The Sinocism China Newsletter For 01.31.13

Just links today:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

China’s brokerages turn shadow banks – FT.com -way it was described to me, by someone generally very bearish, is that it has the potential to spiral into a huge mess but it is not yet horrible//  The rise of brokerages as shadow banks has been remarkably fast, which is also a worry. Nevertheless, looked at in absolute terms, the entrusted funds at brokerages are still just 1.6 per cent of overall bank assets. “If you want a more comprehensive capital market in which the market share of banks drops, you have to allow things to happen outside the banking sector,” said an analyst who covers brokerages, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “It’s something that people should pay attention to. But it’s not alarming yet.”

Banks Tap Credit Potential to Meet Surging Capital Demand-Caijing - Domestic banks’ lending capacity will be put to the test in 2013. Statistics show that the National Development and Reform Commission approved projects with a total value of 7 trillion yuan in the second half of 2012, portending a huge demand for capital by the real economy this year. The banks’ lending capacity has been drained by years of enormous lending, with loan-deposit ratios and capital adequacy ratios barely meeting regulatory standards. As a result, tapping credit potential to provide abundant capital for urbanization and stabilize macroeconomic growth has become a challenge facing policymakers and domestic banks.

China Banking Regulator Warns over Default Risks-Caijing - Chinese banking industry, with assets of more than 130 trillion yuan, is facing risks of a default as outstanding loans build up, Chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission warned, according to the 21st Century Business Herald, citing his remarks at an annual working meeting concluded in mid January. Total loan balances held by China’s financing institutions are around 67 trillion yuan, with half made to local governments through financing vehicles, and to property, business clusters as well as industries with overcapacity, Mr. Shang reportedly said. Characterized as “highly concentrated” and “broadly impacted”, the loans need to be “heavily fortified” and require “classified polices”, he said.

Analysts Debate Meaning of Central Bank’s Newest Regulatory Tool – Caixin - The short-term nature of SLO and the great flexibility the central bank has when using the tool has a large impact on interest rates as well. China International Capital Corp., an investment bank, predicted in a report that the yield of seven-day repos in the upcoming few months would fall as investors fret less about liquidity risk. Moving forward, the central bank may seek to create a capital pricing mechanism, which allows it to affect interest rates for the long term by regulating those for the immediate future, the state-owned bank’s capital trader said. ”From now on, people will be pay more attention to the yield of central bills, and the interest rates of repos will be more important,” he said.

Property prices set to rise as supply tightens[1]|chinadaily.com.cn - China’s property prices will continue to rise in 2013, fueled by tighter supply, quickening urbanization and an improved economy, according to the latest report on the market. Figures from REICO, the research institution jointly created by the China Real Estate Chamber of Commerce and the China Urban Reality Association Fund, suggest the country’s housing inventory will be lower than that of 2012, due to a slide in new construction since the third quarter of 2011 and quickening sales last year. New home building in Beijing was down 24.1 percent, and in Shanghai, 26.9 percent, year-on-year in 2012, according to REICO, meaning that shrinking supplies and robust sales have strengthened market expectations of further price hikes in 2013.//expectations of rising prices certainly rising

钟南山谈大气污染:任何人都跑不掉 比非典可怕得多_资讯频道_凤凰网 - Zhong Nanshan, Dr who oversaw SARS research/treatment, tells CCTV the air pollution crisis is worse than SARS crisis

China, GitHub and the man-in-the-middle | GreatFire.org- The attack happened on a Saturday night. It was very crude, in that the fake certificate was signed by an unknown authority and bound to be detected quickly. The attack stopped after about an hour. The whole episode seems rather irrational. It’s conceivable that one or several individuals identified on these lists as enemies of a free Internet decided to take action into their own hands. They are the technical people behind the Great Firewall and so they would clearly be capable of implementing this attack. They had a motive in that they were personally being targeted by the people behind the White House petition. And they had no other options since they had been barred from blocking GitHub completely. While the attack was short-lived, it is possible that passwords of many GitHub users were recorded. It’s also possible that the IP addresses of users accessing certain URLs, such as these lists of GFW contributors, were tracked. The people organizing these initiatives should take great care.

