submitted 2 days ago by JonsJava@lemmy.world to c/news@lemmy.world

Hello fellow Lemmys. The mod team here at !news@lemmy.world has been in discussions about the best approach to ensure we stay unbiased with news during the U.S. Election Cycle.

While we can't say "don't point out flaws in candidates" - nor would we want to - we do believe that when you excessively post/comment/reply negative things in News about one person, instead of, say mixing it up about topics, this feels like you are using !news@lemmy.world as a propaganda machine.

While propaganda is a normal part of elections, by posting only one topic, about one person, you are abusing the NEWS community for politics, and this could even be seen as election interference. There are other communities that this would fit better.

Doing this will result in posts/comments being deleted (with the option to appeal, of course). Repeat offenders may see temporary bans. Keep doing after that, and you may reach our perma-ban list.

As of right now, this only apples to politics. We don't plan to extend this to other areas, but that will change as needed.

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submitted 1 hour ago by girlfreddy@lemmy.ca to c/news@lemmy.world

Archive link -

During a weeklong visit, I saw how they used the internet to communicate between villages, chat with faraway loved ones and call for help in emergencies. Many Marubo also told me they were deeply concerned that the connection with the outside world would upend their culture, which they had preserved for generations by living deep in the forest. Some elders complained of teenagers glued to phones, group chats full of gossip and minors who watched pornography.

Over the past week, more than 100 websites around the world have published headlines that falsely claim the Marubo have become addicted to porn. Alongside those headlines, the sites published images of the Marubo people in their villages.

The New York Post was among the first, saying last week that the Marubo people was “hooked on porn.” Dozens quickly followed that take. TMZ’s headline was perhaps the most blunt: “TRIBE’S STARLINK HOOKUP RESULTS IN PORN ADDICTION!!!”

The Post and TMZ did not respond to requests for comment.

Similar headlines proliferated across the world, including in the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Turkey, Nigeria, Mexico and Chile. RT, Russia’s state media outlet, published the claim in Arabic. There were countless videos, memes and social media posts.

In Brazil, the rumor spread fast, including in the small Amazonian cities where some Marubo now live, work and study.

submitted 6 minutes ago by Shardikprime@lemmy.world to c/news@lemmy.world
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submitted 4 hours ago by 0x815@feddit.de to c/news@lemmy.world

The South Australian premier, Peter Malinauskas, has announced plans to ban donations to registered political parties, members of parliament and candidates. The state will provide funding to allow parties and candidates to contest elections, run campaigns and promote political ideas, according to the proposed bill.

Loans to registered political parties, MPs, groups, or candidates from anyone other than a financial institution would also be prohibited, it says.

To ensure new entrants to the political process are not disadvantaged, newly registered political parties and unendorsed candidates will be entitled to receive donations of up to $2,700, and will also be subject to a spending cap.

A person who knowingly participates in a scheme to circumvent the proposed donation laws could face a fine of up to $50,000 or up to 10 years in prison.

The bill proposes a restructure and mandatory application of the existing public funding model, including a reduction in the amount parties, MPs and candidates can spend.

Given that under the proposed scheme participants would no longer be able to fundraise, the bill proposes to increase the amount of public funding provided, and a system of partial advance payments, so funding entitlements are available to parties and candidates prior to an election campaign.

This significant reform is complex and may well be subject to legal challenge, including via the High Court.

Starting today, members of the public and other interested parties are welcome to provide feedback on the draft bill over a four-week consultation period via the YourSAy website. Quotes

Attributable to Peter Malinauskas

Since its foundation, our state has a rich tradition of leading the world in democratic reform.

In the 1850s we pioneered universal male suffrage and the Australian ballot. Half a century later, we did the same for universal female suffrage and became the first jurisdiction in the world to grant women the right to stand for Parliament.

Now, we are on the cusp of becoming a world leader in ending the nexus between money and political power.

We want money out of politics.

We know this is not easy. These reforms may well face legal challenge.

