In my latest Dealbook column In China, New Leadership and New Style I look at the most recent economic data, the weak state of the recovery, and Xi Jinping’s trip to Shenzhen.
Ed Wong of the New York Times examines both Xi’s trip and his emphasis on the “Chinese Dream” and “Renewal” in Chinese Leader’s Visit to Shenzhen Hints at Reform:
The emphasis on a “Chinese dream” is particular to Mr. Xi, and could prove to be a recurring motif throughout his tenure. The notion of a grand revival — “fu xing” in Mandarin — has been popular with Chinese leaders for at least a century, but Mr. Xi appears to be tapping more deeply into that nationalist vein than his recent predecessors, perhaps recognizing that traditional Communist ideology no longer has popular appeal…
Mr. Delury, the historian, said there was a millennia-old concept of rejuvenation in dynastic China that the party might find relevant now. It was called a “middle revival,” or zhong xing, and was used to describe a period midway through a dynastic cycle when an empire had to revive itself to move past the failings of weak leadership.
“To rally the troops, there’s a call for zhong xing,” Mr. Delury said. “The archetype is you have these strong founding emperors, and then you have an inexorable weakening, and then there’s a crisis, and a strong leader emerges in the middle who pushes the zhong xing. It gives the dynasty a second life.”
The U.S. National Intelligence Council released its Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds report (Global Trends 2030), which among many other things predicts that China will surpass the US as the world’s largest economy (Bloomberg) sometime before 2030.
Tom Orlik at the Wall Street Journal has a terrific look at a new report on China’s employment and income inequality. Without deep structural reform the NIC’s prediction may be a bit premature.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
11月用电量同比大增9%左右 新华社——经济参考网 - growth in electricity usage up sharply in November//《经济参考报》记者从多个权威渠道获悉，
China Economic Watch | Land Reform and Local Government Finances - The central government has set out a new policy that requires multiple subordinate levels of the bureaucracy (i.e., the local governments) to undertake actions directly against their economic interest. The extent to which local governments can avoid adhering to the new policy depends greatly upon the amount of attention the central government devotes to the policy’s implementation. The level of compliance will also be determined by whether implementation and enforcement are clearly assigned or split between several bureaucracies.
“一号文件”将再聚焦“三农” 提高农村吸引力_财经频道_一财网 - more speculation that the 2013 #1 policy document will be about rural issues// 此前，“一号文件”已连续9年关注“三农”
人民日报-习近平在广东主持召开经济工作座谈会时强调 坚定必胜信心 增强忧患意识 坚持稳中求进 推动经济持续健康发展 - top story in today’s People’s Daily on Xi’s remarks at an economic meeting in Guangdong// 习近平强调，面对错综复杂、
University Graduates Have Hard Time Finding Job, Initial Survey Finds – Caixin - The first academic attempt to survey the country’s unemployment conditions revealed that college-educated younger people find it more difficult to land a job, even compared with people who have little formal education. Last year, 16.4 percent of the urban population aged between 21 and 25 with an undergraduate degree or above said they were unemployed, compared with only 4.2 percent for those in the same age cohort that did not go to school or dropped out before middle school, the report said.
In Search of Solutions – Caixin interviews World Bank President Jim Yong Kim - During his visit to Beijing, Kim gave an exclusive interview to Caixin. He spoke about the bank’s relationship with China and his expectations for its future involvement in global development. The following is an excerpt from that interview.
Tax Experts: China May Crack Down on Capital Gains – Private Equity Beat – WSJ John Gu, China national leader, mergers and acquisitions tax at KPMG Advisory (China) Ltd. also thinks China will be pursuing this tax revenue more aggressively. “Ultimately those gains are perceived to have been derived from China and are thus subject to tax,” he said. The tax could hit a firm’s internal rate of return heavily. “This is a big tax cost,” said Zhou.
Crossing the 50 Percent Population Rubicon: Can China Urbanize to Prosperity? – Eurasian Geography and Economics – Volume 53, Number 1 / January-February 2012 – Bellwether Publishing, Ltd. - A U.S. geographer and noted authority on China’s urbanization reacts to the historic change in the country’s 2012 population (breaking the 50 percent urban threshold) by challenging the popular narrative that equates China’s advancing urbanization with a forthcoming consumption boom fueled by a burgeoning middle class.
China’s Xi: work for best economic performance amid difficulties – Xinhua | English.news.cn - Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission (CMC), speaks during a meeting held with government officials and entrepreneurs in Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province, Dec. 9, 2012.
Viral Online Critique of Chinese Property Reform: “No Tax Is a Good Tax” | Tea Leaf Nation - It has been billed as the answer to rampant property speculation, local government reliance on revenue raising through land sales, and even income inequality. But a recent announcement from Finance Minister Xie Xuren, giving further details on China’s property tax reform, has been greeted with contempt by some observers in China’s blogosphere.
