The Sinocism China Newsletter For 01.23.13

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My latest China Insider column for Dealbook looks at the recent economic data, Caterpillar’s China con and the worsening tensions over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands:

China’s new leadership is clearly feeling pressure, and it is tempting to conclude that the increasingly dangerous dispute between China and Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands is driven in part by Beijing’s need to distract its populace from problems at home. The risks of a conflict, however, are immense for Beijing’s leaders. If China were to fight and lose any clash with the Japanese, the Communist Party could face an immediate and terminal legitimacy crisis…

As the politicians talk, growing numbers of ships and aircraft are maneuvering in a relatively small area around the islands, significantly heightening the risk of accidents. A collision in 2001 involving a Chinese fighter jet and an American spy plane over the South China Sea resulted in the death of a Chinese pilot, and several days’ detention for the American crew and the loss of American equipment. The crisis ended peacefully after Washington sent expressions of regret that Beijing trumpeted in domestic media as an apology.

It is hard to believe that a similar mishap involving the Chinese and Japanese would end so quickly or peacefully. China’s relentless media campaign since the summer, the anti-Japanese teachings so prevalent in the Chinese education system and the imperative of any new leadership to not look weak, especially toward the Japanese, could mean that if an accident did occur, especially one that resulted in the death of a Chinese citizen, Beijing might have so painted itself into a corner that it would have respond with force…

commentary in the official Chinese news agency Xinhua on Inauguration Day declared that “Obama could build a legacy by boosting trust with China.” Xinhua’s suggestions may be difficult for President Obama to accept, but his handling of the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands crisis and the overall relationship with China in his second term will likely define a significant part of his foreign policy legacy.

Quartz has published the confidential list of attendees to this year’s Davos World Economic Forum. The list of attendees from China (search “China”) includes some of the usual suspects but surprisingly no one from Baidu or Tencent, two of the ten largest Internet firms in the world. Can you imagine Google or Facebook not having a Davos presence?

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Apple Trailing China’s Coolpad Shows Need for Cheap IPhone: Tech – Bloomberg - Apple had crazy success with relatively little effort in China, may now be far behind smartphone market trends here// Apple Inc. (AAPL) is being outsold in China, the world’s largest handset market, by a company less than 1 percent its size, highlighting how the lack of low-cost products limits the iPhone-maker in emerging nations. China Wireless Technologies Ltd. (2369) is one of four domestic suppliers outselling Apple in China with smartphones tailored to the budget of the nation’s budding middle class. Its Coolpad 8060 retails for 619 yuan — or just under $100 — less than 20 percent the price of the cheapest iPhone.

The weibo generation can reboot China – FT.com Opinion Michael Anti and Jonas Parello-Plesner// “Wei-governance” is a recent buzzword with government agencies as well as Chinese deputies communicating on weibo. At a recent meeting in Beijing, the exhortation was for all propaganda workers to join weibo and post on it. Cai Qi, local Communist party grandee in Zheijiang, has laid out the government’s strategy as “controlling weibo while using it, and facilitating control by using it”.China proclaims what one observer calls “internet with Chinese characteristics”. But inside the Great Firewall, even with restrictions on social media, the weibo generation’s movers and shakers have swelled, creating a battle for public opinion.

China’s Intelligence Reforms? Petter Mattis-The Diplomat- What is remarkable about the recent rumors is that they include changing the Ministry of State Security (MSS), China’s civilian internal and external intelligence service that is more akin to the KGB than the CIA. The MSS supposedly would become the State Security Administration (guojia anquan zongju), reporting directly to the State Council and presumably not to the Political-Legal Committee, now officially headed by Meng Jianzhu. If true, these rumors present a significant change to China’s domestic intelligence and preserving stability apparatus. Not only would this reform dilute the power of the Central Political-Legal Committee by cutting out the MSS, but it also would give the senior-most leaders an alternate source of domestic intelligence.//imagine if they were unleashed in anti-corruption efforts…

Rolexes Pawned in Macau Signal Further Gains for Casinos – Bloomberg - “Unofficial funding channels, such as pawnshops, are likely to gain more importance as the casinos are keen to attract more premium-mass gamblers,” said Gabriel Chan, an analyst in Hong Kong for the Zurich-based bank. To skirt the cap on yuan they can take out of China, gamblers buy expensive goods from pawnshops using debit cards and trade them in for cash at the same store, he said.

