China Vows ‘Severe Consequences’ If Huawei Official Is Not Released

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL)

 

China Vows ‘Severe Consequences’ If Huawei Official Is Not Released

Meng Wanzhou is being held in Canada at U.S. request to be extradited, face allegations she violated sanctions on dealing with Iran

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested on an extradition warrant, appears at her bail hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Friday.
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested on an extradition warrant, appears at her bail hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Friday. PHOTO: STRINGER/REUTERS

BEIJING—China issued an ultimatum to Canada, demanding the immediate release of Huawei Technologies Co.’s finance chief or face unspecified “severe consequences.”

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing, John McCallum, on Saturday to deliver the warning, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The statement doesn’t mention the name of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, though it refers to a Huawei “principal” taken into custody at U.S. request while changing planes in Vancouver, as was Ms. Meng. The statement accuses Canada of “severely violating the legal, legitimate rights of a Chinese citizen” and demands the person’s release.

“Otherwise there will be severe consequences, and Canada must bear the full responsibility,” said the statement, which was posted online late Saturday.

A spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland declined to comment on Saturday, and instead referred to remarks Ms. Freeland made to reporters on Friday.

On Friday, Ms. Freeland said in a conference call there was no political interference in the decision to detain Ms. Meng, and the detention was handled at the “officials’ level.” She said Canada’s relationship with China is something the country values, and Mr. McCallum “has been very clear that this was a matter handled as part of our rule-of-law process.”

The warning marks an escalation in rhetoric by the Chinese government over the case of Ms. Meng, who is in the midst of hearings in Canada for extradition to the U.S. to face allegations she violated sanctions on dealing with Iran.

The Canadian judge in Ms. Meng’s hearing on Friday, Justice William Ehrcke of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, didn’t rule on her bail, and scheduled the court to reconvene on Monday morning.

Aside from being CFO and deputy chairwoman, Ms. Meng is the daughter of Huawei’s founder. The status has made her situation seem more bitter to many Chinese. Social-media sites have been flooded with criticism that the U.S. is trying to pull down an iconic Chinese company and strike a blow in the countries’ trade fight.

In court filings for  Ms. Meng’s bail hearing in Vancouver on Friday, U.S. authorities alleged that she misled banks about Huawei’s ties to a subsidiary that did business in Iran. Those banks cleared hundreds of millions of dollars in transactions that potentially violated international sanctions, according to the filings.

The case risks complicating U.S.-China trade negotiations, with the two sides having agreed to refrain from imposing new tariffs to try to seek a compromise within the next three months.

Paul Vieira contributed to this article.

Write to Eva Dou at [email protected]

Chian: Nanjing Road’s tales of the unexpected

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHINE NEWS AGENCY OF SHANGHAI CHINA)

 

Nanjing Road’s tales of the unexpected

On Nanjing Road Trail

I started writing a series about Nanjing Road in 2017 after I took interest in the route from a 1929 map of Shanghai that highlighted the market value of different zones in the city. A blue-toned, T-shaped zone of Nanjing Road all the way to the Bund was the city’s most expensive area that year.

Nanjing Road was constructed in 1851 as “Park Lane” — from the Bund to the racecourse on today’s Henan Road. It was widely called “Da Malu” in Chinese, which means “Great Horse Road.” The great horse road was extended to Zhejiang Road in 1854 and stretched further to Xizang Road in 1862 as the racecourse was relocated twice — the last one in today’s People’s Square.

English missionary Walter Henry Medhurst suggested that “the settlement road names should be made intelligible to the tens of thousands of natives who had crowded into the area for safety from the Taiping Rebellion (1850-64).” Thereafter, Park Lane was renamed Nanjing Road after the ancient Chinese capital city.

Bubbling Well Road

According to the book “The 140th Anniversary of Nanjing Road West (1862 to 2002),” Shanghai Race Club constructed a 2-mile-long road from today’s Xizang Road M. to Jing’an Temple in 1862. They named the extended road Bubbling Well Road after the renowned bubbling well fronting the temple, which had been filled up and buried underneath.

Archive of Shanghai Jing’an District / Ti Gong

Bubbling Well in front of Jing’an Temple in the 1940s.

Then muddy road was paved with stones in 1890, planted with plane trees in 1891 and finally included in the international settlement in 1899. In 1921, the road was further expanded to today’s Yan’an Road W.

