Today’s China Readings May 3, 2012

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The big story today is Chen Guangcheng and his departure from the US Embassy. What looked like a positive outcome Wednesday afternoon turned into an apparent mess overnight as friends of Chen used Twitter to say that Chen and his family were afraid for their lives and now wanted to leave the country. Chen later told some Western journalists the same thing. The two most interesting things I have read so far are Full transcript: Phone calls between Teng Biao and Chen Guangcheng: Shanghaiist and Chen Guangcheng: U.S. Denies China Dissident’s Account of Coercion | Swampland | TIME.com. Let’s hope that the fog of Twitter overstated the problems in the deal and the risks to Chen and his family. But hope is not a strategy, especially in China, and if anyone still wonders why there is “strategic mistrust” between China and the US, they probably need to look no further than this case.

UPDATE: Read this transcript of CNN’s interview with Chen Guangcheng and his wife. This may turn out to be a PR disaster for the Obama administration, not to mention possibly being one of the more shameful examples of craven expediency in recent decades. “Q: Have the embassy people have left? A by Chen’s wife Yuan Weijing: Yes. They promised to stay here with Guangcheng – that would give us some sense of security. But we haven’t seen anyone since we checked into this hospital room. I was actually persuading Guangcheng to seek treatment in a hospital – but I didn’t know the embassy (people) were lobbying him to leave (the embassy).”

Mitt Romney has yet to make a statement, but he would not be blamed for thinking it is Christmas in May. “President Obama abandons handicapped, tortured anti-abortion activist in China”, true or not, is a fundraising pitch that could bring in millions of dollars from the GOP conservative base, a base that so far seems lukewarm at best about Romney. END UPDATE

On a related note, the Nelson Report, a subscription only foreign policy newsletter, wrote today that there may be personal animosity between Cui Tiankai and Kurt Campbell, the lead negotiators for China and the US, respectively. Nelson writes that ” informed sources cite the potential complication of an allegedly highly unfortunate personal history between Cui and Campbell stemming from an incident on Campbell’s country retreat in rural Virginia, where (in the Chinese version) Cui was deliberately confronted by a very unwelcome reminder of his suffering during the Cultural Revolution. Cui reportedly told colleagues he was deeply offended and hurt by the incident.” Anyone know what happened?

  • The real fight for Chen Guangcheng begins now | The Cable
    Following six days of intense diplomacy, the United States and China struck a deal allowing blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng to leave the protection of the U.S. Embassy and start a new life with his family inside China. But the U.S. government and human rights groups are warning that getting the Chinese government to honor the agreement will be a difficult, months-long effort.As Chen began his first night in a Beijing hospital, he was already expressing concerns that he might be abandoned by his friends in the U.S. government, who received him after a daring escape from house arrest in Shandong only days before. “Nobody from the embassy is here. I don’t understand why. They promised to be here,” Britain’s Channel 4 quoted Chen as saying. Meanwhile, the State Department was in overdrive Wednesday communicating to anyone and everyone that U.S. officials had not told Chen his wife would be beaten to death if he didn’t leave the embassy, as Chen told the Associated Press from his hospital bed.
  • Full transcript: Phone calls between Teng Biao and Chen Guangcheng: Shanghaiist
  • The Muzzling Of Ric Grenell: An Update – The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan – The Daily Beast
    But Mitt Romney is a vocal supporter of human rights..in China//
    Remember: Grenell was told to be silent solely because he was gay. He was accused in National Review of being a potential fifth columnist for Barack Obama, simply because of his support for marriage equality, which he was never going to speak in public on anyway. His job was to speak on national security, a job for which he was very well prepared and very, very neoconservative.But the bigots won.
  • China urges US to stop misleading the public after harboring Chen Guangcheng – Xinhua | English.news.cn
    BEIJING, May 2 (Xinhua) — China on Wednesday urged the United States to stop misleading the public after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton made a statement on taking a Chinese citizen via abnormal means into U.S. embassy in Beijing.Chen Guangcheng, a native of Yinan county in eastern China’s Shandong province, entered the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in late April and left of his own volition after a six-day stay at the embassy, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin.
