17 Jun 2021 02:35PM (Updated: 17 Jun 2021 04:19PM)
BEIJING: Vice Premier Liu He, China’s economic czar, has been tapped to spearhead the development of so-called third-generation chip production and lead the formulation of policy support for the technology, Bloomberg News reported on Thursday (Jun 17), citing sources.
Liu is also overseeing projects that could lead to breakthroughs in traditional chipmaking, Bloomberg said, citing one of the sources whom it did not name.
Liu, a confidante of President Xi Jinping, already holds a huge portfolio ranging from economics to finance. He has also been the chief negotiator in Sino-US trade talks since the days of former US President Donald Trump.
About US$1 trillion of government funding has been set aside under the technology initiative, part of which will be used by central and local governments to jointly invest in a series of third-generation chip projects, Bloomberg reported.
China’s State Council and Ministry of Industry and Information Technology did not immediately respond to faxed requests for comment.
Earlier this month, the US Senate approved a sweeping package of legislation intended to boost the country’s ability to compete with Chinese technology, drawing indignation from China, which objected to being cast as an “imaginary” US enemy.
The measure authorises about US$190 billion for provisions to strengthen US technology and research – and would separately approve spending US$54 billion to increase US production and research into semiconductors and telecommunications equipment, including US$2 billion dedicated to chips used by automakers that have seen massive shortages and caused significant production cuts.
Source: channelnewsasia.com “Xi picks Vice Premier Liu He to oversee China’s chipmaking push: Report”
Note: This is channelnewsasia.com’s report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’s views.
Asiafinancial.com’s article “Sewing the seeds of agri-tech: China’s new revolution in the fields” on June 11, 2021 describes that lots of China’s agricultural technology startups have attracted substantial investments. It regards the phenomena as the consequence of flood and other natural disasters having made agricultural technology attractive but fails to see the big picture.
What is the big picture?
Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s recent strategy of rural rejuvenation. China has learned from the West in developing urbanization but also sees the problems brought about by urbanization. It now realizes that it has to rejuvenate its rural areas at the same time for improvement its environment, better residence for its old people, domestic tourism, etc.
From that you see that learning from the West is not the end of China’s development. China shall have the wisdom for further innovation and development.
Its development of advanced communication networks with high-speed rails as the core, enormous hydro power stations, new generation of nuclear power stations, quantum technology, etc. proves its wisdom to go its own way when it has learned enough from the West.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on asiafinancial.com’s article, full text of which can be viewed at https://www.asiafinancial.com/sewing-the-seeds-of-agri-tech-chinas-new-revolution-in-the-fields?_ke=eyJrbF9jb21wYW55X2lkIjogIkpHZXZxcCIsICJrbF9lbWFpbCI6ICJreXRyYW5zbGF0ZUBnbWFpbC5jb20ifQ%3D%3D
This is a repost of my post on November 14, 2019
Blockchain was included in the State Council’s technology blueprint three years ago and some local governments have applied it to administrative work
Xi Jinping’s backing of blockchain created a lot of excitement in the cryptocurrency world, including renewed talk of China launching its own digital currency
Published: 7:30am, 14 Nov, 2019
Updated: 9:37am, 14 Nov, 2019
Blockchain is a distributed database where every participant shares and synchronises information. Photo: Shutterstock
Blockchain programmer Ean Zhao was in a routine meeting when the news broke: Chinese President Xi Jinping endorsed blockchain development in China. Zhao was confused for a few seconds but then relieved. “I will no longer feel on tenterhooks when coding,” he said.
After Beijing banned initial coin offerings (ICOs) in September 2017, Zhao came under pressure from friends and associates to quit the business. ICOs are a form of crowdsourced fundraising that use cryptocurrencies, whose transactions are recorded by blockchain, so he was seen as guilty by association.
Contrary to popular belief, the Chinese government has never stood against blockchain. The technology was included in the State Council’s technology blueprint three years ago and some local governments have applied it to administrative work. But none of those efforts compare with the powerful support of President Xi.
At a group study session for members of the Politburo, Xi said blockchain would play “an important role in the next round of technological innovation and industrial transformation,” according to a report by state media Xinhua on October 25.
The China blockchain stock index, compiled by Wind and based on nearly 100 companies, closed up nearly 9 per cent on the first trading day after Xi’s remarks were reported. NASDAQ-listed Xunlei, The9 and CNET, all involved in blockchain development, saw their shares shoot up 108, 21 and 16 per cent respectively.
China should ‘referee’ blockchain development, learn from P2P mistakes
Bitcoin also rose sharply over the weekend after Xi’s remarks, breaking the US$10,000 mark after lingering around US$8,000, according to industry website CoinDesk.
However, the fever soon died down, with most stock prices falling below their previous levels and bitcoin dropping below US$10,000 again.
Now that some of the initial hype has died down, here we explain the technology and how China may use it.
What is blockchain and why is Xi advocating it now?
