Today’s China Readings April 29, 2012

The big story today is Chen Guangcheng and his flight from house arrest to the US embassy in Beijing, though the US government has not yet confirmed he is there. We may be entering one of the most tense periods in US-China relations in years. Optimists hope that Premier Wen Jiabao will respond positively to Chen’s video appeal to him, intercede on his behalf and handle the case in a manner consistent with the rule of law. I fear that the Chen flight will play directly into paranoia about plots by hostile foreign forces. In Chen’s case it appears activists with some “foreign ties”, including historical support from the National Endowment for Democracy, helped Chen with his escape, perhaps using an underground Christian network, and his ultimate destination–the US embassy–may be further proof to many in the Chinese government that the US orchestrated his run from Linyi. If they believe that then do not expect anyone to take any approach other than a hardline one; it is too dangerous to be seen as soft right now, especially since this is the second high profile Chinese flight to a US diplomatic compound in two months.

Drudge is making sure Chen’s story is the talk of Washington and the US media, and especially during tonight’s White House Correspondent’s dinner, giving him full above-the-fold treatment (screenshot), something I do not think even Liu Xiaobo or Ai Weiwei ever received. Those hours on Drudge probably cost China hundreds of millions of dollars or more in lost soft power investments…

  • Apple’s Tax Strategy Aims at Low-Tax States and Nations – NYTimes.com
    wonder what taxes it pays in China
  • Chen Guangcheng, escaped Chinese dissident, is subject of diplomacy with U.S., activists say – The Washington Post
    “He believes that China is in a period of intensive changes now, and it’s not far away from the final fundamental change,” said Hu Jia, a Beijing activist who said he met with Chen on Wednesday. “He told me he didn’t want to ask for political asylum in the U.S. Instead, he wants to ‘stay in this land and continue to fight.’ ”
  • Second IPO Below Target as Economy Slows: China Overnight – Bloomberg
    Acquity Group Ltd. (AQ) became the second Chinese company in 2012 to raise less than planned in a U.S. share sale as a slowing economy and accounting concerns sent New York-traded stocks lower in the past year. Acquity, a Hong Kong-based online advertising company, slipped 0.7 percent to $5.96 by 1:02 p.m. on its first day of trading in New York, after raising 40 percent less that targeted in its initial public offering
  • Further Promoting Interest Rate and Exchange Rate Reforms-Caijing
  • Analysts: China’s New Loans May Top RMB900Bln in April-Caijing
    China’s new loans in April are expected to reach 800-900bln yuan, showing a sign of speeding up, the country’s Securities Daily quoted analysts as saying. April has seen an acceleration in mortgage as China’s banks introduced favorable interest rates, the article said.
  • Experts Debate Reforms for Sustainable Urbanization – Caixin Online
  • Music Industry Sings Copyright Swan Song – Caixin Online
    One drafting panel member told Caixin that major Internet companies sponsored some key discussions, and meetings were held at the headquarters of leading Internet companies. Internet companies are much wealthier and more powerful than individual artists and other copyright holders. For this reason, artists argue that Internet companies should shoulder copyright obligations.
  • Software, Messaging Titans Battle over Cyberspace – Caixin Online
    Intellectual property rights and fair competition are at the core of a court battle between QQ provider Tencent and software developer Qihoo
  • Sprawling Beijing Tries a Softer Urbanization – Caixin Online
    While razing run-down villages, Beijing is testing alternatives to forced demolitions that could change urbanization in China
  • 二炮澄清:“第二炮兵刘园园”炫富晒酒驾属虚假炒作_资讯频道_凤凰网
  • 11th Panchen makes debut visit outside mainland-Global Times
    The 11th Panchen Lama, the religious leader of Tibetan Buddhism, made his public debut outside the Chinese mainland Thursday at the opening ceremony of the third World Buddhist Forum in Hong Kong.
