TIME reports, "More than 100 China experts and former envoys to Beijing called on President Xi Jinping to release two Canadians who have been detained for six weeks, saying the cases undermine his efforts to build bridges to the rest of the world. The group, including former U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke, ex-Hong Kong Governor Christopher Patten and five former Canadian ambassadors to China, released an open letter to the Chinese leader Tuesday urging the two men's freedom. The letter said that Michael Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave to work with the International Crisis Group in Hong Kong, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur who helped organize tourist trips to North Korea, had advocated exchanges that help build ties around the globe."
The Washington Post reports, "The Chinese economy grew last year at its slowest rate since 1990, adding to the urgency for President Xi Jinping to reach a trade deal with the United States. Although the trade war is not the main reason for last year's slowdown, it is not helping. 'The economy is a much bigger problem for Xi Jinping than the trade war. The last thing he wants is a bunch of angry people protesting because they've lost their jobs,' said Andrew Collier, managing director of Orient Capital Research, a Hong Kong-based consultancy. 'Slowing economic growth is putting pressure on him to solve as many problems as he can, and the trade war will be top of his list,' Collier said."