The Sinocism China Newsletter 02.27.14

Just links, thankfully the air in Beijing is excellent now:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

[视频]习近平主持召开中央网络安全和信息化领导小组第一次会议强调 总体布局统筹各方创新发展 努力把我国建设成为网络强国 李克强刘云山出席_新闻频道_央视网 2nd story on Thursday CCTV Evening News, 5 minute video.–Xi Jinping chairs first meeting of leading small group for Internet security and informatization…even worse times ahead for US IT firms in China, more than one likely to be “Huawei’d”? // 央视网消息(新闻联播):中共中央总书记、国家主席、中央军委主席、中央网络安全和信息化领导小组组长习近平2月27日下午主持召开中央网络安全和信息化领导小组第一次会议并发表重要讲话。他强调,网络安全和信息化是事关国家安全和国家发展、事关广大人民群众工作生活的重大战略问题,要从国际国内大势出发,总体布局,统筹各方,创新发展,努力把我国建设成为网络强国。 中共中央政治局常委、中央网络安全和信息化领导小组副组长李克强、刘云山出席会议。 会议审议通过了《中央网络安全和信息化领导小组工作规则》、《中央网络安全和信息化领导小组办公室工作细则》、《中央网络安全和信息化领导小组2014年重点工作》,并研究了近期工作。

Related: Xi Jinping leads Internet security group – Xinhua  President Xi Jinping is heading a central Internet security and informatization leading group, according to a statement released after the first meeting of the group on Thursday. Xi presided over the meeting, stressing that Internet security and informatization is a major strategic issue concerning a country’s security and development as well as people’s life and work. “Efforts should be made to build our country into a cyber power,” he said.

Lung Cancer Cases Linked to Air Quality-Caijing A type of lung cancer reported to be increasing in Beijing has been linked to worsening air quality, with an expert warning that the potential health impact could be much greater than the SARS epidemic in 2003. “The proportion of lung adenocarcinoma cases is increasing,” said Wang Ning, deputy director of the Beijing Office for Cancer Prevention and Control, adding that there has been a drop in the proportion of squamous cell lung cancer cases in the capital.

Related: 习近平:治雾霾首要任务是控制PM2.5(图)_网易新闻中心 Xi Jinping says the key task in fighting air pollution is controlling pm 2.5

Related: China vows ‘harsh punishment’ for toxic smog culprits | Reuters Investigations had found that some thermal power plants, cement and steel makers in the northern province of Hebei had failed to halt or curtail production during severely smoggy days despite government orders, state news agency Xinhua quoted the Ministry of Environmental Protection as saying.

Related: 中央密集表态大力治霾 环保部用无人机暗拍偷排_网易新闻中心 China using drones to find illegally polluting factories..too bad they are not armed, might solve some of the problems faster…”smogfire” missiles could do wonders…

Related: China pollution: Trouble in the air – FT.com “Environmental problems used to be like pandas, distant, remote and cute. But now the challenges are at our doorsteps. Everyone realises that,” says Li Bo from Friends of Nature, a Chinese environmental NGO. People are fixated on PM2.5 – tiny particles 2.5 micrometres in diameter that can penetrate deep into the lungs and contribute to asthma, cancer and heart trouble – thanks to the newfound ability to track local and national air quality conditions via Weibo, the local equivalent of Twitter.

Related: Beijingers ignore the smog to dance to Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’ The original video for Pharrell’s “Happy”, has inspired a wave of global imitations, with cities around the world, from Dublin to Hong Kong recording their own versions.

Related: Smog pushes emigration – Globaltimes.cn Lingering smog appears to be taking another toll on China by driving the affluent and bright overseas, a signal of public discontent over perceived failures to address pollution concerns. Analysts predict the trend of “smog emigration” is expected to continue, as improvements to air pollution through economic restructuring will not take effect in the short term.

Beijing guides renminbi lower in effort to manage financial risks – FT.com In this, as ever, Beijing is looking for incremental shifts, such as the 1.2 per cent that the renminbi has depreciated by so far this year. It knows that if it were to try to stop the inflow of illegal capital entirely, it may trigger the very wave of financial defaults it is hoping to avoid. Thus a gradual approach using exchange rate flexibility to generate a market response seems to suit the PBoC’s objectives for now.

Related: Yuan Turns Worst Emerging Carry Trade as PBOC Stokes Volatility – Bloomberg “A lot of investors globally were invested in the yuan because of the interest-rate differential and the low volatility,” Rajeev De Mello, who manages $10 billion as Singapore-based head of Asian fixed income at Schroder Investment Management Ltd., said in a Feb. 25 phone interview. “All of a sudden, the low volatility part of the argument is no longer there.”

