China Readings for February 8th

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  • Why China’s housing market will slow, not collapse – The Term Sheet: Fortune’s deals blog Term Sheet -
  • 笑蜀:警惕“汉奸评选”这种下三滥的政治杀戮_评论_环球网 – 摘要:所谓十大汉奸评选,只能用下三滥来形容。不要任何规则、不要任何底线、不惜一切代价、怎样耸动怎样整的做法将会让整个社会的精神氛围更加走向极端,更加走向仇恨与对抗。野蛮是它最大的恶。这最大的恶如果不能遏制,它就会毒化整个政治市场,把本来应该是文明的政治行销变成政治传销,把本来应该是阳光的政治竞争变成政治杀戮。而这,才是我们最应该警惕的。
  • ‘We the People’ Loses Appeal With People Around the World – NYTimes.com- “The U.S. Constitution appears to be losing its appeal as a model for constitutional drafters elsewhere,” according to a new study by David S. Law of Washington University in St. Louis and Mila Versteeg of the University of Virginia.The study, to be published in June in The New York University Law Review, bristles with data. Its authors coded and analyzed the provisions of 729 constitutions adopted by 188 countries from 1946 to 2006, and they considered 237 variables regarding various rights and ways to enforce them.

    “Among the world’s democracies,” Professors Law and Versteeg concluded, “constitutional similarity to the United States has clearly gone into free fall. Over the 1960s and 1970s, democratic constitutions as a whole became more similar to the U.S. Constitution, only to reverse course in the 1980s and 1990s.”

  • U.S. authorities looking into Murdoch foreign payments | Reuters – U.S. authorities are stepping up investigations, including an FBI criminal inquiry, into possible violations by employees of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire of a U.S. law banning corrupt payments to foreign officials such as police, law enforcement and corporate sources said.
    But U.S. investigators have found little to substantiate allegations of phone hacking inside the United States by Murdoch journalists, the sources added
  • The psychology of cupcakes – The Washington Post- As the Modern Cupcake Moment swirls into its second decade, America just might have to admit that what we’re dealing with — 669.4 million sold from October 2010 to October 2011, according to the market research firm NPD — is not a fad. It’s an enduring love affair.“Cupcake culture has been iconic in the U.S. for 100 years,” says Steve Abrams, co-owner of New York’s Magnolia Bakery. American recipes for cake baked in small cups and the term “cup cake” cropped up earlier, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. “There is no cupcake craze.”
  • 吴思科:中国行使否决权是为维护叙利亚人民的根本利益 – 新华国际 – 新华网 -
  • Beijing office rents more expensive than New York | China Business Watch | Latest Hong Kong, China & World News | SCMP.com- Helped by growing demand and a shortage of supply, Beijing office rents soared last year, making it the world’s fifth most expensive city for office space in terms of occupancy costs, according to international property consultant Cushman & Wakefield (C&W).”As the Chinese calendar moves into the Year of the Dragon, prime office rents in Beijing’s central business district have risen year on year by 75 per cent, a steeper increase than 2010 [48 per cent],” C&W said in a report on the world’s most expensive office locations.
  • Cornering Commodities Markets: For China, Xstrata/Glencore deal would have larger impact than Facebook IPO | China SignPost™ 洞察中国 -
  • China Bail Out Europe? Quite The Opposite Actualy, As Chinese Banks Cut European Exposure | ZeroHedge -
  • 疑王立军成都美国领馆避难被拒 – crazy rumor about the former chongqing chief of police hit the chinese internet last night as pictures emerged of a massive police presence around the us consulate in chengdu
  • Exposing Shenzhen’s ‘Private’ Property Ruse – Caixin Online -
  • Chinese Foreign Policy syllabus | M. Taylor Fravel -
  • Spreading Meth across the Chinese-North Korean Border « SINO-NK -
  • Exclusive: China buys up Saudi, Russian oil to squeeze Iran | Reuters -
  • Letter from China: How Did Hoekstra Get So Much Wrong? : The New Yorker -
  • The Poisoned Politics of Keystone XL – NYTimes.com- As it turns out, the environmental movement doesn’t just want to shut down Keystone.  Its real goal, as I discovered when I spoke recently to Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club, is much bigger.  “The effort to stop Keystone is part of a broader effort to stop the expansion of the tar sands,” Brune said.  “It is based on choking off the ability to find markets for tar sands oil.”This is a ludicrous goal.  If it were to succeed, it would be deeply damaging to the national interest of both Canada and the United States.  But it has no chance of succeeding.  Energy is the single most important industry in Canada.  Three-quarters of the Canadian public agree with the Harper government’s diversification strategy.  China’s “thirst” for oil is hardly going to be deterred by the Sierra Club. And the Harper government views the continued development of the tar sands as a national strategic priority.

