The Sinocism China Newsletter 11.23.14

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT *

1. PBOC Targets Bad Loans With Rate Cut as Property Slump Deepens – Bloomberg The PBOC reduced the one-year lending rate by 40 basis points to 5.6 percent, more than the 25 basis point cut in the deposit rate, suggesting mortgages are the target. The central bank had said selective easing would be enough to revive the world’s second-largest economy and had pumped 769.5 billion yuan ($126 billion) into money markets since September. “Given that lending rates apply only to mortgages and policy bank loans, the impact will be primarily on the real estate market, which is the weakest point in the economy,” said Dariusz Kowalczyk, an analyst at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong.

Related: China’s Central Bank Comments on Interest Rate Cut (Translation) – Bloomberg The People’s Bank of China published an explanation of its decision to cut interest rates. The following is Bloomberg’s translation of the statement, posted on the central bank’s website.

Related: Chinese banks’ deposit rates vary after interest rates cut – Xinhua Most commercial banks have lowered their lending rates to 5.6 percent, but smaller banks are using higher rates to attract deposits, according to banks’ statements and announcements analyzed by Xinhua. The PBOC Friday also lifted the upper limit of the floating band of deposit rates to 1.2 times the benchmark from the existing 1.1 times announced in June 2012, a big step in interest rate reform. Prior to that, China’s commercial banks were generally not allowed to offer deposits rates higher than the benchmark. Deposit rates at the nation’s five biggest banks, namely the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank and the Bank of Communications stood at 3 percent, about 1.09 times the benchmark rate of 2.75 percent.

Related: China’s interest rates: The right call | The Economist Zhou Xiaochuan, the long-serving PBOC governor, previously vowed to usher in a full liberalisation of interest rates within two years. That is still an ambitious goal, but China is now a little closer to it. An oft-heard view in recent months was that the PBOC could not ease policy because doing so would undermine its campaign to unleash more market forces in the financial system. This always rang hollow. The rate cut shows that reform and easing can go together.

2. Inside China: Chinese leaders committing suicide in droves – Washington Times talk about a clickbaiting headline…// According to sources from China, more than 200 senior PLA officers are under investigation for corruption, and many are suspected of being members of a massive graft ring led by Gen. Xu Caihou, the highest uniformed officer between 2004 and 2012…On Thursday, Gen. Liu Yazhou, commissar of the Chinese National Defense University and a mouthpiece for Mr. Xi, issued a stern warning via the PLA Daily newspaper. He stated that “our investigation and punishment of corrupt elements such as Xu Caihou and Gu Junshan are only the beginning of our military’s anti-corruption battle of annihilation and protracted war.” The comments strongly hinted at the next target: Gen. Guo Boxiong, the other former vice chairman of the Central Military Commission. // Liu Yazhou’s piece–刘亚洲:军队反腐要打持久战 查处徐才厚只是开始. Yes there are lots of rumors going around of the simultaneous detention of many generals and other PLA officers in the last ten days or so. The PLA corruption crackdown looks to have kicked into high gear. If these rumors are true, it seems noteworthy that these detentions would be occuring while Xi is outside the country…Makes it look like he is quite confident he is in charge of the PLA…

Related: Former top China military officer hoarded cash, jade in basement: Phoenix | Reuters One of China’s most senior former military officers hoarded more than a ton of cash and precious jade in his basement, a Hong Kong magazine reported on Thursday, the latest details to emerge from the high-profile case amid Beijing’s war on graft.

Related: 徐才厚被抄家內幕:豪宅搜出1噸多重現金_大公資訊_大公網 the Xu story, deleted from mainland sites after being up for a few hours. [now deleted, here is the google cached version ] 

3. Envisioning the splinternet – China Media Project In much the same way that China has pursued a more assertive foreign policy under Xi, it is now staking its claim to the right to decide how the global territory of the internet should be governed. This is about a more assertive foreign policy for cyberspace. And China’s vision is a carving knife. The internet is global. That, at least, is the originating vision of the internet. But official China, which now recognises a global internet premised on free and fair access as an imminent threat, wants instead an international internet, a splinternet governed and limited by specific national interests. China’s interests, as defined by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, should be appropriately represented, seeing as the country now accounts for almost one-quarter of the world’s internet users. When Xi Jinping talks about a more “democratic” governance system, what he means is that China wants its rightful say in this international order — a seat, if we may, on the hypothetical Internet Security Council.

Related: ICANN to listen, understand Chinese needs – Xinhua “The success of many services on the Internet from China such as the successful IPO of Alibaba accentuates the importance of China being a part in the global Internet ecosystem,” said Fadi Chehade, President and CEO of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, a watertown in east China’s Zhejiang Province. “This conference proves that China is entering the world stage as an equal player to have an equal voice as everyone else to participate in governing one Internet for the world,” he said.