Blockchain is a distributed database where every participant shares and synchronises information. The data, maintained in chained records called “blocks”, is not owned by any single authority. The decentralised design enables it to be transparent and tamper-resistant. Modifications by one party need to be verified by all others.
The concept first emerged in the 1990s but did not become reality until 2008, when Satoshi Nakamoto – a pseudonym that could be a person or a group – reportedly launched bitcoin, a virtual currency that used blockchain for transactions.
In 2015, the release of the Ethereum platform marked a milestone in the second-generation blockchain system that embodied “smart contracts”, broadening its use to allow people to create applications other than money exchanges, like games and markets, as they could be secured by digital contracts without any possibility of censorship, fraud or third party interference.
Given its transparency and immunity from hacking, blockchain is expected to be widely applied to industries including banking, the manufacturing supply chain, digital identity and governance.
In his speech last month, President Xi highlighted dozens of use cases – credit, health care, anti-counterfeiting, food security and charities – many of which have suffered in China due to security lapses.
He also said that developing blockchain can “help China gain an edge in the theoretical, innovative and industrial aspects of this emerging field.”
“Technically, blockchain can facilitate cross-border payments as the technology itself is beyond location and boundaries,” said Gao Chengshi, a cryptography expert and a member of the Blockchain Committee of the China Computer Federation.
“It might have an impact on the current customs and tariffs system,” Gao said.
Da Hongfei, founder of China-based blockchain company Neo, said blockchain technology would also promote renminbi internationalisation in overseas markets.
As the ongoing Sino-US trade war may lead to a decoupling of the world’s two largest economies, Beijing may also be rethinking its role in the international monetary framework.
Huang Qifan, a prominent politician and the former mayor of Chongqing city, said that SWIFT and the Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS), the world’s two major financial transaction providers, “are becoming America’s tools for global hegemony and long-arm jurisdiction.”
“Historically, the United States has launched several financial wars with the help of the SWIFT and CHIPS systems. There is a certain risk associated with a high degree of reliance on them,” Huang said last month.
His remarks came at an event where he endorsed a digital currency that Beijing looks set to launch soon. However, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has not yet made a decision whether to use blockchain for the digital money.
What is China’s central bank doing about it?
The day before President Xi’s speech, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, who is pushing his company’s own Libra cryptocurrency, warned US Congress that if his plan was not approved, China would overtake the US in innovation.
“China is moving quickly to launch a similar idea in the coming months,” he said. “We cannot sit here and assume that because America is today the leader that it will always get to be the leader if we don’t innovate.”
In 2014 the PBOC started research into digital currencies. At first, it experimented with a blockchain prototype, which “failed to achieve high concurrence on a retail level using the existing technology”, PBOC official Mu Changchun said at a financial forum in August. A month later, he became head of the central bank’s digital currency research institute.
Blockchains can be public or private, with the sole distinction being who is allowed to join. Public chains offer unrestricted access but require a substantial amount of computational power to maintain a distributed ledger on a large scale. For example, bitcoin’s upper limit is 27 transactions per second (TPS), according to an academic paper published in April.
Facebook’s Libra, a collaboration with 27 other entities, is a consortium network that could achieve 1,000 TPS among the social media platform’s 2.7 billion users, according to details revealed in June. In comparison, Visa said it can achieve 56,000 TPS and Tencent, the Chinese internet giant that embeds payment apps in its social media platforms, once claimed a peak of 158,000 TPS.
Facebook’s Libra, a collaboration with 27 other entities, is a consortium network that could achieve 1,000 TPS, according to details revealed in June. Facebook’s user base reached 2.7 billion in the second quarter. In comparison, Visa said it can achieve 56,000 TPS and Tencent, the Chinese internet giant that embeds payment apps in its social media platforms, once said it had a peak of 158,000 TPS.
The PBOC will adopt a two-tier system: the first from the central bank to commercial banks, then a second layer distributing digital yuan to individuals and businesses. PBOC officials have repeatedly said the central bank does not need to rely on one technology and that it can adapt to whatever technical approach works best, including blockchain.
“Decentralisation is no longer a key point, at least not the idealistic distribution in public chains,” said Xue Yu, research manager at IDC China’s Industry and New Technology Research Department, who added that the only practical use of blockchain in China is the Facebook-style consortium which can be integrated with regulators.
“Under many circumstances, blockchain exists as a regulatory technology. The central bank is happy to see it happen, because it will be able to know the entire transaction process without approaching commercial banks for verification,” Yu said.
Other nations, including Tunisia, Senegal and Venezuela, have launched their own blockchain-based digital currencies, while Britain, Canada, Russia, Sweden and Thailand are conducting research into it.
What else has China done?
In 2016, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) issued a blockchain white paper that discussed use cases for the technology, including the Internet of Things, the supply chain and digital assets. Later that year, China’s State Council, or cabinet, included blockchain as part of the five-year plan for the information industry that ends in 2020.
Separately, a handful of local governments have established funds to support the industry, some amassing as much as 10 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion). The technology is already being used in certain administrative applications, such as Shenzhen’s blockchain-based invoice system adopted last year to track tax payments.