But we are determined to deliver them, with this bill to be introduced in the Parliament in the near future.

Attributable to Dan Cregan

These reforms are ambitious and, if realised, will ensure South Australia is at the forefront of protecting and improving democratic practices.

Banning political donations will not be easy. Sectional interest groups and lobbyists will fight tooth and nail to keep the current system.

No political donor should be able to buy a favourable political outcome in our state by donating to parties or candidates.

The hard truth is that public confidence in democracy is in decline. We need to take real steps to address that decline or risk falling into the extreme political disfunction which is playing out in other jurisdictions.

The hard truth is that public confidence in democracy is in decline. We need to take real steps to address that decline or risk falling into the extreme political disfunction which is playing out in other jurisdictions.


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Thursday made it harder for the federal government to win court orders when it suspects a company of interfering in unionization campaigns in a case that stemmed from a labor dispute with Starbucks.

The justices tightened the standards for when a federal court should issue an order to protect the jobs of workers during a union organizing campaign.

The court rejected a rule that some courts had applied to orders sought by the National Labor Relations Board in favor of a higher threshold, sought by Starbucks, that must be met in most other fights over court orders, or injunctions.

The NLRB had argued that the National Labor Relations Act, the law that governs the agency, has for more than 75 years allowed courts to grant temporary injunctions if they find requests “just and proper.” The agency said the law doesn’t require it to prove other factors and was intended to limit the role of the courts.

The case began in February 2022, when Starbucks fired seven workers who were trying to unionize their Tennessee store. The NLRB obtained a court order forcing the company to rehire the workers while the case wound its way through the agency’s administrative proceedings. Such proceedings can take up to two years.

submitted 5 hours ago by girlfreddy@lemmy.ca to c/news@lemmy.world

An incredibly rare white bison calf has been photographed in Yellowstone National Park, exciting Native American tribes who view its arrival as a religious prophecy heralding major change.

It was spotted in the Lamar Valley area of the park, making it the first white bison to be born from the last wild herd in the US, according to modern records.

The birth of a white buffalo is a sacred event for many Native tribes of the Great Plains, including the Lakota people, who believe that it relates to a time around 2,000 years ago when food was scarce and the bison were rarely seen.

The Lakota legend tells of a beautiful woman who appeared and delivered the gifts of a sacred pipe and bundle to the people. The woman told them she would return to restore harmony in a troubled world, and then rolled on the ground four times, changing colour each time before becoming a white buffalo calf.

Her departure led the bison to return, and white buffalos are now seen as a sign that prayers are being heard and that change is coming.

submitted 6 hours ago* (last edited 6 hours ago) by vegeta@lemmy.world to c/news@lemmy.world


SCOTUS tossed it on standing...could still come back.

submitted 5 hours ago by Wilshire@lemmy.world to c/news@lemmy.world
submitted 5 hours ago by girlfreddy@lemmy.ca to c/news@lemmy.world

Nasa has confirmed audio shared widely on social media of astronauts in distress was a simulation broadcast on its YouTube channel in error.

In the clip, intended to be used for training purposes, a voice said an astronaut on the International Space Station (ISS) had a "tenuous" chance of survival.

The broadcast of the clip on Wednesday evening sparked speculation online about a possible emergency in space - but Nasa said all members of the ISS are safe.

"This audio was inadvertently misrouted from an ongoing simulation where crew members and ground teams train for various scenarios in space and is not related to a real emergency," it said on the ISS X page.

submitted 6 hours ago by girlfreddy@lemmy.ca to c/news@lemmy.world

One late afternoon in mid-May, a half dozen Hispanic day laborers were paid $20 each to parade in front of the White House on camera, holding signs with slogans like "I Love Biden" and "I Need Work Permit for My Family."

The stunt was orchestrated by Nick Shirley, a pro-Trump online influencer who often asks migrants on camera if they support Democratic President Joe Biden or think he made it easier for them to come to the U.S.

