The Sinocism China Newsletter For 02.04.13

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Off to find a Super Bowl broadcast…

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Interview With Hillary Clinton – NYTimes.comon chen guangcheng negotiations// [On Thursday], I had a lunch that include the main negotiators for the Chinese side and then I went to a large event on our people-to-people relationships. There were two incredible, attractive young people, one Chinese and one American, and they stood up and spoke about how important this relationship was and how valuable their experiences had been. Most of the main players on the Chinese side were there. It was a moment when I looked at all of them, and I know they’re thinking: “We don’t want this all to break up over this guy. What are we going to do?” I could just see it. The next morning we had a pre-existing event with American and Chinese business people, and we were back in one of the big beautiful all-glass pavilions. And I sent a note to Dai [China foreign policy official Dai Bingguo] saying, “You and I have got to talk.” I made what I knew would be the kind of final argument about why, but we couldn’t risk seeing our relationship founder over this. We would never agree on what happened and why, but we had to resolve it. So then Dai gave the go-ahead for his side to negotiate with ours again and we got an agreement. It was incredibly intense, but I was always confident.

Politics of pollution: China’s oil giants take a choke-hold on power | Reuters- With widespread and rising public anger changing the political calculus, it also poses a broader question of whether the incoming administration led by Communist Party chief Xi Jinping will stand up to powerful vested interests in a country where state-owned enterprises have long trumped certain ministries in the quest for economic growth at all costs. “I think the Communist Party’s new government should weaken CNPC and Sinopec,” said Wang Yukai, a professor from the National School of Administration. “These interest groups have too much power.” Delays in implementing stricter emission standards are rooted in money — chiefly, who should pay for the price of refining cleaner fuels? By some estimates, auto emissions contribute as much as a quarter of the most dangerous particles in Beijing’s air.

State-owned oil companies in firing line over Beijing’s pollution | South China Morning Post- Bureaucratic fighting between the environment ministry on the one hand and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and Sinopec Group on the other has thwarted stricter emission standards for diesel trucks and buses – a main cause of air pollution blanketing dozens of cities. To be sure, many sources contribute to air pollution levels that hit records last month, but analysts say the oil companies’ foot-dragging and disregard of environmental regulations underscore a critical challenge facing a toothless ministry in its mission to curb air pollution.

专家称中国户籍管理漏洞百出背后是社会不公_网易新闻中心China Youth Daily on the multiple hukou scandals exposing the loopholes and injustice in the hukou system..perhaps these scandals will be a fillip to real hukou reform…// 这名拥有两岸三户籍的女商人迅速引起舆论关注。不过,她并非第一个走进公众视线的“户口姐”。在这之前,“房妹”、“房姐”等一系列持有多户口、多身份的“房×”已陆续遭到警方调查。其中,陕西省神木县农村商业银行原副行长龚爱爱被发现拥有4个户口,41套在京房产,面积近万平方米。 1月31日,龚爱爱事件的7名涉案人员被刑事拘留,其中4人为公安民警。随后,与龚爱爱共同拥有某处房产的高引娥也被发现拥有多个户籍。 户籍乱象引发追问,这里面管理漏洞究竟有多少?

China services’ slow uptick highlights mildness of recovery | Reuters- The services industry has so far weathered the global slowdown much better than the factory sector, with the PMI consistently signalling healthy expansion and hitting a 10-month high of 58.0 in March.That is partly due to a maturing economy as well as a historic shift in the last decade leading a majority of Chinese to live and work in cities rather than the countryside. The January index of expected activity also fell from December, but remained above 60, indicating that service sector enterprises continued to be optimistic, the bureau said.

The Gaokao Highway to Hell « Sinostand- For the past week I’ve been in my girlfriend’s Shandong hometown staying with her aunt, uncle and 17-year-old cousin Emily. Emily is a puny 90 pounds with the horrible eyesight common among Chinese youth.  If given the chance, she’ll talk to you for hours about soap operas and schoolyard gossip. Two-and-a-half years ago she and her family came to visit us in Nanjing. It was a kind of celebration for passing the end of middle school test and getting into the town’s best high school. Since that trip, Emily’s life has been hell. This summer she’ll take the Gaokao. So each day she goes to school from 7:30 AM to 10:00 PM with a two hour lunch. She gets Saturday afternoons and Sunday mornings off…usually.