China, Japan and the Islands: What Do the Tensions Mean? | ChinaFile Beta - What these island disputes suggests about China is that its search for new wealth and power, fuqiang 富强, born out of an understandable urge to protect “the motherland” from foreign predation as the Qing Dynasty collapsed, may have now passed something of a milestone. Initially inspired by a defensive impulse, one wonders whether it is not now gaining a new and unwelcomed aggressive dimension. If so, should this new impulse not be tempered, it could end up as a serious impediment to the ongoing rise of a China that is viewed as “peaceful” and embraced by its neighbors. This would not only be harmful to China and the Chinese people, but to U.S.-Chinese relations as well as all the people of this increasingly dynamic and important region of our newly globalized world.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Property Developer Joins Ranks of Country’s Big Boys – Caixin - easy for Poly to get loans// Last year saw state-backed Poly Real Estate Group Co. Ltd. join an elite club. The Shanghai-listed company had contract sales of 101.7 billion yuan, making it the nation’s third developer to top the 100 billion yuan mark.    China Vanke Co. Ltd. remained housing king with sales of 141.2 billion yuan, a report by China Real Estate Information Corp. (CRIC) and non-profit organization China Real Estate Appraisal said. Shanghai-based Greenland Group was second at 107.8 billion yuan.

中海工业联合体溢价逾六成在沪拿地_财经频道_一财网 - 1.4B RMB for a plot of land on Huangpu river in Shanghai, 66% higher than minimum required bid// 中海工业联合体以14.73亿元拿下黄浦江沿岸一地块,溢价率约66%。自去年下半年以来,上海多幅高价地块基本被有国资背景的企业拿走。

北京1月土地出让金超205亿创2003年以来记录_财经_腾讯网 - 20.5 Billion RMB in Beijing land transfer fees in January, highest since 2003, over 8 times higher than the january 2012 level..so the surge in land buying from Sept 2012 not just a year end phenomenon//

出口大省集体下调外贸增长目标 新华社——经济参考网 - Guangdong, Jiangsu, Fujian, Shandong all cut their 2013 export growth targets from to 5% from 8-10%// 由于对外贸形势预期难以乐观,广东、江苏、福建、山东等几个出口大省在今年集体大幅调降了外贸增长目标,相比去年年初制定8%至10%左右的目标,今年目标普遍定在5%的水平上。 去年以来,外贸形势的严峻超出了业内人士预期,因此,尽管各地纷纷打响“保十攻坚战”,推出系列保外贸增长措施,无奈困于外需持续不振,多省年初制定的目标普遍都没有实现。

Li Ning tumbles on fundraising plan – FT.com - PR firm launched a tirade at Shaun Rein, according to tweet from him. Brunswick, usually top notch, but clumsy of them to antagonize someone with the media exposure Shaun has// “They are in a lot of trouble, and this latest news shows the situation is even worse than we thought,” said Shaun Rein of China Market Research in Shanghai. “They may not be able to continue as a standalone concern in a year or two,” he said. “We are at a critical point in executing our plans and transforming our business,” said Li Ning, the former Olympic gymnast and company founder.

New twist in Caterpillar-ERA saga – FT.com - ERA’s controlling shareholder was a vehicle co-owned by American entrepreneur Emory Williams, who has said he was “shocked and dismayed” at Caterpillar’s writedown, and businessman James Thompson III, who is the son-in-law of Mr Williams’ Chinese business partner, Li Rubo. The two men sold 40 per cent of their shares to Caterpillar in cash, and exchanged the remaining 60 per cent for the loan notes. On April 30 this year, Caterpillar will have to pay the first tranche of loan notes, according to filings that are public but have not been previously reported. That payment will be at least $150m, and could increase with a second tranche to a maximum total of $232m if ERA’s profits meet specified levels, according to the filings.

