The Sinocism China Newsletter For 01.28.13

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Will Bo Xilai go on trial today in Guiyang? Ta Kung Pao reported last week that he would and Reuters followed on with a story in which it wrote that:

A Beijing-backed Hong Kong newspaper, the Ta Kung Pao, reported on Friday that Bo’s trial would begin on Monday in the southern Chinese city of Guiyang.

But the government has not confirmed or denied this, belying recent efforts to promote transparency and openness, and at least two well-informed sources said on Sunday the reports were not true.

However, a third source, who has ties to the leadership, said the trial would in fact begin on Monday in Guiyang.

The Global Times says Bo will not stand trial until sometime after the March NPC/CPPCC meetings:

The trial of Bo Xilai, former Party chief of Chongqing municipality, is expected to open after the “two sessions” in March, a source close to the country’s top judicial body told the Global Times Sunday, denying rumors that the trial would start on Monday in Southwest China’s Guizhou Province.

“The information in terms of the date and location for the trial will certainly be made public in advance, and it’s unnecessary to make speculations,” the source said.

We will find out today though given the recent precedents of Chen Xitong and Chen Liangyu I do not expect such an early trial, nor does Beijing need to rush things.

Meanwhile, Chongqing has moved on, according to Huang Qifan:

Chongqing’s municipal government vowed Saturday it would shake off the impacts of the Bo Xilai scandal and make law-abiding governance the priority alongside further reform.

Huang Qifan, mayor of Chongqing, described 2012 as an “extremely extraordinary year” for Chongqing’s development in his report on the work of the municipal government, at the opening ceremony of the 4th Chongqing Municipal People’s Congress.

There have been rumors since the start of 2013 that the corruption crackdown would net a big fish near the end of January. Politburo member Li Jianguo may be that fish, as MingPao reports (Reuters) that he is under investigation. Li, a  a protege of Li Ruihuan (Dr. Victor Shih on Twitter), was accused on Sina Weibo (South China Morning Post) in December of nepotism.

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Tripling in Debt to $1.7 Trillion Drags on Economy: China Credit – Bloomberg - Total short- and long-term borrowing by 3,895 publicly traded non-financial companies rose to almost $1.7 trillion in their latest filings, from $604 billion at the end of 2007, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Financing costs, including interest, on all forms of debt climbed to the highest level as a percentage of gross domestic product last year, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Bernstein says that means less cash for investment to fuel the world’s second-largest economy, while Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc says the threat of defaults will hold back interest- rate liberalization. The average 10-year yield for top-rated company bonds is near a 13-month high at 5.27 percent, compared with the 2.6 percent yield in a Bank of America Merrill Lynch global corporate index.

Hong Kong Journalists Plan Petition Against Privacy Law Proposal – Bloomberg - a very bad sign for future of transparency and capitalism in Hong Kong if this passes//  The plans, put forward by the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau and the city’s Companies Registry to “enhance protection of the privacy of personal information,” were proposed in November as part of a consultation paper on a new companies ordinance. The move comes amid growing media scrutiny of the assets of China’s leaders.

40-day Spring Festival travel rush starts in China – Xinhua | English.news.cn -wish the pundits and analysts who say China has too many railways and roads would travel in China this week…how does China efficiently build infrastructure when it has to plan for such tremendous surges in demand?

陕西神木清理双重户口 当地富豪拥有多个户口_网易新闻中心 - sounds like many people in Shenmu, Shaanxi, home of housing elder sister gong aiai, have multiple hukous…just shenmu? of course not? relentless media coverage of this case exposing serious corruption in the ministry of public security..zhou yongkang might not be pleased…//核心提示:1月27日,记者从陕西神木县警方获悉,神木公安局近日开展重人重户清理整顿工作,全面清理双重户口的核查工作,公务员、企业老总、个体老板等成为清查重点对象。据知情人士透露,神木前几年户籍管理比较松,花数万元托关系,轻易就能办理双重户口。

Wastelands of Beijing | Danwei - This article is a tour through some of the more spectacular wastelands of contemporary Beijing, places that will surely be developed into something entirely different at some point in the future, when the interest groups that control the land and construction finally make a deal they can live with.

China’s population: Peak toil | The Economist - ON JANUARY 18th the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced that the number of working-age Chinese shrank last year by a total of 3.45m. In the slow-moving world of demography, that is a big turning point. The mobilisation of Chinese labour over the past 35 years has shaken the world. Never before has the global economy benefited from such an addition of extra human exertion. Now the additions are over—and not just in China (see article).

