The Sinocism China Newsletter For 11.27.12

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Daniel Bell is unhappy. Specifically, he thinks the recent Globe and Mail story Canadian iconoclast Daniel A. Bell praises China’s one-party system as a meritocracy “is full of factual mistakes and misleading innuendos”. Bell posted a long attack on the piece at his Huffington Post blog:

Mark MacKinnon’s recent article in the Globe and Mail is a case study of what can go wrong with the “Western” approach to media interviews. The lengthy article, titled “A Canadian iconoclast praises China’s one-party system,” makes me out to be an apologist for the political status quo in China who is blinded by class interest.

In fact, I defend a model of political rule — meritocracy on top, democracy on the bottom, with room for experimentation in between — that I hold as a standard for evaluating political progress (and regress) in China. I have repeatedly used this model to criticize China’s political problems.

Professor Bell prefers Chinese journalists, though he may be confusing “journalists” with “propaganda workers”, as real Chinese journalists are some of the most aggressive in the world:

However, there are some advantages to the Chinese way of reporting news. When Chinese journalists interview their subjects, they try to put forward a balanced account of what the interviewees have to say, with emphasis on what can be learned and communicated as something new and interesting. They rarely engage in muckracking, public character assassination, or put on a smiling face then betray their interviewees in print.

Shanghaiist does not mince words about Professor Bell in Democracy is not a perfect system, but the Chinese meritocracy is pure fantasy:

Along with a few other defenders of the Chinese political system who should know better, Bell is more than just a mere apologist. By forcefully promoting themselves as the one-true-alternative to democracy, these political “philosophers” drown out any chance we might have for a much needed debate on democracy.

No wonder he is unhappy, though attacking the Western media will not help Professor Bell press his case.

China has a new hero. Luo Yang, the project head of the J-15 fighter program, died right after the successful flight test on the Liaoning aircraft carrier. Luo Yang’s death was the top item on CCTV Evening News Monday night, he is on the front page of today’s People’s Daily and People’s Daily Online has set up a special site memorializing him.

In this week’s China Insider column for Dealbook I look at the confusing outlooks for China’s growth:

Do not feel bad if you are confused by the differing views about China’s economy. Even the usually bearish Ambrose Evans-Pritchard seems disoriented. In a remarkable turnabout for someone who has recently written alarmist columns like “China’s Economic Destiny in Doubt After Leadership Shock” and “China’s Revolution Risk,” Mr. Evans-Pritchard sounds almost giddy in his description of Chengdu and the potential for China as a high-tech expansion drives a second boom in the hinterland.

Will Moss, great guy, PR guru and the man behind Imagethief, is leaving China, as he explains in I’m leaving China and it doesn’t mean a thing:

But I was never in danger of staying forever, and nor are most other western expats. That’s why I was amused by the mass fluster that surrounded the public departures of Mark Kitto and Charlie Cussler. All of a sudden foreigners were abandoning China! I know and like both Mark and Charlie, and admittedly much of the fluster was within our particular echo chamber, but, seriously, coverage in the New York Times, BusinessWeek and The Economist? Both of their personal experiences can be used to tell larger stories about life and power and business in China (and maybe I’m just jealous that my own departure is about as newsworthy as a bad air day), and both of their articles were great reads. But “foreigner departs China” is the very definition of dog-bites-man. The satirical site China Daily Show nailed it with a funny “dear John” letter from a foreigner to China.

Will will be missed.

Today’s links:

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

China Search for PBOC Chief Spurs Focus on Finance Regulators – Bloomberg - Chinese media say Xiao Gang likely to take over from Zhou Xiaochuan

Call for fairer income distribution |Economy |chinadaily.com.cn- NBS statistics expert Liang Da suggested that five aspects are of vital importance in building a fairer income distribution system, including narrowing the urban-rural gap and tamping down industrial monopolies, accelerating the urbanization rate, offering wider job opportunities, improving the social safety net and increasing public spending in rural areas.An income distribution system reform plan is expected to be launched by the end of this year, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security spokesman Yin Chengji said at a news conference last month.

Sales of Sino-Japan Car JVs Resume to Pre-Crisis Levels-Caijing - Retail sales of Toyota’s joint venture in South China with Guangzhou Auto have already recovered to levels seen before the anti-Japan wave, Feng Xingya, said a top executive with the company.

