At a meeting over the weekend Xi Jinping unsurprisingly reiterated adherence to socialism with Chinese characteristics (Xinhua). His comments about not negating what came before 1978 may be significant (习近平发表震撼讲话 “撇开”江胡承续毛邓_Duowei), especially considering that since taking power Xi has made at least four public references to Mao Zedong (习近平拜邓捧毛 上任后四度提及毛泽东-Duowei).
From the Xinhua report:
Xi said China’s cause to develop socialism can be divided into two stages by the watershed decision of starting the reform and opening-up in the late 1970s. Although principles and policies as well as practice in the two stages were very different, they were not irrelevant nor contradicted with each other, he said.
Socialism with Chinese characteristics took shape after the country adopted reform and opening-up. However, it was also based on the socialist system established since 1949 and the following 20-plus years of socialist construction, he said.
People can not deny what was done before the reform and opening-up based on what happened after it and vice versa, he said.
Remember the speculation (Reuters) around the 18th Party Congress that the Communist Party under Xi might begin de-Maoification?
The blowup over censorship at Southern Weekend is escalating as staff strike, hundreds sign petition (South China Morning Post) and officials forced Southern Weekend staff to hand over microblog passwords (China News Network, and not that any more proof is needed that Weibo is a key front in the propaganda battlespace…). This is obviously a big test for Xi Jinping, and one in which we should probably expect him to come down on the side of stability and the propaganda authorities.
Calls for political reform seem to have coalesced around implementing the Constitution as written. Yanhuang Chunqiu calls for it in the latest issue (China Media Project) as does Hu Shuli’s latest Caixin editorial (舒立观察-新年再谈依宪治国_杂志频道_财新网). In early December Xi, speaking at a congress marking the 30th anniversary of the Constitution’s implementation, pledged to implement rule of law (Sina English) and stated that:
“We must firmly establish, throughout society, the authority of the Constitution and the law and allow the overwhelming masses to fully believe in the law,” Xi said.
“To fully implement the Constitution needs to be the sole task and the basic work in building a socialist nation ruled by law.”
Xi promised to end “empty talk”. Perhaps these calls to respect the Constitution are deemed safe and designed to test that pledge?
The new administration faces another challenge today as the city of Handan, population 9 million, has cut off its water supply after industrial chemicals leaked into river. Beijing has reacted quickly, announcing on the front page of today’s People’s Daily that the responsible managers have been removed from their jobs and 85% of those affected have had their water supply restored–人民日报-长治苯胺泄漏责任人撤职 受污染的邯郸主城区85%以上居民恢复供水.
Expect a lot more from this story and environmental issues in general in 2013.
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
China Voice: Ancient wisdom can help defuse “watergate” crisis – Xinhua | English.news.cn- Water can both carry and overturn a boat. The old words of wisdom by Emperor Li Shimin nearly 1,400 years ago still shed light today after concerns over water pollution and contamination gripped two Chinese cities. A chemical plant aniline leak in north China’s Shanxi Province contaminated a river and cut off water supplies to Handan City which lies on the river’s lower reaches. The contamination only came to light five days after the leak was discovered, triggering speculation of a cover-up. While it may take a few weeks to clean the river in Shanxi, as experts estimated, the 20 million residents in Beijing are waiting for a response from the government after the national capital was embarrassed by a media report that said inappropriate sewage discharge and garbage disposal led to the deteriorating quality of tap water.
China’s new ‘middle class’ environmental protests-China Dialogue– Most of the large cases of disorder seen in China over the last five years have been sparked by pollution issues. Liu Jianqiang asks why environmental protection has failed.
A report on mass incidents in China in 2012 | Danwei - The Legal Daily 法治日报 has published a summary of their ’2012 Mass Incident Research Report’ 2012年群体性事件研究报告, quantifying and analyzing ‘mass incidents’ in China – riots, civil unrest, and protests. The data sources and methodology behind the report are not made explicit in their introduction (which says the full report can be provided if you contact them; Danwei has not yet obtained a copy of the full report).
