy into a recession that lasted almost 25 years. Photo: Bloomberg
The Japanese government’s relaxed monetary policy in the 1980s triggered an economic bubble that eventually burst and sank the economy into a recession that lasted almost 25 years. Photo: Bloomberg

Japan’s experience could serve as a lesson on how to avoid a housing market collapse that would be especially detrimental to China’s financial sector and real economy, according to Yoshino.

“I’m very much concerned that if land prices keep on rising and if the population starts to shrink along with aggregate demand, then China will experience a similar situation to that of Japan,” Yoshino said.

There are already several strong signs of a housing bubble in China, according to Yoshino, firstly the astronomical surge in property prices in recent years.

I’m very much concerned that if land prices keep on rising and if the population starts to shrink along with aggregate demand, then China will experience a similar situation to that of Japan Naoyuki Yoshino
Home ownership is one of the few ways for Chinese families to generate wealth because of limited investment opportunities. The average price of a home in Beijing has soared from around 4,000 yuan (US$578) per square metre, or 380 yuan (US$55) per square feet, in the early 2000s to the current level of well above 60,000 yuan (US$8,677) per square metre, or 5,610 yuan (US$813) per square foot, according to property data provider creprice.cn.

The increase has also lifted the housing price to income ratio sharply from 5.6 in 1996 to 7.6 in 2013, well above the Japanese rate of 3.0 at its peak in 1988. The price to income ratio is the basic affordability measure for housing.

According to the Global Times, a reasonable home price should be three to six times the median household income. That means a family with an average income can buy a house with three to six years’ annual income. The house price to income ratio in China is above 50 in the first-tier cities and 30 to 40 in the third- and fourth-tier cities, the newspaper said in October. There are four levels of cities in China, defined by a number of factors including gross domestic product (GDP) and population, with Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen considered tier-one cities.

Another worrying sign, according to Yoshino, is that China’s financial sector has lent more heavily to the real estate sector than did Japanese banks during their bubble period.

Thirdly, the ratio of Chinese housing loans to the nation’s GDP has consistently been higher than Japan’s by about three times more.

Ever since US President Donald Trump started imposing tariffs on Chinese imports in July, worries have been mounting that China’s property bubble and its record debt level would make the economy vulnerable to the impact of rising trade tensions, leading to a sharper-than-expected economic slowdown.

Despite a government crackdown on debt and risky lending over the last several years, housing prices and bank lending to the sector have continued to rise, pushing homes beyond what the vast majority of people can afford, as well as putting many property developers deeply into debt.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a top government think tank, said in a report last week that the growth in housing prices in China’s bigger cities, caused by a relatively short supply of new homes, is likely to push up costs across the country.

“The government should closely monitor these cities to avoid overheating,” said Wang Yeqiang, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who co-authored the report.

Property developers have begun a debt-fuelled land-buying spree just as urban housing demand is entering a long-running structural decline, said Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at Capital Economics. The potential supply of property that could be built on developers’ land reserves jumped last year to a record high, meaning the risk of a glut of new housing is real, Evans-Pritchard added, if developers were to convert all their land reserves into housing tracts.

“Since real estate drives around a fifth of GDP, a sharp downturn in this sector would be contagious, resulting in a jump in defaults across a wide swathe of the economy that could quickly erode bank capital buffers,” he warned.

China’s corporate debt stood at 155 per cent of GDP in the second quarter of 2018, much higher than other major economies, according to data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. In comparison, Japan’s corporate debt level is 100 per cent of GDP and is 74 per cent in the US. China’s corporate debt includes issuances by its 

local government

vehicles which by extension is mostly credit with an implicit guarantee from the central government.

Since real estate drives around a fifth of GDP, a sharp downturn in this sector would be contagious, resulting in a jump in defaults across a wide swathe of the economy that could quickly erode bank capital buffersJulian Evans-Pritchard

China’s imbalance between housing supply and demand may worsen because it faces a similar economic transition that is already well underway in Japan – a

rapidly ageing population

and

shrinking workforce

that led to Japan’s long-term deflation problem, said Yoshino, who is also the chief adviser to the Japan Financial Services Agency’s Financial Research Centre.