Related: Fei Chang Dao: Placing the Claims Made About the Wuzhen Global Internet Conference in the Context of Current Chinese Internet Company Practices In a Chinese language editorial published on November 20, 2014 entitled “Looking at Wuzhen, Does China’s Internet Look ‘Localized’?” (从乌镇看中国互联网像“局域网”吗) the Global Times said: Westerners cling with a death grip to the perception that people must put a political hat on the inconsistencies between China’s and the West’s approach to Internet management. They are too lazy to gain a deeper understanding of what China and the rest of the world put on display- 断然给中国与西方不太一致的网络监管扣政治帽子,这是一些西方人死抱老观念,懒于深入了解中国及其他外部世界的表现。 In the spirit of helping lazy Westerners gain a deeper understanding of what China is putting on display, the following context is offered for statements by government officials and the state run media made regarding the recently-concluded Wuzhen World Internet Conference

Related: China’s 600 Million Internet Searchers Nudge Global Web Toward Censorship – Bloomberg As its Internet population grows and its companies become global powers, China is using domestic tactics like censorship and fake Twitter accounts to shape public opinion abroad. “They’re thinking about this as a global game,” said David Bandurski, editor of the China Media Project at the University of Hong Kong. “It’s no longer just a question of domestic control and international image.”

Related: 解读习近平贺词背后的大国战略–时政–人民网 People’s Daily Online Wechat account decodes the ‘big power strategy’ in Xi Jinping’s message of congratulations to the Wuzhen Internet conference// 首届世界互联网大会19日在浙江乌镇开幕,来自近100个国家和地区的1000余位全球互联网领军人物齐聚。正在出访的国家主席习近平心系大会发来贺词。这封只有400余字的贺词究竟传达出怎样关键的信息?今天,视点君带您一起解秘这封贺词背后的大国战略。

4. China’s Embarks on Rural Land Reform as Golf Courses Get Banned – Bloomberg China’s leaders are acting on a pledge made a year ago to expand farmers’ land rights, loosen the one-child policy and encourage private investment in state businesses in the biggest expansion of economic freedoms since at least the 1990s. Real estate sales have been at the center of disputes, with local governments buying land from farmers at low prices and selling it to property developers at higher prices. A rural land-reform plan may be announced at the central rural work conference and trials may start in 2015, the China Securities Journal said on Nov. 12, without citing anyone. Last year’s central rural work conference was held in late December.

Related: 中共中央办公厅、国务院办公厅印发《关于引导农村土地经营权有序流转发展农业适度规模经营的意见》-时政频道-新华网 《关于引导农村土地经营权有序流转发展农业适度规模经营的意见》全文如下。

Related: “两办”发文 土地流转释放强烈信号_财经频道_一财网 土 地适度规模经营已成为非常紧迫的任务,必须加大力度推进。 中共中央办公厅、国务院办公厅近日共同发布《关于引导农村土地经营权有序流转发展农业适度规模经营的意见》(下称《意见》),释放了这个直接而强烈的信号。 四川省社科院副院长郭晓鸣向《第一财经日报》记者表示,这是对过去政策系统化的梳理,明确了一些原来模糊的地方。 郭晓鸣上月底曾受农业部邀请参加了对《意见》的讨论。

5. 遏制房地产领域腐败 需多部门”合纵连横”——要闻——中央纪委监察部网站 据中央纪委监察部网站10月初消息,房地产领域是官员腐败的重灾区,其中官商勾结、多占住房和办公用房超标现象十分普遍。在2013年以来被巡视的21个省份中,有20个省份发现了房地产腐败,占比高达95%。// CCDI posts article on its web site about real estate and its role in corruption, says real estate corruption was found in 20 of the 21 provinces visited by CCDI inspection team since 2013. I expect investigators to take some more famous real estate scalps in the next few months.

Related: 中纪委关注房地产界反腐 曝谷俊山等拥数百房产–时政–人民网 据媒体公开报道,面对房地产领域的“行业性腐败”问题,目前住建部已经增设“反腐败协调小组”,在中央纪委驻住建部纪检组的直接领导下工作,协调涉房腐败案件办理事宜。这足以表明涉房腐败的查处已经进入了高层级跨部门合作阶段,无疑是“加码”治理涉房腐败的重要信号,类似信息当保持一定的新闻宣传和舆论引导力度,以提振舆论对治理涉房腐败的整体信心。// interagency group set up under leadership of CCDI inspection team based in the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development to help in crackdown on real estate-related corruption

6. Guest post: China’s shadow finance risks start to ebb | beyondbrics while concern over the lurking horrors in China’s financial shadows remains justified, regulatory actions mean that the systemic risks that they pose are finally starting to ebb. This is happening in spite of the fact that the overall scale of the shadow system is continuing to expand.We estimate that shadow finance assets totalled Rmb46.3tn at the end of the first half of this year (see chart), up 16.3 per cent from the end of 2013 and 11.5 per cent quarter on quarter. However, the headline rebound in shadow finance asset growth masks an important shift in the sources and composition of this financing, with recent regulatory moves reducing connectivity between the shadow and formal banking systems.

Related: 于学军:银行业不良远未完全暴露_金融频道_财新网 CBRC official Yu Xuejun says banks have not fully disclosed their bad loans, says some banks have only shown the “tip of the iceberg” of their bad loans  //  11月22日,银监会金融机构监事会主席于学军指出,实际上银行的不良资产,远远没有完全暴露,“我看个别银行还只是(暴露了)冰山一角”。

7. Another Major Climate Breakthrough: China Will Cap its Coal Consumption by 2020 | NRDC Hard on the heels of last week’s historic US-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change, in which China pledged for the first time to cap its CO2 emission by 2030, China’s State Council has just announced a new energy strategy action plan that includes, also for the first time, a cap on national coal consumption by 2020.  This is another major breakthrough for climate and for China’s people, since coal is the largest contributor to CO2 emissions as well as to China’s dangerous PM 2.5 air pollution.