"We want to take you to the White House," Shirley told the men he recruited at a Home Depot parking lot, where day laborers typically wait for jobs, in a video later posted to YouTube. "What (Biden) did for migrants is very kind, right? Letting everyone come in? So we are going to show him and say thank you."

Shirley, a 22-year-old with more than 318,000 followers on social media, is among a new class of influencers supportive of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump who are helping shape the immigration debate as the U.S. election campaign heats up.

Their self-shot dispatches from American cities and the southern border with Mexico portray migrants in the country illegally as dangerous and burdensome, and part of a plan to grow the ranks of Democratic voters.

submitted 5 hours ago by floofloof@lemmy.ca to c/news@lemmy.world
submitted 6 hours ago* (last edited 2 hours ago) by girlfreddy@lemmy.ca to c/news@lemmy.world

Microsoft President Brad Smith will testify before a House of Representatives panel on homeland security on Thursday, fielding questions about the company's security practices after Russian and Chinese hackers breached its systems over the past year.

China-linked hackers stole 60,000 U.S. State Department emails last year by breaking into the tech giant's systems, while a Russian group spied on Microsoft's senior staff emails earlier this year, according to the company's disclosures.

In a scathing report in April, the Cyber Safety Review Board - formed by U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas - slammed Microsoft for its lack of transparency over the Chinese hack, which the board said had been preventable.

submitted 9 hours ago by MicroWave@lemmy.world to c/news@lemmy.world

Project 2025 blueprint for second Trump term envisages replacing thousands of career staff with political loyalists

America’s career diplomats are braced for the threat of a mass purge if Donald Trump wins the November election and for the potential flooding of the state department with loyalty-tested political appointees.

Rather than leading to a seamless change of course in a rightward Trumpist direction, the diplomats’ union and former ambassadors argue, such an attempted takeover would be much more likely to end in legal challenges, gridlock and chaos.

If elected, Trump has threatened to reinstate a policy he unsuccessfully attempted in his first term with the creation of “Schedule F”, a new category of federal employees which would be applied to tens of thousands of civil servants in “policy-related” jobs, robbing them of legal protections and making them liable to be fired at will.

submitted 7 hours ago by fukhueson@lemmy.world to c/news@lemmy.world
submitted 9 hours ago by MicroWave@lemmy.world to c/news@lemmy.world

In-person collaboration has been linked to high performance and job satisfaction, but these benefits don't increase with more days spent in the office.

An oft-cited reason for in-person work mandates is that they help drive connection among a team. As more employers push for four and five days in the office, rhetoric has focused on the importance of collaboration and a sense of belonging that some leaders believe can only be fostered in a shared physical environment.

Yet some data shows the number of days people attend the office doesn't directly correlate to that sense of connection. In fact, there's only a 1% difference in the number of employees who say they feel connected to their organisation working four or five days a week as compared to those working two or three days on site. That slim leading edge went to the latter group, at 60%, according to a global survey of 1,115 employees by London-based workplace insights firm Leesman, seen by the BBC.

"There just doesn't seem to be huge gains from the number of days people are in the office," says Allison English, deputy CEO of Leesman. "It's about the quality, not quantity, of time that matters. In fact, we see that the greater the number of in-person days, the less the worker is generally satisfied with work-life balanceimpacting engagement and their connection to the organisation."

submitted 12 hours ago by 0x815@feddit.de to c/news@lemmy.world

The link contains also an version of the report in Ukrainian.

- 12-month comprehensive investigation finds Russian forces “intended to starve civilians as a method of warfare” in the battle for Mariupol.

- 450,000 civilians targeted by Russian assault on the City, cutting off all water, electricity and gas supply.

- Ukrainian civilians forced to drink from puddles, radiator batteries, and melt snow.

- Civilians exposed to plummeting -12.4°C temperatures by Russian attacks on city’s power.

- 90% of healthcare facilities and residential homes destroyed or damaged during siege.