New U.S. Law Seeks Answers On Chinese Nuke Tunnels | Defense News | defensenews.com- The new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), signed by U.S. President Barack Obama on Jan. 2, orders the Commander of the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) to submit a report by Aug. 15 on the “underground tunnel network used by the People’s Republic of China with respect to the capability of the United States to use conventional and nuclear forces to neutralize such tunnels and what is stored within such tunnels.” A Georgetown University team led by Phillip Karber conducted a three-year study to map out China’s complex tunnel system, which stretches 3,000 miles.
Rolls-Royce accused of bribing a Chinese airline executive | Business | The Guardian- The latest allegations are contained in postings by a blogger operating under the pseudonym of “soaringdragon” and related to deals worth a total of $2bn (£1.25bn) with Air China in 2005 and China Eastern in 2010. They claim an executive who worked at both airlines, Chen Qin, accepted payments as an intermediary in those deals. Rolls-Royce revealed last month that the Serious Fraud Office had approached the company over allegations of malpractice in Indonesia and China
Blocked on Weibo – There are NOT millions of Twitter users in China: Supporting @ooof’s result and refuting GWI’s survey - Global Web Index report was utter BS..amazed anyone pays them for any data if this is representative of the poor quality of their work// According to the data I extracted, there are most likely tens of thousands of Twitter users in China, not millions as claimed by GWI, a result that confirms @ooof’s finding. The exact numbers @ooof and I come up with may differ, and only Twitter itself would be best able to reveal how many Chinese Twitter users there actually are, but our independent results are likely within an order of magnitude to the actual number of Twitter users in China, unlike GWI’s result which is about 2000 times greater than our calculations.
China Stock Rally May End Without Reform, Shanghai Alliance Says – Bloomberg - The new generation of Communist Party leaders headed by Xi Jinping needs to break the monopoly of government enterprises by introducing more competition and to ease financing for smaller companies to keep economic growth at about 7 percent to 8 percent over the next 10 years, Pang Yang, chief executive officer with the financial-service advisory unit of Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd., said in an interview at a Bloomberg hedge-fund forum in Shanghai on Jan. 5.
No End to Coldest China Winter in 28 Years, Forecaster Says – Bloomberg - Temperatures in Southern provinces including Guangdong will dip to as low as minus 5 degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) on Jan. 11 and 12, the China Meteorological Administration said in a statement yesterday. Provinces including Guizhou and Hunan may experience snowstorms, it said. The cold weather will prove challenging as the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday approaches, with icy rain and snow disrupting transportation, power supplies and electricity networks, the agency said.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
Beijing sees 7.6 pct housing price decrease in 2012 – Xinhua | English.news.cn- Beijing has seen an increase in the number of residential apartments sold in the city and witnessed a drop in prices for newly built homes in 2012, the Beijing Real Estate Association said on Sunday. The capital sold about 230,000 residential apartments, a 36.9 percent year-on-year increase, statistics released by the association said. The average price for newly built residential apartments was 20,700 yuan(about 3322 U.S. dollars) per square meter. The figure was a 7.6 percent year-on-year decrease from that in 2011
The Struggle to Get Grip on China’s Investments – WSJ.com- A commentary by state news agency Xinhua described TPP as “a blunt instrument to block India and China from equal access to key Pacific Rim markets.” Huang Huaguang, who heads the Chinese Communist Party’s international development research office, said flatly in an interview that “the objective of the TPP is to exclude China.” Robert Kimmitt, a longtime Washington lawyer who served as deputy Treasury secretary in the Bush administration, is quietly talking up an alternative: create a round of negotiations to deal specifically with the issues raised by state-owned firms. The talks would be patterned after the 2008 negotiations involving sovereign-wealth funds
Big Chinese property developers cement position — Shanghai Daily- MAJOR Chinese real estate developers consolidated their market leadership last year even as measures to curb housing speculation remained.Fifty-two developers sold properties worth more than 10 billion yuan (US$1.58 billion) in 2012, up from 37 in 2011 and 35 in 2010, the China Index Academy, a leading real estate research body, said in its latest report.