  • New York Times dips into rumor mill-Global Times
     It is a shame that the New York Times, which claims to be an objective voice, now draws inspiration from Falungong rumor mills and conducts its China reports based on deeply rooted political prejudices. Given such political stereotypes, the New York Times and some other foreign media outlets may go even further in depicting China and deliberately resorting to rumors. These may help them cause a fuss for a while, but if they insist on such unprofessional methods, their time-honored credibility will be shattered.
  • Close view: J-20 fighter takes test flight – Xinhua | English.news.cn
  • Tourist train goes into service between Chinese city and DPRK – Xinhua | English.news.cn
    A tourist train in northeast China’s Jilin province went into service on Saturday, offering trips between the city of Tumen and Chilbo Mountain in the neighboring Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
  • Officials say Chinese tea products safe – Xinhua | English.news.cn
    Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture have said that China’s tea products have a high safety level overall and the country’s regulations on pesticide residue levels are in line with international standards
  • 我国茶叶农药残留超欧盟30倍 官方称标准安全_新闻_腾讯网
    per a recent Greenpeace report, pesticide residue on chinese tea exceeds EU standards by 30 times, but Chinese officials defend China’s standards as safe
  • 藏传佛教尼姑培训班在京举行 184所寺庙全覆盖_新闻_腾讯网
  • US sees South America as possible China counter – Yahoo! News
    In these days of shrinking U.S. defense budgets, the Obama administration is looking to South America to help monitor and protect the Asia-Pacific region in the years ahead.
  • Hugh Hendry Letter To Shareholders – Business Insider
    Hendry is still very bearish on China.
  • Dissident Chen Guangcheng ‘chased by undercover Chinese agents’ as he fled to US Embassy – Telegraph
  • Geithner, Clinton Don’t Plan to Cancel China Trip – Bloomberg
  • State Department advocacy for Chen Guangcheng dates back years | The Cable
  • Organizers say China forces closing of lawyers’ conference amid brewing political scandal – The Washington Post
    XI’AN, China — Authorities in Beijing forced the cancellation Saturday of a major conference on legal protection for private industry amid heightened sensitivity over the country’s biggest political scandal in years, organizers said.
  • Chen Guangcheng and the riddle of mouse and mole – China Media Project
    The sensitivity of the Chen Guangcheng story can be glimpsed today both in the total blanket of silence that has enveloped Chinese traditional media, and in the robustness of social media controls.CMP was able to find no coverage of Chen Guangcheng whatsoever in traditional media, and so far (as of 6pm today) there has been no official word from official outlets like Xinhua News Agency.Following a flurry of discussion of Chen Guangcheng on Chinese social media Friday, we see far more robust controls today. Nearly all possible searches have been blocked, and even the Chinese word for “blind person”, or mang’ren (盲人) — Chen Guangcheng lost his sight during his early childhood — turns up the familiar warning that: “According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, these search results cannot be shown.”
  • Escaped Chinese activist is key to U.S. role in human rights – The Washington Post
    By Editorial Board, Saturday, April 28, 7:54 AMCHEN GUANGCHENG, one of China’s best-known and bravest human rights activists, had been illegally and unjustly kept under house arrest in his village for 19 months when he somehow escaped last Sunday. He made his way to Beijing, and though his whereabouts are unconfirmed, activists reported Friday that he was under the protection of the U.S. Embassy. The State Department refused to respond to questions about him.If the activists are right, as seems likely, the Obama administration faces difficult conversations with the Chinese government at a sensitive moment. But the principle it should adhere to is clear: It must be prepared to offer Mr. Chen refuge if he seeks it and refuse to allow his return to state custody — either official or unofficial.
  • Will TARP Make a Profit? That’s the Wrong Question – Bloomberg
    An amazing report last month by Federal Reserve economists finds lasting — and unfortunate — consequences, including increased risk-taking at large banks that took TARP funds. These banks, you’ll remember, were encouraged to lend the money they got — rather than simply using it to build up depleted capital levels. The result: They made risky loans. Does this sound familiar?
    In a classic understatement, the report points out that increased risk-taking “may reflect the conflicting influences of government ownership on bank behavior. Although TARP money was given to increase bank stability and reduce incentives to take excessive risks, it was also given with the understanding that the funds would be used to expand lending during a period of increased risk.”