- Russian forces indiscriminately bombed food distribution points, medical facilities, and agreed-upon humanitarian corridors.

- Attempts to provide humanitarian aid to encircled civilians denied.

- Report analyses over 1.5 billion square metres of satellite imagery, photographs, videos, official public statements, and other digital data.

- Report comprises information from the Ukrainian government and unseen photos from a Mariupol police officer present during the siege.

- Report forms part of a wider submission to the International Criminal Court.

-Report by international human rights foundation lands ahead of Global Peace Summit aimed at achieving peace in Ukraine from 15-16 June.

A new 81-page report by international human rights foundation Global Rights Compliance publishes evidence of Russian and pro-Russian forces using starvation as a method of warfare against Ukrainian civilians during their 85-day siege of Mariupol City in the South East of Ukraine, between February and May 2022.

‘The Hope Left Us’, produced by Global Rights Compliance’s Starvation Mobile Justice Team (SMJT) consisting of international lawyers, OSINT researchers, and arms and munitions experts, concludes a 12-month investigation and analysis on the battle for Mariupol.

The report finds evidence of a strategy by Russian sieging forces to deliberately attack and destroy critical civilian infrastructure, obstruct humanitarian evacuation corridors, and prevent the distribution of humanitarian aid to starving Ukrainians confined in the city.

Global Rights Compliance’s SMJT is part of the UK, EU and US-sponsored Atrocity Crimes Advisory Group (ACA), which was launched in response to the need of the Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG) to increase capacity to investigate and prosecute atrocity crimes perpetrated since the full-scale invasion by Russian forces in February 2022.

The investigation utilised cutting-edge open-source research, analysing over 1.5 billion square metres of satellite imagery, as well as photographs, videos, official public statements, and other digital data collected between May 2022 and February 2024. Thorough damage analysis involved the creation of a bespoke algorithm cross-referencing the damage identified by online mapping data and Weapons Ordnance Munitions and Explosives specialists, as well as Ukrainian governmental military experts.

The report focusses on the 85-day siege of Mariupol revealing evidence of systematic attacks by Russian forces against critical civilian infrastructure, including energy, water, food and distribution points, and healthcare infrastructure. These attacks crippled Mariupol civilians’ access to critical resources while wilfully impeding their access to aid and simultaneously denying them access to organised evacuation routes, part of a ruthless plan to starve the city’s population into submission.

This pattern of conduct, the report states, leaves experts to conclude that the starvation of civilians in Mariupol City by Russian forces was intentionally used as a method of warfare.

Mariupol was one of the first cities to come under Russian attack in the opening weeks of the 2022 invasion, with deliberate attacks against energy infrastructure documented by the report from as early as 27 February, when Russian forces struck a major powerline blacking out half of Mariupol city.

This was immediately followed by a four-day onslaught of shelling that fully cut power and gas to over 450,000 Ukrainian residents, exposing them to winter temperatures plummeting to -12.4°C. Water pumping stations were also neutralised, cutting off access to heating and drinking water, forcing civilians to melt snow for drinking water and in some cases radiator water or street puddles to avoid dehydration.

90% of healthcare facilities indispensable to civilian’s survival were damaged or destroyed during the siege, with all 19 of the city’s hospitals impacted by end of May 2022.

Russian forces often treated full city blocks as military targets, making no effort to mitigate risk to civilian life or objects, damaging and destroying 90% of Mariupol’s residential homes in the siege. In the midst of an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe, Ukrainians set up ‘distribution points’ across the city for basic necessities. However, these too came under attack, with at least 22 supermarkets damaged or destroyed despite being used for distribution.

One attack investigated by the SMJT was on the Neptun Swimming Pool Complex, despite satellite imagery showing the clear presence of hundreds of civilians queuing at this distribution point in the days immediately prior.