China banks lobby to cap online financial product yields – sources | Reuters hear this year’s CCTV consumer day broadcast on 3.15 to focus on internet finance products//The China Banking Association is lobbying regulators to cap the yields on online money market funds, two bankers told Reuters on Thursday, in the boldest effort yet by banks to answer the threat from online financial products. If adopted by the central bank, the proposal would subject yields on online money market products to the same administrative cap that governs traditional term deposits, effectively eliminating the key competitive advantage that online products enjoy.

Related: Closer Look: So Who Stops a Run on Yu E Bao Accounts? – Caixin The upside of Yu E Bao requires little discussion. What merits attention more at the moment is whether it is flawed and who should act to solve the problem. There are many questions for which we do not yet have answers. They include whether Yu E Bao is exploiting loopholes in the legal and regulatory systems, whether it has adequately alerted investors about risks, and how it should be regulated. Quite a few financial experts have said in private they are concerned about risks associated with Yu E Bao. In eight months, it has grown to more than 400 billion yuan, with a yield of more than 6 percent.

Related: 新华网驳钮文新余额宝取缔说:无法唤醒装睡|互联网金融|新华网|余额宝_互联网_新浪科技_新浪网 Xinhua comes to the defense of Yu’E Bao //

Hengyang Bribery Not an Isolated Phenomenon-Caijing The bribery phenomenon has existed for many years in Hengyang. Other regions and provinces have similar problems, exposing loopholes in rule of law and the electoral system of people’s congresses.//abridged translation of latest Caijing cover story…crazy corruption

Is China Preparing for a “Short, Sharp War” Against Japan? | Brookings Institution–By: Jonathan D. Pollack and Dennis J. Blasko– Are Captain Fanell’s claims credible? A careful review of dozens of reports in Chinese military media paints a very different picture. Mission Action 2013 was not a sudden, short attack. Rather, it was a series of three joint exercises launched by the PLA over a six week period during September and October, representing an extended campaign in a high intensity conflict. The operations were a continuation of PLA training evident since 1996. The exercises explicitly assumed that China had been attacked by an unidentified enemy. They focused on honing the command and control of joint operations with significant civilian support in a “complex electromagnetic environment,” and could presumably be applied to an assault on any island within reach of land-based Chinese aircraft. But they were clearly well in excess of what would have been required to occupy undefended islands. More important, none of the exercises involved military action needed to defend against the inevitable counterattacks that would follow such overt aggression….If the PLA wanted to attack the Senkakus, the operation would not look like Mission Action 2013.

Ukraine a setback in China’s eastern Europe strategy | beyondbrics China’s main preoccupation now will be protecting its economic interests in Ukraine, said Bill Bishop, author of the Sinocism China Newsletter. But it will tread carefully so as to avoid antagonising Russia, which views Ukraine as within its sphere of influence…“I assume Beijing does not want to be at odds with Russia and [Russian president Vladimir] Putin over this, nor does it want a ‘victory’ for the west [US and EU] in a colour revolution,” Bishop said…“Yes, Beijing will want to protect their economic interests but is there even a new government with whom they can negotiate?” he added. “Ukraine clearly needs cash and Beijing could play a role in a bailout, but I doubt they would do that given the uncertainty and Russia’s concerns.”

Related: Chinese netizens: “China doesn’t need a Ukraine-style revolution” | Offbeat China From the Arab Spring to the current Ukraine revolution, many China observers have been asking the same question: “When are Chinese citizens going to take to the streets?” The matter of fact, however, is that the masses in China seem to get the opposite inspiration. They are more likely to riot over choking air than for democracy. As one netizen 健安路平 pointed out: “Thank God that violent clashes like the ones in Ukraine didn’t happen in China. No one wants to die for the ambitions of greedy politicians.”

Related: China paper slams West’s Cold War mentality over Ukraine | ReutersThe commentary published in the People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the ruling Communist Party, was the strongest reaction yet in Beijing to the rift between the West and Russia that has been growing since the ouster of Moscow’s ally Viktor Yanukovich as president following weeks of protests. “The theories related to politics, economics and security during the Cold War period are still influencing many people on their concept of the world, and some Western people are still imbued with resentment towards Russia,” the paper said. //人民日报钟声:冷战思维,该翻篇儿了 

A Border City on the Edge of the Law – NYTimes The smuggling route into this rebel-run jungle outpost just over the Chinese border begins on the back of a motorcycle that takes passengers through steeply terraced rubber plantations, and skirts the official crossing before ending at an outdoor market where bedraggled prostitutes mingle with Chinese tourists haggling over tiger claws, bear paws and desiccated squares of elephant skin…Mong La has a hilltop Buddhist temple and a picturesque colonial church, but vice and self-indulgence, not sightseeing, are the city’s main draws. “There’s not much to do here but gamble and eat wild animals,” one Chinese matron said with a jaded sigh.

