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China

Teapot drama targeting British Museum sparks nationalist fervor in China

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Chinese state media and netizens have piled onto social media in recent days to sing the praises of a homegrown web drama about a jade teapot that escapes from the British Museum and tries to get home to China.

The three-part drama, “Escape from the British Museum,” shows the green-clad “teapot” personified as a young woman accost a Chinese man in the street, asking for help.

“I’ve been wandering around out here for ages, cousin,” she tells him. “I’m lost, and can’t find my way home.”

The nationalistic drama has proved a hit with the online army of nationalist “little pinks,” and was released around the same time as a Global Times editorial calling for the return of Chinese artifacts from the scandal-hit British Museum, which fired a staff member last month after some of its collection was found for sale on eBay.

Never mind that the explanatory text about the teapot referenced in the film states it was actually made in 2011 by Suzhou master jade carver Yu Ting, who sent it to be displayed in the museum.

The British Museum jade teapot [pictured Friday] referenced in “Escape from the British Museum” was made in 2011 by Suzhou master jade carver Yu Ting, who sent it to be displayed in the museum. Credit: Shi Shi

“While the British Museum proudly displays over 23,000 Chinese artifacts, most of which were obtained through improper channels, even dirty and sinful means, questions loom over their acquisition history and the larger issue of repatriation,” Global Times said in an infographic on Sept. 4.

‘Bloody, ugly and shameful’

Earlier, the paper published an editorial calling the museum “the world’s largest receiver of stolen goods.”

“The UK, which has a bloody, ugly, and shameful colonial history, has always had a strong sense of moral superiority over others,” it said. “We really do not know where their sense of moral superiority comes from.”

In the web drama, the young man takes the eccentric teapot woman home to his elegant apartment, sleeping on the sofa and taking her on a whistle-stop tour of U.K. tourist spots including the white cliffs of Dover, before eventually telling her “Come on, we’re going back to China.” 

The couple then take in a military parade complete with goose-stepping soldiers on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

“Thank you, Yong An,” she tells the young man, whose character takes his name from a ceramic pillow emblazoned with the words “eternal peace for family and country” on display in the British Museum. “This has been the happiest and brightest time in my tiny world.”

‘No. 1 robber’

The young producers, who also act in the film, told ruling Chinese Communist Party newspaper, The People’s Daily, in an audio interview posted to Weibo on Sept. 8 that they decided to release the show early after seeing the news last month that the British Museum had sacked a member of staff and reported around 2,000 cultural relics missing to Scotland Yard.

“This is about the emotions we felt after a visit to the British Museum,” one co-actor and producer who gave only the pseudonym Xiatian Meimei told the paper. 

“While we were filming at the British Museum, we ran into a lot of foreigners [sic] who didn’t understand much about our cultural artifacts,” director Zhang Jiajun, a Douyin blogger and film school graduate said. “They are Chinese treasures that carry a lot of Chinese culture.”

“When they are overseas, people don’t really understand them, because they lack the cultural genes to do so,” he said, using a buzzword that has become popular under Chinese leader Xi Jinping. “We hope people will pay more attention to the issue of cultural artifacts overseas.”

The drama drew a large number of nationalistic comments, with one comment saying “I’m going to cry myself to death,” and another saying: “We must take back what belongs to China.”

“The British Museum is the world’s No. 1 robber,” said another.

Returning relics?

Another article in the Global Times called on Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Secretary James Cleverly, who was visiting China at the time, to change the law preventing the return of artifacts in the museum.

The British Museum was established by an Act of Parliament in 1753 and is currently governed by the British Museum Act 1963.

ENG_CHN_BritishMuseum_09112023.3.jpg
The young producers, who also act in “Escape from the British Museum,” told ruling Chinese Communist Party newspaper the People’s Daily that they decided to release the show early after seeing the news that the British Museum had sacked a member of staff and reported around 2,000 cultural relics missing to Scotland Yard. Credit: Screenshot from “Escape from the British Museum” trailer

It has so far refused to return the Elgin Marbles from the temple of Athena to Greece, ceremonial items and other artifacts taken during 19th century military action to Ethiopia, the 900 Benin Bronzes to Nigeria or gold items belonging to the Asante people of Ghana, according to the BBC.

