Nov 21, 2020 09:30 AM

Editor’s Picks: Christmas Coal From Henan, and a Major Bust for Blockchain

Cracks are appearing left and right in China Inc. The latest of those opened up last week with the surprise default of a major state-owned coal miner in Henan province, which was easily the week’s biggest story. Meantime, readers can check our extensive coverage of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, a new Asia-centered bloc including China, with the potential to alter global trading patterns. And lest the fare get too heavy, feel free to take a coffee break with our look at a McDonald’s plan to challenge Starbucks in this nation of tea drinkers.

Doug Young, managing editor

Coal for Christmas

It’s shaping up as an unhappy holiday season for bond holders of Yongcheng Henan Coal, whose unexpected defaulted on a 1 billion yuan bond continued to roil the financial sector this week.

Yongcheng Coal Bond Default Probe Expands to More Institutions

Yongcheng wasn’t the only deadbeat this week. The insolvent Baoshang Bank also made headlines with word that it won’t repay a 6.5 billion yuan ($983.7 million) bond or related interest.

Insolvent Baoshang Bank Won’t Pay Up on $1 Billion Bond

And if you’re looking for more cash crunch woes, here’s another tale of Danke, a private apartment leasing specialist that’s also in danger of collapse.

Cash-Strapped Danke Apartment Seeks Buyer

More Trade, Less Honor and Blockchain

The week began with the official creation of RCEP, a major new trade block that includes China and 14 other nations. Here’s one of several analytic opinion pieces we’ve run on the subject, but I encourage people to check out some of our many other stories.

Opinion: RCEP Trade Pact’s Strategic Significance for China

Meantime, the woes continue for embattled smartphone-maker Huawei, which announced a deal to sell off its Honor unit in a last-ditch bid to save the lower-end smartphone brand.

Huawei’s Honor Bound for Sell-Off to State-Backed Consortium

And anyone looking for some excitement with a new blockchain-based debt offering sponsored by one of China’s top banks was disappointed when the plan was scrapped just days after being announced.

Chinese Bank’s Blockchain Bond Listing Suspended Days After It Was Announced


Diving Deeper

I’d also recommend several of our in-depth stories from the week, including this somewhat painful look at one of the many darker sides of China’s strict birth control policies that were strongly enforced in the 1980s and 1990s.

In Depth: Women Fitted With Mandatory Birth Control Devices Find Little Recourse After Decades of Pain

Another investigative story casts a spotlight on the Wild West also known as China’s internet, where Caixin uncovered ties between many of the nation’s top names and illegal gambling.

Cover Story: How China’s E-Commerce Giants Enable Illegal Online Gambling

And on a lighter note, coffee lovers will be excited to learn they could soon be able to buy decent brew at any of the 3,600 McDonald’s in China, as the fast food giant gets set to open its higher-end McCafes at nearly all of its stores in the country.

McDonald’s Brews Up Challenge to Starbucks’ China Coffee Dominance


And Finally

A recently arrived British diplomat to China has become an internet celebrity after jumping into a river in Chongqing to save a drowning woman. While he received kudos from many, others also took the opportunity to offer more cynical views in this story from our “Trending” series.

Trending in China: Top British Diplomat Saves Girl and Dubbed a Hero

Contact reporter Yang Ge ( and editor Joshua Dummer (

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