如何理解资本项目可兑换_杂志频道_财新网 - PBOC head Zhou Xiaochuan essay in Caixin on how to understand capital account convertibility

Fate of the world rests with Sino-US ties – Globaltimes.cn- The two countries have already come to a crossroads: to expand contact to build a future bilateral relationship, or let strategic suspicion develop toward hostility. The US is a world hegemony while China is gradually developing a global strategic role. The next four years will be important in terms of deciding whether there will be more peace or more tension in the Sino-US relationship. The gap between the strength of China and the US will narrow. Previous experiences in international politics will be viewed as realistic reasons to exacerbate tensions between the two sides. This is a dangerous era.

Ex-bank chief ‘held 4 hukou to buy property’ |chinadaily.com.cnthis case getting huge play in chinese media..deep tentacles of corruption…who sold her the beijing hukou?// Gong Aiai, 49, a former deputy chief of Shenmu Rural Commercial Bank, was exposed in an online post on Jan 17 that said she used two identity cards, one of them fake, to buy expensive properties. Identity cards are issued on the basis of hukou. News media have reported that she owns more than 20 properties in Beijing, worth 1 billion yuan ($160 million). On Monday, a whistleblower told Beijing Times that Gong had four IDs and four hukou, including one near the Olympic Park in Beijing, the newspaper reported on Tuesday.

江泽民同志向中央请求在党和国家领导人的礼宾排名顺序中将自己同其他老同志排在一起 – 高层动态 – 新华网 - Xinhua confirms what Duowei reported weeks ago, that Jiang Zemin had requested he be treated the same as other retired leaders in ceremonial protocol//  新华网北京1月22日电 记者从有关方面获悉,党的十八大后,江泽民同志向中央请求,今后在党和国家领导人的礼宾排名顺序中将自己同其他老同志排在一起,这体现了一名共产党人的高风亮节和宽广胸怀。

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Chinese Official Warns Risks of Rising Local Govnt Financing Platform Loans -Caijing - A senior Chinese official recently urged a careful watch on risks of local financing platform companies in attempt to cool down speculations as China’s speeding up infrastructure investment in a weaker economy. Orient Securities forecast that the country’s local financing platform loans is likely to top 12.77trillion yuan in 2013, up 12% from a year earlier. Risks in local financing platform companies should be specially watched, said Huang Shuhe, deputy director of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC)of the State Council at a closed-door meeting.

Acute Fragility In China’s Credit System – Business Insider - With the economy beginning to recover and property prices picking, credit growth is accelerating once again.  But Chancellor and Monnelly argue that there are still at least 10 indicators of “acute financial fragility” in China’s credit system. Here they are verbatim// the report: Feeding the Dragon: Why China’s Credit System Looks Vulnerable — Edward Chancellor and Mike Monnelly–GMO PDF -

Economic downshift bites into China’s 2012 fiscal revenues – Xinhua | English.news.cn- China’s fiscal revenue growth slowed sharply in 2012 due to an economic downshift and tax breaks, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Tuesday. National fiscal revenues rose 12.8 percent year on year to 11.7 trillion yuan (1.9 trillion U.S. dollars), with the growth rate dropping 12.2 percentage points from a year earlier, the MOF said in a statement. The ministry attributed the slowdown to a softening economy, weakening corporate profits, milder inflation and structural tax breaks.

China Aims to Create Electronics Giants | DJ via Fox Business- China’s industry ministry Tuesday set an aggressive goal of forging global giants in the electronics sector within the next two years through mergers and alliances and reiterated a long-standing push for Chinese companies to explore overseas acquisitions. The target for the electronics sector is part of a wider plan to consolidate China’s fragmented major industries, including steel, shipping, automotives, cement and aluminum. Overcapacity in heavy industries has been blamed for amplifying a sharp slowdown in growth in the past two years.

