China News - 11 May 2022
Event THIS MORNING: China's Energy Security. Is China buying Russian gas? How will the new China-Russia gas pipeline shape regional geopolitics? Tom Tugendhat MP is joined by Helen Thompson, Dr Michal Meidan and Lara Dong for an in-depth look at China’s influence on oil, gas and clean energy.
10:30-11:30am BST: register here.
Key China-related bills mentioned in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech:
National Security Bill - will introduce a Foreign Influence Registration Scheme, requiring the registering of certain arrangements with foreign governments, bringing the UK in line with similar schemes in the US and Australia
Modern Slavery Bill - pledges “increased transparency from businesses and public bodies”; will involve civil penalties for organisations that do not comply with the Modern Slavery Act requirements.
Procurement Reform Bill - contains provisions to help buyers disqualify suppliers who are “unfit to bid for public contracts.” Could provide guidance for local authorities when procuring from Chinese companies alleged to be complicit in human rights abuses or slave labour
Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill - includes the introduction of mandatory reporting for UK universities of foreign donations and partnerships over £50,000
Beijing to Britain published a briefing note with a full breakdown of the Government’s agenda for the next parliamentary session from a UK-China viewpoint.
Police force that protects the UK's nuclear power plants use cameras from sanctioned Chinese firm Hikvision. A disclosure by the Civil Nuclear Constabulary to a freedom of information request reveals the force's major supplier of camera uses Hikvision models as their primary CCTV system. Tom Tugendhat, chair of the China Research Group, commented: "This is a company which works hand-in-hand with the CCP's surveillance state. It shouldn't be anywhere near our nuclear security." Business Insider, 10 May
Zero-Covid strategy is futile, WHO chief tells China. Despite new cases falling, restrictions in Shanghai are being tightened. Areas that were slowly reopening have closed again; new barriers seal off housing compounds that were accessible just days earlier; online food-delivery services have been barred from some areas. The WHO’s director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told a media briefing that he does not think China’s Covid policy is “sustainable considering the behaviour of the virus”. The Economist, The Guardian, 11 May
China risks 1.6 million deaths if it abandons zero-Covid plan, study shows. FT, 10 May
In call with Macron, Xi again tells Europeans to take security ‘in their own hands’. Xi’s insistence that Europe take responsibility for its security – in what will be seen as a veiled swipe at the US – followed similar remarks to German chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday. Macron and Xi agreed on the need to reach a speedy ceasefire in Ukraine, according to readouts from both governments. SCMP, 10 May
Philippines election: Bongbong Marcos poised to win presidency. Marcos previously said he wanted to pursue closer ties with China, including possibly setting aside a 2016 ruling by a tribunal in The Hague that invalidated almost all of China’s historical claims to the South China Sea. BBC, 10 May
Spy agency head suggests disillusioned Chinese officials cooperating with Australia. The Guardian, 10 May
China rebukes US for changing Taiwan wording on State Department website. Reuters, 10 May
Economy & tech
Global investment banks in China finally turn a profit. After years of losses or meagre returns, six out of the seven Wall Street and European financial institutions with investment banking ventures in mainland China managed to eke out a profit last year after Beijing allowed them to take full control of their operations and expand their influence in the country’s colossal financial sector. FT, 11 May
US mulls crippling ban on exports to Chinese chip makers. The United States is considering banning American suppliers from selling advanced equipment to Chinese chip makers, a move that could hinder China’s drive towards technological self-sufficiency, according to a report by The Information. SCMP, 10 May
China's factory inflation defies global surge, leaving room for stimulus. Reuters, 11 May
China's EV investment drive risks veering into overcapacity. Nikkei Asia, 11 May
China assets blacklisted by Dutch fund manager using new ESG tool. Caixin, 10 May
Opinion & long reads
How Chinese debt and organic farming tipped Sri Lanka into chaos. The Rajapaksa family was adept at tapping Beijing for cash. Jon Ashworth. The Telegraph, 10 May
Lessons from China’s Covid lockdowns. Foreign companies would be wise to minimize their exposure to Communist Party political risk. Editorial Board. WSJ, 10 May
Firms as revenue safety nets: political connections and returns to the Chinese state. The China Quarterly, 10 May
‘If I die no-one will know’: Covid and Hong Kong’s 'cage men'. Danny Vincent. BBC, 11 May