The Tijuana Connection, a Template for Growth – NYTimes.com - But my company, like many manufacturers, is faced with a familiar challenge: its main competitors are Chinese companies that have the dual advantages of cheap labor and top-notch engineering. So, naturally, when we were raising a round of investment financing last year, venture capitalists demanded a plausible explanation for how our little start-up could beat its Chinese rivals. The answer was as much a surprise to the investors as it had been to me a few years earlier: Mexico. In particular, Tijuana.

军委“禁酒令”满月:不用为“喝什么酒”费心思 战斗力提高了-财经网 - 团保障部部长李锐深有感触:“以前应酬总少不了喝酒,耽误了不少工作。有了‘禁酒令’,我可以理直气壮地一头扎在车炮场,泡在修理间。不到一个月,某型火炮底盘的技术革新就取得了实质性的进展。得感谢‘禁酒令’!”

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

China December industrial profits up 17.3 percent on year | Reuters - Profits earned by China’s industrial companies rose 17.3 percent in December from a year earlier to 895.2 billion yuan ($143.91 billion), official data showed on Sunday, as a fourth-quarter recovery helped offset poorer corporate results in the third. The data from the National Bureau of Statistics is the latest sign of a gathering rebound in activity in the world’s second-largest economy. The December rise moderated from November’s 22.8 percent increase but still marked the third-fastest growth last year.

Closer Look: Gov’t May Struggle to Keep Lid on Total Social Financing – Caixin - The central government has said it would keep the growth of bank loans and total social financing steady this year. But its control over total financing has weakened because the share of bank loans in Total Social Financing (TSF) has declined. That means it would be very difficult to keep the growth of the money supply at a modest level. TSF is a term coined by the central bank to monitor aggregate financing apart from yuan bank loans. It contains six other categories: foreign-currency loans, entrusted loans, trust loans, bankers’ acceptance bills, corporate bonds and non-financial stock sales. The bank had wanted to keep the growth of TSF at a “reasonable” level in 2012. It turned out, however, that it reached 22.8 percent year on year, with a total of 15.76 trillion yuan. The rate exceeded that for the same year’s yuan bank loans by 7.8 percentage points.

Interview: China to pursue renminbi internationalization on market-oriented basis: central bank vice governor – Xinhua | English.news.cn - China is determined to pursue the internationalization of the renminbi on a market-oriented basis, and will closely watch the spillover effects of Japan’s ultra-loose monetary policy, Yi Gang, a vice governor of China’s central bank, told Xinhua

投资不降温 19省份增幅目标不低于20%_财经频道_一财网 - 随着这两个星期各地“两会”陆续召开,各省区市政府在其政府工作报告中公布了2013年生产总值和固定资产投资目标,后者普遍为两位数,且大多设定在20%以上。

产能过剩现三大顽疾 取消省级GDP核算值得考虑-财经网 - 从2008年以来,我国大力治理产能过剩。然而,某些行业“越治理越过剩”以及“低端高端皆过剩”的现实,说明除了市场调节外,还必须消除地方的GDP挂帅情结

Excess capacity and consolidation. Part 2: What would it mean for smelters? | Black China Blog- Do we believe that Beijing will be successful in implementing this consolidation strategy?   It is probably a matter of when not if.   The typical pattern in Chinese bureaucracy is for a series of announcements, each successively ignored, until finally some action is taken.   In the case of the coal industry consolidation, the first calls went out as early as 10 years ago, but the real momentum wasn’t achieved until 5-6 years later.   In the case of China’s banning of Soderberg technology within the primary aluminium industry, the first regulation was promulgated in 1999, but it took until 2004 for real action to crank up. Can China’s aluminium industry remain in over-supply for an extended period, until enough consolidation has taken place?   Yes, but for all the wrong reasons.   Something like 30 smelters are now enjoying subsidies.   Banks continue to provide loans to companies with no prospect of repayment.    New low-cost smelters continue to enter the market.