 

BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE

China Voice: China’s economic reform will not follow Jacob Lew’s pace – Xinhua  U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, once the housekeeper of the White House, might have overreached his authority by criticizing China’s economic reform pace while failing to keep his own country’s house in order. Lew said at a conference ahead of a meeting of G20 finance officials last week that he was disappointed with China’s pace of economic reform. He called on China to “move at the speed we would want” even at the risk of causing social and political unrest.

“唱空”中国周期显现 政府官员:有足够“杀手锏”应对问题_财经频道_一财网 China Bears still wrong, China has enough “assassin’s maces” to deal with the problems–officials // 全 国“两会”临近,“唱空”中国的周期又一次显现。观察人士发现,每年重大会议前夕,“唱空”浪潮就会袭来。尽管“唱空”内容多年来较为集中,但随着中国进入新的发展阶段,各界唱空方式轮番出新。 近日,《第一财经日报》记者采访了多名官员和学者。对于唱空论调,官界和学界的主流观点均认为外界不了解中国情况,过分渲染。 一名部委官员在接受本报记者采访时称,尽管中国目前处在各种问题的集中爆发时期,但是要对未来的改革充满信心。他同时表示,政府有足够的“杀手锏”储备,足以应对任何突破“上下限”的突发问题。

楼市样本调查:价格战会否蔓延?_财经频道_一财网 China Business News…recent reports of housing price drops another round of “boy who cried wolf”?//“杭州楼市马年第一降”,随即引发楼市价格战恐慌猜想。杭州楼盘降价是个案,还是楼市降温信号隐现?楼市泡沫又是一个“狼来了”的故事吗?

杭州降价真相:楼市已阴跌3年_21世纪网 real estate prices in hangzhou really been dropping for the last three years? // 早在此次被炒得沸沸扬扬的几个楼盘降价之前,杭州去年就有多个楼盘降价。

China-Style Airbnb Driving Second-Home Sales With Profit Promise – Bloomberg Wu Junhua had been allowing her investment, a furnished one-bedroom apartment in the lake city of Hangzhou, to sit empty for a year until she found a solution: China’s version of Airbnb.com, known as Tujia.

China Exclusive: No shift in China’s property loan polices -  All four major Chinese banks told Xinhua on Wednesday no changes had been made to their property loan policies, helping calm the somewhat panicking property and stock markets. The stock market was slightly unnerved earlier this week after the Industrial Bank reportedly decided to suspend some loans to fend off property bubble risks.

Shenzhen property heads for dizzy heights – FT.com Shenzhen boasts one of the highest per capita income levels in China. But even still, Centaline says buyers have to spend as much as 20 times their annual salary of Rmb64,000 to buy a property. Young couples can often only afford homes when both work, and even then must pay Rmb96,000 a year on the mortgage.

Crisis Gauge Rises to Record High as Swaps Avoided – Bloomberg China’s credit-market gauges are triggering alarm bells, as banks grow cautious in lending to each other while investors prefer the safest government bonds.

China Shifts APEC Finance Meeting to Beijing From Hong Kong – Bloomberg The change of location is to facilitate logistics arrangements and ensure coordination for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, the Hong Kong government said in a statement yesterday. Beijing’s change of mind comes just five months after agreeing to let Hong Kong, the nation’s financial center, run the event. The city is locked in a debate over reforms needed to bring in universal suffrage in 2017, with a group known as Occupy Central pledging protests this year if the electoral changes fail to meet its expectations.

Hebei Iron & Steel says steel capacity expansion exceeds closures | Reuters New steel capacity addition in China was still exceeding the tonnage that was due to be shut this year despite the government vowing to block expansions, China’s top steel maker Hebei Iron and Steel Group said on Wednesday.

China’s Growing Stake in Stability – NYTimes.com Western countries and US states should set up investment catalogues for Chinese investment just like Chinese does for foreigners…simplify things, and something the Chinese understand and are comfortable with// Deepening economic integration can act as a counterweight to international political difficulties. Japanese and European governments should take heart in the flow of Chinese capital that provides the much-needed investment in their current struggles to fight deflation. Conversely, any nationalistic effort to restrict the flow of Chinese capital would heighten anxieties to no one’s benefit.

