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HK01: U.S Manufacturing Sector Returned to Expansion

Popular Hong Kong new online media HK01 Network recently reported that, according to the just-released U.S. Institute of Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) Report, starting in January, the U.S. manufacturing sector stopped its five-month decline and returned to expansion. The January PMI number recorded was 50.9, which is the highest since last July. The new number beats the general expectation of 48.5 from economists. The much needed manufacturing boost injected significant positive energy to Wall Street since the sector had been a drag on the U.S. economy, which showed strong growth on employment and consumer spending. PMI is an indicator of financial activity reflecting purchasing managers’ acquisition of goods and services. A PMI number below 50 typically reflects a decline.

Source: HK01, February 4, 2020

DW Chinese: China May Delay Purchasing U.S. Goods

Deutsche Welle Chinese Edition recently reported that China may delay the schedule for purchasing U.S. goods as agreed in the recent U.S.-China Trade Agreement (Phase One). According to the agreement, the promise of acquiring U.S. goods starts to take effect on February 15. However, with the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in China, Chinese authorities effectively closed down a large number of factories and even entire cities in response to the disease. Larry Kudlow, Whitehouse Director of the National Economic Council, confirmed this potential delay on Tuesday, February 4. Based on estimates, China is expected to purchase US$76 billion additional U.S. goods in the first year of the Agreement schedule and a US$123 billion additional purchase is scheduled for year two. The agreement does not have clear details on how to resolve issues caused by a reasonable delay. So far, the coronavirus has caused widespread delays for Chinese manufacturers to be able to reopen their factories after the Chinese New Year.

Source: DW Chinese, February 5, 2020

RFA Chinese: China Protested against Taiwanese Vice President Elect

Radio Free Asia (RFA) Chinese Edition recently reported that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a “solemn” statement protesting against the visit of Lai Ching-te to the United States. Lai is the current Vice President Elect of Taiwan which, not long ago, just had its presidential election. Lai attended the February 6 National Prayer Breakfast, which President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo, Defense Secretary Esper and House Speaker Pelosi also attended. Lai also visited the White House National Security Council one day earlier. Lai declined to comment on the details of his visit. Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai did not attend the Breakfast. This is the first time a Taiwanese Vice President Elect has visited the White House since the U.S. ended its formal relationship with Taiwan. The Whitehouse also declined to comment on Lai’s visit. China asked the U.S. to “stop sending wrong signals” to the representatives of the Taiwanese Independence Movement.

Source: RFA Chinese, February 6, 2020

After Beijing Accused US over Evacuation, Two Foreigners Died from nCoV

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters on Monday February 10 that two foreign citizens died from the coronavirus.

During last week’s routine press briefings, Hua Chunying, foreign ministry spokeswoman, accused the United States of “unceasingly manufacturing and spreading panic” by pulling its nationals out of China and restricting travel while not providing “any substantial assistance to China.”

In making public her negative assessment of the US position and its decisions as “setting a very bad example,” the spokeswoman did not appear to attach any weight to favorable comments that US officials made previously about China’s containing the coronavirus. On the other hand, Chinese state-run media had taken these favorable comments from foreign leaders as serious evidence to convince the Chinese people that the government is doing a superb job.

Publicly airing such unfriendly views toward the Trump administration also undercut what Xi Jingping, general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, had previously boasted, namely that China and the US have successfully managed their differences. Xi made the observation in a letter to President Donald Trump, which Vice Premier Li He read out loud at the January 15 ceremony for the  signing the phase one trade deal between the two countries.

Hua stated that, since January 3, 2020, China had provided 30 briefings on the novel coronavirus devleopments in China to US health officials .

There was an outcry over Chinese social media that the Chinese people were kept in the dark until January 20, 2002. Worse, January 3 turned out to be the day when China Central Television (CCTV), China’s state-run television station, broadcast nationally, how eight people in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, were reprimanded because the police had stopped all public discussion of the coronavirus cases thathad started to appear. Dr Li Wenliang, who died on the night of February 6 was among the eight people that CCTV humiliated.

On the other hand, some Chinese noted that the US could very well have been misled in those 30 briefings that Hua mentioned, just as the Chinese people were. Continue reading

Chinese Mobile Phone Manufacturers Jointly Build Google Play Competitor

Chinese technology news site My Drivers recently reported that four major Chinese mobile phone vendors, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo, jointly formed a platform named Global Developer Service Alliance (GDSA). The new alliance was established with an aim to compete against Google Play, which is Google’s online flagship app store. GDSA is to combine services for app development, marketing, distribution, and monetization for markets outside China. So far, the alliance covers nine regions including India, Indonesia, Russia, and Malaysia. Huawei will utilize the new platform for the European market. The platform planned to go live in March. However, it has been postponed due to the Coronavirus situation. All four vendors refused to comment on the news. Since Google revoked Huawei’s Android license, Huawei mobile phones are not able to use Google Play. Huawei has been developing an App Gallery as a replacement, but it has been difficult for a single vendor to combat Google’s market dominance. By the end of 2019, Chinese mobile phone vendors held 40 percent of the global handset market.