8. The End of China’s Economic Miracle? – WSJ – Bob Davis Goodbye Essay So why, on leaving China at the end of a nearly four-year assignment, am I pessimistic about the country’s economic future? When I arrived, China’s GDP was growing at nearly 10% a year, as it had been for almost 30 years—a feat unmatched in modern economic history. But growth is now decelerating toward 7%. Western business people and international economists in China warn that the government’s GDP statistics are accurate only as an indication of direction, and the direction of the Chinese economy is plainly downward. The big questions are how far and how fast..In China, I have learned, yellow isn’t just the color of development. It is also the color of a setting sun. //pessimism abounds, lots of people leaving…feels like China is on the cusp of something…then again it always does, just not sure what

 

BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE *

China Said to Mull Easing of Loan-to-Deposit Rules Amid Slowdown – Bloomberg Chinese banks are allowed to lend a maximum of 75 percent of deposits. China International Capital Corp. says that loan-ratio rule changes could see an extra 7 trillion yuan ($1.1 trillion) of money classified as deposits, 14 times more than the likely boost to loans. That would increase lenders’ ability to extend credit. Such moves “could help to improve credit allocation across banks and regions,” Chang Jian, chief China economist at Barclays Plc in Hong Kong, said in a note today. At the same time, “we do not think this will change the fundamental picture facing the Chinese economy,” she said.

Father of financial crisis builds US IPO channel for Chinese SME|WantChinaTimes Richard “Dick” Fuld, the final chairman and CEO of bankrupt American financial services firm Lehman Brothers, is looking to build a “green channel” for Chinese small and medium enterprises to list in the United States. In an exclusive interview with the Beijing-based Caixin media group during a visit to China this week, Fuld announced that he has acquired the US-based National Stock Exchange and will be teaming up with China’s Suzhou Kaida Venture Capital to specialize in facilitating US IPOs for Chinese SMEs by taking advantage of favorable regulatory rules. // what could go wrong?

金融央企老总或将减薪百万 改革将涉及72家央企_新闻_腾讯网 salary cuts to go into effect in 2015 for top execs of 72 central SOEs. Finance SOE execs may see 1m RMB pay cuts  //  2015年起,央企负责人薪酬改革将开始正式实施。降薪后,高管们到底会“减薪”多少钱?高层一降,是否层层跟着降?收入降了,灰色福利会否“补一补”?记者就此进行了调查。据新华社

央企负责人薪酬改革明年初实施_财经频道_一财网 据 官方消息,中央管理企业负责人薪酬制度改革将于2015年年初开始实施。对于社会关切的涉及范围、具体收入等问题,改革路线图正逐渐明确。 《第一财经日报》记者梳理官方信息发现,此次调薪范围将涉及72家央企负责人,根据测算,其薪酬水平将不超过在岗职工平均工资的8倍,考核不合格者将只能领到基本工资 // Caixin on the upcoming central SOE salary cuts

Early signs of a floor under China’s sinking property market | Reuters Tim Condon, ING’s head of research for Asia, said the housing data pointed to fewer cities reporting falling prices in the months ahead, and it was a matter of time before house prices reached a floor. “We think housing represents a potential upside surprise to growth forecasts,” he wrote

China Wages Policy Backfires as Costs Prompt Sock-City Blues – Bloomberg The number of private enterprises surged to 12.5 million last year, almost double those in 2008. The number of people who work at private enterprises or who are self-employed increased to 218.6 million by the end of 2013, from 136.8 million in 2008, according to official data. Underscoring the importance authorities place on supporting SMEs, the People’s Bank of China is helping small companies secure funding via targeted policies such as a re-lending facility for such firms, even as it refrains from broad-based monetary easing. Profit growth of private enterprises dropped to 9.7 percent in the first nine months from a year earlier compared with 14.8 percent in 2013. Average private-sector manufacturing wages rose 13.5 percent last year after a 16.9 percent gain in 2012.

Justin Lin Ignores Population Factor with Growth Predictions – Caixin Former World Bank economist Justin Lin Yifu has repeatedly said over the past few years that China can maintain an economic growth rate of 8 percent for another 20 years. He defended his optimism in an article in October, revising the figure down to 7 to 7.5 percent. Lin has had a good track record of beating pessimistic forecasters about China’s economy and we agree with his theories in a large part, but he seems to have neglected the fact that China’s population is aging fast and its number of working age people is shrinking. That is why he may have overestimated the country’s growth rate.

经济参考网 – 地方融资平台上演“最后的疯狂” 城投债遭热捧 银行信托猛放款 违约风险隐现 地方融资平台正在上演最后的疯狂。《经济参考报》记者获悉,2015年1月5日地方政府债务甄别大限到来之前,不仅公开的城投债市场十分火爆,不少商业银行以及信托公司也纷纷突击为平台放款。大限之前的“回光返照”,预示着明年上半年的融资困局可能很快到来。据统计,2015年上半年将有3160.55亿城投债到期,在再融资环境收紧之下,不排除其中有部分平台信用出现违约。// last hurrah for LGFV financing before new rules take effect in 2015?

