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Today’s must read article is Ed Wong and Jon Ansfield’s Bo Xilai’s Fall in China Put Allies in Peril in the New York Times. They detail Bo’s relationship with three men–Xu Ming, Yu Junshi and Ma Biao–and their detentions after an ill-advised return to China following a February flight to Australia. One is a former spy with killer dogs, one is a fat former banker, and one is an ex-seafood salesman who rose to become one of the richest men in China. It is a great read.
Last week Shai Oster of Bloomberg reported on a German in Beijing being Held on Art Smuggling in China as Buyers Dodge Tax. Recently I heard from a friend in the business that there may be a bigger crackdown underway against the rampant tax evasion in the China art world. This investigation is rumored to include not just foreign firms and foreigners like Sotheby’s, Christies and Indonesian-Chinese farming tycoon Budi Tek but also Minsheng Bank and renowned artist Liu Ye. Ai Wewei of course is in the middle of a tax case. I wonder if during the investigation the authorities found evidence of tax evasion in much of the China art world?
The Wall Street Journal heard from Yang Rui–China State TV Host Yang Rui Responds to Controversy Over ‘Foreign Trash’ Comments. It turns out that Yang just meant to call Melissa Chan a shrew, not a bitch. According to this 2011 essay, Yang Rui may have a history of using foul language– 薛涌：论“大国主持人”杨锐的粗口–南方报业网. With soft power representatives like Yang…
The US government has launched its own crackdown against illegal Chinese teachers, issuing a Directive that Could Disrupt Confucius Institutes on Campuses. Beijing’s reaction will be interesting and many US schools will be very upset as they have to come to rely on Chinese government money for their Chinese language programs. From the Chronicle of Higher Eduction story:
A policy directive sent by the U.S. Department of State to universities that sponsor Confucius Institutes suggests that the language and cultural centers that are a key piece of the Chinese government’s diplomatic outreach will have to change how they operate or fall afoul of American visa laws.
The memorandum, dated May 17, states that any academics at university-based institutes who are teaching at the elementary- and secondary-school levels are violating the terms of their visas and must leave at the end of this academic year, in June. And it says that, after a “preliminary review,” the State Department has determined that the institutes must obtain American accreditation in order to continue to accept foreign scholars and professors as teachers
Global Entrepreneur Magazine has a very interesting article on why Chinese companies need to get on to Facebook to interact with overseas clients Facebook, and the challenges they face–Facebook 和它的中国客户. Non-Chinese firms face a similar issue in reverse, as they need to use Weibo and maybe Qzone or Renren to talk to Chinese consumers. One world, two Internets is creating a headache for a lot of companies, though there may also be opportunities for consultants and social media marketing firms to help bridge the two Internets.
Wu Ying, convicted of running an illegal lending business among other crimes, has had her death penalty sentence reduced to death with reprieve. Public outrage over her initial sentence played a key role in the reduction, as Xinhua tells us in Death-sentenced businesswoman receives lighter penalty following heated debates. A few months ago in China Entrepreneur Magazine Examines Private Lending And The Wu Ying Death Penalty Case I discussed the case and a long expose that appeared in Chinese media.
The toxic food du jour has been found to be something grandma likes to buy my kids, against my protests. Beijing Ruihua Popsicles production and sales were halted after after tests found batches containing massive amounts of bacteria. But at least the disposable cups we have been using should no longer be unsafe after July 1, as the government is raising standards raised for disposable cups.
On Saturday I wrote that “Baidu and Sina are also joining in the anti-foreigner fun. People’s Daily Online tells us that a new Weibo campaign targets misbehaving foreigners.” People’s Daily was the source for this comment, but it apparently got the story wrong and Baidu is actually not involved in any online hunt for illegal foreigners.
Thanks for reading, and remember the best way to see this daily post is to subscribe by email, especially if you are in China, as Sinocism is still blocked here. You can also follow me on @niubi or Sina Weibo @billbishop.
- 49 publication media companies listed in China – Xinhua | English.news.cn
China currently has 49 listed publication media companies, the director of the country’s press watchdog said during an exclusive interview with Xinhua on Monday.
has Wang Lequan been making more public appearances recently?
