The Sinocism China Newsletter For 01.29.13

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Bo Xilai did not go on trial Monday, frustrating the many foreign reporters went to Guiyang on the basis of thin reporting, as Reuters writes in dead end trail to Bo trial in China’s south:

A report last week in a Beijing-backed Hong Kong newspaper prompted dozens of reporters to travel to the sleepy city of Guiyang expecting to cover the trial of the man who was once considered a contender for China’s top leadership. The paper has been known to reliably report news Chinese state media won’t touch.

Reuters, the first Western newswire to run with the Ta Kung Pao story, did not mention its claim the previous day that “a third source, who has ties to the leadership, said the trial would in fact begin on Monday in Guiyang.” Those nebulous “ties to the leadership” sources have been the downfall of many a story about Chinese politics…

Is this source who has “ties to the leadership” now on an “unreliable source” list inside Reuters, and did his/her information contribute to previous stories?

The Guiyang court now says it will provide 3 days advance notice of any Bo Xilai trial it may or may not hold–贵阳中院:薄熙来案开审会提前3天公示_网易新闻. Given the high-profile of the Bo case it is highly unlikely the government will not announce a trial date in advance, even if all or part of the proceedings are held in secret, as they were in the Wang Lijun trial.

Bloomberg reports that Bo Xilai’s supporters demonstrated outside the Guiyang courthouse:

“Secretary Bo, corrupt and incompetent officials envy you, the people love you,” said the red banner with gold letters, held by a man and a woman outside the Guiyang Intermediate People’s Court in the southern province of Guizhou. The two folded up the banner and left after about a minute.

The Bloomberg story is a bit ambiguous, but it sounds like there were just two demonstrators. I guess the reporters had to write something after going all the way to Guiyang on a wild goose hotpot chase?

Xi Jinping is urging a fight against extravagance (Xinhua, People’s Daily page one 人民日报-习近平作出批示要求 厉行节约 反对浪费 浪费之风务必狠刹!要加大宣传引导力度,大力弘扬中华民族勤俭节约的优秀传统。各级领导干部都要率先垂范,坚决杜绝公款浪费现象 批示) and has “urged all official organs to keep a frugal lifestyle and resolutely oppose extravagance.”

Today’s People’s Daily has a page one commentary about fighting waste as a political task–人民日报-“反浪费”是一项政治任务 本报评论员. Last Friday’s edition of Sinocism noted the growing propaganda push around fighting waste and “Operation Clean Plate”. If this campaign is implemented, and we should expect it to be for at least a couple of months, expect some unhappy restaurants, liquor makers and luxury goods firms.

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Caterpillar Considers ‘All Options’ as Probe Continues – Bloomberg - The company is also seeing how it can hold those responsible to account for the “multiyear, coordinated accounting misconduct,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Oberhelman said yesterday. “We are not done,” Oberhelman said on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings conference call with analysts. “We are putting in more effort to finish our investigation.

Ex-chairman of firm linked to Caterpillar fraud dismayed | Reuters - “We were shocked and dismayed to learn, from press reports, about the very significant goodwill impairment that Caterpillar is taking in relation to the acquisition of ERA’s subsidiary Siwei,” Emory Williams Jr said in a statement.

设局卡特彼勒 – 经济观察网  Economic Observer story on the Caterpillar-ERA deal. EO reports that a person who participated in the acquisition negotiations told the paper that a member of the Caterpillar team was bribed by someone from Siwei, in a high end entertainment venue on Zhengzhou. Will post English translation when available, Caterpillar can not be happy about this story// 虽然卡特彼勒官方始终表示“坚信我们的(尽职调查)程序是严谨和稳健的”,但一位参与收购谈判的人士告诉经济观察报记者,收购团队中有人接受了四维机电方面的贿赂。“地点在郑州市的一家高档娱乐场所内。”这位参与收购的人士认为,并购团队中有人事前已经注意到四维机电的财务存在问题。不过,该人士的指述并未得到卡特彼勒方面的证实。

Police pressure sex-tape whistle-blower in corruption scandal | South China Morning Post- A whistle-blower who holds sex tapes of senior officials was interrogated by Chongqing police for about seven hours in Beijing yesterday after he said more incriminating items could be released. It was the latest development in a scandal that has cost 11 Chongqing officials their jobs for allegedly appearing in secretly filmed sex videos. Zhu Ruifeng, a citizen journalist who reports official corruption, addressed a small gathering of media representatives in front of a police station in Xicheng district after being questioned, alleging that Chongqing police were not interested in protecting whistle-blowers, just capturing them. And he defiantly said he would continue to expose official malfeasance.

