Sunday , July 12 2020
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Cissy Zhou



Articles by Cissy Zhou

China’s urbanisation drive leaves some rural residents ‘heartbroken’ as local governments accused of unfair evictions

11 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Nine years ago, after decades of living in a mud house, Xiao Yang’s family scraped together enough money to build a modern two-storey home in a rural village in Shandong province.The house, which was painstakingly decorated and finally paid off by the mother-of-three last year, was the family’s chance at “a better life”.But earlier this month, the home she had worked so hard for was razed to the ground and she was forcefully relocated by local authorities in a controversial “village…

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China eases restrictions on foreign investors, but is it too little too late?

17 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China has announced a further opening up of its manufacturing and financial services sectors to foreign investment with the removal of seven items from its so-called negative list as part of an annual review.With effect from July 23, all caps on equity stakes in securities, fund management, futures and life insurance companies will be removed, allowing for total ownership of such businesses by foreign entities, the Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission said in…

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Is there an upside for China in the US-EU tariff row?

17 days ago

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China could benefit from a US-Europe trade row over aircraft subsidies as Beijing battles Washington and Brussels on fronts ranging from coronavirus to Hong Kong, according to analysts.“Anything that distracts the attention of the US or EU from the trade issues they have with China and undermines their ability to work together cooperatively would accrue to China’s benefit,” said Stephen Olson, a former trade negotiator with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and now a…

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Coronavirus: wheels come off China’s mask-making gravy train, as low-end manufacturers count their losses

June 12, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]In April, as China’s mask-making juggernaut was cranking up, Changzhou machinery part manufacturer Mo Xiaoyi stockpiled meltblown fabric and nonwoven fabric, both essential mask materials, at peak prices.Sixty kilometres away in Yangzhong, a small island in Jiangsu province, furniture maker Mr Li invested more than 2 million yuan (US$282,685) in six meltblown production lines, but could not manufacture a single inch of fabric before local authorities closed his factory down.Both men have been…

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Coronavirus gave China the opportunity to make controversial policy moves, experts say

June 6, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The Covid-19 pandemic created a window of opportunity that allowed China to introduce a national security law in Hong Kong and overreach in other areas, both internationally and domestically, experts said on Friday.According to Susan Shirk, a former US deputy assistant secretary of state under Bill Clinton, Beijing took the decision to introduce the legislation despite risking “further alienating the general public in Hong Kong and the rest of the world”.The move was made as Europe and the…

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Hong Kong security law: any US attempt to destroy city’s financial hub status would be a challenge, analysts say

June 5, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Hong Kong is unlikely to see mass relocations of financial firms over China’s plans to impose a security law on the city, though many in the sector are watching keenly for more details, analysts said at a South China Morning Post webinar on Friday.Beijing’s decision to move ahead with the law, which some say will erode the city’s autonomy from the mainland and its position as Asia’s top finance hub, has ratcheted up tensions with the United States.The Trump administration has said it will…

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China steps in to defend the yuan, as US tensions and Hong Kong uncertainty send currency tumbling

May 29, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The Chinese central bank moved again on Friday to support the yuan after it fell this week to its lowest level against the US dollar in eight months, amid rising tensions with the US and growing uncertainty over Hong Kong’s future.The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set the yuan’s daily central parity rate stronger than its previous closing price in the onshore spot market for the ninth consecutive trading day, in a sign the central bank is pushing back against rising volatility.The downward…

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China shuts down WeChat social media account claiming ‘US making dead bodies into hamburgers’

May 26, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China has shut down a popular social media account for spreading fake news and conspiracy theories, as Beijing moves to curb misinformation and online hate speech in an attempt to tone down an ongoing war of words with the United States.Relations between China and the US have hit new lows in recent months, as the two powers clash over trade, the coronavirus, and Beijing’s moves to impose new security regulations on Hong Kong.Nationalist groups and opportunistic businesses have latched onto the…

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Coronavirus has hit China’s migrant workers harder than Sars and the financial crisis, but worst yet to come

May 25, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]In early January, when a mysterious “new pneumonia” started to ripple across parts of China, domestic worker Zou Lan caught a cold.

Though authorities had yet to announce the unprecedented threat the coronavirus posed, her employer asked her to take some rest. She has been unable to return to work since.

