Xi Jinping is making clear that the corruption crackdown will continue. He received a CDIC report at the recent Politburo meeting (China Daily) and reportedly said that (Duowei Chinese) “some cadres, and especially high-level cadres, have seriously violated discipline and the law (“个别领导干部特别是高级干部严重违纪违法”).
On Wednesday Xinhua wrote in 对“半拉子”调查 监督不能“烂尾” that the corruption investigations spurred by online exposes can not be allowed to just fade away with no resolution, while today’s People’s Daily says the new Internet law will not harm netizens’ freedom of speech or impact the internet anti-corruption campaign (人民日报-社会各界热议网络信息保护决定 不损害网民言论自由 不影响网络反腐效果 ). Online exposes continue, as noted in the “Politics and Law” section below.
If you are a corrupt official your New Year may be a bit nerve-wracking…
Elizabeth Lynch has a great post on Vendetta as Diplomacy – China Fails to Renew NY Times Reporter’s Visa at the China Law & Policy blog:
This would not be the first time the Chinese government has used the visa process to punish foreign journalist. In the past year, visa renewal troubles have become an increasing problem for foreign reports in China. In July, China Law & Policy ran a three-part series on this problem (Part 1 here; Part 2 here; Part 3 here), noting that in 2012 a third of members surveyed by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China had difficulty renewing visas. The majority of those journalists believed – or in some cases were told – that their difficulty was a result of specific reporting…
Things are only getting worse for foreign reporters and as a result, for the Chinese public. In Melissa Chan’s case, the State Department, through a press person, just said that it was “disappointed” with what happened. If ever you wanted to give the Chinese government a signal to continue to harass foreign reporters, such a tepid response was likely it. As a result, it’s vital that a high-up official at the State Department publicly comment on what is happening to Buckley, Pan and countless other foreign reporters in China. It’s time the U.S. government to publicly articulate one of our key values – that a free press, here a free foreign press, is an important human rights issue.
Reciprocity, as some have suggested, by pulling/delaying some US visas for Chinese state media news workers goes against fundamental US values, but something needs to change.
Netease News is the edgiest of China’s Internet portal news sites. It has redesigned for 2013 and this video introducing the new site is quite remarkable–2013 网易首页新改版 态度依然. Kudos to Netease for pushing the envelope, and to Billionaire CEO William Ding for having the courage to allow Netease News some latitude.
To deal with the growing link overload I am testing a new section called “The Essential Eight” that highlights the top eight stories after the daily commentary. As the the number of subscribers increases (6200 and climbing by the day) I am struggling to balance having a depth of links for some of the more specialized subscribers with ease of use for those of you who want a shorter, cleaner overview of what is going on. I have also added a new “Jobs And Events” section. Feedback and suggestions are welcome, and in fact needed.
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
Hainan’s New Maritime Regulations: An Update-The Diplomat-Taylor Fravel–Now that the regulations have entered into force, the full-text has been released…according to the Hainan government, the regulations were revised to address increased smuggling, theft and other types of illegal activities at sea. The complete text of the new regulations confirm my preliminary analysis; China is unlikely to significantly increase efforts to interfere with freedom of navigation, including expelling or seizing foreign vessels.
Doubts cast on story of cash stash in Wen Qiang’s fish pond | South China Morning Post - In the fourth and final part of our Revisiting Chongqing series, doubt is cast on charges that saw ex-police chief Wen Qiang executed…Since then, several people, including former police officers, have come forward to challenge the fish pond story, saying it was simply fabricated by Wang to incriminate Wen and help consolidate Bo’s grip on power.”Wen had nothing to do with it,” said one Chongqing businessman familiar with the case. “The money was actually borrowed from a local business just a day before Wang invited the media to see the so-called evidence.”