Sands China Profit Jumps 52% Aided by New Macau Casino Resort -Bloomberg - probably not a good sign for the seriousness of the corruption crackdown// Macau casino revenue rose 20 percent to a record of 28.2 billion patacas ($3.5 billion) last month, as Christmas promotions drew more holiday-makers to the only city in China where casino gambling is legal. Full-year casino revenue climbed 14 percent to 304 billion patacas, also a record.

Money supply not too large, experts say – Globaltimes.cn- There have been concerns about China’s large base of money supply, as central banks of major economies released their monetary data over the last two weeks. China’s central bank announced on January 10 that the nation’s M2, a broad measure of money supply that covers cash in circulation and all deposits, grew by 13.8 percent year-on-year to 97.42 trillion yuan ($15.71 trillion) in 2012, making it the largest in the world. The figure is 1.5 times the total M2 in the US, which stood at $10.4 trillion in 2012, and 1.3 times that in the euro area.

China’s cabinet approves energy consumption control target – Xinhua | English.news.cn- The government aims to keep total energy consumption below 4 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent by 2015, with electricity consumption below 6.15 trillion kilowatt hours, according to a statement released after a State Council meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao. To meet the target, average annual energy consumption growth should be controlled at around 4.3 percent between 2011 and 2015, lower than the 6.6-percent annual increase realized between 2006 and 2010.//what will this mean for electricity usage as proxy for GDP growth?

鄂尔多斯回应”鬼城”说:空城不空 鬼城没鬼_网易新闻中心 - Ordos says it does not have a ghost or empty city// 核心提示:内蒙古自治区十二届人大一次会议期间,鄂尔多斯康巴什新区管委会主任高志华称,国内外流传着的“空城”说、“鬼城”说,对康巴什来说并不是一件坏事,“鬼城”没“鬼”。他称康巴什已走出特色城镇化道路。此前,鄂尔多斯投资60亿元建新区无人居住被称“鬼城”。

 

POLITICS AND LAW

人民日报-这里的企业可从香港的银行借贷人民币,利率由双方自定 深圳前海:再造特区中的特区(改革开放新地标) - Shenzhen’s QIanhai zone is top People’s Daily story today

人民日报-改革不停顿 开放不止步 本报评论员 - Qianhai paired with commentary that reform and opening will not stop

Dui Hua Human Rights Journal: Guangzhou Police Chief Stands Up for Government Critics, RTL Abolition - Yan Zhichan, who heads Guangdong’s Department of Justice (and thus oversees the province’s prisons and RTL facilities) was quoted in the January 29 edition of Southern Daily, a newspaper published by the Guangdong Province Party Committee, saying that the province had “completed all preparatory work” and was waiting for the National People’s Congress Standing Committee to review and approve a plan for reforming RTL. One of the first steps in such a plan is expected to be a “cessation” (tingzhi) in the use of RTL, which Yan explained would entail halting new intakes and releasing those currently in the system at the ends of their terms.

Re-education Revisited – NYTimes.com- Abolishing Re-education Through Labor alone would not solve the many failings of China’s criminal justice system, nor would it mark an end to the suppression of government critics. Nonetheless it would be an important step forward, removing what has remained for decades a crippling obstacle toward realizing a fundamental requirement of any system of the rule of law: that no one accused of a crime can be deprived of liberty without a fair trial before a court. It would be a good start. Nicholas Bequelin is senior researcher in the Asia division of Human Rights Watch.

In China, Most Politics Is Local – NYTimes.com- Xi Jinping and China’s other new leaders don’t need to revolutionize the country’s leadership now. Real political change can start by moving forward with more representative local elections that will create pressures for accountability from the bottom up. This would need to be supported by a more balanced approach in dealing with social unrest that looks at more than just security considerations when handling grievances. All of this could be done while maintaining the supremacy of China’s one-party system — a precondition in today’s China. The hope for a political opening in China lies with Xi’s willingness to make local leaders more accountable to their constituents and not only to Beijing. Yukon Huang is a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a former World Bank country director for China.

