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Dear reader,

Here’s an NPR radio series that many of you might relate to, all about what it's like to live with a foot in China, another in the U.S. The people interviewed include a range of people somehow stuck in the middle between the world’s two feuding superpowers.

Readers based in New York City can learn about “the art of East Asian greens” at an event on June 12 put on by Local Roots NYC, recently featured in a SupChina “Immigration Series” video.

—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief

1. The rare earth card

As per the Simpsons, nothing happened on Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 4 this year. But nearby on Yuetan Street, an important meeting was held at the headquarters of the powerful government department known as the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).

The aim of the meeting was — according to Xinhua’s Chinese report — how to promote “the high-quality development of the rare earth industry in China.” But nationalistic rag Global Times better captures the real goal: China to make full use of rare-earth card in containing U.S.

In response, the U.S. Commerce Department vowed “unprecedented action to ensure that the United States will not be cut off from these vital materials.”

We have reached a stage of mutual hostility between the U.S. and China in which it’s difficult to say what exactly the rare earth threat is retaliation for. Huawei? Tariffs? Trump tweets? Mike Pompeo’s remarks? All these, and a thousand other irritants, are part of the same toxic stew.

Other trade war news

China’s economy as the trade war deepens

—Jeremy Goldkorn

2. Is the Arabic-speaking world finally learning about Xinjiang?

A YouTuber named Joe HaTTab put out a 15-minute video in Arabic titled “Where did China's Muslims disappear?” on May 27, and it already has over 750,000 views. He followed up on May 31 with an English-subtitled travel vlog in Kashgar called “Prayer is forbidden in this city !!,” and it has more than 420,000 views.

The scholar Rian Thum noted how the first video went viral and commented on the relative paucity of Arabic-language coverage on Xinjiang: “My sense is that Saudi and Pakistan govs are censoring reporting. Al Jazeera (Qatar) in Arabic has a lot, incl. a report on Saudi silence. Turkey has a bunch. Jordan not so much, depends on the paper.”

Other Xinjiang-related stories

Kazakh-Chinese Xinjiang whistle-blower gets refuge in Sweden

Sayragul Sauytbay, an ethnic Kazakh from China, became one of the most outspoken witnesses of the Xinjiang camps after she fled to Kazakhstan and testified in court about her experience in what she called a secret “prison in the mountains.” She was initially denied asylum by Kazakhstan and has been in legal limbo for many months, her future uncertain. More than a year later, AP reports that Sauytbay “was issued an alien’s passport by Sweden” and “has left for Sweden, where she expects to get political asylum.”

Nazi concentration camp comparisons

Donald Clarke, a law professor at George Washington University, commented on the appropriateness of the Nazi comparison with ethnic cleansing of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, and argued that the reaction of the West is “a story of intense reluctance to act by the world’s governments.” He wrote:

The implicit argument seems to be that one must not compare any government to the Nazis until the mass killings have actually begun, but that approach turns “Never Again” into a meaningless slogan. If the admonition means anything, it means that we have to identify situations with the potential to turn into humanitarian disasters before they get there. It is hard to argue that the world’s governments have erred on the side of oversensitivity on this issue, finding too many false positives instead of too many false negatives.

—Jeremy Goldkorn

3. NetEase Kaola vs. Chinese journalist

China has a long-standing problem of counterfeit goods, which have plagued all sorts of ecommerce platforms. One of the businesses that’s affected is NetEase Kaola (网易考拉 wǎngyì kǎolā), a cross-border retail site that has been called out multiple times on social media for downplaying the issue and actively seeking ways to evade legal responsibilities.

But after getting away with negligence for so long, it seems NetEase Kaola will finally have to defend itself in court. Part-time WeChat blogger 儿不说 (er bu shuō), who works as a journalist and has revealed his last name to be Mǎ 马, is taking NetEase Kaola to court in the hopes of holding it accountable for selling fake items.

Click through to SupChina for more details.

—Jiayun Feng

A MESSAGE FROM BALD PANDA CORPS

Bald Panda Corps is re-imagining Sino-American people-to-people relations by accelerating and mentoring startups that have both Chinese and U.S. citizens within their teams, and helping make these partnerships happen. Instead of escalating trade wars, Bald Panda Corps seeks to create an alternative narrative where both sides work together and build things: startup diplomacy at its finest! The nascent program is looking for experienced individuals to join the founding team, as well as students for summer internships in New York; interested individuals can reach out to ken@baldpandas.com

featured on supchina

A memorial to Uyghur civil rights and the legacy of Tiananmen

In 1989, the Uyghur student activist Örkesh, better known in English-language media as Wu'er Kaixi, was one of the leaders of China's nascent — and short-lived — pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square. Twenty years later, after mass protests (and riots) in Xinjiang were forcefully put down, Uyghurs who showed any sign of civil disobedience would be categorized in one of three ways: as separatists, extremists, or terrorists. The space for Uyghurs to petition for civil rights — for another Wu'er Kaixi to step up — had disappeared.

