Today’s China Readings May 8, 2012

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The cover story of the latest issue of Caixin Magazine is a terrifying look at the state of tap water in China–自来水真相_财新网, with a condensed English translation in The Dirty Truth about Water Quality. It was the topic of conversation at a dinner party last night, it was all over Weibo, other Chinese media are now joining the story (媒体调查称我国内地自来水合格率仅50%)and it soon will probably be in the foreign press as well. Not delivering the goods, and specifically not delivering healthy water, is very dangerous for the stability of any government. China has massive water problems and some sort of water-related unrest should be an increasing concern.

In other poisonous foodstuffs news, Xinhua reporters, in Toxic vegetables expose hidden practices, loopholes, have discovered that farmers in Shandong, “China’s largest vegetable production base”, use a formaldehyde solution to keep cabbage fresh. One thing I have learned in China is that it is generally a bad idea to mess with someone’s cabbage.

A few weeks ago the news broke that Jiang Zemin was in Beijing meeting with foreigners. Yesterday Bloomberg reporter Mike Forsythe posted a picture of Jiang Zemin with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz-Photo Surfaces of Jiang Zemin And Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

Consider the following gossip, I believe the sources but have not way of confirming. Apparently the main wife of Xu Ming, the billionaire head of Dalian Shide who was detained in March, used to be a neighbor in my Beijing apartment compound. According to the story I heard, she left for England in February with her kid, but his other women (侧室/concubines?) and their children did not. Xu Ming sounds like a very important figure, someone who may have been worth fighting over. Dalian is nice this time of year. I am surprised more reporters are not visiting.

  • ‘New’ name for island sparks fury from Beijing|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn
    Beijing on Monday slammed Manila’s attempt to “rename” Huangyan Island as China is set to launch its first deepwater oil rig in the South China Sea.
    Manila declared on Thursday that it would “rename” Huangyan Island as Panatag Shoal, and is considering removing signs on the island related to China.
  • Blind Activist Reports Little Progress – WSJ.com
    Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng said he remains hopeful that he can leave China for the U.S. under a recent deal between Washington and Beijing, but he said barriers remain before the two sides can fully defuse their sticky diplomatic situation.
  • Global Times gives new narrative on Chen Guangcheng « Sinostand
  • Pictures-China’s first deep-water rig to drill in South China Sea – Xinhua | English.news.cn
  • Toxic vegetables expose hidden practices, loopholes – Xinhua | English.news.cn
    Reports of formaldehyde-tainted Chinese cabbage in east China’s Shandong province, the country’s largest vegetable production base, have exposed some clandestine market practices and triggered a new wave of food safety concerns.
  • China Exclusive: Ancient Buddhist temple found in Taklimakan Desert – Xinhua | English.news.cn
    KERIYA, Xinjiang, May 7 (Xinhua) — The ruins of a Buddhist temple dating back 1,500 years ago have been discovered in China’s largest desert, offering valuable research material for historians studying Buddhism’s spread from India to China.The temple’s main hall, with a rare structure based around three square-shaped corridors and a huge Buddha statue, has been uncovered after two months of hard work in Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Dr. Wu Xinhua, the leading archaeologist of the excavation project, said Monday.

  • Foreign Private-Equity Dealt a Blow in China – WSJ.com
    In a blow to overseas private-equity firms that invest in China, the government’s chief economic-planning agency ruled that all of the money in their funds must come from Chinese investors, or the funds will be treated as foreign.Foreign private-equity firms thought that a regulatory opening would let their yuan-denominated funds be treated as local even if up to 5% the fund’s capital came from outside of China. Such treatment would lessen some of the regulatory hurdles faced by foreign funds and allow them to better compete with a flood of new Chinese competitors.

    But the National Development and Reform Commission has now said that all the capital in a yuan-denominated fund must come from local Chinese investors.