Beijing land prices soar amid criticism – FT.com - Land prices have soared at recent auctions in Beijing in a sign that the Chinese property market is heating up again despite a long campaign by the government to cool it down.A large parcel of land in Tongzhou, a Beijing suburb, sold this week for Rmb1bn ($160m), 491 per cent more than the starting price – the highest premium paid at an auction in the capital in two years.//Tongzhou New City a real project, Beijing city government supposed to move out there, prices way off 2010 peak
Commentary: Over the “cliff,” the real devil is “fiscal abyss” – Xinhua | English.news.cn- In a democracy like the United States, tax increases and spending cuts, the exact dose of medicine needed to cure its chronic debt disease, have long proved hugely unpopular among voters. So the politicians have chosen to kick the can down the road again and again. But as we all know, the can will never disappear. Sometime and somewhere, you might trip over it and fall hard on the ground, or in the U.S. case, into an abyss you can never come out of.
Wanda Group ventures onto the global stage–China Daily- Tycoon Wang Jianlin is moving fast, both in the United States and Beijing, to build a multifunctional conglomerate featuring film and TV, theater and theme parks, Liu Wei reports.Eighty billion yuan ($12.8 billion): That’s the annual revenue Wang Jianlin, chairman of China’s Wanda Group, expects from his cultural business in the near future. On Dec 1, Wang announced the establishment of the Beijing Wanda Culture Industry Group, a branch of Wanda Group. With registered capital of 5 billion yuan and total assets of 31 billion yuan, the company is China’s largest cultural enterprise. The group has 11 companies, involved in nine fields, including Wanda Cinema Line, AMC Theatres — which it acquired in the US by September — Wanda Film & TV Media Co, Wanda Theme Park Co, Wanda Gallery and Popular Cinema, a film magazine.
李承鹏的微博 新浪微博-随时随地分享身边的新鲜事儿 - Li Chengpeng Weibo on the increasingly squeezed and struggling “middle class” as something to watch in 2013// 2013关注中产阶级：他有车有房，仍在按揭路上苦逼彷徨，他子女读书，天天担心小升初。他有些存款却远没挣够养老钱，他偶携家出游不过丽江五日游。每逢灾难冲到前，屌丝受气他声援。可他被山顶当穷人被山脚当富人，每逢运动利益集团屹立不动，最后必割到他肉痛。中国哪有中产阶级，不过高配版屌丝阶级。
A consensus for political reform – China Media Project- Yanhuang Chunqiu, a political journal associated with more liberal, pro-reform elements within the Chinese Communist Party, has published a bold and important “New Year Greeting” in its latest edition. The article, called “The Constitution is a Consensus for Political Reform,” argues that China’s Constitution already lays out the priorities to be addressed in carrying out meaningful political reform.The article is listed on the online Table of Contents of the January issue, but an image of the issue’s cover issue is not yet available on the journal’s website.
China’s motorways: Get your kicks on Route G6 | The Economist - James Miles gets a dream assignment// China is building a motorway across the Tibetan plateau. For some, reaching Lhasa by road is the ultimate dream
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
December Rally Can’t Hide China Market’s Problems – WSJ.com - But the December rally can’t hide all of the Shanghai market’s problems. It remains one of the worst-performing global benchmarks in a year when the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index rose 13% and U.K. stocks climbed 5.8%. It underperformed Hong Kong’s China-focused Hang Seng Index, which gained 23% in 2012.
Tycoon angers netizens by posting sensitive information on Weibo | South China Morning Post- Disgruntled investors in China have written a 3000-word letter to the China Securities Regulatory Commission, reporting inappropriate Weibo posts by Pan Shiyi, China’s Finance and Investment newspaper reported on Tuesday.Popular micro-blogger Pan Shiyi is accused of posting sensitive information on certain listed companies on Weibo. His posts help cause the companies’ stock prices to fluctuate, some by as much as 8 per cent, the report said.
Macau Casino Growth Beats Analyst Estimates on Promotions – Bloomberg - Macau casino revenue rose 20 percent to a record last month, beating analyst estimates, as Christmas promotions drew more holiday-makers to the world’s biggest gambling hub.
