China Readings for March 30th

  • ‘Beautiful’ fugitive nabbed in Shanghai|Society|chinadaily.com.cn – A woman dubbed "the most beautiful businesswoman" in East China's Jiangsu province has been captured in Shanghai by police, local authorities said on Thursday.
    Police allege the woman fled in early March to escape loan debts totaling 500 million yuan ($79 million).
    Gu Chunfang was arrested on Tuesday night while harboring in a rented residence in Shanghai, and she is now in criminal detention on charges of illegally absorbing public deposits, the public security authority of Changshu, Jiangsu province, said at a news conference.
  • AIG Targets China Drivers in $50 Billion Insurance Market – Bloomberg – Soon-to-be-relaxed rules in China have firms including American International Group Inc. (AIG) and Allianz SE (ALV) eager to grab a bigger share of the $50 billion that the country’s drivers spend each year on auto insurance.
    Both insurers are making plans to offer more products as China lifts a ban on foreign companies selling mandatory policies for drivers. On a recent two-week trip, Kevin Goulding, the Shanghai-based head of Chartis China, AIG’s property- casualty business in the country, scouted four municipalities and provinces with a combined population of 500 million, as he weighs where to open the company’s next branch and lays plans to sell car coverage for the first time.
  • 大豆危情 – 宏观 – 21世纪网 – 而在国内,这些年大豆种植面积不断下降,今年产量有可能还会继续减少。
  • The Revenge of Wen Jiabao – By John Garnaut | Foreign Policy – good press for wen jiabao//
    The ouster of Chongqing boss Bo Xilai was 30 years in the making — a long, sordid tale of elite families and factions vying for the soul of the Chinese Communist Party…

    "In the past I did not have a fully positive view of Wen Jiabao, because he said a lot of things but didn't deliver," says a leading media figure with lifelong connections to China's leadership circle. "Now I realize just to be able to say it, that's important. To speak up, let the whole world know that he could not achieve anything because he was strangled by the system."

    Hu Yaobang's most faithful protégé, who carried his funeral casket to its final resting place, is building on the groundwork laid by Hu and his children ostensibly to prevent a return of the Cultural Revolution. Wen Jiabao is defending the party line set by Deng Xiaoping's 1981 historical resolution against attack from the left. Between the lines, however, he is challenging the Communist Party's 30-year consensus from the liberal right.

    Hu Dehua, the youngest son, spelled out the gulf between these positions in a rare Chinese media interview one month ago: "The difference between my father and Deng is this: Deng wanted to save the party; my father wanted to save the people, the ordinary people."

    Wen Jiabao sees Bo's downfall as a pivotal opportunity to pin his reformist colors high while the Communist Party is too divided to rein him in. He is reaching out to the Chinese public because the party is losing its monopoly on truth and internal roads to reform have long been blocked. Ironically, he is doing so by leading the public purging of a victim who has no hope of transparent justice, because the party to which he has devoted his life has never known any other way.

  • Foxconn Auditor Finds ‘Serious’ Violations of Chinese Law – Bloomberg
  • Israel’s Secret Staging Ground – By Mark Perry | Foreign Policy – U.S. officials believe that the Israelis have gained access to airbases in Azerbaijan. Does this bring them one step closer to a war with Iran?
  • With Blistering Dallas Fed Report, Ending Too-Big-To-Fail Goes Mainstream | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone – Wall Street is buzzing about the annual report just put out by the Dallas Federal Reserve. In the paper, Harvey Rosenblum, the head of the Dallas Fed's research department, bluntly calls for the breakup of Too-Big-To-Fail banks like Bank of America, Chase, and Citigroup.

    The government's bottomless sponsorship of these TBTF institutions, Rosenblum writes, has created a "residue of distrust for government, the banking system, the Fed and capitalism itself."

    The report (PDF), entitled, "Choosing the Road to Prosperity: Why We Must End Too-Big-To-Fail Now," is written in a surprisingly readable style and is illustrated with reader-friendly cartoons and pictographs. It uses rhetoric that, for the Fed, is extremely candid and colorful, going beyond an arcane analysis of monetary policy to focus on the cultural damage of Too-Big-To-Fail.

  • Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson: Who Captured the Fed? – NYTimes.com – In principle, the Fed could stand up to the bankers, pushing back against all specious arguments. In practice, unfortunately, the New York Fed and the Board of Governors are quite deferential to financial-sector “experts.” Bankers are persuasive; many are smart people, armed with fancy models, and they offer very nice income-earning opportunities to former central bankers.

    We have lost track of the number of research notes from major banks pleading for easier credit, lower capital requirements, delay in implementing financial reforms or all of the above.