China’s commerce ministry to weigh in on global mergers with new rules | Reuters The ministry has reviewed about 750 merger proposals since the 2008 establishment of China’s anti-monopoly law. Of those, MOFCOM blocked one proposal and imposed conditions on 21 others. “If (a merger could) create an anti-competitive impact, we are going to pay attention to it and verify (the deal),” MOFCOM anti-monopoly bureau director general Shang Ming said at a news conference on Thursday

Manhattan Condo Tower Extends China Vanke’s Reach in U.S. – Bloomberg Rosen’s firm, RFR Holding LLC, and Vanke broke ground yesterday on the property at 610 Lexington Ave., adjacent to the Seagram Building, the companies said in a statement today. The planned 61-story skyscraper is Vanke’s second project in the U.S. after it joined Tishman Speyer Properties LP last year to develop the dual-tower Lumina condo complex in San Francisco.

American Ag Firms: China Is Getting Tougher – China Real Time Report – WSJ U.S. agricultural companies are finding it more difficult to do business in China, according to a report by the American Chamber of Commerce in China published on Thursday.

13 Chinese Banks Deny Rumors of Tightening Lending to Developers-Caijing Chinese lenders said they did not change their lending policy to property developers, in an attempt to deflate fears that they could follow suit after Industrial Bank suspended part of funding to the sector. Nine Chinese banks, including the big-five state-owned banks, China CITIC Bank, Shnaghai Pudong Development Bank, and China Minsheng Banking Corp, have posted statements yesterday on their website, saying their lending policies remain unchanged.

China’s $12 trillion corporate debt pushes up refunding costs, drives mergers | Reuters While a credit crisis isn’t expected anytime soon, analysts say companies in China’s most leveraged sectors, such as machinery, shipping, construction and steel, are selling assets and undertaking mergers to avoid defaulting on their borrowings. More defaults are expected, said Christopher Lee, managing director for Greater China corporates at Standard and Poor’s Rating Services in Hong Kong. “Borrowing costs already are going up due to tightened liquidity,” he said. “There will be a greater differentiation and discrimination of risk and lending going forward.”

 

POLITICS AND LAW

中共中央办公厅 国务院办公厅印发《关于创新群众工作方法解决信访突出问题的意见》-时政频道-新华网 full text of the new Petitioning policies

人民时评:信访改革重在“治未病”–观点–人民网 People’s Daily comment today on the reforms to the petitioning system //近年来,信访制度在化解矛盾、提供救济、密切党群关系等方面发挥了重要作用。当前,各类社会矛盾处于易发、高发期,有必要进一步改革和完善这一制度,让它和其他纠纷解决、权利救济机制一道,共同筑起权益受损群众的保护网。 毋庸讳言,在以往的信访工作中,种种复杂无序的现象,既令各级政府颇感头疼,也让上访群众备觉艰难。曾经有北京周边的基层干部抱怨,由于毗邻首都,群众遇到难解决的问题就进京上访,以致当地被称为“国务院直属村”。对群众而言又另有一番苦衷:少数基层干部对群众疾苦缺乏了解,又不想让上级政府或部门监督自己,于是,矛盾无可解决,越级访乃至进京访,就成了权益受损群众的最后手段。

习近平历次讲话,都讲了什么–时政–人民网 习近平历次讲话都讲了什么?本报记者从其党的十八大以来大量讲话中,摘编改革、反腐、民生等7个方面的精要语句,以飨读者。

Bringing Reform into Focus – Caixin – Hu Shuli Editorial There was, of course, a reason for his comments. The framework for reforms was outlined at the third plenum of the Communist Party’s 18th Central Committee in November. But with the frenzy having died down following the announcements, people are still waiting to see action. Many government departments and regional officials have simply been waiting, if not procrastinating…

Top Shanxi official, a graft-buster for more than 20 years, now faces corruption probe | South China Morning Post Jin Daoming, deputy party chief of Shanxi, adds to a long list of officials who were brought down in a widening graft probe against government officials, which has also spread to business circles and the academe. Jin was placed under investigation on Thursday for “serious violations of laws and disciplines”, according to the CCDI website, without providing further details.