An attack on the same day on the Mariupol Drama Theatre, where several hundred people were residing, seemingly ignored clear lettering – ‘ДЕТИ’ (‘children’ in Russian) – written in front of the building. The SMJT’s analysis shows that this lettering was clearly visible from the altitude range from which Russian warplanes would have dropped the involved ammunition and unavoidable to surveying flights.

Seeking to justify these attacks, Russian authorities put forward a series of claims that these areas had been overtaken by Ukrainian forces. However, analysis by Global Rights Compliance of satellite imagery and videos posted to social media notes a lack of evidence of any legitimate military targets – soldiers, checkpoints, or equipment – present.

The report also finds that, throughout Russia’s siege, efforts to alleviate the suffering of civilians were severely obstructed, with agreed-upon evacuation routes and humanitarian corridors subjected to airstrikes and shelling. It finds that contrary to statements by representatives of the so-called ‘Donetsk People’s Republic,’ Ukrainian humanitarian aid was denied entry to the city. Where Russian aid was delivered, this was only to those supporting Russian occupation,with aid boxes branded: “We do not abandon our own”.

Evidence and analysis from ‘The Hope Left Us’ will form part of a larger dossier of starvation tactics used across Ukraine, which will be submitted to the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for further consideration.

Catriona Murdoch, Global Rights Compliance Vice President and Director of the Starvation and Humanitarian Crisis Division, said:

“The present report further captures the broader narrative of the siege through the patterned lens of attacks against objects indispensable to survival (OIS) of the civilian population – electricity, heating, drinking water, food, and medical care. It does so because – in the aggregate – the seemingly isolated attacks against OIS, when paired with associated violations and crimes related to the weaponisation of humanitarian aid, the denial of humanitarian access and humanitarian evacuations, filtration, and arrests of humanitarian actors, reveal a deliberately calculated method of warfare carried out by pro-Russian forces who intentionally employed several starvation tactics as a means to an end.

"I urge the International Criminal Court to consider these crimes and the collective punishment against innocent Ukrainian civilians, in pursuit of justice to Russian leadership, all the way up to the Kremlin.”

Yuriy Belousov, Head of the Department for Combating Crimes Committed in Conditions of Armed Conflict, Office of the General Prosecutor, said:

“There is no crime under the Rome Statute that was not committed by the Russian military during a full-scale invasion. Every day, investigators and prosecutors document the consequences of war crimes, as well as the testimony of victims and witnesses. In this regard, Mariupol is a vivid example of the policy of destruction of the city and its population by the Russian occupiers.

“To combat such crimes, we optimize the work of the Prosecutor General’s Office and strengthen the knowledge and skills of our prosecutors and investigators with the support of international partners. We are open to strengthening our cooperation to ensure that these and other war crimes are effectively investigated, and the perpetrators brought to justice. We are grateful to everyone involved in this process, because only by coordinating joint efforts will we be able to ensure the inevitability of punishment.”

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submitted 12 hours ago by 0x815@feddit.de to c/news@lemmy.world

They look like simple fishing boats but are capable of swarming in huge numbers to help Beijing stake its territorial claims in the South China Sea

Chinese fishing boats started swarming the Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea in mid May. Some had already been drifting around the picturesque reef in the Philippines exclusive economic zone for some time.

However, the Chinese boats were not regular fishing vessels, and they weren’t there to fish. They were there to counter a Philippine aid flotilla aiming to deliver supplies to fishers near the disputed shoal. In the end, the aid flotilla turned back before it reached the shoal.

The Chinese vessels were part of a maritime militia, a shadowy armada whose existence Beijing rarely acknowledges and that it has long used to help hold or take disputed territory it says it owns in the region.

The militia has a long history in the area. Its key role in seizing Scarborough Shoal in 2012 set off one of the most high-profile territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

The shoal is just one of a range of sites that have seen dangerous clashes between China and other competing claimant nations. The tensions have escalated to make the South China Sea a potential flashpoint in one of the most strategically and economically important waterways in the world.

What is the maritime militia?

The maritime militia has existed for decades but has become more professional, better equipped, and more militarised under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, who has overhauled China’s armed forces since taking power in 2012.