China says top 10 steel mills to control 60 percent of capacity by 2015 | Reuters   The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced on Tuesday it would encourage big state firms to acquire smaller rivals in a variety of industrial sectors, including automobile and machinery manufacturing as well as agriculture, metals and cement.  It said it would also seek to bring 90 percent of automobile production under the control of its top 10 firms by the end of 2015 as well as 90 percent of aluminum production capacity.

Porsche’s $2.2 Million Supercar, Macan SUV Head for China – Bloomberg Porsche is taking orders for the 918 Spyder hybrid supercar, the first of which will be delivered to buyers in the first half of next year, Broeker said, declining to give sales figures for the automaker’s most expensive model. The car will cost 13.4 million yuan ($2.2 million) in China when including import and consumption taxes, according to the company. “The 918 Spyder of course is a great product for China,” he said. “There’s quite a lot of interest in China. But I don’t think you will see many cars on the road.”//These come with stupid driving buttons like Ferraris seem to?

12部委联合发文 推进重点行业企业兼并重组-中国金融新闻网 - 本报讯 记者庞东梅报道 工业和信息化部、发展改革委、财政部等国务院促进企业兼并重组工作部际协调小组12家成员单位联合发布《关于加快推进重点行业企业兼并重组的指导意见》(以下简称《意见》),提出了汽车、钢铁、水泥、船舶、电解铝、稀土、电子信息、医药和农业产业化九大行业和领域兼并重组的主要目标和重点任务。

温州银行业不良贷款率 时隔17个月首次出现下降_焦点透视_新浪财经_新浪网 - Wenzhou banks’ problem loan ratio drops for the first time in 17 months?// 温州银监局统计显示,去年11月底,温州银行业不良贷款率为3.43%,环比(和上月比)下降0.01个百分点。这是自2011年6月至今,时隔17个月之后,温州银行业不良率首次出现下降。

铁路货运提价或上半年推出 新华社——经济参考网 - Ministry of Railways raising freight prices in H2 13?

多地提“壮大”地方投融资平台 新华社——经济参考网 -  本周以来,河南、云南、北京、安徽等多省的《政府工作报告》陆续披露。从各省情况看,2012年财政收入增速较前几年放缓,2013年财政收入目标也被调低。同时,多个省、市都提到“壮大”、“做大做强”地方投融资平台,以解决城镇化投融资难题。但多位接受《经济参考报》采访的专家表示,依托于政府信用的平台公司并非没有融资上限,在财政收支矛盾加剧的当下,潜在的政府债务风险乃至金融风险值得警惕。

 

POLITICS AND LAW

Xi Jinping vows “power within cage of regulations” – Xinhua | English.news.cn- Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), vowed to unswervingly fight against corruption and keep power reined within the cage of regulations. During a CPC disciplinary watchdog meeting on Tuesday, as Xi ordered enhanced restraint and supervision on the use of power, he said, “Power should be restricted by the cage of regulations.” A disciplinary, prevention and guarantee mechanism should be set up to ensure that people do not dare to, are not able to and can not easily commit corruption, Xi said.

人民日报-把权力关进制度的笼子里(评论员观察) ——从严治党新观察之一 范正伟 白龙 -

人民日报-习近平在十八届中央纪委二次全会上发表重要讲话强调 更加科学有效地防治腐败 坚定不移把反腐倡廉建设引向深入 - Xi Jinping’s speech at the 2nd plenum of the 18th central disciplinary inspection committee dominates today’s people’s daily front page…may be too late for some of the panic-selling officials, may be too late to deal with this scourge, but expect Xi and Wang Qishan to try harder than their predecessors

陕西“房姐”被曝至少有4个户口 一个落北京_网易新闻中心 - Shaanxi’s “housing elder sister” has at least 4 official household registration IDs, including one in Beijing

人民日报-“房姐”为何要那么多户口(人民时评)深化户籍改革,需要逐步剥离附着在户口上的大量权益和福利 -People’s Daily comment on household registration and the Shaanxi “housing sister”

Ex-bosses investigated over vows to mistresses — Shanghai Daily  how do idiots like these two make it in a meritocracy?// TWO former senior government officials in east China’s Shandong Province are under investigation for sex-related scandals after they were sacked following online postigns by whistle-blowers, the provincial Party disciplinary watchdog said yesterday.

