China Readings for November 5th

  • Watch: Kai-Fu Lee talks Weibo’s importance in China: Shanghaiist
  • The Extremes of China Media – This week on Sinica we look at two of the extremes. First up a discussion between Jeremy Goldkorn and Brook Larmer, whose recent essay on Chinese Internet humor for the New York Times looked not only at what is being said online but who is saying it and why. And then we look the other way, talking with journalist Christina Larson and Sinica-stalwart David Moser about the Global Times, a commercial newspaper under the auspices of the People's Daily so untempered in its nationalism that many consider the paper a government mouthpiece, with Foreign Policy even comparing the publication to Fox News.
  • Syria Crackdown Aided by U.S.-Europe Spy Gear – Bloomberg – Employees of Area SpA, a surveillance company based outside Milan, are installing the system under the direction of Syrian intelligence agents, who’ve pushed the Italians to finish, saying they urgently need to track people, a person familiar with the project says. The Area employees have flown into Damascus in shifts this year as the violence has escalated, says the person, who has worked on the system for Area.
    Area is using equipment from American and European companies, according to blueprints and other documents obtained by Bloomberg News and the person familiar with the job. The project includes Sunnyvale, California-based NetApp Inc. (NTAP) storage hardware and software for archiving e-mails; probes to scan Syria’s communications network from Paris-based Qosmos SA; and gear from Germany’s Utimaco Safeware AG (USA) that connects tapped telecom lines to Area’s monitoring-center computers.
  • AP Exclusive: CIA following Twitter, Facebook – Yahoo! News – DO THEY FOLLOW SINA AND TENCENT WEIBOS?//

    McLEAN, Va. – In an anonymous industrial park in Virginia, in an unassuming brick building, the CIA is following tweets — up to 5 million a day.
    At the agency's Open Source Center, a team known affectionately as the "vengeful librarians" also pores over Facebook, newspapers, TV news channels, local radio stations, Internet chat rooms — anything overseas that anyone can access and contribute to openly.

  • Netizens Using Alipay to Give Money to Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei | Tech in Asia – Ai Weiwei, China’s firebrand modern artist, has never been one to shy away from controversy, or away from a fight with the government. His iconoclasm brought him to the edge this spring, when he was arrested and detained for nearly three months for initially mysterious reasons. Eventually, he was accused of tax evasion. His arrest became an international incident, and his loyal army of Twitter followers was up in arms until he was finally released early this summer.
  • The China Conundrum – NYTimes.com – The students are mostly from China’s rapidly expanding middle class and can afford to pay full tuition, a godsend for universities that have faced sharp budget cuts in recent years. But what seems at first glance a boon for colleges and students alike is, on closer inspection, a tricky fit for both.

    Colleges, eager to bolster their diversity and expand their international appeal, have rushed to recruit in China, where fierce competition for seats at Chinese universities and an aggressive admissions-agent industry feed a frenzy to land spots on American campuses. College officials and consultants say they are seeing widespread fabrication on applications, whether that means a personal essay written by an agent or an English proficiency score that doesn’t jibe with a student’s speaking ability. American colleges, new to the Chinese market, struggle to distinguish between good applicants and those who are too good to be true.

  • Baidu Invests RMB 100 Million in Baijob, Aims to Build A Top 3 Jobs Site | iChinaStock
  • 10家重庆公司筹建安农农业保险公司被否 – 经济观察网 - 专业财经新闻网站
  • 湖南要求彻查村官浮尸案 死者曾上访到全国人大_新闻_腾讯网 – 网站
  • 高清:8层楼高宋庆龄雕像落户郑州_新闻_腾讯网 – 8 Story high statue of Song Qingling in Zhengzhou
  • China Makes Giant Leap With Space Docking – WSJ.com – China's first space docking this week highlights the central government's success with its much-vaunted space program as the Communist Party struggles with other technology-intensive projects, particularly high-speed rail.

    As the U.S. has drawn down manned space missions and retired the last in its fleet of space shuttles, China is gearing up for a long-term orbital foothold. Those efforts are underpinned by plans for a manned space station, expected to be finished around 2020. That is about the same time the International Space Station is expected to retire.