产能过剩企业不裁员 失业基金给补贴_政经频道_财新网 钢铁、水泥、电力、煤炭等企业,在化解产能过剩以及淘汰落后产能期间,如能采取有效措施不裁员、少裁员,将获得由失业保险基金给予稳定岗位补贴,主要用于职工生活补助、缴纳社会保险费、转岗培训等支出。补贴政策执行到2020年底。 近日,人社部、财政部、发改委、工信部四部委发布的《关于失业保险支持企业稳定岗位有关问题的通知》提出了上述要求。// some firms in industries suffering from overcapacity getting subsidies for not laying off workers says Caixin

Rethinking China’s state-owned enterprises – The A-List – FT.com – Yukon Huang The solution lies in getting the state out of certain activities, delineating the extent to which private minority interests can influence operational policies such as the appointment of CEOs, and putting in place means to ring fence SOEs from the influence of political mandates. State ownership remains especially strong in areas such as finance, education, health and telecommunications, which offer the greatest potential gains in productivity and employment. Allowing domestic and foreign private interests to play a much bigger role in these areas must be part of the reform agenda. Without such changes, Beijing’s attempts to reform the state-owned enterprise sector are unlikely to make a difference.

China’s Millenniums-Old Salt Monopoly No Match for Economic Reform – NYTimes.com The move is intended to boost competition, the Beijing Youth Daily reported, citing the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. China’s economic planners have tried for years to eliminate the monopoly, but faced opposition from the China National Salt Industry Corporation, the state-owned agency that controls salt distribution, and from consumers concerned about prices and food safety.

Closer Look: Gov’t Wants Proactive Tax Policies, but Ends Up with a Problem – Caixin The government has taxed companies hard this year, depriving them of cash they could use. Worse yet, the money sits idle in banks

 

POLITICS AND LAW *

Top Prosecutor’s Office Plans New Office to Better Fight Corruption – Caixin The new department will be headed by an official with the rank of deputy minister, said Qiu Xueqiang, a deputy in the country’s top prosecutor’s office. This means it will have a higher rank than a similar office it is replacing…A number of local prosecutors said their investigations have always faced intervention by various parties and hurdles related to administrative procedures. This is because these prosecutors are supervised by local governments and Communist Party committees. Over the past decade, between 35,000 and 39,000 cases of official corruption are handled by prosecutors nationwide every year. Cheng, of Renmin University, said “the stable number of cases processed does not match the real corruption situation and reflects a bottleneck for prosecutors in handling such cases.”

Another Hebei Official Is Targeted by Corruption Investigators – Caixin  The Central Discipline Inspection Commission (CDIC) said in a statement that Liang Bin, a member of the party’s standing committee in Hebei and the head of the provincial organization department, is suspected of “serious violations of discipline and law,” a phrase the CDIC uses to mean corruption. …Liang started his career in the northern province of Shanxi where he was born, then was transferred to Hebei to head the organization department in 2008.

The Low Official Found with Towering Pile of Cash, Gold and Properties – Caixin Ma has for years used his power as head of Beidaihe Water Supply Co. to enrich himself, a local source said. The employee of a local hotel said that Ma once threatened to cut off the water supply if he was not paid. The Beidaihe Water Supply Co. was established in 2011 under the Qinhuangdao Urban Management Bureau. It is responsible for supplying tourist resorts in the Beidaihe and Nandaihe districts, as well as in new urban areas. The Beidaihe District is home to a summer resort for central government leaders.

Has the big China golf course boom finally gone bust? |  Dan Washburn during my recent two weeks in China, I encountered more pessimism and uncertainty from those in the industry than ever before. Everyone quoted the rumor that up to 100 courses would soon be shut down, a process that perhaps got kickstarted with the closure of a handful of courses this summer. Beijing then, as it had a handful of times over the previous decade, reiterated its oft referenced but rarely enforced ban on golf course construction. It did so again just this week. Things do appear to be ratcheting up. What to make of it? Who knows. Maybe this is truly the end of the boom. Maybe it’s just another bump in the road. Either way, it seems a good time to share with you a recent email I received from a China golf course industry veteran.

Chinese state media give profs a chilling warning – AP In China, the Liaoning Daily article has also sparked furious debate on Chinese social media about the need for intellectual autonomy versus patriotism in academia. Zhang Ming, a politics professor at Renmin University in Beijing, noted in a rebuttal that the story doesn’t cite specific professors or schools, only saying reporters visited classrooms in Beijing, Shanghai and three other cities, during which “they listened to nearly 100 expert classes.” “They didn’t who said what, they just said the problem was big,” Zhang said. “It’s a very strange thing.” Also, Chinese professors asked why the story came out in a northeast Chinese branch of state media rather than the People’s Daily or another national publication. Liaoning Daily declined Thursday to comment on their story.