  • Chen Guangcheng: U.S. Denies China Dissident’s Account of Coercion | Swampland | TIME.com
    Cohen said the talks were exceptional in nature. “This isn’t 1989. Our bargaining position isn’t as strong as it was when Fang Lizhi went to the U.S. embassy,” he said. “This is one of the most daring diplomatic arrangements we’ve ever seen with U.S.-Chinese relations. We think it’s the best option and so does Chen.”。。。The reports that Chen now feels coerced took many U.S. officials by surprise.  Cohen said that while Chen never told him that anyone threatened his wife, Cohen heard from a friend of Chen’s wife on Wednesday morning that local authorities in Shandong had threatened to beat her to death if her husband left the country. Chen told the AP he heard this threat from U.S. officials, but U.S. officials say they had no knowledge of that threat and did not relay it to Chen. “What could’ve happened when he got to the hospital and met his family his wife told him what had happened and that might have made him regret thedecision,” Cohen said. “He may be very susceptible. Here’s a man who’s had a very skewed perspective, living under a lot of abuse for many years.”“I think the saddest outcome would be if events transpired now that put Chen at war with the U.S. government that represents his only secure support,” Cohen said. “It could easily happen through confusion, through confusion being sown that would create distrust between him and the U.S., and then he would just be out there and that would be very, very unfortunate.”
  • Bo Downfall Shows Crony Communism Widening Rich-Poor Gap – Bloomberg
  • The Family and Corruption – Caixin Online
    The party must address problems resulting from inherited power before China can effectively curb graft
  • Chen Guangcheng’s friends question U.S.-China deal to guarantee his safety – The Washington Post
    U.S. officials, in full damage control mode, continued to insist that Chen left the embassy of his own volition.  The embassy spokesman released on Twitter a photograph showing a smiling Chen with U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke.  And U.S. officials said they would investigate any threats made to Chen that occurred after they left him at Chaoyang hospital.“I was there,” assistant secretary Kurt Campbell said in a statement. “Chen made the decision to leave the Embassy after he knew his family was safe and at the hospital waiting for him, and after twice being asked by Ambassador Locke if he ready to go. He said, ‘Zou,’ – let’s go. We were all there as witnesses to his decision, and he hugged and thanked us all.”
  • AP Exclusive: Activist now wants to leave China
    BEIJING (AP) — Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng says a U.S. official told him that Chinese authorities threatened to beat his wife to death had he not left the American Embassy.
    Speaking by phone from his hospital room in Beijing on Wednesday night, a shaken Chen told The Associated Press that U.S. officials relayed the threat from the Chinese side.
  • World News – Blind activist Chen Guangcheng: Chinese officials threatened to kill my wife
    Updated at 11:12 a.m. ET: BEIJING — Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese activist who sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, said Wednesday that he had been told Chinese officials threatened to kill his wife and said he now wanted to leave the country.
    His comments, reported by The Associated Press, came shortly after Chen left the U.S. Embassy saying he had received assurances from the Chinese authorities.
  • Chen Guangcheng left US embassy ‘after threats made against his wife’ | World news | guardian.co.uk
    Activist who took refuge in Beijing embassy wanted to go abroad but was forced to accept deal to stay in China, says friend
  • NYPD Beats A Protester On The Ground – Business Insider
  • Economist who leaked secret data sentenced — Shanghai Daily
    CHINA has announced another jail sentence for an economist involved in the leaking of secret economic data.
    Lin Songli, a macroeconomics analyst with Guosen Securities Co, was sentenced to six months behind bars with one-year probation, the Beijing-based Legal Evening News reported yesterday.