It is made up of two main forces. One is the professional fleet of at least 100 purpose-built boats which have the appearance of fishing vessels. The other fleet, known as the Spratly Backbone Fishing Vessels (SBFV), is a larger group of actual fishing boats that operate out of ports across Hainan and Guangdong, and have been drafted into China’s missions.

The professional fleet consists of stronger boats with better, often military-grade equipment. They’re usually visible on satellite tracking platforms swarming around disputed locations.

The SBFV is harder to spot, and usually have lower grade satellite transmitters or none at all. Some have had structural and technological upgrades.

Crews in both fleets are believed to be civilian fishers and sailors as well as ex-military personnel recruited through a Chinese government training program. The vessels tend to have a smaller crew of about five to six if engaging in militia activities as opposed to genuine trawling, according to South China Sea expert Greg Poling, director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI).

How are they funded?

Militia are primarily funded through various government subsidies, and some personnel receive full-time salaries from state-owned companies, according to the AMTI. The SBFV crews also receive lucrative government fuel subsidies for militia missions, an income that disincentivises them fishing.

"These [crews] could fish if they wanted to, and occasionally they do, but mostly they sit quietly and then raft together [at disputed locations],” says Ray Powell, director of SeaLight, a maritime transparency project at Stanford University. “It’s most economical to just sit there and not use the fuel.”

A 2021 investigative report by the AMTI said there was “no longer any question about whether the militia is organised, funded and directed by the government of China”. It said Beijing was legally responsible for the militia’s actions, which “violate several tenets of international law”. The Chinese government rarely acknowledges the militia’s activities, or that they are anything other than fishing boats operating in what they say are traditional Chinese waters.

Beijing defends its operations in places like the Scarborough Shoal as acts of “rights protections”, but rarely concedes that the militia is part of it. It acknowledges the existence of the militia, but is “cagey” about what boats are actually in it, says Powell.

Employment contracts and state media articles reveal explicit directions from officials regarding their “political responsibilities” to operate in particular areas, and support the military when required. Towns that develop professional militia fleets have received government accolades and even visits from Xi for their efforts.

How does it operate?

The militia operates across the region, including the Yellow Sea and in the exclusive economic zones of Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia, but right now observers are focusing on activity in the South China Sea, where the brinkmanship is escalating, especially with the Philippines.

The fleets conduct intrusive journeys through foreign exclusive economic zones, blockade disputed reefs and islands, and have repeatedly rammed or used water cannon on other vessels in dangerous manoeuvres, including against the US Navy. Militia boats will often raft together to create a risk of collision and impede access, or camp out at a reef for months, strengthening China’s physical presence in a region where that presence is key to controlling a site.

Statements from Chinese officials suggest the professional fleet is called on first for more aggressive operations.

“The professional fleet is a direct threat, but smaller. The [SBFV] fleet is larger but a nuisance. They just drop anchor,” says Poling. “Governments have to treat them in different ways. One is a military threat, and one as a pain in the neck, which is a law enforcement problem.”

What have other countries said about it?

World governments and bodies have repeatedly condemned China’s behaviour in the South China Sea, including operations involving the maritime militia.

The US, which is a treaty ally of the Philippines, has repeatedly accused the militia of violating international law “to enforce its expansive and unlawful maritime claims”.

The Philippines, which is the target of most recent militia activity, says it “will not be deterred from pursuing legitimate and lawful activities in our maritime zones”.

Poling says the Philippines is pushing back more than it used to.“On the Philippines side they don’t see any other option,” he said.

It hasn’t really responded to the regional resistance, Poling says, and is instead “pushing the Philippines and other neighbours to form anti-China coalitions”.

“China was willing to do crazy stuff and everyone backed down [in the past]. But now they’re not, and like a school bully China doesn’t know what to do now.”

submitted 11 hours ago by 0x815@feddit.de to c/news@lemmy.world

Data for May due this week is forecast to show a resumption of loan growth after a shock contraction in April, the first for almost two decades. But nobody expects a return to the days when Beijing would engineer borrowing booms to speed up the world’s second-biggest economy.