  • South Korea Steps Up Fight Against ‘Human Flesh’ Pills from China – China Real Time Report – WSJ
    South Korean customs officials are boosting efforts to stamp out illegal smuggling of drugs that are allegedly coming from China. Reason: The drugs supposedly contain human flesh..
    South Korea’s crackdown on the drugs began last year after SBS, one of the nation’s major television broadcasters, ran a documentary accusing Chinese pharmaceutical companies of collaborating with abortion clinics to make pills allegedly made of human fetuses and the remains of dead infants.
  • 媒体调查称我国内地自来水合格率仅50%|自来水|水质|合格_新浪新闻
    Media claims only 50% of China’s tap water is up to standard
  • The Dirty Truth about Water Quality – Caixin Online
    New standards are due in July, but experts say the previous criteria were never met
  • 陕西地电与国家电网“武斗”背后 地电沉浮 – 产经快讯 – 21世纪网
    backgrounder on causes of recent physical fight between employees of shaanxi electric and the state grid陕西地方电力集团公司(下简称“陕西地电”)和国家电网陕西省分公司因线路建设发生“武斗”一事继续发酵。

  • Chen Guangcheng calls on Beijing to keep its word and allow him to leave China – Telegraph
    The blind dissident Chen Guangcheng said on Monday that he expects to travel to the United States before “too long”, as China warned America that it should “take necessary measures” to prevent such a diplomatic incident happening again.
  • U.S. officials feared Chen Guangcheng had cancer while in embassy | The Cable
    ind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng entered the U.S. Embassy in Beijing last week in such poor medical condition that U.S. officials suspected he might have advanced colon cancer, pushing them to speed up his exit from the embassy and into a local hospital, a senior administration official told The Cable.Following Chen’s harrowing escape from house arrest and what U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke called a “Mission: Impossible”-style rescue by to get him into the U.S. Embassy, U.S. officials found Chen to be in much worse health that has previously been disclosed, according to the official, who had first-hand knowledge of the episode. Chen’s severe medical condition was a factor in the embassy’s desire to get him to the local hospital as quickly as possible and was also a reason U.S. officials left Chen alone during a portion of his hospital stay, because he had to undergo extensive testing to determine whether or not he had a fatal disease.

  • China’s ‘princeling’ generals hit by Bo purge – FT.com
    interesting read,hard to know for sure//
    The purge of Bo Xilai as Chongqing Communist party boss has thwarted the prospects for some “princeling” generals to join China’s to p military body while giving President Hu Jintao a chance to boost his influence over the armed forces…
    Military experts say the two officers most affected by the Bo scandal are General Zhang Haiyang, the commissar of the Second Artillery Forces – the home of China’s nuclear weapons arsenal – and General Liu Yuan, the political commissar of the general logistics department, whose father Liu Shaoqi was Mao’s chosen successor until he fell out of favour and was purged.
  • 让每个人都有名字_天涯博客_有见识的人都在此_天涯社区
    popular post about giving names to all who dies in great leap forward and cultural revolution//
    口述大饥荒这个项目,我认为首先要有一个网站,以便于资料的分类、搜集、整理和持续传播;其次,我们在做之前,需要成立一个边界清楚的组织——一个宗旨和目标明确的约束下的参与者,并在参与者中以票选的方式先成立理事会。说白了,就是要以一个ngo的框架去运作它,虽然我反对要对这个NGO进行认证注册。如果有这样一个纯民间的项目,我愿意尽己所能加入进来,帮助设计网站和筹款。我不想再错过了。
    我们不幸身处所多玛,但更不幸的却是,我们以义人自诩。

  • Mike Forsythe 傅才德 (pekingmike) on Twitter
    a good follow//Beijing-based reporter for Bloomberg News. U.S. Navy veteran. Writing book on China Development Bank w/ @HjeSanderson. Views expressed are my own.
    Beijing ·
  • 河南南阳被指整治墓葬只铲平民祖坟_网易新闻中心
    Nanyang, Henan official order cleanup of tombs, but orders only tombs of commoners (ie non-officials) be razed
  • In East Asia, Myopia Epidemic Sets Off Alarm Bells – China Real Time Report – WSJ
    In China, 85% of university students suffer from short-sightedness, according to surveys conducted by the country’s education ministry. At the Harbin Institute of Technology, for example, shortsightedness is so common that eyeglass cleaning cloths are hung in public spaces across campus, from the canteen to libraries, for harried students to use to wipe their lenses clean.Nearsightedness in the U.S. and Europe ranges between 20% and 40% of the population.

