China Readings for October 16th

  • 中国“以房养老”再被搁浅 70年产权特殊国情引忧_时政频道_新华网 –   目前我国有60岁以上老年人1.78亿,养老的经济模式主要是子女赡养、退休金、社保金。

      近年逐渐兴起“年轻贷款买房,老年将房屋抵押给银行或保险公司,由上述机构支付养老费用,晚年衣食无忧”的“以房养老”。

      9月29日,全国政协举办“大力发展我国养老事业”提案办理会,然而,“以房养老”的提案因无相应法律保障,可能再次陷入难解困局——

      新闻背景

      中国目前有60岁以上老人1.78亿,占总人口的13.3%。其中不能自理的失能老人约1036万人,半失能老人约2135万人,大中城市空巢家庭达到70%。

      9月29日,全国政协举办“大力发展我国养老事业”提案办理会。“以房养老”提案的办理部门银监会相关负责人到场,他表示,不少国家都采取了“以房养老”措施,应对人口老龄化。

  • 河北乐亭:“人为”造荒滩 虾农太心酸_时政频道_新华网 – 今年5月27日,新华社播发了《政府圈地虾农“买单” 河北乐亭“收储”土地致万亩虾池闲置》一稿,报道了河北乐亭县政府因规划建设临港产业聚集区,从2007年开始从虾农手中强行收回数万亩虾池的土地使用权,导致虾池闲置近四年的情况。四个多月过去了,记者14日重返乐亭采访,发现数万亩虾池依然在闲置,被填平的虾池已经长出半人高的荒草,当地虾农对乐亭县“人为”制造荒滩的做法非常愤慨。
  • Microblogging offers new platform for officials to serve the public – s China's booming microblog services have become a popular way for people to voice their opinions, government departments and officials are encouraged to use the tool to better communicate with the public.

    China owns the world's largest online population, which has reached 500 million, and the country's most popular microblog service, Sina Weibo, now has more than 200 million registered users.

    Government departments and officials nationwide have opened more than 40,000 microblog accounts in a bid to release authorized information timely and receive feedback from the people.

  • xinhua-Beijing residents face rising cancer threat – About 105 people were diagnosed with cancer every day in the capital last year, with the disease responsible for one in four deaths, a recent study shows.

    The figures were released by the Beijing Institute for Cancer Research on Tuesday during a news conference to mark the 35th anniversary of the Peking University Cancer Hospital, a partner organization.

    Lung and breast cancer are the major threats, said Li Pingping, co-author of the report, which was based on Beijing Health Bureau data collected between 1995 and 2010.

    Research found that, between 2000 and 2009, instances of lung cancer rose 56 percent, while breast cancer cases went up 127 percent.

    Less common cancers such as thyroid cancer and uterine body cancer have also seen rapid increases over the past decade, the report added.

    "Pollution and unhealthy lifestyles are the primary causes for the high cancer rate," Li said, adding that the fast pace of life in the city, as well as excessive pressure, disrupt people's hormones and increases the cancer risk.

  • Chinese Premier Wen vows to stabilize foreign trade, reassures exporters – DONT EXPECT BIG MOVES IN RMB//

    Premier Wen Jiabao has pledged more support measures for exporters including "a basically stable exchange rate" for Renminbi to stabilize foreign trade in the world's second largest economy amidst new external uncertainties.

    Wen made the remarks during an Oct. 13-14 inspection tour of Guangzhou, the host city of the ongoing 110th China Import and Export Fair, also known as the Canton Fair, in the southern province of Guangdong.

  • China’s Citic Caught in Puda Coal Scandal – Barrons.com – Citic seemed to come up short on both counts recently based on reports about its involvement in a little-known coal company whose collapse hurt many U.S. investors. It's just the latest in a growing list of mostly smaller U.S.-listed Chinese companies that have run into trouble.

    This sad tale begins with Puda Coal, a coal miner in China's Shanxi province whose shares once traded on the Nasdaq. To reduce mining fatalities and concentrate the fragmented industry in the hands of larger operators, the provincial government appointed Puda as one of the region's consolidators. That helped attract droves of U.S. investors, and Puda shares traded above 16 as recently as last December.

    The trouble began in 2009 when Puda's then-chairman, Ming Zhao, effectively transferred to himself 90% of the company's Chinese operating subsidiary without shareholder approval, subsequent regulatory filings show. In the middle of 2010, Zhao turned around and sold 49% of this same unit to Citic's private-equity arm for 245 million yuan (about US$37 million), while pledging the remaining 51% to Citic to secure a 2.5 billion yuan loan.

    Yet, Puda continued to raise money in the U.S. in secondary stock offerings, even though it's a mere shell without its Chinese subsidiary. In April research and trading firms AlfredLittle.com and Geoinvesting called attention to the unauthorized transfers; Puda shares plunged and were eventually delisted.

  • China Expands Its Military Reach | AVIATION WEEK – How far is China’s military reach? The answer depends on what it wants to do. A Chinese warship deployed to the Mediterranean this year, so, by that yardstick, global reach is at hand. But the isolated ship only supported civilian evacuations from Libya, and had no real military potential.

