China News - 11 January 2021
Raab set to clampdown on firms linked to forced labour in Xinjiang. Ministers are expected to announce stronger reporting obligations for companies under the Modern Slavery Act. The strengthened regime includes fines if companies fail to meet commitments to show due diligence in their supply chains. The Sun also reports that the Foreign Secretary will toughen up laws around exporting British goods or technology to China that could be used for repression. Magnitsky sanctions against five officials remain under consideration. Raab will also set out his opposition to a Lords all-party amendment giving UK courts a right to declare if countries are committing genocide. The amendment is backed by Iain Duncan-Smith, Nus Ghani and Bob Seely. The Guardian, The Sun, The Times, 10 January.
The China Research Group set out the case for tighter rules around export of technology, an expansion of the Modern Slavery Act and supply chain scrutiny in our most recent report from December.
US lifts restrictions on official contact with Taiwan. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, said the “complex internal restrictions” on contacts with Taipei by diplomats, service members and others had been imposed “in an attempt to appease the Communist regime in Beijing.” Revisit the CRG’s event with Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, including transcript, here. BBC, The Guardian, Bloomberg, 9 January
China brings in new law to fight Trump's sanctions. An order issued on Saturday empowers Beijing to tell companies to ignore US restrictions and allows them to sue other businesses if they comply. Legal experts say it is unclear how the new law will be implemented. BBC, NYT, Pekingnology, 9 January
China agrees to let in WHO team investigating Covid origins. Experts to arrive on 14 January country’s national health authority says, but it is unclear if they will get access to Wuhan. The Guardian, 11 January
Hong Kong security law being used to 'eliminate dissent' say US, UK, Australia and Canada Foreign Ministers in joint statement. The Guardian, 10 January
Defence chief warns attacks online could lead to real war. General Sir Nick Carter, chief of the UK’s defence staff, said covert warfare by Russia and China, including cyberhacking and disinformation, risks an “uncontrollable state of all-out war”. The Times, 11 January
New forced labour reports: Chinese solar companies tied to use of forced labour. NYT, The Times, 9 January
Taiwan launches 'more identifiable' passport with “Taiwan” in larger lettering and “Republic of China” significantly reduced in size. Reuters, Focus Taiwan, 7 January
Virus rules tightened in Hebei province as more test positive. More than 360 people have tested positive in one of China’s most serious outbreaks in recent months. The Times, AP, 11 January
China sends Africa a signal that Belt and Road Initiative is still open for business. Wang Yi’s trip to Africa will be followed by a trip to Myanmar, Indonesia, Brunei and the Philippines this week. SCMP, 10 January
Amid ‘chaos in the West’, Chinese law enforcers told to keep grip on social stability at Central Political and Legal Work Conference. “As changes to the world structure accelerate, China’s rule is in sharp contrast with the turmoil in the West”. SCMP, 10 January
Economy & tech
Twitter deletes China embassy's Xinjiang 'emancipation' tweet, saying it “violated” Twitter’s rules. BBC, 10 January
A Hong Kong website gets blocked, raising censorship fears that the Great Firewall is coming to Hong Kong. NYT, 9 January
Taiwan manufacturers quit mainland China over trade tensions and rising costs. FT, 11 January
Ant eyes holding company structure under regulatory pressure from Chinese officials. Nikkei Asia, 9 January
Baidu teams up with Geely to make smart electric vehicles. China is the world’s leading market for electric vehicles. BBC, FT, 11 January
Longer reads & opinion
Xi and Putin are exploiting the West’s political decadence. Xi and his fellow autocrats are enjoying a propaganda coup, writes Matthew Syed in The Times, 10 January
The UK should be empowered not to trade with regimes overseeing genocide. Nus Ghani writes in support of the amendment to the Trade Bill in The Times, 11 January
'China’s rulers aren’t those we partnered with a decade ago': Tom Tugendhat in Mail on Sunday, 10 January
China’s Economic Autocracy. Xi Jinping is turning away from reforms that helped China grow and develop. The Atlantic, 10 January
Comment: Biden must decide whether to unwind Trump's tough new rules on China. The Telegraph, 9 January
What’s in store for China in 2021? China-Britain Business Council, 7 January
Beijing to Britain - a look ahead at 2021 UK/China key events. Beijing to Britain, 10 January
The week ahead
US trading ban on blacklisted Chinese securities begins, including SMIC, CNOOC and Hikvision.
3:30pm: Commons debate on Global Britain. See House of Commons Library Debate Pack.
2:30pm: Commons Foreign Affairs Committee holds a second oral evidence session for its inquiry into Xinjiang detention camps.
7:30pm: Conservative Party Human Rights Commission’s China Report Launch. Register.
Reporter Bao Choy appears in Hong Kong court. China’s trade balance data released.
11:30am: General committee continues scrutiny of the Telecommunications (Security) Bill.