• China’s State Security Ministry Announces Crackdown on Espionage in Aerospace Sector: China’s Ministry State Security has conveyed that it plans to crackdown on espionage cases targeting the country’s aerospace sector. The Ministry claims that foreign intelligence agencies are attempting to infiltrate the sector and steal sensitive information. The Ministry also stated that with China’s development of space technology, some countries are viewing China as a competitor in the space sector. With the Shenzhou manned spaceship and Chang’e lunar probe projects, China has become a centre for space technology development. Managing space security has become part of China’s national security strategy and the Ministry has launched the crackdown into the aerospace sector to safeguard vital state secrets and technological innovations. Beijing states that the space security environment is deteriorating because of the rising militarization and weaponization of space and the sluggish progress in creating international governance norms.
  • China Abolishes Mortgage Floor Rates, Cuts Minimum Down Payment Ratios to Boost Property Market: China announced a slew of measures to boost the property market, cutting minimum down payment ratios, setting up a relending facility for affordable housing and pledging to deliver unfinished homes. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) and the National Financial Regulatory Administration announced that the minimum down payment ratios for individuals' commercial housing mortgages will be lowered to 15 percent for first-home purchases and 25 percent for second-home purchases. "This is the lowest down payment requirement in history, which will be very helpful in boosting the property market," said Yan Yuejin, research director at E-house China R&D Institute. Importantly, the PBOC stated that the floor level of commercial mortgage rates for first and second homes will be cancelled across the country. Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng on Friday called for efforts to address risks concerning unfinished commercial housing projects, ensure the delivery of housing projects, and push forward the de-stocking of commercial housing. He urged continued initiatives to fend off and defuse debt risks facing property developers, and ensure the delivery of housing projects. Commercial banks across the country issued a total of 963.6 billion yuan in real estate development loans and 1.3 trillion yuan in individual housing loans in the first quarter of the year.
  • Xi Jinping Makes Important Instructions for Tourism Work: In a recent set of directives concerning tourism work, Xi Jinping noted that China’s tourism development has accelerated since reform, particularly since the 18th National Congress of Communist Party of China. China now forms the world’s largest domestic tourism market and serves as both the primary source and destination for international tourism. He emphasized that new opportunities and difficulties confront the growth of tourism and journey in the new era. To fortify the nation, the tourist sector should better serve a higher standard of living, encourage economic growth, promote China’s image, and advance cross-cultural learning, said Xi. He stated that every department should sincerely work to strengthen the sense of duty and purpose, divide tasks, collaborate, monitor implementation closely, and support the growth of the tourism sector to a high standard. These important instructions were conveyed by Li Shulei, member of the Politburo, at the National Tourism Development Conference held in Beijing. He conveyed that these instructions must be implemented, as promoting the high-quality growth of tourism is essential, as is building a robust tourism nation quickly, bolstering scientific layout and methodical planning, and safeguarding natural resources and cultural treasures.
  • China's State Council Appoints New Officials: China's State Council announced the appointment of several new officials on Friday. Zheng Bei was appointed deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, while Qiu Yong was appointed vice minister of science and technology. Qiu Yong no longer serves as deputy head of the China Academy of Engineering Physics. Meanwhile, Yang Jianwen was appointed deputy director of the Cyberspace Administration of China and Song Xinchun was appointed deputy director of the National Fire and Rescue Administration. Wang Kun was appointed head of the China Earthquake Administration, replacing Min Yiren.
  • China’s E-commerce Market has Room for Growth say JPMorgan Analyst: China’s e-commerce market has the potential to expand further in the next few years amid improved penetration by internet platform operators into key sectors, despite a slowdown in retail sales, according JPMorgan. The upbeat forecast reflects the better-than-expected financial results of Chinese Big Tech companies in the March quarter, despite increased market competition, weak consumer confidence and trade uncertainties brought by geopolitical tensions. This week, Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings both beat their quarterly earnings forecast, providing a positive indicator for domestic consumption in the world’s second-largest economy, which has the largest number of internet users. Baidu and this week reported quarterly revenue gains as well. Domestic e-commerce pioneers Alibaba and currently face increased pressure from younger online retail services providers, including PDD Holding’s Pinduoduo and ByteDance-owned Douyin. Weak consumer spending and greater domestic competition have prompted Chinese e-commerce firms to seek new growth opportunities overseas.


  • China Film Mogul Escorts Wife to Prenatal Exam, Stirs Debate About Age Gap: Zhang Jizhong, a Chinese martial arts film mogul, known for his adaptations of famous novels by the legendary writer Jin Yong, such as The Legend of the Condor Heroes and The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber has stirred a debate about the age gap in marriages. His wife, Du Xinglin is 42, and the couple have been happily married since March 2017 despite their age gap, and have a son and a daughter. On April 13, Zhang accompanied his wife to a prenatal check-up, and when he heard the baby’s heartbeat, he became emotional. The couple shared their experience of marital life on Douyin, also engaging in discussions and reviews of Chinese traditional literature. They have 5.4 million followers on the social media platform. In a recent video, Zhang reflected on their seven-year relationship, which sparked a heated discussion on social media. “Zhang is just older, but that does not stop him from being a good partner,” a social media user wrote. Another said, “When this couple stand together, they look like a grandfather and his granddaughter. Is this kind of love really practical?”.


  • SCMP Article Raises Doubts about India-Iran Port Project: An SCMP article has raised doubts about India’s decision to move ahead with the Chabahar port deal, in the face of sanctions by the United States. The article notes that India has asserted its interests by getting into a 10-year agreement with Iran. The article considers that India is keen to develop the Chabahar port to bypass Pakistan’s Gwadar Port which is a key project in China’s Belt and Road initiative. Chabahar has endured the threat of US sanctions over the last two decades, and New Delhi appears committed to complete the project that aligns with its neighborhood strategy. The article notes that the US may not follow through on punitive measures, given that both countries are in the middle of an election cycle. 

Prepared By

Combined works by various researchers at ORCA

CiCM 17th May 2024

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