  • 自来水真相_专题频道_财新网
    horrifying Caixin cover package on poisonous drinking water in China and how the government has not “delivered the goods” when it comes to making sure the population has safe drinking water. Mass environmental issues, or a major disaster, could queer things quite badly for the Party
  • 胡锦涛大将再下一城 孙政才续任吉林省委书记_多维新闻网
    曾任农业部长的孙政才在5月6日当选为吉林省委书记,被外界认为在中共18大前,胡锦涛旗下大将再夺一城。
  • Buffet Prefers Chinese Consumer Goods Exporters-Caijing
    At the annual shareholder’s meeting for Berkshire Hathaway on Saturday, Warrant Buffet said he would prefer Chinese companies that export quality goods, especially consumer goods
  • 白菜被喷甲醛保鲜成潜规则 可能导致白血病_新闻_腾讯网
    now the cabbage sprayed w formaldehyde scandal. dangerous 2 mess w chinese & their cabbage
  • Photo Surfaces of Jiang Zemin And Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz | Sinocism
    A few weeks ago Sinocism was the first to note that Jiang Zemin had recently met with at least one foreign delegation in Beijing–Is Jiang Zemin Meeting Foreign Delegations In Beijing? Bloomberg followed up with a story a couple of days later confirming that Jiang had met with Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks.Now a photo of the meeting has surfaced

  • ‘Kompu gacha’ online games may be illegal : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri)
    The Consumer Affairs Agency has concluded that a system used by some online game operators on social networking service (SNS) websites constitutes a violation of a law that bans certain types of sales methods, according to sources close to the agency.In such online games, known as “kompu gacha” (complete gacha), players can win a grand prize, a rare virtual item, after purchasing a certain number of required items.

    The agency began investigating the game services after receiving complaints about extremely high charges imposed on players of such games on SNS websites such as Gree and Mobage.

  • James Cameron on Chinese Filmmakers, Censorship and Potential Co-Productions – NYTimes.com
    Q.Did you talk to other filmmakers – your peers – about Chinese censorship?
    A.No. I’m not interested in their reality. My reality is that I’ve made two films in the last 15 years that both have been resounding successes here, and this is an important market for me. And so I’m going to do what’s necessary to continue having this be an important market for my films. And I’m going to play by the rules that are internal to this market. Because you have to. You know, I can stomp my feet and hold my breath but I’m not going to change people’s minds that way. Now I do feel that everything is trending in the right direction right now, as I mentioned earlier.
  • Bo Xilai Was Long Known in China for Ruthlessness – NYTimes.com
    Mr. Bo had made several powerful enemies. His appointment in 2007, as party secretary of Chongqing, was in fact devised to move him out of Beijing and away from the seat of power. Two previous heads of China’s Trade Ministry, the Commerce Ministry’s predecessor, had gone on to become vice premier, a post Mr. Bo was said to crave. But one, Wu Yi, had come to dislike Mr. Bo’s abrasiveness and self-promotion; she sided with Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and others in shunting him to a job in the hinterlands.Two people who know Ms. Wu said she was miffed by his grandstanding at a 2005 Washington session of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, where she had led a delegation of senior leaders. She was further put off after he opened a police investigation into the Commerce Ministry’s international affairs office, where she maintained close ties. And in talks with friends, she cited his enthusiasm for the more radical Red Guards as an especially sore point. “Wu Yi got him,” one longtime associate of Mr. Bo said. “She was instrumental, saying, ‘I step down in March; the guy is gone before I step down.’ ”

