Today’s China Readings April 20, 2012

  • 中国允许银行卖空美元 – FT中文网
    中国又出台了一项人民币改革措施。该措施听起来颇为大胆:中国国家外汇管理局(SAFE)宣布,中国小型银行今后将可以持有隔夜人民币多头头寸。此规定意味着,这些银行如今也能持有外汇空头头寸了。一项实行了6年的禁令就此画上了句号。外管局的声明没有解释该规定对大型市场参与者的适用情况,而只是详述了小型银行可以采取的做法,即持有适当的少量多头头寸。但该规定向外界发出了这样的信号:中国当局准备让尚不老练的本土机构承受更大的外汇风险。

  • China Economic Watch | Can China Reflate the Housing Market?
    China’s extraordinary real estate boom may finally be over. Multiple indicators suggest that China is on the precipice of a significant market correction. Prices are down in more than half of the 70 cities surveyed by National Bureau of Statistics. Beyond price data (which is subject to some skepticism), residential floor space under construction, residential real estate investment, total floor space starts, and residential floor space sales all show declines.
  • Stranger Than Fiction – The Daily Beast-David Henry Hwang
    In my play Chinglish, which had a well-reviewed run on Broadway earlier this season, a Midwestern American businessman travels to the inland Chinese city of Guiyang in hopes of landing a contract for his firm, only to become enmeshed in multiple misunderstandings, from language to love. The play, a comedy, seemed to strike audiences as one small step toward greater cultural understanding.Chinese nationals with whom I spoke after the show, however, sometimes raised one quibble about my script, which includes an extramarital affair between the American businessman and the wife of a Communist Party official. This, they said, might make for good drama, but couldn’t actually happen in China. Such a woman would never enter into a close relationship with a foreign man.

  • Don’t Blame China’s Currency for U.S. Trade Deficit – Bloomberg-Yukon Huang
    to focus on China’s currency is to miss the real story behind the country’s trade surplus.
  • Tiger Moms Craving SUVs Drive Next Wave of Chinese Demand: Cars – Bloomberg
    Zhou Na, a 37-year-old Beijing mother, says she knows why sport-utility vehicles are the fastest-growing segment in the world’s biggest automobile market: kids.
    “I have to drive my kid around practically non-stop on Saturday,” said Zhou, who ferries her eight-year-old son to Kung Fu and English classes on weekends to the Children’s Palace of Beijing before joining her friends for yoga. “It’s pretty tiring, but I feel very good driving my BMW X5 around.”
  • China assisting North Korean missile program: U.S. Defense Secretary | Reuters
    China has provided some assistance to North Korea’s missile program, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday, a week after the hermit state’s failed missile launch triggered broad international condemnation.
    “I’m sure there’s been some help coming from China. I don’t know, you know, the exact extent of that,” Panetta told members of the House Armed Services Committee when asked whether China had been supporting North Korea’s missile program through “trade and technology exchanges.”
  • 人民日报:党员干部要不为传言谣言所惑_新闻中心_新浪网
    “稳,不是不动、不变;进,不是急进、冒进。”在各地区各部门集中精力贯彻两会精神的今天,人们对稳中求进的总基调、总要求有了更深切的认识。  稳中求进,既要防止“求稳怕进”,也要反对“忽稳冒进”。如果为稳而稳,遇到问题绕道走、碰到矛盾就缩手,就会使问题越积越多、矛盾越拖越大。反之,如果忽视稳定、一味冒进,急于求成,就会欲速不达,甚至有碍改革发展大局。

  • Xinhua: Criminal Case Shall Not be Interpreted as Political Struggle – Caixin Online
    China’s official news wire says Bogu Kailai investigation is criminal in nature, and the overall state of the country will not be affected by human influence
  • 一季度地方财政收入增速明显下滑_经济频道_财新网
    仅有四个中西部省份增速上升,公共财政中税收收入增幅明显回落,对财政增收的贡献下降
  • 人民日报:改革发展不能急于求成一味冒进_中国_环球网
    人民日报:改革发展不能急于求成一味冒进
  • Russia, China seek info on U.S. drone held by Iran – Associated Press – POLITICO.com
    Iran’s semiofficial Fars news agency says Russia and China have asked Tehran to provide them with information on a U.S. drone captured by the Islamic Republic in December.
  • China’s Princelings Become a U.S. Media Phenomenon | Global Spin | TIME.com
    On Wednesday morning, Jodi Seth, the communications director for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was swamped with calls on a subject she knew little about: so-called Chinese “princelings” or the children and grandchildren of prominent members of China’s Communist Party, many of them studying and living in the U.S. Seth wasn’t the only one flooded with inquiries she could do little to answer. Her counterparts at the State Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Harvard were experiencing a similar phenomenon. The princelings, it seems, have become somewhat of an American fascination.Of course all this started with the story of a single princeling, Bo Guagua, and his parents.