    Pull focus back to 300 km (200 mi.) from China’s coast and it is a different story: More than 1,000 short-range ballistic missiles are ready to clear the way for around 2,000 increasingly modern aircraft. Zoom in a bit, and the airspace is dominated by powerful surface-to-air missile systems.

    “China’s power-projection capacity is in its early stage of development,” says analyst Andrew Davies of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra. “It reduces rapidly with the distance from China’s coastline.”

  • Michel Peissel, Tibet Scholar and Adventurer, Dies at 74 – NYTimes.com – In 16 books and more than 20 documentary films, Mr. Peissel chronicled his explorations of inaccessible or ignored regions of the globe, including the Tibetan high plateau, remote Russian river towns and unrecorded Mayan ruins.

    Educated in England and France, Mr. Peissel (pronounced payss-EL) dropped out of Harvard Business School to become an explorer and follow his dream of understanding the peoples of Tibet, many of whom lived in regions closed to foreigners.

    Probing what he called historical Greater Tibet, he gained access to the Mustang region in the early 1960s; this led to his book “Mustang: A Lost Tibetan Kingdom.” Its follow-up, “Cavaliers of Kham,” created an even greater stir with its narrative of the secretive Tibetan Khampa guerrillas, who attacked Chinese troops with C.I.A. support.

  • Information Dissemination: Obama’s Foreign Policy in Africa Wears Combat Boots – REAL STORY BEHIND UGANDA DEPLOYMENT, MISSED/IGNORED BY THE DC MSM. WONDER WHAT CHINA THINKS OF THIS//

    The messaging by the Obama administration – announcing this specific military deployment in this way – is very curious. Why, if this is simply a training engagement (and not operational), is the President of the US sending a letter to the House Speaker? When claiming the purpose of the letter is "consistent with the War Powers Resolution" then we have serious intentions that go beyond training. Sure, it may begin with training, but I expect over time we will see armed drones and other military assets being put into covert use in that region of Africa, and what might be 100 troops today will be well over a thousand in the near future. See Columbia, etc., for other examples of start small and creep up.

    If this was simply a training engagement, there would be no need for this letter, no need to cite the War Powers Resolution, and this news would have been told from an Army PAO in AFRICOM in a news article that wouldn't get any attention at all in most of the media (like what no one sees hiding in plain sight all the time). Worth noting, one of the reasons the President probably invoked the War Powers Resolution in Uganda is because AFRICOM might desire the mission to be long term, thus with the War Powers Resolution, the US military can set up a permanent base in Uganda as an overseas contingency operation rather than by going through the normal political (ie. budget) and diplomatic process of setting up a permanent base in a foreign country on African soil.

    This deployment has open ended activity written all over it. However, this deployment also appears to be a strategic move rather than the more tactical activities the US has been conducting in Africa lately (like Libya and Somalia).

    By putting US troops in Uganda, the US is building the foundation for what is the next piece of containment for Al Shabaab in Somalia while at the same time adding an extra layer of support for the still very weak state of South Sudan. AFRICOM has apparently begun playing big boy chess, and by that I mean they are building the foundations (where possible) of US influence to help strengthen the African Union by selectively supporting major contributing states. Remember, Uganda is one of the big contributors to African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), for example, so as the US military builds up the capability of Uganda it is also building up the capability of a regional military force that is and will in the future be fighting for interests in Africa that the US shares with Uganda.

    Finally, for those who keep track of such things, the US is now apparently fighting wars on at least seven fronts – Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, and now Uganda.

  • 公务员高利贷是个好生意 – 经济观察网 - 专业财经新闻网站 – 导语:到底有多少公务员加入其中并不值得关心,而是更多的人已经没有安全感,在铤而走险当中走向灭亡更为值得关注。

    经济观察网 五岳散人/文 有温州的高利贷者跑路被抓,13亿的资金目前去向成谜。而有关人士爆料说,其中有不少是当地公务员的钱,数额都不算低。“我们债主圈内的人估算,这起案子中大约有八成的债主是公务员,有的是局级以上的,现在这些人都想低调收回资金了事。”一位不愿公开姓名的债主这么告诉记者。

  • China Cracks Down on Informal Lending – WSJ.com – China's banking regulator has issued new rules to rein in off-balance-sheet lending by banks that has stoked fears about excessive credit growth and the long-term stability of the country's financial system.

    In a directive marked "extra urgent," according to people who have seen the document, the China Banking Regulatory Commission banned banks from moving loans off their books by repackaging them into investment products—an increasingly popular practice among banks trying to get around Beijing's lending controls aimed at bringing down inflation.

    An official at the CBRC confirmed the release of the order, which was issued on Sept. 30 and became effective immediately. He declined to comment further.

