By Godfree Roberts – selected from his extensive weekly newsletter : Here Comes China

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In the previous sitrep, there was good discussion on the High-Temperature Superconducting maglev train which is as fast as jetliner.

We continue the theme of transportation but this time on the water.  China’s largest domestically made all-electric passenger ship, Junlyu, in the Wuhan section of the Yangtze River in central China’s Hubei Province. The Wuhan Yangtze River ferries have a history of 120 years. They have transformed from simply being a form of cross-river transportation to more of a cultural attraction. As a cruise ship on the main axis of the Yangtze River in Wuhan, Junlyu allows visitors to enjoy local scenery during a one-hour trip.

Continuing this week with notes on governance:

Xi Jinping at the recent WEF gathering.

“There is only one Earth. Let’s build a shared future for mankind: attempts to isolate, intimidate, decouple and sanction others will only push the world into division, even confrontation. History and reality have made it clear, time and again, that the misguided approach of antagonism and confrontation, be it in the form of a cold war, hot war, trade war or tech war, will eventually hurt all countries’ interests and undermine everyone’s well-being.” Xi’s complete Davos address.


Japan sees no genocide in Xinjiang. The Japanese government, which for some time has been echoing the US on China’s human rights issues, said on Tuesday that Tokyo does not believe China has committed “genocide” in its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Read full article $→

China executed SOE ex-chairman Lai Xiaomin for taking $276.8 million of bribes in exchange for his help in financing and promotions. He was also convicted of bigamy and colluding with others to embezzle 25 million yuan of public funds. Read full article →

Investment in water conservancy hit $119 billion in 2020, up 6% YoY. China will accelerate work on 150 major water conservancy projects in 2021, including the South-to-North Water Diversion Project, flood prevention in the lower Yellow River and water for Xiong’an New Area.  Read full article $→

Wang Xuming said Who are the dearest? an essay about Chinese soldiers in the Korean War that once won praise from Mao – was deleted from textbooks in 2001. When he tried to include it in the 2013 textbook revision, his boss said the text “is not appropriate with the current Northeast Asia situation.” Finally, the text has reappeared in the 2021 national textbook. Read full article →

What is a Dyson Sphere?  Truly Back to the Future, it’s a new game.  You are a space engineer and must construct new Dyson Spheres to keep the new world computer running.  Created by five Chongqing game developers, “Dyson Sphere Program” sold over 200,000 downloads at $15 in its first hour on sale and its rating on Steam is “overwhelmingly positive” based on 6,000 reviews. Read full article →

(Posted with no comment, as I myself tend to disappear into computer games and decided many years ago that there are better things to do and it is better for me to abstain – but, this one is tempting).  

We end this week with Trade and IP

Volkswagen got 40% of its sales in China last year, and HSBC made most of its profits there, too. Read full article $→

China has agreed with 20 countries–including Argentina, Britain and Pakistan–to build 30 nuclear reactors. Dr. David Gattie says, “Construction, maintenance, nuclear waste handling and decommissioning plants with a 60- or 80-year life cycle makes these decades-long relationships.”  Read full article →

A China-New Zealand free trade agreement eliminates remaining tariffs on  $23 billion trade and opens new areas of investment: wood and paper, dairy exports, investments in aviation, education, finance, elderly care, and passenger transport.  Both committed to maintaining environmental standards. Read full article $→

China bought 44.8 million tons of iron ore from India in 2020, up 88%, and the highest in nine years. Australia and Brazil remained China’s top suppliers in 2020. Australian shipments rose 7% to 713 million tons, while Brazilian supplies were up 3.5% at 235.7 million tons. Read full article →

China will build and operate a 203-km power line connecting southern Laos to Cambodia on a $150 million BOT contract. Laos plans to quadruple its hydropower capacity with the support of China and Western companies like GE are trying to capitalize on the “battery of Asia,” too. Read full article →

China Railway built Vietnam’s first metro line and trained its personnel. The 13km line is a key BRI collaboration. Read full article →

As a rising fashion brand in China, Tommy Hilfiger has been pestered by copycats. Recently, Tommy Hilfiger successfully invalidated a Chinese company’s disputed mark on the grounds of prior use and the similarities between the designated goods of the disputed trademark and its cited trademark. Read full article →

215 universities and colleges have set up AI undergraduate programs filed 389,571 AI patent applications in the past ten years, ranking first in the world, accounting for 74.7% of the global total. Top ten for top-quality research papers: US, China, Germany, Britain, Japan, Canada, France, South Korea, Italy, and Australia. Read full article →

Wind, solar and hydropower made up 57% ($11bn) of China’s total investment in energy infrastructure in 2020, up from 38% in 2019. Coal investments took up 27%, up from 15 percent in 2018. Read full article $→

The State Council published plans to become one of the world’s leading countries in international aid and development: China’s International Development Cooperation in the New Era, updates two previous strategy documents and outlines Beijing’s ambitious plans to overhaul its current aid and development initiatives around the world. Read full article →

The next video discusses the African / China relationship and is not from Godfree’s newsletter.  It is pre-Covid and truly interesting.  The lecturer, Gyude Moore is a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development and he discusses the three most important reasons that China is welcome in Africa and how they got there.  Some stories are quite classic, in that for example Nancy Pelosi refuses to see African delegations, saying that she only speaks to Heads of Governments.  In contrast a visiting African delegation to China is treated with the same respect as anyone else. Enjoy this truly interesting speech.   I’ve heard similar testimony from Central and South America.

This represents but a fraction of what is included in the Here Comes China newsletter. If you want to learn about the Chinese world, get Godfree’s newsletter here:

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