  • Aquino Open to China Sea Oil Deal Separate From Territory Spat – Bloomberg
    Philippine President Benigno Aquino said he’s open to an agreement with China that would allow companies to exploit oil and gas resources while the governments separately resolve South China Sea border disputes.
  • HEARD ON THE STREET: China’s Alternative to Facebook – WSJ.com
    The comparative valuation game is a dangerous, especially as concerns about accounting and ownership structures mean even the most reputable overseas-listed China stocks trade at a discount to their U.S. peers. Also, while Facebook is a global business, Chinese Internet firms are fighting for the domestic market. Even so, Baidu, valued at 39 times trailing earnings, and Tencent, priced at 36 times, both look more affordable than Facebook.For investors wary of friending Mark Zuckerberg’s social network, liking the Chinese Internet is always an option.

  • 京东从央视撤销部分广告标段 或为降低营销支出_TechWeb
    Chinese ecommerce giant 360buy pulls some ads from CCTV, prompting speculation it is cutting marketing spend to preserve costs in an increasingly difficult fundraising environment for chinese ecommerce firms.
  • 小米手机完成产能爬坡 将配合电信主攻校园市场_互联网_DoNews-IT门户-移动互联网新闻-电子商务新闻-游戏新闻-风险投资新闻-IT社交网络社区
    Xiaomi is a very impressive Chinese startup mobile phone and services company. Now that it appears to have worked out its production kinks it is working with telecoms firms to go after the student market. Apple does not have a lock in China, as more of its features and specs will be matched or approximated here, at lower prices. “Good enough and cheaper” will win a lot of share for iphone competitors
  • 阿里集团公开反腐 首次披露违规网商名单_互联网_DoNews-IT门户-移动互联网新闻-电子商务新闻-游戏新闻-风险投资新闻-IT社交网络社区
    wonder of alibaba will model its anti-corruption campaign after one of the CCP’s
  • US violates international law|Comment|chinadaily.com.cn
    There has been much speculation and rumor since Chinese citizen Chen Guangcheng entered the US Embassy in China. Some Western media have made improper comments and have suggested that the United States put forward certain requirements to China about Chen; that China made this and that agreement.
    This is absurd. Chen is a Chinese citizen. If the US government follows international laws and the basic norms of relations among nations, it does not have the right to make any demands on the Chinese government.
    In fact, the US government has realized it was at fault and dispatched officials to talk with the Chinese government.
  • Jon Huntsman: How to Manage the China Relationship – WSJ.com
    Despite economic success and growing regional influence, Chinese leaders are profoundly insecure.
  • The Chen Guangcheng saga: Heavy on diplomacy — and luck – The Washington Post
    Jerome A. Cohen is co-director of New York University’s US-Asia Law Institute and an adjunct senior fellow for Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations.Amid so much uncertainty over the fate of human rights advocate Chen Guangcheng and his family, the role that luck played in Chen’s saga is among the things that stand out.

    I spoke with Chen at length last Monday and Tuesday at his request.

  • Chen trump for US in human rights game-Global Times
    demonizing Chen Guangcheng//
    He was pursuing rights for farmers and disadvantaged people. But later he was completely bewitched by the belief that only the US government can save him.
    Moreover, according to other villagers, Chen’s imprisonment a few years ago had nothing to do with his work. It was actually a pretty common local conflict.  They told me that Chen built a deep well using funds he received from a British source. But that well sucked out water from other wells in the village, which meant Chen effectively controlled the village’s water.
    They claimed that Chen charged high fees for the water and caused discontent from villagers, some of them then openly voiced their unhappiness and that angered Chen. So he asked his family members to attack the village committee and blocked public roads in order to vent his anger.
    Chen’s relationship with the locals worsened when Chen was protesting his jail term after he was released, particularly when he called people outside the village and even outside the country to cry for him.

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