Xi’s push for the technology did not come as much of a surprise to those in the industry though. “The central government has always held an encouraging and supportive stance on the application and development of blockchain technology” said Wei Anlei, researcher at the China Center for Information Industry Development (CCID), which is affiliated with MIIT.
But it does not mean Beijing will rethink its ban on ICOs, Wei added.
IDC’s Yu believes the advocacy from the president will make life easier for those in the sector. “When they meet their customers they won’t have to spend a lot of time explaining what blockchain is or what it’s used for because [customers] will now have a passion to learn about it,” he said.
China’s tech giants began using the technology as early as 2016. Search company Baidu mostly does blockchain-based financing, such as asset-backed securities while Tencent, which supplied the Shenzhen invoice system, also uses it for gaming and charitable projects to help parents find missing children. E-commerce leader Alibaba has used it to help track medical prescriptions, charitable donations and cross-border remittances.
Alibaba is the parent company of the South China Morning Post.
How does China stack up against the rest of the world?
Many Chinese blockchain start-ups are just copying and localising the open-sourced code from overseas, according to Yu. Big names such as Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent are developing their own but generally there is a technology gap with the US, he added.
The US is responsible for three times as many open-source codes as China, and more than 90 per cent of domestic Chinese blockchain systems are based on foreign codes or their variants, according to a 2018 report by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.
However, “the Chinese government is much more forward-thinking than the US in terms of blockchain technologies,” said Edith Yueng, a Silicon Valley investor and managing partner at Proof of Capital, which invests in blockchain and AI start-ups. “The rest of the world is growing slowly on consumer adoption.”
Hugh Madden, chief executive of Hong Kong-listed digital asset and technology company BC Group, who has 20 years of experience in blockchain, financial markets and security, believes support from the top leadership will be “a big win for China-based players and entrepreneurs in this space”.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has not yet made a decision whether to use blockchain for the digital money. Photo: Reuters
“The regulation of digital assets and blockchain has become the new ‘race to the moon’ for governments – whoever innovates and executes first stands to benefit economically from being an early entrant,” he said.
As revolutionary and promising as blockchain may be, the technology has several flaws. Blockchain investor Yeung said a key one was scalability, with the speed of a truly decentralised blockchain very slow.
In May, the central banks in Canada and Singapore conducted a trial cross-border and cross-currency payments system using blockchain. Even with a “limited number of participants,” it found the model would be “untenable” in a real-world scenario with “hundreds to thousands of participants on each network,” according to the project’s report.
It is also costly to implement and can be replaced by other technologies in most industry applications, according to Wang Xiaohui, deputy dean at the Institute of Internet Industry at Tsinghua University.
Another concern is system security. Although it is largely immune from hacking, it is not 100 per cent invulnerable. PBOC’s Mu said if any one party amassed more than half of a chain’s computational power it could possibly attack the system.
Earlier this year, hackers stole more than 7,000 bitcoin from Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges.
Additional reporting by Minghe Hu
For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters, subscribe to our award-winning Inside China Tech podcast, and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report. Also roam China Tech City, an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus.
Source: SCMP “What Xi Jinping’s blockchain advocacy means for China – and the world”
Note: This is a repost of SCMP’s article for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
June 2, 2021 8:07 AM HKT
China President Xi Jinping said the country must improve the way it tells its “stories” to a global audience as it seeks to develop an international voice that reflects its status on the world stage, official news agency Xinhua reported.
Speaking at a Communist Party study meeting, Xi said it was crucial for China to improve its ability to spread its messages globally in order to present a “true, three-dimensional and comprehensive China”, Xinhua said on Tuesday.
China needed to develop an “international voice” to match its national strength and global status, Xinhua said, citing Xi. It also needed to strengthen propaganda efforts to help foreigners understand the Chinese Communist Party and the way it “strives for the happiness of the Chinese people”.
The country needed to create a team of professionals and adopt “precise communication methods” for different regions, he said.
China’s relationship with foreign media has become increasingly tense in recent years, with local news outlets such as the Global Times often singling out foreign reporters for what it says is biased and unfair coverage.
Several journalists working for U.S. news organisations were expelled last year as relations between the two sides deteriorated.
China has also banned BBC World News from mainland Chinese television networks following criticism of the British broadcaster’s coverage of human rights in the northwestern region of Xinjiang as well as the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Source: Reuters “China’s Xi calls for greater global media reach”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’s views.
US to Build a New Cold War Camp against China
China signed a major investment pact with EU at the end of 2020 to implement its One-in-Three strategy as Chinese leaders have the vision to see that US new President Joe Biden wants to launch a new Cold War against China. In such a cold war, the US needs a cold war camp.
China certainly has its camp with lots of Asian countries as its members and Russia as China’s co-leader of the camp. As South Korea is not willing to and India dare no join US Cold War camp, the US will only have Japan alone in its Cold War camp in Asia. US major hope lies in EU.
