Reciprocal Journal

Reciprocal Journal


互惠 日记

This journal is dedicated to the cause of international understanding between China and America.
To the largest goal, which is peace between these two powerful nations, fostering a culture of equality,
mutual respect and reciprocal development.


Editor: Michael North

If you wish to contribute, or suggest a topic,
you may do so by sending an email to


August 19, 2020: Democratic Convention

The Democratic Convention this week shows much of what is great and good about America; it’s important for Americans, and the world, to remind ourselves. Even in crisis, the strong spirit of the people rises.

One short video tells that story — young singers, from all 50 States and 7 Territories, all nations in the world — singing together. These are the faces, voices and feelings of America that China loves and respects.

August 1, 2020: Context

This is a time of great challenge for relations between China and the United States.

Words and actions reverberate back and forth in official channels, as the long, productive relationship between the two nations, growing consistently since 1979, apparently begins to fray in 2020. This situation brings to mind another time — 80 years ago — when another generation was faced with challenges to peace. When the people and leaders of China and America responded with patriotism, with heroism, by helping each other, in a profound feeling of peace and mutual respect.

Most of us were not alive then to see it, but the memory is still fresh and meaningful today — perhaps it provides historic context that may offer guidance to us today.

Here is to the story of the Flying Tigers — a group of Chinese and American heroes who fought together, both before and during World War II, to help save the new nation of China.

Many young men  met in the 1930’s and 1940’s, and American volunteers flew hundreds of combat missions to protect China. Those young men  stayed in touch for  decades — with the friendship of their families, and now their sons and daughters, mirroring the fundamental alliance between China and America.

Original title: “Flying Tigers Made Lifelong Friends.” Writer and Executive Producer, Chen Defu. Original music: Zeng Sujin. Produced by the U.S.-China Cultural Exchange Society. Translated and narrated by Michael North, for the Zhou Enlai Peace Institute; recorded at  National Public Radio studios, Honolulu.

Full-length feature documentary available on request.

July 20, 2020:

Speech to the March on Washington. August 28, 1963.

We mark the loss of one of the great heroes of our generation, John Lewis.

We went back to the original archive, faded, murky and tinted in picture and dull in mono sound, to restore the energy of that day so long ago, at the Washington Monument. The last of the living original speakers from that historic day. This video is unedited, uncut, with greatest respect for the youth he was, and for the tireless warrior he would become until his passing at age 80, July 2020.

The fierce focus of young John Lewis lives, a source of pride for all people in America, and for peacemakers around the world.

July 1, 2020: Zhou Enlai Teaches Nixon the Five Principles of Peace

Zhou Enlai speaks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, explaining the Five Principles of Peace to U.S. President Richard Nixon and the American delegation.

Shortly after signing the Shanghai Communique, which began the proess of diplomatic, cultural and business renewal between China and America. March 1, 1972.

The Chinese Premier said, “There exist great differences between the governments of these two countries, but these differences should not hinder the development of normal state relationships between China and the United States, under the five principles of mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, mutual non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and peaceful coexistence.”

The Chinese miitary band played “America the Beautiful.” Nixon said, “This was the week that changed the world.”

June 12, 2020: What it Takes

In Beijing today, big headline:
Two new corona cases identified, the first in weeks. A detailed account is published of who, and where, and what is being done. Places where they went recently, shut down. Associated schools closed again. Everyone tested and tracked, and re-tested. No one has died of corona in China in a month.
This is why Beijing, and almost all of China, are largely free and open again, no masks, no shutdowns. Most everyone working, economy booming. Lots of new rules, but people are accustomed to them now. 
First, they are alive. And then, the economy recovers. In that order.
We will not experience that result in America or the U.K. until we are willing to face the virus squarely, do what is necessary on a national coordinated level, gather and share good information, sound science, self-discipline and shared responsibility.
I’m not saying we need to be like China; I’m saying that China found the Chinese way to control this. America and Britain, we need to find our way.

May 25, 2020: Two Videos, from the Heart of New York

These two videos were produced in New York City by volunteers, encourgaing New Yorkers to wear masks to help in the struggle with corona virua. This originated in a public call from the Mayor’s Office for Public Service Announcements.

May 22, 2020:  Learning from the Virus

China discovered that the best way for the economy to recover from corona is to take care of the health crisis first. They did that, and it worked.
That is not the course that has been chosen, in much of America, and from the nationwide perspective.
Digging into this a little — the article article attached above, an inside view of China’s economic prospects now, alongside US. 
As America looks ahead to the worst of our national pandemic, which is yet to come, and China looks back to the end of their national pandemic, which is almost over.
The decline in US economic prospects is directly linked to the almost total failure, on a national level, to contain the virus. Some cities and states (New York and California, for example) have done well, but overall the US has done badly, and more bad news is coming:
A. Today: 1.6 million cases nationally, more than 20,000 new cases every day, averaging 1,500 deaths per day (5-22-20). These numbers will be worse tomorrow.

B. China’s unemployment rate on January 1: 2.2%  — today:  5.6%, and trending down — the worst in a generation, and difficult to manage

C. America’s unemployment rate on January 1: 3.6%  — today, 5-22-20— 18%  — and trending up to 25% or more in the coming weeks — the worst increase ever, and how to manage, no one knows
China prioritized health first, comprehensive and national — then the economy. America made a partial, decentralized effort at health, had success in some major cities and states, but failed overall because there was no coordinated national leadership — then America started to concentrate on the economy.
If many people are sick and dying, they cannot work at all. If many more people are concerned about being infected, most will not go out to work, shop, travel. 
The only way to deal with the economic collapse is to deal with the health crisis first, and the US is not willing to do so, on a national level. We are deeply interconnected, all 50 states: an outbreak in one place will inevitably generate more cases everywhere. 
We need to learn, and act, with patience and discipline. Now.
P.S. China is far from perfect in its dealing with corona. At first, its bureaucratic reflexes were too slow, its self-defensive political stance too risk-averse. Valuable time was lost blaming the first doctors who reported the virus, which could have saved many lives in China, and the Chinese government admits this. But lessons were learned quickly, adaptation and action came early; massive, profound tragedy and lasting economic damage were ultimately averted. We can’t say the same about America, Europe and most of the rest of the world. 4,600 deaths in China was terrible; America will pass 100,000 deaths this Memorial weekend.