In 1945, the local government renamed the former Bubbling Well Road as Nanjing Road W. — and the other end became Nanjing Road E. The entire stretch came to be known as Nanjing Road that stretched 5 kilometers. The street became so prominent that it came to symbolize old Shanghai, and nicknamed “Shi Li Yang Chang” or “10-mile-long foreign metropolis.”

Early last century the eastern part of Nanjing Road was upgraded to a world-class shopping street after Chinese merchants erected four modern department stores — concrete structures with modern equipment and high towers — along the street.

The western part also flourished with stylish shops, famous theaters and gorgeous garden villas built by foreign and Chinese tycoons.

According to Tongji University professor Qian Zonghao, author of the book “Nanking Road 1840s-1950s,” early Shanghai expatriates once said “if the Bund was like a bow, Nanjing Road was the arrow, flying westward which has been the direction that has guided Shanghai’s urban development for a long period of time.”

After exploring the bow-shaped Bund, I have followed “the arrow of Shanghai” and walked westward along Nanjing Road.

The first part of the journey focusing on the former Park Lane, today’s Nanjing Road E. (from the to Road) ends at The Sun Building, the youngest and most modern among the four big Chinese department stores on Nanjing Road.
Upon the much-exp four architectural gems around the square this October that happened to mark the 100th year of his arrival in Shanghai. four architectural gems around the square this October that happened to mark the 100th year of his arrival in Shanghai.

Now it’s time to walk further westward from the People’s Square to the ’an Temple along Nanjing Road W. Compared with Nanjing Road E., filled with shops using loud speakers to sell jade brocades and tourists speaking different languages and dialects, Nanjing Road W. seems to be more stylish and relaxing. ’an Temple along Nanjing Road W. Compared with Nanjing Road E., filled with shops using loud speakers to sell jade brocades and tourists speaking different languages and dialects, Nanjing Road W. seems to be more stylish and relaxing.

With the help of ’an District government and its four sub-district governments — Nanjing Road W., Road No. 2, Road and ’an Temple sub-districts along the former Bubbling Well Road, I plan to explore an amazing variety of historical buildings, ranging from clubs, hospitals, theaters, apartments, garden villas to the ancient temple and even the former cemetery park.’an District government and its four sub-district governments — Nanjing Road W., Road No. 2, Road and ’an Temple sub-districts along the former Bubbling Well Road, I plan to explore an amazing variety of historical buildings, ranging from clubs, hospitals, theaters, apartments, garden villas to the ancient temple and even the former cemetery park.

IC / Ti Gong

Nestled along Nanjing Road W. is Jing’an Temple, which literally means “Temple of Peace and Tranquility.” The temple has a history of more than 800 years.

During recent research, I’m more than happy to learn that some of the newest technologies and devices, such as drones and architectural monitors, have been used to prevent the region’s historical buildings from been destroyed. The local government has learned a lesson from last year’s illegal demolition of 888 Julu Road, a garden villa designed by Laszlo Hudec nearly 100 years ago. These sub-district governments have also organized volunteer teams comprising experts and local heritage aficionados to monitor the conditions of architectural gems.

When researching for the series, I was strongly moved by life stories of two expatriates who had left relics and legacies along Nanjing Road W.

One was British millionaire Henry Lester, who made a fortune from old Shanghai’s real estate but donated almost all his assets to Chinese education. A medical institution built with his money still stands a few minutes’ walk from Nanjing Road W. The Lester Foundation sponsors Chinese scholars studying in the UK to this day.

The other was a German doctor named Erich Paulun. The former German navy doctor traveled thousands of miles to Shanghai and built a charitable hospital to treat poor Chinese patients for free, which later evolved to be today’s Changzheng Hospital and Tongji University. Though the old hospital buildings along Nanjing Road W. have been demolished, Paulun’s legacy has a lingering influence in Shanghai, China and Germany. In March next year, it will be 110 years since he died.

Both Lester and Paulun, who must have worked and walked along the Bubbling Well Road, were both buried in the Bubbling Well Road Cemetery, today’s Jing’an Park.

Their spirits and stories, as well as that of the stylish Nanjing Road W. are worth telling and remembering. So let’s continue to follow the arrow of Shanghai.

Zhang Xuefei / SHINE

Covered in lush tree canopies, Nanjing Road W. is the main artery of excitement in the flourishing downtown area of Shanghai.

