China Readings for February 11th

  • How China plays Europe – China – Blogs-TrustedSources
  • 揭开网战武器的面纱:威力堪比原子弹 – 新华军事 – 新华网
  • Confucius works at the next cubicle|Cover Story|chinadaily.com.cn – why do people right this stuff? book deal?
  • The Useless Tree: When "Confucianism" isn’t really Confucianism – Alistair J. Nicholas, an expatriate pr exec in Beijing, pens a piece in the China Daily that reflects upon cultural differences between China and the West, especially in corporate workplaces.  There are some useful insights into how to get things done and not make a fool of yourself.  But from the very first paragraph he falls into the very practice of using the term "Confucianism" as a stand-in for contemporary Chinese culture:

    The hierarchical nature of Chinese society and the role of hierarchy in the realm of modern social structures defy explanation to Westerners who come from more egalitarian societies. Even after 12 years of living in China, I am confounded by the continuance of this most Confucian inheritance of China's past.

  • lisa chan, the actress in pete hoekstra’s racist campaign ad | angry asian man – Shameful//

    All right. Ever since Michigan Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra's racist bullshit campaign ad and its awful accompanying website assaulted the masses, one of the nagging questions has been about the Asian actress, aka "yellowgirl," who participated in shooting this godawful commercial. Who the heck is she?

    The actress in question is named Lisa Chan. She's 21, from the Bay Area, graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in sociology, founded a nonprofit organization for at-risk youth, and recently competed as the reigning Miss Napa Valley in the 2012 Miss California USA pageant. (Yeah, I knowwwww.)

  • Asia Times Online :: China tangled up in industrial espionage – It looks like someone got their hands caught in DuPont's cookie jar. The jar in question was DuPont's closely-held knowhow in the manufacture of titanium dioxide.

    According to a criminal indictment unsealed in US federal court on February 8, USA Performance Technology Inc (USAPTI), a company in Oakland, California, conspired to sell DuPont's trade secrets and a major Chinese state-run corporation, Pangang Group, conspired to acquire them.

  • Chinese Official May Have Flown to Beijing After Consulate – Bloomberg – A deputy Chinese mayor, whose stay at a U.S. consulate spurred speculation of a shakeup in China’s leadership, may have flown first-class to Beijing with a vice state security minister a day after meeting American diplomats.
    A seat was purchased for Wang Lijun on a Feb. 8 flight from Chengdu to Beijing, according to a website authorized by China’s aviation regulator to show all commercial air ticket information. Another first-class ticket was bought for Qiu Jin, a vice minister at the agency responsible for anti-espionage and covert operations to ensure state security.
  • China probes "bouncing" boiled eggs – Yahoo! News – BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese authorities are investigating eggs which bounce after being boiled and may make men sterile, state media reported Friday, in the latest food safety scare to hit the country.
  • Rep. Bachus faces insider-trading investigation – The Washington Post – The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee over possible violations of insider-trading laws, according to individuals familiar with the case.

    Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), who holds one of the most influential positions in the House, has been a frequent trader on Capitol Hill, buying stock options while overseeing the nation’s banking and financial services industries.

    The Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent investigative agency, opened its probe late last year after focusing on numerous suspicious trades on Bachus’s annual financial disclosure forms, the individuals said. OCE investigators have notified Bachus that he is under investigation and that they have found probable cause to believe insider-trading violations have occurred.

  • Obama, Explained – Magazine – The Atlantic – As Barack Obama contends for a second term in office, two conflicting narratives of his presidency have emerged. Is he a skillful political player and policy visionary—a chess master who always sees several moves ahead of his opponents (and of the punditocracy)? Or is he politically clumsy and out of his depth—a pawn overwhelmed by events, at the mercy of a second-rate staff and of the Republicans? Here, a longtime analyst of the presidency takes the measure of our 44th president, with a view to history.

    By JAMES FALLOWS

  • China jails dissident ahead of vice president’s U.S. trip – Yahoo! News – the theory that china likes to sentence dissidents around christmas not really operative. they have so many to sentence they appear to have a backlog//

    A Chinese court jailed a veteran dissident to seven years in jail Friday, his son said, in the latest blow to challengers of the Communist Party's rule before its next leader, Xi Jinping, visits the White House.
    Zhu Yufu was jailed for "inciting subversion of state power" by a court in Hangzhou, a city in east China, after a trial hearing on January 31 when prosecutors cited a poem and messages he sent on the Internet, his son Zhu Ang told Reuters by telephone.