周小川谈货币政策_专题频道_财新网 - Cover story of this week’s Caixin is an interview with PBOC chief Zhou Xiaochuan

China Blames Fed’s QE Policy for High Currency Volatility – Bloomberg - The Asian nation and many others have criticized “this irresponsible and beggar-thy-neighbor policy” because it has a “lingering negative impact on developing, emerging economies in particular,” Zhu Hong, China’s deputy permanent representative to the World Trade Organization, said in meeting today in Geneva, according to a statement issued afterward.

China’s ubiquitous ghost cities | FT Alphaville- Inventory is really a measure of available financing, says Stevenson-Yang. She describes two other types of shadow inventory, which further underline how deeply connected inventory is to financing:- Some developers haven’t met the standards for pre-sales permits, and have to sell through agencies. This inventory is not counted as salable.- As many as a quarter of units are used as collateral for loan. “These units can be bought: the buyer simply directs a portion of the payment to the bank instead of to the developer. But collateralized units are not counted in available inventory—they are counted as sold.”

The decade of Xi Jinping | Gavyn Davies - The test for the decade of Xi Jinping is whether policy can head off all or some of the impending slowdown. The good news is that the incoming administration is extremely well aware of the challenge of excess investment, and will act to mitigate its worst effects. China has faced greater economic challenges in the past three decades, and has succeeded in overcoming them. It can do so again.

China’s Ping An eyes legal action after NYT reports on premier’s family wealth | Reuters - In a written statement on Monday, Ping An Insurance (Group) Co of China Ltd said it had “noted recent media coverage related to the company, which contains serious inaccuracies, facts being distorted and taken out of context, as well as flawed logic”.

In China, Hidden Risk Of ‘Shadow Finance’ – WSJ.com- Shadow finance in China totals about 20 trillion yuan, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., or about a third the current size of the country’s bank-lending market. In 2008, such informal lending represented only 5% of total bank lending.The sector is lightly regulated and opaque, raising concerns about massive loan defaults amid a softening economy, with ancillary effects on the country’s banks. Banks often work with private lenders by selling loans to them or marketing investments on their behalf for a fee.

经济参考网-三部委航运业振兴方案明年或出台 多航企面临ST风险 一月卖船卖股筹资超50亿 - rescue package for China’s shipping industry likely early 2013

Zhongpin Agrees to $502 Million Bid Led by CEO Xianfu Zhu – Bloomberg - another delisting from the US, another CDB deal. //The deal will be funded with an $85 million equity commitment from China Wealth Growth Fund I LP and a $320 million loan from China Development Bank Corp. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Zhongpin has a so-called go-shop period ending Jan. 25 during which it can solicit other bids.

债市托管量突破25万亿_财经频道_一财网 - 银行间债市一家独大的格局依然如故,而银行间债市的投资者又以商业银行为主体,这种不合理的投资者结构,意味着商业银行持债比例高,风险继续积聚在银行体系内部。

China Investment: Two New CFC Research Reports | China Private Equity- China First Capital (中国首创)published two new research reports, one in English and one Chinese. Both are now available for download here. In fact, “No Exit” would be the more appropriate title for a report about private equity in China this year.

绿城北京通州地王拿地三年仍在挖坑_产经_公司新闻_新浪财经_新浪网

年底楼市供应减少 成交翘尾市场再现购房恐慌_市场动态_新浪房产_新浪网 -

Savills – Tianjin Q3 2012 Property Market Overview -

Zhang Quits Listed Companies Boards After Firm’s SEC Settlement – Bloomberg - a joke of an SEC settlement. Caijing had reported the Party was investigating too, looks like that went nowhere// Zhang resigned from the boards of shipbuilder China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group Holdings Ltd. (1101) and developer Glorious Property Holdings Ltd. (845), according to statements yesterday. He is the largest shareholder in both companies. The decision has nothing to do with the U.S. case, iPR Ogilvy in Hong Kong, which handles Zhang’s public relations, said in an e- mailed reply to Bloomberg News questions.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

Xi Jinping cements his control over PLA with his unique background | South China Morning Post- “Xi will likely be a stronger military leader than his predecessors because of his political capital, as well and his character and personality,” said Lin Chong-pin, a former deputy defence minister of Taiwan.Having a strong commander-in-chief is of growing importance to China as it enters a new era of increased territorial disputes with its neighbours and anxiety over the country’s rise in military power.