May 18, 2020: International Perspectives on the Pandemic – Italy and China

Friend and ally Ma Mengjia (director of TEDx in Shanghai) contributes this thoughtful piece, from SDA Bocconi School of Management in Milan:

“The Covid-19 pandemic is destroying many human lives, and the social and economic consequences of the lockdown and social distancing policies are wreaking havoc on many more. The livelihood of countless families and entire communities the world over jeopardized by the potential aftermath of the virus, with unemployment on the rise, and uncertainty on whether companies can stay afloat because of delayed investments, cancelled contracts, and disruptions in national and international supply chains.

All across the globe, all eyes are on the evolving situation in China, as we wait to see what tools will be effective in facing the second phase of the emergency. Likewise, we also look to the countries that were first struck by the Covid-19 pandemic, in an attempt to predict what will happen here in Italy to our companies and our organizations in the coming months.

In South Korea, after many companies encouraged their employees to work from home during the height of the crisis, the flows of public transportation and the level of air pollution are slowly climbing back to pre-crisis levels. Most pedestrians wear masks, which are now available in pharmacies and stores. Cafes and restaurants are open again, although with fewer customers.

China too is slowly entering its own post-Covid-19 world, and the experience there is shining a light on five critical questions we need to focus on: uncertainty of demand, lack of liquidity, interruption of supply chains, digitalization, and last but not least the very real (not simply professed) importance of the human side of companies, more critical than ever before.

As for the first question, China’s example shows that measures to contain the pandemic also encompass restaurants and other communal areas, in addition to limitations on air travel. What’s more, domestic demand will be limited due to unemployment, financial difficulties, and risk-averse behavior among consumers in general. Right now many people are still frightened by what has happened, and it will take time before the situation goes back to normal. On the other hand, with companies resorting to smartworking, there is greater need for digital communications and solutions for storing sensitive data, meaning that demand for connectivity and cloud storage solutions is constantly climbing. Putting millions of Chinese residents on lockdown has also triggered an upsurge in demand in the gaming sector for mobile phones; with people spending hours at home, more users are spending more time gaming online.

As for dealing with liquidity, interesting data have come to light in a survey run in February 2020 by several Chinese universities. The Enterprise Survey for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in China (ESIEC) analyzed the impact of the pandemic on over 2500 Chinese small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The main challenge for most of these companies is a lack of liquidity. In fact, 20% of interviewees said they couldn’t survive for more than a month. The survey also confirmed weak domestic demand, with ripple effects on company revenues. The drop in profits hit exporters hardest, with more limited damage to SMEs that operate in B2B sectors.

The ESIEC study also reveals that companies positioned in the middle of the supply chain of a given sector need to contend with a lack of raw materials and components. The global economy depends largely on Chinese manufacturing of finished products and components for the automobile and electronics industries, for medical equipment and supplies, and for consumer goods in general. According to projections, it looks like the return to normal for production will be slow. What’s more, a labor shortage in February and March 2020, along with stricter safety standards in the workplace (including PPE for employees), and the sluggish recovery in the logistics sector may cause severe disruptions of the global supply chain.

Moving on to the question of digitalization and innovative solutions, we find that China is currently experiencing an added acceleration in digital transformation. In 2003, after the SARS epidemic ended, the Alibaba Group created Taobao, an online sales platform. In recent weeks this and other platforms are offering an immediate remedy to the lack of liquidity: with the help of blockchain technology developed by Ant Duo-Chain, SMEs can apply for loans by tapping into the credit of bigger players. At the same time, e-commerce is also growing thanks to an upswing in online purchases, often integrated with popular chat platforms.

In the corporate context, upheavals trigger innovation. The need to limit social contacts during the epidemic fact-tracked the introduction of delivery systems via self-driving vehicles. What’s more, social distancing policies for citizens and pressures on doctors and nurses spotlighted the need to expand telemedicine, focusing greater attention on mental health at the same time. Unmind and Headspace, UK-based startups for psychological support, have begun offering free access to their platforms for healthcare workers. In China, the startup Guahao created a platform with more than 8,000 volunteer doctors who offer online consulting, even in English.

Will these changes become permanent? According to a consumer survey conducted in Hong Kong at the end of last March, before the second wave of the pandemic, only 6% of interviewees said they hadn’t changed their daily habits.

Like most of my colleagues, recently I’ve been receiving messages of encouragement and support from former students and other teachers all over the world. I also had the chance to discuss the impact of Covid-19 with Mengjia Ma, an entrepreneur from Shanghai and former participant in one of our Executive Training Programs at SDA Bocconi School of Management. She pointed out another incredible revolution that is underway right now on the front of digitalization of the consumer goods and services sectors – from “online hospitals” to livestreams for retail sales.

She also mentioned another sign of the changes that are taking place in post-Covid-19 society. On April 7, a television newsreader named Zhu Guangquan took part in a livestream show on Taobao Live, along with the influencer Li Jiaqi, to promote products from Hubei Province. The event generated over 3 million dollars in sales. A mainstream television presenter joined a famous influencer of beauty products to help local companies sell Wuhan’s famous hot and dry spaghetti, tea, snacks and other products from the region. And this isn’t the only example of celebrities or leading companies dedicating time, energy and resources to help their communities contend with the economic fallout from the pandemic. Pinduoduo, an e-commerce platform, has created a channel called “Help the Farmer” to reopen sales channels between farmers and customers which were interrupted by the crisis. and Alibaba, top e-commerce groups, have announced huge recruitment campaigns, hiring people who were fired from their jobs in restaurants, hotels, cinemas, and traditional stores. In Italy too companies reacted quickly with generous donations to hospitals, reconverting their production to personal protection equipment and valves for ventilators.

