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Hong Kong arrests dozens of pro-democracy activists

THE NATIONAL-SECURITY law which China imposed on Hong Kong in June was meant, some of its backers once insisted, to rely more on its bark than its bite. During its first months in force, only 35 people were arrested (just four were charged) under the bill, which criminalises acts such as inciting secession and colluding with a foreign power. The picture changed dramatically on January 6th when, in a pre-dawn raid, nearly 1,000 police officers fanned out across the city to search 72 premises and arrest 53 pro-democracy politicians and activists on grounds of subversion.Those rounded up had stood for election in, or …

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Stand-up is booming in China, with women centre-stage

“MEN ARE adorable,” begins Yang Li in a sketch first aired last year. “But mysterious…After all, they can look so average and yet be so full of confidence.” It seemed a gentle dig by the newly crowned “punchline queen” of “Rock and Roast”, a television show starring amateur comics. But as Ms Yang’s fans spread the gag, male netizens threw a tantrum. Last month a group of them reported the 28-year-old to the broadcast regulator for “sexism”. An academic at Peking University called Ms Yang and her admirers “internet feminists, the most emotional and least tolerable people”.Long …

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Cynicism explains a flawed new EU-China commercial pact

BUOYED BY A growing economy, cheered by a domestic public united by the fight against covid-19, and eager to start shipping vaccines to friends around the world, China’s rulers feel history turning their way. A recurring phrase in their speeches hails “changes unseen in a hundred years”. Bluntly, Communist Party chiefs feel China is rising and democratic countries—battered by recession and racked by partisan disputes—are falling behind.As 2021 dawned, the European Union offered China a further boost by agreeing to a commercial pact that will bind some powerful European companies still more tightly to China. The deal …

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A Year After Wuhan, China Tells a Tale of Triumph (and No Mistakes)

At a museum in Wuhan, China, a sprawling exhibition paints a stirring tale of how the city’s sacrifices in a brutal 76-day lockdown led to triumph over the coronavirus and, ultimately, rebirth.No costs appear to have been spared for the show, which features a hologram of medical staff members moving around a hospital room, heart-rending letters from frontline health workers and a replica of a mass quarantine site, complete with beds, miniature Chinese flags and toothbrush cups.But the exhibition is also striking for what is not included. There is no mention of the whistle-blowing role of Ai …

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China’s factories must be ‘armed with automation’, as pandemic gives boost to machines in manufacturing

The US-China trade war weakened demand for automation on Chinese assembly lines from 2018-19, but a shortage of manpower during the pandemic reversed that trend last year, and analysts expect manufacturers to further embrace robots in 2021.“The impact of the pandemic on the global industrial supply chain has been a major stimulus, forcing a huge number of orders to return to China,” said Peng Biao, an analyst with Fashionprint.com, which monitors the fashion industry. “Last year was like a…

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What is Guangzhou’s role in the Greater Bay Area master plan?

Guangzhou, the provincial capital of the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, has been identified as a core engine for regional development in the master plan of the Greater Bay Area (GBA), the cluster of 11 cities including Hong Kong and Macau.It is the most populous city, with 15 million residents. Guangzhou’s gross domestic product grew 6.8 per cent to 2.36 trillion yuan (US$364.4 billion) in 2019, the third largest in the bay area after Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Its output exceeded those…

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China’s EV war: Tesla faces a rival with a record 621-mile range as NIO’s ET7 electric car raises the ante in world’s largest market

NIO has launched a mass production electric car with what could be the world’s farthest driving range, as it ups the ante with Tesla for customers in the largest market for new-energy vehicles on the planet.The Standard Edition of NIO’s ET7 electric car, with a price tag of 448,000 yuan (US$69,184) before subsidy, has a driving range of 500 kilometres using a 70 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery pack, or about 7 per cent farther than Tesla’s Shanghai-made Model 3, which sells for 249,000 yuan after…

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