China’s parliamentary session to avoid extravagance – Xinhua  So li jianguo corruption investigation story off?//The upcoming annual parliamentary session will be frugal, as well as feature shorter speeches and fewer traffic controls, according to a statement from the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee on Wednesday.  Li Jianguo, vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, has urged efforts to improve work style and curb banquets during the first session of the 12th NPC, the statement said.

[视频]【节约光荣 浪费可耻】“光盘行动”走红网络 倡导节俭新风尚_新闻频道_央视网 - Weds CCTV Evening news on “operation empty/clean plate”…see last Friday’s Sinocism for more background

Waste not, want not – Globaltimes.cn- The approximately 8 million metric tons of food protein and 3 million tons of fat that is wasted in China each year, according to data from the China Agricultural University, would be enough to feed nearly 200 million people. It was this waste which drove 43-year-old Xu Zhijun to launch the “empty plate” campaign. In order to cut the waste from tables across China, Web users have begun posting photos of finished dishes online and restaurants have started to serve half-sized dishes and free packages for take-away leftover food to show their support. Some scientists and legal experts have even gone so far as to suggest criminalizing food wa

Political sessions focus on officials’ asset disclosures – Xinhua | English.news.cn- The government of Shixing will ask its 526 officials, including bureau chiefs and county heads, to declare their family’s assets after the Spring Festival holiday, said Zheng Zhentao, CPC chief of the city of Shaoguan, which administers Shixing, at a legislative session held on Sunday. Officials will be required to declare their salaries, bonuses and subsidies, labor income, real estate holdings, cars and investments, according to Zheng. However, he added that the financial status of these officials will only be available for inquiry on the government intranet, rather than being fully revealed to the public.

Whistle-blower implicates SOE boss in sex tape | South China Morning Post- Citizen journalist Zhu Ruifeng said the president of a large state-owned company in Chongqing was the latest executive to be implicated in the scandal. Zhu said he had videos of a person who looked like the executive having sex with a young woman, and offered a cash reward to any member of the public who could provide clear photographs of the man, so that he could verify his identity. ”I need help from the public to fight against those all-powerful but corrupt officials,” Zhu said in a phone interview. “I will not give up unless the Chongqing authorities take the right actions to fight corruption.”

爆料人:重庆又曝1名厅级官员涉不雅视频_网易新闻中心 - 核心提示:1月29日,重庆不雅视频爆料人朱瑞峰称又掌握重庆1名厅级官员不雅视频,这名高官名为孙立达,是重庆城投集团的董事长。朱瑞峰称,自己正悬赏征集孙立达的照片以对比不雅视频的男主人公,然后视频才能成为确凿的证据。重庆城投集团副总经理已因不雅视频案被免职。

赵红霞被以敲诈勒索罪批捕 自称太单纯_网易新闻中心 - woman in some of Chongqing official compromising videos has been arrested for blackmail// 核心提示:1月30日,记者获悉,重庆不雅视频当事女子赵红霞被以敲诈勒索罪批捕,目前关押在重庆市某看守所。据赵红霞回忆,当时肖烨对她说,拍下视频后,对方会大量购买其公司服装,她也能够从中得到提成。“我太单纯了,太看重感情了。”目前,律师已为赵红霞申请取保候审。

7名为“房姐”违法办理户口嫌犯被刑拘 含4名警察_资讯频道_凤凰网 - 7 arrested for helping “Housing Elder Sister” get her additional Hukous. include 4 police

人民日报-惩治腐败始终保持高压态势– 钟纪岩 - 要按照中央纪委二次全会的精神,开展宗旨意识和群众路线教育,坚决破除特权思想;要严格执行关于反对特权的纪律要求和制度规定,督促领导干部既要严于律己,自觉遵守党内法规,又要加强对亲属和身边工作人员的教育和约束;对当前比较突出的特权现象进行治理,对严重违反党纪国法的特权行为,要从严惩处。

In China, The Government Isn’t The Only Spy Game In Town : NPR- interesting story, inspired in part by this december 2012 男子自述为官员拆窃听器经历:一周拆出四十多个  story in the Chongqing Evening News about Qi// It all started with a local Chinese official. He couldn’t figure out how his wife, who suspected him of having an affair, knew the contents of his private conversations. ”His wife knew things that he said in his car and office, including conversations over the telephone,” recalls Qi Hong, a former journalist from Shandong province in eastern China, and a friend of the official.

