China News - 21 October 2021

International

Britain and New Zealand strike historic free trade deal. The comprehensive trade agreement will cut red tape for businesses, end tariffs on UK exports and create new opportunities for tech and services companies, while making it easier for UK professionals to live and work in New Zealand. The deal is seen as part of Boris Johnson’s 10-year plan to tilt the UK’s foreign policy focus towards the Indo-Pacific, strengthening the alliance and position of democratic countries in the region. The Times, The Guardian, Reuters, Bloomberg, 20 October

China’s ‘unfair trade practices’ draw criticisms at WTO trade review. China’s major trading partners - including the US, Australia, Britain, Canada and the EU - called for the world’s second-largest economy to carry out further liberalisation and open its vast markets at the WTO on Wednesday. The UK's Ambassador to the WTO and UN in Geneva, Simon Manley, also stressed that the increase in China’s share of global trade has been a major contributor to the country’s growth and has helped lift millions out of poverty. SCMP, Reuters, Bloomberg, 20 October

Chinese envoy calls for Britain to show ‘sincerity’ on investment. Britain needs to offer more than lip service and improve the environment for Chinese investors, who are “closely watching policy changes in the UK”, according to Zheng Zeguang, Beijing’s ambassador to London. SCMP, 20 October

US ambassador to China nominee takes tough line toward Beijing. Despite calling for a mix of competition and cooperation, Nicholas Burns, President Biden’s nominee for ambassador to China took a tough line when speaking to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations on Wednesday, citing “genocide in Xinjiang” and the need to better support Taiwan and countries subjected to “bullying” and “intimidation campaigns”. SCMP, NYT, Reuters, Bloomberg, The Guardian, Nikkei Asia, 20 October

Beijing tells US to cease operations in South China Sea after submarine crash. The Chinese defence ministry criticised the American military for “frequently dispatching advanced weapon platforms such as aircraft carriers, strategic bombers and nuclear-powered submarines to flaunt its forces and make waves in the South China Sea, seriously threatening the security of regional countries and aggravating regional tensions”. The Times, SCMP, 20 October

Philippines protests Beijing's 'provocative acts' in South China Sea. Reuters, Bloomberg, Nikkei Asia, 20 October

Borrell: China’s threats to Taiwan pose risk to EU; Taiwan security chief says odds of war with mainland China next year are ‘very low’. The EU’s foreign policy chief says microchips like those produced in Taiwan are indispensable to the EU’s digital development. Politico, SCMP, The Japan Times, Reuters, 20 October

China conducted two hypersonic weapon tests this summer. Nuclear-capable ‘glide vehicle’ raises US fears that Beijing is developing a new generation of arms. FT, 21 October

Local survey finds 42% Hongkongers plan to emigrate as details of US ‘safe haven’ programme are released. The Standard, SCMP, Federal Register, 20 October

Chinese, French scientists to work together on lunar rock samples that show moon ‘active’ more recently than thought. SCMP, The Japan Times, Chinadaily, 20 October

Economy & tech

Evergrande scraps sale of property services unit, suffering a second rebuff to its asset disposal in a week. An October 1 bid to buy 50.1% of Evergrande for US$2.58 billion failed to materialise because Evergrande rescinded the sale on October 12. Shares of the Chinese property giant fell as much as 14% on Thursday morning in Hong Kong. Vice Premier Liu He told a Beijing forum on Wednesday that risks associated with the property developer’s potential default were controllable. BBC, SCMP, NYT, Bloomberg, The Guardian, 21 October

As China property bust undercuts talk of new commodity ‘super cycle’; home prices hit by first month-on-month fall since 2015. FT, SCMP, Reuters, Bloomberg, WSJ, 20 October

Xi wants to reshape the economy, but are property taxes going too far? SupChina, 20 October

China takes the brakes off coal production; huge LNG deals signed with US supplier Venture Global to tackle power shortage. In addition to government plans to tame record high coal prices and ensure coal mines operate at full capacity, Sinopec has agreed to three liquefied natural gas deals with Venture Global LNG that will more than double imports from the US. WSJ, The Standard, Caixin, Al Jazeera, SCMP, FT,  20 October

Chinese container carrier CULines to launch direct service connecting China with the Port of Tilbury in the UK. According to London Container Terminal it would be the first service to connect it to the East Asian region, providing logistics solutions for e-commerce clients. Seatrade Maritime News, 20 October

China focus

Beijing targets top financial news outlet Caixin in media crackdown. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), China’s internet watchdog, has said articles from Caixin, one of the most prominent and trusted Chinese business publications, can no longer be republished by online news services, in the latest blow to journalism and free speech in the country. FT, Bloomberg, 21 October

China updates official news sources list and removed Yahoo news app from China Apple store in censorship drive. Reuters, SCMP, The Telegraph, 20 October

China’s new COVID-19 outbreak spreads to multiple provinces. Sixth Tone, Daily Mail, Reuters, Xinhua, 20 October

“Squid Game” inspires new business idea in Shanghai. RADII, 21 October

Opinions & editorials

Have we reached peak China? Bejing’s growing influence on the global stage masks an overlooked insecurity. Maximilian Meyer and Emilian Kavalski. Politico, 21 October

China sovereign bonds: sale marks inflection away from financial infection. FT, 20 October

Evergrande isn’t China’s only economic worry. Arthur Kroeber. NYT, 20 October

This jolly green dream will end with a crisis. Iain Martin. The Times, 20 October

Wall Street thinks China will never invade Taiwan – but accidents happen. Jeremy Warner. The Telegraph, 20 October

Xi Jinping's plan to rule for life is coming together. Katsuji Nakazawa. Nikkei Asia, 20 October

Longer reads

Taiwan rides soft power wave as democracies sour on China. Beijing's 'Wolf Warrior' tactics prompt rethinks, from Harvard to media groups. Chris Horton. Nikkei Asia, 20 October

Can Russia and Mongolia replace Australia’s coal supply to China? Bolor Lkhaajav. The Diplomat, 20 October

Property crisis underpins China’s economic slowdown. James Palmer. Foreign Policy, 20 October

China’s digital Yuan is aimed at home, not Washington. Danny Li. Foreign Policy, 20 October

China's perception of the German Federal Elections. What does China's perception of the German Federal Elections tell us about the future Sino-German relations? European Guanxi, 20 October

Where have China’s ‘tiger’ parents gone? Chinese parenting norms have become much less discipline-focused in recent decades, but an increased focus on raising good, well-adjusted kids sometimes clashes with the reality of life in a highly competitive society. Sixth Tone, 21 October

The Chinese patriotic 'ziganwu' bloggers who attack the West. Tessa Wong. BBC, 20 October