习近平两大文胆曝光 “神童”搭配“老兵”_多维新闻网 - Duowei looks at two key Xi Jinping aides–Li Shulei and Liu He 【多维新闻】中共新领导人习近平语出惊人,在中共十八大记者会讲话,让人发现原来中共领导人也可以讲去党八股、接近平民化的话。很多人都在打听习近平的新文胆是谁,有消息称有两人值得注意,一是“神童”、一是“老兵” 习近平将在12月中共中央经济工作会议上讲话,这等于是他就任后首度发布政纲,外界开始关注写手又是谁。北京官场中传出,他最近文稿的起草者有两人值得注意,一是“神童”、一是“老兵”。…“神童”是李书磊,现在是中共中央党校副校长,也是最年轻的副校长,过了年才满49岁。据传已调到“习办”,出任习近平政治秘书。 …刘鹤的另一特点是高层智囊中的“海归”。他在中国人民大学工业经济系获得学士和管理学硕士,又就读美国Seton Hall大学工商管理学院,在哈佛大学肯尼迪学院获MPA(国际发展)学位,兼梅森项目研究员。

温家宝早有准备 近百页“澄清材料”曝光_多维新闻网 - 前港区人大团长吴康民通过香港媒体爆料,早在2011年4月温家宝已亲手把一个文件袋交给他,内有一些报道及数据等,显示温家宝预料早晚会有人拿他的经济问题做文章;吴更把温给他的材料曝光,并透露会面时温慨叹了两句:“我没有任何一个(家)人在外国,没有为家人向中央提出过要求。”

Co-worker: Political adviser has emigrated |Society |chinadaily.com.cn - Zhang Lan of South Beauty, one of the most overrated restaurant chains in China//A political adviser known for expressing her patriotism and opposition to emigration has become a citizen of a foreign country, her colleague confirmed on Monday.Zhang Lan, 54, chairwoman of the South Beauty restaurant chain and a member of the Beijing Chaoyang District Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, emigrated overseas two months ago, a senior manager at the company said.

CPC watchdog orders anti-graft strengthening – Xinhua | English.news.cn- The CCDI will produce concrete measures to improve education of Party members and officials on adherence to the mass line and the purpose of serving the people, according to the statement.”Harmful practices such as mediocrity, laziness and extravagance should be straightened up,” it said, adding that vanity and image projects, formalism and excessive bureaucracy should be eliminated.Corrupt officials must receive penalties, it said, stressing, “Anyone violating Party disciplines and state laws will be seriously dealt with in line with laws, with zero tolerance.”

网称深圳社区干部有80套房产 当事人:有人黑我_网易新闻中心 - internet post claims a village official in shenzhen has 80 pieces of property and 20 luxury calls. the chief responds that he has at 6 properties though he is not actually sure how many more might be under his name…//

Rule of Law in China: Prospects and Challenges | Brookings Institution - On November 28, the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings will host the launch of In the Name of Justice: Striving for the Rule of Law in China (Brookings Press, 2012), a new book by Professor He Weifang, one of China’s most influential legal thinkers. The discussion will bring together prominent American legal scholars to present a critical assessment of the development of China’s legal system and conclude with a discussion between U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer and John L. Thornton, chairman of the Board of Trustees of Brookings, on the significance of the ongoing search for constitutionalism in China.

A Change Is Gonna Come – By Isaac Stone Fish | Foreign Policy - Chen Guangcheng. Gordon Chang will love this// The possibility of China facing a revolution in 2013 is pretty big. This is something that the powers that be in China understand more than anyone else. It’s a pity that international society still does not understand this and has still not prepared. America should immediately start moving from dealing with China’s powers that be to dealing with the Chinese people. It definitely won’t be like 1989.

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Japan Expands Its Regional Military Role – NYTimes.com - In a measure of the geopolitical changes roiling the region, however, concerns about any resurgent Japanese militarism appear to be fading in some countries embroiled in their own territorial disputes with China, like Vietnam and the Philippines, the scene of fierce fighting during the war…“We have already put aside our nightmares of World War II because of the threat posed by China,” said Rommel Banlaoi, a security expert at the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research in Manila.

We Did Not Hype the Nuclear Threat – By Dennis C. Shea and William A. Reinsch | Foreign Policy - Foreign Policy published an article by Tom Z. Collina that discusses a section on China’s nuclear developments in the 2012 Annual Report to Congress by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, which we chair. We are writing today to correct a few misrepresentations in that piece.

