China News - 15 November 2021
COP26: China and India veto language on coal on final agreement. 197 countries agreed to new rules on limiting greenhouse gas emissions, but India and China significantly watered down language on a phase out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies. Alok Sharma had said that China and India were going to have to “explain themselves to the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world”. Countries also agreed on rules that will govern the 2015 Paris climate accord and to increase funding to help countries to adapt to climate change - see below for summary. Politico, FT, The Times, 14 November
Biden and Xi prepare for virtual summit. Joe Biden and Xi Jinping will hold a virtual summit on Monday, with Taiwan expected to be a key focus of discussion. Politico reports that the meeting could produce initiatives on a range of issues, including easing of visa restrictions, the creation of a bilateral nuclear weapons dialogue and a possible framework to ease trade frictions. Politico, The Guardian, 14 November
China’s nuclear build-up: ‘one of the largest shifts in geostrategic power ever’. A well-briefed long read from Demetri Sevastopulo in the FT highlights rising concern in the US about China’s growing weapons capabilities: “you don’t need to develop the kind of capabilities they’re developing for minimum deterrence”. FT, 15 November
New government response to Foreign Affairs Committee report on Xinjiang. The government refused to make declarations of genocide, rejected wider bans on goods from Xinjiang, but committed to making sure all future Build Back Better World projects meet all internationally recognised standards. Beijing to Britain, The Times, 15 November
In parliament today: Defence questions and The Telecoms (Security) Bill returns to the Lords after the two non-government amendments were rejected in the Commons.
Chinese nuclear reactor shutdown hangs over future of Sizewell C. Britain’s nuclear regulator has confirmed that reports of cracked fuel rods from a Chinese nuclear power station will be examined. The Telegraph, 14 November
Tory MP's £300,000 link to China 'spy' firm. An MP was paid by Investcorp, which jointly manages a Chinese investment fund with a stake in SenseTime. Mirror, 12 November
China’s nominee to Interpol committee opposed by lawmakers from 20 countries. IPAC legislators have expressed their opposition. SCMP, 15 November
Beijing urges US businesses to lobby against China-related bills in Congress. The Guardian, 14 November
China 'bribing' locals to move to new villages in disputed Indian border area. The Telegraph, 15 November
WTA calls on China to investigate allegations by Peng Shuai of assault. The Guardian, 14 November
Summary: China at COP
What China signed up to: New pledge to reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030, the US-China climate agreement with language on methane and coal and stronger climate ambition over the next decade.
And before COP26…an end to overseas financing for coal-fired plants abroad, the COP15 biodiversity agreement, $230 million to a biodiversity fund, and published its net zero plan with updated NDCs in October.
And what China didn’t sign up to: The Global Methane Pledge to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030 (100 nations), a 22-country pledge to reach a 100% share of sales of new cars and vans being zero emission by 2035 for leading markets and 2040 for other regions.
Economy & tech
China accuses the EU of threatening global trade. The Chinese ambassador to the EU said the European Commission’s drive to sharpen its trade toolkit was seen by some businesses as heralding “more inward-looking and unilateral measures” and the creation of “new trade barriers”. FT, 15 November
China industrial output, retail sales accelerate but property clouds outlook. China's industrial output and retail sales grew more quickly than expected in October, but the property market is slowing. Reuters, FT, 15 November
China's monthly coal output rises to highest since March 2015. Output is up 4% year on year. Reuters, 15 November
JPMorgan chief becomes first Wall Street boss to visit greater China during pandemic. Jamie Dimon said he was “not swayed by geopolitical winds” as he arrived in Hong Kong on Monday. FT, 15 November
China seeks to tighten cyber scrutiny on Hong Kong tech IPOs. China’s internet regulator has published new draft data rules. FT, 14 November
Opinion and editorial
Xi Jinping has rewritten China’s history, but even he can’t predict its global future. Xi’s position looks unassailable now, but even all-powerful leaders cannot countermand the drying of the deserts or the decision of families in tiny flats not to have babies. Rana Mitter. The Guardian, 14 November
Unhedged: The China discount spreads. The premium on investment grade China bonds compared to other emerging market debt flipped to a discount earlier this year. FT, 14 November
Where's the Chinese Ambassador? Juliet Samuel. The Telegraph, 13 November
Viral by Alina Chan and Matt Ridley review – was Covid-19 really made in China? The Guardian, 15 November
What’s driving Xi’s economic revamp? China’s social mobility has stalled. WSJ, 14 November
How the Chinese Communist Party is policing the past to secure its future. The battle over historical remembrance is just one aspect of the party’s push to homogenise aspects of Chinese-ness, such as religion, language and culture, he said. New Statesman, 12 November