Even if rising housing demand due to urbanisation were to push China’s housing prices higher over the near term, the country faces risks from an oversupply of housing in the longer term due to its increasingly unbalanced demographic structure, he said.
The government has proposed that China’s retirement ages of 45 to 50 years for females and 55 to 60 years for males introduced in the 1980s be gradually increased to 65 years for both by 2045 due to a rapidly ageing population.
The rising population of retirees will consume fewer goods and services compared to younger families with children, and in turn, could dampen business investment given lower expected rates of return.
At the same time, more retirees means a bigger burden on the younger generation of taxpayers, which would reduce their wealth and change patterns of consumption. This is especially worrying on the back of China’s high debt level and pension funding gap, similar to the situation in Japan, Yoshino said.
In Japan, benefits from government pension schemes account for an increasing share of the country’s accumulated debt as spending on social protection programmes now represents more than a third of the government’s total budget.
China’s national pension fund is forecast to peak at 6.99 trillion yuan (US$1 trillion) in 2027 before it gradually runs out by 2035, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Photo: AFP
China’s national pension fund is forecast to peak at 6.99 trillion yuan (US$1 trillion) in 2027 before it gradually runs out by 2035, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Photo: AFP
The strain is also evident in China with the

national pension fund

forecast to peak at 6.99 trillion yuan (US$1 trillion) in 2027 before it gradually runs out by 2035, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, forcing the government to start to transfer assets from state-owned companies to fill the funding gap.

Against the broader economic slowdown, compounded by the trade war with the US, policymakers are also expected to carve out a highly expansionary fiscal budget for this year, with the broad deficit surging to 6.6 per cent of China’s GDP, up from 4.7 per cent last year, according to Larry Hu, head of China economics at Macquarie Capital.

Alicia Garcia Herrero, Asia-Pacific chief economist at Natixis, noted that the US criticisms of China’s unfair trade practises and currency manipulation were reminiscent of the US-Japan disputes in the 1980s and 1990s.

Because Japan was politically and economically dependent on the US at that time, it inevitably implemented economic policies to reduce its current account surplus. Subsequently, Japan suffered from the bursting of its asset price bubble, which led to deflation and the lost decades.

However, Herrero said that the modern China is less dependent on the US and so is in a better position to resist pressure to adjust its economic policies to create demand for American products.

Wang Yang, one of the seven members of China’s elite Politburo Standing Committee, said the US-China trade war could slash one percentage point off Beijing’s economic growth this year. Last year, growth expanded at its slowest pace since 1990, while corporate bond defaults hit a record high and banks’ non-performing loan ratio hit a 10-year high.

Source: SCMP

24/05/2019

Chinese police arrest 20 over pornographic live-streaming app that attracted 1 million users

  • Streaming platform Huahua earned US$2.3 million in profit in five months, according to media report
  • Final two suspects arrested in Philippines, police say
Chinese police with the last two principal suspects in the Philippines on April 26. Photo: Weibo
Chinese police with the last two principal suspects in the Philippines on April 26. Photo: Weibo
Chinese police have arrested 20 people from a cross-border group accused of operating illegal live streaming platforms to broadcast pornographic content, according to mainland online news outlet The Paper.
After an investigation lasting over a year, police in Macheng in central China’s Hubei province said they arrested the last two main suspects, a man surnamed Hong and a woman surnamed Li, in the Philippines on April 26.
Their 
live-streaming

platform, which was initially called Huahua, had more than 900,000 registered users, earning the group 16 million yuan (US$2.3 million) in profit in five months from November 2017, according to the report.

The Chinese government announced in February 2018 it was 
launching a campaign

against pornographic and illegal publications to foster a healthy online environment.The next month, Macheng police received a tip-off that people were distributing QR codes to download Huahua in chat groups on the popular Chinese messaging app QQ.

On the Huahua platform, live streamers gave erotic performances, with the most popular streamers drawing more than 2,000 viewers at a time and users able to make requests by paying up to almost 2,000 yuan (US$290).

The group had a structure and rules designed to avoid the police’s attention, the report said. Members did not know each other’s identities and each had only one point of contact.

Some recruited streamers, others promoted the app on social platforms to attract traffic, and members in Mongolia laundered money with foreign bank accounts, while the app’s appearance and servers were changed several times, the report said.

After 18 people were arrested by April 2018 across the country, including in Shanghai and Guangdong, the No 1 suspect, the Mongolia-based Hong, fled to South Korea then to the Philippines, where he met Li and they built a similar app, according to the report.

The report said Hong had owned a company in Shanghai focusing on developing video games before turning to pornographic live streaming to make money quickly when the gaming business struggled.

Source: SCMP

Law of Unintended Consequences

continuously updated blog about China & India

ChiaHou's Book Reviews

continuously updated blog about China & India

What's wrong with the world; and its economy

continuously updated blog about China & India