China News - 21 September 2021


Wall Street marks biggest drop since May as Evergrande crisis intensifies. Monday’s sell-off came after shares in Evergrande, the world’s most indebted property developer, closed 10% lower in Hong Kong to hit their weakest level since May 2010 and concerns about the broader health of China’s real estate sector triggered a wider sell-off. FT, The Times, BBC, 20 September

China’s property slowdown sends chills through the economy. New homes have anchored growth for decades but Beijing is determined to rein in prices. FT, 21 September

President Xi of China faces ‘too big to fail’ corporate catastrophe. In what has been described as “China’s Lehman Brothers” crisis, Beijing is considering whether to provide a bailout to Evergrande. The Times, CNBC, Reuters, 21 September

US, China and India snub Boris Johnson’s climate meeting. The leaders of big polluters China, India and the U.S. all swerved a climate meeting hosted by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres in New York on Monday. Johnson said “history will judge” the world’s richest nations if they failed to deliver on their pledge for $100bn in annual climate aid. Politico, 20 September

Top EU official warns of ‘something broken’ in transatlantic relations. Thierry Breton’s comments came after France tried to push Brussels to postpone the high-level US-EU trade and technology council meeting due to take place in Pittsburgh this month in anger at the Biden administration’s handling of its submarine deal with Australia and the UK. FT, 21 September

EU leaders accuse Biden of disloyalty to allies. Charles Michel said the US President had discarded an agreement reached by leaders at the G7 summit in June to remain united in confronting authoritarian regimes; Ursula von der Leyen said ‘business as usual’ can’t continue. Politico, 21 September

Japan urges Europe to speak out against China’s military expansion. Japan’s defence minister, Nobuo Kishi, said China had become increasingly powerful politically, economically and militarily and warned that the international community must bolster deterrence efforts amid a growing risk of a hot conflict. The Guardian, 20 September

Hong Kong leader defends election after single opposition figure makes it to 1,500-strong committee. Carrie Lam rejects criticism over the lack of opposition figures in the election committee, saying ‘non-patriots’ may undermine Hong Kong. Xinhua, The Guardian, 21 September

China bans Taiwan apple imports as relations sour. State media say it has no wish to buy the island’s “problematic fruits” while its government acts as a “running dog” for the United States. The Times, 20 September

China appeals to WTO ruling over Trump era solar panel tariffs. Earlier this month, a WTO panel said China failed to establish that Washington’s safeguards against imports of certain crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells are inconsistent with the rules of the global trade body on the measures. Bloomberg, SCMP, 20 September

Why countries still want China’s vaccine despite concerns over effectiveness. SCMP, 21 September

China focus

Xi Jinping aims to rein in Chinese capitalism, hew to Mao’s socialist vision. Going beyond curbing tech giants, he wants the Communist Party to steer flows of money and set tighter limits on profit making. WSJ, 20 September

New TV series focuses on young people’s difficult journey to success in the 1990s. ‘Our Times’, which debuted on Chinese streaming giant Tencent Video, is taking audiences back to a time when millions of Chinese people were working hard to achieve a better life amid tremendous social and economic changes. Global Times, 16 September

China’s parents face a ‘3:30 p.m. dilemma’. Sixth Tone, 20 September

Economy & tech

U.S. SEC warns investors of risks from certain Chinese business entities. The SEC detailed the potential risks in putting money into U.S.-listed companies that have contracts with but no control over a Chinese entity, known as a variable interest entity (VIE). It is the most recent move by the agency to address concerns that Chinese companies are flouting rules for accessing U.S. markets. Reuters, 21 September

Huawei leads China to dominate 6G race against US & Japan. Huawei’s business performance has exceeded market expectations and the company is even ready to put China at the forefront of 6G wireless technology development. TechWire Asia, 21 September

China’s secondhand business is booming. Bloomberg, 21 September

China rolls out autonomous driving standards as carmakers work towards making self-driving a reality. SCMP, 20 September

Longer reads & opinion

Hacks, threats and propaganda: how China tried to discredit the Uyghur Tribunal. Beijing appears to have used every trick in the book to disrupt an independent forum on human rights abuses in Xinjiang, held in London. Coda Story, 16 September

Why Aukus is welcome in the Indo-Pacific. The Australia-UK-US security pact has been greeted with rage in China and France. But more significant than the flamboyant anger in Beijing and Paris are the countries that are quietly applauding the agreement. Gideon Rachman. FT, 20 September

China's entry to CPTPP trade pact is closer than you think. Despite concerns over its inward-looking "dual circulation" strategy, China has been tearing down trade and investment barriers to make it easier to negotiate its entry to the 11-member trans-Pacific trade pact. Henry Gao and Weihuan Zhou. Nikkei Asia, 20 September

China throws a wrench into a transpacific trade pact. The Economist, 20 September

Climate change is a common enemy the US and China must fight together. Despite escalating tensions, it is in their self-interest to collaborate and reverse the existential threat to the planet. Laurence Tubiana. FT, 20 September

America’s China strategy is working. Washington’s push against Beijing’s human-rights abuses could have more of an impact than tariffs or trade wars. Michael Schuman. The Atlantic, 20 September

China Evergrande is not a Lehman Brothers moment, but its fate spells trouble for long-term growth. Zhou Xin. SCMP, 20 September

China’s ‘Standards 2035’ Project Could Result in a Technological Cold War. Arjun Gargeyas. China Power - The Diplomat, 18 September

China and Pakistan see eye to eye on the Taliban - almost. Derek Grossman. Foreign Policy, 20 September.