Archive for December 21st, 2012
We are back in DC for a few days, jet-lagged but happy to be here, especially the kids who helped buy their first real American Christmas tree today. The might have been a bit less happy if they were the ones paying. Christmas tree inflation seems pretty serious here in the States…
While I was on the plane over the newsletter broke 6,000 email subscribers. Thanks everyone, very humbling. In the New Year I hope you readers will share more of what you know and help this service become much more useful.
Something is building around Internet legislation given the steady pace of editorials in official media about the need for better Internet laws. I assume we should expect new legislation at the March National People’s Congress. Check the “Tech and Media” section below for the links.
Since the 18th Party Congress the attacks against GFW circumvention tools (yes, they are attacks) have gotten much worse in Beijing. There was some reporting in the western press recently about loosening Internet controls after a few leaders’ names were unblocked, but that looks to have been a misunderstanding of how Weibo has now become a key propaganda channel for the party. All this talk of reinvigorated reform and opening does not seem to apply to the virtual world. It looks like the leadership is very afraid of digital flies coming in and is building an increasingly effective set of screens and digital fly swatters. Let’s hope I am wrong, but the signs so far are not encouraging.
Gady Epstein has a terrific story in this week’s Economist. The death of a revolutionary: The song of Song is a classic Economist piece about the 1913 assassination of Song Jiaoren and what might have been in China.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
China Banking Regulator Rushes to Fix Loopholes in Third-Party Distribution-Caijing - Citing an “urgent” notice of the China Banking Regulatory Commission it obtained, the newspaper said the commission asked banks to complete a “screening” program report in 15 days, which will focus on the sales of insurance, trust and funds issued by third parties. The document, which was issued last Friday, began to arrive at banks’ branch networks from Monday, according to the report. Earlier in December, a defaulted wealth-management product distributed by Huaxia Bank surfaced in the WMP sector, which had recently been spinning out of control in a fundraising spree.
China Plans Yuan Flexibility After Global Easing, Xinhua Says – Bloomberg - The government of Asia’s biggest economy will ensure “reasonable” monetary-base growth and keep sufficient liquidity to allow businesses to obtain loans, according to the editorial, also posted on China’s main central-government website“The long-run policy of the Chinese government is to increase flexibility of the renminbi, so it’s still an open question whether this will signify any major change in practices,” Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capital Economics Ltd., said by phone from London. “The government’s view seems to be now that the renminbi is close to its fair value, there are lower risks allowing more movem. ent.”
Analysis: Spectre of capital flight slows China FX reform drive | Reuters - Analysts say the central bank is the center of pro-reform sentiment in the government. But other policymakers still equate foreign reserves with national strength and may oppose any reform that would put the $3.3 trillion stockpile at risk.
Li Keqiang Calls for Income Growth, Freer Investment – Bloomberg - Li, No. 2 in the Politburo standing committee, said China will lower barriers to private investment and delegate more power to local governments to approve projects, the People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of China’s ruling communist party, reported on its website yesterday. Li was appointed last month and is set to become premier next year. Li’s comments at a meeting with local officials in Beijing on Dec. 19 came after new leaders said they will seek higher “quality and efficiency” of growth next year. China has set an initial target for 2013 expansion of 7.5 percent, two bank executives and a regulatory official briefed on the matter told Bloomberg earlier this week.
Li builds case for urbanization|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn - Urbanization will be the main driver of economic growth for the future, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday. Growth will be more focused, with the onus on quality and efficiency, not just speed, Li said. ”Economic growth must be real,” he said at a meeting discussing reform.
China to increase income control in monopolized sectors – Xinhua | English.news.cn-so is the income distribution reform kan not delayed? 10 more days… // BEIJING, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) — China will increase its control over high earnings in monopolized sectors next year amid efforts to address income disparities, Minister of Finance Xie Xuren said Thursday. The government will improve its control policies on both the gross pay and the industry wage level in monopolized sectors in 2012 to optimize the national income distribution structure, Xie said at a national finance work meeting… A State Council meeting in October said the government would formulate a general income distribution reform scheme in the fourth quarter of the year.
