Next Monday is the Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋节 and China will officially be on holiday. The Sinocism newsletter will publish as normal Monday.
1 big thing: Trump says "It is time to take a stand on China"
President Trump last night reiterated his stance on the trade war against China, telling Fox News host Sean Hannity:
Background: The White House announcement Monday of the next round of tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports promised:
The other side: China immediately responded by saying there'd be a new round of tariffs from them as well, but so far there's been no announcement of the threatened retaliation details. That may change in the next few days.
My thought bubble: The U.S. announcement of the new tariffs and threats of even more unless China surrenders unconditionally, was on the 87th anniversary of the September 18, 1931, Mukden Incident that was used as the pretext for Japan to invade Manchuria.
- This supports the point to just about everyone in China paying attention that America’s real goal is to keep China down, and that China has become too reliant on American markets, technology and imports.
- Even in the very unlikely event there's a short-term deal between the U.S. and China, the message seems crystal clear now to the PRC — that America has a broad strategy to contain China’s rise.
It further bolsters Chinese President Xi Jinping's position, as described in an April piece I wrote about the U.S. smackdown on ZTE:
Why it matters: Some say the U.S. may be underestimating China's resolve to lessen its dependence on America. Reuters offers a good inside look at China's strategy in the soybean trade war:
Quick take: Once they have cut their reliance on American soybeans, why would they ever go back?
- Walmart is where the trade war comes home (CNN)
- The forever trade war (Axios)
- A new era of U.S.-China competition calls for new rules (Axios Expert Voices)
- Alibaba bails on pledge to create one million U.S. jobs (Axios)
2. Profile of Robert Lighthizer
Bloomberg's Shawn Donnan has written an interesting profile of the tough trade negotiator, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer:
Why it matters: Lighthizer has spent decades arguing and preparing for an overhaul of the U.S.-China trade relationship. He has just gotten started.
Read more of the whole piece.
3. Kids separated from parents in Xinjiang
The Associated Press reports that the children of Uighur exiles and detainees are becoming wards of the state:
No sign Beijing will change policies: Guo Shengkun, whose post as secretary of the Communist Party’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission makes him China's top law enforcement official, just spent four days in Xinjiang on an inspection tour.
According to Chinese media reports (郭声琨在新疆调研时强调) he said that stability had been difficult to achieve and should be cherished and continually strengthened.
4. More Chinese internet controls coming
The new director of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) wrote an article in the latest issue of the authoritative Qiushi magazine on the need to deepen controls over the internet, following Xi's directions at the Aug. 21–22 national conference on publicity and ideological work.
The South China Morning Post reports on the article by Zhuang Rongwen:
Go deeper: Zhuang's Qiushi article 科学认识网络传播规律 努力提高用网治网水平
5. One world, two internets
CNBC's Lora Kolodny reports that Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google and executive chairman of parent company Alphabet, "predicts that within the next decade there will be two distinct internets: one led by the U.S. and the other by China."
Schmidt, who was speaking at a private event in San Francisco on Wednesday night, was asked about the chance that the internet will fragment, per CNBC. According to the network, he said:
My thought bubble: This trend has long been clear. I bought the domain oneworldtwointernets.com many years ago when I was thinking about doing a book on the Chinese Internet and Rest of the World Internet, led by America...
6. Report: New Zealand checks professor's office for surveillance
The New Zealand Herald reports that the New Zealand Special Intelligence Service has swept for surveillance bugs in the office and home of a China specialist professor, who had experienced recent burglaries. Per the Herald:
7. Worthy of your time
AP — China 'outraged' by US sanctions over Russian weapons buy
The Washington Post (Global opinions) — Is #MeToo changing China?
SCMP — Henry Kissinger didn’t press Donald Trump to work with Russia to ‘box in’ China, institute says
Center for a New American Security — Power Play: Addressing China’s Belt and Road Strategy
The Economist — China’s Global Times plays a peculiar role
China Change — Four Years Afar: Xu Zhiyong on his arrest and time in prison
China Media Project — China’s Propaganda Mission in 15 Characters
NYT — Shan Tianfang, a Superstar of Chinese Storytelling, Dies at 83
Brookings — China’s long game on human rights at the United Nations
SCMP — The decline and fall of Chinese Buddhism: how modern politics and fast money corrupted an ancient religion
Global Times — Alibaba sets up semiconductor company to develop proprietary AI chipset
NYT — Buddhist Temple, Now a Communist Shrine, Plants China’s Flag in Taiwan
RFA — Editor Wanted by Police From China's Jiangxi Over 'Coffin-Snatching' Video
This week's issues of my Sinocism China Newsletter