Folks: Like The Man Or Hate Him He Is Our Nation’s President But, Is He Sane?

Folks: Like The Man Or Hate Him He Is Our Nation’s President But, Is He Sane?

 

This article is not intended to be any type of joke or a poem. I know that I am not the most tuned in type of person, but I do read at a lot of sites pretty much every day. Please tell me where President Trump is positioning Himself with this ‘Trade Agreement’ with President Xi Jinping of China? Did He really just make this up, you know, this whole ‘ I thought it, so it must be so’? Honestly all that I can say is, I really hope that this is not so. Folks, that would actually mean that our Nation’s President, is insane. I don’t like the person that is our President right now. What I don’t like is his constant lying, it is not ever possible to believe anything he is talking about. I believe that our President is a lot of very bad things, it is simple the Man can’t be trusted, he is a loose Cannon and totally ignorant to everyday realities.  But actually crazy? If it turns out that President Trump made this ‘Deal’ up in His Head, but it really didn’t happen? What is it that President Xi Jinping and their Communists Government, who doesn’t like us in the first place, suppose to think about how to take advantage of this situation to their best advantage? Our President has greatly hurt our relations with almost every Nation on the Globe. Is it possible that Our President isn’t just a hate filled habitual liar, but that He is actually legally Crazy? Lord knows that I hope not. That would be a new low for Our Country. Mr. McConnell and the Republicans should really be ashamed of their works these past few years I believe that the Republican Party is going to take a 20 year or so ‘Hit’ to their credibility in Elections, if He is proven to not ‘be competent’. I just hope that He is not lying about this ‘trade deal’ with China. Could it be He could claim ‘temporary insanity’ with regard to Mr. Mueller’s Investigation also? Man, I hope that the Man is not ‘less than sane.’ As an old and Special Lady friend used to say once in a while, ‘we shall see what we shall see.’ Think about it, is that not so?

Trump’s Advisers Struggle to Explain Deal He Says He Cut With Xi

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BLOOMBERG NEWS)

 

Trump’s Advisers Struggle to Explain Deal He Says He Cut With Xi

 Updated on 
  • President hails ‘extraordinary’ dinner with Chinese leader
  • Kudlow says China made ‘commitments’ to ‘presumably implement’

President Donald Trump left his top advisers scrambling on Monday to explain a trade deal he claimed he’d struck with China to reduce tariffs on U.S. cars exported to the country — an agreement that doesn’t exist on paper and hasn’t been confirmed in Beijing.

In the day after Trump announced the deal in a two-sentence Twitter post, the White House provided no additional information. At a briefing in Beijing, a spokesman for the foreign ministry declined to comment on any changes to car tariffs.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

China has agreed to reduce and remove tariffs on cars coming into China from the U.S. Currently the tariff is 40%.

45.8K people are talking about this

Questioned about the agreement on Monday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, dialed back expectations and added qualifiers.

Larry Kudlow speaks to members of the media outside the White House.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

“I’ll call them ‘commitments’ at this point, which are — commitments are not necessarily a trade deal, but it’s stuff that they’re going to look at and presumably implement,” Kudlow told reporters at an official White House briefing that followed TV interviews and informal briefings by him and Mnuchin earlier in the day.

The apparent move on auto tariffs was part of a broader trade truce struck by Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping during a dinner in Buenos Aires on Saturday night. As part of that the U.S. said it had agreed to hold off on raising tariffs Jan. 1 while negotiations took place. Kudlow initially said that the Chinese had 90 days from Jan. 1 to come up with “structural changes” regarding intellectual property protections, forced technology transfer and other issues.

The White House later corrected him to say that the 90 days actually began on Dec. 1, Saturday.

Trump’s tweet, which moved stocks of automobile companies across the globe, followed the dinner at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina. There, all sides agree, the American president agreed to postpone an increase in tariffs on Chinese imports to 25 percent from 10 percent, which was scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, in exchange for negotiations on broader economic disputes.

Steven Mnuchin

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

“I think there is a specific understanding that we are now going to turn the agreement the two presidents had into a real agreement in the next 90 days,” Mnuchin told reporters at the White House on Monday. “I’m taking President Xi at his word, at his commitment to President Trump. But they have to deliver on this.”

He didn’t say precisely what China committed to do.