The 18th Party Congress: Testing the Limits of Institutionalization | Hoover Institution - updated version// The recent 18th Party Congress, convened only after a year of extremely contentious politics, surprised by generating a leadership group that appeared lopsided in favor of supporters of former general secretary Jiang Zemin (江泽民), thereby raising questions about “politics by elders” (老人政治) and the limits of acceptable intervention. Ironically the apparent bias in favor of Jiang’s network may give new general secretary Xi Jinping (习近平) a relatively free hand in the next few years. Nevertheless, by generating the oldest Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC) in years, the congress set up a situation in which five of the seven members of the PBSC will have to retire in only five years and many contentious issues will have to be readdressed relatively soon. Sorting out succession politics issues appears to be getting more difficult over time, but such a judgment will have to wait at least another five years.

邓聿文:不改对上负责方式 官话禁不绝-财经网 - Deng Yuwen on the need to change the culture of the bureaucracy..so is the CCP bureaucratic culture that different from previous dynastic bureaucratic cultures?// 官话套话为何禁不绝?一是形成路径依赖,随口说出来;二是种种顾虑,不愿或不敢说真话;三是缺乏实地调查和独立思想,说不出来。背后都是官僚思维,是僵化作风与权力惰性;根子出在选拔干部方式,是对上负责,而不是对下负责

张维迎:中央需干件实事指明改革方向-财经网 - Zhang Weiying warns that Beijing needs to take substantive steps on reform, that people no longer just believe talk// 需要中央做出几件事来,使大家知道现在国家确实在改革,否则就又变成语言腐败了。张维迎认为,现在跟20世纪80年代有很大的不一样,现在语言腐败太严重了,说什么和心里怎么想完全是两回事,语言不再代表中国人的感情系统

张维迎:反腐败治标不如治本 | 人文经济学会 - more from Zhang Weiying on how to deal with corruption..clearly doesn’t think current approach will solve the root causes// 权力是腐败的“本”,其他方面是“标”。反腐败要“标”“本”兼治,但釜底抽薪的办法是治本,也就是是减少政府官员的权力。增加权力使用的透明度和公众监督对遏制腐败是重要的,但我们必须认识到,在任何政治制度下,权力使用的透明度和可监督性总是与权力的范围和大小成反比的。

人民日报-反对浪费从领导干部做起 - campaign against waste launched, page 1 people’s daily

单位内部餐厅成公款吃喝新战场 装修超五星酒店_新闻_腾讯网 - campaign against official waste..the opulence and waste in internal work unit/SOE restaurants/hotels is remarkable…SOE corruption/interest groups not just about the top execs..SOE employees have excellent benefits, almost like in the old days of iron rice bowls, but with much more money, subsidized housing priced far below market, and bigger opportunities for petty graft

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Expert: China not to recklessly carry out ASAT test – People’s Daily Online - China has always demonstrated a responsible attitude in the field of space activities and will not recklessly carry out such tests that will injure others as well as do harm to ourselves, said Senior Colonel Shao Yongling from PLA Second Artillery Command College in a recent interview with People’s Daily Online…Shao said that the organization of any weapons test is not as simple as people imagine. It takes a lot of time, energy, human and material resources, as well as the suitability of various conditions. Therefore, the choice of date is often fortuitous. Shao said that the foreign media are too subjective to make such conjecture.

Shun US and Japan, Chinese colonel warns Australia-SMH- disturbing rhetoric but again unclear how seriously to take this Colonel. Is it progress that he does not call the US a “paper tiger”?// Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu, of the National Defence University, blamed America’s ‘‘orchestration’’ and Japan’s ‘‘militarism’’ for rising tensions over disputed islands known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. ‘‘America is the global tiger and Japan is Asia’s wolf and both are now madly biting China,’’ Colonel Liu said. ‘‘Of all the animals, Chinese people hate the wolf the most.’’