中青报:周滨背后的利益集团是如何形成的_新闻_腾讯网 这几天,一个叫周滨的富商的腐败故事,十分地引人注目。眼下,“反腐败”可谓如火如荼。毫无疑问,它已融入了当下中国社会与政治生活的主旋律。但别忘了还有一个热词,那就是“全面深化改革”,它才是主旋律中的最强音。

How China’s Communist Party Snares Tigers, Swats Flies on Path to Reform – China Real Time Report – WSJ “How do you get rid of vested interests?” Mr. Ma asked, speaking to a group on journalists in Beijing on Wednesday. “You arrest them.”

Mass launch of Beijing gov’t microblogs – Xinhua A total of 110 spokesmen from Communist Party of China committees and government offices launched personal microblog accounts in an online “Beijing press conference hall” on Thursday. The digital location, China’s first microblog accounts group themed on government affairs, aims to improve communication and interaction between government and the public, said Wang Hui, director of the Information Office of Beijing Municipal Government

China charges prominent Uighur professor with separatism | Reuters  Authorities in China’s restive far western region of Xinjiang have charged a prominent ethnic Uighur professor with separatism, his wife and lawyer said on Tuesday, in a case which has attracted concern in the United States and Europe. Police in Beijing last month detained Ilham Tohti, a well-known economist who has championed the rights of the Muslim Uighur community, who come from Xinjiang. He was subsequently taken to Xinjiang’s regional capital Urumqi.

An Encouraging Sign for (Limited) Legal Reform – China Real Time Report – WSJ  This high-level push for reform is encouraging, even if it is within limits set by opposition to Western democratic principles. While this expresses the need for continuing support of Party dominance, it might also be interpreted as an exploration of the boundaries of Party and local government leadership over courts and police. The Instructions express recognition of the need to control both.  Now it is necessary to await the elaboration of reforms before it will be possible to assess the impact of Xi Jinping’s instructions.

Hu Deping denies connection to accused Sichuan triad leader | South China Morning Post Hu Deping, the eldest son of the late Communist Party general secretary Hu Yaobang and a leading liberal, has publicly denied having any connection to an alleged gangster. Hu’s wife is a fellow director of a charity sponsored by the Sichuan businessman Liu Han, who is accused of being an organised crime boss.

Xi stresses core socialist values – Xinhua  Chinese president Xi Jinping has reiterated “core socialist values,” urging deep understanding and comprehensive implementation of the moral doctrine nationwide. While presiding over a high-level meeting on this issue on Monday, Xi asked for widespread publicity of the values, which he called the “moral and ideological foundation” for socialist China, through all society to guide morality. Xi said authorities should make use of various opportunities and occasions to create circumstances for the value’s cultivation, and “make them all-pervasive, just like the air.” //  习近平:使核心价值观影响像空气一样无所不在

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Departing U.S. Envoy to China Gives Mixed Assessment of Ties – NYTimes.com In the opening statement, Mr. Locke underscored official American concerns over China’s restrictions on freedom of expression by chastising China for its treatment of foreign journalists and news organizations. China has sought to shape foreign news coverage by refusing to grant new residency visas to news organizations, including The New York Times, that publish stories that Chinese officials judge to be threats to the party’s legitimacy. American officials in Washington have been discussing whether to take reciprocal action, and in late January, the White House issued a statement that said it was “deeply concerned” about China’s pressures on foreign journalists.

China ratifies national days on anti-Japanese war victory, Nanjing Massacre – Xinhua  China’s top legislature on Thursday ratified two new national days, one to mark victory of the war against Japanese aggression and the other to commemorate victims in the Nanjing Massacre. September 3 was ratified as the victory day and December 13 the national memorial day for massacre victims, according to two decisions made at the three-day session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress which ended on Thursday.

In ‘war of words’ with China, Shinzo Abe leaves his diplomats defenseless – Dispatch Japan  The problem for Japanese diplomats has come in defending Abe’s words and actions, particularly the justifications for last year’s Yasukuni visit repeatedly stated by Cabinet members, leaders of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), and by Abe himself. The dilemma faced by Japan’s diplomats is that the talking points provided by the prime minister’s office don’t stand up to scrutiny. Indeed, the entire episode is eerily similar to 2007, during Abe’s first term as prime minister, when Japan was showered with criticism over comments by Abe that seemed designed to mitigate the cruelty of the “comfort women” system run by Japan’s military forces in war zones in the 1930s and 1940s.

China steps up propaganda war on Japan – Telegraph China has embarked on a major propaganda campaign, including plans to mark the ‘rape of Nanjing’ in new national holiday, to discredit Japan on the world stage

Videogame Uses Japanese War Criminals as Targets – NYTimes.com An official Chinese news portal unveiled an online game [the url extension--Daguizi...] on Thursday that allows users to shoot Japanese war criminals, in a move that is likely to please Chinese nationalists but do little to ease tensions between Beijing and Tokyo.