    Thus, at least one country in North America understands where its national interests lie.  Too bad it’s not us.

  • NGOs in China: NGOs and Foreign Influences – A Warning from Egypt- During the “color revolutions” that brought regime change to some of the former Soviet republics in 2005, the Russians and Chinese saw a clear link between the work of foreign NGOs and regime change.  Since then, the Chinese government has been keeping a closer eye on NGOs, particularly those receiving support and funding from its main competitors, e.g. the U.S.The Egyptian case will give the Chinese one more reason to hold tight to their suspicions.
  • New Registrations For Sina Weibo Appear To Have Fallen Off A Cliff | DigiCha- At one point in 2011 Sina ($SINA) Weibo was seeing 20 million or so new registrations per month.Today we learned that the government will require real name registration for all Weibo users on March 16. Currently only new users need to register with real names. Chinese news reports about the March 16 deadline state that since January 1 Sina has had approximately 3 million real name registrations. If that is accurate then the monthly run rate for new Weibo registrations would appear to have dropped precipitously to 2.5 million or so.
  • China Central Bank to Aid Home Buyers to Balance Crackdown on Speculators – Bloomberg – China’s central bank pledged support for first-home buyers as a crackdown on real-estate speculation threatens to trigger a property slump in the world’s second- biggest economy.
    Officials will increase support for construction of affordable housing and ensure that “loan demand from first-home families” is met, the People’s Bank of China said on its website today.
  • Chan Koonchung: Chinese Author: ‘My Book Was Banned In My Home Country’- When my novel, “The Fat Years,” was published in Chinese in Hong Kong and Taiwan in 2009, some publishers in the mainland China approached me. I told them to read the novel first and then we would talk. None of them came back. Well, one did come back, but for the rights to an earlier novel of mine – a novella about Hong Kong. So officially, “The Fat Years” was not published in China.Then two interesting things happened. One was several daring mainstream dailies and news magazines in China openly wrote about “The Fat Years,” though it was not available inside China. That means some members of the press chose to “rush through the yellow light” – a common practice for the more intrepid Chinese journalists to write about sensitive topics before the censors put up a red light. They must have alerted many readers to search for “The Fat Years.”
  • 2013: The Fat Years — Interview with Chan Koonchung in 2010- on our deck//A brief interview with Chan Koonchung (aka John Chan or Chen Guanzhong 陈冠中), author of the near future dystopian novel 2013, The Fat Years (盛世:中国2013年). Also on Tudou and YouTube. See also earlier Danwei Q&A with Chan and Linda Jaivin review on China Heritage Quarterly.
  • 鞍钢郭明义的微博 新浪微博-随时随地分享身边的新鲜事儿 – propaganda authorities pressuring sina to get worker guo mingyi’s weibo fans up to 20m?
  • China boosts financial aid for affordable housing |Economy|chinadaily.com.cn – BEIJING – China on Monday vowed to expand financial support for affordable housing projects this year as the government continues its efforts to bring housing prices back to reasonable levels.
    Central and local governments’ financial support for the initiative will be greater than last year, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on its website.
  • Major Obama Donors Are Tied to Pepe Cardona, Mexican Fugitive – NYTimes.com – Two American brothers of a Mexican casino magnate who fled drug and fraud charges in the United States and has been seeking a pardon enabling him to return have emerged as major fund-raisers and donors for President Obama’s re-election campaign.
  • Dissecting Wal-Mart’s Appointment of New China Head (Video) – China Real Time Report – WSJ – probably harder to corrupt//
    American’s largest retailer replaces its China head as it seeks to regain ground in the world’s most important growth market. Deborah Kan speaks to WSJ China News Editor Carlos Tejada about the hiring of Greg Foran, an executive with no previous China experience, and what might have precipitated the change.
  • Our ignorance will yield more crises in capitalism – FT.com – The idea that Chinese capitalism, which is evolving and transitional, provides a blueprint for the rest of the world, is an absurd exaggeration. Creating impressive infrastructure eventually runs into diminishing returns, as evidenced by the history of Japan and the Soviet Union.
    As Martin Wolf points out, contemporary capitalism, which does such an extraordinary job of generating a cornucopia of private goods, is far less effective at generating public goods, whether it be education, infrastructure, environment or financial stability. Improving political markets – and as a corollary, regulation – is a central challenge facing all countries in the world, not just those in the west.
    Europe, along with countries such as Canada, has arguably done a better job balancing public and private goods than either the US or China.
  • Congressional earmarks sometimes used to fund projects near lawmakers’ properties – The Washington Post- China really more corrupt than America?//EXCLUSIVE | Thirty-three members of Congress have steered more than $300M in earmarks and other provisions to dozens of public projects that are next to or near the lawmakers’ own property, according to a Washington Post investigation. Under ethics rules Congress has written for itself, this is both legal and undisclosed.
  • China vows to continue crackdown on Tibetan unrest – Yahoo! News- China can do so with impunity, as West has no credible threats it would actually carry out against China. Economies too weak//China has vowed to crack down on unrest in Tibetan areas and blames overseas Tibetan activist groups and the Dalai Lama for the recent violence.
  • Beijing School Begins Using iPads in the Classroom | Tech in Asia – shijia, arguably beijing’s top primary school
  • Qihoo 360: Apps Should be Back on Apple App Store Shortly-Caijing – The Chinese developer of computer security software Qihoo 360 Technology Co. said Tuesday its applications should be back on Aapple Inc’s mobile applications store within 48- 72 hours, after the removal of its apps triggered a sharp decline in the company’s stock price on Monday.
    The apps require no revision, the Internet giant said via the twitter-like Sina Weibo, citing an answer from Apple on the matter.
    The apps were taken down due to a sweep conducted by Apple that detected some unusual activity in user ratings for applications, the company, which offers cyber-security and other applications for iPhone, as well as other smart phones, said on its official microblog account…The event also led to a row between Qihoo 360 and its Chinese rival Kingsoft Securities. In a statement announced late Monday, the company accused Kingsoft of spreading unconfirmed news that Qihoo “was suspected of stealing users’ piracy”, and said it decided to take legal actions against Kingsoft.
    In resonding, Kingsoft said Apple’s removal of Qihoo apps was “the harshest punishment in history,” and it would also sue Qihoo for slander.