  • Project Enlightenment: A Modern Cyber Espionage Case Study – Cyber Squared
  • Chen Gaungcheng’s Escape From China Recalls Operation Yellowbird’s Heyday – The Daily Beast
    except in current age of electronic surveillance the government can probably recreate the route and roll up parts of the network//
    Chen Guangcheng’s great escape echoes the rescues of Operation Yellowbird, the ‘Underground Railroad of China’ that got hundreds of dissidents out of China after June 1989.
  • Background Briefing With Senior State Department Officials on Chen Guangcheng
  • FT Alphaville » Why China’s commodities demand is different
    Digging into the consumption side of demand actually shows some counter-intuitive results: for example, the Chinese consumption of calories per head already exceeds that of Japan. Although, as the table on the left (below) shows, that’s partly because the Japanese have what looks like atypically healthy diets. In terms of calories from fat and protein, China still has a ways to go to catch up to South Korea or indeed the developed world average in terms of calories from fat, but it’s already hit the developed world average (which is of course affected by the likes of the US) for calories from protein!
  • AP News: US: Blind activist in medical care, to see family
    On his way to the Chaoyang Hospital accompanied by the U.S. ambassador. Chen called his lawyer, Li Jinsong, who said Chen told him: “‘I’m free. I’ve received clear assurances.'”Though Li said Chen did not elaborate, the activist had been seeking guarantees of his and his family’s safety.
  • China demands U.S. apology on Chen Guangcheng’s entering U.S. embassy – Xinhua | English.news.cn
    China demands an apology from the U.S. side for taking a Chinese citizen “via abnormal means” into its embassy in Beijing, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said here Wednesday.
  • US Report: 99% of Music Downloads in China Are Pirated, Video Sites a Concern Too | Tech in Asia
    The report then turns to movies, TV shows, and sports broadcasts, and “urges the Chinese Government to focus on these streaming sites” that are featuring pirated content. 18 “popular video sites” are singled out by name “for allegedly providing a wide variety of pirated material” and suggests that the National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC) review them for “shutdown when appropriate”. They are:UUsee, Sina, Letv, Youku, Sohu, Baidu, Ku6.com, Joy.com, PPStream, verycd, Tudou, QQ.com, 56.com, Xunlei, Baofeng, Funshion, PPTV, and pipi.cn.
  • Chen Guangcheng leaves U.S. Embassy in Beijing – Xinhua | English.news.cn
    BEIJING, May 2 (Xinhua) — It is informed here Wednesday that Chen Guangcheng, a native from Yinan County of eastern China’s Shandong Province, entered the U.S. Embassy in Beijing in late April and left of his own volition after staying there for six days.
  • Divorce even more of a mess for foreigners – Xinhua | English.news.cn
    As more foreigners come to Beijing to work, more of them are getting married and divorced.
    And that’s leading to long delays in the courtroom
  • An Unusual Deal for a Rival’s Planes – NYTimes.com
    Boeing may soon be looking for buyers for long-range passenger jets built by its European archrival, Airbus, after a rare trade-in deal with one of China’s largest airlines.
    The American plane maker has agreed to buy half of China Eastern’s fleet of 10 Airbus A340 jets as part of a $6 billion deal to sell 20 Boeing 777s to the airline, the Shanghai carrier said in a stock exchange filing Monday.
  • U.S. Reaffirms Defense of Philippines in Standoff With China – NYTimes.com
    With a standoff between Philippine and Chinese ships under way in a disputed corner of the South China Sea, senior leaders from the United States and the Philippines have reaffirmed their longstanding commitment to mutual defense.
  • 湖南民间拯救江豚行动倒逼政府作为 洞庭湖资源成地方“摇钱树”-法制网
    6年间,140多头江豚因何而死?死后尸骨飘向了何方?无人过问。而今年6头死亡江豚的死因已有了初步结论,尸骨也得到了妥善处理。按照徐亚平的说法,江豚如今也算死得有尊严
  • Joint purchasing under the AML-SOHU, QQ and Baidu launched Video Content Cooperation Alliance : China Law Insight
    t is not clear under the AML whether the three internet video websites’ joint purchasing arrangement can be deemed as conclusion of horizontal monopoly agreement. Whether the establishment of VCC will cause competition concerns could be essential for the analysis. But such question may only be solved after observing the actual operation of the VCC.
