Politics Watch: US-China Trade War a ‘Deathtrap’ for CCP Politics

Li Zhanshu, the head of the National People’s Congress (NPC) and third-ranking Politburo Standing Committee member, said during a July 16 meeting of the NPC’s Leading Party Members’ Group that officials must uphold the “paramount authority,” or “ding yu yi zun” (“the highest authority settles the question”) of “core leader” Xi Jinping. Li’s choice of …

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Politics Watch: China’s Finance Ministry and Central Bank Clash as Economy Worsens

In an article published on July 13, Xu Zhong, the head of research for the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), criticized China’s Ministry of Finance (MoF) for failing to actively implement fiscal policy to stimulate growth and for “playing the gangster.” On June 30, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) had published a guiding opinion that …

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Risk Watch: China’s Local Debt ‘Iceberg’ Emits ‘Cracking Sounds’

Caijing Magazine’s 16th issue of 2018 (published on July 9) featured a cover page with a man hauling a piggy bank atop a cracking iceberg. The headline read: “The Worries of Local Debt Hanging High Overhead.” The cover page article likened China’s local government implicit debt to an iceberg, with a small portion publicly visible …

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Risk Watch: China’s Tax Revenue Climbs in June Despite Worsening Economy

On July 13, China’s Ministry of Finance (MoF) released data for the country’s fiscal revenue and expenditure for the first half of 2018. On the same day, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) released financial and total social financing statistics for H1 2018. According to the data dump, China’s economy worsened in the first six …

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Social Watch: In China, the CCP is Losing Control Over the Trade War Narrative

Much reporting on China’s response to the Sino-U.S. trade dispute is focused on official statements and remarks from senior officials or scholars. Readers of those responses can be forgiven for believing that China as a whole steadfastly opposes trade action by the United States. The sentiment on the ground in China on the trade conflict …

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Risk Watch: Does China Have Ammo for a Trade War?

On July 6, the United States imposed 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods. China hit back with tariffs on a similar scale on the same day. News reports say that another $16 billion of U.S. tariffs targeting products under China’s “Made in China 2025” program would go into effect two weeks …

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Geopolitics Watch: Korean Peninsula Denuke and Peace Could Hinge on US-North Korea Trust

Before departing Pyongyang on July 7, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the round of talks he had with General Kim Yong Chol, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s top lieutenant, were “productive” and held in “good faith.” He added that progress was made on “almost all of the central issues” of …

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Politics Watch: Decoding the CCP Propaganda Shift on China, America, and Trade

On July 2, Chinese Communist Party (CCP) mouthpiece People’s Daily published on its website the first article in a series aimed at critiquing “pompous, arrogant writing” and promoting Xi Jinping’s requirements for writing. Titled “Have We Forgotten How to Write Essays?”, the commentary piece criticizes articles that exaggerate China’s achievements and mock other countries. The …

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Geopolitics Watch: What North Korea, China ‘Backslide’ Means for Denuclearization, Sino-US Trade

Since the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, signs have emerged which suggest that North Korea may not be working to denuclearize quickly. While United States President Donald Trump said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had promised to destroy a missile engines testing site, recent satellite images reveal no progress on that front. Instead, Pyongyang …

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Risk Watch: Can China’s New Negative List Help Defuse Trade Dispute with America?

China’s National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Commerce jointly released a shortened negative list of industries where foreign industries are restricted or banned on June 28. The new list reduces the number of sectors restricted to foreigners from 63 to 48, and will go into effect on July 28. The sectors where …

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