The uncertainty underscored the risk entailed by Trump’s eagerness to strike deals without nailing down details in advance. The confusion was exacerbated by the absence of a joint statement from the U.S. and China following the dinner. Financial markets were left struggling to digest talks that the White House portrayed as a major victory for the president.

“That’s what happens when you don’t have the detailed negotiations going into the summit” and end up with the “broad swath of a 35,000-foot deal,” said Bonnie Glaser, a China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “It’s risky. There’s certainly no guarantees that it will produce the outcomes that we want.”

Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, and members of their delegations during their bilateral meeting on Dec. 1.

Photographer: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Officials in Beijing did not respond to requests for an explanation and neither did the Chinese embassy in Washington.

Trump nevertheless praised himself for the dinner, and abandoned nuance in claiming on Twitter that China had agreed to immediately buy more U.S. farm products, in addition to dropping car tariffs. Mnuchin, in an interview with CNBC on Monday, put a $1.2 trillion price tag on China’s additional trade commitments, but emphasized the details of how they get there still need to be negotiated.

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

Farmers will be a a very BIG and FAST beneficiary of our deal with China. They intend to start purchasing agricultural product immediately. We make the finest and cleanest product in the World, and that is what China wants. Farmers, I LOVE YOU!

35.4K people are talking about this

China imposed a retaliatory 25 percent tariff on imports of cars from the U.S. over the summer in response to Trump’s own tariffs. That’s added on top of a 15 percent tariff that Beijing charges for imports from the rest of the world, leaving U.S. auto exporters facing a 40 percent levy at the Chinese border.

In his briefing with reporters, Kudlow said he assumed that the Chinese would eventually drop their auto tariffs altogether. Such a change would have to apply to all countries under World Trade Organization rules.

“We don’t yet have a specific agreement on that,” Kudlow said, apparently contradicting Trump’s tweet on the matter. “But I will just tell you, as an involved participant, we expect those tariffs to go to zero.”

Asked why the auto tariffs weren’t mentioned in statements the U.S. and China issued after the dinner, Kudlow inexplicably insisted that they were. “I don’t agree with that,” he said.

— With assistance by Shannon Pettypiece, Alyza Sebenius, and Jennifer Jacobs

(Updates with White House correcting Kudlow’s remarks, beginning in fifth paragraph.)

(Philosophy Poem) Taking Money From The Devil

Taking Money From The Devil

 

When you are down and out, be careful of the spout

Water is never pure when it is coming from the sewer

Muddy water from a swamp just kills you a little slower

When drowning in the sand one will grasp at any hand

Sweet words to reel you in to slather you on their spit

 

Promises of help all disguised to steal your life and land

Taxes and tolls with high interest you can never repay

Bridges that they build are just their avenue to invade

Belts and Roads built to plunder the poor man last dollar

Upon the Roads their Armies march your sovereignty do part

 

Whether a Panda or a Card they smile as they cut your throat

The Poor are only fodder for the weapons of the rich man’s dollar

Poor people do all the work but to Ivory Towers go all the perks

Just look to your Capitals for Fallen Angels disguised as rich Jerks

Soon all money will come from one hand, will be the Devil, not a man

To Stop WW3 Do The People Need To Kill This Batch Of The Worlds So Called Leaders?

To Stop WW3 Do The People Need To Kill This Batch Of The Worlds So Called Leaders?

 

Firstoff, because of my personal Christian beliefs I cannot condone killing anyone unless you, your family, your loved ones or your Country are being attacked with deadly force. So, for anyone to walk up to another person and kill them just because you don’t like them as a person, that would make you a murderer. We are told that we are all to pray for our Leaders, executing them is something that is not in the Scriptures. But one may well say, what about other Countries Leaders, is that allowed? Are those other Countries Leaders at war with you or with your Country? That, might be a more difficult question to answer than it seems.  If we believe that another Countries Leaders are at war with your Country, does that mean that the people of that Country are at war with you also? What about the so-called Leaders of your own Country, are they at war with you and your Country’s Constitutional rights? If you believe that they are and you cannot vote them out of positions of power, is it okay to kill them? I know, so many questions, but are there any correct answers?