Chinese Factory Workers & the Toys They Make – Imgur - Photo series
Where next for China listings? – MarketWatch While there is undoubtedly a problem with many Chinese listings in the U.S., there appears plenty blame to go round — be it the auditors, investment-bank sponsors or even U.S. regulators who waved through the IPOs. Perhaps a good test is whether new regulatory action can lead to improved behavior. That seems what Hong Kong’s SFC has in mind. China’s listing hiatus will likely do little without reform that improves behavior of listed companies. It is hard to predict where the U.S. action will end — some fear it may mean the end of Chinese listings in the U.S. altogether
Chinese Investors Buy 80% of AIG Plane Unit for $4.23 Billion – Bloomberg The investors in International Lease Finance Corp. include New China Trust Co., China Aviation Industrial Fund and P3 Investments Ltd., New York-based AIG said today in a statement. The buyers have an option to take an additional 9.9 percent stake, according to the statement.
POLITICS AND LAW
Liu Qibao is back, hard as ever – China Media Project and calling for researching stronger internet management// The unexplained absence last week of newly-appointed propaganda chief Liu Qibao (刘奇葆) generated a great deal of speculation in Chinese-language media outside China — particularly after reports that Liu’s former second-in-command in Sichuan, Li Chuncheng, is facing corruption charges. In shades of Xi Jinping’s sudden re-emergence after a strange and troubling absence in September, Liu Qibao reappeared last Friday, according to a report by the official Xinhua News Agency, but with no attempt to explain the gap
China party chief stresses reform, censors relax grasp on internet | Reuters - while killing popular VPNs in Beijing to limit access to global Internet. one world, two Internets…// China’s largest microblog service unblocked searches for the names of many top political leaders in a possible sign of looser controls a month after new senior officials were named to head the ruling party.
With a Flair for the Common Touch, China’s New Leaders Give Web Users “Great Hope” | Tea Leaf Nation the next question greeting China’s leadership is whether it can keep its actions consistent with its new, fresher image. Erstwhile PM Wen Jiabao was well known for his affinity for the heart-rending photo-op, but his inability to affect real reform during his 10-year tenure earned him the nickname “best actor” (影帝) from cynical netizens. @谢润良, a poet, gave voice to this sentiment: “Good; a new high leadership, a new lifestyle, a new working style. I hope what we are seeing is consistent with what actually exists; if so, there’s great hope for everything.”
如何打破截访恶循环_杂志频道_财新网 - story from this week’s Caixin package on petitioners and black jails in Beijing
揭秘北京“黑监狱”_杂志频道_财新网 - story from this week’s Caixin package on petitioners and black jails in Beijing
上访者张耀东之死_杂志频道_财新网 - story from this week’s Caixin package on petitioners and black jails in Beijing
傅洋：高举宪法，还权于民-财经网 - Fu Yang, Peng Zhen’s son, and head of Li Zhuang’s law firm, on the constitution and rule of law. some interesting stuff in Caijing’s commentary channel//回顾过去的30年，
Dalai group implicated in immolations – Globaltimes.cn- According to Xinhua, Lorang Konchok was contacted in early 2009 by some key figures with the “media liaison team,” a “Tibet independence” organization within the Dalai Lama clique, and he continuously sent the latter information about incidents of self-immolation.At the requests of the “media liaison team,” Konchok took advantage of his position and influence in the monastery and often encouraged others to commit self-immolation, telling local monks and followers that self-immolation was not against Buddhist doctrines and those who did it were “heroes.”
王钦敏当选全国工商联主席 令计划到会祝贺_网易新闻中心 - Ling Jihua makes an official appearance
刘云山引用李瑞环文集趣解“空谈误国”_新闻_腾讯网 - 12月10日，
重庆治吏新风下的社会图景 – 京华时报·京华网 - more on the mess Bo made in Chongqing, and how things are reverting to “normal”…still wondering how much Bo paid out in propaganda payments to the various “Chongqing Model” shills..and did he just pay Chinese to hype it?// 借势此波反腐热浪，本报今起推出系列报道“反腐亮剑”，
Chengdu Ex-Mayor Faces Corruption Charges | Chengdu LivingChengdu Living- Although a few people are dazed at how quickly such a seemingly untouchable person could be removed from office, most Chengdunese have taken to Weibo to cackle at the downfall of a man they new as “Li Tear Down the City” for all of the construction projects he pushed through during his tenure as vice-mayor and then mayor of Chengdu. “The greatest thing he ever did was destroy what was left of our cultural heritage,” wrote @可以可以3. “Death to Li tear Down the City!” For a man as powerful as Li Chuncheng – he ran media, real estate, and investment arms through his office, and is accused of selling dozens of official posts – there is no single indictment to cover all the things he may have had a hand in
New allegations against wristwatch mayor sent to Beijing – Globaltimes.cn The Sina Weibo user who posted photos showing the mayor of Lanzhou, Gansu Province, wearing expensive wristwatches said Sunday he has sent new evidence of corruption to the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection after the provincial government dismissed his corruption accusation against the mayor.