    In other words, the government was trying to solve a problem with one hand while exacerbating it with the other. That’s the real lesson of TARP, and the one we ought to focus on as we look for ways to avoid a repeat.
  • Bo’s son is the poster boy for a private school system gone mad – FT.com
  • Minsheng Bank, Telescope Space, Shanghai Biennial – artnet Magazine
    Anyone wondering about how China has reportedly become the world’s largest art market needs to look no further than the art activities of Minsheng Bank. While corporate sponsorship is a rarity in China, Minsheng is forging its own path, having spent $320 million on arts programming, museum development and acquisitions since 2007.
  • Fighting a PR Fire in China with Social Media – Forbes
    Experienced companies know that a crisis is going to hit at some point. Having a ready-react-recover program tailored to China’s social media landscape greatly increases the chances for a brand to fight fires and be well positioned for long term success.
  • Chinese Law Prof Blog: The Great Escape (of Chen Guangcheng)
    Some reports have stated that Chen’s being in the US embassy puts the US in a difficult situation similar to what it faced when Wang Lijun walked in the door of the Chengdu consulate and (apparently) asked for asylum. I disagree. Consider this: what exactly is the Chinese government going to demand that the US do? Chen is not a wanted man; he has neither broken nor been accused of breaking any Chinese laws; it is perfectly legal for a law-abiding Chinese citizen to walk into a US embassy if the embassy is willing to let him in; it is perfectly legal (as far as I know) for that law-abiding citizen to stay in the embassy as long as both he and the embassy are happy with the arrangement. The Chinese government is hoist on its own petard: having decided that it was easier to persecute Chen by not using the formal legal system, it now faces the consequences of that choice. Chen has not, in a legal sense, “escaped” anything.
    It is not just a wayward local government in Linyi that is behind Chen’s cruel treatment. Of course, the central government can’t know about every injustice, and if it knows it can’t just send out orders and see everyone obey instantly. But this is a prominent case that cannot have escaped the attention of the senior leadership, and there’s no evidence that the center is even trying. It is, in fact, actively taking steps to support the Linyi authorities. The Linyi authorities don’t have the authority or ability to censor internet search results for Chen Guangcheng, and it wasn’t the Linyi authorities can’t make police in Nanjing detain one of those who helped Chen escape. Chen’s politeness to Wen in his video message is a face-saving fiction.
  • USCESRC Research Report-China and the Arctic: Objectives and Obstacles-PDF
  • U.S.-CHINA ECONOMIC AND SECURITY REVIEW COMMISSION VACANCY ANNOUNCEMENT POSITION TITLE:SENIOR POLICY ANALYST, MILITARY & SECURITY ISSUES-PDF
  • Erdos Developer Under Police Surveillance for Suspected Illegal Fund-Raising-Caijing
    A major real estate developer in Erdos (aka Ordos) , the famous “ghost town”,has been under police surveillance after it announced default of millions of funds from the private sector
  • Sinica Podcast-Sex and Marriage
    Joining Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn on Sinica this week are Tricia Wang and Christina Larson. Tricia is an up-and-coming ethnographer whose focus is on the lives of China’s down-and-out population. Christina is a long-time guest returning to Sinica this week to talk about dating and sex in China, and who we try to convince to give us an advance peek at a forthcoming piece of hers in Foreign Policy.