 

There are many very evil people who are in positions of power all over the world, and that does include here in the U.S., can we the people ever get rid of all of them? Personally I believe that the answer to that question is no we can’t. Here in the U.S. we have evil people scattered throughout both of our Nation’s major political parties, they are not all on one side. I personally believe that there are many Nations of Earth that would love to conquer and or destroy every inch of ground that we call home, yet the same can be said for every Nation on the planet. I personally believe that President Putin of Russia is a very evil human being, I believe that he is a liar, a thief and a mass murderer and that he would love to bring an end to the United States. But, I do not believe that the vast majority of the Russian people are our enemies, I believe that their own President is their biggest enemy. I believe that Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping would love to blow the U.S. off of the World Map, but I do not believe that the vast majority of their people are our enemies either. Outside of the Nations where Demonic Religious Zealots rule, I do not consider the other people of the world to be each others enemies. Outside of these Zealots, most people of the Earth tend to want the same things, peace, safety, housing, food, good health, electricity and the trash picked up off the streets each week. I believe that it is these ‘Leaders’ that cause all of the people’s ill’s.

 

A simple solution it would seem would be to simply execute these horrible self-serving Leaders and get new ones, better ones installed, but would that really work? Could we simply lock up all of these evil Leaders? Yes, we could, but would that really do us or the World any good? Here in the U.S. if we locked up Donald the Donkey Trump and all of his household except for the First Lady and Barron his 12-year-old son, we would end up having Mike Pence as our President. I have family who lives in his home State of Indiana and I have many readers from Indiana who have told me that in their opinion Pence is even more dangerous than Trump, and that in itself is a rather scary thought. Pence, just like the Republican Party in general have very much proven to be for sale to the highest bidders but do not get me wrong on this issue, I believe just as lowly of the Democratic Party Leadership. Remember in November of 2016 we the people were given the choice of two habitual lying crooks to be our President. One was very smart (Hillary) the other a total idiot (Trump), yet both still very evil. If a Nation replaces their Leaders what are the people going to get in return, more crooks, more liars, more murderers? To me, by my beliefs, all any people of any Nation can do is to pray for worldwide peace and to never ever allow any politicians to ever take away your means of protecting your families. Yet never ever be the aggressor, the murderer, because if you become a murderer, even when it is from murdering an evil Leader, you and the one you murdered will end up in Hell together and that my friend is not winning the battle between good and evil, if you lose your Soul, you lost.

Indians get more UK visas as European Union citizens exit over Brexit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

Indians get more UK visas as European Union citizens exit over Brexit

Indians were granted the highest number of visitor visas during the year ending September 2018: up 41,224 (or 10%) to 4,68,923; Chinese and Indian nationals alone accounted for just under half (47%) of all visit visas granted.

WORLD Updated: Nov 29, 2018 22:07 IST

Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Indian,UK visa,European Union
New figures released on Thursday show a rise in the number of visas granted to Indian professionals, visitors, students and family members, but also reflect the Brexit reality of more EU citizens leaving the United Kingdom.(File Photo)

New figures released on Thursday show a rise in the number of visas granted to Indian professionals, visitors, students and family members, but also reflect the Brexit reality of more EU citizens leaving the United Kingdom.

Indians were granted the highest number of visitor visas during the year ending September 2018: up 41,224 (or 10%) to 4,68,923; Chinese and Indian nationals alone accounted for just under half (47%) of all visit visas granted.

The demand for Indian professionals continued during the year, with 55 per cent of all Tier 2 (skilled) visas granted to them, the figures released by the Office for National Statistics show.

The number of Indian students coming to study at UK universities also showed a 33 per cent rise, to 18,735. Chinese and Indian students accounted for almost half of all students visas granted during the year.

There was also an increase in the family-related visas for Indians (up 881 to 3,574). The number of EEA family permits given to Indians (members of families of EU citizens) was also up 4,245 to 8,360, official sources said.

Figures showing more EU citizens leaving than arriving in the UK prompted renewed concern over the impact of Brexit. The net migration from the EU to the UK slumped to a six-year low, while non-EU migration is the highest in more than a decade.

Madeleine Sumption, director of the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said: “EU migrants have been leaving in larger numbers since the referendum, and net inflows have greatly decreased”.

“The lower value of the pound is likely to have made the UK a less attractive place to live and work and economic conditions in several of the top countries of origin for EU migrants have improved”.

First Published: Nov 29, 2018 18:27 IST

Can the Communist party get out of China’s bedrooms now, please?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE GUARDIAN NEWS AGENCY AND ‘ANDY TAI’S G+ WEBSITE’)

 

Can the Communist party get out of China’s bedrooms now, please?

