Asia Communique - Week 7

China and the US election - 8th round of India-China talks - Carrie Lam in Beijing - Bihar election

China and the US election

Chinese state media have reported each twist and turn in the US presidential election.

"I hope this election will proceed smoothly. China's attitude towards Sino-US relations is clear and consistent. Although there are differences between China and the United States, there are also extensive common interests and room for cooperation," state-owned Xinhua quoted Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng as saying.

The focus of Chinese state media’s narrative was the chaotic nature of the US's electoral process. The election was heavily discussed on WeChat and Weibo.

People’s Liberation Army’s media networks largely abstained from commenting on the US election, as South China Morning Post had reported.

Weibo users discussed the high cost associated with the US election.

The focus on far-right extremism was a relatively new theme in the state media’s reporting on the US election.

I will recommend reading NYT’s article on President-elect Joe Biden’s China challenge.

What a Biden victory means for China (opinion) – Nikkei Asian Review

I have a long piece out soon on the Chinese state media’s reporting of the US election. I will share the link in next week’s edition.

India-China: 8th round of talks, no progress reported

The eighth round of talks between India and China to resolve the ongoing military build-up in Eastern Ladakh took place on November 6. The talks began at 9:30 am in Chushul on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control.

India and China issued a joint statement after the 8th round of Corps Commander Level talks.

The joint statement gives the impression that there was no progress to end the deadlock.

"The Indian side insisted on early restoration of status quo ante of April and comprehensive disengagement of troops by China from all the friction points to resolve the row," a source told NDTV.

Lt Gen PGK Menon, the recently appointed Commander of the Leh-based 14 Corps, led the Indian delegation at the eighth round of military talks. Ministry of External Affairs’ Naveen Srivastava was part of the Indian delegation.

"We will not accept any shifting of the Line of Actual Control," said Chief of Defense Staff Bipin Rawat at a webinar.

CDS Bipin Rawat added, "In the overall security calculus, border confrontations, transgressions and unprovoked tactical military actions spiralling into a larger conflict cannot, therefore, be discounted."

I will also recommend an interview with Ashley J. Tellis, an expert on India-US relations by The Print’s Shekhar Gupta.

Ant Group’s IPO fiasco

China’s securities regulators drove Jack Ma’s dream of the mega initial public (IPO) offering to the ground by suspending the lunch. Ant’s IPO was to be listed under Shanghai’s STAR Market with a dual-listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Initially, experts and commentators had pointed out Jack Ma’s remarks at the Bund Summit in Shanghai pushed the regulators to curb Jack Ma’s enthusiasm.

Wall Street Journal’s Lingling Wei has a different take, "Indeed, "almost." But it's not just the speech that alarmed Beijing. It's the frenzy over the IPO, too. The 2015 market crash scarred them for life. Regulators much rather take some air out of the IPO now than risking a bursting of bubble later."

"But in the background, regulators and banks threatened by the rise of nimble new competitors have been lobbying hard to rein the sector in, particularly Ant and its ebullient founder," according to Financial Times.

"Trying to corner regulators was not a good idea," one former executive at the China Securities Regulatory Commission told Financial Times.

Elections in India’s Bihar state

India’s state of Bihar finished casting a ballot for the assembly election on November 7.

NDTV's exit polls say the opposition coalition will win 128 of Bihar's 243 seats, and the NDA is likely to take 99.

India’s ruling Bhartiya Janata Party’s NDA coalition has failed to win the key state elections in recent times.

Bihar elections: First major polls since pandemic a test of Modi's popularity – BBC

Carrie Lam visits mainland

Hong Kong Chief Executive met Vice-Premier Han Zheng in Beijing during the visit to the mainland.

"Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam on Friday said the central government gives its full support for Hong Kong's integration into overall national development," Xinhua reported.

"Hong Kong must strictly implement epidemic control measures, coordinate the work to curb the pandemic, and revive the economy," Xinhua quoted Vice-Premier Han as saying.

"Chief Executive Carrie Lam ended her visit to the mainland on Saturday by holding talks with senior figures in Guangdong province on economic development and coronavirus prevention," according to RTHK.

China’s digital yuan experiment moving forward

After completing the trial of digital yuan in Shenzhen, China has been pushing forward with other pilots.

China Daily published an op-ed by a Deutsche Bank research analyst, Marion Laboure.

Xinhua published a piece probing the People's Bank of China’s (PBOC) logic behind issuing a new 5 yuan note when the digital yuan pilot experiments are pushing forward.

"In April, the Chinese government began testing "e-yuan" for payments in several major cities, including Shenzhen, Suzhou, Chengdu, and Xiong'an New Area, south of Beijing. The government is also expected to expand pilot programs at the venue of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. It seems, driven by several factors, China could become the first major economy to use a CBDC," Marion Laboure wrote for China Daily.

PBOC’s governor Yi Gang said that the transactions from the digital yuan currency’s pilot experiment had hit US$ 300 million.

"Yi said usage of the digital yuan has increased rapidly over recent months and had been used in 4 million transactions valued at 2 billion yuan (US$299 million) in a trial across four Chinese cities, Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an and Chengdu" South China Morning Post had reported.

China to scrutinize Australian imports

China has targeted Australian products from copper ore to lobster.

"China on Monday said its customs imposes inspections and quarantines on imported seafood in accordance with the law, and permits clearance after establishing that goods conform with relevant standards to ensure food safety for Chinese consumers" Xinhua reported.

China has denied that Australian products were targeted because of the strained bilateral relationship.

"They deny any discriminatory actions that are being taken. But that doesn’t seem to be what industry is seeing and hearing at present," said Australian Trade Minster.

Social Talk

On Weibo, the hashtag "US general election" was viewed 9.65 billion times and discussed over 1.68 million times. Weibo users used the hashtag over 14.3 million to create an original post.

Off-Track Reads

A new Cold War in the Himalaya – Nepali Times

China Is Winning the Vaccine Race – Foreign Affairs

Considering the Nepal-China border

Business Street

WhatsApp rolls out payments in India – TechCrunch

Zomato to raise $146 mn as it preps for IPO in 2021 – Live Mint

China smartphone shipments fall 14% as sanctions sting Huawei – Nikkei Asian Review

Upcoming Watch

The result of the Bihar election will be announced on November 10.

Voting for Myanmar’s second general election starts today.