Failure to have EU Join US Cold War
In early 2021, the US made great diplomatic efforts to have EU join its new Cold War against China but failed. EU members have lots of interests in Chinese market and may have better access to the market due to the investment pact China signed with EU at the end of 2020 in order to win over EU or at least prevent EU from joining US Cold War camp against China. If EU maintains its independence from the US, China and Russia’s Asian bloc will be one in the three powers in the world: EU, China and Russia’s Asia block and the US. In that case China’s Asia block is stronger than the US and Japan’s Cold War camp. However, if EU joins US Cold War camp, US camp will be much stronger than China’s Asia block.
EU certainly does not want to clearly take side with the US in countering China as it does not want to lose the benefits from China’s vast market. Moreover, China’s rise does not constitute any substantial threat but offers it with great opportunity. As a result, US Secretary of State Blinken was frustrated to say that he would not force EU members to take side between the US and China. In fact, he could not as the US lacks the strength to do so.
China-EU Pact May Fail due to China’s Counter Sanctions on EU
The US seems fortunate that in March 2021, EU joined the US, UK and Canada in imposing sanctions on China for alleged human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang. China retaliated with counter sanctions that upset EU. It may cause its investment deal with EU to be ratified by the European parliament.
Reinhard Buetikofer, the chair of the parliament’s China delegation, said, “The fate of this deal is very much in question,”
However as the deal is vital for the success of Xi Jinping’s one-in-three strategy, on April 7, 2021 Xi had a phone call with German leader Merkel to win Germany over as he knows Germany’s great influence in EU.
Boycott Xinjiang Cotton and Counter Boycott
Due to the sanctions, EU boycotted Xinjiang cotton. Chinese people responded fiercely. They boycotted foreign well-known fashion brands in response of EU companies’ boycott of Xinjiang cotton. That will greatly facilitate the development of China’s national fashion brands on China’s vast domestic market. China is now anxious to develop its own national well-known brands but its negligence for decades of national intellectual property has enabled foreign well-known brands to flood their products on Chinese market. Foreign fashion brands’ boycott of Chinese cotton provides China with a golden opportunity to develop its own national fashion brands.
Chinese companies will use the cotton foreign companies boycotted to produce fashion products to replace the brand of goods boycotted by foreign companies. Lack of foreign brands will greatly facilitate the development of China’s national brands. Chinese people’s boycott may hurt some EU countries’ fashion industry.
Chinese President Xi Jinping took the opportunity to talk with German Chancellor Merkel on the phone. He gave her the advice that Germany had to maintain its independence from the influence of others. Xi was certainly trying to persuade Germany not to follow the US in fighting a Cold War against China. He got Merkel’s words that Germany, the most influential country in EU, will maintain its independence. As a matter fact, Xi has thus got Merkel’s words that Germany would not join US Cold War against China. After all China is Germany’s major trade partners and has signed a trade deal with EU to allow EU even better access to Chinese market.
Xi’s efforts will be followed up by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s virtual conference with his German counterpart Heiko Maas to further improve China-EU ties.
Obviously, Germany also wants closer relations with China to benefit from China’s vast market. Right before the conference German Prime Minister Heiko Maas warned EU not to cut ties with China.
He said that EU needed to engage with China despite many differences instead of opting for a more isolationist approach.
He was quoted by media as saying, “In the EU, we have been describing China as a partner, competitor and systemic rival at the same time”. “In all these three dimensions we need strong, sustainable communication channels with Beijing. De-coupling is the wrong way to go.”
In the virtual conference between China’s Foreign Minister and State Councilor Wang Yi and German Foreign Minister Maas on April 21, 2021, Wang Yi said that as major world economies, China and Germany shall jointly resist the so-called “de-coupling” adverse trend and jointly safeguard the smooth operation and stability of global industrial and supply chains.
Wang Yi pointed out that China did not approve of any re-drawing of ideological lines or engaging in new group confrontation and is even more opposed to engaging in “small cliques”, advocating “New Cold War” and even arbitrarily imposing unilateral sanctions based on false information
Wang said that China-Germany and China-EU cooperation is mutual beneficial and win-win in essence. It may realize mutual supplementation of advantages. He hoped that the German side would also maintain its opening-up to China, reduce its restriction to export of high-tech products to China and provide Chinese enterprises in Europe with fair, open and nondiscriminatory investment environment.
Maas is quoted by media as saying that de-coupling is not commensurate with any party’s interests. Germany is willing to maintain close coordination and communications on multilateral and international affairs to jointly deal with global issues and challenges.
Obviously Germany wants better relations with China independent from the US. With Germany’s weighty influence in the EU and with the benefits provided by the investment pact between EU and China, the US is unable to have EU join its new Cold War camp against China.
US Cold War lacks allies, but China’s one-in-three will prevail as it advocates win-win cooperation instead of confrontation whether within or out of China’s Asia block. China will be benefited by its closer cooperation with EU, especially in developing high technology.
