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The Daily Brief for Monday, 8 May 2017

Vietnam’s corruption games: A scandal at PetroVietnam has implicated Politburo member Dinh La Thang and brings the first ever in-term dismissal of a top-ranking apparatchik. Zachary Abuza writes that politics in Vietnam are notoriously opaque and high-level corruption allegations are often more an indication of Communist Party divisions.

US-China, what threat? The deepening drumbeat for Washington to militarily confront Beijing in the South China Sea should be considered with a healthy dose of skepticism writes Mark J. Valencia. Yes, there are many bad things that could happen in the controversial maritime territories , explains Valencia, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will.

China’s Malaysian takeover: China has overtaken Singapore as the largest investor in Malaysia, while thousands of mainland Chinese are taking advantage of the Southeast Asian nation’s generous long-stay visa for wealthy foreigners. Johan Nylander reports that one politician is very worried and warns that China could ‘take over’ Malaysia in 20 years.

South Korean elections: The people of South Korea head to the polls on May 9 to elect a new president in the wake of the impeachment of Park Geun-hye. East Asia Forum reports that the saga surrounding Park’s fall from grace have upended the South Korean political landscape and brought strong public demands for reform.

Beijing’s slowdown concerns: The economic drivers that drove China’s stunning recovery in growth for much of 2016 and early 2017 have now seriously flagged. Asia Times reports that while the latest numbers do not necessarily indicate a pending crash, the pressure is weighing on Beijing to keep the the Belt and Road infrastructure juggernaut rolling.

Posted inBeijingChinaShanghai

China Digest for Monday, 8 May 2017

Financial sector officials targeted in graft probe

At least 53 officials in the financial industry are under investigation for corruption after the 18th CPC National Congress, China Finance Information reported on Sunday. Of the total, 23 are in the investment sector, 20 in banking, while 10 are from the People’s Bank of China and the top three regulators.

Pension funds under pressure over early retirement

Around 30% of people retire early with some public servants doing so because pensions payments are higher than their wages, China Finance Information reported. The China Youth Daily Survey Center said 51.9% of early retiree are from government departments.

Overseas investments of SOEs to be regulated

The country is setting up a more comprehensive audit and supervision mechanism on state-owned enterprises’ overseas investments, Sina Finance reported on Monday. It will include financial management and internal control systems as well as monitoring risks.

False capital injection among cases to be transferred to judiciary

Transactions such as false capital injections challenging the China Insurance Regulatory Commission’s bottom line will be transferred to the judiciary, Caixin reported on Sunday, citing a CIRC notice.

State Council eyes cultural development and reform

The country will improve industry systems, expand consumption, and improve the quality and efficiency of cultural development as part of the 13th Five-Year plan, the Securities Times reported on Monday, citing the State Council.

Beijing hopes ADB will boost links with Obor stakeholders: Xiao Jie

Authorities hope the Asian Development Bank will “strengthen its strategic interconnection with One Belt, One Road (Obor) stakeholders, further promote Asia’s interconnection and regional cooperation,” the Securities Daily reported, citing the Minister of Finance Xiao Jie’s speech at the 50th annual meeting of the ADB council.

More controls on Shanghai real estate sales

Shanghai introduces a raft of measures, including a lottery on new home sales and restrictions on developers, to further control the heated property market, the municipal construction commission said.

Property trading volume will shrink in capital: report

Trade volume is expected to shrink more after data shows new contracts in commercial housing in Beijing dropped 9.9% in April to 2,767 compared to March, Sina Finance reported on Monday.

Sichuan to cultivate 50,000 family farms by 2020

Sichuan aims to improve subsidies, financing, insurance, facilities and other policies to encourage migrant workers to return home to start family farms or cooperatives, Sina Finance said. The province aims to set up 50,000 family farms and 85,000 cooperatives by 2020.