Kerry must engage China – Harvard – Belfer Center – Nicholas Burns - hasn’t the US been engaging China for 30 years? who is advocating we stop? // My Harvard colleague, Joseph Nye, suggested wisely in a recent New York Times op-ed that we not seek to contain China but continue the more nuanced Clinton-Bush policy of “integrate but hedge” instead. The hedge is clear — Obama’s smart and welcome drive to reinforce our alliances with the democratic countries of Asia. But he and Kerry now need to try to “integrate” China more deeply into the global trade and commercial system and find a way to make it a more reliable partner on critical issues such as climate change and North Korea. How might the United States better engage China in 2013? First, Obama and Kerry should commit to more frequent meetings with the new Chinese leadership. American leaders still spend far more time with their European and Middle Eastern counterparts than they do with Chinese leaders. Engaging China is not a panacea but is the only way to begin building greater confidence and trust. Personal ties often matter in international politics. Thus, early meetings withXi Jinping are imperative.

人民日报-新型大国关系 不是空洞概念 钟 声 - Zhong Sheng on new type of great power relations between US and China…not much detail, but does warn that blocking China’s protection of its sovereign territorial rights and unification will seriously hurt the feelings of 1.3 Billion people// 中美合作要顺利推进,要以相互信任为基础,尊重彼此的核心利益。中国有权和美国享有同等的尊重。企图阻碍中国维护领土主权完整和实现国家统一的努力,势必会严重伤害十三亿中国人民的感情。中美不仅要以建设性姿态管控好矛盾分歧,同时也要为存在的问题探索解决办法。只有以和平合作的思维取代冷战思维,以接触对话取代对抗遏制,中美关系才能健康发展。当前,两国应抓住机遇,开诚布公地进行对话,以实际行动为中美关系注入正能量,共同构建相互尊重、合作共赢的新型大国关系。

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Ahead of the Tape: Yum’s Chinese Yuck Factor – WSJ.com - the problems may run deeper than a 45 day bird// You won’t find “45-day chicken” in any cookbook, but it has become a potential recipe for disaster at Yum Brands Inc. The term for preternaturally fast-growing birds allegedly pumped full of dangerous hormones, all over China’s media and blogosphere in December, threatens the fast-food giant’s critical business in that country. An exposé in local media may have dented same-store sales there by 6% during the final quarter after they grew by 9% through the first nine months of 2012. Yum has said its products are safe but that it will strengthen its supervision of suppliers.

China to postpone widening of property tax pilot program: report | Reuters - of course they will postpone it..career suicide to implement it given the numbers of properties owned by officials..amazing how often this story gets reported, then corrected…fun for punters// China will postpone the expansion of a pilot program to implement a property tax, the official China Securities Journal reported, citing anonymous official sources, who added that Beijing intends to keep a tight lid on the property market through other means in tier 1 cities.

China property: virtuous circle – FT.com - This time last year doom was being predicted for China’s property developers. The economy was slowing and officials were clamping down on what was, at the least, a frothy housing market. This year the official curbs continue, but they have not stopped some of the biggest developers from raising a combined $5.4bn last month – almost half what they borrowed in the whole of last year.

China Blames International Miners for Plunging Steel Profit -Caijing - China reported a steep drop in profits of its steel companies in 2012 as it accused international miners including BHP Billiton of lifting exports prices which had taken most of the profits.   Profits of China’s steel companies plunged a whopping 98.22% last year with 28.75% of the companies suffering losses, China Iron and Steel Association said Thursday. Higher prices of imported iron ore mainly contributed to the poor performance, deputy secretary of the association Zhang Changfu explained.

京沪高铁部分投资者提议退出_公司频道_财新网 - 尽管京沪高铁运营形势超出预期,平安资产管理有限责任公司和全国社保基金理事会却出人意料地提出了退股的要求。据财新记者了解,两家投资机构于2012年下半年分别提出希望京沪高铁股份有限公司(下称京沪高铁)大股东中国铁路建设投资公司(下称中铁投)代表铁道部回购股份。目前,铁道部甚至更高层面仍在协调此事。京沪高铁股东“用脚投票”,尽显了铁道部市场化融资中的种种尴尬。

 

POLITICS AND LAW

Xi battles to help the poor|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn - Top leader Xi Jinping recalled his tough rural years during a visit to an impoverished village on Sunday, in a move analysts said reflects the leadership’s will to mingle with the grassroots and to combat poverty. Xi arrived in Yuangudui village in Dingxi city, Gansu province, perched 2,440 meters above sea level, on Sunday morning. Xi discussed a number of issues with the villagers and extended New Year’s greetings to them. Chinese New Year falls on Feb 10.