  • Rumor: Chinese Search Engines Forbidden to Index Microblogs | Marbridge Consulting – China Internet News
    Hu Yanping, general manager of the Data Center of the China Internet (DCCI), today broke the news over his Sina (Nasdaq: SINA) Weibo microblogging account that relevant government offices have ordered China’s search engines to cease displaying microblog content in search results.
  • Bo Ouster Undermines Model Crafted to Bridge China’s Wealth Gap – Bloomberg
  • 媒体谈官员真话困境:让弄虚作假的干部“倒霉” – 新闻中心 – 新华网
  • Is Jiang Zemin Meeting Foreign Delegations In Beijing? | Sinocism–NEW POST BY YOURS TRULY
    I heard from a friend I trust that Jiang Zemin had very recently met in Beijing with the CEO of a major US corporation. According to this person, Jiang looked healthy and seemed to make it clear that he was still very much involved in politics, including in the preparations for the 18th Party Congress. [UPDATE: I have confirmed this meeting with a second person. END UPDATE]
  • Zhou Yongkang, China Security Chief, Investigated As Bo Xilai Scandal Expands
    even if report true think unlikely zhoul will be removed. 1. too damaging to party’s already shredded credibility and renewed attempts to project unity to remove a PBSC member. 2. if zhou really is crying and self-criticizing then shows hu et al are in control, can neuter him privately. 3. hu et al must have enough on him to get him to sit quietly and behave between now and 18th party congress, then retire him//BEIJING — China’s leaders want Bo Xilai’s downfall seen as a blow against corruption – not as part of a power struggle. But with a second, even higher-ranking Politburo member now suspected to be under pressure, it will become difficult to avoid the perception of all-out infighting.

  • 大连实德 折戟哈尔滨地王始末 – 宏观 – 21世纪网
    北望松花江,南靠丁香公园,东侧秀水公园,西侧金河公园,北倚滨江音乐主题公园,一江四园拥簇下的这块土地,是哈尔滨“地王”所
  • Bo Xilai killed three to cover for wife: Yazhou Zhoukan|Politics|News|WantChinaTimes.com
    getting ludicrous//An article by the Hong Kong-based Yazhou Zhoukan says the former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai had three close associates of his police chief Wang Lijun killed after Wang told him that his wife Gu Kailai was implicated in the death of British businessman Neil Heywood.

  • Qihoo 360 Files Annual Report on Form 20-F for Fiscal Year 2011 – MarketWatch
    Qihoo 360 Files Annual Report on Form 20-F for Fiscal Year 2011 – MarketWatch shorts eyes are pooping out $qihu
  • Demography: China’s Achilles heel | The Economist
    China is not unique in facing these problems. All rich countries have rising pension costs. And China has some advantages in dealing with them, notably low tax rates (giving room for future increases) and low public expectations of welfare. Still, China is also unusual in two respects. It is much poorer than other ageing countries, and its demographic transition has been much more abrupt. It seems highly unlikely that China will be able to grow its way economically out of its population problems. Instead, those problems will weigh down its growth rate—to say nothing of the immense social challenges they will bring. China’s Achilles heel will not be fatal. But it will hobble the hero.
  • Is China’s Policy Towards North Korea Changing? – Korea Real Time – WSJ
    Andrei Lankov, the North Korea scholar at Seoul’s Kookmin University, told an audience in Seoul just before last week’s rocket launch, “China will exercise mild pressure on North Korea, making sure the pressure will not become destabilizing.”A public acknowledgement by Beijing that it provided vehicles or other materials in violation of U.N. sanctions, plus a direct explanation of its treatment of North Korean defectors, would mark a significant change in that “mild pressure.”

