Huge Increase in Chinese Aid Pledged to Pacific

Kate Lyons
Guardian
Australia has traditionally been the most significant donor to the Pacific, but in 2017 China committed to spending more than four times as much as Australia, data from the Lowy Institute thinktank published today shows.

China Has an Online Lending Crisis and People Are Furious about It

Matt Rivers and Jethro Mullen
CNN
The outcry shines a light on a murky corner of China's financial industry that authorities allowed to grow rapidly with little oversight. Promises of double-digit returns attracted people looking for more lucrative places to put their money...

China‘s July Factory Inflation Slows but Consumer Prices Accelerate

CNBC
The July inflation data is the first official reading on the impact on prices from China‘s retaliatory tariffs on $34 billion of U.S. goods that went into effect on July 6 and apply to a range of products from soybeans, to mixed nuts and whiskey.

Books

08.08.18

Poisonous Pandas

Matthew Kohrman, Gan Quan, Liu Wennan, Robert N. Proctor
Stanford University Press: A favorite icon for cigarette manufacturers across China since the mid-20th century has been the panda, with factories from Shanghai to Sichuan using cuddly cliché to market tobacco products. The proliferation of panda-branded cigarettes coincides with profound, yet poorly appreciated, shifts in the worldwide tobacco trade. Over the last 50 years, transnational tobacco companies and their allies have fueled a tripling of the world’s annual consumption of cigarettes. At the forefront is the China National Tobacco Corporation, now producing 40 percent of cigarettes sold globally. What’s enabled the manufacturing of cigarettes in China to flourish since the time of Mao and to prosper even amidst public health condemnation of smoking?In Poisonous Pandas, an interdisciplinary group of scholars comes together to tell that story. They offer novel portraits of people within the Chinese polity―government leaders, scientists, tax officials, artists, museum curators, and soldiers―who have experimentally revamped the country’s pre-Communist cigarette supply chain and fitfully expanded its political, economic, and cultural influence. These portraits cut against the grain of what contemporary tobacco-control experts typically study, opening a vital new window on tobacco―the single largest cause of preventable death worldwide today.{chop}Related Reading:“In China, Industry Push-Back Stubs out Anti-Smoking Gains,” Christian Shepherd, Reuters, May 31, 2018“China’s Ministry in Charge of Tobacco Control Had Ties to the Tobacco Industry. Not Anymore,” Sidney Leng, South China Morning Post, March 15, 2018“The End of China’s ‘Ashtray Diplomacy’,” Heather Timmons and Quartz, The Atlantic, December 30, 2013“The Political Mapping of China’s Tobacco Industry and Anti-Smoking Campaign,” Cheng Li, Brookings, May 30, 2012Author’s Recommendations:Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, Rob Nixon (Harvard University Press, 2013)Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?, Judith Butler (Verso; Reprint edition 2010)Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, Giorgio Agamben, Translated by Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford University Press, 1998)

India as China’s Secret Business Weapon

Sintia Radu
As India rises on the global economic stage, foreign players are increasingly attracted to the seemingly unlimited and unexplored potential of the South Asian giant, which offers a market of 1.3 billion potential consumers.

China Ignores Trump Threat on Iran, Says Business There Will Continue

David Reid
CNBC
U.S. sanctions against Iran came into effect Tuesday and President Donald Trump has warned that countries who trade with Tehran will not be able to do business with the U.S. Trump also said he will expand the punitive measures in the coming weeks to...

China Has Outspent the US by $24 Billion in 5G Technology since 2015, Study Shows

Arjun Kharpal
CNBC
China has in recent years outspent the U.S. by $24 billion in the area of next-generation mobile internet technology known as 5G, potentially creating a "tsunami" that will be difficult to catch up with,...

How Taming the Mekong Could Give China Unprecedented Power

Jason Koutsoukis
Bloomberg
The deadly collapse of one of the dozen or so dams dotted along the Mekong River and its tributaries has highlighted the rapid development of a waterway that is increasingly important strategically for China and its neighbors.