News Analysis: China’s anti-waste campaign revives frugal spirit – Xinhua | English.news.cn- A campaign against food waste is sweeping across China, with government officials and netizens in full swing to fight extravagance in the world’s second-largest economy, which still has 128 million people living under the poverty line. The movement echoes Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s call for frugal lifestyles, urging the fine Chinese tradition of “being diligent and thrifty.”

人民日报-公款送礼助长过度包装(厉行节约 反对浪费) - page 1 people’s daily on the absurdly extravagant packaging of some gifts, driven by the spending of public funds on the gifts…corruption and waste crackdowns going to hurt a lot of firms that rely on the crazy spending to stay in business…if corruption crackdown and frugality campaign continue for extended period with teeth, what happens to growth in China’s services sector?

人民日报-有腐必反 有贪必肃 ——五论学习贯彻习近平在十八届中央纪委二次全会讲话 本报评论员 - most read story on people’s daily online today is another page 1 commentary about fighting corruption

“房姐”龚爱爱:爱财、爱房、爱户口_21世纪网-21cbh.com - nice 21st century business herald micro-site on housing elder sister gong aiai case…probably the most interesting china corruption case in months

21观察:潘石屹与龚爱爱到底发生了什么?_21世纪网-21cbh.com - 21st Century Herald specualtion on what relationship housing elder sister Gong Aiai had with Pan Shiyi and SOHO China…

多户口事件盘点:原云南省委书记曾有3个身份证_网易新闻中心 - multiple hukous far too common// 核心提示:近日,个人拥有多个户口事件频发。据媒体盘点:陕西“房姐”龚爱爱有4个户口,山西“房媳”坐拥双户口,郑州“房妹”全家均为双户口。不仅如此,原云南省委书记、国家电力公司党组书记、总经理高严曾拥有3个不同名字的身份证、4本中国护照及一本港澳通行证。

人民日报-《江泽民文选》第三卷外文版出版发行 - news of translation into 5 languages of a a third volume of selected works by Jiang Zemin makes page 1 of today’s People’s Daily, but not in top ten most-read articles list so far

As Self-Immolations Near 100, Some Tibetans Ask, Is It Worth It? – NYTimes.com- Yet even as the self-immolations have become central to the Tibetan protest movement, a quiet debate has been under way among Tibetans who are anguished over the deaths of their young men and who question how the acts reconcile with Buddhist teachings. Again and again, speakers emphasized that the Tibetan movement remains nonviolent and that the people who have self-immolated harmed only themselves. “None of them have tried to harm anybody else,” said Penpa Tsering, the speaker of the Tibetan Parliament, which is based in Dharamsala, the Indian city that is host to the exiled Tibetan government. “None of the 99 people have tried to harm any Chinese.”

China bars prominent Uygur scholar from travelling to US | South China Morning Post- A prominent scholar from China’s Turkic Uygur ethnic minority said on Sunday he was detained for more than 12 hours at Beijing’s airport and then sent home when attempting to board a flight to the US, the latest in a series of apparent punishments in retaliation for his criticism of ruling Communist Party policies. Ilham Tohti said he was planning to take up a year-long fellowship at Indiana University when he was prevented from leaving the country on Saturday. He said he was interrogated from 8.45am until after 9pm by three separate groups of officers, none of whom gave him any reason why he was being detained.

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Detained Chinese fishermen released from Japan – Xinhua | English.news.cn - second case of this type in a couple of months, positive that both resolved quickly// The skipper and all other crew members of a Chinese fishing boat Japanese coast guard detained Saturday near the Okinawa Prefecture were released on late Sunday, said the Chinese Consulate General in Fukuoka.

Spring Air Considers Halting Flights to Japan on China Protests – Bloomberg - Spring Airlines Co., China’s biggest carrier outside government control, is considering ending flights to Japan after a territorial dispute between the Asian countries last year emptied planes and caused losses. Spring hasn’t decided on the 12 weekly flights between China and Japan, Chairman Wang Zhenghua said in an interview in Singapore, adding his “Japanese friends” are asking him to continue. Shanghai-based Spring has put on hold plans to add more Japan services as it’s filling less than 50 percent of the seats on those flights, compared with an average 92 percent occupancy on other sectors.

