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China

EU–China relations disintegrating on autopilot

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Charles Michel, President of the European Council, meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, China, on 1 Dec 2022 (Photo: Reuters).

Author: Andrei Lungu, RISAP

In early December 2022, President of the European Council Charles Michel travelled to Beijing for his first face-to-face meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The visit came after two events that epitomise the state of EU–China relations. The Chinese side refused to run a pre-recorded speech criticising Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by Michel at the China International Import Expo. This was followed by the lack of any meeting between Xi and Michel or European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the G20 Bali summit, where Xi met other European leaders.

Michel followed in the footsteps of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, whose visit to China, alongside a business delegation, received considerable criticism. The Michel–Xi meeting — like the Scholz–Xi meeting — did not deliver important results while EU–China relations have been spiralling downwards. But neither side seems to have any strategy on how to deal with the other.

In early 2019, the European Union started referring to China as a ‘cooperation partner’, ‘negotiating partner’, ‘economic competitor’ and ‘systemic rival’. But since then, the European Union has failed to figure out what it wants from China. Most EU actions have so far been defensive against what it considers unfair economic practices or risks coming from Beijing. The European Union has set up a foreign investment screening mechanism, set guidelines warning against using 5G gear from suppliers considered high-risk and is working on implementing an anti-coercion instrument and imposing restrictions on Chinese involvement in the EU public procurement market.

Different perspectives on relations with China and a lack of unity among and within member states, EU institutions and other European stakeholders prevented the creation of a coherent strategy. Some want to focus on economic relations while others want to prioritise political, security or human rights issues.

Despite individual perspectives, the political environment in Europe hardened against cooperation with China.

Yet trade and investment links to China continued to grow. Because the European Union and most European governments lacked a clear view of how they wanted to transform bilateral relations with China, EU–China ties continued to develop on autopilot.

Beijing also seems unsure of what it wants from Europe or how to achieve its goals. In theory, it is quite easy to say what China wants from the European Union — to avert a deterioration of relations and maximise economic, technological and political benefits and prevent the emergence of a trans-Atlantic united front against Beijing. But China has taken almost no concrete steps to achieve these goals.

Since 2019, China has not really tried to arrest the precipitous decline in its European relations. The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment should have been such an attempt, but after the conclusion of negotiations Beijing torpedoed hopes for the agreement’s ratification by sanctioning the very people who were supposed to approve it in the European Parliament. In areas like state distortion of markets, sensitive technology, human rights, worries of political interference in Europe or aggressive diplomacy, Beijing has only provided more ammunition to those who want to curtail ties with China.

Yet Chinese rhetoric consistently paints a different picture. The Chinese side calls the European Union a partner, pleads for closer cooperation, urges it to pursue ‘strategic autonomy’ and prevent any ‘third party’ from interfering in bilateral relations in every meeting or call with European officials. In 2022, China sent its special representative for Central and East European cooperation on two tours through the region to ‘explain’ China’s position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine and repair relations. It has also sent diplomatic officials on visits throughout Europe.

But Beijing’s actions have been limited to rhetoric and diplomatic gestures. There is no way EU–China relations can be improved without concrete action on China’s part — talk alone will not work.

As much as the Communist Party leadership would deny this, it also bears at least part of the blame for the deterioration of EU–China relations, and would have to compromise and change its behaviour and policies in order to improve relations with Europe. However, just like in Europe, the political environment in China makes any true detente unlikely. The Communist Party leadership’s grand narrative of China…

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Canberra ties the knot with Washington

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Canberra ties the knot with Washington

Abstract

Australia has shifted its strategy towards favoring the United States over China due to increasing fear of Chinese power and the competitive Indo-Pacific environment.

The ‘riding two horses’ strategy adopted by Canberra over the past 25 years has shifted in favor of the US alliance to counter China’s growing power. Previous prime ministers sought to balance relations between China and the US, with Kevin Rudd aiming for ‘true friendship’ with China while also promising military intervention if needed. Tony Abbott’s approach was driven by ‘fear and greed’, and John Howard acknowledged the benefits of a relationship with both countries.

However, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has expressed a desire to strengthen the US alliance and cooperate with China while also engaging in Australia’s national interest. This shift is evident in actions such as sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait and introducing legislation to facilitate the AUKUS security partnership.

The Indo-Pacific environment has become more competitive, leading Australia to prioritize fear over greed in its alignment. As China’s GDP continues to rise and may overtake the US by 2030, Canberra’s strategy is likely to continue favoring alignment with Washington due to the lack of a viable alternative for addressing its fear of China’s power.

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2024 China IIT Reconciliation: Appointment Through IIT App Opens on February 21st

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Annual IIT reconciliation for 2023 must be done from March 1 to June 30, 2024. Final tax settlement appointments must be made after February 21, 2024. The process involves checking and reporting on IIT paid and deducted in 2023 to calculate refundable or supplementary tax.


Annual IIT reconciliation for the year 2023 is required to be made during the period from March 1 to June 30, 2024. For those who need to make the final tax settlement between March 1 to March 20, they need to make an appointment after February 21, 2024.

On February 1, 2024, the State Taxation Administration (STA) issued the Announcement on Matters Relating to the Final Settlement of Individual Income Tax on Consolidated Income for the Year 2023 (the Announcement), clarifying matters related to the annual individual income tax (IIT) reconciliation for the year 2023.

Annual IIT reconciliation, or annual IIT settlement, is a process applied to individual taxpayers on their comprehensive income (an individual’s combined income of wages and salaries, remuneration from labor services, author’s remuneration, and royalties), to make sure their IIT paid in the previous tax year is accurate.

During the process, individual taxpayers will need to recheck their IIT paid and deducted in the tax year, calculate the refundable or supplementary tax payable, report to the tax authorities, and make the tax settlement.

In this article, we introduce key issues related to the annual IIT reconciliation in 2024 and the key changes as compared to previous years.

After the end of the year 2023, a resident individual is required to consolidate his/her four types of comprehensive income, namely wages and salaries, remuneration for personal services, author’s remuneration, and royalties obtained from January 1 to December 31, 2023, to compute the final tax payable amount. The taxpayer needs to deduct the prepaid tax amount in 2023 to obtain the tax refundable or the tax to be made up amount. Further, the taxpayer is required to declare to tax authorities for a tax refund or tax to be made up.

Tax Refundable or Tax to Be Made Up = [(Annual Comprehensive Income – RMB 60,000- Special Deductions – Special Additional Deductions – Other Deductions Determined Pursuant to the Law – Qualified Public Welfare And Charitable Donations) × Applicable Tax Rate – Quick Deduction] – Prepaid Tax Amount

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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The Year of the Dragon brings record-breaking travel and consumption during the 2024 Chinese Spring Festival

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The Chinese New Year holiday saw a remarkable recovery in the tourist industry, with travel numbers and revenues exceeding 2023 and pre-pandemic levels. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism reported unprecedented growth, showcasing the industry’s resilience despite the COVID-19 pandemic.


The tourist industry registered significant growth during this year’s Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays, the first to be completely unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the latest figure released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, both travel numbers and tourism-related revenues reached unprecedented levels, surpassing figures registered during the 2023 Chinese New Year while also surpassing pre-COVID-19 levels.

Rebound in domestic and international travels

According to the data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Sunday, domestic tourism registered a remarkable performance during this year’s eight-day celebration.

The data reveals a significant surge in domestic trips, totaling 474 million trips made across the country from February 10 to February 18, marking a notable increase of 34.4 percent compared to the same period in 2023. This figure attracted special attention as it was a 19 percent rise compared with that in 2019.

The surge in travel within the country was facilitated by traditional transportation models, such as railways, civil aircraft, and waterways. Additionally, this year there has been also an increase in travelers embarking on independent road trips, partially due to the current rise in popularity of electric cars in China. This trend was further encouraged by the government’s efforts to stimulate the purchase of these vehicles as a way to boost domestic consumption. To cater to this trend, provinces ensured the temporary deployment of additional recharging stations in service areas, ensuring a seamless travel experience for travelers.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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