  • Why the Foreclosure Deal May Not Be So Hot After All | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone – However, now that the settlement is finalized, and I've had time to think about it and talk to people who know far more than I do about this, I'm feeling pretty queasy.

    It feels an awful lot like what happened here is the nation's criminal justice honchos collectively realized that a thorough investigation of the problem would require resources they simply do not have, or are reluctant to deploy, and decided to accept a superficially face-saving peace offer rather than fight it out.

    So they settled the case in a way that reads in headlines like it's a bite out of the banks, but in fact is barely even that. There will be little in the way of real compensation for stuggling homeowners, and there are serious issues in the area of the deal's enforceability. In fact, about the only part of the deal we can be absolutely sure will be honored in full is the liability waiver for the robosigning offenses.

  • China’s Position on Syria – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace – In a Q&A, Yezid Sayigh looks at China’s uncharacteristically assertive position on Syria. Though Beijing has typically remained cautiously neutral when it comes to the region, Sayigh argues that China’s current stance reflects its growing disquiet at what it sees as a U.S. policy intended to deny it access to Middle East energy sources. And staying neutral will become increasingly more difficult as the situation in Syria deteriorates over the coming weeks and months.
  • China, U.S. clash on Syria, other global issues ahead of Xi Jinping visit – The Washington Post – On the eve of an official visit to Washington by Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, the country’s vice foreign minister in charge of U.S. affairs said the two countries suffer from a “trust deficit” that the trip might help resolve.

    “The level of mutual trust between China and the U.S. is lagging behind what is required for further development of our bilateral relations,” Cui Tiankai said Thursday.

  • 北京宣判67人团伙发卡招嫖案 主犯获刑14年–图片频道–人民网
  • 政务微博评估报告发布 新浪政务微博数量领先 _新浪(SINA) _i美股 – 2012年2月,国家行政学院电子政务研究中心权威发布《2011年中国政务微博客评估》报告。报告显示,在新浪网认证的党政机构微博12103 个,党政干部微博10652 个,政务微博总数22755个,位居全国第一。在排名前100名的党政机构微博中,96个在新浪网开通,标志着新浪微博成为全国最大的官民互动平台。其中,北京市公安局新浪官方微博@平安北京 位列全国党政机构微博客综合排名第一。新浪政务微博引领中国政务微博发展潮流。
  • Wang Lijun in China’s news pages – China Media Project – Speculation over the Wang Lijun (王立军) case continues to fly across Chinese domestic social media today. Users of every description, including prominent journalists and academics, are sharing purported inside information — the possible involvement, for example, of a wealthy Chongqing businessmen who has now, some suggest, fled overseas.

    Foreign media reports are being actively shared on social media like Sina Weibo and QQ Weibo, some with screenshot images that might stand a better chance of eluding censors. For example, many versions of a bilingual transcript of questions answered on Wang Lijun by US state department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, who said, for example: “Wang Lijun did request a meeting at the US consulate general in Chengdu earlier this week . . . He did visit the consulate and he later left the consulate of his own volition.”

    In stark contrast to Chinese social media, where as of Friday afternoon the keyword “Wang Lijun” remained unblocked, Chinese traditional media have been on lockdown.

  • Wang Lijun case connected to businessman who fled? – China Media Project – It is said that this cataclysm in Chongqing has to do with a wealthy and influential businessman, Li Junyi (李俊亦), who fled [the country]. Li had [a fortune of] several billion in assets, all taken [seized?], and before he was taken [arrested] he fled on a plane from Chengdu. After this, when Li was overseas, he informed about some secrets (阴事) concerning the anti-vice [campaign in Chongqing]. Some inside stories about Chongqing have also been put in the hands of senior leaders. Li has connections with the Chengdu military district and is an above-board businessman (合法商人).
  • China Property Stocks Surge as Wuhu Eases Curbs: Shanghai Mover – Businessweek
  • China imports slump, raising demand concerns – Yahoo! News – China's trade in January fell the most since the depths of the financial crisis, raising concerns Lunar New Year factory shutdowns do not fully explain a slump in imports and may instead be evidence of a further faltering in demand.
    Imports sank 15.3 percent in January versus January 2011 — the lowest since August 2009 — while exports fell 0.5 percent over the same period, the worst showing since November 2009, customs data showed on Friday.
  • Analysis: Beyond Chinese New Year data skew, a bear lurks – Yahoo! News – Trying to track China's economic course during the Lunar New Year can leave analysts howling at the moon. January auto sales tumbled, yet oil imports were the third highest on record. A measure of factory activity picked up, but trade data was weak.
    A closer examination of the numbers shows bearish signals lurking beneath the confusing headlines.
  • Singapore Straddles the Fence With U.S. and China – China Real Time Report – WSJ – When Singapore’s foreign minister visited Washington this past week, he welcomed and even urged deeper U.S. engagement in the region with stronger economic, diplomatic and military ties – a sign that Singapore appears to support America’s recent pivot towards Asia following years of focusing on conflicts in the Middle East.