I was born in 1983, so have no siblings. Now the government wants bigger families – but young Chinese won’t listen

A family in Tiananmen Square, Beijing.
 In 2016, the Chinese government abandoned its one-child policy, allowing all couples to have two children.
Photograph: VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Chinese millennials such as me are collectively known as the “post-1980 generation”. The controversial “one-child” policy started to be enforced by the Communist party in 1979 out of concern over rapid population growth that could hinder the economic boom that was about to take off. My generation (I was born in 1983) became the first batch of China’s only children. All urban residents were subject to harsh punishments – by way of unaffordable fines and losing their jobs – should they violate the one-child restriction, so giving me a sibling was not an option for my parents.

Growing up, we only children had many different labels. Little emperors, little princesses and selfish narcissists were just some of them. We were told we had “big ego and low ability”, and that we were destined to become a “lost generation” because we were “spoiled” and never had to share the love, care and material comfort provided by our parents and grandparents.

As the single-child family gradually became the norm, people started to forget that in the 1960s big families were the rule rather than the exception, with an average of six babies for each woman. China’s economic miracleinspired awe around the world, though it came at a price: skyrocketing housing, living and education costs. As a result, over the past decades, a growing part of my generation, especially those living in cities, is increasingly hesitant to start a family.

During my lifetime, the government has faced mounting pressures: an ageing society and a shrinking workforce, as well as the alarming gender imbalance due to selective abortion, which was technically illegal but practised underground by families who only had one chance to have a male child. In 2016, it raised the limit to two children per household. However, the expected baby boom didn’t materialise. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, only 17.9 million babies were born in 2016, half the number expected. In 2017, the number fell to 17.2 million.

As economic growth continues to slow down, no one would be surprised if the leadership decides to fully lift the birth restrictions that have lasted for nearly four decades. According to a brief statement released in August by the National People’s Congress, a new draft revision of the country’s civil code “will no longer retain the relevant provisions of family planning … considering the changes in the country’s demographic situation”. And in September, three offices responsible for the implementation of family planning policies were removed from the new structure of China’s national health commission.

So, is the state finally moving out of people’s bedrooms? Unfortunately not. Rather, its interference is developing a different slant. At the regional level, some government agencies have now adopted restrictions on abortion. In one province, women more than 14 weeks pregnant will need to obtain three signatures from medical personnel in order to have a termination. And two other provinces have made it harder for couples to divorce, because they are more likely to have babies if they stay together.

Recently two academics caused a social-media storm with an article in a provincial Communist party newspaper proposing a tax-like “maternity fund”. Couples with fewer than two children would have to pay into the fund, only getting their money back when they give birth to a second child – or when they retire, if that doesn’t happen. And at the same time, People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the ruling Communist party, ran a commentary headlined “Giving birth is a family matter and also a national issue”, which warned that “the impact of low birth rates on the economy and society has begun to show”. Its tone reminded me of the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, in which women’s reproductive choices are controlled by the state. It made me picture the novel’s terrifying scenes of female characters, like walking wombs, impassively repeating, “Blessed be the fruit”.

Audrey Jiajia Li
Pinterest
 Audrey Jiajia Li: ‘Giving me a sibling was not an option for my parents.’ Photograph: Audrey Jiajia Li

For Chinese people of my generation, these proposals bring back memories of the severe penalties for those who gave birth to more than one child between 1979 and 2016, and the climate of fear that affected so many, including my parents. If the “maternity fund” is adopted, my generation will again become the subject of one of history’s biggest social experiments – punished for having too many children when the nation didn’t need them, and punished for not producing enough when it does. What hasn’t changed is tying citizens’ reproductive behaviour to the strategic goals of the state, with no respect for people’s individual rights.

For many people of my age, it would be unrealistic to have a large family even if we wanted to. As the only children, our parents’ expectations for us, academically and professionally, have been overwhelming. Now, we are asked to take care of four elders and several children at the same time? The price tag of raising children in today’s China is huge, let alone our fears about bringing children into a society that offers them defective vaccines and toxic baby formulaair pollution and abuse in kindergartens, and a lack of transparency and press freedom.

Chinese people are good at reading hidden messages. The design for China’s new zodiac-themed postage stamp for the year of the pig in 2019 was released recently. It features two adult pigs with three happy piglets. A similar commemorative stamp marking the year of the monkey two years ago had two baby monkeys. Its release coincided exactly with the replacement of the one-child policy with the “two-child policy”.