    In recent decades the Fed has given way completely, at the highest level and with disastrous consequences, when the bankers bring their influence to bear – for example, over deregulating finance, keeping interest rates low in the middle of a boom after 2003, providing unconditional bailouts in 2007-8 and subsequently resisting attempts to raise capital requirements by enough to make a difference.

  • Judge Rules in Favor of Bradley Manning Supporter, Allows Lawsuit Challenging Laptop Search | American Civil Liberties Union – A federal judge late Wednesday denied the government's motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the suspicionless search and seizure of electronics belonging to activist David House when he reentered the U.S. after a vacation.

    The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Massachusetts represent House in a suit charging that the government targeted House based on his lawful association with the Bradley Manning Support Network, an organization created to raise funds for the legal defense of the soldier accused of leaking material to WikiLeaks. The government had asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing that it has broad powers to search and seize laptops, phones and any other electronic device at the border without any justification.

    "This ruling affirms that the constitution is still alive at the U.S. border," said Catherine Crump, staff attorney with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project, who argued the case along with John Reinstein of the ACLU of Massachusetts. "Despite the government's broad assertions that it can take and search any laptop, diary or smartphone without any reasonable suspicion, the court said the government cannot use that power to target political speech."

    The decision allows the case to move forward to the evidence-gathering stage, which could reveal why House became the subject of a government inquiry and which government agencies copied or viewed the contents of his laptop, phone and camera.

    While the court held that the government does not need suspicion to search a laptop at the border, it also held that the government's power to search was not unlimited.

  • 江苏常熟涉借款5亿跑路女老板被刑拘_新闻中心_新浪网
  • 国防部回应所谓派军舰武力夺取钓鱼岛说法_新浪军事_新浪网
  • 周永康在北京主持召开新疆重点项目推进会_新闻中心_新浪网
  • 江苏常熟涉借款数亿跑路女老板被抓时曾自残_新闻中心_新浪网
  • 关海祥改任重庆统战部常务副部长(图)_新闻_腾讯网
  • Shrinkage: Navy Won’t Build as Many Ships as It Planned | Danger Room | Wired.com
  • Apple’s War on Android – Businessweek
  • China Economic Watch | Are Chinese Banks Too Profitable? – After years of financial trouble, Chinese banks now enjoy large profits. The real problem is not the amount of profits being generated by banks per se, but rather that these profits are coming at the expense of Chinese households who have been given a negative real return on their savings since 2004. Interest rate liberalization will fix this problem, but it also means that China’s banks will have to adapt and begin to operate on a truly commercial basis.

    The process of interest rate liberalization must be done carefully and gradually in order to avoid a financial shock that disrupts the real economy. Interest rate liberalization, however, cannot be ignored if Chinese policymakers are serious about rebalancing the economy.

  • Asia Sentinel – China Tries to Crack Down on Fake Moutai
  • Chinese artist Ai Weiwei says tax authorities uphold evasion ruling – Telegraph – utspoken Chinese artist Ai Weiwei said on Thursday that Beijing tax authorities have upheld a ruling that his company must pay a multimillion dollar fine for alleged tax evasion.
  • Hong Kong Arrests Sun Hung Kai’s Co-Chairmen in Corruption Probe – Bloomberg – Sun Hung Kai has been run by Thomas Kwok, 59, and Raymond Kwok, 58, since the ouster as chairman in 2008 of their elder brother Walter.
    Walter Kwok applied to the court to prevent the board from removing him from office, alleging that his brothers opposed his inquiries into impropriety in the way the company awarded construction contracts, and other corporate governance issues. Their ages are cited in the company’s latest annual report.
    The Kwok family’s combined wealth of $15.4 billion is third on Forbes Magazine’s list of Hong Kong’s richest.
  • U.S. Weighs Easing Curbs on Chinese Access to High Tech – WSJ.com – SHANGHAI—U.S. officials are signaling a rethink of guidelines that now block China's access to certain technologies for military reasons, both to spur U.S. exports and to address complaints from Beijing that the policy is discriminatory.

    U.S. officials say they plan in late May to bring a group of high-technology companies to Shanghai to meet potential Chinese customers to discuss what wares they might buy under the complex U.S. regulations. The U.S. is also drawing fresh attention to a shopping list of 141 high-technology items offered by Beijing more than a year ago that U.S. officials say could stimulate new sales.

  • 梁振英同志简历 即时新闻 京报网
  • China Security-Back to Yalta: A Roadmap for Sino-US Relations – hope zhang wenmu does not have the ear of anyone important//

    Mired in severe economic crisis, politically polarized, and exhausted from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States has been unable to significantly alter its strategic priorities, leaving its pledged “return to Asia” as of yet unfulfilled. Thus China still has time to maneuver in its foreign affairs. By continuing its strategy of avoiding “zero-sum” conflict with the United States and communicating its limited goal of recovering Taiwan, China can leave the door open for peaceful cooperation with the United States. However, if the United States attempts to bury the Yalta system, and tries to drag China down in the process of its own decline, China must work to unite the whole Far East in a determined fight to protect the foundation of regional peace and prosperity.

