China Reform Monitor - No. 1300

Patriotism...or else;
Xinjiang authorities on the prowl


October 3, 2017


September 1:

To protect "the dignity of the national anthem and promote patriotism and nurture socialist core values," anyone in mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau who mocks China's national anthem, the "March of the Volunteers," now faces up to 15 days in jail. The new law, which was passed by the National People's Congress, requires anyone attending public events to stand and sing in a solemn manner when the anthem is played,
Reuters reports. The national anthem cannot be used as background music, or in advertisements, or played at funerals or other "inappropriate occasions." In 2015, Hong Kong football fans booed the anthem during a World Cup qualifier, prompting a fine from FIFA. Since the 1990s, anyone who produces "distorted" renditions of the national flag, or emblem, can face up to 15 days' detention.

September 17:

China has signed a $300 million deal to partner with Israeli high-tech companies SuperMeat, Future Meat Tech, and Meat the Future to create laboratory-grown meat,
the Times of Israel reports. The three Israeli companies are among only eight in the world growing meat from animal cells in laboratories. Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Kahlon was in Beijing to sign the "clean-tech" deal, which opens up the $10 billion Chinese meat market to Israeli companies. "It is a colossal market opportunity. Chinese officials have the capacity to steer billions of dollars into this technology," said food lobbyist Bruce Friedrich. In China, meanwhile, the push to promote such products is already underway; the official China Science and Technology Daily recently ran an article advocating lab-produced meat as safer and more environmentally friendly. "You have two identical products, one for which you have to slaughter the cattle to get. The other is exactly the same, and cheaper, no greenhouse gas emissions, no animal slaughter," the article stated. "Which one would you choose?"

September 19:

From January 1–September 5, private investment from China to Ethiopia reached more than $680 million – up from $560 million for all of 2016,
the official People's Daily reports. In 2017, Chinese firms remained the single largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Ethiopia, followed by India, said Mekonen Hailu, Director of Ethiopia Investment Communications. Most Chinese investment is in the manufacturing sector, taking 67.1 percent of registered capital, with the remainder split among various sectors including real estate, construction, mining and health. "Ethiopian government is providing tremendous incentives to private investors including availability of cheap electricity and water utilities and affordable, abundant, trainable, young labor force," said Hailu. China is already Ethiopia's largest trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching $6.15 billion in 2015. Ethiopia, like other East African countries, runs a massive trade deficit with China.

September 21:

Standard & Poor's has cut China's credit rating from AA-minus to A-plus. In a statement, the credit ratings agency noted that "The downgrade reflects our assessment that a prolonged period of strong credit growth has increased China's economic and financial risks." While the credit growth has fueled China's economic expansion and high asset prices in recent years, "we believe it has also diminished financial stability to some extent. We foresee that credit growth in the next two to three years will remain at levels that will increase financial risks gradually." The decision by S&P follows a similar one in May by Moody's. S&P warned that another downgrade "could ensue if we see a higher likelihood that China will ease its efforts to stem growing financial risk and allow credit growth to accelerate to support economic growth,"
Channel NewsAsia reports.

September 27:

A leaked police notice from Changji, Xinjiang dated September 22 has called on local officials to search for any items with writing or symbols linked to Kazakhstan. "Any items bearing writing or any other traces of Kazakhstan, including street signs or graffiti, store decorations, arts and crafts items, T-shirts and so on, must immediately be investigated and a detailed report made to higher authorities by September 25," the notice said. There are restrictions on the sale of all Kazakh foodstuffs and products, which localities authorities are confiscating on sight as part of a larger crackdown on China's 1.5 million Kazakhs. "Chinese authorities have issued orders for ethnic Kazakh Chinese nationals to hand in their passports and Kazakh green cards in some parts of Xinjiang, and have detained dozens of Kazakhs returning from Kazakhstan, sending them for re-education,"
Radio Free Asia reports
.

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