Article by Chan Kai Yee
April 20, 2021, 9:32 PM HKT
By Reuters and The Associated Press
The comments reflect Beijing’s desire for global influence and frustration at what party leaders see as Americaefforts to block its ambitions. Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for more equitable management of global affairs and, in an implicit rejection of U.S. dominance, said governments shouldn’t impose rules on others.
Speaking at the annual Boao Forum for Asia, Xi criticized efforts by some countries to “build barriers” and “decouple,” which he said would harm others and benefit no one.
“The world wants justice, not hegemony,” Xi said in remarks broadcast to the forum.
While Xi did not name any specific country, Chinese officials have referred to U.S. “hegemony” in recent public criticisms of Washington’s global projection of power in trade and geopolitics.
China has repeatedly clashed with the biggest stakeholders in world governance, particularly the United States, over a range of issues from human rights to China’s economic influence over other countries.
“Rules made by one or more countries should not be forced upon others,” he said.
Xi’s comments reflected Beijing’s desire for global influence to match China’s status as the second-largest economy and frustration at what party leaders see as U.S. efforts to block its ambitions.
On Friday, President Joe Biden held his first face-to-face White House summit since taking office, in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga in which China topped the agenda.
Both Biden and Suga said they “share serious concerns” about the human rights situation in Hong Kong and China’s Xinjiang region, where Washington has said Beijing is perpetrating a genocide against Muslim Uighurs. China has denied abuses.
Some of Xi’s comments clashed with Beijing’s increased military activity in the South China Sea and in areas it disputes with Japan, the Philippines, India and other countries.
“No matter how far it develops, China will never seek hegemony, expand, seek spheres of influence or engage in an arms race,” Xi said.
China’s military spending is the second-highest in the world after the U.S. Beijing is also developing nuclear-capable ballistic missiles, submarines, stealth fighters and other weapons to extend its military reach.
Chinese speakers at the Boao forum, Asia’s answer to Davos, also affirmed Beijing’s commitment to global free trade.
China’s trade practices were a focus of an intense tariff war between Beijing and Washington under the Trump administration, with the United States accusing Beijing of unfair subsidies that give Chinese companies an unfair advantage abroad, as well as forced transfers of technology and intellectual property.
“We Chinese are not afraid of competition,” Long Yongtu, China’s former chief negotiator for the China’s WTO entry in 2001, told the forum on Monday.
Despite the persistent confrontation between the U.S. administration and China, both sides have rediscovered a common interest in battling climate change, after bilateral talks on fighting greenhouse emissions fizzled out during the Trump era.
Last week, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry flew to Shanghai to meet with his Chinese counterpart in the first high-level visit to China by a Biden administration official.
Both agreed on concrete actions “in the 2020s” to reduce emissions.
On Tuesday, Xi also called on stronger global cooperation on coronavirus vaccines.
Source: NBC News “Chinese President Xi Jinping criticizes world ‘hegemony’ in jab at U.S.”
Note: This is NBC News’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
The country’s powerful National Energy Administration said on Monday it will raise solar and wind power generation in its energy mix from 9.5% last year to 11% this year; it wants renewable sources – hydro, solar, wind and biomass – to make up over half of installed capacity by 2025
by Tim Daiss
(ATF) Just days before US President Joe Biden’s global climate summit gets underway, China is pressing forward with plans to help the country reach its carbon emissions goals.
On Monday, the country’s powerful National Energy Administration (NEA) said it was raising solar and wind power generation in its energy mix from 9.5% last year to 11% this year. In 2020, solar accounted for 6.1% of the country’s power generation mix, with wind coming in at 3.4%. The proposal is a draft rule that will be circulated for opinions until April 25.
The NEA said solar and wind power generation would need to increase year-on-year until 2025 to reach 16.5% of the country’s total energy mix.
Earlier this month, the NEA set an ambitious target for total renewable energy – including hydro, solar, wind and biomass – to make up over half of installed capacity by 2025.
Green or even blue hydrogen hasn’t been included in these new benchmarks, which is not surprising, given its still high development costs and failure to yet reach fossil fuel cost parity. Green hydrogen-fossil fuel cost parity could come as early as next year or as far out as another decade, depending on whose modeling and forecasts you use.
The NEA added in its new draft proposal that it will establish a “diversified guarantee mechanism” to help more projects win access to the country’s electricity grid.
They also asked developers of renewables to accelerate their respective construction plans, and requested that local network operators guarantee grid connection for new clean power plants coming online.
Just two months ago, Beijing forced regional grid operators to increase their minimum power purchases from renewable power systems.
Battling China’s coal addiction
The move comes as Beijing steps up its battle to contain the country’s massive coal reliance, mostly used for thermal power generation, which is the largest in the world by a long way.
While global coal-fired electricity fell a record 4% in 2020 compared to the previous year, China’s coal-fired power production increased by 2%. Even more troubling is the fact that China now accounts for nearly 54% of the world’s overall coal-fired generation, according to a report earlier this month by climate and energy think tank Ember.