China’s Gas Tariffs Are a Permian-Size Problem for Oil

Liam Denning
Bloomberg
The latest bit of America’s energy sector to feel the over-the-shoulder lash is the liquefied natural gas-export business. On Friday, LNG joined the list of goods that China will hit with tariffs in retaliation for U.S. ones. This...

Australia’s China Reset

John Garnaut
It’s no secret that Professor Francis Fukuyama got it wrong in his classic “End of History” treatise, published in the dying days of the Cold War. More interesting is why he got it wrong. His conclusion that the Western model of...

China's Yuan, Shares Fall as Trade Row Overshadows Policy Shift

Moxy Ying, Tian Chen and Jeanny Yu
Bloomberg
The onshore yuan slipped 0.17 percent to 6.8402 per dollar as of 4:02 p.m., while the Shanghai Composite Index closed down 1.3 percent at its lowest since February 2016. The ChiNext gauge of small caps and tech stocks fared even worse, tumbling 2.8...

China Millennials’ Love of Credit Cards Raises Debt Fears

Tom Hancock and Wang Xueqiao
Financial Times
Mr Wang is part of a generation of young consumers who have rejected the thrifty habits of their elders and become used to spending with borrowed money. Outstanding consumer loans — used for vehicle purchases, holidays, household renovations and...

China’s Currency Slide Risks a Horrible Misunderstanding with Trump

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Telegraph
China’s currency slide is graduating from benign neglect to something more deliberate. Whether or not you deem it currency warfare, it is playing with political and financial fire.

Pakistan Puts a Spotlight on China’s Opaque Loans

Financial Times
Imran Khan, Pakistan’s former cricket captain and newly elected prime minister, is on a sticky wicket. His victory in last week’s polls was secured in part on a pledge to ramp up spending on public services. Yet the coffers are empty and a balance...

Germany Toughens Stance and Blocks China Deal

Arne Delfs
Sydney Morning Herald
Merkel's cabinet on Wednesday voted to block the potential purchase of German machine tool manufacturer Leifeld Metal Spinning by a Chinese investor. The government took the precautionary measure even though the Yantai Taihai Group indicated at...

China Says U.S. Trade Pressure Won’t Work

Wall Street Journal
China fired back after the Trump administration threatened to double proposed tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, saying it won’t yield to White House pressure.

China’s Empire of Money Is Reshaping Global Trade

Bloomberg Markets
Bloomberg
China is building a very 21st century empire—one where trade and debt lead the way, not armadas and boots on the ground. If President Xi Jinping’s ambitions become a reality, Beijing will cement its position at the center of a new world economic...

Conversation

08.01.18

What Would a U.S. War—or Peace—with Iran mean for China?

Jarrett Blanc, Michael Kovrig & more
China is the largest buyer of Iranian oil, Iran’s largest trading partner, and arguably its most important positive political relationship. What do Trump’s threats to Iran mean for China’s relationship with the country? And how would a war between...

As Trump’s Tariffs Start to Bite, China Pledges It’ll Keep Its Economy Stable

Huileng Tan
CNBC
In a statement carried by China’s state media after a meeting of the Politburo, a top decision-making body of the ruling Communist Party, Beijing said it will take targeted measures to solve issues in the economy. The Chinese economy is facing “some...

Trump’s Tariffs Push Electronics From China to Southeast Asia

Debby Wu
Bloomberg
A number of Taiwanese firms that form a crucial plank of the global supply chain have in recent days signaled their intention to diversify away from the world’s No. 2 economy. Delta Electronics Inc., which supplies power components to Apple Inc.,...

China’s Plan to Win Friends and Influence Includes Ski Slopes and Spas

Alexandra Stevenson and Cao Li
New York Times
In Thailand, a theater rigged with hydraulic seats will give moviegoers the sensation of flight. In Australia, an indoor ski slope is going up near the beaches of the Gold Coast. In the Czech Republic, a spa with Chinese medicine is under...

China in Africa: Win-Win Development, or a New Colonialism?

Guardian
As their hand-built wooden dhow approaches the shore, Ibrahim Chamume and his fellow fishermen take in the sail and prepare to sell their catch to the small huddle of villagers waiting on the white sand. He has been making a living like this on the...