U.K.-based commentator Chen Liangshi said much of the anger over Chinese artifacts ignores the mass destruction of cultural items during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution, and that many of the items now in overseas museums could have been destroyed if they had stayed in China.

He added that many of the artifacts in the British museum were bought rather than looted, or donated by collectors after changing hands several times.

U.K.-based Hong Kong historian Hans Yeung agreed, also citing the widespread destruction of the Cultural Revolution and the whipping up of nationalistic sentiment online.

“They went after the United States, then they went after Japan,” he said. “Now they’re done with Japan, they’re going after the U.K.

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has accused China of meddling in Britain’s democracy as he faces a government split at home over whether to formally designate China a threat to national security.

Meanwhile, a brief survey of publicly available information by Radio Free Asia found that more than 100 Chinese cultural artifacts came from the donated collection of Irish physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloan, while thousands more were donated from the collection of antiquarian Sir Augustus W. Franks.

Many more were sold by Chinese aristocrats, officials and scholars for cash around the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911.

Against the flow

Not all Chinese media played along with the nationalistic angle.

The Guangzhou-based newspaper Southern Weekend published an article titled: “Is it really a good idea…

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Economic Update: Consumption and Trade in China See Strong Recovery Despite Decrease in Industrial Output by May 2024

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Industrial output growth in China has slowed, with robust performance in some manufacturing sectors but an increase in consumption driven by services, retail sales, and imports. Despite a slowdown, equipment manufacturing has been crucial in stabilizing overall industrial growth. Certain high-tech and electronic equipment manufacturing sectors have shown strong performance, while the automobile manufacturing sector has decelerated due to falling domestic demand.


The data indicates a slowdown in industrial output growth, despite some manufacturing sectors still showing robust performance. In contrast, consumption is on the rise, driven by growth in services, retail sales, and imports. The uptick in these areas suggests a strengthening of domestic demand, spurred by a stabilizing global economic situation and the boost from the Labor Day Holiday at the beginning of May.

China’s foreign trade also continued to show marked improvement, reflecting the country’s strong export capabilities and increasing imports.

Year-on-year growth in China’s industrial sector slowed in May from the previous month but remained relatively strong. Total industrial value-added output grew by 5.6 percent year-on-year in May, a month-on-month increase of 0.3 percent but a deceleration from 6.7 percent year-on-year growth recorded in April. Value-added output of the manufacturing industry grew 6 percent year-on-year, a deceleration from the 7.5 percent year-on-year in April.

According to NBS spokesperson Liu Aihua, equipment manufacturing played a crucial role in stabilizing overall industrial growth. The sector’s added value increased by 7.5 percent from the previous year, contributing 2.6 percentage points to the growth of all industries above the designated size and accounting for 45.7 percent of the total growth. Within this sector:

Certain high-tech and electronic equipment manufacturing sectors exhibited particularly strong performance:

However, the automobile manufacturing sector decelerated significantly from a 16.3 percent year-on-year jump in April to 7.6 percent year-on-year growth in May, possibly due to falling domestic demand.

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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Outlook for China’s Wine Market: Current Trends and Opportunities

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China’s wine market faces challenges like declining consumption and imports, but remains resilient. Adapting to consumer preferences, focusing on quality and sustainability, and using digital platforms for sales are key strategies. Despite setbacks, the market is promising for foreign producers.


Despite challenges such as declining consumption and import figures, China’s wine market remains resilient and promising. Strategic adaptation to evolving consumer preferences, emphasis on quality and sustainability, and leveraging digital platforms for sales are pivotal strategies for success in this dynamic and competitive landscape.