That over-reliance on coal has also put Chinese President Xi Jinping’s 2060 carbon neutral pledge, made before a virtual UN conference in September, at risk. He also said China would cap its emissions by as early as 2030.
Not only is Xi battling the country’s massive coal reliance and infrastructure, but it appears more difficult to bring under control at the provincial level than many outside observers would assume.
Last year, the NEA approved a record-number of new coal-fired power plants during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic to help bolster provincial economies. Since then, Beijing has brought rare pressure on the NEA and its coal build-out plans.
Political pressure mounts
Added to the fray is US President Joe Biden’s upcoming climate summit this Thursday and Friday, where some 40 world leaders will participate. John Kerry, Biden’s special climate envoy, will reportedly ask countries, particularly China and India, to do more to battle their massive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Despite an ongoing three-year trade war and political tensions on several fronts, Washington and Beijing have agreed to cooperate on the fight against global warming, though it’s unclear if President Xi will participate in the summit.
Biden is expected to unveil a new emissions reduction target for the 2015 Paris Climate Accord before or during the summit and pledge funding to help less wealthy countries combat climate change.
On Monday, the UN World Meteorological Organization released a report warning that “time is fast running out” to keep global temperatures in check. Titled “State of the Global Climate 2020,” the report claims that GHG concentrations in the atmosphere continued to climb in 2020, despite lockdowns imposed worldwide to slow the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
China, for its part, remains the world’s largest GHG emitter by far, followed by the US and India – also a massive coal user, with the fuel making up 70% of its power generation mix.
However, at the end of the day, with Chinese prestige at stake in front of a world stage and politicized even more since the election of Joe Biden and his global climate change push, Beijing will likely seek even more ways to trim its coal usage, while seeking to bring its emissions under control.
Carbon tax on exports ‘better than empty promises’
However, not all analysts believe public declarations at Biden’s climate summit will resolve the global warming crisis.
China and the United States are the world’s top two economies and together account for half of global emissions responsible for climate change. Russia is the fourth biggest emitter and Putin has accepted an invitation to speak at the climate summit.
Putin’s decision to participate “signals that he, too, is interested in preserving some space in the fraught US-Russian relationship,” Heather Conley, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told AFP.
But, Conley said: “Speaking at a virtual summit and mitigating climate impacts are two very different things.
“What is striking to me is that while both Beijing and Moscow are speaking the language of climate change before international audiences, at home, they are putting their foot on the accelerator to increase global carbon emissions,” she said, pointing to Russia’s fossil-fuel industry and China’s reliance on coal plants.
In a recent essay, Andrew Erickson, a China expert at the US Naval War College, and Gabriel Collins of Rice University argued that the United States should look to compete rather than coordinate with China on climate.
They said the United States could champion a carbon tax on exports – already backed by the European Union – to force China to cut back on coal.
“Xi’s bullish talk of combating climate change is a smokescreen for a more calculated agenda,” they wrote in Foreign Affairs.
“Chinese policymakers know their country is critical to any comprehensive international effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions, and they are trying to use that leverage to advance Chinese interests in other areas.”
With reporting by AFP
Source: Asia Times Financial “China kicks up renewables push days ahead of global climate summit”
Note: This is Asia Times Financial’s article I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the article’s views.
Trump was wise to want to withdraw US troops from Afganistan but failed due to pressures from US military. Now US new President Joe Biden is wise to resist the pressures and decides to withdraw entirely. US media The Washington Free Beacon asks the question “Will the government of Afghanistan survive America’s retreat?” in its column article “The Question Biden Won’t Answer” on April 6, 2021. Biden certainly knows the answer but is not willing to give the annoying answer.
The more appropriate question is: Shall the US keep troops in Afghanistan forever for its boys to die for maintaining the survival of a government that cannot survive on its own?
In spite of US great efforts for 2 decades, Afghnistan remains a poor small country not worth fighting for at all.
Now, the South China Sea and Europe are much greater issue involving lots of interests and US has treaty obligations to protect EU and Philippines’ interests there.
That is why the US sent its aircraft carrier battle groups to scare away Chinese navy, coast guard and fishing vessels in the South China Sea but failed. Russia at the same time massed troops along its border with Ukraine to threaten Europe. Obviously, Russia’s move aims at helping China’s move in disputed waters with US ally the Philippines. If the US fights China in the South China Sea, Russia will fight in Europe to divert US strength. US will thus be forced to fight two wars respectively in Asia and Europe, but it is not sure to be able to defeat either of the two.
As a posture to scare away Russia and enhance EU’s morale, the US plans to send two destroyers to the Black Sea, but that is far from enough for that purpose.
Biden is wise to withdraw US fleet from the South China Sea and scrap the plan to send warships to Black Sea. By so doing, he has avoided its fleet from being ambushed in the South China Sea and crushed by Chinese air and rocket forces.