China needs pro-growth policies, reforms in 2013: think tank | Reuters- We need to focus more on boosting domestic demand,” Hou Yongzhi, head of the development of strategy and regional economy of the Development Research Centre (DRC), the State Council’s policy think tank, told a news conference. ”How fast growth is will depend on the external environment. We will achieve an appropriate growth rate, which will not be too low,” he said, when asked if China could achieve 8 percent growth in 2013.
北京农展馆地块被暂停出让 何时恢复竞买未通知-财经网 - Sale of plot of land by beijing agricultural exhibition center put on hold, fears of record price
潘石屹失信 SOHO中国年末降价促销冲刺业绩_中国经济网??国家经济门户 - SOHO China doing year end price cuts to spur sales? And what is with the stalled Guanghua SOHO 2 project in Beijing CBD?// SOHO中国近日在其官方销售网站上启动了一项年末促销活动，公司在北京和上海的8个项目加入了该促销，活动开启两天来已经有5套销售房源以促销价格成交。业内认为，这将是SOHO中国为今年的业绩做的最后冲刺。
楼市版“多收了三五斗”:找关系、凑首付买房_财经频道_一财网 - 这是2012年底楼市的一个缩影。在楼市陷入极度深寒之后，丁放还需要托人去找关系买房
Heard on the Street: Chinese Buyout Brings Problems to Focus – WSJ.com - embarrassing failure for Muddy Waters, Focus has some powerful backers// Helping to get the deal across the line, meanwhile, is the Chinese government—in the form of state policy bank China Development Bank, a late addition to the roster of lenders. For CDB, the benefits of the transaction may be more than purely economic. The policy bank has extended loans to other take-private candidates this year, including food and meat processor Zhongpin Inc. HOGS +0.32% and copper products firm Fushi Copperweld Inc.
Chinese Companies Head For the Exit – NYTimes.com- Fed up with slumping share prices, prickly regulators and aggressive short sellers, an increasing number of Chinese companies listed on American stock exchanges are heading for the exits. The most recent case is also the biggest yet. On Wednesday, the directors of Focus Media Holdings, a display advertising company based in Shanghai, whose shares had come under attack by short-sellers, said they had accepted a sweetened $3.7 billion privatization bid from a buyout group that included the American private equity giant Carlyle Group, several Chinese private equity firms and the company’s chairman.
Fast Food MNCs Getting Clobbered by China Daily Today | China Hearsay - I suppose the lesson here for MNCs is not merely to maintain high quality standards in China but to keep an eye on media management. These guys have extensive story archives, which can be dredged up and sent off through the Intertubes on a whim. Scary stuff.
China Leading Indicator Signals Fragile Rebound Heading Into ’13 – Bloomberg - A leading index for China’s economy rose at a slower pace in November, signaling limits on a growth rebound in the world’s second-biggest economy. The gauge rose 1.1 percent from October to 248.5, the Conference Board, a New York-based research group, said in a statement today, citing a preliminary reading. That compared with a revised 1.6 percent gain the previous month.
Doubts remain even as World Bank upgrades China | beyondbrics- The bank has revised its GDP growth target for China to 8.4 per cent in 2013, up from an earlier forecast of 8.1 per cent. Hold the Chateau Lafite, however. November exports rose just 2.9 per cent and some analysts said that the much more robust export data in October (up more than 11 per cent) might even have been massaged so as to present good news ahead of the transition in China’s leadership in November.
Xi Jinping Will Reform China – Business Insider - In a new note, Societe Generale’s Wei Yao writes that it looks increasingly likely that Xi will reform China since the global economic environment is pressuring the economy, domestic imbalances are greater than before, and because of the rapidly aging population. Starting at the 18th party congress and in the time since, both Xi and Li have often emphasized the importance of reforms, but many question whether they will actual act on it. Yao however points out the number of reforms that have already been enacted and writes: “Our observation is that the pace of reforms, especially in terms of opening up the capital account, has already accelerated since the beginning of 2012 and gained more momentum after the Party Congress in November.
POLITICS AND LAW
人民日报-不要用公款送礼了 本报评论员 - page 2 people’s daily, most read story today, don’t use public funds to give gifts, just in time for jan 1 and lunar new years gift giving orgies…
China makes new moves to curb extravagance – People’s Daily Online- The Supreme People’s Court of the People’s Republic of China announced a ban on tourism at state expense and meetings in upscale hotels on Dec. 12, and imposed strict requirements on related seminars, forums, and celebrations. The ban is in line with the central government’s call on officials to improve their work style in eight aspects, and is also a response to a recent luxurious meeting in Wuhu, Anhui province.