    //would not be china without a competitor’s smear campaign

  • Glencore Xstrata: the view from China | beyondbrics | News and views on emerging markets from the Financial Times – FT.com- Some traders worry that the greater pricing power of the new combined company will negatively impact customers downstream. One staffer at Minmetals, China’s largest metals trader, expressed those concerns in a conversation with the 21st Century Business Herald, a Chinese paper:A manager with Minmetals said that if the merger succeeds it will have a profound influence on the Chinese market and will even change the rules of the game because Glencore will be able to “develop its selling power in commodities.”

    The person said that in the secretive world of commodity markets, Glencore has the ultimate say over nickel, aluminum and other metals. Meanwhile Xstrata will be able to use Glencore to obtain more raw materials for trade. Downstream smelting firms in copper, aluminum, steel and coal will see their market influence greatly weakened.

  • China Needs to Change Mideast Foreign Policy: James M. Dorsey – Bloomberg – China’s veto of Syrian vote seemed quite rational to me, if you look at it from China’s perspective
  • Oh the Lin-Sanity! China Embraces a New Basketball Hero – China Real Time Report – WSJ- Move over Yao Ming, China’s newest basketball hero is … Jeremy Lin? Lin, a former Harvard star who went undrafted out of college, gives up 14 inches and roughly a hundred pounds to Yao, the former No. 1 draft pick and recently retired center of the NBA’s Houston Rockets. He’s also an American by birth, the California-raised son of Taiwanese immigrants.
  • Rein: When Chinese Tourists Are Not Welcome – CNBC- “I’m not sure I want to cater more to mainland Chinese at my current hotels.”His response took me aback slightly. Why would he not want to attract Chinese tourists, a fast-growing group that was helping him offset weak spending from Europe? After all, the World Luxury Association reported that 62 percent of luxury goods sold in Europe in 2011 was bought by mainland tourists. That number will rise as my firm estimates over 60 million mainlanders will travel abroad in 2012. What travel and leisure business would not want to tap into such a growing market? I pressed the hotelier for his reasons. He scratched the back of his head and said, “The problem with Chinese tourists is that their wants are so different from Europeans.”

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