What about Russia? Are 10,000 US troops stationed in Poland enough to resist Russian attack? Will two US destroyers in the Black Sea be enough to fight Russia? Now, it is certainly clear to Europe that it has to develop its own military to counter the threat. The deciding factor is China. If China supported Russia in invading EU, it would send its well-equipped large infanctry to Europe to support Russia. Then there will be no peace or stability in Europe for a long time.
Europe is lucky that China is not an aggressor as US and Western media describe. It has no intention to fight EU. In fact, what may China gain in invading EU. Nothing. But it may lose an important trade partner and source for coperation in developing technology.
So is it for Russia. The lessons of the Soviet Union remains fresh in Russians’ minds. For a democratic or socialist state, keeping satillite states is not profitable. Take Ukraine for example, The Soviet Union has to supply gas to it at very low prices and has to incur great costs to maintain its military there.
China certainly will not support Russia’s war in Europe. That is why Chinese President Xi Jinping held a video summit with French and German leaders on April 16, 2021 to mediate between Russia and EU in secret. The summit was conducted in an atmosphere full of the intention of cooperation. Xi has thus successfully played his role as China’s top diplomat for the implementation of his one-in-three strategy.
Comment by Chan Kai Yee on Washington Free Beacon’s article and CCTV prime time report 习近平同法国德国领导人举行视频峰会 in Chinese (translation: Xi Jiping holds video summit with Frence and German leaders), full text of which can be respectively be viewed at The Question Biden Won’t Answer – Washington Free Beacon and https://tv.cctv.com/2021/04/16/VIDEYwLsgxrVKSGqPzprMq56210416.shtml?spm=C31267.PFsKSaKh6QQC.S71105.3.
By Reuters Staff
APRIL 7, 20218:28 PM UPDATED 13 HOURS AGO
BEIJING/BERLIN (Reuters) -President Xi Jinping told German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday that he saw “various challenges” in relations between China and the European Union and hoped the EU could “independently” make correct judgements, a Chinese government statement said.
The statement quoted Xi as saying during a phone call that the EU and China should respect each other and “eliminate interference”, adding that China is willing to work with the global community to promote “fair and reasonable distribution” of COVID-19 vaccines and opposes vaccine nationalism.
Last month, the EU imposed its first significant sanctions against Chinese officials since 1989 over alleged human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region. Beijing, which denies the allegations, hit back by blacklisting some EU lawmakers and entities.
The United States, Britain and Canada also sanctioned Chinese officials over Xinjiang, and the row threatens to derail an EU-China investment pact agreed in late 2020 after years of negotiations.
German government spokeswoman Ulrike Demmer said Merkel and Xi had discussed international efforts to produce and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, deepen economic cooperation and steps to protect the climate and biodiversity.
She said the leaders agreed to deepen bilateral ties in Sino-German government consultations planned for late April.
“The Chancellor stressed the importance of dialogue on the full range of ties, including issues on which there are different opinions,” Demmer said, without giving details of the areas where Germany and China differ.
Reporting by Beijing newsroom and Michael Nienaber in Berlin; writing by Tom Daly; Editing by Andrew Heavens, Steve Orlofsky and Timothy Heritage
Source: Reuters “China-EU relations face challenges, Xi tells Germany’s Merkel”
Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean whether I agree or disagree with the report’ views.
China Simply Has No Intention Whatsoever to Compete with the US
I have mentioned that in my previous post “Winning Competition with US? China’s Ambition Much Bigger” on February 3, but have to elaborate on this topic again as Western media are full of speculation on China’s economic, diplomatic and military efforts to surpass the US. They fail to see that China’s economic efforts are aimed at achieving its goals of modernization in order to realize its China dream of revitalization. China’s diplomacy serves China’s efforts to attain its goals. Its most important recent diplomatic achievements are the establishment of RCEP and trade deal with Europe for win-win cooperation that will benefit both China and more than a dozen RCEP members and two dozens of EU members.
In US leader Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s phone call on February 10, 2021, Xi called for win-win cooperation with the US while Biden voiced his fundamental concerns about China’s so-called coercive and unfair trade practices.
Would other 14 RCEP members and 27 EU members have reached agreements on the establishment of RCEP and China-EU trade deal if China has indeed conducted coercive and unfair trade practices? The agreements prove China’s willingness to further open up to the outside world.
It is the US that has been conducting coercive and unfair trade practices to impose massive tariff hikes on Chinese exports to the US and restriction of exports of technological products to major Chinese companies.
Tariff Hikes Hurt US Consumers instead of China
Biden’s predecessor Trump’s tariff hikes have not only failed to reduce US trade deficit with China or bring back jobs to the US, but forced Americans to pay for the higher prices of imports from China that include the tariff hikes.
Restriction of Exports to China Will Hurt the US in the Long Run
As for the restriction of exports to China, it will cause US companies to lose China’s vast fast growing market in the long run. China is now an open market the shortage of supply of the restricted goods will give rise to increase in prices and therefore profits in the industries concerned. Funds and talent will rush to those industries and greatly raise the capacities there, which will not only cover the shortage but compete with the US companies in the industries concerned.