  • China: Dirty Money Lending And The Merchants of Wenzhou – Worldcrunch – All News is Global – Public officials have been caught repeatedly in usury-related scandals in the wealthy southeastern city of Wenzhou. Not only is it a betrayal of public trust, it exposes an economic system that too often relies on illegal money lending.
  • Yakuza – YouTube – January 2010

    Child pornography, along with prostitution and drugs, allows the Yakuza – Japans 80 000 strong mafia – to rake in 50 billion dollars a year. We pry open a window on this deadly criminal network.

    Produced by ABC Australia Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

  • Japan Subculture Research Center – In 2010, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation released one of the most concise but excellent documentaries ever done on the Yakuza, and now available on YouTube. The title is brutally simple:Yakuza.  It is not a flashy film; there are no “re-creations” and no “dramatizations.” It may not be exciting but it is visceral and it is accurate.
  • China – Social Media Rules Weighed – NYTimes.com – With the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party scheduled to begin meeting Saturday, Wang Chen, a senior propaganda official, said that social media need to be more tightly regulated. The government seems likely to follow through on many hints that it would step up regulation of various Twitter-like microblogs like Weibo, said Bill Bishop, an independent analyst specializing in social media.
  • China’s Coming Leadership Change Leaves Analysts Guessing – NYTimes.com – ALICE MILLER MY GRAD SCHOOL ADVISOR, STILL THINK SHE IS THE TOP AMERICAN SCHOLAR ON ELITE CHINESE POLITICS

    The answer, like almost everything about the Standing Committee, is tantamount to a state secret. So political junkies grasp at straws like the People’s Daily photograph, with its unstated pecking order, to divine who might run China after Mr. Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao step down in 2012.

    “It’s a one-party system, so all the politicking takes place internally,” Alice Miller, a visiting professor at Stanford and a leading expert on China’s leadership, said in a telephone interview. “You don’t have to campaign for public approval. But you do have to politick all the internal constituencies to get approval.”

    Ultimate authority in China resides with the Communist Party, a ruling strata above the government, the military, the courts and the national legislature. Many senior officials have both party and government titles, but major policy and personnel decisions are made by the party’s Central Committee, the Politburo and ultimately the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee, often in secretive sessions like the one taking place this weekend.

  • Jiang Zemin Re-emerges in China – NYTimes.com – There are nine seats on the committee, but that could change.

    In recent years, Mr. Jiang, whose base of support is known as the “Shanghai Gang,” used his influence to prevent one of Mr. Hu’s allies, Li Keqiang, from becoming the consensus choice as the next president. Mr. Li is expected to become the next prime minister. The other seats appear to be up for grabs. Party officers have begun circulating lists of names among hundreds of senior officials, but the final decisions will probably not be made until next summer at the earliest.

    “I’ve heard all kinds of different versions of the next lineup,” said a person with close ties to some top families.

    The political maneuvering is so precarious that close family members of some leaders, including Mr. Xi, have been asked to stay out of Beijing so that their activities do not disrupt the succession process.

  • Can China Successfully Build Soft Power Without A Global Internet Strategy? | Sinocism – post from june 2010, still relevant, esp as exporting culture one of topics likely to come out of 6th plenum//

    China’s efforts to build its “soft power” have been in the news over the last few months. So far none of the coverage of the media strategy for soft power has discussed what may be the fatal flaw in the government’s strategy-the media efforts are almost entirely focused on declining media like television, radio and print.

    Not only has there been limited emphasis by the Chinese government on using the Internet to further soft power, but there are also major structural and cultural issues that make it extremely difficult for China to push its soft power agenda over the Internet. China has planned the soft power effort as a multi-decade effort, but the lack of effective products for the medium of future generations may doom the government’s efforts.

    Can you really win hearts and minds when you are known as a country that blocks Facebook, Google, Youtube and Twitter, among the most popular Internet services globally?

  • 周永康:加快建设绿色互联网_互联网_科技时代_新浪网 – Zhou Yongkang: Speed up construction of a green [healthy] Internet

    Green dam may be dead, political initiative behind only grown stronger. probably bad news for online game and video companies. $yoku $tudo $pwrd $ntes $cyou $ga $game

  • 人民日报任仲平:文化强国的“中国道路”–观点–人民网 – people's daily editorial–"China Way" To a Cultural Superpower
  • 党的十七届六中全会–中国共产党新闻–人民网 – people's daily minisite on the 6th plenum of 17th party congress
  • Mintz Says China May Pass U.S. as Biggest Movie Market (Video) – Bloomberg – Mintz's firm just raised 400m or so china film fund. interesting to contrast his comments w han han's
  • Han Han on China’s fizzling film industry – China Media Project – In an interview with Southern Metropolis Daily, Han Han (韩寒), the widely popular blogger and cultural critic who doubles as a race-car driver, offers his views on China’s domestic film industry. Earlier today, the culture section of Southern Metropolis Daily shared portions of the interview through its official Sina Microblog account, pulling out Han Han’s choice quote on censorship.

    It may be the case that the government in a country with cultural censorship no longer has to fear criticism or satire at the hands of its own creative works. But then the whole world subjects it to criticism and satire.

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