But we are not pigs or monkeys. As a notoriously self-centred generation, we cherish our rights more than ever – including the right to get married, or not; to divorce, or not; to have as many children as we want, or none. After all, we weren’t called the loneliest generation for nothing. If individualism is ever going to take root in a society with a long history of collectivism, it will be my generation that makes it happen.

 Audrey Jiajia Li is a freelance journalist based in Guangzhou

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Lost jobs, shrinking growth, and rotting crops-Trump’s trade war is hurting America

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS INSIDER)

 

Lost jobs, shrinking growth, and rotting crops — here are the ways Trump’s trade war is hurting America

Trump MAGA hat
President Donald Trump.
 Jae C. Hong/AP Images
  • Eight months on from the opening salvos of President Donald Trump’s trade war, and the real-world impacts are starting to be felt across the globe.
  • Business Insider took a look at some of the companies and industries blaming a downturn on the president’s trade policy.
  • The world’s largest shipping company, American farmers, and small manufacturers are among those that have explicitly blamed tariffs for issues in their businesses.

Eight months on from the opening salvos of President Donald Trump’s trade war, and the real-world impacts are starting to be felt across the globe.

The US, which the trade war was ostensibly launched to protect, looks as if it is likely to be the worst affected, with some forecasters suggesting that as much as 1 percentage point could be knocked off economic growth in the coming years.

Read more: Volvo’s $30 billion IPO is officially off, and Trump’s trade war is to blame

On a smaller scale, companies and whole industries are already starting to feel the pinch from the US tariffs, which have raised the price of sending a whole range of goods to the US, increasing costs for the very companies they were designed to protect.

Business Insider decided to take a look at some of the major businesses and industries that have blamed the president’s trade war for a negative impact on their situation.

Shrinking global trade, and hurting shipping companies at the same time

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Empty Maersk shipping containers are seen stacked at Peel Ports container terminal in Liverpool, Britain, December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo
Empty Maersk shipping containers at Peel Ports container terminal in Liverpool.
Thomson Reuters

Maersk, the world’s largest shipping firm, has been particularly explicitabout the threats posed by the tit-for-tat tariffs between the US and China.

In its third-quarter results announcement earlier in November, the Danish giant said global trade was already feeling the effect.

Global container trade continued to lose momentum in the quarter. It has suffered “a much slower pace of growth” this year, rising by 4.2% compared with 5.8% over the same period in 2017, Maersk said.

Trade tariffs may end up stifling global container shipping by as much as 2% in the next two years. The company estimates that those tariffs make up about 2.6% of the global value of traded goods.

Maersk’s warning was not the first time the shipping giant had weighed in on the trade war. CEO Soren Skou said in August, before Trump hitswaths of consumer goods with levies, that the fallout from the tariffs “could easily end up being bigger in the US.”

Farmers forced to leave their crops to rot

FILE PHOTO: A bushel of soybeans are on display in the Monsanto research facility in Creve Coeur, Missouri, U.S., July 28, 2014. REUTERS/Tom Gannam/File Photo
A bushel of soybeans on display in the Monsanto research facility in Creve Coeur, Missouri.
Tom Gannam/Reuters

Perhaps one of the most striking consequences of the trade war is what is happening to some farmers in the US.

For many agricultural goods, particularly soybeans, China is the largest export market for US farmers. That’s changing thanks to Trump’s tariffs, with Chinese importers looking elsewhere for a cheaper supply.

China last year accounted for about 60% of US soybean exports, but such is the lack of demand this year that many farmers are being forced to abandon crops.

Farmers in some US states are being forced into plowing their crops under— effectively burying them under soil in fields — as there is not enough room to store them in storage facilities, and they are unable to sell their products thanks to Chinese tariffs, Reuters reported last week.

All grain depots and silos are almost full, meaning farmers have to find their own storage solutions or allow their crops to rot. Neither option is particularly palatable.

In Louisiana, as much as 15% of this year’s soybean crop has been plowed under or is too damaged to sell, according to data analyzed by Louisiana State University staff and cited by Reuters.

An industry Trump says he wants to help is suffering

tire builderShutterstock

Much of Trump’s reasoning behind the trade war is to reinvigorate the US manufacturing sector, which he said has been ground down by decades of cheaper production in Asia, particularly in China. Early signs, however, suggest the tariffs are doing the opposite and are actively hurting manufacturers.