  • China Toy Sales Seen Surging to $9 Billion With Princess: Retail – Bloomberg – Wanted: BFF; pretty in pink; not too trashy; lower maintenance than Barbie. Must speak Chinese.
    Meet Princess Secret, a potential best friend forever for the children of China’s swelling mass of consumers, who increasingly demand better-quality toys at cheaper prices than foreign brands can offer. The doll’s manufacturer, closely held China Focus (Yiwu) Ltd., is among Chinese exporters seeking licenses to sell on the domestic market as overseas growth flags.
  • Apple’s Supply-Chain Secret? Hoard Lasers – Businessweek – Most of Apple’s customers have probably never given that green light a second thought, but its creation speaks to a massive competitive advantage for Apple: Operations. This is the world of manufacturing, procurement, and logistics in which the new chief executive officer, Tim Cook, excelled, earning him the trust of Steve Jobs. According to more than a dozen interviews with former employees, executives at suppliers, and management experts familiar with the company’s operations, Apple has built a closed ecosystem where it exerts control over nearly every piece of the supply chain, from design to retail store. Because of its volume—and its occasional ruthlessness—Apple gets big discounts on parts, manufacturing capacity, and air freight. “Operations expertise is as big an asset for Apple as product innovation or marketing,” says Mike Fawkes, the former supply-chain chief at Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) and now a venture capitalist with VantagePoint Capital Partners. “They’ve taken operational excellence to a level never seen before.”
  • Tencent Accused by UCWeb of Abusing Dominant Market Position | iChinaStock
  • America Fiddles While China Surges – The Washington Note – I'm in China this week and have had limited internet access (and time) to post while bouncing between meetings and cities.  I'm here as a guest of the China-United States Exchange Foundation and traveling with a great group including MSNBC's Jonathan Alter; ThomsonReuter's new acquisition the kidnapping-defying David Rohde; National Public Radio's managing editor David Sweeney; and Daniel Gross, now at Yahoo Finance and author of one of the most fun and counter-intuitive books I have read on economic history, Pop! Why Bubbles are Great for the Economy. 
  • US-China Today: State and International Visits Interactive Map – In this interactive map, we highlight  official state visits by President Hu Jintao, Premier of the State Council Wen Jiabao, Vice President Xi Jinping and First Vice Premier Li Keqiang. The map shows official state visits by Pres. Hu from 2002-2011 and international visits by Wen, Xi and Li from 2006-2011. Duration and specific cities are also noted.
  • Amazon.com: The Ideal Man: The Tragedy of Jim Thompson and the American Way of War (9780470086216): Joshua Kurlantzick: Books
  • The End of the Innocents – By Joshua Kurlantzick | Foreign Policy – How America's longtime man in Southeast Asia, Jim Thompson, fought to stop the CIA's progression from a small spy ring to a large paramilitary agency — and was never seen again.
  • "You’ll Be Fired if You Refuse" | Human Rights Watch – Labor Abuses in Zambia's Chinese State-owned Copper Mines
  • SCMP-Special purifiers ensure top cadres breathe easy as they go about their business – Special purifiers ensure top cadres breathe easy as they go about their business, angering Beijingers who have to wallow in choking pollution
  • Chinese Military Leadership Reshuffle Approaching – Defense News – The conference, "PLA in the Next Decade," sponsored by the Chinese Council of Advanced Policy Studies and the Institute of Chinese Communist Studies (ICCS), from Oct. 31 to Nov. 1, focused in part on the upcoming 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in 2012 and how the generational change of the top leadership will reshape the PLA.
  • Lijiang at Night
  • Watch: Kai-Fu Lee talks Weibo’s importance in China: Shanghaiist
  • The Extremes of China Media – This week on Sinica we look at two of the extremes. First up a discussion between Jeremy Goldkorn and Brook Larmer, whose recent essay on Chinese Internet humor for the New York Times looked not only at what is being said online but who is saying it and why. And then we look the other way, talking with journalist Christina Larson and Sinica-stalwart David Moser about the Global Times, a commercial newspaper under the auspices of the People's Daily so untempered in its nationalism that many consider the paper a government mouthpiece, with Foreign Policy even comparing the publication to Fox News.
  • Syria Crackdown Aided by U.S.-Europe Spy Gear – Bloomberg – Employees of Area SpA, a surveillance company based outside Milan, are installing the system under the direction of Syrian intelligence agents, who’ve pushed the Italians to finish, saying they urgently need to track people, a person familiar with the project says. The Area employees have flown into Damascus in shifts this year as the violence has escalated, says the person, who has worked on the system for Area.
    Area is using equipment from American and European companies, according to blueprints and other documents obtained by Bloomberg News and the person familiar with the job. The project includes Sunnyvale, California-based NetApp Inc. (NTAP) storage hardware and software for archiving e-mails; probes to scan Syria’s communications network from Paris-based Qosmos SA; and gear from Germany’s Utimaco Safeware AG (USA) that connects tapped telecom lines to Area’s monitoring-center computers.

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