人民日报-中共中央政治局召开会议 研究部署加强新形势下党员发展和管理工作 中共中央总书记习近平主持会议 - Politiburo meeting 1.28, Xi continues to push hard on Party Construction

江泽民引退内情:习近平巧借“江风”平老人干政_多维新闻网 - duowei on how Xi maneuvered to get Jiang Zemin to step back// 习近平在胡锦涛全退的支持下,也借势巧妙地消解江泽民的干政。尤其是习近平上任之后在第一次政治局会议上就提出了约束高官行为的“新八项注意”,如果现任官员都在党风上做出改变,那已经退任的政治老人再出面干预“朝政”就“很难说的过去”。此后,习近平携手中纪委书记王岐山,在执政不足百天时间里六次在公开场合谈及“贪腐”,一次比一次强硬,彻底将“第一把火”烧向反腐领域。而在此前,“反腐亡党,不反亡国”的论调一直喧嚣尘上,如何反贪、怎样反贪对于中共领导者来说一直是烫手山芋,不仅江、胡二人,就是邓小平本人也很难对贪腐有如此大的决心去彻底根除。习近平敢于直面贪腐,一则是中共保有执政生命的必然选择,二则是他在迅速剔除老人政治制肘后,加之本身根红苗正的身份,他有充足能量在决策层达成共识后立刻行动,而不必过多的考虑是否会波及各方势力的利益。 基于对现阶段中国政坛的观察,强势的习近平巧借一个“退”字,迅速扫除可能碍其施政的历史羁绊,中共的老人政治痼疾或许可以真正走进历史,“老人干政”也再难以左右中国政治。对于现任领导人而言,这样情势下其个人对中共政坛的影响力势必会被放大许多,这为习近平打造自己的时代与他高调提出的“民族复兴”奠定了良好的政治基础。

强势习近平力压李克强 “习李体制”或成“习体制”_多维新闻网 - 【多维新闻】北京时间1月23日,李克强主持召开国务院食品安全委员会第五次全体会议。李克强在讲话中着重突出了民生与转变政府职能。而在此前一天,习近平在中纪委第二次全体会议上发表了强硬讲话,对2013年的反腐工作做出进一步指示。与习近平讲话和表态引起的海内外媒体和民众的关注和热议相比,李克强的讲话显得微不足道。实际上,这只是习李上台后的一个缩影。外界在他们上台之初曾给予“习李新政”的期许,然而现在来看,习近平的气势和风头以及未来将要扮演角色的重要性,俨然已经完全盖过了李克强,其他常委更不必说。习近平成为了不容质疑的中国最高权力的拥有者。“习李体制”或许将会变成“习体制”。

In Beijing, No Tears Over Clinton’s Departure – NYTimes.com- Jin Canrong, an international affairs professor at Renmin University of China, said Mr. Kerry would be less aggressive toward China than Mrs. Clinton has been, according to China Daily. China disliked Mrs. Clinton’s central role in the Obama administration’s turn toward Asia, which has been interpreted by many here as an effort to contain China. Michael O’Hanlon of the Brookings Institution said Mrs. Clinton’s role in the administration’s “pivot to Asia” and her tough stance toward China were arguably “her greatest and most memorable contribution” as secretary of state, as my colleague David Rohde reported.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Goldman launches ICBC selldown of about $1 billion – source | Reuters- Goldman, looking to reduce further its stake in the world’s largest bank, offered the shares in ICBC at HK$5.77 each, equivalent to a discount of 3 percent to Monday’s close of HK$5.95, added the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. The U.S. bank has held a stake in ICBC since 2006.