    But at the tail end of his first visit to the U.S. in his new ministerial role, Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam offered some criticism and a warning: Anti-China rhetoric is a “mistake,” he said and will cause problems for the region.

  • Searching for Political Clues in China’s Social Media Censorship – NYTimes.com
  • Willy Lam: Beijing Joins Team Anti-America – WSJ.com – This willingness to act in a way so far counter to what would appear to be its normal interest is an important signal. Beijing is sending a message about its evolving attitude toward the U.S.

    The veto is Beijing's way of thumbing its nose at Washington, which it believes is masterminding a series of "color revolutions" to undermine nondemocratic regimes around the world. Anti-American sentiments seem to have surged within the CCP establishment, particularly after President Obama's recent "pivot to Asia" policy. This is interpreted—not entirely wrongly—by Beijing as an exacerbation of what China calls Washington's "anti-China containment policy."

  • Is China Ripe for a Revolution? – NYTimes.com – But we should be careful about what we wish for. For all of the West’s contempt for China’s government in the 19th century, when the Taiping Rebellion actually drove it to the brink of destruction, it was Britain that intervened to keep it in power. Britain’s economy depended so heavily on the China market at the time (especially after the loss of the United States market to the American Civil War in 1861) that it simply could not bear the risk of what might come from a rebel victory. With American encouragement, the British supplied arms, gunships and military officers to the Manchu government and ultimately helped tip the balance of the war in its favor.

    We may not be so far removed. Given the precarious state of our economy today, and America’s nearly existential reliance on our trade with China in particular, one wonders: for all of our principled condemnation of China’s government on political and human rights grounds, if it were actually faced with a revolution from within — even one led by a coalition calling for greater democracy — how likely is it that we, too, wouldn’t, in the end, find ourselves hoping for that revolution to fail?

  • » Group Forces Congressional Hearing On Big Sis’ Twitter, Drudge Spying Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind! – A privacy advocacy group has swayed Congress to hold a hearing next week into the Department of Homeland Security’s practice of monitoring social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as media reports and organizations, including The Drudge Report.
    The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) recently obtained close to 300 pages of documents, as a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, detailing the federal agency’s “intelligence gathering” practices on the web.
  • Prominent academic on Wang Lijun case – China Media Project – Here is a translation of the Wu Jiaxiang post re-posted by Qian Gang:

    [The intelligent Wang Lijun] Actually, Wang’s misfortunes arrived back on May 12, 2011. On that day, his former partner, Gu Fengjie (谷凤杰), the head of the Public Security Bureau in Liaoning’s Tieling City, was detained pending an official investigation (两规). We can be quite sure that ever since that time, both Wang and Bo [Xilai] have been performing a song and dance duet. The latter [meaning Bo Xilai] knows only too well that this [investigation possibly implicating Wang] comes with evil intent, and he has wanted to cut off all connection with Wang [Lijun], knowing its best to let this continue in eternal silence. His going to the American consulate perhaps reflects his concern that the hand next to him [Bo Xilai's] might fall more quickly than the hand of Beijing.

  • ‘Woolly mammoth’ spotted in Siberia | The Sun |News – wow, want to go to Siberia. And when will Putin be filmed hunting one, bare-chested, armed with spear only?
  • 汪洋部署广东打黑除恶:要打出声威 打出效果 _资讯频道_凤凰网
  • 薄熙来率重庆党政代表团考察云南 在滇池喂海鸥_资讯频道_凤凰网
  • UPDATE 1-Alibaba Group plans to take Hong Kong unit private – sources – Yahoo's stake in Alibaba Group has an estimated value of $14 billion. Under the plans being discussed, Alibaba Group wants to buy back about 25 percent of its stake. Alibaba Group plans to pay one-third of the consideration through a stake in one of its operating assets and the rest through cash.

    Alibaba.com is the most likely operating unit in which Yahoo may be offered a stake, one of the sources said. Both parties have an understanding on this arrangement, but have not signed any formal deal yet, the source added.