国防部回应原后勤部副部长谷俊山贪腐案_网易新闻中心 Ministry of Defense spokeman comments on Gu Junshan case, basically just says will be dealt with in accordance with law// @法制晚报:#法制晚报快讯#【国防部回应谷俊山案】今天下午国防部例行记者会上,在回答原后勤部副部长谷俊山贪腐案的提问时,发言人杨宇军表示,我们始终坚持依法治军,从严治军,构建了军队惩治、预防腐败体系。军队将按照中央的要求,认真扎实地做好这方面的工作。(记者郭媛丹 吴海浪)

INSIGHT-China’s assertiveness hardens Malaysian stance in sea dispute | Reuters The latest incident in January, in particular, prompted Malaysia to quietly step up cooperation with the Philippines and Vietnam, the two Southeast Asian nations most outspoken over China’s moves in the region, in trying to tie Beijing to binding rules of conduct in the South China Sea, the diplomats said. Beijing’s growing naval assertiveness could also push Malaysia closer to the United States, its top security ally, thus deepening divisions between Southeast Asia and China over the potentially mineral-rich waters.

The Chosun Ilbo:  N.Korean Official Secretly Courts Chinese Investments A source in Beijing said Kim visited Beijing, Shenzen, Singapore and Malaysia last week. He met with businesspeople interested in developing North Korea’s special economic zones. Kim also met with Chinese officials who had experience in developing special economic zones, the source said. In Singapore, Kim discussed the development of a tourism zone in Wonsan. But he apparently returned empty-handed.

New Report Could Offer Clues to Hillary Clinton’s China Policy | The Diplomat  The report—entitled U.S.-China Relations: Toward a New Model of Major Power Relationship—was jointly published the Center for American Progress, a highly influential Democratic think tank in Washington, D.C., and the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation, a Hong-Kong-based organization established by Tung Chee Hwa…The co-chairs of the delegations were the aforementioned Tung Chee Hwa and John Podesta, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and more recently a political aide in the Obama White House. The Chinese delegates are almost entirely academics, however, many of them—such as Wang Jisi and Yang Jiemian—are especially influential ones. Notably, many members of the U.S. delegation formerly worked for or otherwise have close ties to the Clinton family,

The Pacific Century Myth? | The Diplomat By irredentist, nationalist policies towards its neighbors seeking to redress historic grievances, Beijing has managed to evoke a latent anti-China coalition stretching from India to Vietnam and Japan, a result which doesn’t usually figure as augmenting national power but quite the reverse. It is a country with two experiences throughout history: strong center or fissiparous provinces at war with one another. The legitimacy of the central government looks increasingly threadbare. We wouldn’t bet on there being anything “inevitable” about Chinese supremacy, especially if we look at it by the numbers, let alone in five short years. James Clad is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense; Robert A. Manning is a senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Brent Scowcroft Center for International Security and formerly served on the State Dept. Policy Planning staff and National Intelligence Council (NIC)

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Kevin Lau, ex-Ming Pao editor injured in savage chopper attack, stable after surgery | South China Morning Post Former Ming Pao chief editor Kevin Lau Chun-to’s condition has stabilised after surgery and he can write to communicate, his wife Vivian Chan Pik-kwan said this morning. Lau remains in the intensive care unit of Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan after suffering a knife attack on his back and legs on the Sai Wan Ho waterfront on Wednesday.

Say Goodbye to Taiwan | The National Interest John J. Mearsheimer | February 25, 2014–It is my firm conviction that the continuing rise of China will have huge consequences for Taiwan, almost all of which will be bad. Not only will China be much more powerful than it is today, but it will also remain deeply committed to making Taiwan part of China. Moreover, China will try to dominate Asia the way the United States dominates the Western Hemisphere, which means it will seek to reduce, if not eliminate, the American military presence in Asia. The United States, of course, will resist mightily, and go to great lengths to contain China’s growing power. The ensuing security competition will not be good for Taiwan, no matter how it turns out in the end. Time is not on Taiwan’s side. Herewith, a guide to what is likely to ensue between the United States, China and Taiwan.//a crazy piece..wonder what the reaction in Taiwan was

The Return of Gangster Politics in Taiwan | The Diplomat For those who are getting bored with the traditional “green” versus “blue” divide in Taiwan’s politics, things are becoming a lot more interesting with the return to Taiwan, after 17 years in exile, of the most-wanted fugitive-turned-politician Chang An-le in June 2013. Since his return, Chang, a former leader of the Bamboo Union triad and founder of a pro-unification party, appears to have embraced Taiwan’s democratic system by appearing on TV shows and opening campaign offices around the country. But old habits die hard, and the 65-year-old has resorted to threats and intimidation to leave his mark on local and national politics.