High hopes on CPC for fairer incomes[1]|chinadaily.com.cnexpectations growing…hard to see how won’t be disappointed// It is such contrasts that have made income inequality a top public complaint in China, the world’s fastest-growing economy in the past three decades fueled by rapid industrialization and urbanization. After repeated delays to an income distribution reform plan that has been under government consideration since 2004, people are expecting more radical efforts in this regard from the new Communist Party of China (CPC) leadership elected last November.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

人民日报-政治纪律决定政党力量(评论员观察) ——从严治党新观察之四 张铁 - clearly CCP thinks collpase of USSR due in part to corruption and lack of political discipline..and Party reminding its reminders of that in People’s Daily and other official channels// 一个政党,不严明纪律,必然分崩离析。苏共在20万人时建国、200万人时卫国、2000万人时却亡国,为什么?一个重要原因就是,政治纪律被动摇了,党员离心离德,党组织各行其是。殷鉴不远,面对前所未有的现代化道路,面对世所罕见的困难和风险,我们尤须严明政治纪律,才能摆脱历史周期律,形成全党上下步调一致、奋发进取的强大力量。

苏联解体让中共吸取教训 反腐立法程序有望启动_多维新闻网 Duowei on the lessons CPC has taken for corruption fight from collapse of USSR// 在随后公布的十八届中央纪委第二次全体会议公报说,将全面推进惩治和预防腐败体系建设,制订《建立健全惩治和预防腐败体系2013-2017年工作规划》并抓好落实。公报并称,将保持惩治腐败高压态势,坚持有案必查、有腐必惩,严肃查办发生在领导机关和领导干部中滥用职权、玩忽职守、贪污贿赂、腐化堕落案件。政治和历史学者、上海社科院副院长黄仁伟说:“这鲜明地体现了中共的强烈危机意识,腐败现象是对执政地位的严峻挑战,带来生死攸关的合法性危险。”

习近平再祭“杀招” 反腐新格局日渐成型_多维新闻网 - 【多维新闻】习近平就任中共总书记两月余,伴随其上任的反腐风暴不但没有减弱,反而越刮越猛,纵观他的历次讲话确实可见一斑。而习近平1月22日在中纪委第二次全体会议上强调指出的,要加强对权力运行的制约和监督,把权力关进制度的笼子里,形成不敢腐的惩戒机制、不能腐的防范机制、不易腐的保障机制,更被评价为中共对反腐败的认识达到了前所未有的高度。

人民日报-深入反腐 取信于民 ——二论学习贯彻习近平在十八届中央纪委二次全会讲话 - lots of cadre study sessions since 18th party congress..page 1 people’s daily on deepening corruption fight, studying and implementing xi jinping’s recent speech at the latest 18th CDIC meeting

Zhu Ruifeng, corruption fighter who exposed Lei Zhengfu and other videotapes, facing arrest? Screenshot from Weibo statement

人民日报-陕西“房姐”郑州“房妹”事件 最高检督办渎职犯罪 - “older housing sister”, younger housing sister” make page 1 of saturday’s people’s daily

人民日报-“房姐”“房妹”多户口引发社会关注 “户多多”怎么罚(政策聚焦) - also page 2 story in saturday people’s daily on older housing sister and younger housing sister

中纪委否认向中央通报多地现抛售豪宅别墅风潮_网易新闻中心CDIC denies that it issued a report claiming officials panic selling apartments// 中广网北京1月25日消息 据中国之声《央广新闻》报道,近日有媒体称中纪委曾向中央“通报”去年11月中旬以来,中国45个大中城市出现抛售豪宅、别墅的一股风潮,12月以来抛售规模扩大,且部分业主为国家公职人员和国企高层。事实是否如此? 近一段时间以来,有媒体和网上都在传说中纪委曾经向中央汇报了去年11月中旬以来有抛售豪宅别墅的风潮,就这一问题记者专门致电中央纪委有关部门进行了求证,中央纪委的有关部门负责同志的回应是,这个报道是不实的。

媒体称北京公务员抛售房产传闻多属炒作_网易新闻中心 -media making up stories of officials’ panic selling of housing? interesting backtrack

Former NE China lawmaker arrested over sex scandal – Xinhua | English.news.cn- A former lawmaker from northeast China’s Heilongjiang province has been arrested following a rape accusation from a female journalist, local authorities confirmed on Friday. An investigation by the local disciplinary watchdog showed that Sun Dejiang had embezzled public money, defrauded pension funds and maintained “improper relationships” with several women, said a statement issued by the publicity department of the city of Shuangcheng.