More of Africa Finds Itself in China’s Debt

Matina Stevis-Gridneff
Wall Street Journal
Chinese President Xi Jinping has signed a slate of investment deals during a weeklong tour of Africa, feeding into concerns in the West and on the continent over ballooning levels of indebtedness to Beijing and its expanding political footprint.

China Hasn’t Delivered on Its $24 Billion Philippines Promise

Jason Koutsoukis, Cecilia Yap
Bloomberg
Of the 27 deals signed between China and the Philippines during Duterte’s visit to Beijing in October 2016, China originally agreed to provide $9 billion in soft loans, including a $3 billion credit line with the Bank of China, with a further $15...

Books

07.26.18

Imperial Twilight

Stephen Platt
Alfred A. Knopf: As China reclaims its position as a world power, Imperial Twilight looks back to tell the story of the country’s last age of ascendance and how it came to an end in the 19th-century Opium War.When Britain launched its first war on China in 1839, pushed into hostilities by profiteering drug merchants and free-trade interests, it sealed the fate of what had long been seen as the most prosperous and powerful empire in Asia, if not the world. But internal problems of corruption, popular unrest, and dwindling finances had weakened China far more than was commonly understood, and the war would help set in motion the eventual fall of the Qing dynasty—which, in turn, would lead to the rise of nationalism and communism in the 20th century. As one of the most potent turning points in the country’s modern history, the Opium War has since come to stand for everything that today’s China seeks to put behind it.In this dramatic, epic story, award-winning historian Stephen Platt sheds new light on the early attempts by Western traders and missionaries to “open” China—traveling mostly in secret beyond Canton, the single port where they were allowed—even as China’s imperial rulers were struggling to manage their country’s decline and Confucian scholars grappled with how to use foreign trade to China’s advantage. The book paints an enduring portrait of an immensely profitable and mostly peaceful meeting of civilizations at Canton over the long term that was destined to be shattered by one of the most shockingly unjust wars in the annals of imperial history. Brimming with a fascinating cast of British, Chinese, and American individuals, this riveting narrative of relations between China and the West has important implications for today’s uncertain and ever-changing political climate.{chop}

Trump Says China Is ‘Being Vicious’ and Targeting U.S. Farmers on Purpose

Fred Imbert
CNBC
Trump’s comment comes after the administration announced a $12 billion bailout plan for farmers hit by tariffs on their goods. Earlier this month, China slapped a 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans, one of the biggest U.S. exports to China.

China Stimulates Again, but Don’t Expect Fireworks

Nathaniel Taplin
Wall Street Journal
The country’s main stock benchmark was up 1.6% Tuesday, after a call from China’s cabinet overnight for more fiscal spending, abundant liquidity, and—perhaps most significant—support for the “reasonable” fundraising needs of local governments’...

Giving In to China, U.S. Airlines Drop Taiwan (in Name at Least)

Sui-Lee Wee
New York Times
You can book a ticket to Taipei from New York on a major American airline. Just don’t ask them which country you are going to. American, which was the first to make the switch, listed Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, the city’s main airport, as...

China and India Launch Investment Spree in Africa Ahead of Key Summit

Justina Crabtree
CNBC
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have continued to lend in tandem to African countries ahead of a major emerging markets summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, beginning on Wednesday.

Big Investors Are Placing Bets on China’s Facial Recognition Start-Ups

Jamie Condliffe
New York Times
In the past week, Chinese facial recognition companies, according to a pair of reports, were close to raising as much as $1.6 billion.

U.S.-China Tensions over Trade and Technology

Paul Haenle & Chen Dingding from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
Chen says deteriorating bilateral relations are due to both the Trump administration’s trade policies and to a growing U.S. consensus that foreign policy toward China should be reevaluated. The Chinese government’s view that industrial policy is a...

China’s Effort to Control Debt Loses Steam

Chao Deng and Lingling Wei
Wall Street Journal
China is letting up on its drive to keep a lid on debt growth as it faces a softening economy at home and escalating trade tensions with the U.S.