Chinese court rejects Ilham Tohti appeal | The Guardian Court upholds life sentence from closed-door trial of scholar from Uighur minority who criticised government

Prominent China rights lawyer could face harsher charges: attorney | Reuters Prosecutors are considering adding charges of inciting ethnic hatred and discrimination and separatism, a more serious crime, said Pu’s lawyer, Mo Shaoping. He said he was less certain of the more serious separatism charge. “That charge (of separatism) is extremely unusual,” Mo said. Mo said the charge of inciting ethnic hatred and discrimination stem from a blog post Pu wrote about a violent attack in the southwestern city of Kunming that killed 29 people in March. China blamed the attack on Islamist militants, sometimes referred to as East Turkestan separatists, who it says seek to split the country by seeking an independent state in the country’s far west region of Xinjiang.

The Art of Xi Jinping – NYTimes – Murong Xuecun Ever since Chairman Mao, every party leader has been a best-selling author. Indeed, we have been blessed with a series of all-around geniuses. Mao, the revolutionary, government leader and military strategist, was also a poet, calligrapher and prodigious swimmer. Deng Xiaoping was a bridge master. Xi Jinping has been celebrated not only for his writing talent but also for his soccer skills. Censorship is the greatest obstruction to the flourishing of writing and the creative arts. Rather than engaging the Chinese people about creative expression, Mr. Xi is just laying down the law: “Your writing must be patriotic;” “you must honor our glorious cultural traditions;” literature and art must not be contaminated by “the stench of money.”

党报刊文:有人对历史翻案否定中国共产党领导_网易新闻中心-网易新闻客户端 历史虚无主义通过否定中国历史上的革命领袖、民族英雄和先烈先贤,否定近代以来中国人民的反帝反封建斗争,否定中国共产党领导的人民革命和社会主义革命与建设的成就,最终是要否定中国共产党的领导和社会主义制度。因此,对历史虚无主义思潮,我们需要提高警惕。历史决不能任意颠覆,随便戏弄。我们必须坚持实事求是原则去研究历史,尊重与维护历史的尊严。 (作者 王晓秋 为北京大学历史学系教授)

When Calls for Revenge Overwhelm China’s Courts – NYTimes.com It was a case packed with difficult issues: domestic abuse, the government’s shift away from the death penalty and the social pressures to retain it. Even getting into the court building wasn’t easy. The Tans — a large family from nearby Anyue County where Ms. Li, a former silk factory worker, and Mr. Tan, a former driver, ran a noodle stall — wanted Ms. Li dead. ‘‘A life for a life’’ read the banners held by the relatives and supporters of the family outside the courtroom.

Top procuratorate streamlines rules to correct miscarriage of justice – Xinhua Published in the form of a revised document, the new rules address prosecutors’ work in handling petitions or appeals against binding judgements or judicial decisions filed by litigants or relevant parties. It was published on the same day the higher court in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region began the retrial of a controversial 1996 rape and murder case.

China Focus: Trial reopens for rape-murder case with “convict” executed in 1996 – Xinhua The presiding judge with Inner Mongolia Higher People’s Court, Bobatu, issued a retrial notice to the parents of Huugjilt, found guilty of the rape and murder of a woman in a public toilet in the regional capital Hohhot on April 9, 1996. Huugjilt, 18 at the time, was sentenced to death by Hohhot Intermediate People’s Court in May 1996. His appeal was rejected, the death penalty was approved by the region’s higher court and Huugjilt was executed on June 10,1996. // 内蒙古冤杀案从案发到执行死刑仅用62天_网易新闻中心-网易新闻客户端

【特稿】呼格吉勒图案:枪决18年后的再审 _政经频道_财新网 从呼格吉勒图被枪决到“真凶”赵志红浮现,九年;从赵志红落网到内蒙古高院宣布呼格吉勒图案进入再审,又是九年。18年的背后,是一个破碎家庭难以言说的悲怆和二次伤害

China creates new megacity label for biggest urban centres | South China Morning Post The megacity label would apply to centres with more than 10 million people, Xinhua reported. According to the 2010 national census, six cities would fall into this category – Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing , Guangzhou, Tianjin and Shenzhen. The second-biggest category will be for “very large” cities with populations of between five million and 10 million people. In all, 16 centres fall into these two groups, both of which will have limits on population inflows.

Media executives arrested for suspected of blackmail, forced transactions – Xinhua Those arrested included Shen Hao, president of the 21st Century Media Ltd., vice president Chen Dongyang, vice president and chief financial officer Le Bing. The prosecutors accused the 21st Century Business Herald, the website affiliated to the publication, Money Week, and eight companies under the group, of blackmail and forcing transactions. Shen was also accused of duty encroachment, embezzlement and taking bribes as a non-state staff.

China’s New National Constitution Day: Is It Worth Celebrating? | The Jamestown Foundation – Jerome Cohen The struggle for constitutional government is far from over in China. To be sure, the Fourth Plenum came up short on immediate institutional reforms. Yet it has stimulated greater interest and ferment among the country’s increasingly sophisticated citizens. Although liberal constitutional reformers are currently outnumbered and their freedom to debate the future is sharply restricted by the “people’s democratic dictatorship,” even the current repressive administration cannot indefinitely afford to ignore a rising demand for government under law. So, let us hope that the PRC’s new National Constitution Day will prove more successful than its predecessors in spurring popular support for genuine constitutionalism!