Molycorp Deal Seen as Rare-Earth Play at Value: Real M&A – Bloomberg - looking more and more like a pump and dump that got lucky with China’s attempts to use rare earths as economic weapon…but better lucky than smart…how much did Goldman make on this investment?//The owner of the biggest U.S. deposit of metals that go into everything from smartphones to solar panels and hybrid cars handed investors losses of 61 percent in 2012 amid a slump in rare-earth prices, cost overruns at its California mine, a regulatory probe and the departure of its chief executive officer. Even after the shares rebounded from a record low in November, Molycorp is trading at a 19 percent discount to its book value, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Zaha Hadid Vs. The Architecture Pirates | Fast Company - Superstar architect Zaha Hadid is facing a unique, if somewhat flattering, challenge: Contractor pirates copying one of her new, under-construction buildings. Hadid’s Wangjing SOHO complex in Beijing (pictured) was scheduled for a 2014 opening; however, rogue developers in the city of Chongqing are building an illegal copy of Wangjing SOHO called Meiquan 22nd Century, which will replicate the complex, without compensation, in the inland Chinese city.
The inspection cliff | China Accounting Blog | Paul Gillis - Undaunted by my failure to accurately predict the inspection cliff, I estimate about a 40% chance that there will be an inspection deal in the next two months, and a 60% chance that the PCAOB will have to propose deregistration. Even if deregistration is proposed, there is probably at least a year left for diplomacy to work before Chinese companies listed in the U.S. face delisting.
Chinese Fly Cash West, by the Suitcase – WSJ.com- It isn’t unusual for new immigrants from China to bring $100,000 to $200,000 in cash, said Sam Peng, the Vancouver-based president of the Canada Chinese Investors and Entrepreneurs Association, a nonprofit that matches Chinese investors to Canadian financial advisers. “It happens every day in Canada,” he said.
POLITICS AND LAW
人民日报-深化改革，不失时机（昂首迈入落实十八大精神开局之年·今日谈） - new People’s Daily series on deepening refoms, to start the new year?
The Emperors, No Clothes: a Party fable? – China Media Project- Perhaps China’s new top leaders are serious about political reform — the only thing that can ensure real openness and accountability, and deal effectively with corruption. Xi Jinping has showered us with apparent surprises, with changes of tone and style. And who can say with certainty that more substantial surprises aren’t in the works.But until then, I suppose, we can only savor the paltry “details.” And enjoy the emperor’s parade.
新华调查：三问山西中南铁路南吕梁山隧道事故瞒报 – 地方联播 – 新华网 - Xinhua investigating the shanxi rail tunnel explosion coverup, making a big deal about it// 2013年1月1日晚，在山西省临汾市第四人民医院，张忠英（右）给在事故中受伤的丈夫赵德君喂饭。 2012年12月31日，山西省安委会通报了发生在山西中南铁路南吕梁山隧道一起造成8死5伤的爆炸事故。这起被严重瞒报的责任事故是如何被瞒报的、是否还有漏报以及如何追究瞒报责任等问题成为社会关注的焦点。
山西8死5伤隧道爆炸事故调查：网传有60人伤亡_新闻_腾讯网 - official release says 8 dead in shanxi tunnel explosion, investigating a cover up of the accident// 新华网太原1月2日专电（记者 梁晓飞）2012年12月31日，山西省安委会通报了发生在山西中南铁路南吕梁山隧道一起造成8死5伤的爆炸事故。这起被严重瞒报的责任事故是如何被瞒报的、是否还有漏报以及如何追究瞒报责任等问题成为社会关注的焦点。
