In a personal letter, President Xi Jinping urged overseas Chinese students to be patriotic and contribute to national rejuvenation. The letter, written to students and scholars at Moscow University, appeared in People’s Daily with pledges of loyalty from Chinese student representatives in Russia, the US and Canada. The San Francisco Chinese consulate organised a meeting with local Chinese students to spread Xi’s message, calling Chinese overseas students ‘a vital force in building socialism with Chinese characteristic in the new era’.
The state is moving supply-side structural reform (SSSR) forward in the new year, following the tone-setting Central Economic Work Conference (CEWC) in December 2017—elimination of zombie enterprises will be the focal point in 2018.
The December NPC Standing Committee meeting called for stricter regulation of commercial entities that collect and utilise personal data. Real-name registration, for example, has become a pretext for online businesses to harvest customers’ data for profit.
Deleveraging, a key economic policy theme, was not prominent in this year’s Central Economic Work Conference (CEWC), in line with softened rhetoric at a CCP Politburo meeting two weeks before. This quickly raised concerns that the resolve to fight mounting debt was waning—even CASS recognised debt as ‘alarmingly high’ and rising.
The annual Central Economic Work Conference, expressed a desire to ratchet up and professionalise Party regulation of the economy. Held mid-December, its main initiative, an ‘effective long-term policy intervention package’, stays close to themes laid out at the October 19th Party Congress: quality-over-quantity growth, prudent monetary policy and lowering barriers to foreign investment.
China–US trade relations slumped following Trump’s November visit. MofCOM, responding to stepped-up trade investigations and denial of China’s market economy status, condemned US disregard of WTO rules in favour of domestic law.
A new agency, proposed at the 19th Party Congress, could govern both natural resources and environmental supervision, replacing the dispersed rule of over a dozen other agencies. But even with General Secretary Xi Jinping’s 习近平 blessing, such a shakeup will be tough. Many other agencies, especially the Ministry of Land and Resources, will fight to retain their piece of the pie.
Plans to ban every ‘highly toxic’ pesticide by 2022 were mooted by Zeng Yande 曾衍德 Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) crop management department head at a press conference 4 December 2017. Notably, a number of these chemicals remain approved for use in the US, EU and other developed markets.
While Trump’s visit to Beijing early this month marked progress, US specialists agreed on the uncertainty of long-term bilateral ties, highlighting tension on North Korea and trade. Beijing pushed to speed up talks on a South China Sea Code of Conduct, confident that it can ‘build a regional order’.
China’s retail cross-border e-commerce (CBEC) generated over C¥6.7 tn in cross-border transactions in 2016, not including grey channel daigou purchases. The state is keen to regulate the industry and lead in setting global e-commerce rules. But on 20 September 2017, the State Council again postponed new customs rules on CBEC direct retail (B2C) import until end 2018.