驻京办警察从事有偿遣返进京访民业务 获刑11年_网易新闻中心 法制晚报讯  贵州省某地被派至驻京办的民警韦某利用职务之便,多次为朱某和董某安排、联系有偿遣返进京访民回乡的“业务”,并先后从二人手里收受好处费17万元。 记者上午获悉,法院一审以受贿罪,判处韦某有期徒刑11年。

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS *

Qingdao ‘spy’ says he was recruited from abroad via internet jobs website | South China Morning Post CCTV reported that the man, surnamed Cao, was one of a number of young mainland students and professionals who were lured with offers of money by foreign spies on the internet. Cao, whose name and age were not given, came to the security bureau’s attention in January after he was found “lurking” and taking photos of an aircraft carrier base in Qingdao at dawn. Police seized a camera, telescope, laptop computer, cell phones and other equipment when they arrested Cao on April 20. // 企业员工被境外间谍收买在航母基地搜集情报|航母基地|间谍_新浪新闻 

Spokesman: Japan should observe its commitment – Xinhua “We urge the Japanese side to live up to its commitment, show sincerity and take concrete action to maintain and implement the four-point agreement between China and Japan,” Hong said in a press release. Hong made the remarks in response to a written reply that the Japanese cabinet made on Friday on the issues of Diaoyu Islands and the Yasukuni Shrine. Japanese Kyodo news agency reported on Friday that the Cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the visit by the prime minister to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo is among the “political difficulties” Japan and China have agreed to overcome. Kyodo said the cabinet made the remark in a written reply to Japan Innovation Party lawmaker Nobuhiko Isaka.

China, Pacific island countries announce strategic partnership – Xinhua China and eight Pacific island countries agreed here on Saturday to establish a strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development. The agreement was announced at a meeting between visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and the leaders of the eight countries, namely Fiji Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Micronesia President Emanuel Mori, Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’ Neill, Vanuatu Prime Minister Joe Natuman, The Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna, Tonga Prime Minister Siale’ataonga Tu’ivakano and Niue Prime Minister Toke Talagi. All the eight island countries have established diplomatic ties with China since the 1970s.

Xi’s Pacific Islands Tour Set to Deepen China Ties Further South – Bloomberg After the state visit, Xi will hold a summit with leaders of eight countries that China has diplomatic ties with in the region — Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Micronesia, Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands and Niue, according to Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng. The islands have a total population of 8.15 million and a combined landmass of almost 500,000 square kilometers, roughly 5 percent of China’s size, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the CIA World Factbook.

Peter Hahn, Korean-American Christian aid worker, held in China The 73-year-old naturalised US citizen, who has overseen a range of aid projects straddling the border between China and North Korea over the past two decades, was called in by authorities in Tumen, China for questioning on Tuesday and placed under detention after a six-hour interrogation. Two other staff members, including a South Korean national, have also been detained in recent weeks.

China, Nepal sign MOU to develop border districts – Xinhua China agreed on Thursday to provide 10 million yuan (1.63 million U.S. dollars) annually from 2014 to 2018 to help Nepal develop its northern districts bordering with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region. According to a Memorandum of Understanding signed by Purna Chandr Bhattarai, joint secretary of Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development and Chinese Ambassador Wu Chuntai, the donation will be spent on small-scale projects in the areas of health, education and road to improve the livelihood in the northern mountainous region.

Fourth Plenum: Implications for China’s Approach to International Law and Politics | The Jamestown Foundation Chinese authorities appear intent on turning on its head the argument that China should “adhere to international norms and laws” by casting the United States and its allies as the irresponsible outliers to internationally accepted behavior. Reflecting themes commonly seen in Chinese commentary, Foreign Minister Wang stated that the main obstacles to the promotion of international rule of law rested with countries that practiced “hegemonism, power politics and all forms of ‘new interventionism,’ ” which he said pose a “direct challenge” to “basic principles of international law.” He sharply criticized the “double standard approach to international law” in which the same unnamed countries “use whatever suits their interests and abandon whatever does not.”

Ascendant China Cited by U.S. Panel as Pentagon Pivots to Asia – Bloomberg China’s advancing military capabilities will challenge the U.S.’s ability to deter conflicts, defend partners and maintain freedom of the seas and airways in the Asia-Pacific region, according to a commission mandated by Congress. // PDF of report executive summary 

CIA considers overhaul that could be largest in agency’s history – U.S. – Stripes if Brennan moves forward, officials said, the changes would be among the most ambitious in CIA history — potentially creating individual centers focused on China, Latin America and other regions or issues for which personnel are now dispersed across difference parts of the agency.

Events – Winning Asia: Why is the United States Struggling? – November – 2014 – Hudson Institute On November 20th at 3:30 pm, Hudson Institute hosted a discussion on America’s waning influence in the region. Moderated by Senior Fellow Charles Horner, the panel included Christopher Ford, a former Hudson Senior Fellow and author of The Mind of Empire: China’s History and Modern Foreign Relations and China Looks at the West: Identity, Global Ambitions, and the Future of Sino-American Relations, and Senior Fellow John Lee, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Sydney whose work is focused on the Chinese political economy, foreign relations between Northeast Asian countries and the United States, and strategic and economic futures in Asia.