Source: My Drivers, February 7, 2020

Global Times: U.S. Department of the Interior Grounded Its Drone Fleet

Global Times recently reported that the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) just announced that its drone fleet is formally grounded. This is due to the fact that many of these drones use China made parts that potentially can be used for spying. However, exceptions can be granted if there is a natural disaster or another similar emergency. This is in fact an extension of an order from last year, which paused the use of the DOI drone fleet. Many analysts pointed out that the biggest party impacted will be the Chinese drone manufacturer DJI, which is a big supplier to the DOI fleet. DJI later expressed deep regrets over this decision. It suggested that the decision was politically motivated so as to reduce DJI’s market share in order to support U.S. manufacturers. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked the U.S. government to give up such an outdated cold war mentality. The DOI fleet has around 800 drones that were either made in China or made with Chinese parts.

Source: Global Times, January 31, 2020

Survey Showed Republicans Won Top Ten Best Governors in U.S.

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that, according to a U.S. poll that Morning Consult did, the top ten most popular governors in the United States are all Republicans. The re-elected Republican Governor Hogan of Maryland, Republican Governor Gordon of Wyoming, and Republican Governor of Massachusetts Baker are among the most eye-catching, due to the fact that they all obtained a 69 percent approval rating. Morning Consult surveys 5,000 registered voters every day and publishes aggregated data on a quarterly basis. The newly released data was for the fourth quarter of 2019. Among the top ten most unpopular governors, Democrats took six and four were republican. The ‘Worst” governor was Hawaiian Democratic David Ige. Among the top ten most unpopular governors, West Virginia Republican Governor Justice is the only one set for re-election in 2020. In the period from October to December, the survey received a total of 493,000 responses from registered voters.

Source: Sina, January 21, 2020

The First Confucius Institute in the U.S. Will Close

The University of Maryland announced that it will close its Confucius Institute when the 2019-2020 school year is over. The university’s President Wallace Loh stated that this decision was due to a Federal law. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) requires that the Department of Defense stop funding the Chinese Flagship Program at U.S. colleges that have Confucius Institutes, unless they receive an exemption.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Maryland was established in 2004. It is the first one in the United States. Confucius Institutes have received many criticisms for spreading the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) ideology and political control throughout the hosting country.

The University of Missouri also announced that it will close its Confucius Institute in August.

Source: Epoch Times, January 18, 2020

Fuyao Glass America Received Awards from the Ohio Government

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the American branch of the Fuyao Group, the world’s largest automobile glass provider, headquartered in China, received awards from the Ohio government. Fuyao got a lot attention in the U.S. after Netflix released a documentary on the American Factory. Former U.S. first family Barack and Michelle Obama produced the documentary. It created a lot of buzz in the States due to its policies that were not pro-union. In the meantime, Fuyao caused major discussions in China and for a period time was considered a “traitor” to invest in U.S. manufacturing rather than in China’s.  Fuyao Chairman Cao Dewang made harsh comments about the Chinese investment environment not being business-friendly.  He also stated that the cost of doing business in the U.S. is lower than in China in all aspects except labor rates. Currently Fuyao has a US$900 million investment in five U.S. states, making glass locally in the United States and supplying glass to a quarter of the U.S. made vehicles. It has been profitable for the past three years.

Source: Sina, January 8, 2020

Xinhua: Chinese Students Should Stay Alert to Stigmatized U.S. Visa Policies

Xinhua recently published a commentary on the visa issues Chinese students face in the U.S. The commentary started with the statistics showing that the U.S. issued a total of 78,100 student visas in fiscal year 2018. This represented a decline of over 20 percent in three years. Of those visas issued, the number of Chinese students declined by 54 percent. In addition, the time it took for a Chinese student to obtain a U.S. student visa increased substantially.

American university officials typically blamed the current U.S. administration’s policies and attitude for the situation. Also, the increasingly high costs have remained another important challenge. The commentary strongly recommended that, for those planning to go to the U.S. for their education, it is very important to conduct careful research to avoid the majors in which it is harder to obtain a visa. It is also critical to select a domestic destination in case the visa application fails. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented that the unpopular U.S. policies have truly harmed the international image of the U.S., its reputation, and its national interests.

Source: Xinhua, January 2, 2020