These events are signs of the shifting economic and social paradigms in the new world order, post Covid-19. In light of the long-term impact of the pandemic on the economic and social aspects of our lives, these changes are here to stay. So it seems that in the post-Covid world, success and progress will be measured not only in economic terms, but in human terms as well.”


May 5, 2020: How it’s Done in China — Zero New Virus Cases in Nanjing

< a short film, in Japanese and Chinese, with English subtitles>

To control the spread of corona, a variety of coordinated measures need to be taken — so that the economy can function, and so the people’s health is protected.

These measures can be simple, common-sense, and inexpensive — but they do require a change in thinking. In this short film, two examples — put tissues in an elevator, so that people can touch the floor buttons with them. When delivering a package, put it into an elevator by itself, choose the floor, and send it up without getting in the elevator.

A good friend, Cyndy Ning at University of Hawaii, showed us this video and says:

“A City with Zero Cases of COVID-19.” Made by Japanese filmmaker Takeuchi Ryo, who lives in Nanjing.

He has documented many of the public safety measures the city has put in place, and which has led to zero increase of new infected cases, while COVID-19 is spreading like wild-fire all around the rest of the world.

As Takeuchi concludes, he was amazed how organized and effective those social distancing measures are, and he encourages many countries to learn lessons from Nanjing. Germany is already cooperating with China closely on implementing some of those measures.”

–note: original content produced by Hezhimeng — this video is copyright, for access please contact

April 22, 2020 A Postcard from China

A tribute to the doctors, nurses, medical workers and researchers around the world,
who are fighting the corona virus together.

April 16, 2020 The Ambassador from China: Interview on PBS

China’s Ambassador to the US said yesterday, in an informal interview on PBS. WNET New York:

“Let’s work together to respond to this global crisis, to save people’s lives, to save the future of global economy, and to save the future of the global community. This is our paramount task,” said Chinese Ambassador to the United States.

“If we aim at a new system of international governance that is open, inclusive, based on mutual respect among all countries, on the full recognition of the diversity of culture, civilization, political system, economic system — if we can do this, then I think all the things are ready for us to build a new and effective international governance system. We have to make the right choice now,” he noted.

“If we can still call this a wakeup call (I think we should have woken up long time ago), but still, if we have not started yet, we have to start real efforts to build a good international governance system for the 21st century, for the future,” he said, adding that big countries including the U.S. and China have great responsibilities in spearheading the efforts.

Full interview, including additional material, is on the GZero broadcast, here:
Interview by Ian Bremmer

All video and transcript ©copyright 2020, GZero Media

April 12, 2020  A Moment of Respite from Corona

With virtually the whole developed world shut down (except China), this Easter-Passover weekend was sad, eerie and beautiful.

The great Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli captures the moment in a solo performance from the Duomo in Milan. Normally crowded with thousands of people on this Sunday, the Duomo was filled with silence, and the spirits of generations past.

April 4, 2020 Shanghai, After the Virus

“I know that it is a tough moment in the world. I know it is not easy to stay at home. You have lost your freedom and moments together with your family. We have all experienced that.

“But trust me — keep doing it. If we are together, I am sure we can win this battle with the virus. After the virus is gone, our lives will be better again, like this.”

Our friend Mengjia from Shanghai takes us on a spring tour of the great city, to see the parks, and the people waking up in springtime after a long, dark winter.

Yesterday (April 4), Ching Ming was an important holiday in traditional Chinese culture, when people go to where their ancestors are remembered. Many Chinese families go back 2000 years or more, dozens of generations.

This year, Ching Ming was also a solemn national remembrance of the many who died in the first three months of this year, from the corona virus — and the many who sacrificed their health to save others.

China is just beginning to emerge from the shadow of the virus, and the process of mourning and remembrance has begun. It is also a celebration of life and renewal, as seen in this video, edited and reported by a respected 30-year-old young Chinese leader.

She offers comfort and encouragement to those of us in America, Europe and around the world, who are now walking the dark road that China has walked. As China has emerged, so will we —

April 2, 2020: We Were the World

What do Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Paul Simon, Tina Turner, Bette Midler, Diana Ross, Bruce Springsteen, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan all have in common? They all appeared in the same music video. Remember?

Many of us were around in 1985, when this simple  video electrified the world. If you were not, this is worth a musical moment…An expression of America’s innate optimism, outreach, generosity that sadly feels so antique 35 years later. It’s an all-time favorite in China, and the karaoke version is sung in clubs all around the country, every night.

This is the idealism that the Chinese most admire in America.

Ever wondered what happened, with the USA for Africa group that produced this video? Turns out, quite a lot.

The lyrics have a haunting resonance in this corona age —

There comes a time
When we heed a certain call
When the world must come together as one
There are people dying
Oh, and it’s time to lend a hand to life
The greatest gift of all
We are the world
We are the children
We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving
There’s a choice we’re making
We’re saving our own lives
It’s true we’ll make a better day, just you and me

March 31, 2020: Words from a Scientist

Simple, serious thoughts from Mr. Gates in The Post today—

His suggestions will not be followed, of course. Listening to a scientist and making policy decisions based on science would set a dangerous precedent for the current administration.

But it will be good to have on file a prescription that, six months from now, people will realize could have saved many lives. These recommendations echo directly the success in China; Mr. Gates follows China matters closely, observing and learning.

Gates is one of the few to point out that we’re only as strong as our weakest link — it does little good to close restaurants in Brooklyn if they’re still open and enjoying happy hour in Birmingham. One person from Alabama flying to La Guardia can infect fifty new people in a couple of hours, who get off the plane and…

March 17, 2020: Cherry Blossoms from China

It’s possible to get swept up in the tide of bad news, and it’s also important to pay close attention each day, to look ahead, continue to do our important work, to stay balanced as the corona crisis develops:

China is several weeks ahead of the U.S. and Europe in the progress of the virus. So far, China has suffered the most illnesses, the most fatalities, and the greatest economic disruption.