Penniless and with three kids to support, the single mother – who had worked in Nanjing for more than 10 years – has been trying to find a job for four months. After multiple failed job…

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Coronavirus: China’s pandemic lifeline for small firms draws lukewarm response from business owners

May 22, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The Chinese government will offer more financial assistance to small and medium-sized businesses to help ease the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic, according to its main policy-setting document, released on Friday.Premier Li Keqiang’s 2020 government work report, unveiled at the National People’s Congress in Beijing, included plans to delay loan repayments and interest payments, as well as increasing bank loans.Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be entitled to delay loan…

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China hits back at America’s ‘unreasonable suppression’ of Huawei

May 16, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Beijing has appealed to Washington to bring an end to the suppression of Chinese firms after the US announced plans on Friday to further restrict technology giant Huawei’s ability to develop semiconductors using American technologies.Describing the move as the destruction of “global manufacturing, supply and value chains”, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Saturday that Beijing would “firmly uphold Chinese firms’ legitimate and legal rights and interests”.“We urge the US side to immediately…

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Coronavirus: China’s economic recovery path uncertain after mixed industrial production, retail sales data

May 15, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]As China’s economy comes back to life following the coronavirus lockdowns, debate has intensified over how quickly growth will rebound.China’s latest economic data for April, including the likes of China’s industrial production and retail sales, released on Friday remained mixed, rekindling the debate over the outlook for the recovery.The debate is often expressed in terms of the shape of the recovery, with a V-shaped recovery describing an economy that rebounds quickly. A U-shaped recovery is…

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Coronavirus: China’s traders at famed Yiwu market turn to e-commerce, WeChat, TikTok in bid to survive

April 16, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Faced with the threat of closure because of an absence of foreign buyers, traders at one of the main showcases for thousands of goods manufactured in China have turned to e-commerce, with mixed results.Some vendors at Yiwu International Trade Market are even using social media influencers to help them improve their live streaming sales pitches. But new customers have been slow to appear.“Business has been slow since the coronavirus outbreak, but our beautiful sisters remain vibrant every day,”…

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Coronavirus: global economic downturn in 2020 likely to be worst since Great Depression, IMF says

April 14, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The global economy is very likely to experience its worst downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s due to the coronavirus pandemic, surpassing that of the global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a new forecast on Tuesday.Economic growth will shrink by 3 per cent in 2020, “far worse” than during the financial crisis in 2009 when growth contracted by 0.7 per cent, according to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook report.If the Covid-19 pandemic fades in the…

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China sports firm illegally used Michael Jordan’s name but did not violate image rights, top court rules

April 8, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s efforts to honour intellectual property rights outlined in the phase-one trade deal with the United States appear to be filtering through, at least in part, after its Supreme Court ruled in favour of six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan.The decision overruled two earlier lower court rulings, finding that Fujian-based Qiaodan Sports had used Jordan’s name in Chinese, Qiao Dan, illegally, according to the verdict published last month.Qiaodan Sports’ logo features a silhouette of a…

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Coronavirus: China’s car part makers face collapsing orders, as factories around the world kill their engines

April 2, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]After a nationwide shutdown in February, car parts exporter Rita Xiao was thrilled to join the bandwagon of factories resuming work across China in March, as the country’s coronavirus crisis began to cool.But she is now wrought with anxiety, with the virus ravaging her clients in the United States and Europe. Xiao, along with many other Chinese exporters, is feeling the force of the dreaded second shock wave from the pandemic which has closed car factories across the world, in the sort of…

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Coronavirus: IMF again cuts 2020 China growth forecast as Covid-19 shakes the global economy

March 4, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has slashed its 2020 growth outlook for China to below 5.6 per cent because of the “sheer geographic spread” of the coronavirus epidemic globally, IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said on Wednesday.Last month, the IMF forecast the outbreak could lower China’s economic growth this year to 5.6 per cent – 0.4 percentage points below the organisation’s January estimate.The forecast early this year was based on two assumptions – that the crisis would…

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Coronavirus outbreak fans the flames of US-China decoupling debate in Washington

March 3, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]This is part of a five-part series looking at how the coronavirus epidemic affects China’s relationships with the rest of the world. Part one focuses on the virus’ reignition of a long-term debate over decoupling of the US and Chinese economies.At an event in Washington on Friday, Florida senator Rick Scott used the term “Communist China” 25 times in a 10-minute speech pushing the idea that the coronavirus epidemic should be used as a wedge to prise apart the US-China relationship.“I think…

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China’s top 10 infrastructure projects for 2020 and beyond will help boost its slowing economy

January 28, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]As advocated by renowned economists, including former central bank adviser including Yu Yongding, China accelerated its review and approval process for infrastructure projects in December, although last year’s total still dropped by two thirds from 2018.In 2019, China approved 26 infrastructure projects with a total expected investment of 981.7 billion yuan (US$142 billion), a drop of 66.33 per cent from the 1.48 trillion yuan approved investment for the 27 infrastructure projects in 2018,…

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Taiwan manufacturers come home from China, as trade war feeds into economic debate at election

January 10, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Against a bright blue sky, a crane is busy laying a foundation for a building site in Taoyuan, a city near the Taiwanese capital of Taipei that is home to many of the island’s hi-tech manufacturers.A few hundred metres away, a light brown fog of dust and exhaust fumes rise from the site, the smell permeating the air. When finished, this hub of construction activity will be home to a NT$950 million (US$31.6 million) production complex for Quanta Computer, the world’s largest original design…