US-China Trade Brawl Threatens America’s Booming Oil Exports

Matt Egan
CNN
China is America’s second-biggest crude oil customer, and Beijing has threatened to retaliate against President Donald Trump’s trade crackdown by imposing tariffs on US crude oil.

Surveillance Fears Cloud China’s ‘Digital Silk Road’

Nyshka Chadran
CNBC
A major element of China’s continent-spanning Belt and Road Initiative has nothing to do with roads, ports or power plants.

China Is Better Able To Withstand A Trade War Than In The Past

Jim Zarroli
NPR
As President Trump threatens to heap more tariffs on Chinese imports, he’s got one important fact on his side: The United States remains China’s biggest single export market, buying some $500 billion in goods last year alone.

Conversation

07.12.18

Can China Replace the U.S. in Europe?

Jan Weidenfeld, Isabel Hilton & more
The G7 debacle reminded Europeans the problems with relying on a fraying transatlantic partnership. Meanwhile, China has been playing a larger role on the continent, increasing its investment and its political influence. On July 6-7, Bulgaria held...

Crisis in U.S. Nuclear Talks With Pyongyang Not China’s Doing, Experts Say

Keith Johnson
Foreign Policy
President Donald Trump has suggested that China might be to blame for an apparent crisis in nuclear talks between the United States and North Korea — arguing that Beijing could be undermining the agreement because of anger over the escalating trade...

Welcome to China, Tesla. Now Time to Cough Up

Anjani Trivedi
Bloomberg
Welcome to China, Elon. Let’s talk about how this is going to work.

New Round of U.S.-China Trade War Rattles Global Markets

Alexandra Stevenson
New York Times
President Trump’s escalating trade war with China rattled global markets on Wednesday.

A U.S. View on China’s So-Called ‘Debtbook Diplomacy’ Agenda

Eric Olander, Cobus van Staden & more
For the past year or so, senior U.S. government officials have been accusing China of engaging in so-called “debtbook diplomacy,” a tactic that Washington contends intentionally burdens developing countries with billions of dollars of loans. When...

Exclusive: China Presses Europe for Anti-U.S. Alliance on Trade

Robin Emmott, Noah Barkin
Reuters
China is putting pressure on the European Union to issue a strong joint statement against President Donald Trump’s trade policies at a summit later this month but is facing resistance, European officials said.

Trump Moves to Block China Mobile's U.S. Entry on Security Concerns

Brenda Goh, Sijia Jiang
Reuters
The U.S. government has moved to block China Mobile (0941.HK) from offering services to the country’s telecommunications market, recommending its application be rejected because the firm posed national security risks.

China’s Massive ‘Belt and Road’ Spending Spree Has Caused Concern around the World, and Now It's China’s Turn to Worry

Christopher Woody
Business Insider
Since announcing its Belt and Road Initiative five years ago, China has spread billions of dollars around Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe, supporting a variety of infrastructure projects and stoking concern about Beijing's growing global sway...

Made in China 2025

Paul Haenle & Paul Triolo from Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy
China’s “Made in China 2025” policy to upgrade its industry plays a central role in the ongoing U.S.-China trade tensions. Paul Haenle sat down with Paul Triolo, practice head of Geo-technology at the Eurasia Group, to discuss how the Chinese...

Depth of Field

06.28.18

Staying on Point in Rural China

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
In this edition of Depth of Field: aspiring ballerinas, what’s beneath the gilt in a rich Zhejiang town, worn out doctors, disappearing schools, melting snow, data farms, and the powerful appeal of dancing outdoors.

An American Lean-In Guru in China

John Corrigan
Wall Street Journal
Joy Chen got a glimpse of the limelight as a Los Angeles deputy mayor two decades ago, but it was nothing like the fame she has found in China urging women to forget what they’ve been taught about matrimony.

Xi Hits Back at Critics Who Call China’s Opening Up ‘a Joke’

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg
Chinese President Xi Jinping hit back at critics, saying in a speech on Thursday that those who think the nation’s opening up is "a joke" haven’t seen the confidence that Chinese people have in reform efforts...