US Central to “Abe Doctrine” in PM’s Lost Policy Speech – Japan Real Time – WSJ   America is the world’s greatest naval power and preeminent economic superpower; Japan is Asia’s largest maritime democracy and a liberal capitalist state second only to the United States. It stands to reason that our two nations should be partners, reads the speech’s English translation, available on a government web site. The speech goes on to say that the importance of the Japan-U.S. alliance has “a more vital significance as ever before”, as the U.S. shifts its strategic focus toward the Indian and Pacific oceans. While the speech refrains from specifically naming China, its numerous calls for the region’s sea lanes to be governed by international law, not force, reflect Tokyo’s increasing concern over Beijing’s rising military and commercial clout in a region rich in oil, natural gas, minerals and fishing.

Philippines takes China to UN over sea row – Channel NewsAsia The Philippines has taken China to a UN tribunal to challenge its claim to most of the South China Sea including Philippine territory, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Tuesday.  ”The Philippines has exhausted almost all political and diplomatic avenues for a peaceful negotiated settlement of its maritime dispute with China… we hope that the arbitral proceedings shall bring this dispute to a durable solution,” he told a news conference.

Chinese ambassador: China has indisputable sovereignty over South China Sea islands – Xinhua Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing reiterated Tuesday China’s principled position that China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea and its adjacent waters, after the Philippines announced it had taken the disputes to the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal.

China’s Focus on Aerospace Raises Security Questions – NYTimes.com  Aerospace represents the latest frontier for China, which is eyeing parts manufacturers, materials producers, leasing businesses, cargo airlines and airport operators. The country now rivals the United States as a market for civilian airliners, which China hopes to start supplying from domestic production. And the new leadership named at the Party Congress in November has publicly emphasized long-range missiles and other aerospace programs in its push for military modernization…Mr. Charles said that 95 percent of the parts are still imported, and that it would take many years for that amount to shrink. “One by one, we start to give them the parts,” he said. “But each subassembly is a complex project — it takes five years.”//five years nothing for China’s planners

Information Dissemination: Gray Matter for Gray Hulls: The Intellectual Software Powering the U.S. Navy’s Asia-Pacific Rebalance- The following guest post is by Gabe Collins. Gabe Collins is the co-founder of China SignPost and a former commodity investment analyst and research fellow in the US Naval War College’s China Maritime Studies Institute. The Naval War College is poised to play a pivotal role in America’s Asia-Pacific refocusing. Here are the programs and professionals that the Navy will draw on.

Chinese Physicists Build “Ghost” Cloaking Device | MIT Technology Review- But while materials scientists have made great strides in building ordinary invisibility cloaks that work in the microwave, infrared and optical parts of the spectrum, making illusion cloaks is much harder. That’s because the bespoke materials they rely on require manufacturing techniques that seem like a distant dream.   Today, Tie Jun Cui and buddies at Southeast University in Nanjing, China, say they’ve designed and built a practical alternative to illusion cloaks, which they call a “ghost cloak”.

总后驻京部队开展军车管理专项整治-  中国军网据解放军报讯 王更生、特约记者李彦忠报道:自1月6日起,总后勤部在所属驻京部队开展军车管理专项整治活动。 此次专项整治活动,着重解决总后驻京部队军车管理中存在的不良倾向,进一步强化驾驶员法规意识,规范军车运行秩序,维护军车良好形象,并配合有关部门严厉打击伪造盗用军车号牌,伪造军车驾驶证、运行凭证等违法行为。总后勤部将对军车管理整治情况每月进行一次通报讲评,每季进行一次考评。

CHINASCOPE – People’s Daily: China Leads the US with New Airborne Warning Plane - none of China’s new weapons have been battle-tested..and there are pressures to test them// People’s Daily recently reported on the newly revealed award winning Chinese AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft KJ-2000. The report claimed that the KJ-2000 is one generation ahead of the most advanced U.S. AWACS aircraft E-3C. The Chinese KJ-2000 captured nine technological Number One titles in the world’s history of the development of AWACS aircraft. One example is that the Chinese system is equipped with three radar devices while the U.S. Air Force E-3C has only one, which has to spin continuously to cover the 360 degree range. However all experts agreed that the Chinese system lacks serious combat testing while the U.S. models have been tested in real battlefields for decades. Reliability is another key concern.