SJM Profit Jumps as Chinese Gamblers Bet More in Macau – Bloomberg Travelers from the mainland, making up more than 60 percent of arrivals to Macau, are helping fuel a boom in the only Chinese city where casinos are legal. Earnings were boosted by “high-margin mass market growth,” Grant Govertsen, a Macau-based analyst at Union Gaming Group LLC, wrote in a note after the results. “We believe the outlook for SJM remains positive, and especially so at its flagship Grand Lisboa property.”

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Chinese Top Microblogging Platform Weibo Turns Its First-Ever Profit – China Real Time Report – WSJ   Defending Weibo’s user numbers during its Tuesday earnings call, Sina Chief Executive Charles Chao said that recent numbers showing a decline in microblog users were pointing to the decline of rival weibo platforms, not Sina’s. He said Weibo’s user numbers rose slightly to 61.4 million at the end of December compared with about 60 million at the end of September. He also said time spent on Sina’s Weibo grew 16% from December 2012 to December 2013. Mr. Chao nevertheless conceded that Weibo faced declining growth, which he said the company would seek to address by using promotional activities and investment.

Tencent and JD.com take on common foe Alibaba by merging e-commerce services: report | South China Morning Post  Shenzhen-based Tencent will merge its less popular e-commerce services of buy.qq.com and yixun.com with JD.com, China’s second-largest online retailer also known as 360Buy.com, in return for the latter’s stock shares, reported Caixin, a leading Chinese mainland financial news publication. // huge if true

China, LinkedIn Would Like to Add You to Its Network -Foreign Policy- Among those who have chosen to comment on the latest entrant, many have focused on the name, Ling Ying, which roughly means “pick out the elites.” The moniker, it happens, is also an inauspicious (and probably accidental) near-homonym with another word, also Romanized “ling ying,” which means “ghost child.” (One Chinese legend holds that unborn children become spirits.)

Didi Dache, Dianping to Use Tencent Maps | Marbridge  Xian, GM of Chinese internet and mobile services firm Tencent’s (0700.HK) Tencent Maps, has stated that Tencent Maps is planning in-depth cooperation with mobile taxi booking app Didi Dache and Chinese online ratings and group buy site Dianping, both previous recipients of Tencent investment. Details include the following:

Tencent Hunt for Asian WhatsApps Fuels Deals: Real M&A – Bloomberg “It’s going to be a pretty hot M&A space for the next couple of years and that’s really just driven by competition between the three largest players,” Cheng Cheng, a Portland, Oregon-based analyst at Pacific Crest, said in a phone interview. // certainly what the bankers hope

Shanghai govt cracks down on taxi booking apps | Reuters The new regulations, published on the website of the Shanghai Municipal Transport and Port Authority, bans the use of taxi booking apps by cab drivers during rush hour periods and bans their use entirely by private vehicles licensed for hire. This last regulation likely applies to services like U.S.-based Uber, which recently launched in Shanghai and other Chinese cities, and allows passengers to book private cars

Chinese Siri built into WeChat rakes in $10 million funding Mobvoi makes a service called Chumen Wenwen that was originally built on top of WeChat, China’s most popular messaging app. Ask it a question (in Chinese, of course) using the same voice chat function you would use to talk to a friend, and Chumen Wenwen will respond with a WeChat message containing the answer. The company also has a native Android app available. If the app can’t return the results directly, it will let you sift through search results from Baidu, 360 Search, or Google.

Chinese Vine-like app Weishi, built by the firm behind WeChat, chalks up 160m views in a day – The Next Web The app, Weishi, which is only available in Chinese for now, chalked up 160 million video views in a single day on Valentine’s Day this year, which also coincided with the Chinese Lantern Festival.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Sexy, skintight, chic: How China’s iconic dress has survived a century – CNN.com ”A Century of Fashion: Hong Kong Cheongsam Story,” now running at the Hong Kong Museum of History until March 3, features 130 exhibits showcasing the history and evolution of the cheongsam, particularly the eras featured in popular films such as “In the Mood for Love” and “The World of Suzie Wong” (1960).