They’ve also practiced the most thorough and effective public treatment. So they’re ahead, but that’s good — it’s showing results.

I follow a Weixin group that tracks the Chinese auto industry — here are a few observations in the past 24 hrs —

Tesla to expand parts output in Shanghai, document shows. The automaker plans to add lines to make more battery packs, electric motors and motor controllers, according to a document submitted by the company to the local government. Tesla is working to localize its supply chain in the country.

Beijing Hyundai, Hyundai Motor Co.’s joint venture with BAIC Motor Co., said output has resumed at three production sites and suppliers despite the lingering coronavirus outbreak in China. The joint venture’s assembly plants in Beijing, the north China city of Cangzhou and the southwest China municipality of Chongqing have successively reopened, the company announced Saturday.

None of the 10,000-plus employees at the plants have been infected by the virus, allowing full production to resume at the three sites, it said.

And in the silver-lining category from China Daily today:

Statistics from consultancy Analysys Qianfan showed the monthly active users of Xiachufang reached 13.74 million in December. The number rose to 14.79 million as of January, and 26.8 million in February.

Moreover, Ecook, a mobile app that gives food lovers access to online recipes from the best cookbooks, has seen a surge in demand.

…more innovative operation methods in terms of technology, content, products and services should be adopted to retain these new users. “It is noteworthy that the epidemic has attracted new groups of consumers, such as elderly people, who originally didn’t belong to target user groups.”The outbreak has also made shoppers refrain from frequenting crowded brick-and-mortar stores, switching instead to online shopping, especially using e-commerce platforms that deliver daily necessities and fresh produce.”

JD Daojia, the local on-demand retail platform of Dada Group, said overall sales revenue increased 374 percent year-on-year during the Lunar New Year holiday in late January and early February, with the consumption of meat jumping 710 percent year-on-year, vegetables increasing 440 percent, and fruit 380 percent.

From the Belt and Road Journalists Network, Beijing:

“Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19), countries around the world have looked out for each other and joined hands in the battle against the epidemic. This battle makes us feel more than ever that human society is a community with a shared future that is interconnected and shares weal and woe. In the face of global challenges, all countries must work together to overcome difficulties.

“In the community with a shared future for mankind, we are waves of the same sea, leaves of the same tree, and flowers of the same garden. We believe that through our joint efforts, we will ultimately defeat the epidemic worldwide. Like the rainbow after a storm, the world will be a better place to live in after the epidemic.

And from a China military group on Weixin today:

“The subunit vaccine against COVID-19 created by experts from the Academy of Military Medical Sciences was approved for clinical trials on Monday night, China Central Television reported on Tuesday.

The team was led by senior bioengineer Major General Chen Wei. Since arriving in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei province, in late January, Chen and her team immediately began working on a subunit vaccine.

The vaccine has been approved for safety, efficacy and quality by a third party. Chen said the vaccine also has completed preliminary preparation work for mass production.”

Finally, cherry blossoms are in bloom across China — this short video from a friend in a news bureau —

March 10, 2020: From Milan

March 8, 2020: Long Island, New York City

February 22,2020: Xi Jinping and Bill Gates


This exchange between Xi jinping and Bill Gates will get no coverage in the mainstream press in the West, because it’s too rational and positive —


“In his letter dated Feb 20, the Chinese president wrote: “I deeply appreciate the act of generosity of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and your letter of solidarity to the Chinese people at such an important moment.”Gates said in his letter on Feb 6 that his foundation has committed up to $100 million in emergency funding, much of which will help China bolster epidemiological research, emergency intervention, and the research and development of drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics.

Nonetheless, it happened. $100 million can’t hurt.

February 10, 2020: Message of Hope from Shanghai

From our friends at TEDx in Shanghai, led by Ma Mengjia.

February 11, 2020: Robots Fighting the Corona Virus

One of the many reasons why China will handle the virus crisis, implement valuable new technologies, and find opportunity in the face of disaster —

“Since China sounded the alarm to combat the novel coronavirus nationwide, robot maker Shanghai TMiRob Technology has delivered 42 intelligent disinfection robots to more than half a dozen hospitals in Wuhan, Hubei province, where most cases of the deadly virus have been reported.

In fact, the company’s inventory has been exhausted, said Pan Jing, the CEO and founder of TmiRob. ‘Even the robot model demonstrated in the exhibition hall of our company has been purchased and delivered,’ he said.”

Here is the full feature article, from China Daily Global

February 7, 2020: The Coming Recovery

This is the first story of its kind I have seen from China: Planning for the post-virus recovery. There will be many more.

There are cues here to how the economic recovery will be stimulated, and by whom.

I strongly recommend that people outside China bookmark China Daily for regular reference — my day  begins with a dose of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the London Times and China Daily.

Each day, it’s interesting to see which stories are highlighted in the different publications, and the varied interpretations.

Allowing for the fact that China Daily is a government-backed publication: the prose is dry, dense and fact-oriented. It efficiently reflects the party line, but it also includes information reporting that is better sometimes  than its American and British colleagues. Even on  straight news pieces, The Times and The Post tend to be tilted with opinions that express the editorial orientation of their chief editors.

Not better or worse, just different. The differences can produce real understanding.

January 25, 2020: Open Letter
To the Chinese People from the American People:

To all our dear friends across China — happy new year, happy new decade. For 12 years beginning now, we start to cycle through all star changes.

We in America send our love and support to you in China, our great partners and allies, as the flu illness is felt most immediately in China. Especiaily to our friends in Wuhan, Huanggang and across Hubei Province, we say — patience, strength. You will surmount this crisis, as China has met so many challenges in its past, always emerging stronger.