- 人民日报-文化“为人民”的历史跨越 ——从延安文艺座谈会到十七届六中全会
page 1 people’s daily on from yan’an to 17th party congress 6th plenum. just passed 70th anniversary of Mao’s talk on art at Yan’an. Today’s editorial By 任仲平
- Bordeaux 2011 Prices Cut as Much as 45% as Lafite Demand Cools – Bloomberg
Asian demand for Bordeaux is becoming more selective while European and American buyers, still struggling with prices for the 2009s and 2010s, are eyeing cheaper back vintages and are less willing to pay premiums for wines still needing a decade or more in bottle, which critics including Robert Parker say fall short of the overall quality reached in the previous two years. Recession in Europe and weak global growth, combined with tumbling bank bonuses, are also driving the market lower.
- Mayor says he defied Bo on axing | SCMP.com
of course he did…//
Huang Qifan challenged party chief, who yelled and kicked him out of high-level meeting at which Bo Xilai announced decision to sack police chief
- China Top Source of Counterfeit U.S. Military Electronics – Bloomberg
China’s government has failed to curb manufacturing of counterfeit military electronic parts by Chinese companies that are the “dominant source” of fakes in the U.S. defense supply chain, a Senate investigation found.
- Standards raised for disposable cups|Society|chinadaily.com.cn
Most paper cups available on the Chinese market would not meet the new national standard, which comes into effect on June 1, according to industry insiders.The country’s first regulation on disposable cups will focus on raw materials, additives and printed patterns, and is aimed at boosting consumer safety.
- Beijing, Manila can find solution to dispute|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn
As Manila softened its attitude over the Huangyan Island incident while displaying gamesmanship under the table, analysts called for a more substantial demonstration of goodwill from the Southeast Asian nation.
- Death-sentenced businesswoman receives lighter penalty following heated debates – Xinhua | English.news.cn
A Chinese court on Monday imposed a lighter penalty on Wu Ying, who has been convicted of financial fraud, after her initial death sentence sparked heated debates over China’s fund-raising system and calls for using capital punishment prudently.
- Bus driver blamed for accident that injured NW China teacher Zhang Lili – Xinhua | English.news.cn
A bus driver has been blamed for causing the accident that seriously injured a 29-year-old teacher who risked her life to save two students from the oncoming bus in northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province on May 8, local traffic police said Monday.
- Interview: Top legislator’s visit to Luxembourg highlight of bilateral ties: Chinese ambassador – Xinhua | English.news.cn
Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo’s visit to Luxembourg would be a highlight of four decades of diplomatic relations between the two countries, said China’s ambassador to the country.
- 魏桥的红色儿女：党委副书记张红霞被推举为18大代表候选人 – 宏观 – 21世纪网
- 国务院重申限购：年内房产税或难扩围 – 宏观 – 21世纪网
- Apple’s iPhone 3GS expected to live on for under $300 in developing markets
- China Car History | CarNewsChina.com – China Auto News
- The Wilson Quarterly: In Essence: From Confucius to Chopin
E: “Why Chinese People Play Western Classical Music: Transcultural Roots of Music Philosophy” by Hao Huang, in International Journal of Music Education, Oct. 11, 2011 (online).
- Foreigners in China: Barbarians at the gate, again | The Economist
Bearing in mind the sensitive atmosphere of the moment, perhaps it is amazing that there hasn’t been more online anger—for or against Bo Xilai and the princelings, for instance. Or that Chen Guangcheng’s departure for America went as smoothly as it did. What is clear is that underneath that smooth, calm surface, people are seething. As if there were not enough for microbloggers to gripe about, the new anti-foreigner spirit adds a dangerous element to the mix. Even Mr Yang himself seemed to recognise this, in a later blog post, when he said that, while it is “important to sweep away all the foreign trash”, Chinese people must “also be cautious of xenophobia and new variations on the Boxer Uprising”. Meanwhile, young Westerners in Chinese cities are urgently making sure their papers are in order.
- » The Mother Of All Traffic Jams (Warning: It’s Horrifying) Beijing Cream
- Today’s Most Viral Image: A Donated School Makes Way For Luxury | Tea Leaf Nation
- After Chinese Fishermen’s Ransom-less Release, Ties With North Korea Fraying | Tea Leaf Nation
- Xinhua spreading rumours, unpopular military commentary, and a witchhunt: the Scarborough Shoal media wave Part III (May 11-13) « southseaconversations 讨论南海
- State Department Directive Could Disrupt Confucius Institutes on Campuses – International – The Chronicle of Higher Education
A policy directive sent by the U.S. Department of State to universities that sponsor Confucius Institutes suggests that the language and cultural centers that are a key piece of the Chinese government’s diplomatic outreach will have to change how they operate or fall afoul of American visa laws.The memorandum, dated May 17, states that any academics at university-based institutes who are teaching at the elementary- and secondary-school levels are violating the terms of their visas and must leave at the end of this academic year, in June. And it says that, after a “preliminary review,” the State Department has determined that the institutes must obtain American accreditation in order to continue to accept foreign scholars and professors as teachers.