Biden, in addition, attacks China on its crackdown in Hong Kong and treatment of Muslims in Xinjiang, and for China’s increasingly assertive actions in Asia, including toward Taiwan.
China regard those areas as its internal affairs. Such attacks constitute infringement of China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They are certainly unacceptable to China.
The above clearly proves my view that China has been on defense while the US has been attacking. China is not competing with the US in economy and diplomacy while the US is competing with China. Biden has clearly said that China is America’s most serious competitor and the US shall out compete China.
The US Wants to Counter China due to Jealousy
The day after the phone call, Biden warned US senators, “If we don’t get moving, they are going to eat our lunch.” He told them in addition, “They’re investing billions of dollars dealing with a whole range of issues that relate to transportation, the environment and a whole range of other things. We just have to step up.”
True China now rank top in the world for its 146,000 km of railway network excluding urban rail. There is expecially 35,000 km of high-speed railways in the network. Its road network of 5.2 million km road includes 146,300 km of express freeways and urban rail networks all already rank top in the world.
CCP Central Committee and State Council have drawn up an ambitious plan to build a more convenient and high-quality transportation network by 2035 in order to provide most residents with access to a national highway within 15 minutes, a freeway in half an hour and a railway in an hour.
To fulfill the plan China has to invest heavily for expansion of its transportation network to lengthen its rail tracks to about 200,000 km, roads to 460,000 km and waterways to 25,000 km. By 2035 China will have 27 coastal ports, 36 inland river ports, about 400 civil aviation airports and 80 logistics hubs.
Such expansion will greatly improve transportation that will not only benefit Chinese economy but also facilitate foreign investment and business in China. In addition, it certainly does not aim at competing with the US as the US network has already lagged far behind China now. Why shall China’s current better infrastructures and ambitious plan to improve its infrastructures make the US unhappy?
China’s heavy investment in environment will contribute to improvement of global environment. Since the US has rejoined Paris Agreement, it shall be happy on that. Why would Biden be concerned about that?
The said China’s plan is domestic. It certainly will not hurt the US. On the contrary, China may increase its import from the US for those issues. Such heavy investment certainly does not aim at compete with the US. Isn’t it bizarre that Biden is concerned about that?
The answer to the above questions is but jealousy. It’s good that the US sees the needs to improve if it realizes that it may soon lag behind China by far as China keeps on meeting the requirement of the development of advanced productive force according to Marxist theory. However, if the US fails to reform, it will lose its competition with China due to its poor political system.
The US Is Doomed to Fail in Its Competition with with China
China has Marxism as its Guiding ideology. What it has been doing is to follow the general Marxist rule to meet the requirement of the development of advanced productive force. It will constantly apply the general rule of Marxist dialectic materialism to check by practice whether its policies really meet the requirement of the development of advanced productive force.. If not, China will conduct further reform to meet the requirement. That enables continuous development of China’s advanced productive force and ensures China’s constant substantial economic growth.
The US has no fixed goal to develop its economy. It remains inactive in its economic development until China’s rise threatens its world leadership though Trump’s “America first” has already made the US lose world leadership. Even if the US wins its competition, if possible, with China, the victory will be a short-term one because the US will lose direction again and fail to make further efforts to maintain its economic growth faster than China. China, however, will keep on meeting the requirement of the development of advanced productive force whether the US wins its competition with China or not.
The space race between the US and Soviet Union was a good example. The race is for hegemony instead for conquering the space for the human race. When the US was ensured of full win, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US greatly reduced its funds for space-related activities. How can China catch up so fast if the US has not relaxed its efforts in space?
China’s goals are to be strong to avoid bully by other nation and to be rich to satisfy its people’s aspiration for better life. China will make constant efforts to attain those goals no matter whether the US win or lose its competition with China.
A United Country v. a Split One
Before Xi came to power, China was a split nation with fierce power struggle between reformists and conservatives. Xi was wise to use China Dream to unite both reformists and conservatives under him. Now Xi is very popular and the morale of the whole Chinese nation including the elite, talented scholars, scientists and technicians, entrepreneurs and common people is very high as China has attained its goal of lifting the whole nation out of poverty and has greatly raised people’s living standards.
The US is now a split nation, Trump, though has lost the presidential election to Biden, the number of votes he got was only marginally smaller than Biden. Lots of voters have remained supporting Trump, especially his hardline policies against China. Biden has to maintain Trump’s China policies, though US experts have already pointed out that such policies were stupid. It is a serious question whether Biden will be able to turn Trump’s supporters into his supporters to jointly carry out his policies to contain China’s rise.
Though not compete economically, as described in Chapters 39 and 40, China has long been competing with the US militarily, which I refer to as China’s arms race with the US. China has made great progress in developing advanced weapons and conducting sophisticated drills to learn the strategy and skill for applying its new advanced equipment for victory. China wining the arms race will be described in my next article.
Article by Chan Kai Yee