Today’s China Readings May 18, 2012

Apologies for the abbreviated post this morning. The Beijing Electric Company is “upgrading” the power system in my building complex and so the power will be off from 8AM until 5PM today.

Ferrari-gate has roared back thanks to Hong Huang. As I detail in Did Rupert Murdoch Crash The Wall Street Journal’s Bo Guagua Ferrari Story?, media entrepreneur, fashion maven and Weibo celebrity (4.7m fans) Hong Huang has just dropped a bomb on the Wall Street Journal. Huang knows some of the participants in the “Ferrari-Gate” story and this week she wrote 知情人洪晃亲述:闹得沸沸扬扬的薄瓜瓜和红色法拉利内幕 for an influential Chinese magazine. WantChinaTimes has summarized her article in English in Red Ferrari, red herring: How WSJ backed down on Bo Guagua claim. I know Huang and consider her to be serious and credible. So does the Wall Street Journal, which in 2010 called her The Godmother of Chinese Designers. Huang alleges sloppy journalism, Murdoch meddling, and threats against a source. Wall Street Journal China editor Andy Browne has spoken with Gawker and denies some of Huang’s charges–Wall Street Journal Fights Back Against Claims Rupert Murdoch and Jon Huntsman Fed It a Bullshit Rumor.

Jeremy Page, the author of the original story that included the red Ferrari lede, is a terrific reporter who is just out with a fascinating story about Bo Xilai and the military–Bo Xilai’s Ties to Army Alarmed Beijing. My understanding is that Page may have not been the person who put the Ferrari lede into the story, and if that is the case it will be disappointing if the Wall Street Journal lets a good reporter hang out to dry. Last week’s Sinica Podcast has a good discussion of Ferrari-gate with Ed Wong, the New York Times reporter who first challenged the story.

Facebook’s monster IPO deserves some discussion in the context of China. Facebook is blocked, the government is not allowing the company to set up operations, even in a regulatory compliant joint venture with a trusted Chinese Internet firm like Baidu, and the SNS market is already quite mature, overfunded and overcrowded. Mark Zuckerberg may have set connecting the world as his goal, but in the near term he is going to have to settle for connecting the world ex-China. I have written a lot about Facebook and China over at Digicha. One world, two Internets…

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