Between God and mammon – Globaltimes.cn Despite a lack of figures revealing the exact number of Christian Chinese businessmen, they all seem to have some common characteristics – they believed their money was tainted with sin and they felt extreme guilt over their wealth. In most cases, certain difficulties prompted their conversion. “They had been poisoned by their own money and prosperity and they wanted inner peace. They began to transform their own behavior and their companies by changing their irregular commercial dealings,” George Chen, the Taiwanese director of the Beijing Christian Businessmen Fellowship, created in 2004 by Credible Business Alliance, told the Global Times. After turning to Christianity, these businessmen often face pragmatic problems. The Bible bans bribery, tax evasion and keeping mistresses – all of which are often considered standard conduct among business circles.

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH

China’s toxic air pollution resembles nuclear winter, say scientists | theguardian.com Air pollution now impeding photosynthesis and potentially wreaking havoc on country’s food supply, experts warn

China to build ‘world’s largest’ smog chamber to solve pollution puzzle | South China Morning Post Plans for the so-called “smog chamber” were seemingly fast-tracked as the country continued choking under months of heavy smog. The proposed Huairou complex is set to rival the world’s largest atmospheric simulation facility, the European Photoreactor (Euphore) in Europe.

北京将允许在职医生办私人诊所-财经网 新京报讯 (记者 温薷) 今后,北京将探索建立医生自主创业制度,允许医生开办私人诊所。今天,北京市卫生计生委举办组建以来的首次年度工作会议。会上表示,在职医生将来申请开办私人诊所将参照社会资本办医的流程,由卫生计生部门审批。政策可能带来的医生薪酬、人事制度的改变,将通过医院科室和医生将通过签订内部劳动合同的形式予以明确

South-North Water Transfer ‘Not Sustainable,’ Official Says | ChinaFile The $62 billion South-North Water Transfer Project would be rendered irrelevant if one-third of buildings in Beijing could collect more rainwater and recycle more wastewater, according to a Chinese ministerial official. The remarks made by Qiu Baoxing, vice minister of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, in the February issue of Water & Wastewater Engineering, represents a rare government opinion against one of China’s greatest engineering feats. Construction of the diversion project, which officially started in 2002, is considered controversial for its high cost, environmental impact and massive displacement of local population.

 

BEIJING

习近平:把北京建设成为国际一流的宜居之都_新闻_腾讯网 CCTV—Xi Jinping: build Beijing into a top, livable city//【习近平:遏制城市“摊大饼”式发展】习近平近日在北京市考察时就推进北京发展和管理工作提出要求,要提升城市建设特别是基础设施建设质量,形成适度超前、相互衔接、满足未来需求的功能体系,遏制城市“摊大饼”式发展,以创造历史、追求艺术的高度负责精神,打造首都建设的精品力作。

Xi calls for integrated north China development – Xinhua The two north China municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin form one of China’s most economically developed regions along with Hebei Province. Over 100 million people inhabit the region with an area of 216,000 square km. Xi urged officials to bear in mind coordination and integration when building the economic zone surrounding Beijing, and note the need for balancing development, the environment, population and resources.

制止小升初择校风,推进免试就近入学(教育视界·关注“小升初”<(上))–教育–人民网 mooted reforms to school selection process a big deal. if implemented// 为进一步促进教育公平,破解择校难题,2014年伊始,《教育部关于进一步做好小学升入初中免试就近入学工作的实施意见》和《教育部办公厅关于进一步做好重点大城市义务教育免试就近入学工作的通知》相继出台,这表明了我国教育行政部门促进教育公平,破解择校难题的决心,也为各地即将出台的小升初细则提供了方向与准绳。 《意见》与《通知》出台后,公众对哪些具体的政策最为关注,一线校长和专家学者对此又有怎样的评价和看法,19个重点大城市对此有怎样的回应和打算,我们将连续关注。

Beijing Draws 140k Applications for Affordable Home Offering | Mingtiandi More than 140,000 families are lining up for only 2,000 homes on sale in a new affordable housing project in Beijing as China’s nascent low-cost housing scheme struggles to meet demand. The Beijing project is located along the fifth ring road in the southeast part of city

 

BOOKS AND LITERATURE

Yiyun Li’s ‘Kinder Than Solitude’ Echoes a Beijing Childhood – NYTimes Ms. Li’s latest novel, “Kinder Than Solitude,” out this week from Random House, shifts between China and the United States. Its four main characters start out as adolescent friends growing up around a Beijing courtyard in the aftermath of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. After the oldest is poisoned, perhaps by one of the others, the survivors drift apart: One becomes a prosperous but soulless businessman riding China’s economic boom, while the other two flee to America, settling in college towns like Berkeley, Madison and Cambridge but never quite learning how to fit in.

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