China’s energy chief under probe for loan fraud, whistleblower says — Shanghai Daily - “Relevant department of the central government has initiated a criminal investigation” against Liu, Luo Changping, deputy managing editor of Caijing magazine, wrote on his twitter-like Sina Weibo today. “(It) is a criminal investigation, not just a case being accepted (by authorities).”

启东事件一参与者被诉聚众冲击国家机关罪_政经频道_财新网 - protester from july 12 qidong nimbuy protest to go on trial 4 attacking mayor/govt bldg//43岁的启东市吕四港镇人朱宝生被指控伙同他人积极参与聚众冲击国家机关,并伙同别人攻击启东市市长徐锋

Chinese Courts Turn a Blind Eye to Abuse – NYTimes.com- “He stubbed out cigarettes on her face and legs. He would take her hair and hit her head against the wall. He locked her on the balcony for hours in the winter,” said Mr. Li, speaking by telephone from Chongqing in southwestern China. The abuse went on for more than a year. Today, Mr. Tan is dead, beaten to death by Ms. Li with the barrel of his air gun during an argument in November 2010, and Mr. Li is trying to save his sister’s life as she sits in a jail in Sichuan Province awaiting execution for murder. The case has caused an outcry among Chinese legal experts and feminists, who say it underscores the severe sentences often imposed on women who fight back, injuring or killing abusive husbands.

《看历史》杂志因“选题不宜”被令暂时停刊 – 中国 – RFI - 南方周末事件余音未落,中国的另一份杂志「看历史」2月号内容聚焦台湾民主转型的专刊,被因「选题不适宜出版」为由而暂停。「看历史」杂志由中国四川成都官方主办,原名「国家历史杂志」,原订2月号以「台湾之足」为题,介绍台湾民主转型过程,但日前却传出被迫停刊。

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

China’s reliance on oil-gas imports growing: report – Xinhua | English.news.cn- China is increasingly reliant on oil-gas imports and the country faces severe challenges in meeting its energy demands, a report released by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) showed Wednesday. In 2012, China’s net oil imports amounted to 284 million tonnes, which means the country is 58 percent reliant on foreign supplies in this area, up 1.5 percentage points from a year earlier, according to the report by CNPC Economics and Technology Research Institute..

China to conduct naval drills in Pacific amid tension | Reuters - Three advanced Chinese warships left port on Wednesday for naval drills and war games in the Western Pacific, and the fleet will likely pass through disputed waters in the East and South China Sea, state media said. The official Xinhua news agency described the maneuvers as routine, but they come as China is engaged in an increasingly bitter, high stakes dispute over maritime territory with Japan and with several Southeast Asia nations

Equal participation of China, US crucial to Asia’s prosperity – People’s Daily Online- However, the problem is that the United States does not have enough courage to recognize China’s status as a great power sincerely, not to mention working with China to build a new type of great power relations featuring mutual respect and win-win cooperation. This is why the U.S. rebalancing strategy in the Asia-Pacific region has sent too many negative signals. Read the Chinese version at: 不要人为打造“双重亚洲”, Source: People’s Daily, Author: Zhong Sheng

Chuck Hagel Must Answer Chinese Challenge to U.S. Space Dominance–Dean Cheng–Heritage Foundation - All of this raises important questions that should be posed to Chuck Hagel during hearings regarding his nomination for Secretary of Defense. How important is missile defense, given that other states, including China, are pursuing it? Where does he stand on space arms control, given Congressional limitations? And given China’s burgeoning military capabilities, how will he conduct the “pivot” to Asia in the face of sequestration and reduced defense resources?