China calls for Norway to improve ties – Xinhua | English.news.cn- A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday called on Norway to take concrete steps to create conditions for improving bilateral ties, saying mending relations is up to Norway. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the appeal at a daily press briefing, when asked whether Norway’s latest stance supporting China’s bid for permanent observer status to the Arctic Council could be enough to improve bilateral ties.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

A Map of Two Chinas — Internet Penetration and Economic Development | Tea Leaf Nation- Last Monday, the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) published its annual report on the nation’s internet usage and infrastructure. According to the report, the Chinese internet continues to boom, with usage swelling 10% to 564 million users in 2012. But the report also shows that the country’s internet use – much like its economy – is highly uneven. While web penetration in Beijing surpassed 72% in 2012, fewer than 30% of residents in the interior province of Jiangxi are internet users. To put those figures in perspective, Beijing’s internet usage is comparable to that of Hong Kong or Israel.  Jiangxi, on the other hand, lags behind Uzbekistan, Bolivia, and Tuvalu.

How Social Networks Skirt Censorship in China (Listen Up, Facebook) – Mike Isaac – Social – AllThingsD - “It’s really hard for the government to censor things when they don’t understand the made-up words or meaning behind the imagery,” said Kevin Lee, COO of China Youthology, in conversation at the DLD conference in Munich on Monday. “The people there aren’t even relying on text anymore It’s audio, visual, photos. All the young people are creating their own languages.”

Github is blocked in China — Tech News and Analysis - angered many in China’s tech community..surprised more of them aren’t trying to hack/break the GFW// “I believe the blocking is directly related to an automated train ticket polling plugin that had brought down Github just days ago. Due to upcoming Chinese New Year, newly released train tickets are sold within minutes. That plugin introduces huge traffic to already crumbling ticket vending site, and it has obviously made railroad bureau angry. Blocking Github makes that plugin immediately malfunction because it makes reference to javascript files hosted on Github pages. The bureau has also paid a visit to the plugin’s author, for the purpose of intimidation perhaps.”

Train ticketing software highlights China’s innovation paradox – Xinhua | English.news.cn- To make the booking system more convenient for users, an independent computer software engineer designed a program that can automatically sign a user into the system and help complete all the booking procedures. Instead of constantly refreshing the page and waiting in a thousand-user queue, those hoping to buy tickets can simply launch the software, then hang out and watch TV. Ni Chao, the software engineer, thought his software would save time for millions of travelers and help ease the ministry’s burdens, so he shared it freely with website operators and Internet users. It became so popular that others designed knock-offs and copies of Ni’s innovative software. However, to his astonishment, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology proposed on Jan. 18 that the use of Ni’s software be banned.

网爆12306网站投入超5亿 2亿购买网络设备|网站|网络|设备_互联网_科技时代_新浪网 - 500m RMB to build the Ministry of Railways’ 12306 ticketing site? so claims a weibo whistleblower..shocked, just shocked if there were corruption around this project….

TechinAsia gets 2nd round of funding to continue covering tech and startups in the region : SGE - congrats// TechinAsia, a website that covers technology and startups in Asia, has received a second round of funding, led by Russia-based Simile Venture Partners. East Ventures, which invested in the first seed round in March 2011, also participated. The terms of the investment were not disclosed.

新型网银木马入侵 网游、第三方支付成洗钱工具_财经频道_一财网 - 用户电脑感染该病毒后,病毒会“潜伏”其中,在用户网络支付时自动激活,获取银行卡号及密码并发给黑客,卡内资金几分钟内被洗劫一空。

Government-sponsored documentary website launched – Xinhua | English.news.cn- An official website devoted to the Chinese documentary industry (docuchina.cntv.cn) was launched on Tuesday. Jointly set up by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) and the China Network Television, the site will cover policy releases, industrial trends, expert advice for documentary makers, project financing, academic research and other functions.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

China Court Stirs Debate on Unwitting Wives of Gay Men – China Real Time Report – WSJ- Although the court’s proposed regulation could technically apply to anyone, it appears to be aimed primarily at tongqi (同妻), or straight women married to gay men.There are no official estimates of the population of tongqi in China, but Zhang Beichuan, an HIV/AIDS researcher and sexologist at Qingdao University, puts the number at around 10 million. When bisexual and transgender men are taken into account, the number increases to 16 million, says Mr. Zhang, who arrived at that estimate by applying marriage rates to demographic studies of gay populations.“Around 80% of gay men get married because they feel they have the responsibility to pass on their family names — to be so-called filial sons,” Mr. Zhang says.