  • Beijing drafts China’s toughest emission standards | China Daily Exclusive | chinadaily.com.cn
    Stricter auto emission standards are likely to be adopted this year in the capital city as pollution in Beijing continues to cause concern.
    A draft plan by the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau under public review until April 9 calls for the city to lead the way with tougher standards.
    “The Beijing V standard is equivalent to the Euro V standard,” said a professor at the Environmental School of Tsinghua University.
  • Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore: Is Censorship Castrating China’s Best Writers?
    Authors living and working in China – most of whom are members of the Writers’ Association, a gilded cage which provides writers with a salary and publishing network – often tell me of their frustration that foreign publishers and media are only interested in politics, sex and “banned in China” books.Yet, despite great potential – and its rich literary history – Chinese literature can be stilted and jarring to read. So much energy is spent finding ways to say things obliquely or tip-toeing around hazy government lines. As the managing editor of Pathlight, a new Chinese literature in translation magazine, told me: “As a reader it does make you really mad when you think what there could have been if there wasn’t that [censorship] apparatus in place since 1949.”

    Some people argue that censorship is the mother of all creativity. But Chinese literature has suffered long enough from political purges, isolation, and poor translation. Let’s hope that one day writers in China can create free from shackles. For any writer of true ambition freedom of expression must surely be paramount. Only then will the true potential of literature in China be realised.

  • Legal progress for all to see|Op-Ed Contributors|chinadaily.com.cn
    by tong zhiwei, a professor of law from East China University of Political Science and Law.//
    Party’s handling of Chongqing incident shows it is determined to fight corruption and push forward reform
    After the so-called Chongqing incident, many media outlets, including the New York Times and the Financial Times, to name only a few, interviewed me. During such interviews with foreign media I found there were misunderstandings about the incident, which I think should be clarified.
    The Chongqing incident refers to a series of happenings including Wang Lijun’s unauthorized stay in the US consulate in Chengdu, the investigation of Bo Xilai’s disciplinary violations and his wife’s suspected involvement in the death of Neil Heywood, a British citizen. The key part of the incident, without doubt, is Bo’s disciplinary violations, both the other incidents have arisen from his improper use of public power and resources.
  • China’s Problematic Coal Plan – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
    Last month, China’s National Development and Reform Commission released the long-awaited 12th Five Year Plan for its coal industry, which aims to curb China’s national coal production and consumption at around 3.9 billion tons by 2015. But how an increasingly market-oriented Chinese economy can meet those targets remains unclear, and the plan itself offers no road map. In addition, an increasingly noticeable discrepancy in coal consumption between national and provincial sources may eventually undermine the credibility of any government issued coal industry targets.
  • China Hidden Liabilities for Central Government Seen at CNY10.94Trl : Report-Caijing
    Leaving aside the 10.7 trillion yuan in local debt that engagers the nation’s financial system, China’s central government has also seen its hidden liabilities at a dangerous level, according to a securities company’s report.
    The central government’s hidden liabilities—those with guarantee responsibilities, or cost the government’s fiscal funds when a default occurs—could reach as much as 10.94 trillion yuan, said the report which was issued by The Shanghai Securities Co. Ltd…
    The outstanding national debt reached 6.75 trillion yuan at the end of 2010, public data showed. Among them, debt burden on the railway department was 1.9 trillion.
  • Chinese Captain Jailed for 30 years for S.Korea Stabbing-Caijing
    A Chinese fishing captain was sentenced to 30 years of imprisonment by a South Korean court on Thursday for stabbing South Korean coast guard.
    The Chinese captain will also get a fine of 20 million won(about 110 thousand yuan), the court ruled.
  • Neil Heywood called suspected killer an ‘unforgiving empress’ | UK news | The Guardian
    British businessman Neil Heywood privately confessed to friends that Gu Kailai – the woman now suspected of murdering him – was “mentally unstable” and behaved like an unforgiving “empress”.In conversations in the three years before his death, Heywood admitted that Gu’s behaviour had grown increasingly erratic. He told one friend that Gu – wife of the leading Chinese politician Bo Xilai – was comporting herself “like an old-fashioned Chinese aristocrat or empress”.