In recent years, China’s wine market has faced significant challenges marked by declines in key metrics such as consumption, imports, and domestic production. These difficulties were further compounded by the disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite these setbacks, the market retains its allure, presenting opportunities for foreign wine producers and exporters who are willing to adapt and strategically engage.

As consumer preferences evolve and government policies increasingly emphasize quality and sustainability, understanding these complexities becomes crucial for stakeholders navigating China’s evolving wine landscape. By staying attuned to shifting trends and regulatory developments, stakeholders can position themselves effectively to capitalize on the market’s enduring potential.

The wine sector in China has experienced dramatic shifts over the last two decades, initially reflecting rapid growth and then gradually declining. In the early 2000s, China emerged as a lucrative market for global wineries seeking expansion due to soaring wine imports driven by rising consumer wealth and the perception of wine as a symbol of sophistication. However, per capita consumption peaked around 2012, and imports have since plateaued, with recent years showing significant market contraction. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these challenges, particularly affecting wine sales due to its association with social gatherings, which were restricted during lockdowns.

Following this trend, in 2023, China saw a significant decline in wine consumption, with a 24.7 percent decrease compared to 2022. According to the International Organization of Vine and Wine (OIV), China’s wine consumption has been falling since 2018, averaging a loss of 2 million hectoliters annually.

Nevertheless, China remains the ninth-largest wine-consuming nation worldwide.

Looking forward to 2024, China’s wine market is poised for dynamic activity, delineated primarily by consumption settings: at-home and out-of-home. According to Statista, revenue from wine sales in supermarkets and convenience stores (at-home) is forecast to reach US$9.7 billion. In contrast, revenue generated from wine consumed in restaurants and bars (out-of-home) is expected to be substantially higher, totaling US$17.2 billion. This projects the total revenue from the wine market to reach US$26.8 billion by the end of 2024.

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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Insights and Impact of China’s National Financing Credit Service Platform

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China introduced the National Financing Credit Service Platform to improve financing opportunities for private enterprises. Efforts include streamlining platform development, enhancing credit data mechanisms, and prioritizing high-quality services for all enterprises, especially small and medium-sized ones. The platform aims to increase credit availability and reduce costs for private enterprises.


On January 2, 2024, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) organized a significant conference in Jinjiang City, Fujian, emphasizing innovative development for high-quality growth in the private economy. During this event, the ‘National Financing Credit Service Platform’ was introduced—a nationwide digital infrastructure designed to improve financing opportunities for private enterprises.

Subsequently, on April 2, 2024, the General Office of the State Council unveiled a comprehensive action plan aimed at strengthening financing credit service platforms. The plan focuses on facilitating financing for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). Key strategies include streamlining platform development, enhancing credit data mechanisms, and encouraging financial institutions to prioritize high-quality services for all enterprises, with particular attention to MSMEs.

Historically, MSMEs and private businesses have encountered significant challenges in accessing affordable financing. These entities, especially those in the startup or growth phase, often struggle to secure bank loans due to their lack of collateral and credit data. Financial institutions that provide credit services rely on scattered and hard-to-obtain credit information, which limits their ability to assess the creditworthiness of these enterprises and extend loans.

To address this issue, China established the National Financing Credit Service Platform. This platform offers four key services:

Meanwhile, China aims to optimize its national integrated financing credit service platform network in several ways. Efforts include improving information collection and sharing platforms nationwide, integrating the national financial credit database, streamlining redundant local platforms by the end of 2024, and expanding information collection to cover major enterprise personnel, qualifications, and trade activities. Local platforms are also encouraged to develop specialized modules for emerging industries, green development, key industrial and supply chains, and agricultural sectors.

Currently, the National Financing Credit Service Platform has fostered a new inclusive finance model based on credit information. It provides comprehensive financing services for small and medium-sized enterprises, especially private ones. Going forward, the platform aims to strengthen financial support for private enterprise development by enhancing efficiency through credit information sharing and digital technology applications. This will increase credit availability, reduce costs, and broaden access for private enterprises.

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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