When Tibet Loved China – An FP Slide Show | Foreign Policy - Rare photos of the Cultural Revolution in the Land of Snows.

SmartBeijing.com | [Culture Bureau]: Kaiser Kuo Late last year I sat down with Baidu International Communications Director/Sinica podcast co-founder/pioneering Beijing longhair Kaiser Kuo for what turned out to be a very long conversation about life and music in the capital, and how it’s all evolved over the last few decades. Read on to learn about Kaiser’s views on the history, the good, the bad, and the “aesthetically very ugly” components of our beloved/often quite frustrating music scene.

2013年春运_网易专题 -Netease special micro-site on the annual Chinese New Year migration

Garden of Lost Children -Caixin - It started with a baby that was left in the doorway of a hospital bathroom. Yuan Lihai took in the girl with a cleft lip while working at a Henan Province hospital in 1989. At the department of gynecology and obstetrics, she was paid 20 yuan for every infant she buried. This was also where she discovered the second child she would adopt – a baby boy that had supposedly died after induced labor. When she went to bury the infant, she discovered he was breathing. Rescued by Yuan Lihai, the two children are now both grown and married. Her makeshift orphanage for abandoned children, many of whom were disabled, would grow in reputation among residents of Lankao County, near Kaifeng. There were stories that she sold children, that the children were mistreated and starved in a house that would be called “The Garden.” Other residents said she was known as the “Kind Woman” who never refused shelter to an abandoned child.   But on January 4, a fire that started with unsupervised children engulfed the home of Yuan Lihai and killed seven, ending decades of foster care that many say the government never stepped in to provide. She appeared much older than her 48 years while lying on a hospital bed, as she recovered from the trauma of the fire.

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

China’s Pollution Fight Faces Resistance – WSJ.com - While particulate matter emitted by vehicles make up a small part of overall particulate matter in China, in dense urban areas, it is almost certainly the highest contributor to human exposure of PM2.5, according to Vance Wagner, a senior researcher at the International Council on Clean Transportation…Tighter diesel fuel standards could help reduce vehicle emissions by as much as 15%, according to Yue Xin, head of the vehicle fuels and emissions lab at the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, which is affiliated with the Environmental Protection Ministry…A technical committee plans to release tighter diesel standards soon, said Mr. Tang, who is a member of the 44-person committee, which is overwhelmingly dominated by refining-industry representatives. However, Chinese refineries won’t produce cleaner fuel until the higher production costs are addressed by the Finance Ministry, he said, adding that enforcement of existing standards is already poor.

Beijing unveils new steps to curb air pollution – Xinhua | English.news.cn- The capital will take 180,000 old vehicles off the road and promote clean energy autos among government departments, the public and the urban cleaning sector, which includes street cleaners and trash collectors, Wang Anshun said at the opening of a session of the Beijing Municipal People’s Congress, the municipal legislature. The heating systems of 44,000 old, single-story homes and coal-burning boilers downtown are to be replaced with clean energy, Wang said as he delivered a government work report.

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

寒冬中挖藕人_詹文峰_博联社 - in case you wonder where some lotus roots come from..nice photos of farmers in Hubei and their winter harvest

Toxic Melamine Released From Bowls Serving Hot Soup, Study Finds – Bloomberg  The toxic chemical is released from melamine-containing tableware when exposed to boiling-hot substances, researchers at the Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan showed. Their study, involving a dozen healthy adult volunteers, detected traces of melamine in urine following consumption of noodle soup consumed from non-breakable melamine bowls.