  • Sina Admits It Has Not Complied With Weibo Real Name Registration Rules | DigiCha
    from my blog about the Chinese Internet//
    Sina’s ($SINA) recently released 20-F filing has an interesting section on regulatory risk surrounding Weibo. The company admits it has not fully implemented real name registration. Perhaps this is just legal boilerplate that investors can ignore because, you know, the Chinese government is afraid of Weibo and would never dare to shut it down, even for a few days.If you believe that I have bridge over a beautiful Beijing river that I’d like to sell you…
  • White House: Taiwan needs new jets to counter China | The Cable
    In a shift of U.S. policy, the White House said Friday that Taiwan does have a legitimate need for new fighter planes to address a growing gap with the Chinese military and pledged to sell Taiwan an “undetermined number” new U.S.-made planes.The new White House position could spark a new crisis in the U.S.-China relationship on the very same day that blind Chinese Activist Chen Guangcheng is rumored to have fled his house arrest to seek asylum at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner are also slated to visit China May 3 and 4 to hold the fourth round of the U.S. China Economic and Security Dialogue.The White House policy shift was codified in a letter sent to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) Friday as part of a deal to get the Texas senator to release his hold on the confirmation of Mark Lippert, a close confidant of President Barack Obama whose nomination to become the top Pentagon official for Asia has been held up since October over the issue of selling F-16 fighter planes to Taiwan…
    UPDATE: National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor sent the The Cable the following statement on the sale:The letter to Senator Cornyn is consistent with our current policy on Taiwan, which has not changed. We take very seriously our commitment to Taiwan’s defense as outlined in the Taiwan Relations Act. Our commitment is reflected in our sales of $12.5 billion in arms to Taiwan in 2010 and 2011. In particular, these sales have made a significant contribution to Taiwan’s air defense capabilities including by upgrading the backbone capability of Taiwan’s air force. We do not comment on future possible foreign military sales unless formal congressional notification has taken place. We remain committed to our one China policy based on the Three Joint Communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act. The new ASD Mark Lippert will play a central role in working with Taiwan’s defen.se ministry on its development of a comprehensive defense strategy and a resourcing plan.
  • » American In China Imitates Chinese, Americans, French, Russians, And Japanese Beijing Cream
    Hysterical。 I believe Sui is a host on China’s travel channel, this is a professional video supported by a very good viral marketing campaign. great for his career//
    Two days ago, Mike Sui posted the above video onto Youku (embedded after the jump). It currently has 1.71 million views.
  • Our Mission ~ CHINAaid
    ChinaAid founder and president Pastor “Bob” Xiqiu Fu
  • Arrest fears over Chinese activist who helped Chen Guangcheng escape | World news | guardian.co.uk
    He Peirong reported she had driven blind activist to safety, but subsequent lack of phone contact fuels arrest speculation
  • Amazon.com: Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden–from 9/11 to Abbottabad (9780307955579): Peter L. Bergen: Books
    “Here are riveting new details of bin Laden’s flight after the crushing defeat of the Taliban to Tora Bora, where American forces came startlingly close to capturing him, and of the fugitive leader’s attempts to find a secure hiding place. As the only journalist to gain access to bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound before the Pakistani government demolished it, Bergen paints a vivid picture of bin Laden’s grim, Spartan life in hiding and his struggle to maintain control of al-Qaeda even as American drones systematically picked off his key lieutenants.”
  • Chen Guangcheng, blind Chinese lawyer-activist, escapes house arrest – The Washington Post
    Classy, washington post running its china daily propaganda section advertisement on this chen guangcheng story page. screenshot here: http://t.co/fENXUEOQ
  • High Tech, Low Life Peeks Through China’s Great Firewall | Underwire | Wired.com
    NEW YORK — Moviegoers get to peek through the notorious Great Firewall of China in High Tech, Low Life, a documentary that examines the mysterious internet policing and widespread censorship practices carried out by the Chinese government.Director Stephen Maing‘s movie, which made its world premiere Wednesday at the Tribeca Film Festival, follows two well-known Chinese bloggers. Zola is a smart, tech-savvy and playful youngster from rural China; Tiger Temple is a 50-something self-proclaimed citizen reporter with a digital camera who lives in Beijing. Though their personalities differ greatly, they share in their determination to report on local news stories that give a voice to people who wouldn’t normally have one.
  • Aerial Armada Assembles Off Iran
    The U.S. Air Force is quietly assembling the world’s most powerful air-to-air fighting team at bases near Iran. Stealthy F-22 Raptors on their first front-line deployment have joined a potent mix of active-duty and Air National Guard F-15 Eagles, including some fitted with the latest advanced radars.

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