  • Go easy on Bo Guagua: daughter of dismissed official|Politics|News|WantChinaTimes.com
  • 洪晃:大人打了喷嚏,孩子就感冒了 – 洪晃 – 南都周刊
  • Sun Hung Kai Chairmen Arrested in Hong Kong – WSJ.com
  • 人民日报:任何人无法回避改革 重要领域重点突破 – 新华时政 – 新华网 –   重要领域,重点突破。坚决破除一切妨碍科学发展的思想观念和体制机制弊端,把顶层设计与末端治理结合起来,把自上而下与自下而上结合起来,以人为本、统筹兼顾,明确主攻方向、突出战略重点,就一定能让改革健康稳妥向前,为推进中国特色社会主义事业注入强大动力。
  • New Apple? CEO Tim Cook Breaks with Tradition on China Trip – China Real Time Report – WSJ – Mr. Cook’s public appearances around the country have been well received by Chinese Internet users, who’ve praised the executive for paying more attention to the Chinese market. The executive’s meetings with Chinese officials and comments about investing more in China this week suggest that attention won’t let up. A greater focus on China from within its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., and deeper ties with the Chinese government could also help in other challenges, with China now being Apple’s largest market outside the U.S. It could even add a little muscle to Apple’s legal battle over the rights to use the iPad name in China.

    Still, the changes aren’t all too drastic yet. The description sent to journalists with Mr. Cook’s photo Thursday was brief: “On March 28, 2012, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited the iPhone production line at the newly built manufacturing facility Foxconn Zhengzhou Technology Parkwhich employs 120,000 people.” Requests for more information weren’t answered.

  • Sun Hung Kai’s Co-Chairmen Asked to Assist in ICAC Probe – Bloomberg – Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (16), Hong Kong’s biggest developer by market value, was suspended from trading as Cable TV reported this afternoon that billionaire co- chairmen Thomas and Raymond Kwok were asked to assist in an investigation by the city’s anti-graft body.
    Raymond Kwok was shown entering the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s headquarters in the city’s Central business district in footage broadcasted by Cable TV. Kwok didn’t speak to reporters. Sun Hung Kai suspended trading of its stock earlier today, pending the release of a statement.
  • AFAR – Where travel can take you – e.” On his new digital release, Pluck, he further extends that impressive reach in collaboration with the Chinese guzheng virtuoso and vocalist Wu Fei, a Beijing-born artist who has composed music for string quartet, choir, orchestra, film, dance, and Balinese gamelan. (Listen to the track “Saratoga” from Pluck.)
  • Mao Yushi: Winner of the 2012 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty | Cato Institute – The Cato Institute has announced that Mao Yushi, one of China's most outspoken and influential activists for individual rights and free markets, has been named the 2012 winner of the Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty.
  • Chinese police chief sought UK meeting on businessman’s death – Telegraph – The mystery over the death of a British businessmen in southwestern China deepened as it emerged that the city's police chief sought an emergency meeting with the British consulate earlier this year.
  • How China’s New Love Affair with U.S. Private Schools Is Changing Them Both – Helen Gao – International – The Atlantic – As Chinese students flood private American high schools, aided by high-priced "consultants," they are changing concepts of success and security back home, and leading ambitious schools to seek out more of the eager (and often full-paying) mainlanders.
  • China Picks Wenzhou for Small-Business Funding Experiment – Bloomberg – Wenzhou, the Chinese city where more than 80 indebted businessmen committed suicide or went bankrupt in six months last year, was chosen for a trial program that aims to improve funding and broaden investment.
    Under a plan approved by the State Council yesterday, the coastal city will lead the nation’s task of regulating private funding, a practice that helped boost the growth of Wenzhou’s small businesses and is sometimes illegal in China. It will also develop more types of bonds and allow trading of unlisted equities, technology and cultural products, according to a statement on the government’s website.
  • 太子奶原总裁案多人受迫害:亲舅自杀弟妹均瘫_新闻_腾讯网 – 日前,李途纯代理律师湖南天地人律师事务所主任翟玉华首次对外披露李途纯案多人受株洲公安专案组迫害详情。
  • 常熟跑路美女老板在上海被找到 欠款近6亿元_新闻_腾讯网
  • Asia’s Endangered Species: The Expat – WSJ.com – Forget expats. Western companies doing business in Asia are now looking to locals to fill the most important jobs in the region.
  • Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy: Inside Dartmouth’s Hazing Abuses | Culture News | Rolling Stone – A Dartmouth degree is a ticket to the top – but first you may have to get puked on by your drunken friends and wallow in human filth
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