Myanmar’s Kachin rebels, government to hold talks in China after intense skirmishes – The Washington Post- Myanmar’s government and ethnic Kachin rebels in northern Myanmar will hold talks in China this week after some of the worst fighting in the country in years, even as fresh shelling boomed across the frontline. The talks will begin Monday in the Chinese border town of Ruili, officials on both sides said Sunday.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Baidu Hedging Costs Soar on Competition: China Overnight – Bloomberg - While Sohu, which derives most of its income from online games, is expected to post 46 percent profit growth this year, Baidu’s net income will rise 24 percent, about half the pace of 2012, according to average analyst estimates for both stocks. Qihoo 360 Technology Co. (QIHU), a Beijing-based software developer that started a search engine in August, may siphon advertising from Baidu, hurting profitability as they spend more money luring mobile-phone Internet users, according to 86Research Ltd. “Negative sentiment toward Baidu mainly comes from the competition with Qihoo,” Ming Zhao, founder of 86Research Ltd., the Beijing-based equity research firm, said in a phone interview Feb. 1. “Higher costs to offer search on mobile devices will hurt its profit margin.”

Censorship decreasing in Hollywood films, but still needed – Globaltimes.cn- how about China portraying foreigners more accurately, and with better actors?// However, the Chinese public doesn’t accept all Hollywood blockbusters. For example, many Chinese Hollywood fans expressed their discomfort with the scenes in Big Fish which defamed Chinese soldiers during the Korean War. Ideological divisions can often be found in Hollywood movies, especially in those which take place during the Cold War. Chinese movie censors might need to relax a bit more. But if Chinese people are portrayed more accurately in future, they will surely be less busy.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Road traffic peaks ahead of Spring Festival – Xinhua | English.news.cn- China’s public transportation network is getting increasingly crowded as hundreds of millions journey home amid the Spring Festival travel rush that started last week. Road traffic will hit a peak on Sunday, with around 88 million passengers expected to travel by bus, according to He Jianzhong, spokesman of the Ministry of Transport.

Snow Forecasts Threaten Chinese Lunar New Year Travel Plans – Bloomberg - Forecasts of snow and rain across China threaten to disrupt the travel plans of millions of Chinese heading home for the Lunar New Year holidays that start Feb. 9, the national weather agency warned today. Snow is expected in northeastern provinces this week with snow and sleet in western Xinjiang and parts of central China, the agency said in an e-mailed report. The nation’s rail network was due to carry 5.86 million holiday travelers today, the Railways Ministry said on its website.

Divorce granted in wife-beating “Crazy English” teacher case – Xinhua | English.news.cn- The court also ruled that Lee should retain custody of the couple’s three daughters, and that Li should make an annual child support payment of 100,000 yuan to each of their daughters before each turns 18. The court judged that Li will keep the property registered in his name, the stock rights and the registered trademark of his company, while he should pay Lee a one-off sum of 12 million yuan in consideration of the property the couple shared. Li is known for creating the concept of “Crazy English,” a method of shouting to memorize and practice the language. He has been successful since starting his English-teaching business in China in the early 1990s. Lee used to be her husband’s partner as an editor of the company’s publication products.

The Hindu : Arts / Dance : Beijing sways to Bharatanatyam- On a recent snowy Sunday, the walls of a nondescript apartment complex in a Beijing suburb reverberated with a steady rhythm. In a small exercise room, 14 young Chinese students stomped their feet on the cold wooden floorboards, as their teacher, sitting upright and cross-legged, clapped her hands to produce a quick beat. A typical scene, perhaps, in any Beijing arts school. This, however, is a Chinese dancing school with a difference: every Sunday morning, young Chinese from across the city gather here not to learn Peking Opera or ballet, but Bharatanatyam.

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

油品提高难?三桶油:不是不能,是划不来_财经频道_一财网 - 对于中石化、中石油乃至中海油等巨头来说,汽、柴油品质升级主要障碍并不在技术硬件,更多的是在于现行成品油价格机制让它们觉得划不来。

Survey: Breathing bad air in Beijing like smoking 21 cigarettes – AJW by The Asahi Shimbunand dont think working out inside a health club on those days is safe//Spending a day here when smog blankets the city and the air pollution is severe is equivalent to smoking 21 cigarettes, or about a pack a day, according to a survey by a company related to the environmental industry. The results of the survey were carried in the Xinmin Weekly, a Chinese magazine.

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

辽宁工厂以鸭肉泡制牛羊肉卷 强致癌物超标2千倍_网易新闻中心 - Liaoning factory’s lamb and beef products really made out of duck, and full of carcinogens. duck better than rat? (looking for bright side)// 核心提示:近日,辽宁辽阳一处工厂以劣质鸭肉加添加剂制成产牛羊肉卷,李某等34人因涉生产销售有毒有害食品罪被刑事拘留。经检验,该厂所制作的“牛羊肉卷”强致癌物亚硝酸钠超标达2000多倍。目前,警方已基本将流入市场的假羊肉和牛肉卷追回。

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