China News - 23 September 2021

International

Foreign office ‘warned UK-based Hong Kong critics about extradition risk abroad’. The UK has warned some Hong Kong critics in the UK about travelling abroad, according to high profile human rights advocate Bill Browder, highlighting concerns about the cross-border reach of the Chinese region’s national security law. The Guardian, Bloomberg, 23 September

UK government publishes 10-year plan to become ‘A.I. superpower’, seeking to rival U.S. and China. The so-called “National Artificial Intelligence Strategy” is designed to boost the use of AI among the nation’s businesses, attract international investment into British AI companies and develop the next generation of homegrown tech talent. CNBC, 22 September

Taiwan follows China with bid to join CPTPP. Taiwan has applied to join a major transpacific trade pact just after a week after China filed its own membership bid. The formal request sent to New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will force other members of the pact into a delicate political balancing act. Reuters, Nikkei Asia, FT, BBC 22 September

Second line of defence: Taiwan’s civilians train to resist invasion. The Guardian, 22 September

UK aid officials ‘unprepared’ for China to become high-income country, MPs hear. The UK Government is not prepared for China to become ineligible for aid despite the world’s second largest economy expecting to pass that threshold in “four to six years”. Members of the International Development Committee heard on Wednesday that the “short-term” focus of British aid officials had prevented them from preparing for China’s transition to high income country status. Evening Standard, 22 September

China urges end to sanctions on Afghanistan underscoring divide with west. Wang Yi, the country’s foreign minister, speaking at a virtual meeting of the G20 on Afghanistan, called for economic sanctions on Afghanistan to be lifted and the Taliban to be given access to billions of dollars in frozen foreign exchange reserves. Reuters, FT, 23 September

US climate envoy Kerry plans visit to China in coming weeks. Kerry said he will try to build on what he characterised as a productive call earlier this month between US President Biden and Chinese President Xi. Bloomberg, 22 September

China says Asia needs jobs over submarines in fresh AUKUS salvo. China’s Foreign Ministry urged the nascent trilateral security partnership to ‘fulfil their international nuclear non-proliferation obligations’. FT, Xinhua, 22 September

Concern over ‘censorship’ rules of NZ-Chinese news site. An influential Chinese-language media outlet in New Zealand warned its users their information could be shared with 'relevant state agencies' if they violated Chinese laws. Newsroom, 22 September

Economy & tech

Ant Group microcredit service Huabei feeds vast consumer data to China’s central bank. Sharing Huabei’s data with China’s central bank forms part of Ant Group’s rectification measures, which are based on targets set by financial regulators. WSJ, SCMP, 22 September

US companies upbeat about future in China as they shake off Covid-19 effects, tension. China’s stringent travel restrictions, however, are making it difficult to attract and retain foreign talent, AmCham Shanghai survey finds. SCMP, 23 September

European business group calls for China to end self-reliance strategy. China should abandon a top-level strategy promoted by President Xi Jinping to increase self-reliance, or risk harming innovation and growth prospects. Reuters, 23 September


Evergrande saga

China growth forecast cut by ratings agency amid Evergrande uncertainty. The Guardian, 23 September

Evergrande deadline sends chills through $400bn Asian debt market. FT, 23 September

Evergrande’s woes: investors take opposite sides as they size up the potential impact ahead of looming repayment deadline. SCMP, 22 September

Evergrande marks the end of China’s economic miracle. Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. The Telegraph, 22 September

Evergrande is a warning about the future direction of China’s economy. Simon Nixon. The Times, 23 September


China focus

China top coal miners guarantee they'll provide enough to avoid winter blackouts. Coal producers said they would maintain adequate shipments to power stations as demand outstrips supply to ensure the nation’s grid can operate uninterrupted ahead of the peak winter season and bring down surging prices, in part by selling directly to end users. Caixin, 22 September

‘Betting on a low-carbon future’: why China is ending foreign coal investment. Xi Jinping’s promise reflects a growing awareness of the climate crisis in China and falling renewable prices. The Guardian, 22 September

Concerns mount in China over missing MeToo and labour rights activists. A prominent women’s rights activist and a civil society member have gone missing in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. Independent, SCMP, 22 September

Longer reads & opinion

Changing China: Why Xi Jinping is leading a way back to socialism. Stephen McDonnell. BBC, 23 September

Is China stepping up its ambition to supplant US as top superpower? Patrick Wintour. The Guardian, 22 September

China’s leaders are having fun with us. Who can blame them? Thomas L. Friedman. NYT, 22 September

Xi Jinping makes China a dangerous place for investment. Dennis Kwok and Johnny Patterson. WSJ, 22 September

Is China worried about an Arctic choke point? Jeremy Greenwood. Brookings, 22 September

Students around the world desperate to finish studies in China. Elyse Weingarten. RADII, 22 September