衣俊卿浮沉_杂志频道_财新网 -Caixin on Yi Junqing case in this week’s issue//  被免去局长一职之后,衣俊卿目前仍在中央编译局专家之列。 “自发道歉信后我一直沉默不语,你以为自己了解衣老师,是吧?如果你是真的崇拜、尊重、关心他,就请你闭嘴。”道歉信发表后,常艳曾在微博上如此叱问一名讥讽衣俊卿的网民。如果没有常艳的长文,呈现在公众面前的衣俊卿,或许仍旧是一位学品官声俱佳的人。对此私情,衣俊卿从未有任何公开回应。在代表作《现代化与日常生活批判》一书中,衣俊卿曾说:“人是十分矛盾的存在物。他既有光彩照人的一面,也有灰暗无色的一面。”

China’s Xi Jinping Faces Problem of Rural Poverty – NYTimes.com - LUOTUOWAN, China — Never before has grinding poverty had such a shiny silver lining. At least that is how the 600 corn farmers who inhabit this remote mountain hamlet in north China are feeling in the weeks since Xi Jinping, China’s new leader, dropped by to showcase their deprivation.

SOEs cut annual parties under frugality call – Xinhua | English.news.cn- he winds of a frugality campaign that has swept across China in recent weeks have also blown through wealthy state-owned enterprises (SOEs), making them call off once-gaudy annual parties. SOEs’ celebrations used to mean banquets in starred hotels with big shows and huge prizes in the lucky draw. However, this year, a slew of such firms rescinded or scaled down their annual dinners after the Communist Party of China Central Committee promulgated a package of rules calling for official frugality.

驻京办餐厅暗访:部分公务接待抽真龙喝茅台_网易新闻中心 - 核心提示:日前,记者暗访甘肃、福建等10余家省级驻京办餐厅,大多均被告知,至少3日内餐厅的包间和宴会厅都已预订一空。据调查,驻京办餐厅部分公务接待抽真龙喝茅台。去年年底,中央出台“八项规定”、“六项禁令”,其中要求“厉行勤俭节约”、“严禁超标准接待”。

李克强首次提出“政府职能转变考量标尺”-财经网 - 如何转变、怎样衡量政府转变职能的效果,一直没有明确标准来考量。近日,国务院副总理李克强首次提出:“能不能创造安全公平法治的市场环境,是考量政府职能转变的重要标尺,抓项目上投资,应由企业自主决策。”

China’s Rigid Stability – an analysis of a predicament by Yu Jianrong 于建嵘 | The China Story - The following essay by Yu Jianrong, translated by Jason Todd, originally appeared in the September 2012 issue of Exploration and Free Views 探索与争鸣 published by the Shanghai Federation of Social Sciences 上海社会科学界联合会. In it the author deftly describes the politically risky approach of pursuing what he calls ‘rigid stability’ 刚性稳定. Ultimately, the stability obsession developed by the Party-state in recent years has served to increase social anomie and contributed to the development of profound social contradictions. Some argue that these very methods at self-preservation are generating the ultimate existential threat to the Party. China’s political fixation with ‘stability at all costs’, Yu argues, breeds rigidity, discourages flexibility and innovation in responding to emerging social problems and, most importantly, hampers the development of more appropriate institutional responses to social conflict.

Setting Economic Reform in Stone, China’s Way – Part IV: Shaping Decisions, Taking Action – Caixin - On May 31, 1993, 25 officials was assigned to several groups to draft a report for the Third Plenary Session of the 14th party central committee. Jiang Zemin delivered a speech at the team’s first meeting in which he explained the significance of their work and offered guidance. Wen Jiaobao, then serving as secretary of the party’s Central Secretariat, led one of the drafting groups and spoke about the importance of a concrete reform plan. The team’s work ended with the release of a document called “Decisions on Certain Issues for Establishing a Socialist Market Economy System.” It was adopted a few months later at the third plenary as a detailed outline and action plan for reform’s direction, as set by the 14th party congress. The document served as a blueprint for a new economic system that emphasized modern corporate governance, the use of market forces, macro-economic controls, an allocation system for key resource such as land, capital and labour, and social welfare. These were called the “five pillars” central to China’s socialist market economy. To this day, many experts say these five pillars remain to be an effective cure to China’s economic problems.

