IMF warns China over cost of Covid lockdowns

China, the world’s second largest economy, should review its zero-tolerance approach to the pandemic or risk damaging the global recovery, according to the head of International Monetary Fund. Kristalina Georgieva said Beijing should reassess the use of lockdowns to limit the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant since it became clear the harm to human health was less severe than the Delta variant. Speaking at the World Economic Forum on a virtual panel, she said that while the hardline approach had contained the pandemic in China for “quite some…

US sanctioned China’s top facial recognition firm over Uyghur concerns. It still raised millions

SenseTime, China’s largest facial recognition startup, has come under increasing scrutiny by the US government for its alleged role in the surveillance of Uyghurs. Over the past two years, the US has used sanctions to escalate pressure on the company, first by adding it to the government’s entity list, which restricts US exports to the company, and this December, by banning US investment in the firm. But those sanctions have thus far had little effect on the company’s bottom line. SenseTime recently made its debut on the Hong Kong stock…

Beijing fines 7-Eleven for calling Taiwan a country

Beijing has fined and issued a warning to 7-Eleven over its website listing Taiwan as a country and displaying maps it said contained erroneous borders for Xinjiang and Tibet. The Beijing municipal government fined the company 50,000 yuan ($7,842) for the “errors” including “wrongful act of assigning Taiwan province as an independent country”. It said the 7-Eleven website also failed to use China’s names for some disputed islands in the South China Sea, including the Japanese-administered Senkakus which China calls the Diaoyu islands. The punishment was issued in December, but…

Taiwan ‘buys 20,400 bottles of Lithuanian rum rejected by China’

Taiwan’s government is sharing cocktail recipes with the public after it reportedly bought 20,400 bottles of Lithuanian rum bound for China amid a row between Vilnius and Beijing. The state-owned Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor (TTL) said it made the purchase in December to support Lithuania after learning the shipment was going to be blocked by Chinese authorities. “TTL stood up at the right time, purchased the rum and brought it to Taiwan,” the company said in a statement reported by the South China Morning Post. “Lithuania supports us and we…

Evergrande shares rise as they resume trading after suspension

Shares in the embattled Chinese property developer Evergrande rose on Tuesday after they resumed trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange following a suspension. China’s second-biggest developer halted trading on Monday after receiving an order from authorities at Danzhou city in Hainan on 30 December telling it to demolish 39 under-construction buildings at the Ocean Flower Island project. Shares in the company, whose market value has plunged almost 90% over the last year, jumped by 10% after they resumed trading on Tuesday and Evergrande announced that the demolition order would…

China Evergrande shares suspended from trading in Hong Kong

Shares in China’s Evergrande Group have been suspended from trading, the embattled property developer announced on Monday. Evergrande did not give any reason for the suspension but it came amid Chinese media reports that the world’s most indebted developer was ordered by authorities in southern Hainan province to demolish 39 buildings in 10 days because the building permits were illegally obtained. The ordered reportedly concerns the huge Ocean Flower project, which is a resort-style development built on islands off the coast of Hainan, according to the Chinese news outlet Cailian.…

Evergrande: ‘Everyone bet on inexorably rising Chinese property prices’

The crisis engulfing the Chinese property sector appears certain to intensify in 2022 as companies face debt repayments in the new year that are double those of the final months of 2021, risking what one China expert calls a systemic crisis for the world’s second-biggest economy. Although concerns about the stricken giant China Evergrande have receded in recent weeks behind a massive state-led restructuring operation, it missed a bond repayment of $255m (£190m) on Thursday and the debt problems that have pushed the second biggest developer in the country into…

From economic miracle to mirage – will China’s GDP ever overtake the US?

“The east is rising, the west is declining”, according to the narrative propagated by the Chinese Communist party (CCP). Many outside China take its “inevitable rise” as read. On the way to becoming a “modern socialist country” by 2035, and rich, powerful, and dominant by 2049, the centenary of the People’s Republic, China wants to claim bragging rights as its GDP surpasses the United States, and project its power based on its expanding economic heft. There is, however, a critical flaw in this narrative. China’s economy may fail to overtake…

Shortage of key ingredient puts Australia’s 2022 wine vintage at risk

Wine industry suppliers have been warned to plan ahead amid rising costs and international shortages of a key ingredient in the winemaking process. The sector has been affected by reduced supplies of diammonium phosphate (DAP), a nitrogen fertiliser commonly used during grape fermentation. Jason Amos, the chair of Wine Industry Suppliers Australia (Wisa), told Guardian Australia that shipping delays and a reduction in supply of DAP from China had combined to increase costs. “I’ve seen prices up to five times more expensive for us in the wine sector,” he said.…

US sanctions Chinese drugmakers amid addiction epidemic

The US has imposed sanctions on Chinese painkiller makers – including one man described as the biggest producer of anabolic steroids in the world – as it vowed to step up action to curb the addiction epidemic that killed a record 100,000 Americans last year. With people who are dealing with addiction increasingly turning to cheaper pills bought online from abroad, Joe Biden signed an executive order that makes it easier for the US to target foreign drug traffickers. The actions “will help disrupt the global supply chain and the…

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