Especially since the 2008 crash, China has pumped out credit to build homes and infrastructure, which kept the economy humming. Now it’s stuck in a housing slump and already has plenty of roads and high-speed rail. Policymakers are seeking new ways to sustain growth — like high-tech manufacturing — that won’t rely so much on expanding debt.

China's Loan, Credit Growth Keeps Slowing Amid Weak Demand

The People’s Bank of China has repeatedly signaled it has no intention of revving up the lending engine again. Even if it wanted to, there’s little demand for credit. Government bond sales picked up last month, but the real estate crisis has left Chinese households and businesses reluctant to finance spending or investment by taking on new debts.

“Household savings that used to go into property are now going into the financial system, but there aren’t enough borrowers on the other side,” said Adam Wolfe, an emerging-market economist at Absolute Strategy Research. The PBOC is “trying to create a new normal for credit growth,” he said.

If that effort succeeds, Chinese debt may lose its status as a strong leading indicator for the country’s business cycle — and hence for global commodity markets.

To see how that’s worked over the past 15 years or so, one useful guide is the credit impulse, which measures the ratio of new debt to gross domestic product. It shows four distinct spurts of stimulus since 2009.

China's Credit Cycle Fails to Pick Up Again

As recently as early 2021, China was building its way out of the pandemic in a credit-fueled construction boom that sucked in raw materials from across the planet and helped drive a broad commodity rally.

Around that time, Federal Reserve researchers concluded that China’s credit policies explained more than one-fifth of all commodity-price movements since the global financial crisis. In a separate study, they estimated that when China’s credit impulse rose by 1% of GDP, it delivered a matching boost to global trade – and a 2.2% increase in commodity prices – as well as lifting the Chinese economy.

But since 2022 the credit impulse has essentially flatlined.

“The credit growth data is still a reference to gauge Chinese industrial activities, but it’s a less-strong indicator now,” said Li Xuezhi, head of Chaos Ternary Research Institute, a commodity analysis firm. The economy used to be led by property and infrastructure investments, but the “new quality productive forces” that Beijing is now backing involve other forms of financing like venture capital, Li said.

The lending slowdown is spurring debate over various alarming scenarios for China’s economy. One is a “liquidity trap,” where lower borrowing costs are unable to stimulate growth. Another is a “balance sheet recession,” where households and companies are focused on clearing debts rather than spending.

As China seeks a growth model based on improving productivity instead of expanding debt, the PBOC’s priority is to make sure existing funds are used more efficiently, according to Wolfe. To the extent it succeeds, “the relationship between aggregate credit and the industrial cycle should break down,” and there are signs that it already is, he said.

Authorities took steps in recent years to rein in over-indebted real estate developers and clean up so-called hidden debt owed by local governments, which doesn’t appear on their balance sheets. Property and local government financing vehicles accounted for about 70% of new credit generated over the past decade, according to an estimate by Zhang Bin, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The PBOC is also trying to make sure credit is reaching the real economy, instead of idling within the financial system. Authorities have cracked down on loopholes that allowed companies to make fake loans, arbitraging between higher deposit rates and cheaper borrowing.

An era when loan growth was seen as a key benchmark, by investors and policymakers alike, has left banks with incentives to plump up their numbers.

A case in point is the short-term interbank loans known as bankers’ acceptances. Their cost fell to the lowest level this year in May, according to data from Zhongtai Securities Co. That’s usually a sign that lenders are swapping bills with each other to boost loans

because they’re struggling to find companies that want to borrow.

Even if such techniques help to boost the loan figures coming this week, investors won’t be impressed and will look deeper, said Mary Xia, research director at Beijing Jifeng Asset Management Co.

“The market understands that the weak credit growth is due to problems on the demand side,” she said.

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