“A Table for Six”, and Much More Commentary from the Web, Week 38, 2022

'Table for Six': A Hong Kong comedy full of local flavor – The China Project

Set in Hong Kong, Table for Six tells the story of three half-brothers living under the same roof and struggling through relationship and family problems. The wholesome “melan-comedy” by writer-director Sunny Chan (陳詠燊 Chén Yǒngshēn) stands out thanks to its delicate handling of mature romantic relationships and uniquely Hong Kong setting (despite barely showing skyscrapers and busy streets).


China offers carrot and sticks in debt deals with Ecuador and other countries – The China Project

Ecuador announced on Monday night that it has reached an agreement to restructure its debt with Chinese banks for amounts worth about $1.4 billion, adding to the growing list of debt-ridden countries being offered bailouts by Beijing.

The agreements, reached with both the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China, have been in the works since February, and had previously been rescheduled once back in 2020. Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso had also sought financing aid from multilateral institutions and renegotiated a $6.5 billion credit agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that ends this year. …

China has been Ecuador’s largest trading partner for two years in a row: Trade between the two nations amounted to $10.95 billion in 2021, a 44.5% growth from the previous year. Much of that comes from crude oil exports, and recently, China’s growing taste for shrimp.


'While the Wall is standing, we'll be here': Catching up with Great Wall conservationist William Lindesay – The China Project

William Lindesay first left his native England for China in 1986 as a marathon runner attempting to run the Great Wall. After many setbacks, he completed a journey of 2,500 kilometers in 1987. Those experiences are recounted in his first book, Alone on the Great Wall, published two years later. …

On September 20, he published the first volume of his two-part memoir Wild Wall — The Foundation Years. He recently talked to The China Project about why he decided to write a memoir, the challenges of running a tour business during the pandemic, and how the mantle of Great Wall exploration has been taken up by his sons.


Battery swapping is the future of electric vehicles – The China Project

On Wednesday, a new company, Shanghai Jieneng Intelligent Electric New Energy Technology (a literal translation of 上海捷能智电新能源科技), was established, boasting an impressive range of investors including SAIC Motor 上汽集团 (the largest shareholder at 37.5%), Sinopec 中国石化 (25%), PetroChina 中国石油 (12.5%), and Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL) 宁德时代 (12.5%). With registered capital of 4 billion yuan ($564.95 million), the core business of Shanghai Jieneng is battery leasing, or in other words, the battery swap model for electric vehicles.


Justin Yifu Lin: How China avoided transition collapse (pekingnology.com)

Professor Lin, formerly Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank, 2008-2012, is Dean of Institute of New Structural Economics, Dean of Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development, and Professor and Honorary Dean of National School of Development (NSD) at Peking University.

For a well-rounded discussion of why China was able to avoid the collapse and stagnation that happened in other transition economies, what price China paid for its success, and what lessons are to be learned for others, this article is not lengthy. Let’s get right into it.


(Book excerpt) Protecting China's Interests Overseas: Securitization & Foreign Policy (pekingnology.com)

This book argues that, so far, what happened in China does not seem to differ significantly from what other scholars have noticed when other great powers have had to deal with the same problem. On the one hand, crises abroad put pressure on Chinese civilian and military elites to acknowledge that protecting the lives and assets of Chinese individuals and companies overseas had to be included in their understanding of national security and, therefore, new policies became necessary. On the other hand, uncertainty, lack of clear information and experience, and different interests within the bureaucracy have undermined the emergence of a well-thought-out strategy until very recently. Indeed, despite the obvious differences between today’s China and the imperial powers of the past, such as the British Empire described by Galbraith, the vocabulary used by Chinese commentators to describe the problem is not the only similarity. Chinese policymakers share the same difficulties in devising a clear strategy and directing the vast and different agencies under their command to tackle the problem of defending the country’s interest frontiers in a coordinated way. After all, China’s policymaking process is rather fragmented, with a growing number of actors competing for influence and resources (Lampton 2001, Mertha 2009). At the same time, modern China has scant global experience and its elites have little understanding of what is happening outside Asia and—until the arrival of Donald Trump at the White House—the United States. 


In Shanghai: Chinese vaccines show "high and durable" effectiveness against critical illness & death, "low" against infection (pekingnology.com)

Between 2 December 2021 and 13 May 2022, a total of 618,019 individuals tested RT-PCR-positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection in Shanghai. The study which produced the preprint studied 612,597 documented infections, among which 1,485 progressed to severe or critical illness and 568 died.


Zheng Yongnian highlights "no reason to change opening-up policy" (pekingnology.com)

We believe that China's reform process in the past decades was shaped by openness. The great achievements made in the past decades were shaped by openness. The history of the past decades was led by openness. There is no reason to change our belief in openness now that we are dealing with significant changes in the global environment. Instead, we should firmly believe in openness, let it continue to support national economic development, let it continue to shape the national economic future, and let it lead us to the center of the international stage when the West opposes globalization.

Zheng is Presidential Chair Professor, the Founding Director of the Advanced Institute of The Institute for International Affairs, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen.

Graduated from Peking University (BA in International Relations, 1981-1985 & MA in Political Science, 1985-1988) and Princeton University (MA & PhD in Political Science, 1990-1995), Zheng served as the former Director of the East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore (2008-2019), and the former Research Director and Professor of the China Policy Institute, University of Nottingham (2005-2008). 



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