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

人民日报-习近平会见日本公明党党首山口那津男 - 。top People’s Daily saturday on Xi’s meeting with Yamaguchi// 新形势下,我们要像两国老一辈领导人那样,体现出国家责任、政治智慧和历史担当,推动中日关系克服困难,继续向前发展。

Xi urges addressing “sensitive” issues between China, Japan – Xinhua | English.news.cn- Xi called on the two nations to continue to honor the “four political documents,” which have served as “a ballast stone” for stabilizing bilateral relations. The documents — the China-Japan Joint Statement on Comprehensively Advancing Strategic and Reciprocal Relations, the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship and the Sino-Japanese Joint Declaration — were signed by the two sides in 1972, 1978, 1998 and 2008, respectively. “Under the new circumstances, we should shoulder national and historical responsibilities as well as display political wisdom, just like the elder generations of leaders of the two countries, to overcome difficulties and advance China-Japan relations,” said the Chinese leader//painting in background of the xifeng section of the Great Wall  where in 1933 General Zhang Zhizhong won a victory in a skirmish with the Japanse, an event apparently considered as shameful for the Japanese Army. Not so subtle signaling, though of course the rest did not go so well for China…

Chinese Leader Takes Conciliatory Tone in Meeting With Japanese Politician – NYTimes.com Mr. Xi, in a striking backward glance to the opening of diplomatic relations between China and Japan in 1972, said, “Like the older generation of leaders, we should show a sense of national and historical responsibility and political wisdom, overcome the difficulties in bilateral relations and push relations forward.”Mr. Xi was clearly referring to the milestone in Chinese-Japanese relations when Prime Minister Zhou Enlai of China, after talks with his Japanese counterpart, Kakuei Tanaka, said the two countries should shelve the dispute on the islands and resolved it at another time. Japan, which originally took control of the uninhabited islands near the end of the 19th century, has said it never agreed to Mr. Zhou’s proposal.

Commentary: Ice between China, Japan can only be melted by sincere dialogue – Xinhua | English.news.cn- Encouragingly, some sober Japanese politicians have realized the mistakes committed by their government and have begun to play a positive role in promoting bilateral relations between China and Japan. Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama apologized for Japan’s wartime crimes in China during his recent visit to the Memorial Hall of the Victims of the Nanjing Massacre by Japanese Invaders in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing. Moreover, Yohei Kono, a retired Japanese liberal politician and three-time foreign minister, criticized former premier Yoshihiko Noda for the island purchase. The earnest attitudes like these to face the problems existing between the two countries are indispensable to the solution to the conflicts between China and Japan.

Abe to push for Japanese NSC, constitutional reform in first term: interview–Mainichi January 25 interview–Abe also spoke on the dilapidated state of Japan-China relations, saying the idea of “shelving” the Senkaku Islands territorial dispute floated recently by a high-ranking Chinese Communist Party official “is not applicable, as the Senkakus have long been a part of Japan.””There is no room for diplomatic discussion,” he said, reaffirming that from Japan’s perspective, there is no territorial dispute. Asked about New Komeito leader Natsuo Yamaguchi’s mention on a Hong Kong television program of “shelving” the issue, Abe said there were differences between New Komeito and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).”New Komeito may be a member of the governing coalition, but it is not the same party,” he said. “There are differences in how we treat diplomatic and security policy.”

Sansha taking shape with projects |Society |chinadaily.com.cn- Sansha authorities vowed to accelerate the construction of infrastructure and a series of projects that were expected to be finished this year. “Within the year, we will finish the operation of the first phase of the new port of Yongxing Island, a seawater desalination plant, a sewage treatment plant and a garbage collection and transfer system,” Xiao Jie, mayor of Sansha, said at the annual session of the Hainan provincial people’s congress on Sunday.

China seeks summits on fugitives |Politics |chinadaily.com.cn- The Ministry of Public Security is working to set up an annual high-level meeting with US judicial officials in a bid to catch and return more Chinese fugitives. “We’re negotiating with the US Department of Homeland Security and will try to arrange the first summit this year,” said Wang Liqiang, a senior official in the ministry’s international cooperation bureau. The meeting is expected to bring together the minister of public security and senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with their US counterparts to discuss cooperation on intelligence, operations, suspect repatriations and the recovery of stolen assets.