Straight talk on the Party bandwagon – China Media Project- But what does this campaign — which of course has its own slogans — actually mean? Are Xi’s apparent efforts real, or is this another flavor-of-the-month Party mobilization, doomed to fizzle into the old, familiar formalism? Is Xi really a “casual communist” out to shake and remake a rigid bureaucracy increasingly distant from the lives of ordinary people? Real change is impossible to rule out. But it may be most helpful to refresh our memories about the Party’s history on this issue of language and style — which makes Xi Jinping’s Party makeover at least seem far less fresh.
Chinese leaders still suspicious of religion, party document shows – The Washington Post- Chinese leaders issued an order last year quietly directing universities to root out foreigners suspected of plotting against the Communist Party by converting students to Christianity. The 16-page notice — obtained this month by a U.S.-based Christian group — uses language from the cold war era to depict a conspiracy by “overseas hostile forces” to infiltrate Chinese campuses under the guise of academic exchanges while their real intent is to use religion in “westernizing and dividing China.”
Cadres and Evangelists « Sinostand- Going beyond just the issue of evangelism though, the document also basically proved something I’ve started to realize in recent months, but have had a hard time fully accepting. It’s that the idea of “the US-led Western countries” conspiring to use things like religion to “infiltrate” China so they can “westernize and divide it” isn’t just jingoistic propaganda used for political ends. This is something that A LOT of people in China’s government seem to actually believe. This document was issued by the United Front Department (a branch of the powerful Central Committee) and given only to senior officials. They were then to communicate it orally to their subordinates in order to hedge against the document being leaked. In other words, this wasn’t propaganda intended for the masses. It was an internal Party memo. That the same jingoistic language you’d see in Global Times was used here shows that the Party actually believes its conspiratorial fear-mongering, and that’s kind of scary.
中共人事变动中继站 李小鹏尤权引关注_多维新闻网 - 李小鹏“翻身”受益老人政治 12月19日，中共公布的人事变动中，李小鹏可谓最为引人注目。因为在刚结束的中共十八大上，当选候补中委的李小鹏在171人名单中得票倒数第一。不过这并不影响他的仕途，12月19日，山西省人大常委会决定李小鹏代理山西省省长一职。外界认为这得益于中共的政治老人，其父李鹏的面子。
Son of Fomer Premier Appointed Acting Governor in China -Caijing - Li Xiaopeng(Central), son of the former Premier Li Peng, was appointed acting governor of Shanxi Province on Wednesday. Li was elected to be a member of the Comunist Party’s Central Committee last month at the 18th National Congress of CPC and was the former under-secretary of Shanxi Province
Mysteries surrounding Heywood murder begin to unfold | South China Morning Post- After Heywood’s body was cremated in Chongqing on November 18, Wang called Gu from a government security phone line, claiming Heywood had “become smoke and ashes, and gone to the west”. Meanwhile, mistrust started to build between the two. When Wang went on a business trip to Beijing, Gu ordered Zhang Xiaojun to “raid” Wang’s office, taking away shoes, clothes, perfume, cigarettes, wine, watches and gold. Gu later told Wang she was simply trying to protect him from the Central Discipline Committee by hiding his possessions. Wang didn’t believe her. By the end of December, Gu had also replaced four of Wang’s personal assistants.
Gu Kailai ‘painted Neil Heywood as crystal meth-dealing drug king pin’ – Telegraph - One former Chongqing government official told The Daily Telegraph they believed the recent reports were an attempt to “dirty Bo’s name”. The source claimed China’s new leadership, led by incoming president Xi Jinping and premier Li Keqiang, hoped negative reports would help destroy Mr Bo’s political legacy and weaken his support base. ”Now Xi and Li are in power, they don’t want Bo’s thinking to continue to have an effect,” the source said. “Even now many ordinary Chinese still support Bo and believe he was wronged.” Writing this week on his influential [flattery always welciome...] Sinocism website, China commentator Bill Bishop wrote: “The steady reporting in the Chinese press of Chongqing misdeeds probably does not bode well for Bo at his eventual trial.”