Please do not be afraid; you are not alone. We will do anything and everything we can to help and support you. Our scientists and doctors, and those from every nation in the world, now work for the Chinese people. This is our duty, our interest, our sacred obligation.

Because ee are all deeply connected; blood to blood, arm in arm, face to face, breathing together. Your health and survival are the health and survival of the world.

Let us support those affected, with high compassion — caring for the young, the elderly, the sick and weary who are most vulnerable. Living each day with the greatest care, learning the best information from each other, from our doctors and leaders, following the best health practices with discipline, we can create an inspired example for the world.

At the moment, China has taken leadership in the fight against this sad illness. We are counting on you to rise as heroes, as your fathers, mothers, grandmothers and grandfathers did to create China 70 years ago. We give you our heart, aid, support, whatever you ask that we can do — we will do.

When all is healthy again, and this time has become a memory, let us ensure that it is a proud memory, that we learn and grow with gratitude from this experience.

The Zhou Enlai Peace Institute; Honolulu and Beijing

January 10, 2020  A Thousand Ways to Get it Right

Published on Xinhua News website, an interview with yours truly…

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Michael North, chairman of Galaxy Trade and Technology, a U.S.-China joint venture engaging in international magnesium trade, pointed to the strong and deep fundamentals of U.S.-China relations.

The interweaving of these two economies, these two societies and these two cultures is “so deep, so continuous, so profound and so meaningful to so many people” that it cannot be “seriously disrupted” by the U.S.-China trade disputes, North said.”

More here…

November 15, 2019  Impeachment? What Impeachment?

Today, on a full day of dramatic testimony by the former US Ambassador to Ukraine to the House of Representatives, the covers of every major newspaper in America were packed with stories about the impeachment hearings in Washington DC.

But not in China Daily. Not a whisper about impeachment today in those pages, which is unusual, since the State-sponsored newspaper is normally quite effective at mirroring global media with China’s particular angle on major stories.

Instead, the major stories in China Daily carried polite, oblique critiques of America, a quiet assertion of China’s relative stability as an economy, as a leader in international affairs. As America recedes more and more from the world stage, China’s self-confident assertion continues to grow.

Here are two stories that did get highlighted in China Daily today — first, from Brasilia, where Xi Jinping keynoted:

“Evandro Carvalho, head of the Center for Brazil-China Studies…in Rio de Janeiro, said Xi’s speech reaffirmed China’s commitment to defending the multilateral trading system and deepening China’s economic openness to the world.

“Today China has taken a leading role in defending multilateralism and opening up international trade-in contrast to US protectionist and unilateralist policies,” he said regarding policy moves of the United States.”

Also sharing space in China Daily today was a talk by the oldest China hand of all, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, talking about US-China relations:

“I am confident that the leaders on both sides will come to realize that the future of the world depends on their capacity to analyze the challenges together, to work out solutions, and to manage the inevitable difficulties,” the 96-year-old said…in New York City.

That capacity is not apparent on the US side at the moment. Dr. Kissinger is ever hopeful. Even more hopeful was the host at the event…’Stephen A. Orlins…said the bilateral relationship at times seems “very dark”:

“Yet I am often uplifted by the words of one of my heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King. In the final speech of his life he said, ‘I have been to the mountaintop. Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”

Note: China Daily resumed its coverage of the impeachment hearings on November 18, in matter-of-fact terms.

October 30, 2019 Reciprocal Trade and Investment in Action

US-China Joint Venture Pays Dividends
for International Automakers in Atlanta

ATLANTA, GA: This week, leaders of the automotive industry in the Southeast United States converge on the Loudermilk Conference Center in downtown Atlanta to consider vital questions: how to design and build the next generation of cars to be lighter and more fuel-efficient, without sacrificing strength and performance?

Galaxy is a responsible corporate citizen, too. The company uses renewable energy wherever possible, serving families and communities in China responsibly, providing a living example of a renewed commercial relationship between China and the world. Galaxy is an prototype of a rebooted trade and development strategy for China that is referred to as “Reciprocal Trade and Investment,” developed by the US-China alliance and discussed on the company’s website.

October 10, 2019 A Toast

Ten days ago, we were fortunate to be invited to attend the official celebration of China’s 70th birthday, at Tienanmen in Beijing. We had a rare inside look at how China sees itself, past present and future, and how its people celebrated this milestone.

One of the events we attended was a State Banquet at the Great Hall of the People, where Xi Jinping proposed a toast to China, its people and its purpose. We were struck by a couple of  the things he said, and share them with you here. I characterize it as “A Community of Destiny” —

September 19, 2019: Reciprocal Trade and Investment

I’ve given some thought to how to reboot the relationship between America and China.

There are some basic issues, both real and concocted, that have driven these two natural allies into separate corners for the moment. But there are practical ways out and forward — with renewed opportunity for both countries.

We’re practicing the reboot through our joint venture company, Galaxy Trade and Technology. On the business level, we’re bringing Chinese magnesium more efficiently to world markets — but there’s much more. We hope others find these ideas useful. In the paper completed today, and finalized on October 1, 2019, we say:

“The Galaxy business model is different from most companies involving America commercial investment in China. Galaxy is not exclusively oriented either to imports or to exports. It is both, and more…

The company deliberately seeks to solve some of the imbalances in trade relationships that have led to recent issues between the US and China.

That means, in practical terms, that Galaxy practices fully balanced commercial relationships between US and Chinese ownership companies. Its international contracts ideally feature both an import and an export orientation, simultaneously and interdependently, framed by careful control of intellectual property.”

Here’s more; you can download the paper here in English: Reciprocal Trade and Investment

And you can download in Chinese here: 互惠贸易投资

September 17, 2018  Unintended Consequences

“In 2017, the country imported $260 billion worth of chips and $162 billion worth of crude oil. More than $200 billion of the chip purchases were US-made chips, according to Bloomberg data.

Even more were US-designed chips, for which US companies received royalties.