China carries out land-based mid-course missile interception test – Xinhua | English.news.cn- It has been the second time that China announced such kind of missile test. A similar anti-missile interception test was successfully conducted on Jan. 11, 2010. Although no other detailed information about the test was released from the military authorities, weapon system experts said such test could build shield for China’s air defense by intercepting incoming warheads such as ballistic missiles in space

人民日报-国家最高科技奖获得者王小谟院士讲述—— 中国预警机崛起始末-   本报北京1月27日电  (记者余建斌) 就中国预警机的崛起始末,2012年度国家最高科技奖获得者王小谟院士日前接受了本报独家专访。预警机是集情报探测、指挥控制、通信导航、电子对抗、信息传输于一体的大型综合电子信息装备,是国土防空中增强低空、超低空预警探测和空中指挥引导能力的重要手段,预警机一直是各军事强国着力发展的重点,此前世界上只有美、俄、以色列等少数国家具备研制能力。

North Korean Leader Vows ‘High-Profile’ Retaliation – NYTimes.com - Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, has vowed to take “substantial and high-profile important state measures” and ordered his top military and party officials of what to do to retaliate against American-led United Nations sanctions on the country, the North’s official media reported on Sunday.

Kim Jong Eun surgery rumors force open a sliver of daylight with China - North Korea’s official news agency has taken the unusual step of publicly rebuking a rumor about young leader Kim Jong Eun, and has chastised China, its sponsor and only real ally, in the process. The vitriolic report insists that the 30-year-old Kim absolutely, positively did not receive plastic surgery to look more like his deceased grandfather, Kim Il Sung. Such rumors have been around for years, but just as rumors. So why condemn them now, at the risk of just lending them greater legitimacy?

China’s jumbo air freighter test flight a success: Xinhua | Reuters- The Yun-20, or Transport-20, is designed for long-distance air transport of both cargo and passengers, Xinhua reported.”The successful maiden flight of Yun-20 is significant in promoting China’s economic and national defense build-up as well as bettering its emergency handling such as disaster relief and humanitarian aid,” Xinhua said, adding that further test flights are scheduled. China is determined to reduce dependency on foreign firms such as Boeing (BA.N), Airbus (EAD.PA), General Electric (GE.N) and Rolls Royce Plc (RR.L) for the country’s soaring demand for planes and engines.

Work With China, Don’t Contain It – NYTimes.com - Jospeh Nye–Containment is simply not a relevant policy tool for dealing with a rising China. Power is the ability to obtain the outcomes one wants, and sometimes America’s power is greater when we act with others rather than merely over others.

People who help internet censorship, builders of Great Firewall in China for example, should be denied entry to the U.S. | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government - someone has created this petition on the white house web site

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Bill to boost US-Taiwan ties tabled in Washington – Taipei Times - Bipartisan legislation strongly supporting the strengthening of US-Taiwan relations has been introduced into the US Congress. US Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the former chairwoman of the US House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee, proposed the Taiwan policy act of 2013 on Friday. “Taiwan is a vital ally of the US and should be treated as such,” Ros-Lehtinen said as she introduced the bill.

New head of US House foreign affairs committee visits Taiwan|Politics|News|WantChinaTimes.com- Ed Royce (R-Calif) is leading a congressional delegation to visit Taiwan as part of their East Asian trip, the first overseas trip in his new capacity, said the AIT, which represents US interests in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties. Royce is scheduled to meet with President Ma Ying-jeou, Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others, the ministry said.

Disgruntled Hong Kong embraces Union Jack as symbol of freedom | Asia News – Politics, Media, Education | Asian Correspondent - Fifteen years into Chinese sovereignty over Hong Kong, the Union Jack returns to be a politically loaded symbol in the quest for identity as two different visions of the future of Hong Kong and Greater China square off in the autonomous city. Surprisingly, the long-retired colonial flag has been adopted as a symbol for those who advocate a distinct cultural and political identity for Asia’s leading financial hub.

Adelson’s Macau casino sues two Chinese over $4.4 million gambling debts | Reuters - clearly these two have no real guanxi, and nuclear option for a casino// In separate writs filed in Hong Kong’s High Court this week, the casino is seeking to recover HK$23 million from Shanghai businesswoman Zou Yunyu and more than HK$11 million from Xie Xiaoqing, a delegate to the National People’s Congress.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

百度推广系统禁用360浏览器 称为保护商业信息|百度|浏览器|系统_互联网_科技时代_新浪网 - baidu no longer allowing users to use the baidu ad management system if they are using qihoo’s 360 browser?// 新浪科技讯 1月26日晚间消息,近日有大量网友反映,称其登录百度推广管理系统时,网页提示要求安装“百度安全控件”,安装后提示用户更换其他浏览器,否则无法登录百度推广管理系统。

Huawei is taking over the world (but Americans still can’t pronounce it) | VentureBeat - The company has risen above the plummeting RIM and Nokia to become the third-largest smartphone maker in the world, reports the Wall Street Journal. Huawei shipped 10.8 million phones last quarter, allowing it to capture five percent of the global market.