Former citizens benefit by bending law – Globaltimes.cn- Former Chinese citizens who conceal they have gained citizenship of another country and don’t cancel their Chinese ID are bending laws in their favor and hindering the effectiveness of Chinese courts, a Beijing court told the Global Times Tuesday. A report released by the Chaoyang district court Tuesday suggested that many former citizens who have returned from overseas are concealing their foreign nationality to avoid legal restrictions on foreigners and then using their Chinese ID card to receive benefits reserved for Chinese citizens.
沪官掌沪成中国政坛异数 揭秘杨雄上位疑云_多维新闻网 - 【多维新闻】近日中共中央批准杨雄出任中共上海市委常委、副书记，由于副书记接任市长是惯例，至此，四个直辖市大员已基本落定，此轮人事变动也接近尾声。十八大前，多维新闻就得到消息称，上海市委书记将由时任上海市市委副书记、市长韩正将接替，而时任上海市政府常务副市长杨雄将接替韩正出任上海市长，俞正声则入京赴职。但不得不说，杨雄的接任程序中有两大疑点未解
China targets members of doomsday cult – The Washington Post- husband turned in his wife, who sounds nuttier than a Christmas nut cake//“At first I thought she was just a normal Christian, but from the Internet I soon learned that Eastern Lightning is a dangerous cult,” Shi said. “In recent days, she has told me to withdraw all our money and prepare to beg for Almighty God’s mercy because the world will end on Friday.” In desperation, he has secretly informed on her to the Chinese authorities. A nationwide crackdown has so far led to the arrests of some 1,000 followers of the quasi-Christian group, which also calls itself the Church of Almighty God.
China: so corrupt even the police are protesting – YouTube - Jonathan Sparks filmed in Shandong, China where he was whisked away by officers who wanted to tell him a story about corruption. In an extraordinary tale, the police told Channel 4 how they’d been cheated out of millions by their chief,.
» No meaningful change in China without state sector reform Rectified.name 正名- You can’t deny it. Along with the high PM counts, there’s something positive in the air here in Beijing. Recently, I’ve had more than a few conversations that demonstrate some kind of an uptick in confidence in China’s prospects post 18th party Congress. Housing sales are rebounding which could suggest that the dismal drop in retail sales for the first 3Q in China could bounce back in the run-up to Spring Festival. Xi Jinping is telling us about a China Dream and a Great Revival. The ice seems to be cracking over the One Child Policy, and corruption exposés are on the rise. It kind of feels like Christmas is coming in China. And China’s Santa can buy a few more imported goodies this year for girls and boys given recent appreciation (less than 1%) of the RMB. But the road to real change in China is a long one and can’t be equated to a once a year visit from a fairy tale character. Real change in China will involve putting the country back on the road to reform and undoing many of the imbalances, failures, and negligence of the Hu-Wen regime.
China to Speed Up Reform of ‘Hukou’ System – WSJ.com- could also say no meaningful change without hukou reform..if it comes expect Beijing and possibly shanghai to maintain discriminatory policies..otherwise those cities would be overwhelmed, and their resources are already overextended// On Tuesday, the National Development and Reform Commission, the country’s top economic-planning agency, said the authorities “will speed up household registration reform” and “study and set policies to push forward with turning rural residents into urban residents in an orderly manner but without delay”. The NDRC said the government would focus on improving the quality of urbanization by investing in urban infrastructure such as sewage and heating systems.
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
解放军新班子发出持续强军的强烈信号_多维新闻网 - 【多维新闻】中共十八大闭幕已经1个月了，新的军委班子除了延续上届班子注重部队思想政治建设、关注内部安全稳定的“惯例动作”之外，更有重视提高军队威慑和实战能力、用行动表示“守土维权”态度和决心等“创新动作”，积极回应了党内主流、基层官兵和广大民众的期待。香港《文汇报》称，中共军委新班子向中国的全党、全军和全国人民发出了持续强军的强烈信号，大国、强国、复兴之国的“国防观”渐露端倪，富国强军的“中国梦”目标清晰，军队和国防建设在新的起点上有了一个好的开端，但仍面临着增强内部凝聚力的严峻挑战。
China the frontrunner to buy Exxon out of Iraq oil | Reuters- U.S. oil major Exxon (XOM.N) is giving up its stake in the giant southern oilfield after clashing with the central government in Baghdad over exploration contracts it had signed with the autonomous Kurdistan region in the north. Iraqi and Chinese sources said CNPC unit Petrochina (0857.HK) (601857.SS) is negotiating for Exxon’s 60 percent in the $50 billion West Qurna-1 project and that there are rival bidders. Royal Dutch Shell is a minority partner.