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China-made exports of Ford, Tesla, BMW set to surge as Beijing opens auto industry, government says

January 3, 2020

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Beijing is aiming to boost exports of China-made foreign vehicles in coming years as domestic car sales slump and restrictions on overseas firms are loosened, according to a government report.Manufacturers like Ford Motors, GM, BMW and Honda are expected to expand manufacturing in China as Beijing allows foreign firms to have wholly-owned local ventures that will increasingly serve the global market, said the report from the Ministry of Commerce and China Automotive Technology and Research…

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African swine fever: China’s chicken farmers feeling the pinch as pork crisis takes toll on poultry industry

December 25, 2019

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Standing on his chicken farm at the foot of a mountain in China’s southern Guangdong province, farmer Mo Bangmin is counting his losses alongside his wife.“I lost about 400,000 yuan (US$57,000) as one-third of my pigs died last year. Now, I’m facing a loss of 200,000 yuan (US$28,500) from these chickens – all my life savings are gone,” said Mo as ducks and geese quacked and honked in a nearby pond.Mo, who is in his early fifties, is one of China’s many pig farmers who turned to raising chickens…

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Chinese researcher accused of trying to smuggle vials of ‘biological material’ out of US hidden in a sock

December 22, 2019

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A Chinese medical researcher was arrested in Boston earlier this month on suspicion of trying to take stolen biological samples back to China, according to an affidavit by an FBI agent.According to the agent’s testimony, published with redactions on Universal Hub, a community news and information site for the Boston area, Zheng Zaosong, 29, was questioned at Logan International Airport on December 9.FBI Special Agent Kara Spice said 21 wrapped vials containing a “brown liquid” that appeared to…

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China’s new digital currency ‘isn’t bitcoin and is not for speculation’

December 22, 2019

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The Chinese central bank official in charge of a new sovereign digital currency said it would not be open to speculation like other cryptocurrencies, shedding some light on a plan that is still largely shrouded in secrecy.Mu Changchun, head of the People’s Bank of China’s digital currency research institute, on Saturday said it would be “a digital form of the yuan”, there would be no speculation on its value, and it would not need the backing of a basket of currencies, according to the official…

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China’s pork crisis creates bumper payday for small-time farmers willing to take a risk

December 6, 2019

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Fujianese farmer Mr Wang started raising pigs in August 2018, the same month an outbreak of African swine fever was reported in the northeastern city of Shenyang.The disease subsequently ripped through China, wiping out millions of livestock through culling or disease and sending pork prices soaring in a country where the meat is a staple part of the daily diet. By some estimates, swine fever will kill one quarter of all the world’s pigs.Wang, however, was one of the lucky ones: 99 per cent of…

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China could ‘smooth over’ census data to meet growth target, achieve goal of doubling size of economy by 2020

November 13, 2019

[unable to retrieve full-text content]China’s desperation to achieve an economic growth of above 6.0 per cent in 2019 and 2020 could see the government turn to a wide-reaching census that could give it the numerical ammunition it needs to “smooth over” annual data and boost the growth path that would otherwise miss the mark, some analysts believe.China has a grand aim of creating a “moderately prosperous society” by next year, the cornerstones of which are a doubling of national gross domestic product (GDP) and per capita income in…

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China consumer prices jump to near 8-year high as pork soars more than 100 per cent

November 9, 2019

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A doubling of pork prices pushed China’s consumer prices to a nearly eight year high in October, as Beijing’s domestic challenges intensified amid the slowing of the economy and the trade war with the United States.China’s consumer prices rose to 3.8 per cent last month, the highest since January 2012, according to government data released on Saturday. The gain was larger than the rise to 3.4 per cent expected in a Bloomberg survey of analysts and up from 3.0 per cent in September.The October…

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Hong Kong dollar could be unpegged from US dollar if protests create economic crisis, economist warns

November 8, 2019

[unable to retrieve full-text content]If anti-government protests cause an even greater deterioration of Hong Kong’s economy, the government could be forced to sever the city’s peg to the US dollar, prominent Chinese economist and former central bank adviser Yu Yongding has warned.“We don’t see an immediate risk of delinking based on the city’s current balance of payments and financial statistics, but we have to keep a close eye on that possibility,” Yu told the South China Morning Post in a recent interview.“However, if Hong Kong…

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Proposal that China move to tariff-free economy ‘not feasible’, analysts say

November 5, 2019

[unable to retrieve full-text content]A suggestion from a prominent Chinese political figure that China should scrap all import tariffs to unleash the country’s economic potential is not possible because it is still necessary to protect infant industries that are critical to national security, analysts said.However, within the context of free trade agreements, like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – the outlines of which negotiators from 15 Asian-Pacific nations agreed on Monday – China could lower tariffs to…

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