You might think this would be touted as a huge success for US exporters. But, the current sanctions and threats of sanctions against Huawei, ZTE and others have permanently soured the market for US chips and other technologies.”

It was obvious that this would happen, when the new US tariffs against Chinese high tech goods were announced. More at:

It’s happening quicker than we thought, but that’s the way with everything concerning China. They see, they adapt, they move. 
Some of the losses to US industry are irreversible.

September 16, 2019  Jack Ma

This video is a quick glimpse of a radically different China from the one currently portrayed in Western media — young, optimistic, an ironic sense of humor, heart-centered, un-self conscious.



At Jack Ma’s retirement party (age 55) over the weekend, one of the richest men in the world stepped down from day-to-day management of Alibaba, the firm he founded. The rock concert was broadcast throughout China on both private and state-run media.

He was rejected by 10 companies for a job, and by 30 companies for investment in his ecommerce system — as a school teacher just 15 years ago. He will spend his time now investing in making the world a better place.

If those in the West who are forming harsh paranoid judgments of China right now could see this video, understand the spirit behind it — and meet some of the 60,000 people who cheered as Jack Ma sang this song — their reading of the Real China might be different.


Yes, I agree — there is much more to a huge, complex nation like China than one video — and much behind the scenes. That’s my point; please have an open mind.

This is part of the China I see, when I go to live and work there.

September 8, 2019: The Good Old Daze

There was a time when Republicans listened to people named Bush and Brzezinski; we may not have agreed with everything they said, but their sober common-sense, heard afresh now, hearks back to an age that seems now dead…

Here, at an economic development forum in Beijing, the sons of Bush and Brezezinski hold forth. Note the image of Premier Zhou Enlai in the history section, as a key exemplar of Chinese diplomacy. His influence continues to grow.

click to download:

August 15, 2019: A Legend

D.A. Pennebaker passed away a few days ago, at age 94.
This was his first documentary, made in New York when he was 28.
He would go on to great fame and honor. This first young film shows New York in 1953, a jazz-image-rhythm rarity with original music by Duke Ellington.
Captures the feeling of the great city, as it must have felt in the immediate post-war period. The energy that made America great, and keeps it great today — that fascinated the world, and that people everywhere, including to some extent in China, wanted to understand and emulate. A glimpse of the history of a powerful idea.
Daybreak Express; 5 minutes

August 13, 2019: Shanghai Brilliance
We met a kinetic group of young people, led by Ma Mengjia, a 20-something young woman who runs the TEDx Xujiahui franchise in Shanghai.

They just hosted an intense set of presentations on future economies at the main civic theater there. See video; you don’t have to speak Chinese to sense the energy —

TEDx Shanghai

The future of China, and perhaps the future of the world, is in the hands of such people.

We would like to connect TED Shanghai with the other TEDs we know — NYC, Honolulu, SFO, Washington, San Diego. That could be explosive in a beneficial way.

August 12, 2019: Common Enemies

Our friend and colleague, Arthur Lipper, attended the GPS 21st Century China Forum at University of California, San Diego this week — and emerged with the following thoughts:

“…to quote Nelson Mandela, “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.” 

“Fear in animals is responsible for species survival. Fear is the most natural of all emotions.”

Download more here: Common-Enemies

August 6, 2019: Whom do you Believe?

On the one hand —

On the other —

I’m inclined to accept China’s more measured position. China did not devalue the yuan; the central bank does not directly control the exchange rate any more. They simply allowed the yuan seek its own level this week, according to market forces.

They are playing a cool hand here, and will ultimately prevail in the standoff with the current Administration in Washington, which has no clear policy goals or consistent leadership.

July 19, 2019 – A Balanced View from Brookings

For both Washington and Beijing, the patient rebuilding of a rules-based order, not the assertion of unilateral advantage by either, remains the only credible path forward. Rather than mirror-image Chinese xenophobic or paranoid behavior, the United States should insist on reciprocity in the relationship to promote openness, move aggressively to open China’s markets, welcome Chinese visitors and researchers, and defend our allies. The United States also needs to fix its own broken domestic politics and mitigate the downsides of globalization at home to diminish the gratuitous scapegoating of China. Without such efforts, the region and the world will inevitably move toward open-ended rivalry, or worse—from which no country, including the United States, can possibly benefit.”

Jonathan Pollack, a seasoned thinker with real experience in China, offers the above insight. Writing for the Brookings Institution with the arresting title, “Looking Before We Leap,” Pollack cautions against the retrograde thinking, which has become fashionable since 2017, that America and China should decouple our affairs, go it alone, and America should seek to curtail China’s continued growth.

The more mature approach, which we believe will re-emerge and will prevail in the end, is for America and China to link up as partners for economic and social development, as joint solvers of the truly vast global challenges we face.

A full consideration of Pollack’s thinking is worth a few minutes: US-China-Disengagement-Risks-Brookings-Pollack

July 16, 2019 – A View from China’s Young Leadership

I participated in a fascinating three-hour meeting yesterday, with about 60 technology, finance, energy and manufacturing people from across Shaanxi Province. Sat across from Deputy Mayor Cheng of Yulin (a city a little larger than Chicago, where our meetings took place). 
A sharp young leader typical of the generation that’s driving China, from where change actually happens — at the city and regional levels.
He’s the type of person responsible for the above story — and is directly tasked with achieving specific quantified goals, driving innovation with the U.S. and other countries.
His observation on the current trade discussions: “The effective business manager knows to expand his contacts and options during lean times, and to deepen his alliances and relationships during prosperous times. For the US and China, this is a lean time, so we are responding as needed; when the times change, we will be prepared for the prosperous times again.”

