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The Daily Brief for Monday, 19 June 2017

ISIS-regional fears grow: The Islamic State militants still holed up in the Philippine city of Marawi are armed with everything from rocket grenades and heavy machine guns to .50 calibre sniper rifles. John McBeth reports that there are fears some of these weapons might end up in Indonesia and the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia last week began unprecedented joint naval patrols in the Sulu Sea to both counter arms-smuggling and put a stop to Abu Sayyaf Group attacks on commercial shipping.

Australia-India, strategically closer: Canberra and New Delhi have made recent moves to improve their strategic relations, seen by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s visit to New Delhi in April. Helen Clark writes that the two sides have affirmed their commitment to a “peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific” and are continuing with military dialogue, exercises and foreign affairs talks which are all being seen as a warning to China against extending its rising maritime assertiveness.

China-quantum space breakthrough: A team of Chinese scientists has released findings from a breakthrough study that makes China the indisputable leader in the field of quantum communication, writes Christopher Scott. The study, published in Science magazine, successfully demonstrated the ability to distribute entangled photons across unprecedented space-to-earth distances, opening the door for the practical application of cutting-edge, ultra-secure communication.

Japanese adoption changes: About 40,000 children in Japan need new homes due to neglect or the absence of biological parents, but just 500 find adopted parents each year owing to cultural practices and legal restrictions. Daniel Hurst reports how a lawmaker is pushing for changes that will make adoption more commonly accepted in Japanese society and will also prioritize the interests of children.

There be monsters: Audiences familiar with Taiwanese director Giddens Ko’s blockbuster teen romance hit You Are The Apple Of My Eye are in for a surprise. Paige Lim writes that Mon Mon Mon Monsters, Ko’s second directorial feature, is a wickedly raucous, blood-splattered, darkly humorous, school-bullying high-school affair, which explores the ugly depths of evil.

Posted inBeijingChinaHong KongShanghaiTianjinWorld

China Digest for Monday, 19 June 2017

GDP to reach 6.7% in 2017, says university report

A Renmin University of China report forecast gross domestic product to reach 6.7% in 2017, the Economic Information Daily reported. Liu Fengliang from the research group said a pick-up in GDP deflator and a higher than normal GDP are indicators of a steady and optimistic economy.

Web transactions soar 70 times in four years

Internet financial transactions stood at 436 billion yuan (US$64 billion) in 2016, a 317% increase from 6 billion yuan in 2013, the Economic Information Daily reported. Director Sun Guofeng from the Financial Research Institute of the People’s Bank of China said consumption was vital to economic growth and structural transformation.

Brisk trade for online retailers at festival

Online retailers saw brisk trade when the annual June 18 Shopping Festival started at midnight on Sunday, with Tmall registering 100 million yuan in sales in the first seven minutes, while Suning saw orders leap 398% year on year in the first hour, the Shanghai Securities Daily reported, citing iResearch data. JD.com, which launched the 24-hour festival idea seven years ago, saw a 250% jump in sales.

Tencent to develop eSports in five-year plan

Hong Kong-listed Tencent said it would cultivate talent and build a gaming industry park as part of its five-year plan to develop the eSports market, Caixin reported. Tencent projected that by the end of 2017, the number of video gaming users will reach 220 million, making the country the world’s largest gaming market. Total gaming users worldwide stood at 335 million, it said.

Medical insurance doubles to US$76 billion

Individual medical insurance doubled to 520 billion yuan by the end of 2016, compared to 269 billion yuan in 2012, the Economic Information Daily reported, citing the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security. Experts said the government-run medical benefits fund was not effective and suggested that work unit payments be reduced.

Insurance institutions forced out of Beijing: CIRC

The China Insurance Regulatory and Commission said insurance institutions with legal person status would be moved to nearby Tianjin and Hebei province to ease market pressure in Beijing, the Securities Times report on Saturday.

Online student loans suspended

Internet platforms are barred from offering student loans until further notice and will need approval from the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the Beijing Youth Daily reported, citing a joint statement from the CBRC, the ministries of Education, Human Resources and Social Security.

US$18.92 billion flows into HK via Stock Connect in 2017

The southbound flow of capital into Hong Kong through the Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Connect schemes stood at 128.95 billion yuan this year, mostly into the financial and information technology industries, the Securities Times reported. Since they began the total of southbound funds was 452.4 billion yuan, it said.

Reforms on transfer of mining rights

The country will start a three-year reform of the transfer system on mining rights, meaning potential new owners must submit bids at an auction, the Paper reported citing a joint announcement from the Communist Party’s Central Committee and the State Council.

Hebei will halt operations at 1,170 certified mines

Hebei provincial authorities will suspend operations of 1,170 certified mines and complete reafforestation of the environment around 256 mines by October 31, the Paper reported, citing the Department of Land and Resources.