China building South China Sea island big enough for airstrip: report | Reuters IHS Jane’s said images it had obtained showed the Chinese-built island on the Fiery Cross Reef to be at least 3,000 meters (1.9 miles) long and 200-300 meters (660-980 ft) wide, which it noted is “large enough to construct a runway and apron.”

A Map of Betrayal: A Novel – by Ha Jin @ Amazon From the award-winning author of Waiting and War Trash: a riveting tale of espionage and conflicted loyalties that spans half a century in the entwined histories of two countries—China and the United States—and two families.   When Lilian Shang, born and raised in America, discovers her father’s diary after the death of her parents, she is shocked by the secrets it contains. She knew that her father, Gary, convicted decades ago of being a mole in the CIA, was the most important Chinese spy ever caught. But his diary, an astonishing chronicle of his journey as a Communist intelligence agent, reveals the pain and longing that his double life entailed—and point to a hidden second family that he’d left behind in China.. // loosely based on the story of Larry Wu-Tai Chin, almost finished reading it, a good read

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN *

The Largest Cyber Attack In History Has Been Hitting Hong Kong Sites The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have been carried out against independent news site Apple Daily and PopVote, which organised mock chief executive elections for Hong Kong. Now the content delivery network Cloudflare, which protects Apple Daily and PopVote, says the DDoS attacks have been unprecedented in scale, pounding the sites with junk traffic at a remarkable 500 gigabits per second.

 

TECH AND MEDIA *

Meet Alibaba’s Woman of Mystery in Los Angeles–Hollywood Reporter She wanted to be the Oprah Winfrey of China. Instead, sources say American-educated Zhang Wei is relocating from Shanghai to Los Angeles to head an office for e-commerce giant Alibaba as it makes a much-watched incursion into Hollywood.

Qualcomm Having ‘Difficult Discussions’ With Chinese Government – Bloomberg Qualcomm is working to find a “win-win solution” that allows the company to continue building its business in China, Chairman Paul Jacobs said in a meeting with government officials in Hangzhou. The company said yesterday it “expects to collect on substantially all LTE devices” in its efforts to get paid for ownership of patents on so-called 4G mobile-phone technology in China.

Huayi Brothers gets big investment from three ‘Mas|WantChinaTimes Internet giants Alibaba and Tencent, along with Shenzhen-based insurance company Pingan, have bought shares in Huayi Brothers Media for a total investment of 3.6 billion yuan (US$588 million), reports the Guangzhou-based 21st Century Business Herald. Huayi Brothers announced a non-public offering of 145 million A-share stocks on Nov. 18. Among them, Alibaba owns 61.76 million shares, Tencent 51.55 million shares and Pingan 27.39 million shares, for a value of 1.5 billion yuan (US$2.5 billion), 1.28 billion yuan (US$2.1 billion), and 680 million yuan (US$111 million), respectively. After this round of financing, the three shareholders will hold 8.08%, 8.08%, and 2% of shares, respectively.

Baidu Browser Helps China Users to Access Google — China Internet Watch I chanced upon a banner ad on Baidu search results page after searching “google”, which offers “fast, stable access” to Google. Taking a closer look, I found that it’s a Baidu product — Baidu Browser.

Google Looks to Get Back Into China – WSJ Google would likely need to partner with a Chinese company to help it host apps and games in data centers in the country, say the people familiar with its plans. It might also have to build separate user identification and payment systems, added one of these people. Working with a Chinese partner that would run the app store and split revenue with Google might help the company with censorship issues, said a former Google executive. News of Google’s effort was earlier reported by technology website The Information, which said Google has discussed its plans with handset makers such as Huawei and ZTE and wireless carriers that must provide billing services. // good luck

互联网电视监管攻防战_新世纪周刊频道_财新网 “史上最严监管”实施四个多月,整改已近尾声。互联网电视的用户需求不可阻挡,产业链各方在重新调整位置和组合后,开始新一轮厮杀 // Caixin on Internet TV industry in wake of new regulations

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY *

John Downey, CIA employee held 20 years in China during Cold War, dies at 84 – The Washington Post John T. Downey, who joined the CIA after college and was captured and held prisoner in Communist China for more than 20 years on espionage charges — one of the most harrowing chapters of the Cold War — died Nov. 17 at a hospice in Branford, Conn. He was 84. His son, John Lee Downey, confirmed the death. He said his father, a retired judge in New Haven, Conn., had pancreatic cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

Anti-Domestic Violence: The Mainstream Topic of the Post-Women Conference Era – China Development Brief In September 2014, while this topic was being edited, China’s first large-scale anti-domestic violence documentary, “China’s Anti-Domestic Violence Chronicle” aired during primetime on CCTV’s society and law channel (CCTV-12). During this short and precious moment, “anti-domestic violence” once again attracted national attention.

8,000 Heilongjiang Teachers in Three-Day Strike over Pay, Benefits – Caixin Thousands of teachers in Zhaodong, in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, went on strike for three days over pay and benefits, but have returned to class. The labor action involved 8,000 teachers who refused to attend class from November 17 to 19, People’s Daily reported. A state radio station said classes resumed on November 20. The city government has said it will address some of the teachers’ concerns. More than 750 teachers rallied in front of the city government’s offices starting on November 14, the local government said.