Q&A: Ingrid Yin on China’s healthcare industry and new medical technologies

Ingrid Yin is the co-founder and portfolio manager of MayTech Global Investments, a New York–based firm that specializes in managing global growth portfolios. At the 2018 SupChina Women’s Conference, she was chosen as the U.S. recipient of the Female Rising Stars Award. In this interview, Yin talks about how she started the company and what she makes of the growing investment opportunities in China’s healthcare sector.

Today’s news elsewhere on the web:

BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:

  • Auto stimulus — cities to issue more license plates
    Chinese cities to issue 60% more license plates to spur demand / Nikkei Asian Review
    Guangzhou and Shenzhen “will issue 180,000 more vehicle registration plates between this month and December 2020 than previously expected, representing a roughly 60 percent increase.” Other cities are expected to follow.
    Chinese auto group asks government to unleash stimulus to spur car sales / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
    “The state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers asked authorities to relax limits on license plates issued in some cities and lower levies paid by vehicle buyers in rural areas, according to Xu Haidong, an assistant secretary general at the group.”
  • Not all good news for carmarkers
    China’s auto dealers need to sell $72 billion worth of cars this month / Caixin (paywall)
    “China’s auto dealerships still have millions of cars to sell this month if they want to clear inventories before a tough new emissions standard for new vehicles takes effect in July.”
  • Ford fined for anti-monopoly law violation
    China fines Ford joint venture $23 million for violating anti-monopoly law / Caixin (paywall)
    “China on Wednesday said it is fining Ford’s joint venture 162.8 million yuan ($23.56 million) for violating the country’s anti-monopoly law.”
    Ford is fined in China as trade fight with U.S. rages / NYT (porous paywall)
  • Electricity: Three Gorges in Brazil
    China Three Gorges mulling deal for EDP's Brazil assets, sources say / Bloomberg via Caixin (paywall)
    “State-owned Three Gorges is considering merging its own Brazilian assets with EDP’s operations in the South American country, where they are run through publicly traded EDP-Energias do Brasil SA.”
  • Mobile phones: Samsung losing hope in Chinese market?
    Samsung scales back its last China smartphone plant / FT (paywall)
    “The move at Samsung’s plant in Huizhou city, Guangdong Province, comes as the South Korean company struggles to compete against Chinese rivals offering cheaper but competitive smartphones. Samsung has only about one percent market share in China, down from about 20 percent in 2013, according to Strategy Analytics.”
  • Chinese solar-panel market slowdown
    The world’s biggest solar-panel maker is seeing a slowdown in China / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
    “Jinko Solar Holding Co., the world’s biggest solar panel maker, sees China’s photovoltaic power additions slumping this year and a greater share of its revenue coming from overseas amid uncertainties over Beijing’s new policies.”
  • Artificial intelligence investment
    China’s iFlytek raising up to $350m to invest in AI / FT (paywall)
    “Chinese artificial intelligence company iFlytek is seeking to raise a $300350 million fund to invest in AI start-ups to bolster its domestic ecosystem in the face of fears the U.S. intends to impose a digital ‘iron curtain’ between itself and China.”
  • Land price control
    China curbs property developers' funding to cool land prices / Bloomberg (porous paywall)
    “The curbs have affected companies including Sunac China Holdings Ltd. and Gemdale Corp., said people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be named. In some cases, developers’ underwriters were asked by regulators not to tap unused quotas for selling yuan bonds or asset-backed securities, according to the people.”
  • SWIFT expansion
    China approves SWIFT subsidiary as demand for yuan rises / Nikkei Asian Review
    “SWIFT already has two offices in China, but the locally incorporated outfit — the first of its kind — will facilitate yuan and other foreign currency transactions. Raes said it will provide a ‘better customer experience’ as invoices and transactions will use the Chinese language.”
  • New lithium deposits discovery
    Around 5 million tonnes of lithium deposits found in southwest China / Reuters
    “An estimated 5 million tonnes of lithium deposits have been found in China’s southwestern province of Yunnan, scientists said, potentially curbing the nation’s reliance on imports of the material, used in electric vehicle batteries.”
  • South Korean fashion products
    Forget K-pop and US missiles, Korea is back in fashion with China thanks to live-stream shopping / SCMP
    “After Beijing boycotted South Korea for installing the US missile system THAAD, fashion retailers in one of Seoul’s biggest wholesale hubs suffered. But China’s hugely popular live-stream shopping hosts, or zhi bo, have started to turn the tide for the South’s struggling fashion trade.”

SCIENCE, HEALTH, AND THE ENVIRONMENT:

POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:

SOCIETY AND CULTURE:

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