• Russian President Vladimir Putin visits China: Russian president Vladimir Putin visited Beijing on May 16th to hold talks with China’s President Xi Jinping. Following talks in Beijing, he will visit Harbin to interact with students and teachers at the Harbin Institute of Technology. The eighth China-Russia Expo is set to take place from May 16 to May 21 in Harbin. Xi and Putin signed and issued a joint statement on deepening the Russia-China comprehensive strategic partnership, which includes at least 10 agreements. The agreements include one on jointly developing the Bolshy Ussuriysky islands, expanding trade in beef and agricultural products, creating a cross-border nature reserve and expanding military drills. Both countries also plan to expand mutual tourist flow to 2 million trips by 2024. At the press conference to announce the joint statement, Xi stated that with Russia chairing the BRICS this year and China chairing the SCO, both sides will support each other. Xi also stated that both sides believe in a political settlement to the Ukraine crisis and China’s position has always been clear, to “respect the reasonable security concerns of all sides”. Putin characterized China-Russia relations as a “stabilizing factors in the international arena”.
  • Hefei Issues Ten New Real Estate Policies: Hefei city has issued the “Notice on Further Adjusting and Optimizing Real Estate Policies and Measures” to support the purchase of new houses. The measures offer new buyers who purchase houses a subsidy of 1% of the total house price. Moreover, the policy encourages the circulation of secondhand housing markets, increases the loan amount of housing provident fund, dynamically adjusts the interest rate of the first housing loan and increases the supply of improved housing. The house purchasing subsidies range from 1% of the total house price for buyers of new commercial housing, 1.5% for a registered household of two children or above, 2% for new citizens and farmers in the city and 3% for the purchasers of new parking spaces. All these combined, the subsidies must be around or equal to a 100,000 yuan. If the sale of the home is legal, the household members receive benefits like vouchers for essential purchases and an ability to apply to the public security organ for the transfer of household registration. The policy encourages industry associations to investigate creating easy-to-use channels for the exchange of new and used homes, assist purchasers in “trading for new”, and advises brokerage firms to lower the cost of intermediary service.
  • China Iron and Steel Association Slams U.S. Tariffs: The China Iron and Steel Industry Association (CISA) has opposed the U.S tariffs on Chinese iron and aluminium products, calling it an act of politicising and instrumentalizing the steel trade. The tariff rate on certain Chinese metal products is set to increase to 25% this year. In response to the accusation that Chinese steel and aluminium exports are produced with high emissions, the association mentioned that China’s steel industry has long prioritized satisfying domestic demand while seeking technological advancement and environmental reform. In order to comply with the strictest environmental regulations in the world, Chinese steel companies have also made significant investments in ultra-low emission transformation projects. The ultra-low emission transformation has covered over 900 million tonnes of production capacity, of which 450 million tonnes have completed such transformations.
  • Coastguard To Detain Trespassers Without Trial as Activists Converge on Scarborough Shoal: Beijing has fleshed out the Chinese coastguard’s powers to detain foreigners for illegally crossing borders for 60 days without a formal trial. This is the first time Beijing has clarified the procedure of detention. The regulation, effective from June 15, arises from the perspective of conflict resolution over boundaries regarding the Scarborough Shoal/Panatag Shoal. Both Beijing and Manila claim the shoal and have clashed over enforcing their competing claims. The basis for detention includes violating entry exit management regulations, assisting others to cross borders illegally, having illegal residence and employment in the country, and offences deemed to endanger China’s national security and interests. Detention can range from 30-60 days upon approval from a higher-level coastguard agency. Province-level coastguard bureaus are authorized to make their own approvals to extend the detention period. The regulations are in response to a civilian mission from Philippines to assert its claims over the disputed islands.
  • China Committed to Supporting Peace and Stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina: According to Geng Shuang, China’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, China will contribute to the preservation of peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He made this announcement during a briefing on Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Security Council, where he stated that the country’s economic progress and social stability as a multiethnic nation depend on the solidarity, mutual respect, and peaceful coexistence of all ethnic groups. He emphasized that it is imperative to refrain from “taking sides”, imposing solutions, or meddling in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s domestic affairs. Next week, the UN General Assembly is scheduled to discuss and perhaps adopt a draft resolution proposing to create an “International Day of Reflection and Commemoration of the 1995 Genocide in Srebrenica.” According to Geng, China has consistently urged the sponsors of the draft resolution to fully consult with relevant parties and member states and to forward the relevant process through consensus. The aspiration of maintaining peace and stability in the Western Balkans, demonstrating solidarity among member states through the establishment of the International Day and the “spirit of promoting reconciliation” and harmony in the country are all at odds with forcing the draft resolution through – over which there are still significant differences. China expects that all relevant parties will improve their communication and help to resolve the issue properly. 


  • Teenager Pleads for Father to be Better Husband, Ignites Debate: Wang Nanhao, a 15 year old teenager made a viral video on TikTok explaining how his father should be a better husband. Through the video he conveyed that his dysfunctional family dynamics affected his mother’s and his own state of well-being in a negative manner. Suffering from significant daily trauma, Wang took the support of psychology books to learn how to cope. On Douyin, the boy’s video gathered one million likes, and it provoked a debate on social media platforms. Some users commented with statistics of marriage in China. One user said, “I’ve lived for over 30 years, and this is the first time I’ve seen a teenage boy who can truly empathise with women.” Another said, “Children from families with poor parental relationships often grow up not wanting to marry”. The video also sparked a debate on the ‘cooling off period’ for divorces implemented by the government, which has had limited effectiveness in reversing rash decisions to pursue a divorce.


Op-Ed Questions Indian Politicians Commitment to Climate Change: An op-ed in SCMP has cast doubt on the commitment of Indian politicians and political parties to the goal of combating climate change. With the commencement of the fourth phase of central elections in India, the extreme heat waves in the country appear to have been largely overlooked in the manifestos of political parties during the election campaign. The author of the article points out that the timing of the election has also come into question due to the severe heat waves across the country. India has experienced temperatures surpassing 40 degrees Celsius this summer, with a number of deaths resulting from intense heat. The article criticizes the heat action plans of Indian states, which “resemble cut and paste jobs”, rather than being tailored to local environments. Although there are calls to plant trees and expand forested areas, the plans lack clarity on which type of trees to grow and in which areas. The arguments in the opinion piece suggest that political parties and governments in India neglect the issue of heat waves, in favour of other political concerns. On the other hand, the opinion piece notes positive developments in India, in the fight against climate change, pointing out that power generated from coal dropped below 50% in the January-March quarter, for the first time since the 1960s. 

Prepared By

Combined works by various researchers at ORCA

CiCM 16th May 2024

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