China moves to ensure funding for cheap housing | South China Morning Post- Local governments must ensure money is made available for cheap housing projects through budgetary spending, returns from land sales, and proceeds from local bond issuance, the Ministry of Finance said on Sunday. Local governments must provide cheap loans for companies involved in public housing projects by subsidising their interest payments, the ministry said in a circular published on its website.
China Forex Reserves, Postion for Forex Purchase Drop in Nov.-Caijing - China’s foreign exchange (forex) reserves dropped for a third time in November in 2012, according to the latest statistics released by the country’s central bank on its website. According to the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), foreign exchange reserves of China’s monetary authority dropped to 23.52 trillion yuan($3.78trillion) at the end of November, 2012, down 10.4billion yuan（$1.67billion）from a month ago, also the third fall in the year.
收入分配改革方案或在两会前出台 受阻三大群体_中国经营网_中国经营报 - now reports that the income distribution reform plan may be released before the march NPC/CPPCC meetings// 据官员透露，收入分配改革的方案已经基本成型。目前正在做进一步的修改和沟通。方案可能在今年全国两会前出台。
Use of student interns highlights China labor shortage | Reuters- using millions of teenagers? really?// As firms like Foxconn shift factories away from higher-cost centers in the Pearl River Delta in southern Guangdong province, they are discovering that workers in new locations across China are not as abundant as they had expected. That has prompted multinationals and their suppliers to use millions of teenage students from vocational and technical schools on assembly lines. The schools teach a variety of trades and include mandatory work experience, which in practice means students must accept work assignments to graduate.
POLITICS AND LAW
Official’s son’s wedding banquet touches netizens’ nerves – Xinhua | English.news.cn- The wedding banquet for the son of a senior justice official in central China has created quite a stir among a Chinese public growing increasingly intolerant of corruption. An online post claimed that more than 100 justice officials and 20 police vehicles were spotted at the wedding banquet for the son of Wang Qinsheng, the deputy director of the Hunan provincial bureau of justice, on Jan. 3. The post on tianya.cn, a popular online community, also claimed the 30-table banquet held at a five-star hotel was more like an imperial palace party and the official received 1 million yuan (160,500 U.S. dollars) stuffed in “hongbao” — red envelopes wedding guests use to give cash to the newlyweds.
媒体称邮储银行行长陶礼明已被正式逮捕_网易财经 - postal savings bank head officially arrested in december? “double detained” earlier in 2012// 网易财经1月6日讯 据最新一期的《财新新世纪周刊》刊文称，中国邮政储蓄银行行长陶礼明自2012年6月被“双规”之后终有下文，陶礼明已经于2012年12月底被正式批捕。
胡敏：维护宪政尊重民选是产生政府公信力的前提-财经网 - calls for political reform seem to be coalescing around just implementing the constitution//政府要赢得公信力，必须尊重宪政，尊重选民。一定意义上说，政府的公信力源泉就在于维护宪政前提下的执政合法性。这也是各国政府追求政治文明的殊途同归和不二选择。
New law presents case for defense|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn - A new law to further safeguard the rights of suspects in criminal cases will see an enhanced role for defense lawyers, a senior official said. The law, which came into force on Jan 1, aims to streamline litigation procedures and ensure the accused have greater legal representation. Courts across the country are seeing a rising number of criminal cases, but less than half of these cases have lawyers actually representing suspects, Du Chun, director of the department in charge of lawyers under the Ministry of Justice, told China Daily.
China Academics Urge Propaganda Official to Quit – WSJ.com- An open letter signed by prominent academics added to pressure on a top propaganda official in southern China to resign over allegations that he unjustifiably censored a major newspaper’s editorial, in an early test of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s views on media freedom. The letter calling for Guangdong province propaganda chief Tuo Zhen to step down argues that the controversy, if left unresolved, will challenge Guangdong’s status as the trailblazer of Chinese economic reform and opening to the world. Zhang Ming, a political scientist at Renmin University in Beijing, was among the letter’s two-dozen signatories, and confirmed its authenticity when reached Sunday.