Xiaomi Box Finally Gets Regulatory Approval, Can Soon Go on Sale-TechInAsia– The Apple TV-esque Xiaomi Box is only the second device made by the young phone-making company, which sold an astonishing 7.19 million of its Android-based smartphones in 2012 – despite it being the startup’s first full year of sales. Xiaomi’s stream-to-TV box will cost 399 RMB (US$63), or a mere 299 RMB ($48) for owners of Xiaomi phones. It comes with DLNA and Miracast support and will be controllable with its own Android app. Among its established web-based video-streaming partners are Tencent Video, Sohu TV, and PPS.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Stanley Karnow, journalist and Vietnam historian, dies – The Washington Post - Stanley Karnow, an author and journalist who wrote one of the seminal histories of the Vietnam War and won the Pulitzer Prize for his sweeping historical narrative of U.S. involvement in the Philippines, died Jan. 27 at his home in Potomac, Md. He was 87….Mr. Karnow had received an Overseas Press Club award for a series of articles in The Post leading up to the 20th anniversary of the 1949 Communist takeover of China. His most prominent early book was “Mao and China: From Revolution to Revolution,” published in 1972 and later revised and updated.

Levine | Teaching Kafka in China - If I were teaching in China today, we would read Kafka’s other great novel The Castle. Here Kafka depicts a mysterious universe close to the real world of the Communist Party. In The Castle, the land surveyor K spends his life in a fruitless attempt to reach the inscrutable government officials who have hired him. The Castle is like the insular complex called Zhongnanhai where Party officials, like Kafka’s bureaucrats, live and work in a part of Beijing’s ancient Forbidden City where emperors once ruled. “If China has a heart, this is where it beats,” writes Der Spiegel. “But if there is one thing at work in Zhongnanhai, it’s the country’s brain. And while the traffic rages outside . . . insiders report that a ghostly quiet prevails inside the mysterious complex, almost like the silence in the eye of a typhoon–and just as dangerous, as is now becoming evident in the dramatic struggle for power in this enormous country of 1.35 billion people.” Even here we cannot forget the lessons of The Trial. No wonder a Chinese psychiatrist explained to a friend of mine, “Every Chinese has fear in his heart.”

Li Na on course to be world’s highest earning female athlete | The Li-Ning Tower- Saturday’s Australian Open women’s tennis final will be an all-Nike affair as Li Na faces off against Victoria Azarenka. Nothing particularly unusual there, given that the US sportswear giant also sponsors Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams. But Nike won’t quite have it all its own way. That’s because Li Na has a deal – unique among Nike’s stable of tennis superstars that also includes Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer – that allows her to have two other brands on her shirt in addition to the Nike swoosh. Those two? The well-known car company Mercedes-Benz, and the less well-known insurance company Taikang Life.

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

北京遭本月第4次雾霾天 今将达严重污染级别_网易新闻中心 - 4th toxic smog attack in beijing this month

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

Hotels: Chinese check-ins | The Economist - In 2011 some 150,000 Chinese tourists made it to Britain, compared with 3.6m visitors from France. Their numbers are growing fast, though, rising by 35% from 2010 to 2011 and 20% year-on-year in the first 11 months of 2012, according to VisitBritain, the national tourist board. To lure more visitors, Theresa May, the home secretary, is moving to simplify the process of applying for visas—something that currently puts off many Chinese. With China’s total outbound market likely to be three times as big as Japan’s by 2020, according to the Boston Consulting Group, the British government is reluctant to miss out on a lot of potential shoppers.

2013年,春运第一天的图片_罗大维_博联社 - interesting pictures from first day of official “spring migration” at the Chengdu railway station

Yum’s chicken in China contained excessive levels of drugs – Xinhua | Reuters - just a chicken problem at Yum China?// (Reuters) – Chicken sold to KFC’s parent Yum Brands Inc in China contained excessive levels of chemicals, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday, escalating a month-long food scare that has hit Yum’s sales in its biggest market.