网传山西隧道爆炸事故有60人伤亡_网易新闻中心 - did 60 workers die in rail tunnel explosion in shanxi, as claimed online? xinhua is on the case, interviews an injured worker who says 60 is not possible as there were not that many workers on site that day…//核心提示：近日，网传山西蒲县隧道爆炸事故漏报“60人伤亡”，伤者之一唐福对此表示，尽管他也不清楚确切的伤亡数字，但他个人认为网上所传漏报数字不实，“当时隧道里也就十多个人在施工。”而事故当天当地县医院急诊纪录为空，即没有收治事故伤亡者。
中共官媒狠批反腐“烂尾”回应多维追问_多维新闻网 - 【多维新闻】刚刚过去的2012年，在媒体和公众的合力之下，不少贪官落马。然而，仍有不少舆论热点的反腐事件有成为“半拉子工程”的倾向。北京时间2013年1月2日，中共官媒新华社同步官网新华网发表题为《对个别高官反腐调查疑“烂尾”》的文章，直言不讳地指出，在网络反腐的强大震慑下，许多地方、部门能够迅速回应并处理。那些级别较低、腐败性质严重的干部很快就有了调查处理结果，而个别级别较高或者身份“特殊”的官员，却有成为“烂尾工程”的嫌疑。而在官媒发表此文之前，多维新闻曾独家发布《舆论监督“刑不上大夫” 习李反腐难显诚意》的文章。所以，官媒此文亦是对多维“追问”的变相回应。
网曝云南彝良县委书记选调年轻女性陪酒_网易新闻中心- online allegations that yilian, yunnan county secretary had pretty women assigned to him as drinking partners, bought expensive cars. //【解说】12月30日，网络上出现一篇名为《中国最牛的县委书记》的帖子，称云南彝良县委书记曹阜忠大量购买超标车，选调年轻女性到县委办陪其喝酒，和矿老板赌球等事，引起网友关注。12月31日，记者联系上当事人曹阜忠，曹阜忠称该事件正在调查。
中石化女处长称“牛郎门”系恶意捏造_网易新闻中心- A Wuhan sinopec exec/official denies online claims of corruption in a project…//中新网1月3日电 针对近日网曝中石化一位女处长在中石化武汉乙烯项目中存在“暗箱操作”一事，中新网记者通过有关方面，辗转联系到了该位女处长，她对此回应称，有关网贴内容系故意捏造，已向北京市公安机关报案。 据其称，个别人利用互联网恶意捏造和炒作涉及个人相关情况，其本人已主动向组织说明情况，并请求组织进行调查。同时就相关网贴内容故意捏造荒唐故事，恶意诽谤个人名誉，已向北京市公安机关报案。
China’s Great Famine: the true story | World news | The Guardian The famine that killed up to 45 million people remains a taboo subject in China 50 years on. Author Yang Jisheng is determined to change that with his book, Tombstone
Let Them Eat Grass – By Murong Xuecun | Foreign Policy- For the past six decades, the Chinese people have been living in an obscurantist system that is designed to make people stupid, foster mutual hatred, and degrade their ability to think critically and understand the world. This ignorance is not the product of inferior intelligence — the system is itself an impediment to knowledge. This viciousness does not arise because the Chinese are inherently evil — the system encourages ruthlessness and vindictiveness. The so-called model soldier Lei Feng, supposed to be a paradigm of Communist virtue, articulated the party line in 1961: “We must be ruthless to our enemies, more heartless than the most severe winter.”
The Disappeared – By Frank Dikötter | Foreign Policy - Even the Soviet Union eventually acknowledged Stalin’s Great Famine. Why does China still hide evidence of its own mass starvation under Mao//no mention of Yang Jisheng’s work…
Propaganda from China’s Great Famine – An FP Slide Show | Foreign Policy - The posters and slogans that praised bumper crops as millions of Chinese starved.
Chinese Posters - Stefan Landsberger’s great collection of Chinese propaganda posters, online and searchable
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
CHINASCOPE – Xinhua Foresees a Big Leap in China’s Military Power over the Next 10 Years - On December 28, 2012, Xinhua published an article (未来十年中国军力发展和面临的紧迫安全威胁 – 新华国际 – 新华网) predicting a big leap in China’s military power over the next 10 years. By 2020, China’s Beidou satellite navigation system, as one of the world’s four major satellite navigation systems, will completely cover the world. Large quantities of modernized conventional weapons such as aircraft carriers, fighters, and missiles will be made in China. China’s new anti-ship missiles can accurately hit U.S. aircraft carriers that are thousands of kilometers away. China’s Second Artillery Corps Electronic Warfare troops have a powerful self-protection ability; they can hide from the U.S. and Japan’s radio monitoring systems through electronic deception.