王安顺:北京房地产调控决不动摇_财经频道_一财网 - new Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun promises to keep real estate controls in place// 王安顺强调,相信调控房地产还会出台一系列的措施,同时政府也会加快土地的供应和保障性住房的建设。

 

POLITICS AND LAW

习近平亲抓党建 清晰释放清党信号_多维新闻网 - Duowei on Xi and Party Construction and the signals he is sending//【多维新闻】北京时间1月28日,中共召开中央政治局第二次会议。名为“中国独家报道”的加V新浪微博5分钟内连发三篇微博,对此次政治局会议内容进行解说。该微博的新浪认证信息是“新华社对外部”。“中国独家报道”的三段微博的内容均涉及到中共党建议题,并重点传达了“清党”的政治信号。14时零7分,新华网头条发布新闻《中共中央政治局召开会议,习近平主持》。该新闻印证了之前的微博内容。这也表明,习近平真正高举起“清党”大旗,将“整党保洁”列为了未来的执政重点,这一举动亦已验证多维新闻此前的判断。多维新闻在十八大之前曾发表文章《多维独家:官场腐蠹难治,习近平祭出清党大旗》对此做出预测,并在《多维独家:中共五字诀划红线清退不合格党员》一文中披露过“清党”的“红线”。

重庆警方赴京向爆料人索要不雅视频遭拒_网易新闻中心 - 核心提示:重庆不雅视频爆料人朱瑞峰日前表示,除受到处理的11名官员,他还掌握多名重庆厅级以上官员的不雅视频。重庆警方赴京要求朱瑞峰协助调查,其以保护公安局线人为由拒交不雅视频。1月28日晚,重庆警方称朱瑞峰的视频系敲诈团伙成员向其提供,其有义务配合调查。

山西“房媳”丈夫曾动用技侦设备调查举报人_网易新闻中心 - now there is a “housing daughter in law” in shanxi, whose husband used eavesdropping equipment to investigate who had ratter her out..

山西“房媳”双户口问题属实 纪委予以立案调查_资讯频道_凤凰网 - and the “housing daughter-in-law” in shanxi has more than one hukou…government should confiscate all property held under name of additional hukous//

湖南一地税副局长与情妇签协议 补偿23万分手费_副局长 23万 情妇 分手费_青岛网络电视台_新闻 -

A ‘high-risk stage’ for officials in the future – People’s Daily Online- Besides Lei Zhengfu, another 10 party and government cadres as well as corporate principals were removed from their posts because of involvement in indecent video scandals. Such a concentrated exposure of official’s scandal may exert a systematic far-reaching impact on China’s social society. What surprised us most is not the downfall of several officials, but people’s zeal to find more such scandals and their exaggerated cheer upon the exposure, which is quite a unique scene in today’s China. Among a number of reasons for this, the root can be traced to the social injustice and people’s discontent accumulated wherefrom.

Beijing Observation: Xi Jinping the Man, by Gao Yu | Seeing Red in China - I read this over the weekend, forget to include in Monday’s newsletter. Surprised anyone surprised that Xi Jinping does not appear to be pushing any form of liberal political reform. He has said repeatedly he will not. People should actually pay attention to his statements and essays…if you have been paying attention your reaction to this blog post would probably be “duh”. But no liberal political reform does not mean Xi will not push daring/aggressive economic reform..Many very smart people believe the next phase of deeper economic reforms require significant liberal, structural political reforms, but I have not seen any empirical evidence of any depth that proves the connection, and Xi does not appear to be convinced, or he is but knows real political reform means the end of the Party’s monopoly on power…If any readers have real evidence that liberal political reform is needed to advance deeper economic reforms please send it along. I mean evidence, not theories, hope or wishful thinking..I have plenty of those already,and they tend to be regularly dashed by China //Gao Yu (高瑜) is an independent journalist and columnist based in Beijing. She used to work for China News Agency (中新社), and later was the deputy editor-in-chief of Economics Weekly (《经济学周报》, 1982-1989). She was twice imprisoned for her participation in the 1989 democratic movement. Drawing on her access to exclusive sources, she writes among other things about Beijing’s inner political circles, and her work is influential.