China Is Moving Cautiously on Island Disputes, Japan Report Says – WSJ.com- “For quite some time China has been trying to end Japan’s effective control of the Senkaku islands,” said Masayuki Masuda, a senior fellow at Japan’s National Institute for Defense Studies, the policy-research arm of the Defense Ministry. The chance of escalation is very low, because Beijing understands the risks of engaging Japan, and potentially the U.S., Mr. Masuda told reporters in releasing an annual report on China. Instead, observers say, China has been prompting a response from Japan in the disputed waters, just as Mr. Abe was pledging to improve Japan’s fighter capability and promising to build a more robust military.
In China’s shadow, ASEAN leaders look to India for maritime security | Reuters - what could go wrong…//Southeast Asian nations and India vowed on Thursday to step up cooperation on maritime security, a move that comes amid tension with China in the potentially oil- and gas-rich South China Sea.
SGGP English Edition- Vietnam terminates Chinese online game with map of East Sea - Nyse-listed Giant interactive (nyse:ga) is the game developer
Does a High-Altitude ASAT Test Make Sense? – All Things Nuclear - China’s Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun made a statement last month denying that China planned to test a new anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon and that it was holding off until November so as not to affect the U.S. presidential election. The ASAT story seemed to originate in a Bill Gertz video and article on a new conservative U.S. website called Washington Free Beacon. Gertz’s reports suggest that China would be testing an ASAT weapon against navigation and reconnaissance satellites at high altitudes, but doesn’t give specifics about which satellites would be the targets nor what kind of ASAT about it would be.
China and US agree on major trade measures|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn - how much had been agreed to before?// Chinese and US officials agreed on a number of measures, including export controls and investment, during trade talks in Washington. The US pledged to address concerns over fair treatment for Chinese investment in the US, and China vowed to strengthen protection of intellectual property rights, at a meeting of the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in the US capital on Wednesday.
FACT SHEET: 23rd U.S.-CHINA JOINT COMMISSION ON COMMERCE AND TRADE | Office of the United States Trade Representative- U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk and U.S. Commerce Acting Secretary Rebecca Blank, together with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan, co-chaired the 23rd Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Washington, D.C., on December 18-19, 2012. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also took part in the discussion to address agricultural concerns. Other participants included U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke, U.S. Trade and Development Agency Director Leocadia Zak and representatives from the State and Treasury Departments. Senior Chinese officials from 25 ministries and agencies also attended. Provided below are key results from this year’s JCCT
Commentary: Foreign Policy Priorities for Xi Jinping | The National Interest - Robert Keatley//And no issues may be more pressing than those of foreign policy, where current Chinese actions often are incoherent, contradictory and all too possibly dangerous to themselves and the region. The reasons are many, but they include the lack of an overall strategy for achieving broad but ill-defined goals and a governing system that is poorly suited to making coordinated decisions.//is the lack of coordination really as bad as so many commentators say? Is it in china’s interest for outsiders to believe there is a lack of coordination?
A New China Chill for Japanese Companies – Japan Real Time – WSJ - A new survey shows only 52.3% of Japanese businesses said they plan to expand business operations in the world’s second-largest economy in the next two years, a 14.5 percentage point drop compared to the previous year. It was the steepest fall among the countries included in the survey released by the Japan External Trade Organization on Tuesday.
Law Firms Accused of Aiding Chinese Immigrants’ False Asylum Claims – NYTimes.com - just disgusting. will the lying asylum seekers who were successful now be deported?// They invented woeful tales of persecution for their Chinese clients. Prepped them on how to lie about having had a forced abortion. Even tutored them on religion.
