China News - 19 January 2021
MPs set to vote today on genocide amendment in trade bill. The amendment, led by Iain Duncan-Smith and Nus Ghani, gives the UK courts a say in determining whether countries are committing genocide and Parliament the right to revoke any trade deal on that basis. According to reports, Tory MPs supporting or abstaining from the amendment may include former Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt, Tom Tugendhat and anywhere from 30 - 60 other backbenchers (42 Tory rebels are needed for it to pass). If the amendment fails, The Telegraph has seen official cross-departmental advice setting out a compromise option involving the Government undertaking a broader human rights assessment prior to the launch of free trade negotiations. Ministers have previously said the UK had no plans to secure a free-trade deal with China. The Telegraph, The Guardian, Bloomberg, 19 January
The debate takes place from 1:45pm. Follow live on @ChinaResearchGp.
Key opinion articles: Stop Uyghur genocide in Voice of the Jewish News. Global Britain must decide the ethical price of trade deals. Rachel Sylvester in The Times. What will it take for the UK to recognise an ongoing genocide? Stephen Bush in the New Statesman. Letter from faith leaders in The Times. Rahima Mahmut in The Times. Useful thread from Beijing to Britain.
Johnson triggers G7 fears of rival alliance to counter China. Bloomberg reports that G7 diplomats are “concerned” that the UK may weaken the G7. Expansion is an idea Italy, Germany, France and Japan oppose, according to officials familiar with those governments’ positions. Bloomberg, 19 January
China to top agenda for U.K.-Japan 'two-plus-two' meeting next month. Japan and Britain plan a videoconference of their foreign and defence ministers in February to boost security cooperation. Japan Times, 19 January
City of London Corporation chief says 'not our place' to criticise China human rights abuses but that “we do need to look at business connections”. City AM, 19 January
HSBC attacked for freezing Hong Kong activist Ted Hui’s bank account. The Times, 19 January
Experts suggest Hongkongers moving to UK under new visa could exceed 2 million over next five years. Government figures note there were 612,000 BN(O) passport holders by August 2020, with significant uncertainty around Whitehall estimates of anywhere from 100,000 to 500,000 expected in the next year. The Telegraph, 18 January
Chinese president Xi takes top billing for digital Davos, joining for the first time since 2017. The Telegraph, 19 January
U.S. and China clash at WHO over scientific mission in Wuhan. The US called on China on Monday to allow an expert team from the WHO to interview “care givers, former patients and lab workers” in the central city of Wuhan, drawing a rebuke from Beijing. Reuters, 19 January
Chinese broadcaster sues Premier League in escalation of Covid dispute. PPLive Sports International has retaliated against England’s Premier League, escalating a legal feud over the collapse of their $700m contract during the pandemic. FT, 18 January
CCTV and PP Sports refused to air an Arsenal match in 2019 after star player Mesut Ozil spoke out against persecution of Uyghurs.
Trump orders assessment of security risks of Chinese drones and to prioritize removing them from government fleets. Reuters, 19 January
China says its ready to help Kenya deal with its debt challenges, holding “smooth” talks over the issues. Reuters, 19 January
Disinformation: ChinaDaily and Global Times hit back at the BBC and The Times over their reporting.
China reports more than 100 new COVID cases as New Year holiday exodus looms. Reuters, 18 January
Rescuers make contact with 12 trapped underground for over a week after Chinese gold mine blast. The Times, SCMP, 18 January
Xi Focus: Xi inspects Beijing 2022 preparatory work. Xinhua, 18 January
Economy & tech
Pandemic slows China’s global deal making in 2020. Chinese investment in Europe halved in 2020, according to new data from Rhodium Group and Baker McKenzie. The UK received $427m of investment in 2020, down from $3.8bn in 2019 and $4.9bn in 2018. Baker McKenzie, 19 January
Arm China chief makes $179m gain on stake in chip company’s customer. The head of Arm’s China business, Allen Wu, has been fighting Arm for control of the Chinese joint venture since June last year.
The UK’s CMA announced in early January that it is undertaking a review of Nvidia’s acquisition of Arm from Japan’s Softbank.
Longer reads & opinion
The race for 6G supremacy has already started. The UK must get ahead. Prospect, 19 January
Must read: Profile of Zheng Zeguang, China’s next ambassador to the UK. Asia House, 18 January
Economy analysis: China’s economic recovery belies a lingering productivity challenge. A new IMF report finds that productivity growth has declined markedly in recent years, averaging just 0.6% between 2012 and 2017. WSJ. China’s rebound masks long-term challenges. FT View, 18 January
China’s telling Twitter story. Leaders essentially see the country’s lack of soft power, or its “discourse deficit” (话语赤字), particularly against the strength of Western media and governments, as having a serious impact on China’s international ambitions. China Media Project, 18 January
Rural inequality in China: China’s left-behind kids repeat their parents choices. China’s strict migration system still restricts parents from bringing their children to cities. Sixth Tone, 18 January
The World Turns Upside Down - how the history of the Cultural Revolution was written by the victors. Bloomberg, 18 January