  • China’s Quiet Role in Pressuring Iran – Vice President Xi’s Visit to Washington Could Up the Ante
  • Chinese Regime Intensifies Censorship of Sina Weibo — NTDTV.com – In addition to saying goodbye to anonymity, Sina and other microblog companies are also to soon have Chinese Communist Party monitoring units established in their corporate structures.

    [Ma Xiaoming, Former TV News Anchor]: [Male, Mandarin]
    "The Party's creation of these units is an attempt to strengthen its control and to bolster its position by keeping close watch over the exchange of information."

  • 重庆美剧_韩寒_新浪博客 – han han on chongqing, wang lijun, officialdom and transparency. wonder if he wrote it himself?
    昨天夜晚,相信很多网友和我一样,拼命刷屏人民网。我估计这是人民网第一次迎接来这么多真正的人民。刷屏的目的只为了三个字,王立军。

    宫廷大戏一出,我这样的民间闹剧就相形见绌。在这次闹剧中,由于我猪一样的发挥,深感愧对观众。没有想到王立军出现了,而主人公又去了美国大使馆,这就是美剧了。再次回头看看自己扮演的国产连续剧,真的太小儿科了。

    这又让我突然想到了常年在各个县城参加拉力赛发车时的情景。因为我是种子车手,所以都是县里的领导给我发车,但到了第二年,主持人喊着一样的头衔,出现的却是不一样的脸。发车过程结束以后,伴随着主持人的一句“请领导下台”,我注视领导的背影,感慨万千。当然这其中有升迁的有栽的,而重庆具体发生了什么,在这种政治八卦里,我们终究是看不清楚的。大路消息深藏不露,人民网不仁,我就只能顺着小道一路攀爬,拼凑出了个大概。在这个过程里,我代入了王立军同志的内心,得出了一个字,累。
    中国的官员本身就是极其分裂的,他们上午进会场,晚上进会所,一方面要学习和领会六十年代风格的文件,一方面又要在互联网上仔细分辨微博和QQ的区别,而他们在批评美国的同时也要精确的知道美领馆的位置。在这里,你读不懂中国。我由衷的替他们觉得辛苦。今天只是跟了一个晚上的重庆美剧,过程跌宕起伏,消息层出不穷,连我都觉得需要休假式治疗了,何况当事人王立军,估计已经休克了。

    所以我不明白,中国的官员们究竟是怎么想的。很多人都想当官,这是肯定的,尤其是当了大官,想做生意的时候根本不用像吴英那样自己想办法筹钱,最后还换个死刑,只需要安排一个亲属,垄断一块资源,致电一下银行。官员做到了一定的程度,上上下下都不是我们普通人可以理解的,因为上海大火而辞职的官员很快就可以去新疆当官,好在不是被派往克拉玛依。今天能调动舆论机构的,明天就成负面新闻,今天能开动国家机器的,明天就被国家机器带走。对于官员,大家已经不再用腐败和清廉来形容了,只有得势和失宠。而大家也不知道重庆将要发生些什么,尽管这个城市刚刚去香港唱过红,而在此之前,香港人只听过张国荣唱的《红》。

    这次的破朔迷离,让我知道未来的中国,其实不需要预想一个什么颜色,红也好,蓝也好,都抵不过透明。

  • 王立军8号早上被国安部副部长丘进押回北京有图有真相 – 未名空间(mitbbs.com)
  • Keanu Reeves’ Directorial Debut ‘Man of Tai Chi’ Gets Greenlight – The Hollywood Reporter – Village Roadshow Asia, China Film Group, Wanda Media and Universal Pictures are co-financing the martial arts pic, which will shoot in China.
  • Beijing’s Harmonious Families Inspire Class Warfare: Adam Minter – Bloomberg – most either haven’t noticed — or don’t care about — the separate, condescending evaluation criteria the Beijing ACWF has established for poor families living in Beijing’s rural suburbs.
    It’s a pity that they don’t. While the urban standards suggest the gap between Beijing's wealthy elites and its middle class, the so-called suburban standards reflect the elite's perceived distance between Beijing’s middle class and the country’s expansive underclass.
    The first few suburban evaluation criteria, like the urban criteria, are unremarkable: Harmonious families should value family, honor the elderly and seek to increase knowledge. Halfway through the list though, things start to diverge significantly.
  • LAPD Pioneers High-Tech Crime-Fighting ‘War Room’ « CBS Los Angeles – The LAPD is fighting crime from a high-tech war room that gives it eyes all over the city. The surveillance hub is now a model for police forces around the world and KCAL9 got an exclusive tour inside from Chief Charlie Beck.

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