US threatens China’s maritime rights, say experts – Globaltimes.cn- Though US has no direct maritime territory disputes with China, it is seriously threatening China’s marine rights especially over the South China Sea, the Diaoyu Islands and Taiwan, experts said at a forum on China marine rights held by the news magazine Motherland under China Federation of Patriotic Projects over weekend. The US has continuously threatened China’s maritime rights in more than 100 years and restricted China with their military alliance, said Major General Wu Guifu, also a former deputy chief of the research department at the National University of Defense Technology, at the forum.
祖国网2011新版-祖国杂志社唯一官方网站 - news magazine Motherland under China Federation of Patriotic Projects
China’s Maritime Surveillance Fleet Adds Muscle- Since 2000 a total of 13 new vessels have joined the CMS fleets. These have aimed for greater displacement, ostensibly in recognition of the somewhat larger vessels operated by the Japanese Coast Guard. The current (12th) five-year plan calls for the addition of 36 new marine surveillance ships in the 600-, 1,000- and 1,500-tonne category by 2015. The Fisheries Law Enforcement Command, whose ships have operated near the Spratly and Paracel islands in the South China Sea and near the Senkakus, is also known to have integrated decommissioned warships into its fleet in recent years.
中国空军多架战机降落民航机场为加注油料_网易新闻中心 - 深冬，数架空军战机降落在西北某民航机场，经快速加油补给后又一飞冲天。在现场的空军后勤部军需物资油料部部长龚振告诉记者：“这里正在进行一场军民融合油料互供联保实兵演习。这些战机刚刚完成空中拦截任务，因油料不足无法返回空军机场，便按指令就近在民航机场进行油料补给。
China Military Implements ‘No Drinking’ Order, Army Daily Says – Bloomberg China’s military leaders have been ordered to ban alcohol consumption during official visits to their subordinates, the People’s Liberation Army Daily said in a commentary titled Not Drinking Won’t Hurt Feelings (军报言论：不喝酒并不伤感情). The order is in line with the so-called 10 Regulations on Work Style ordered by the Central Military Commission, said the commentary, which was also posted on the website of the Ministry of Defense. As the country celebrates New Year holidays, the decision to drink or not is a test of the effort to improve practices by officials at all levels, the commentary said.
HONG KONG AND TAIWAN
Hong Kong real estate investors pursue parking spaces – latimes.com hope this happens in beijing cbd..//The hottest properties in this frenetic city have no walls, windows or even front doors. Forget condos, apartments and homes.Real estate investors are scrambling for parking spaces.
TECH AND MEDIA
[视频]网络运行必依法 配套规章待完善_新闻频道_央视网 - 1.2 CCTV Evening News finds supporters of the new Internet law// 央视网消息(新闻联播)：近日开始施行的《关于加强网络信息保护的决定》一直是人们热议的话题，网民们认为这个决定是对民众呼唤网络信息规范化的务实回应，希望相关的规章措施尽快完善，让虚拟空间在法律轨道上有序运行。
Conquring WeChat – Effective B2C Communications - Want to know more about WeChat? This exciting new platform is allowing marketers to reach their audiences with even more precision and interest.
China’s Most Notorious Pirate Search Engine Finally Shuts Down run by Xunlei// It was just a few weeks ago that Gougou.com, China’s most notorious pirate content search engine, was added to the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) report on major copyright offenders. And now the service has finally shut down.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
The 30-Minute Interview – Li Chung Pei – NYTimes.com - Mr. Pei, 63, is a founding partner, along with his brother Chien Chung Pei, of Pei Partnership Architects. The firm, based in New York, has been involved in a wide range of projects worldwide. Before starting the firm in 1992, Mr. Pei, who goes by the name Sandi, had worked at his father’s firm, I. M. Pei & Partners….
