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The daily China digest
People walk past the temporarily closed of SEG Plaza in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen on May 24, 2021, nearly a week after it began to shake, triggering widespread panic. Pic: Noel Celis / AFP.

Veteran China writer and researcher with the latest news highlights:

Huawei OS seeing mass downloads

“Born in sorrow” Huawei’s Harmony 2.0 operating system saw 10 million downloads in seven days following its recent launch. As early as 2012, CEO Ren Zhengfei said in an interview that Huawei was developing its own operating system completely out of strategic considerations. “If they suddenly cut off the Android system and Windows Phone 8 system what will we do? Are we stupid?” Ren said at the time.

The Trump administration put Huawei on a trade blacklist two years ago. And on June 3, the Biden administration announced that 59 Chinese companies, including Huawei and SMIC, were on its slightly expanded investment blacklist because of those companies’ close ties with the Chinese military. That prevents Americans from investing with those listed firms.

 

Stock exchange seeing robust growth

In the first half of 2015, the Shanghai Stock Exchange Index broke through the 3,000 points, then 4,000, and then 5,000 points causing much excitement in the first half of 2015, and reaching a high of 5,178.19 points on June 12, 2015, which is the second highest peak in the history of China’s A-share market.

At present, the Shanghai Stock Index is hovering around 3,600 points, which is still far away from the high point six years ago. However, during this period, funds performed well. Almost 97% of the top 100 funds outperformed the Shanghai Stock Exchange Index.

 

New energy stocks on the rise

As green energy provides a bigger share of China’s energy mix among individual stocks, Tongwei shares rose more than 1%, while Sungrow rose more than 3%, Longji shares rose more than 5%, JA Solar rose more than 9%, and Flowserve hit the daily limit. It is worth mentioning that Flowserve’s daily closing price increased on three consecutive trading days – June 9, June 10 and 11 – as it accumulated a more than 20% increase. The company issued an announcement about abnormal stock trading fluctuations on the afternoon of the 11th to warn investors of the risks of secondary market transactions.

Global Times responds to G7

The G7 communique on China has “only one purpose-to try to unite allies to pressure China,” according to Global Times, China’s ultra-nationalist media outlet. This insightful thought is followed by an analysis that unlike the “America First” policy of the Trump administration, Biden will lead the United States to reunite its allies and strengthen cooperation with “democracies.” The quotation marks were inserted by the newspaper.

 

Mass deployment of digital yuan draws closer

China Telecom and Lakala have signed a deal on developing payment solutions using the digital yuan. China Telecom’s 4G and 5G networks will work with Lakala on developing applications.

 

Chinese banks sanction busting

Putin is reportedly pleased that Chinese banks are not following US sanctions against Russia. No surprises there.

 

Changshai wins Dragon boat race

Hunan Province, home of Chairman Mao, entered the top 3 destinations in China during the recent public holiday. Changsha is home to a provincial museum which has a stunning display of ancient relics that are not allowed to leave the province. China is encouraging “red tourism” – getting citizens to visit its revolutionary sites, to revitalise the local tourist industry.

Pandemic

The Delta variant is taking hold in China. On Monday, June 14, some 31 provinces (autonomous regions and municipalities) and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps reported 20 new confirmed cases, including 18 imported cases (eight in Guangdong, five in Shanghai, two in Guangdong, plus single cases in Beijing, Zhejiang, Fujian, Sichuan and Yunnan.

China usually reports a handful of cases a day and says they are mostly “imported from abroad”.

 

Gas explosion

A huge gas explosion killed 25 in Shiyan City in Hubei Province, however local residents allegedly suspect the dead could number in the hundreds, as a large market and nearby buildings were completely destroyed and witnesses said the site looked worse than if it had been hit by a guided missile. The State Council under vice premier Li Keqiang is investigating.

 

Bats in the lab

A video has emerged of live bats at Wuhan Institute of Virology, giving strength to the Wuhan lab leak theory.

However, She Zhengli, one of the country’s top virologists, has told the New York Times the speculation about her lab was baseless.

“How on earth can I offer up evidence for something where there is no evidence?” she reportedly told the paper, in a voice “rising in anger”.

China’s refusal to allow an independent probe into her lab, or to share data on its research, made it hard to confirm the scientist’s claims, the paper said, and had fueled suspicion about how the pandemic took hold, given the city hosts an institute known for its work on bat coronaviruses.

‘Wobbly building’ still wobbling

Shenzhen’s 365-metre tall SEG Plaza is still wobbling, according to citizen reports. The 70-storey building, which was completed in 2000, was reportedly half built before the architects’ blueprints were ready.

It has been shut while engineers study the structure to find out if it is safe for workers to return there.

 

With over 30 years reporting on China, Gill offers a daily digest of what is happening in the PRC.

Chris Gill

With over 30 years reporting on China, Gill offers a daily digest of what is happening in the PRC.

AF China Bond