  • China’s Vanishing Trade Imbalance – NYTimes.com
    China’s economy is in a peculiar spot. Its surplus has shrunk drastically, but without any of the reforms needed to transform China into more of a consumer economy that relies less on exports. In fact, household consumption has fallen consistently as a share of the economy since the early 1990s.This path leads nowhere good. Further investment booms may continue to shrink China’s trade surplus. But they come at a high cost: more resources wasted on empty buildings and unused roads.Fortunately, China’s leaders appear to understand the need to change.
  • China’s Stocks Rise Most in Two Weeks on Manufacturing, Fee Cut – Bloomberg
    “The regulators are trying to revive and excite the trading in the A-share market, which has been a poor market over the last few years,” Khiem Do, the Hong Kong-based head of Asian multi-asset strategy at Baring Asset Management Asia Ltd., which overseas about $10 billion, said by telephone. “The spirit of the change is obviously to get retail investors to go back into the A-share market and increase trading activity.”
  • 监管层出四大新政 两市早盘放量上扬 – [中国证券网]
    government seems to really want a buoyant stock market.bull market may not solve problems but..//
    “五一”休市期间,关于资本市场的新政紧锣密鼓地出台,可谓管理层联手沪深交易所送“大礼”。4月27日,证监会降低期货交易手续费,并研究减少股票交易费用;28日,证监会正式公布新股发行改革指导意见,取消网下机构3个月的锁定期,并推出五条新规遏制新股炒作;29日,沪深两大交易所同时发布主板以及中小板退市方案征求意见稿;30日,证监会降低A股交易的相关收费标准,调整后,沪深证券交易所的A股交易经手费将按照成交金额的0.087‰双向收取。
  • For Chinese Writers, Self-Censorship May Be a Worse Problem Than Censorship – NYTimes.com
    Perhaps it has to do with shame — shame of a specific historical kind. After a century of humiliation at the hands of outsiders, China finally regained self-determination in 1949, only to almost immediately plunge itself into a 30-year nightmare that caused more deaths and damage than anything ever inflicted by foreigners. The trauma of that period has been deeply buried, particularly since 1989. The collective belief that the Chinese people’s relationship to their government today is somehow normal — that the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution were simply the growing pains of a new nation — might be the defining fiction of modern Chinese society.Call it shame, call it mass Stockholm Syndrome, but this cognitive dissonance appears to be a far more potent poison than mere censorship. Whether or not I’m right about this, it’s not a conversation Chinese writers are prepared to enter into.
  • China Shares Jump After Government Cuts Trading Fees | MNI
    new bull market would mitigate some social tensions for beijing//
    BEIJING (MNI) – Chinese share prices were trading higher shortly after the open Wednesday in response to a government announcement over the long weekend that brokerage fees are to be cut by over 20% by the start of next month.
  • The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – Coast Guard Files Arrest Warrant for 2 Chinese Fishermen
    The Korean Coast Guard on Tuesday filed arrest warrants for two Chinese fishermen, who attacked and injured four of its officers when they chased and boarded the Chinese trawler that was fishing illegally in Korean waters near Heuksan Island on Monday.
  • Strategists Who Called Bottom in China Stocks Now Say Buy – Bloomberg
    China’s longest bear market since 2005 is ending as government efforts to bolster the economy spur a rally in stocks, say the strategists whose buy recommendations two years ago preceded a 34 percent gain in the Shanghai Composite Index. (SHCOMP)
  • Romney Refuses to See China Progress on Yuan – Bloomberg
    wait till china starts messing w bain capital china projects//
    The yuan’s 23 percent rally against the dollar in the past five years doesn’t impress Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who vows on the campaign trail to brand China a “currency manipulator.”..