China to reinforce military cooperation with Cote d’Ivoire – Xinhua China plans to boost military cooperation with Cote d’Ivoire and help with the training of soldiers and security in the West African country, which is recovering from the aftermath of the 2010-2011 post-election violence. A military source told Xinhua on Thursday that a Chinese delegation headed by colonel Hua Bo held talks on Monday with Cote d’Ivoire’s deputy army commander general Firmin Detoh Letho in the economic capital Abidjan.
Auditor finds IMF was pressured by U.S. to fault China – The Washington Post The International Monetary Fund, at the urging of the United States, shaped recent research to pressure China over its economic policies, according to a study released Wednesday by the fund’s in-house watchdog. The report by the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office provides an unusual look at how the political priorities of the fund’s major members can influence what is ostensibly objective analysis by an apolitical organization.
HONG KONG AND TAIWAN
Policies on HK, Macao unchanged: Xi – Xinhua show of support for Liang?// BEIJING, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Thursday stressed that the central authorities’ policies on Hong Kong and Macao will not change after the transition of power. Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks while meeting with CY Leung, chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), in Beijing.
TECH AND MEDIA
Freedom not at odds with online regulation – Globaltimes.cn- The importance of the Internet is rising, while it imbues users with a tendency to abuse power. As it has become a platform of mainstream opinions, it should be strictly regulated. It is a common wish that the Internet can develop healthily. Without its prosperity and advancement, China will see no positive prospects. The future of the Internet lies in maintaining its advantages while eliminating contaminating factors.
Ministry of Truth: Net Safety and the Safety Net – China Digital Times (CDT) Central Propaganda Department: In the near future, Xinhua News Agency, People’s Daily, and other central media outlets will successively report typical cases of threats to Internet safety and infringement on citizens’ personal information. All media and websites are kindly asked to republish these documents in their entirety.
新闻出版总署就网络出版服务管理办法征求意见 - 新闻出版总署关于《网络出版服务管理办法》（修订征求意见稿）等规章公开征求意见的通知
Apple adopted https in App Store. China threatens to censor apps. | GreatFire.org But because now https is implemented by Apple on almost all connection to iTunes server, Great Firewall of China has no way to selectively block connection to certain contents. A test to the same link mentioned above with https protocol yields no censorship. This change provides a commercial platform in China(China App Store uses CNY for payment) not subject to the arbitrary censorship of the government. For example, opendoor an app dedicated to circumventing the Internet is on sale on China App Store and users are willing to pay to remove ads in the app. Any other trading platform, such as Taobao(Chinese version of ebay) is actively censoring Internet Circumvention tools and selling anti-censorship tools there is not possible.
Fei Chang Dao: Baidu’s New Censorship Policies for Leaders’ Names After the 18th Party Congress - One month after the conclusion of the 18th Party Congress, Baidu appears to have settled on the following censorship policies for the names of senior government leaders: Search results for queries containing only a member’s name in Chinese are restricted to the strict white list. Searches for member’s names on Baidu’s Tieba, Zhidao, and Wenku products return no results. Search results for queries containing a member’s name in Chinese plus a sensitive term are either restricted to the strict white list or censored completely. New Search results for queries containing a member’s name in Chinese plus a non-sensitive term are restricted to the broad white list.
Tencent Fined for Infringing Music Content | Marbridge Consulting – China Internet News - A Chinese court has ruled in favor of the Music Copyright Society of China in its case against Shenzhen-based internet company Tencent (0700.HK) for providing downloads of copyrighted music, and has ordered Tencent to pay RMB 15,000 in damages.
Wechat: An Introduction for Marketers | China Internet Watch - By Q3 2012, WeChat had accumulated over 200 million active accounts in total. Why is WeChat so popular among mobile internet users? What’s the key point for WeChat to win the market in such a short period? Doesn’t it forecast a new trend for mobile marketing?