July 15, 2019: A Family Milestone

BEIJING: A celebration of the life of Zhou Huazhang, nephew of the former Premier of China, Zhou Enlai, took place yesterday in Beijing. Zhou Huazhang led a simple life, yet his accomplishments were significant. He helped China to emerge as a strong, united nation through a dedicated professional career. He also had a long history of positive connection with his family in the United States. Mr. Zhou passed away peacefully on July 2, 2019, at his home in Beijing. The celebration of his life, a statement of renewal for all his friends, family and colleagues, was held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Beijing beginning at 11:11 am.

Further press release follows:

And so it goes.

July 9, 2019 — Digital Currencies

Another area where — big surprise — China is well ahead of the U.S., which at the government level has yet to begin considering the policy issues around digital currencies:

Like global warming, perhaps the U.S. Treasury believes that digital currencies will just go away. In China, they are less naive. China is embracing the issue and taking control of its destiny. 

June 24, 2019: The Parthenon. And China at the British Museum. In one day

On a recent business trip to London, some time out to revisit the Elgin Marbles — the sculptures and friezes from the Parthenon in Athens.

Timeless, elegant, tragic. Moving iconic images from the headwaters of Western Civilization.

Just five hundred feet away, a recent major collection added to the British Museum: from the even deeper history of China. Art and artifact from the headwaters of Eastern Civilization.

Amazing to spend time in both worlds, on the same day.

June 17-18, 2019: The Financial Universe Moves On

As the freeze in US-China economic devleopment grinds into its sixth week, the world moves on. China and Europe forge a new financial and trade system that does not need American blessing or participation.

Two stories illustrate: “China’s leading commercial bank ICBC announced on Monday the appointment of BNP Paribas and HSBC as joint green coordinators and mandated lead arrangers for an inaugural green loan for ICBC’s London branch.”


HSBC says: “The funding demonstrates HSBC’s commitment and dedication to the green loan market, which we are determined to support and develop. This is part of our commitment to provide $100 billion in sustainable financing and investment by 2025.”

And yesterday, the long-awaited live integration of the London Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Stock Exchange was completed, and is now fully operational. Investors anywhere in the world can freely trade a wide range of Chinese securities, directly; the converse is also true — Chinese investors can buy and sell international securities any time, day or night.


“The connect, a two-way depositary receipt mechanism that brings together two of the world’s largest capital markets, brings together one of the world’s largest domestic capital markets – the Shanghai Stock Exchange – with the world’s leading international market, the London Stock Exchange.”

Very often, social and political change is signaled first in the world of finance, which is always alert to opportunities for growth.

The day will come when U.S. financial markets, still the most potent in the world, resume participation in strategic planning fro global growth. That will signal big opportunities for those patient enough to wait, watch and learn.

But not today.

June 11, 2019:

A good friend and longtime business associate, former executive at the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing, writes:

“China-US friendship is a bridge between the Chinese and American people, to share culture and business opportunities, and it’s the best way to create unity among all the people of the world.

I hope that through non-governmental diplomacy, China and the United States can  reduce the friction between political, trade and commercial interests, and promote a deeper, pragmatic link between the culture of China and American culture.”



June 9, 2019: Ping Pong Diplomacy

Representatives from the Zhou Enlai Peace Institute were invited to speak at the celebration of the anniversary of ping-pong diplomacy in Haimen, Jiangsu Province. The invitation came from old friends whom we first met Los Angeles — Yang Jiechi, and his associate Cai Chenghua — where we co-sponsored the “Building Peace” events.

Xiaofang Zhou and Michael North met many of the dignitaries present. Michael North gave an extended talk on the impact of ping-pong diplomacy in 1971, and its lessons for today and the future, addressing his remarks to the hundreds of high school students present.

A complete account: with photos and video:

June 6, 2019: Balance

Bring your own interpretation to this video:

June 5, 2019: The Real White Paper from China

There has been a great deal of analysis, commentary, reaction and speculation about the White Paper published by two days ago by the Chinese Government, intended to clarify issues around the current trade talks with the United States.

Much of it slanted, pre-judged, partial and out-of context, designed chiefly to support the conclusions of the writers, not necessarily to inform.

I much prefer to read the original document, and form my own judgments.

Attached — the original document from the State Council website, in .doc format, titled China’s Position on the China-US Economic and Trade Consultations


The download link, from which many other interesting documents are available, is:

Reading this document, one gets a clear, unfiltered idea of what the Chinese are actually saying. It’s worth noting that no similar document exists from the U.S. government.

For those wishing a truly precise version, concise as only Mandarin Chinese can be, the original-original text is here:

June 1, 2019: More reasons the world needs China

Another reason the world needs China is that China the world’s most populous country, and fastest-growing major economy, has assumed leadership of large-scale, industrial implementation of environmental and clean energy initiatives. The U.S. has, for the time being, withdrawn from such efforts at the national level, though significant independent work continues at the state and local level. Other countries are making important efforts too, but none on the scale and pace of China.

See this story, current report on progress made in cleaning up China’s toxic environment. China still has a long way to go, and it will take some time. But the effort is under way, and a study of how China is doing it is worthwhile.

Those of us who spend time in China’s big cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Xi’an have all been in our path in the past few months — note, anecdotally, that the skies seem more blue, the air less thick, on many days.

May 24, 2019: The Roar of the Lion

You may enjoy this video, from our meetings in Lexington Kentucky last week —

“The Lion in this moment is the people of the United States, the people of China. But who among us will deliver the roar?

Now is the time for the roar to be delivered. the roar of Sino-US relations, of building bonds, of being partners, of being friends, of coming together, weaving a fabric together… Now is the time. We cannot grow weary, we cannot give up. We must rise up, as ambassadors, for what is the right thiing to do… To do the right thing for the world …

When there is strength and stabiity and peace in China…when there is strength and stabiity and peace in America…both the east and the west will be stronger, the world will be stronger, the world will be safer, and there will be more opportunity for all of us.

I’m not afraid of hard work. I ask each of you to roll up your sleeves, put on your overalls, deliver the roar of history. Because history is knocking, and now is the time.”