谁买了国产大飞机_杂志频道_财新网 - Caixin looks at cost overruns in the development of the c919 commercial jet. GE is only foreign customer so far. GE’s China businesses are performing far below original expectations, no?

China, ROK hold high-level strategic dialogue – Xinhua | English.news.cn - The foreign ministries of China and the Republic of Korea (ROK) held their fifth high-level strategic dialogue in Beijing on Monday.

China to report continental shelf limits soon – Xinhua | English.news.cn - According to media reports, the ROK is set to claim that the country’s shelf naturally stretches to the Okinawa Trough in the East China Sea. China has always upheld that the natural prolongation of its continental shelf in the East China Sea extends to the Okinawa Trough and beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea of China is measured. Therefore, some reports concluded that the ROK and China have a largely similar stance on the issue while the Japanese government rejected the two countries’ joint preliminary claim filed in 2009.

谁来管理中国的海洋?_本刊推荐_中国新闻周刊网 - 提要:关于中国的海洋管理体制,传统的机构设置已日渐难以适应新形势下的海洋战略。尽管阻碍重重,但机构改革势在必行

 

HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

Hong Kong Parking Costs $387,000 as Cash Moves From Homes – Bloomberg - Investors reacting to the Hong Kong government’s campaign to curb home buying in the world’s most expensive market are shifting money into parking spaces, pushing up prices that in high-end neighborhoods can match the cost of two U.S. homes.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

360Buy in More Fund-raising, Strategy Switch – Caixin - A source at the company said 360Buy will adjust it strategy next year to pursue steady growth and profitability. It would also lay the groundwork for a possible public offering in 2014. There has been speculation since mid-2012 that 360Buy was seeking an IPO in the United States, but the company’s chairman, Liu Qiangdong, has denied this…Tiger Fund’s total investment in 360Buy is now US$ 300 million.

360拖住百度_杂志频道_财新网 - this week’s caixin looks at Qihoo’s threat to Baidu// 360如何将10%的搜索市场份额变现?是像百度一样做,还是打击百度徐图发力?周鸿祎选择了后一条路。8月至今,百度股价已跌去30%

Is the Chinese netizenry cosmopolitan, educated, and informed? (Part I) « China_Wide_Web- The Chinese netizenry is NOT cosmopolitan, educated, or well informed. Two of these three descriptive words “cosmopolitan” and “informed” are loaded, so let’s take up the “educated” assertion first. Only about 20% of Chinese netizenry have some college education. A cursory flip-through the 30th Chinese Internet Statistical Report (in Chinese) released this summer by the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) will reveal how much less educated the Chinese netizenry is than imagined.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Charity Begins in China | The Weekly Standard- Opening the door to religion is inherently liberalizing. The government can’t expand the charitable works of Christians without also expanding free speech, free assembly, and even property rights for believers. If liberty ever comes to China, Christian charity—along with a natural disaster—may prove to have been one of the most important catalysts.Jillian Kay Melchior has traveled extensively in China, reporting on Christianity as a Robert Novak fellow with the Phillips Foundation.

Call for action on domestic violence|Society|chinadaily.com.cn - In an open letter, Gender and Development in China said legislators should encourage participation and supervision from the public and grassroots organizations. The letter, addressed to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, was published on Sunday, the annual International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Whistleblower killed in dispute, not revenge attack- China.org.cn - Jiang Weisuo, 44, was stabbed and injured on Nov. 2 during a dispute with his wife over his drinking habits, according to Tang Jianping, head of the Yanta branch of the Xi’an Municipal Public Security Bureau in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province

Barbara Demick named 2012 Shorenstein Journalism Award winner – Shorenstein APARC - well deserved, one of the best correspondents in Beijing

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

Gov’t Will Put Billions into New-Energy Vehicles, Official Says -Caixin - The Ministry of Finance will set aside 1 billion to 2 billion yuan annually starting this year to support the new-energy vehicle industry and related research and development, an official said on November 23.

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

Wake up and smell the Chinese coffee[1]|chinadaily.com.cn - we drink yunnan coffee at home// On a vast coffee farm in Pu’er city, southwestern Yunnan, a total of 36,500 tons of coffee beans is expected to be produced this year with a value of 900 million yuan ($144 million). By 2016, the output will reach 100,000 tons, with an estimated value of 10 billion yuan.