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
US urged to relax satellite export restrictions|Americas|chinadaily.com.cn - The Ministry of Commerce expressed concern after the United States kept a tight rein on the export of satellites and related items to China, and a senior China-US trade expert urged Washington to drop its Cold War mindset and lift the barriers to benefit both countries. The responses came after US President Barack Obama signed on Thursday the National Defense Authorization Act of the 2013 fiscal year. The authorization act includes provisions that relax export restrictions but continue to ban the export, re-export or transfer of satellites to China, as well as the launching of US satellites in Chinese territory.
Four generals promoted in key military command area of Jinan | South China Morning Post- The People’s Liberation Army’s Jinan Military Command has seen a new round of reshuffling, with the appointments of four generals to top-brass positions in the military region responsible for Shandong and Henan provinces. Major-General Chen Zhaohai, formerly the head of military training for the PLA’s Headquarters of General Staff, was named the deputy commander for the Jinan command, succeeding retiring Lieutenant-General Feng Shaoju , according to Century Weekly magazine’s online news portal.
Survey: Two-Thirds Chinese Say No to Japanese Products after Land Dispute -Caijing - tourism part i believe, purchases i do not// Two-thirds of Chinese said “no” to Japanese products months after the Japanese government’s purchase of a disputed island which led to continuing tensions between the two countries, a Kyodo News online survey showed. About 66% respondents said they would not buy Japanese products while 67% said they would refrain from going to Japan for tourism, according to the survey Kyodo conducted on 1000 Chinese aged above 20.
China Asks Publishing Groups to Compete Globally, Xinhua Says – Bloomberg - Regulators will help the country’s leading publishers to enter the global market and “expand the influence of Chinese culture,” Xinhua reported yesterday, citing Jiang Jianguo, deputy director of the General Administration of Press and Publication. Chinese media companies should “participate in global competition by setting up branches and publications overseas through share-buying and other methods,” Jiang said.
TECH AND MEDIA
MIIT: China’s Internet User Base to Hit 800 Mln by 2015 | Marbridge Consulting – China Internet News - China’s internet user base will reach 800 mln in 2015, according to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT). As explained by MIIT minister Miao Wei, as the MIIT speeds up its “Broadband China” project and strengthens broadband construction in China, the number of internet users in the country will continue to increase rapidly.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
Chemicals contaminate N China river – Xinhua | English.news.cn - Nearly 9 tonnes of aniline leaked by the chemical plant in Shanxi have ended up in the Zhuozhang River, affecting a downstream city in neighboring Hebei Province, local authorities said on Jan. 6. A statement from the municipal government of Changzhi said the leak has not resulted in any casualties so far, adding that the river’s water quality has been recovering. Concentrations of aniline in the river have decreased to 2.15 mg per liter from the previous level of 72 mg per liter, according to data from a monitoring station on the river. However, the concentration should be less than 0.1 mg per liter, according to national standards. The leak was discovered on the morning of Dec. 31, 2012, when plant employees of the Tianji Coal Chemical Industry Group spotted aniline leaking from a broken pipe while conducting a routine check, a company spokesman said
China to boost biotech industry – Xinhua | English.news.cn- The Chinese government will give a boost to the biotechnology industry in order to tackle problems related to population growth, food safety, energy conservation and environmental protection, the State Council said Sunday.The government aims to double the share of GDP that the sector’s value-added output accounts for by 2015 from the 2010 level, according to a biotech industry development plan unveiled by the State Council, or China’s cabinet.
Two Women Die From H1N1 Virus in Chinese Capital: Beijing News – Bloomberg - The number of flu cases in China’s capital is at its highest level since 2008, according to the article, which was posted on the website of the Beijing Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention. The pandemic H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, was the most common strain, it said. A 22-year-old woman developed symptoms on Dec. 25 and passed away shortly after. The second patient, a 65-year-old woman in the late stages of cancer, died on Jan. 4, Beijing News reported.
FOOD AND TRAVEL
China prepares for Spring Festival travelers – Xinhua Train stations are instituting seasonal measures on Monday to cope with large numbers of travelers during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday. Starting from Monday, passengers will be able to buy train tickets up to 20 days ahead of their preferred departure time, lengthening the amount of time from 12 days.