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
CHINA: A Travelling Exhibit, 1903-1904 – About the Exhibit - this looks very cool..think they are looking for more places to host it// In 1903, R. Harvey Sargent, a topographer with the U.S. Geological Survey, joined a Carnegie Institution expedition that took him 1,800 miles across the vast interior of China. Along the way, Sargent documented his observations with photographs of the land and the peasants from which the Chinese Revolution was to come. The core of this exhibit consists of 74 of these original photographs, which have been enlarged and reproduced to museum standards. Also included in the exhibit are the published findings of the geological mission, Sargent’s journal, a map of the expedition, and other memorabilia. Sargent’s grandson, Robert M. Sargent, and his great-granddaughter, Ann Sargent Slayton, travelled to China in the fall of 2008, partially re-tracing the route of the 1903-04 expedition. Bob and Ann took many photos, some of which comprise a slide show.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
Trouble in the Treasure – Caixin - One crack in a wall is all it would take for a dark gray oval that sits across 11 square kilometers of land to create a massive disaster. Situated just to the west of Baotou, a city in the resource-rich region of Inner Mongolia, the mine dump for Baotou Iron and Steel Group (Baosteel) is enclosed by a concrete wall that stands 20 meters high. It is one of China’s largest tailings pools, and contains roughly 180 million tons of metal waste powder. Until recently, few outside the city knew about the mine dump, which was created 60 years ago. The mine has gained attention on reports that the hazardous slurry contains large amounts of rare earths and other minerals, estimated by some to have a total value as high as 80 trillion yuan.
Ministry Declines to Approve Environmental Report on Sichuan Rail Line - Caixin- the more smack downs for MOR the better// The Ministry of Environmental Protection said on December 18 it would not approve the environmental impact report for a section of a rail line in Sichuan Province until its concerns were addressed. The section of line – a 15.8 kilometer stretch from Chengdu to Chuanzhusi in the northwest of the province – cannot be built without ministry approval. The section is part of a line that runs from Chengdu to Lanzhou, in neighboring Gansu Province. The ministry listed several things it was concerned about. First, the line will enter a nature reserve, and there were questions over its impact on the area’s flora and fauna. Also, there were concerns about noise from the line affecting a residential area
Chinese Babies Risking Diabetes Reveal One-Child Pitfall: Health – Bloomberg - About 100 million families have just one child, the Chinese government says. That translates into an equal number of firstborns, a status that researchers are finding may be tied to conditions that raise obesity risk, said Chong Yap Seng, a scientist at Singapore’s National University Hospital..
FOOD AND TRAVEL
Chinese flock to Europe, US for holiday|Society|chinadaily.com.cn - All outbound group trips organized by China International Travel Service Ltd, or CITS, sold out a month before Christmas Day, the tourism agency said. Shopping in Europe and the United States is becoming increasingly popular among Chinese tourists, especially because many stores offer discounts ahead of Christmas Day. ”The number of our customers joining groups to go shopping in Europe and the US increased by 20 percent this Christmas compared with 2011,” said Li Meng, deputy director of the outbound department of CITS.
BOOKS AND LITERATURE
China’s global role: You can’t have it all | The Economist- Edward Luttwak, an American military strategist, argues in his new book that China’s simultaneous pursuit of three strategic goals is untenable. In his view, it must soon choose between them if it is to avert catastrophe. Mr Luttwak’s fundamental contention is “the inherent incompatibility between the concurrently rapid growth of China’s economic capacity and military strength and diplomatic influence”. He acknowledges plainly that he is no China specialist, but just as plainly he believes that his “logic of strategy” applies as rigidly to China’s geopolitics as does Newton’s law of gravity to any apple falling anywhere in the world.
Amazon.com: The Rise of China vs. the Logic of Strategy Edward N. Luttwak:- For any country whose rising strength cannot go unnoticed, the universal logic of strategy allows only military or economic growth. But China is pursuing both goals simultaneously. Its military buildup and assertive foreign policy have already stirred up resistance among its neighbors, just three of whom—India, Japan, and Vietnam—together exceed China in population and wealth. Unless China’s leaders check their own ambitions, a host of countries, which are already forming tacit military coalitions, will start to impose economic restrictions as well. Chinese leaders will find it difficult to choose between pursuing economic prosperity and increasing China’s military strength. Such a change would be hard to explain to public opinion. Moreover, Chinese leaders would have to end their reliance on ancient strategic texts such as Sun Tzu’s Art of War. While these guides might have helped in diplomatic and military conflicts within China itself, their tactics—such as deliberately provoking crises to force negotiations—turned China’s neighbors into foes. To avoid arousing the world’s enmity further, Luttwak advises, Chinese leaders would be wise to pursue a more sustainable course of economic growth combined with increasing military and diplomatic restraint.