Manufacturing activity in the US slowed to a six-month low in October,with industry figures citing future protectionism and widespread uncertainty as major reasons for the slowdown.

“For the consumer, the tariffs are for the most part still an abstract idea, but for manufacturers they are real, and a big problem,” Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote at the start of November when data from the Institute for Supply Management showed just that.

The ISM, a trade group of purchasing executives, said its index of national factory activity dropped 2.1 percentage points to 57.7 in October from a month earlier. The decline was largely thanks to uncertainty related to tariffs, according to survey respondents.

“Mounting pressure due to pending tariffs,” observed one respondent in the ISM survey. “Bracing for delays in material from China — a rush of orders trying to race tariff implementation is flooding shipping and customs.”

Such a view is corroborated by analysis from the Swiss banking giant UBS, which argued that many new and smaller manufacturers could end up being forced into bankruptcy.

“Brand new firms notoriously have very thin margins and a lack of ability to pass on costs,” Seth Carpenter, UBS’ top US-focused economist, said earlier this month. “Small cost shocks tend to cause large disruptions to new firms. We see some of these new firms failing.”

Many small firms have blamed the trade war for layoffs this year.

For instance, Element Electronics, a TV manufacturer, says it plans to lay off 127 workers from its South Carolina factory as “a result of the new tariffs that were recently and unexpectedly imposed on many goods imported from China.”

One of America’s most iconic brands is slashing 14,000 jobs

general motorsBill Pugliano/Getty Images

General Motors on Monday announced plans to close plants in the US and ax about 14,000 jobs, having previously warned that Trump’s tariffs might force it to do so.

The automaker, which employs about 110,000 workers, said it planned to cut costs by shutting plants in Ohio, Michigan, and elsewhere in North America.

The company did not specifically mention tariffs, instead citing “changing market conditions and customer preferences” among its reasons, but earlier this year GM lowered its profit forecasts for 2018 amid higher steel and aluminum prices caused by new US tariffs. And in June, GM warned that trade tariffs could lead to job losses and lower wages, telling the Commerce Department that higher steel tariffs would affect competitiveness.

Chinese brands outpace multinationals gaining new customers

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHINA’S SHANGHAI NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Chinese brands outpace multinationals gaining new customers: study

Chinese consumer goods brands are posting faster growth in terms of consumer penetration and expansion of consumer base in the past year, a recent study by Kantar Worldpanel reveals.

P&G and Yili were the top two companies with the widest consumer bases, reporting 92.4 percent and 90.9 penetration among urban consumers respectively, according to the study which tracks urban shoppers’ purchasing behavior in 24 provinces and municipalities across more than 100 product categories.

Nongfu Spring, Haday and Dali are the fastest growing brands with more than 5 percent increase in penetration from a year ago.

Chinese companies continued to outpace multinationals in recruiting new shoppers faster through braver innovations, agile go-to-market capabilities and successful activation of omni-channel strategies.

“The brands with the biggest gains are those who have been innovating in ways most relevant to today’s Chinese consumers, making their lives healthier, happier and easier,” commented Kantar Worldpanel China general manager Jason Yu.

“In a challenging environment for brands and retailers, companies that constantly innovate and evolve within the new retail era are best placed to succeed,” he added.

Despite China’s aging population, winning the love of millennial consumers is critical for brands to thrive as the younger generation offer new opportunities to unlock future growth with more disposable income and desire to express their individuality.

For example, Nongfu Spring managed to grow its shopper base amongst young singles and couples by 30 percent in the last 12 months through the launch of their “Victory” vitamin water, which gained popularity through its sponsorship of popular reality show ‘Idol Producer.’

Similarly, Coca Cola is also seeking growth through smaller packages and new product lines such as fiber drinks to balance young consumers’ needs for both nutrition and good taste.

A total of 21 fast-moving consumer goods companies reached over 100 million urban households, 13 of which are local companies and eight are multinational brands.

The latest Kantar Worldpanel report indicates that companies successful in growing customer numbers are those who achieved balanced penetration gains across both online and offline channels.

Yili, for example, grew its online and offline buyers by 4 and 6 million respectively, and offline distribution channels brought more shopper growth for companies like Mengniu, Hengan and Dali.

Consumers now have plenty of choice regarding shopping channels as the boundary between online and offline channels are increasingly blurring.

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