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Former Japanese leader Tomiichi Murayama arrives in Beijing | South China Morning Post - China-friendly Murayama is the third senior Japanese politician to visit Beijing in the past two weeks as both sides step up diplomacy

China says concerned by Japan’s move to boost military | Reuterswhat is Chinese for chutzpah?// Japan’s Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said on Sunday the government would increase the number of personnel, now standing at about 225,000, by 287 in the next fiscal year starting in April, the biggest rise in two decades. The figure represents an expansion of about 0.1 percent. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Japan should pay greater attention to regional concerns, alluding to Japan’s at times brutal behavior during World War Two which China considers Japan has not done enough to atone for.

China hopes for no more Huangyan Islands conflicts: FM – Xinhua | English.news.cn- BEIJING, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) — The current situation around the Huangyan Islands has remained stable and China hopes there are no more conflicts concerning the issue, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Monday. Hong’s remarks came at a routine press conference after reports quoted Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III as saying that he could not allow China to claim effective control over the Huangyan Islands, as doing so could encourage China to continue to move into the resource-rich Liyue Tan, also known as the Reed Bank.//China changed the status quo here

人民日报-不要人为打造“双重亚洲” 钟 声 - 建立一个以确保亚洲长期繁荣稳定为目标的新秩序,需要中美两国平等参与。对此美国不乏清醒认识,问题在于如何尽快找到足够的勇气…对美国这样一个国家来说,放下身段,调整好心态,的确很难。但既然“双重亚洲”不过是一种不切实际的虚幻,还是早一些变得现实些为好。

Maiden test flight of the Y-20, China’s first heavy military transport plane, a meaningful step in countrys’ ability to project air power – China Real Time Report – WSJ - In short, the Y-20 is a point of national pride and a substantial breakthrough for China’s large aircraft programs, but to begin thinking of it as a true military advancement, we need to see a Y-20 undertake a long flight with heavy cargo, then turn around and do the same thing on a return flight. Proof of an aircraft’s reliability and effectiveness lies in real objectives successfully achieved under real world conditions. A long and interesting road lies ahead for the Y-20.

习近平见山口只是会老友 无意越权_多维新闻网 - 此次山口访华之前就说带了安倍的亲笔信,旨在开启两国首脑会谈。但是目前习近平是国家副主席,安倍是日本政府元首,即便要进行首脑磋商,也应该是胡锦涛与安倍而不是习近平。习近平2009年既是国家副主席,也是中共中央政治局常委,但在东京会见作为公明党党首的山口时身份是国家副主席,而此次仅仅以中共总书记的身份会见,调门之低也实属罕见。习近平在被指强势的节骨眼上小心谨慎,展现对胡锦涛的尊重也是在破除传闻。

 

TECH AND MEDIA

SMS Growth in China Slows as Mobile Customers Turn to Messaging Apps - The rise of mobile messaging services like Tencent’s WeChat looks to be having a direct effect on China’s SMS volume. The country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has revealed that the number of text messages sent on mobile networks grew by only 2.1% in 2012, even as wireless service penetration grew by 9% to 82.6%, Sina Tech reports

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Is overseas returnee working as driver a waste of talents? – People’s Daily Online - yup…one who studied in new zealand worked in ccsweets for a year baking…///After studying abroad, some students coming back to China to serve as security guards, bakery businessmen, village officials, drivers, receptionists …. It is no news any more. Is it a waste of talents to have the overseas returnees engaged in grass-roots work?

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

人民日报-秦皇岛西部垃圾焚烧厂项目环评失实 环评机构竟这样造假(深阅读) 本报记者 杨 柳 - People’s Daily looks at how the environmental impact assessment report for a trash incinerator in qinhuangdao was faked…

China to contain increasingly severe soil pollution – Xinhua | English.news.cn- China is facing a grave situation in soil pollution, with a problems including expanding arable land affected by pesticides and chemical fertilizers, severe pollution by heavy metals, and pollution at mine and factory sites, Zhou Yikai, chairman of the Hubei Provincial Committee of the Chinese Peasants and Workers Democratic Party, said at the 2012 session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference National Committee. For heavy metal pollution alone, the pollution results in the loss of 10 million metric tons of grain and the contamination of another 12 million metric tons annually, incurring 20 billion yuan in direct economic losses each year, the Ministry of Land and Resources estimated.