Trying to keep up with what’s happening in China? Here’s an overview of some of the most important headlines and developments last week!
Politics: US-China Relations
China and the US are preparing for Xi Jinping’s visit to the US this Thursday. After Obama put the option of sanctions against China back on the table, the NYT is reporting that China and the US are working on a cyberwarfare deal to be announced during Xi Jinping’s visit. The US had been complaining about massive cyber attacks originating from China for the past few months.
Earlier this week, China released scholar Guo Yushan 郭玉闪, who had helped Chen Guangchen escape to the US embassy in 2012 and who had been detained (more: South China Morning Post). While Guo is not under house arrest, the release does not mean that the Chinese government has dropped the investigation against him. In another move that is seen as in preparation for the state visit, the US has extradited a key corruption suspect to China (more: Asia Times).
Politics: Asia-Pacific Security
China has condemned Japan’s move to expand the role of its military overseas. Among others, the security bill, which was passed in the Japanese Diet on Saturday (Sep 19) allows Japanese soldiers to be deployed abroad for purposes of “collective self-defense”, i.e. in support of the military operation of an ally such as the United States (more: BBC). Meanwhile, China and the US have had some heated verbal exchanges over the contested Spratly Islands also claimed by the Philippines, where China has been reclaiming land for what US officials fear will become military bases in the South China Sea (more: The Independent).
China Media Capital and Warner Bros. have announced a new joint venture ahead of Xi’s US visit. Its purpose will be to create Chinese-language films for distribution in China and worldwide (more: Businesswire). Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch, who self-reportedly “hit a brick wall” in China ten years ago is also taking another look at the Chinese media market (more: The Guardian). The Chinese government is clearly interested in cooperation with foreign media in order to be able to shape global China coverage more proactively and create a more positive image. As Xi Jinping put it, China welcomes foreign media “to cover China stories, introducing China’s development to the world, and helping the world grasp the opportunities [afforded by] China’s development.” Transnational media corporations have held a long-standing interest in entering the potentially lucrative China market, but relations between foreign media and the CCP have been notoriously tense as foreign media’s websites are still often blocked and the number of correspondents’ visas rejected has increased.
Culture and Society
The Beijing Municipal government has gone into the car-hailing business with a new app competing against Uber and Didi kuaidi. The move appears at least partially to be aimed at solving the current crisis of licensed taxi drivers who have found themselves out of work and out of prospects as fewer people take traditional taxis in Beijing (more: SCMP).