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China policy round-up: Beijing supports semiconductor sector to counter Trump, India bans Baidu, Alipay, foreign ministry threatens retaliation on journalist visas

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By Addison Gong, Rebecca Feng
04 Sep 2020

In this round-up, China plans to develop the domestic semiconductor industry amid tighter technology export controls imposed by the Trump administration, India blocks over 100 Mainland-based apps including Baidu and Alipay, and Beijing vows countermeasures if Chinese journalists fail to get their US visas renewed.

China will maintain a prudent, flexible and moderate monetary policy, Chinese premier Li Keqiang said during a Wednesday State Council meeting.

In the same meeting, the State Council also passed a set of regulations on financial holding companies. However, the new rules only specified what would allow an entity to set up a financial holding company and apply for a financial holding company licence. They did not lay out guidelines on how to regulate these companies.

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China has set up a five-year plan to support its semiconductor industry. The move is aimed at fending off US restrictions on the industry, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The plan includes measures to enhance research, education and financing of the sector. It will be presented to the country’s top leaders in October.

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US president Donald Trump on Tuesday reiterated his request for TikTok to make a deal for the sale of its US operations by September 15. The US government will be “well compensated” by getting a cut of the deal, he said.

Firms like Microsoft have been in talks with TikTok, but new technology export restrictions announced last week by China have added to the uncertainty of a successful transaction. TikTok’s parent ByteDance said it will abide by the regulations.

China’s Ministry of Commerce told reporters this week that the tightened export controls are not targeted at specific companies.

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India has banned 118 Chinese mobile apps including search engine Baidu and Ant Group’s flagship Alipay.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said in a Wednesday statement that the move will “safeguard the interests” of Indian mobile and internet users, as these apps are “prejudicial to [the] sovereignty and integrity of India, [the] defence of India, [and the] security of state and public order”.

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Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi called on Europe to confront “extremist forces” in the US during a five-country tour of the continent.

“At this critical juncture of human development, on the basis of responsibility for the fate of human destiny, China and the EU should jointly resist any counter-currents inciting hatred and confrontation,” Wang said in a speech at the French Institute of International Relations on Monday.

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The US Trade Representative’s office extended tariff exclusions for a range of Chinese goods through the end of 2020, according to a Federal Register notice.

The goods include smart watches, medical masks and Bluetooth devices. Some are imported by US technology companies like Apple and Fitbit from China.

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The US has imposed fresh restrictions on Chinese diplomats. Chinese diplomats must seek US government approval to visit any US university, secretary of state Mike Pompeo said in a press release on Wednesday.

Further, Chinese embassies and consulates in the US must obtain approvals from the State Department before hosting any “cultural events with an audience larger than 50 people” outside their mission properties.

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None of the Chinese reporters in the US has been able to renew their work visas, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They are required to apply for the renewal every three months, since the US tightened rules in May.

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the country will take “necessary and justifiable” actions should the US refuse to correct its “mistake”.

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Pompeo said he wanted to see all Chinese Confucius Institute cultural centres closed on US university campuses by the end of this year.

“I think everyone’s coming to see the risk associated with them,” Pompeo said during a Tuesday interview with Fox News. Pompeo also accused these institutes of working to recruit “spies and collaborators” at US colleges. 


By Addison Gong, Rebecca Feng
04 Sep 2020