U.S. Analysts See Opportunity if North Korea Tests Nuclear Bomb – NYTimes.com - The world is warning North Korea against going ahead with its third nuclear test, but inside the American intelligence community, some officials are quietly hoping it happens. A test could give them their first real view in years into whether the North has made significant progress toward a weapon that could threaten the United States or its allies.

Japan’s Leader Expresses Willingness to Meet Chinese Counterparts – NYTimes.com - “There might be a need to re-establish the relationship, starting with a summit,” Mr. Abe said on a television talk show late Tuesday, referring to the fraying of ties between Tokyo and Beijing over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. While he reiterated his position that there was “no room for negotiations” over Japan’s control of the islands, Mr. Abe said the two countries, which have Asia’s largest economies, should rebuild what he called a “strategic partnership of mutual benefit,” according to comments reported on Wednesday by Kyodo News

 

TECH AND MEDIA

If the Xbox Came to China, Would the Chinese Notice? – Businessweek - Niko Partners, a California-based consultancy focused on the Asian video game market, from about $10 million in 2001 to $9.4 billion in 2012. Lisa Cosmas Hanson, the company’s founder and managing partner, estimates there are now 30 million to 40 million people in China who spend more then 22 hours a week playing video games—she classifies them as “hard-core gamers.”…Hanson says she speaks regularly with officials from the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, which jointly oversee regulations pertinent to gaming in China, including the console import ban. Although rumors from time to time emerge that a change might be coming, she says, “Right now, I see no reason to suspect the ban will be lifted.”

China Deals Represent Half of DST Global’s Recent Investments – Venture Capital Dispatch – WSJ - CIC an LP?// As a result, the firm has managed to invest about $1.5 billion into China-based companies over the past four years, translating into around half the amount of capital it has invested worldwide, Partner John Lindfors told Venture Capital Dispatch.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

赵本山称不再演小品 揭秘退出春晚原因|春晚|赵本山|小品_影音娱乐_新浪网 - Zhao Benshan no longer to do short skits, explains why he pulled out of the CCTV Spring Gala Festival

人民日报-从春节习俗看古代中国人的思维方式 - 春节是中国人辞旧迎新、阖家团圆的节日,是中国最盛大、最重要、最热闹的节日,也是文化内涵最丰富的节日。中国人过春节有很多传统习俗,如放鞭炮、生旺火、挂灯笼、吃饺子等。这些习俗的形成有深厚的历史积淀,从中可以体会中华传统文化和一些基本理念,发现古代中国人的思维方式。

Chengdu – Making Art History - {Note: This is the first in an series of four articles on Chengdu’s art institutions. In this installment, we explore Lv Peng and his activities in the creative industry, highlighting Chengdu’s Contemporary Museum of Art. Lv Peng is a bridge between public and private, international as well as individual support for the arts.}

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

Chinese pollution drives purifier sales – FT.com - For those who can afford the purifiers, the toxic air has sent them running to buy such machines, leaving most vendors out of stock until the end of February. “We receive a shipment in the morning and by noon we’re sold out again,” said one agent for the popular IQ Air brand of air purifier, which retails for about Rmb14,000. “If you want to reserve one you will have to wait until at least after Chinese New Year [which begins on February 10 and lasts for a week].”

Beijing orders factory shutdown – Globaltimes.cn- Beijing environment authorities shut down 103 factories Tuesday, taken 30 percent of government cars off the roads and enacted a number of other citywide measures in an attempt to reduce the smog. The measures will last until Thursday, when the forecasts predict snow and windy weather will clear the air. The Air Quality Index (AQI), which measures PM2.5, has consistently registered levels of 300 to over 400 since Monday, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said on its website.

China’s Air Pollution Problem: Whose Responsibility? – China Real Time Report – WSJ- The China Daily did pay lip-service in the end to the notion that individual impacts on China’s pollution problem could be limited, quoting Zhou Rong, a climate and energy project manager at Greenpeace, as saying blame for China’s pollution problem lies elsewhere. “I agree that people should not drive and then complain about the bad air, but the major problem is still in the structure of the economy and energy consumption, which cannot be changed by ordinary people,” Ms. Zhou told the newspaper.

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