driving the day
1. Big ceremony, big words
Yesterday the Party took a stroll down memory lane.
- Senior leaders hosted the opening ceremony of an exhibit to commemorate the 70th anniversary of China’s participation in the Korean War.
The ceremony was a Big Deal: Xi Jinping and all top Party cadres – including all Politburo Standing Committee members and vice president Wang Qishan – were in attendance.
Some context: That’s in stark contrast to the 60thanniversary festivities, when the only big event organized by the Party was a symposium chaired by Xi, who was then vice president.
We’ve also noted a sliiiight change of tone over the years.
At the 2010 symposium, Xi put his best pacifist foot forward, saying (Gov.cn):
- “Today, [the purpose of]commemoratingthe 60th anniversary… isnot to continue the confrontation.”
At yesterday’s ceremony however, Xi was ready to go at it (Xinhua):
- “The great spirit of resisting U.S. aggression and aiding Korea is a precious spiritual wealth that will inspire the Chinese people and the Chinese nation to overcome all difficulties and obstacles and defeat all powerful enemies.”
Get smart: Theoccasion of celebrating a war effort against the US is handy for the Party to rally people’s support in the current geopolitical struggle.
2. Shenzhen wraps up digital currency trial
On Sunday, Shenzhen ended the week-long testing of China’s sovereign digital currency (DCEP).
ICYMI: A week ago, Shenzhen gave away 10 million digital yuan ofconsumption coupons to the public, to beta test the DCEP payment system (see October 15 Tip Sheet).
The giveaway was a success (Caixin):
- 47,573 out of the 50,000 receivers of the coupons used the DCEP through their e-wallet app.
- Together they spent 8.76 million digital yuan at 3,389 designated merchants.
- Some consumers even topped up their e-wallets, spending a total of 90,100 digital yuan in addition to the coupons.
However, the technology is still somewhat lacking:
- Although DCEP’s user experience is reportedly similar to Alipay and WeChat Pay, cashiers still need to manually input the purchase amount to settle transactions –quite a big drawback.
There is more to come (Sinopec):
- On October 16, Sinopec – China’s largest oil company and one of the designated merchants in the Shenzhen DCEP trial – announced that it will expand DCEP payment services to 110 gas stations in Shenzhen.
The big question: How many of the lottery winners will stick with the DCEP payment system after the coupons are taken away?
3. Virtual insanity
On Monday, Vice Premier Liu He was in Nanchang, Jiangxi, for the kickoff of the 2020 World Conference on VR Industry.
- Virtual reality, duh.
Between (presumably) inspecting the latest FPS game and reviewing recent developments in simulated catgirl technology, Liu delivered a keynote speech emphasizing the importance of the VR industry to China’s industrial upgrading (21st Century Biz):
- “[A] new round of scientific and technological revolutions and industrial reforms are speeding up.”
- “The deep integration and development of virtual reality technology and digital technology such as the Internet, big data, artificial intelligence, and 5G are having a profound and extensive impact on…economic and social development.”
- “With the advent of the 5G era, the integration of virtual reality and the real economy will be realized at a…higher level.”
Liu made three suggestions to the VR industry:
- Speed up the improvement of new infrastructure
- Expand the number and type of application scenarios for VR technology and develop a VR industrial cluster
- Deepen industrial cooperation with foreign stakeholders
Get smart: Beijing is all-in on new infrastructure. VR is an important piece of that puzzle.
Get smarter: Expect new infrastructure to figure prominently in the upcoming 14th Five-Year Plan.
4. And Captain Planet wept
How much Co2 gets released when you roast an entire country?
Apparently China’s foreign ministry (MoFA) is trying to find out.
- On Monday, MoFA released two reports lambasting the United States for its environmental record.
The first put Washington on blast for its failure to adequately address the issues of (MoFA 1):
- Greenhouse gas emissions
- Climate change
- Endangered species
- Wildlife trafficking
- Waste, chemical, and forest management
- Illegal logging
- Water pollution
- Methane leaks
The second report charged that the US had hindered multilateral efforts to protect the environment by (MoFA 2):
- Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement
- Failing to fulfill international obligations
- Frequent non-participation in international environmental pacts
- Disrupting international environmental cooperation
The piece ended with an exhortation to the US to clean up its act:
- “It is hoped that the US will return…to the right track of responding to global environmental crises by upholding international law and multilateralism.”
Get smart: As with so many issues in US-China relations, both countries have a lot to answer for re: environmental degradation.
Get smarter: The environment has often been held up by Chinese policymakers as a possible area of Sino-American cooperation. We’re not sure why the foreign ministry decided to go on the attack.
Our question: Would a hypothetical Biden administration be willing to collaborate with Beijing on the environment?
5. Patent Law enhanced
On Saturday, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee approved the fourth round of revisions to the Patent Law.
- The revised law will take effect on June 1, 2021.
Some context: The Patent Law was first enacted in 1984 and has gone through three previous rounds of revisions, in 1992, 2000, and 2008.
The new round of revisions are meant to give more teeth to law enforcement agencies in cracking down on patent violations, notably by:
- Raising the legally mandated compensation range for patent violations from RMB 10,000–RMB 1 million to RMB 100,000–RMB 5 million
- Shifting the burden of proof in infringement disputes from patent holders to alleged patent violators
The revisions also aim to tap into unused patents, by:
- Requiring government agencies and local governments to enhance services that facilitate the commercial and practical application of patents
- Establishing a regulatory mechanism for patent holders to allow paid use of protected patents
Get smart: Contrary to conventional wisdom in the West, Chinese lawmakers are well aware of the importance of patents inprotecting andapplyingintellectual property.
6. Changing of the Guangxi guard
Yesterday, a new and exciting personnel move happened in the provinces.
Lan Tianli was appointed acting chairman of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
- Lan is taking over the position fromChen Wu who is stepping down due to having reached retirement age.
A little about Lan:
- Lan belongs to the Zhuang minority and has spent his entire career in his native Guangxi.
- He has a PhD in management studies from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
- Lan served as vice chairman of Guangxi between November 2011 and January 2018, during which time he was responsible for a large portfolio, including sci-tech, construction, ethnicissues, tourism, and natural resources.
- Most recently, Lan has served as the chairman of the Guangxi CPPCC since January 2018.
- Lan is an alternate member of the 19th Central Committee (CC) (2017-2022). He was also an alternate member of the 18th CC (2012-2017).
Get smart: With this promotion, Lanshould earn a full-member seat on the CC, whichcould happen as early as next week, at the Fifth Plenum.
What to watch: More personnel changes are coming to the Guangxi top leadership soon. Provincial Party secretary Lu Xinshe will either bepromoted further, or he’ll haveto retire bythe end of next year.