From the closing address; Governor Matt Bevin of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. National Governors Association US-China Cooperation Summit, Lexington Convention Center, May 24, 2019.

Governor Bevin is one of the leading supporters of President Trump, in a state that voted heavily for Trump in 2016.

May 23, 2019 — Governors Conference in the Washington Post

From the front page of the Washington Post today — all about the Kentucky conference we are attending, China and the trade war —


Several people we met at the conference today, including Governor Bevin, are quoted.

All that Kentucky Bourbon magic.

May 21, 2019 — Press Release: New US-China Magnesium Joint Venture Announced at National Governors’ Conference

A trade and economic development conference, sponsored by the National Governors Association in Lexington Kentucky May 22-24, will announce Galaxy Trade and Technology, a new joint venture between companies in the United States and China. The joint venture combines the best of America and China, and demonstrates new principles of reciprocal management. It links a group of magnesium mines in China, together with global trade, logistics and finance in America.


May 10, 2019 — The First Reaction by China to the Tariff Hikes

A quick read of this first response from China to the big tariff surprise from Washington — which had not even been intimated until four days before — and was executed in a tweetful moment.

“The Ministry of Commerce expressed ‘deep regrets’ on Friday at the United States’ decision to hike tariffs and said China will have to take necessary countermeasures….China hopes that the US side can work with China to jointly build a China-US relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability.”

The impulsive move took virtually every other U.S. government official by surprise.

April 25, 2019Views of the Belt and Road

The ever-insightful Paul Haenle offers off-script views of the Belt-and Road — from the perspective of some of the countries most affected, most critical, and competing.

Russia, India, Europe and the United States — all get their turn in this analysis, from writers in those fields. This is one of a series of valuable pieces coming from the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center in Beijing.


“All countries, including the United States, should have a strong interest in supporting better infrastructure and connectivity. In this way, they should welcome China’s contribution to global infrastructure development. However, China also needs to address the BRI’s shortcomings, in areas such as transparency and sustainability.”

“India has eyed the BRI with suspicion since its announcement. New Delhi turned down Beijing’s invitation to the inaugural Belt and Road Forum in May 2017. Instead, it has made pointed statements about transparency and debt burdens.”

“Moscow’s current relatively benign attitude to the BRI took some time to emerge. Its immediate reaction was largely negative, driven by fears that China wanted to expand into Russia and Central Asia, territory that Moscow considers important in security and economic terms.”


More from Paul Haenle:

Carnegie Tsinghua Center for Global Policy

April 28, 2019Opening Address, Belt and Road Forum

Here is the opening address by the President of China to the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.

The original Chinese is here. We have also translated it into English, which provides a useful reference.
I like to go back to the original source for important ideas, rather than reading press summaries or the commentary of analysts. There is always some nuance missed by the mainstream or diplomatic press.

Which is certainly the case here. Many sophisticated ideas, opening up doors of opportunity for business and civil society, answering key questions.

April 24, 2019 – – American Participation in the Belt and Road

Spotted in Fortune Magazine today — an opinion piece by China’s Ambassador to the United States. He challenges American business to get off the sidelines and participate in the Belt and Road.

“The Belt and Road Initiative means countless opportunities for US businesses, and China invites more of corporate America to participate in the projects to benefit themselves and the world at large…The situation has implications not only in terms of missed opportunities for growth in the US, but for the cause of global development, which needs the ingenuity and the industry of the US.”

Citibank, Caterpillar, General Electric, Honeywell — they are all playing. Every American company must also be an international company, and the Belt and Road is an area where significant growth is being powered, with huge infrastructure projects in more than 100 countries. The Chinese are opening an on-ramp.

April 23, 20119  Hunter Lovins —
After years of admiring her work in “Natural Capital”, I met Hunter Lovins at a conference at the United Nations last fall. Did not disappoint — a committed capitalist for the account of planet earth. Her most recent flaming missive got my attention today:
“Last night a young friend wrote me in some distress.

“He’d been at an impact investment event at which I’d spoken. An audience member had asked the panel how they dealt with climate skeptics: did they still promote the climate protection philosophy behind their portfolios?

“Predictably, the others equivocated.

Which pissed me off. “This,” I growled, “Is why ‘impact investing’ is getting a bad name. It’s trying to be everything to anyone who might let you manage their money.”

For investors, the ETF “Change Finance,” (CHGX) is worth a look.

April 12, 2019 — Belt and Road, Reconsidered

I wish everyone could go to events like this, at the U.S. Institute for Peace —

Though I did notice that there is no representative from China in these discussions. Their perspective would surely be relevant to a full understanding of the issues. <?>

United States Institute for Peace is an interesting institution. Funded by Congress, with a bipartisan blue-ribbon Board. And some blind spots.

One of its original sponsors and biggest advocate was Senator Spark Matsunaga of Hawaii, whose Matsunaga Institute here in Honolulu continues its solid work to establish the case for peace.

April 10, 2019 — EU-China Relations

Balanced views on EU relations from China’s official national newspaper —


April 11, 2019 — China Copyright Law Matures

You may have heard that China has loose intellectual property rules, and does not respect international copyrights.

This was true — up to about 5 years ago. That’s when China initiated a crackdown on copyright enforcement to come up to international standards. The signs of progress along these lines are everywhere.

This story is quite cute, about the lengths to which China went recently, to publicly dress down a copyright infringer and fix an issue.

March 9, 2019 — Siding with Rich China over Fickle U.S.”

From the South China Morning Post, some practical observations by the Malaysian Prime Minister:
“If forced to take sides in the high-stakes geopolitical rivalry and trade war between the United States and China, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad would prefer the economic largesse of Beijing.

“He pointed to the current state of unpredictability of the American superpower as a negative factor when asked about the impact of Sino-American tensions on other, smaller nations in the region.”

A future American administration may be able to repair the damage done to international relations since January, 2017 — but it will take patience, concerted action and long-term commitment.

Full story at</