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
China nat’l tobacco control legislation – Xinhua | English.news.cn- It is “quite necessary” to enact laws to control the dangers of smoking, says the report adopted at last Friday’s closing session of a bimonthly meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, adding that such laws should be included in future legislation work plans after proper preparation. China is the world’s largest tobacco-producing and -consuming country, with more than 300 million smokers and another 740 million people exposed to second-hand smoke, according to official statistics released in May.
Oil field produces 40 mln tonnes for 10th year – Xinhua | English.news.cn- PetroChina Daqing Oilfield, a subsidiary of PetroChina, produced 40 million tonnes of crude oil in 2012, the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) said.This is the tenth consecutive year for the country’s largest oil field to yield more than 40 million tonnes of crude oil, according to the CNPC, the parent of public-listed PetroChina. Previously, the oil field had seen annual output exceed 50 million tonnes, but output shrank due to harder operations in oil exploitation, according to the CNPC, the country’s largest oil producer and supplier.
FOOD AND TRAVEL
Every dog has its day for dinner|chinadaily.com.cn- CCSweets should look at this market// Serving their pets with specially made food is an increasingly popular trend among young owners, Yu Ran reports from Shanghai. Humans no longer have the exclusive right to dress up in fancy clothes and share birthday cakes with their nearest and dearest.
Beijing gripped in cold snap |Society |chinadaily.com.cn- Beijing gripped in a cold snap is experiencing one of the coldest New Year periods in the local meteorological history, according to the municipal observatory on Wednesday. The observatory issued the yellow low-temperature weather alert on Tuesday afternoon. The warning is second only to red alert.
JOBS AND EVENTS
ChinaFile Launch: Covering China Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow | New York | Asia Society - February 5 2013 in NYC. I am on the advisory board, will be a contributor but can not make the launch// Reporting on the fast-changing land that is China has long been an adventure and a challenge. To celebrate the launch of Asia Society’s new online magazine, ChinaFile, join us for a discussion with The New York Times about reporting from China in the three and a half decades since the country’s leaders allowed American journalists to return to Beijing.The panel will be moderated by Arthur Ross Director of Asia Society’s Center on U.S.-China Relations, Orville Schell, and guests will be five current and former Beijing-based New York Times China correspondents: Fox Butterfield (1979-1981), Nicholas Kristof (1988-1993), Elisabeth Rosenthal (1997-2003), Joseph Kahn (2003-2007) and Edward Wong (2008-present).
Redefining the Quote: Using the Social Web to Gauge Grassroots Sentiment in China | Berkman Center - In what ways is the Chinese Internet a better source for grassroots Chinese sentiment than traditional quotes and sources? In what ways is it worse? More broadly, what best practices can and should journalists use when mining social media for sentiment?…David Wertime is the co-founder and co-editor of Tea Leaf Nation
APSA NY-Beijing Dance Initiative | Indiegogo- I donated, it is a good initiative// Americans Promoting Study Abroad (APSA) NY/Beijing Dance Initiative needs financial support to send 8-10 NYC public high school dance majors to Beijing, China to interact and collaborate with their Chinese counterparts to creatively develop a joint dance piece. The APSA NY/Beijing Dance Initiative is a profound learning experience culturally, professionally, creatively and globally for young high school students. American and Chinese students will take ballet and modern dance classes together, live in the same environment, and learn how to work with one another.
Fellow/Senior Fellow, Asia-Pacific Security | Center for a New American Security - The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) seeks to hire a dynamic Fellow/Senior Fellow focused on security in the Asia-Pacific region. He or she will contribute to CNAS’ Asia-Pacific Security Program, which focuses on the burgeoning military modernization and growing integration of the region as global power shifts from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The position requires significant policy analysis, extensive writing for publication, project management and interaction with high-level domestic and international military and government officials, business leaders and the media. Expected start date is spring 2013.