深圳官员被指给50名亲友安排工作 回应称系中伤_新闻_腾讯网 - Shenzhen official accused of giving jobs to 50 friends, netizen charges online..local government now “investigating”
Police chief fired for allegedly covering up son’s assault on cop | South China Morning Post - Drink-driving son assaults police and father allegedly tries to cover it up; incident brought to light after video posted online
儿慈会被指48亿去向不明_北京新闻·综合_新京报电子报 - 网络举报可疑账目；儿慈会致歉，称财务人员失误弄错小数点
The liberal arts 18th Central Committee｜WantChinaTimes.com- Of the 205 members of the 18th Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, around 90% have a liberal arts educational background, subverting the common stereotype of science and technology wizes in the country’s top echelons. Eighty percent of central committee members were born in the 1950s and have a master’s or doctorate degree.
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
人民日报-拉帮结派“制衡”不了中国(国际论坛) 钟 声 - Zhong Sheng not a fan of the Philippines’ comments about Japan and the Asia security environment
Philippines sees Japan as balance to China ambitions | Reuters - A stronger Japan would act as a counterbalance to the military rise of China, something that is worrying smaller Asian nations as tensions grow over conflicting territorial claims in the region, the Philippines said on Monday.
China navy ships pass contiguous zone in southwestern Japan – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun- Two destroyers and two frigates were spotted between Yonagunijima and Iriomotejima islands around 5 a.m. that day, the ministry said. The vessels appeared heading toward the disputed Senkaku Islands at 20 kph (11 knots), but changed course to a northwesterly direction and left the contiguous zone around 10 a.m.
Super rich investors stuck in immigration limbo – Canada – CBC News - Three years later, Zhou, 41, is still in China. He’s also in limbo, caught in an immigration backlog along with thousands of other millionaire businesspeople around the world who are trying to enter Canada under Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s Immigrant Investor Program.
“U.S. Economic Engagement with the Asia Pacific”–remarks by Undersecretary Hormats - hear this was quite successful, was at JW Marriott by Shinkong// On this last point, it is worth noting that one indicator of the new ways in which we are engaging China on this very important investment issue is Ambassador Gary Locke’s first-ever Investment Forum, which was held in Beijing just a few days ago. I was privileged to be asked to deliver the keynote speech, and in that speech, I spelled out suggestions for promoting Chinese investment in the U.S. and also addressing some of the challenges that have to be overcome to improve our bilateral investment relationship.
California’s Richest Suburbs Revitalized – Derek Scissors on Fox News - Senior Research Fellow Derek Scissors discusses how Chinese immigrants are moving into California’s richest suburbs on Fox News’ ‘Special Report’.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE, SPORTS AND HISTORY
Back in the swim – FT.com - For Ye Shiwen, China’s 16-year-old swimming sensation, there was no period of fun or relaxation after winning two golds at the London Olympics. Her parents had promised to take her to Hong Kong Disneyland but it turned out there wasn’t enough time. In early August, on the same day that she returned to Hangzhou, her hometown in eastern China, she got back into the pool and resumed her training
China’s nail houses, in geospatial context | Ogle Earth - There are other nail houses out there, but in several cases Google Earth’s imagery hasn’t yet caught up with recent news. If you find any yourself, let me know and I’ll add them to the collection.
FOOD AND TRAVEL
Chinese liquor maker Moutai rebuts contamination accusation – Xinhua | English.news.cn- reasonable suspicion that he was somehow short Moutai before releasing this// Moutai’s statement came after a netizen named “Shui Jing Huang” claimed last week in his personal blog that a sample of the company’s liquor had been found to contain toxic levels of plasticizer.The alleged Hong Kong investor posted pictures of the test report on Sunday night, causing Moutai’s emergency trading suspension.
Toxic DEHP Said to Be Found in China’s Top Liquor Brand Moutai-Caijing - The news sent China’s liquor industry into another confidence crisis, with liquor makers dropping across the board in Monday morning trade
China view: Robert Parker sells Wine Advocate stake to Singapore investors | Grape Wall of China -Robert Parker might live halfway around the globe but his influence is still felt here in China, where investors and importers
The Robert Parker bombshell | Felix Salmon - Felix will never accept that China might actually produce decent wine, esp in Ningxia// Corporate clients? Chinese wine? Tasting events? These are huge new steps for TWA — and, contra Teague, much bigger steps than the decision to accept advertising. I don’t think there’s any good way of rating Chinese wines: either the scores will be low, thereby annoying the very customers they’re supposed to appeal to, or they will be high, and ruin TWA’s reputation for impartiality among its 40,000 US subscribers. There might come a day when China produces world-class wines, but that day has not yet come, and no one knows that better than Robert Parker and Lisa Perrotti-Brown.
BOOKS AND LITERATURE
Behind Nobel Prize Winner Mo Yan, a Jewish Translator – Tablet Magazine- “They say translators are frustrated writers,” Howard Goldblatt explained as he waited impatiently in his blue stick-shift BMW behind a silver sedan. “I’m not a frustrated writer. I’m a frustrated Formula-1 driver.” Goldblatt, 74, is the foremost Chinese-English translator in the world
莫言诺奖：吻合西方想像的中国农民文学 – 纽约时报中文网 国际纵览 - scathing discussion of Mo Yan’s writing in Chinese New York Times