    Ted Dean, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, which represents more than 1,200 companies, said his group’s biggest policy concerns include the investment- approval process, intellectual-property rights and transparency in rule making — not the yuan.
    “You can push for currency or push for something else,” Dean said in an April 25 interview. “We would argue that pushing for something else is more productive.”
  • Military leaders seek more clout for Cyber Command, but growth concerns some – The Washington Post
    militarization of all US intelligence seems almost complete. not a good thing for the republic//
    The move also would raise a novel personnel issue. The head of Cyber Command, Gen. Keith Alexander, also is the head of the Fort Meade-based National Security Agency, which spies electronically on foreign enemies on behalf of numerous government agencies as well as the military.The potential tension between those jobs could grow, some analysts say, if Cyber Command is elevated.
  • Deleted post: information controls spell trouble – China Media Project
    The following post by billionaire investor Wang Gongquan (王功权) on credibility and China’s information control policies was deleted from Sina Weibo sometime before 12:08pm Hong Kong time yesterday, May 1, 2012. Wang Gongquan currently has more than 1.4 million followers, according to numbers from Sina Weibo. [More on deleted posts at the WeiboScope Search, by the Journalism and Media Studies Centre].So long as the Central Propaganda Department kills speech, the credibility of the Chinese Communist Party cannot possibly be built up. It’s just that simple.
  • US embassy in a quandary over Chen Guangcheng-Sinoism
    The US embassy would have no interest in turning itself into a petition office receiving Chinese complaints. It is easier just preaching universal values to the Chinese public, and occasionally, helping a few exemplary cases that best illustrate US intentions. It is never willing to involve itself in too many detailed disputes in Chinese society.The Western media has portrayed Chen as a blind activist hero, and some Chinese have echoed this view. These have given Chen a wrong impression of his importance to the US and his individual influence in China. His self-judgment has been ruined by exaggerated media reports.
  • China’s Looming Conflict Between Energy and Water by Christina Larson: Yale Environment 360
    In its quest to find new sources of energy, China is increasingly looking to its western provinces. But the nation’s push to develop fossil fuel and alternative sources has so far ignored a basic fact — western China simply lacks the water resources needed to support major new energy development.
  • Inside-Out China: How Chongqing People View Bo Xilai
    Chongqing people’s attitudes toward Bo Xilai range from supportive to condemnatory to “who cares” and everything in between, a broad spectrum with two heavy ends. (For the indifferent, a typical expression I often heard was “The gods fighting is none of our business.”) So far, however, foreign journalists seem to have a hard time penetrating the famous fog of the river-mountain city to find more than one stratum of views. In the English media it is easy to see headlines such as “Bo Xilai Still Admired Locally in China” and “Bo Xilai Remains Popular in Megacity He Once Oversaw.” In those reports quoting “the average people on the street,” the term “average people” generally does not include intellectuals, writers, journalists, academics, and so forth.In fact, among local intellectuals, professionals, and the middle class, there has been an overwhelming sentiment against Bo’s doings in Chongqing since 2009, according to a dozen such men and women I have spoken to this month, all of whom requested anonymity. One reason their opinions have not been widely reflected in the foreign media is that they are much more reluctant to speak than the “stick men” (棒棒, or porters-for-hire) who roam the streets. When I asked why they were still afraid of speaking up even after Bo was gone, a local journalist told me that the government had issued orders forbidding them from talking to foreign journalists
  • Why Obama Can’t Be Swift-Boated – Bloomberg
    Kerry may have been Swift-Boated, but Obama is not going to be SEALed. Republicans are used to calling Democrats cowards and worse. Not this time. Republicans have the squishy, soft, cosseted, consensus-building candidate, while Democrats have the fighter. Finally.
    (Margaret Carlson is a Bloomberg View columnist.

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