    The friend was unconvinced by claims that the businessman and Gu were having an affair, and that this may have led to his murder. “I would be very surprised. He wasn’t at all complimentary about her. He said she was mentally unstable and a force to be reckoned with. It didn’t sound to me like the words of a man who was enamoured,” the source told the Guardian.

  • The Most Important British Vessel Sunk Off the Chinese Coast You’ve Never Heard Of – China Real Time Report – WSJ
    The HMS Poseidon, a British military submarine that sunk in eastern Chinese waters in June 1931, went down under totally different circumstances from the Titanic. Yet in its day, it also shook the nautical world, spurring global change in the way men went to sea — in particular because of the dramatic undersea escape by a handful of its submariners.A preview of “The Poseidon Project,” a documentary about the British sub named for the Greek god of the sea by brothers Arthur and Luther Jones, was shown to a small group this week in Shanghai,

  • The Poseidon Project | LostPensivos Films – Shanghai based documentary, film and TV production – China production services
    In June, 1931, one of Britain’s most lethal submarines collided with a merchant steamer and sank off the coast of China. Three hours later, six men bobbed to the surface. Their miraculous story changed marine safety forever. Their names, and their submarine, quickly sank into obscurity. Explorer and author Steven Schwankert spent five years working with the sailors’ descendants to try to answer the final question: if the HMS Poseidon still exists, where is it now?
  • Insight: Brazen and eccentric, the cop at centre of China scandal | Reuters
    The raucous diners in a hilltop restaurant in southwest China ignored a waiter’s request to quieten down after a complaint from a petite woman at a nearby table.
    The woman made a phone call. Minutes later, a man stormed into the hotel restaurant, brandished his pistol and silenced the table of stunned drinkers who instantly recognized him.He was Wang Lijun, police chief of Chongqing and an ally of the city’s ambitious Communist Party boss, Bo Xilai. The woman was Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, now a suspect in the murder of a British businessman, a crime that has upset China’s carefully managed leadership transition.
    The incident unfolded in the same hotel in Chongqing where investigators believe the businessman, Neil Heywood, was poisoned in November…
    Gu had been dining with Wang’s wife at the time of the restaurant incident, which ended unhappily for the noisy table of drinkers who turned out to be off-duty police officers.
    “Not realizing who she and Wang Lijun’s wife were, the rowdy table ignored her. So Gu Kailai called Wang Lijun who drove up to the hotel himself and drew his gun on the rowdy table and told them that they hadn’t realized who they were dealing with,” said a source close to Chongqing officials.
    “It was only then that Wang Lijun realized the rowdy drinkers were senior police from the Nan’an district (of Chongqing),” said the source in an account backed by a second source who cited police descriptions of the incident.
    Heads rolled. The two sources said officers at the restaurant table were removed from their posts.

  • Mongolia’s ninja miners help sate China lust for gold | Reuters
    In a hot, concrete hut filled with acetylene fumes, an elderly Mongolian miner struggles to contain her excitement as she plucks a sizzling inch-long nugget of gold from a grubby cooling pot and raises it to the light.
    Khorloo, 65, and her sons spent the day scrutinizing half a dozen CCTV screens as workers at the Bornuur gold processing plant whittled 1.2 metric metric tonnes of ore down to 123 grams of pure gold that could earn the family as much as $6,000.
  • Did Sina Just Introduce — and then Kill — an Anonymous News Reporting Platform? | Tech in Asia
    Another day, another weird thing happening with Sina Weibo. This morning, we came across this story on China Internet Watch about a new weibo platform launched by Sina called Weibo Expose. The platform, created by Sina in cooperation with over seventy media organizations nationwide, allowed users to easily submit news tips and images to media in a particular location. It even allowed an option for anonymous submission, and promised to protect users’ identities.But the service, which is supposed to be here, seems to have disappeared, despite the fact that it was launched just a day ago. As of this writing, all that appears is a blank white page.