How to Stop Asia’s SAT Cheats – Bloomberg View On Dec. 6, nervous teenagers around the world will sit down to take the SAT. Most will succeed or fail honestly. Others, particularly in Asia, may well have bought the answers beforehand. As evidence, FairTest, a Massachusetts-based organization that advocates for standardized-testing reform, sent me the transcript of an online chat with an anonymous seller in China, who offered to provide a copy of the upcoming Dec. 6 test for as little as $3,000. While it’s impossible to verify the seller’s claim, the problem of SAT fraud in Asia is widely acknowledged.

河北疑发现安禄山墓 规模超过慈禧地宫(图)_网易新闻中心 An Lushan’s tomb doscovered in Hebei?  //  核心提示:近日,河北博物院研究员在演讲时称,曲阳一大墓主人最可能是安禄山。该墓于2011年5月被发现,规模超过慈禧地宫和光绪地宫。目前各界关于墓主身份的猜测有安禄山、李宝臣、张孝忠、王处存、王都等,且考古工作者与文化学者意见相左,多数认为是安禄山。

Beijing’s Ping Pong Mecca on Vimeo A look at what is unanimously referred to as “the biggest and best ping pong zone in the whole world” by the retired old guys who play there every day.

蓝翔校长之妻进京向全国人大举报丈夫(图)|蓝翔技校_新浪新闻 wife of head of Lanxiang Vocation school comes to Beijing to submit formal complaints about this behavior

Chinese Activists Worry As Landmark Gay ‘Conversion’ Case Stalls — WSJ The excitement that coursed through China’s gay rights community in July when a Beijing court heard the country’s first case challenging gay “conversion” therapy has turned to apprehension after the deadline for a decision passed without news.

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH *

新疆多家企业排污致自然保护区草木尽毁(图)_网易新闻中心 The Beijing News on how pollution is destroying a nature reserve in Xinjiang…got huge in online media Saturday //  数年前该煤田的核心部分归属于新疆卡拉麦里山有蹄类自然保护区,区内分布有国家重点保护的野生动物,是我国西北最重要的荒漠生态系统和荒漠有蹄类野生动物保护区。同时还担负着遏阻新疆第二大沙漠古尔班通古特沙漠向东扩张的重任。 在花大气力固沙保护环境的同时,一些高能耗、高污染的企业,将未经处理的工业垃圾和生活垃圾,直接堆砌在荒漠里,大片宝贵的植被被破坏,带来生态危机。

Tibet-Sichuan grid goes live – Xinhua The 1.08 billion U.S. dollar project links Qamdo in Tibet Autonomous Region and the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Garze in Sichuan Province, aiming to put an end to the electricity shortages of the 500,000 residents of the Qamdo region and ease power strain in Tibet as a whole. The complex interconnection circuits stretch 1,521 kilometers across the plateau at an average altitude of 3,850 meters and its construction involved more than 20,000 staff over eight months, according to the State Grid Corporation of China.

How Fake Fossils Pervert Paleontology  - Scientific American The problem of faked fossils in China is serious and growing. It is exacerbated by the fact that most of the fossils are pulled from the ground by desperately poor farmers and then sold on to dealers and museums rather than being found by paleontologists on fossil digs, which is how specimens are discovered in most other parts of the world. Liaoning, an impoverished and heavily industrialized province of northeastern China, has been a center for paleontological activity since the early 1990s, when many early bird fossils were found there. When Sinosauropyteryx – the first known feathered dinosaur – was discovered there in 1996, it spurred a fossil hunting gold rush the likes of which had never been seen before.

 

BEIJING *

Beijing: A Day in the Park on Vimeo This video is about old people in the parks of Beijing. Smoking, playing chess and cards, dancing, Chinese hackysack, posting up…and smoking.

New Subway Line Connecting Beijing Railway Stations to Open Next Month | TheNanfang The new express line will connect Beijing Railway Station to Beijing West Railway Station, connecting the two main stations in only 10 minutes. This new line is scheduled to open on December 26. Metro Line 7 also aims to alleviate pressure on the transportation infrastructure in the southern part of the city, particularly on Line 1 and the Batong Line. Line 7 will interconnect with Lines 4 and 5, although its major interchange will be with Line 10 at Shuangjing Station.

Mental health for women in Beijing — Medium Within 6 months, cover at least 1000 people. Raise enough money to pay for their care. Target: Women, aged 18–40 living in Beijing who suffer from depression and/or anxiety. Provide them with counseling and if possible, psychiatric care…I am seeking out existing support groups to get an initial scope of understanding for what sorts of women currently attend these sessions, and why they do.

Heavy air pollution forecast for Beijing, neighboring cities – CCTV News Beijing, Tianjin and cities in neighboring Hebei Province will likely see persistent heavy air pollution for up to five days, according to the Ministry of Environmental Protection.   Between Nov. 22 and 26, air pollution in the central and southern part of the notoriously polluted Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region is likely to reach the “heavy” and “grave” categories — the top two severity levels, according to the ministry statement released Friday.

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