Meituan Wants to Be the Grubhub of China (and the Yelp, and the Groupon, and the Kayak)

Liza Lin
Wall Street Journal
China’s burgeoning middle class, which increasingly is going online for everything from ordering lunch to booking hotel rooms, is fueling expectations that an 8-year-old startup with an innovative smartphone app will go public at a lofty $60 billion...

China’s Rust-Belt Region Has a New Hope for Revival: North Korea

Frank Tang
South China Morning Post
China’s rust-belt region, which has been plagued by an inefficient state economy and exodus of talent, is now pinning its hopes on a new factor to help its revival: North Korea.

A Full-Blown Trade War between America and China Looks Likely

The Economist
Economist
It is becoming increasingly likely that the phoney trade war between America and China will develop into the real thing.

Books

06.20.18

The Third Revolution

Elizabeth C. Economy
Oxford University Press: In The Third Revolution, eminent China scholar Elizabeth C. Economy provides an incisive look at the transformative changes underway in China today. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has unleashed a powerful set of political and economic reforms: the centralization of power under Xi, himself; the expansion of the Communist Party’s role in Chinese political, social, and economic life; and the construction of a virtual wall of regulations to control more closely the exchange of ideas and capital between China and the outside world. Beyond its borders, Beijing has recast itself as a great power, seeking to reclaim its past glory and to create a system of international norms that better serves its more ambitious geostrategic objectives. In so doing, the Chinese leadership is reversing the trends toward greater political and economic opening, as well as the low-profile foreign policy, that had been put in motion by Deng Xiaoping’s “Second Revolution” 30 years earlier.Through a wide-ranging exploration of Xi Jinping’s top political, economic, and foreign policy priorities—fighting corruption, managing the Internet, reforming the state-owned enterprise sector, improving the country’s innovation capacity, enhancing air quality, and elevating China’s presence on the global stage—Economy identifies the tensions, shortcomings, and successes of Xi’s reform efforts over the course of his first five years in office. She also assesses their implications for the rest of the world, and provides recommendations for how the United States and others should navigate their relationship with this vast nation in the coming years.{chop}

Pompeo Calls China’s Appeals for More Trade Openness a ‘Joke’

Nick Wadhams and Sarah Gardner
Bloomberg
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo amplified President Donald Trump’s tough line in a brewing trade war with China in a speech on Monday, saying U.S. action was long overdue and calling Chinese appeals for greater economic openness “a joke.”

China’s Social Credit System Spreads to More Daily Transactions

Jack Karsten and Darrell M. West
Brookings Institution
In May, enforcement of China’s social credit system spread to the travel industry, restricting millions of Chinese citizens with low social credit scores from purchasing plane and train tickets.

Strange Bedfellows: Trump Trade Fight Brings Japan and China Together

Peter Landers
Wall Street Journal
President Donald Trump’s tough line on trade with China has finally given Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe something to agree with Beijing about.

China Stocks Plunge to Two-Year Low on Tariff Threat; Yuan Sinks

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg
China’s benchmark equity gauge tumbled to a two-year low and the yuan weakened as a worsening trade dispute with the U.S. spurred panic selling. Bonds gained.

Trump Threatens Tariffs On $200 Billion Of Chinese Goods

Christopher Dean Hopkins
NPR
In the latest move in an escalating trade dispute, President Trump announced Monday evening that he was asking U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to suggest $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on which the U.S. could impose a 10 percent...

Kim Jong-un Returns to China, This Time With Leverage

Jane Perlez
New York Times
North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, arrived in Beijing on Tuesday amid an escalating trade conflict between China and the United States, one that gives him an opening to play the powers against each other as Washington presses him to dismantle his...

Conversation

06.14.18

One Year After They Almost Went to War, Can China and India Get Along?

Joel Wuthnow, Selina Ho & more
One year ago, the Chinese and Indian armies faced off at Doklam, a disputed Himalayan area on the border between China, India, and the tiny kingdom of Bhutan. While the two sides didn’t go to war over the border as they did in 1962, tensions were...

China’s Master Plan: How the West Can Fight Back

Hal Brands
Bloomberg
In the first three installments of this series, I've explored the changing nature of China's challenge to U.S. interests and the existing international order, with a particular focus on three issues: China’s progressively more global...