  • 中共官媒“举刀”切割薄熙来 路线斗争属妄谈_多维新闻网
    从连续发文辟谣重庆事件,到带头呼吁官方权威说法,从紧跟中央决议表态“坚决拥护”,到“举刀”切割薄熙来以淡化路线斗争,作为中共官媒,《环球时报》在重庆事件中的表现引人关注。19日,该报再次就此发文,意在将薄熙来与重庆进行彻底切割,并建言“不要把个人影响力估计过高。”
  • China’s Central Bank to Ensure Liquidity, Xinhua Says – Bloomberg
    China’s central bank pledged to ensure adequate availability of cash in the financial system by using tools including reductions in the reserve-requirement ratio, state media reported.
    Authorities will “appropriately take targeted liquidity management actions” based on circumstances including foreign- capital inflows and funding demand, the official Xinhua News Agency said in a report late yesterday on an interview with an unidentified person at the People’s Bank of China. Options include adding cash through reverse-repurchase operations and cutting required reserves, Xinhua said.
  • Colombian Escort Speaks About Secret Service Scandal – NYTimes.com
    The disagreement over her price — he offered $30 for services she thought they had agreed were worth more than 25 times that — set off a tense early morning quarrel in the hallway of the luxury hotel involving the woman, another prostitute, Colombian police officers arguing on the women’s behalf and American federal agents who tried but failed to keep the matter from escalating.
  • Colombian Escort Speaks About Secret Service Scandal – NYTimes.com
    “I tell him, ‘Baby, my cash money,’ ” Colombian Escort Speaks About Secret Service Scandal -
  • India Tests Nuclear Missile That Can Hit Beijing – NYTimes.com
    India Tests Nuclear Missile That Can Hit Beijing -
  • India Tests Nuclear Missile That Can Hit Beijing – NYTimes.com
    India announced Thursday that it had successfully test launched a new nuclear-capable missile that would give it, for the first time, the capability of striking the major Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai.
  • China Probes Chongqing Spending Under Bo – WSJ.com
    Authorities are questioning billions of dollars of government spending in the city of Chongqing launched under fallen leader Bo Xilai, according to people familiar with the matter, in a direct challenge to his state-heavy, populist programs that drew interest from across China.
  • 武汉理工大学廊坊硕士班大批学员涉嫌造假_新闻中心_新浪网
    another chinese academic cheating scandal
  • China’s GDP Growth Will Rebound in Second Half, April 18 – Video – Bloomberg
    Li Daokui, director of the Center for China in the World Economy at Tsinghua University and former adviser to the People’s Bank of China, talks about central bank monetary policy and the country’s economic outlook. Li speaks with Rishaad Salamat on Bloomberg Television’s “On the Move Asia.”
  • [转载]厚朴壬辰年春访古(上)——扁鹊庙_徐小周_新浪博客
    nice pictures from a Daoist blogger
  • Bo Xilai Son Is at Harvard, U.S. Says as Investigations Widen – Bloomberg
    “After the political succession it’s likely for China to see a new wave of economic reforms, a new wave of enthusiasm for market-oriented reforms,” Li Daokui said, referring to the Communist Party’s leadership change later this year. Bo had been predicted as a candidate for the Communist Party’s nine-member Politburo Standing Committee…
  • Bo Xilai Son Is at Harvard, U.S. Says as Investigations Widen- Bloomberg
    Bo Xilai Son Bo Guagua Is at Harvard, U.S. Says as Investigations Widen – Bloomberg
  • After Scandal, China Takes a Moral Inventory – NYTimes.com
    Secret societies, or triads, have long flourished in China, occupying a vague ground that included anti-dynastic activities, mutual help societies and outright criminality. Sun Yat-sen, the Republican revolutionary, and Chiang Kai-shek, the Nationalist leader, both participated in differing ways in different times. In the years before Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule in 1997, top leaders like Deng Xiaoping and Tao Siju, the public security minister, declared that some of Hong Kong’s triad members were “patriotic,” according to news reports at the time. The statements were read as a nod of acceptance by Beijing.Some Chinese believe Mr. Bo and Mr. Wang’s high-profile campaign against organized crime in Chongqing may have been merely a classic maneuver whereby one gang replaces another. And despite his reported concern about the reach of organized crime into government, no one believes Mr. Wang’s hands are clean.

    “The central government is furious with him for going to the Americans,” said the former government ministry employee in a separate telephone interview. “They said, ‘Why didn’t you come to us?’ But Wang knew he was too implicated to go to the center. He didn’t believe the center would protect him.”

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