- » “Pofu” or no “Pofu,” Yang Rui is just an idiot Rectified.name 正名
- Exclusive: U.S. lets China bypass Wall Street for Treasury orders | Reuters
China can now bypass Wall Street when buying U.S. government debt and go straight to the U.S. Treasury, in what is the Treasury’s first-ever direct relationship with a foreign government, according to documents viewed by Reuters.
The relationship means the People’s Bank of China buys U.S. debt using a different method than any other central bank in the world.
- China State TV Host Yang Rui Responds to Controversy Over ‘Foreign Trash’ Comments – China Real Time Report – WSJ
- FACTBOX-Three key leadership contenders in China – Reuters
- Ma Jun Keeps Your iPhone From Killing People | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation
- Talking with Christians in rural China | Seeing Red in China
A few weeks ago I had the chance to visit a very small village. The villagers there told me this story of how they converted to Christianity and I thought it was an interesting account that gave a glimpse of their relationship with God and a few of the practical challenges of being a rural Christian. The following is a fairly close retelling of what I overheard from their congregation-
- What Chinese Consumers Want – WSJ.com
To win a following among Chinese buyers, brands have to follow three rules. First and most important, products that are consumed in public, directly or indirectly, command huge price premiums relative to goods used in private…
The second rule is that the benefits of a product should be external, not internal…
The last rule for positioning a brand in China is that products must address the need to navigate the crosscurrents of ambition and regimentation, of standing out while fitting in.
- Rumor: China to Further Curb Entertainment Programming | Marbridge Consulting – China Television News
China’s State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) will reportedly further curb primetime entertainment programming, expanding the effective period of restrictions from 7:30-10:00 PM to 7:30 PM to 12:00 AM.
- Is This What a Chinese Internet Censor Job Ad Looks Like? – China Real Time Report – WSJ
Ever wonder if you have the chops to slash content from the Chinese Internet before the government mandates it?
Well now you can answer the call.
Sina Corp., which runs the popular Twitter-like microblogging service Weibo, posted a notice on the service on Monday calling for candidates to apply for the job of “monitoring editor.” While the notice doesn’t explicitly mention censorship, it does emphasize “information safety,” common code in China for compliance with the wishes of propaganda authorities
2011 commentary on Yang Rui and his foul language//
- China adds conditions to approval of Google bid to buy Motorola Mobility | Technology | guardian.co.uk
China approves search giant’s £7.9bn bid for MMI but says the Android OS must remain stay free for at least the next five years
- Facebook和它的中国客户 – IT·科技 – 21世纪网
- Insight: China pays high price to spare state firm from bankruptcy – Yahoo! News
The Chinese official was adamant the city of Weifang would keep its rayon factory open, noting that local authorities had just stepped in to help the plant’s owner repay $60 million in commercial paper.
The bailout averted what would have been China’s first ever bond default and was good news for domestic bond investors, who were reassured that in China even mid-sized state-owned firms can count on “too-big-to-fail” treatment.
- In China, Fear at the Top – NYTimes.com
In the months ahead, party leaders will use every propaganda tool to dissipate the damage inflicted on leadership unity, party discipline and national “harmony” by the Bo debacle. They might divert criticism from Bo by depicting his allegedly murderous wife as China’s Lady Macbeth. But members of China’s New Class will still worry that the revelations about elite corruption have exposed them to the danger of the Bolsheviks coming back.Roderick MacFarquhar, a professor of government at Harvard, is a co-author of “Mao’s Last Revolution.”
- Taiwan will not work with China on South China Sea: official｜Politics｜News｜WantChinaTimes.com
It is impossible that Taiwan will cooperate with China on issues related to the disputed South China Sea region, an official told lawmakers Monday.”We will not cooperate with China on such issues at present,” National Security Bureau Director-General Tsai De-sheng said about the possibility of a Taiwan-China collaboration to address growing tension in the region.
- FT Alphaville » China’s mega dash for the dollar
Monday, Bloomberg reports that the dollar rush may be being magnified by the fact that Chinese citizens are also gathering dollar-denominated deposits at their fastest pace in five years
- China state-run businesses to invest 350 billion yuan in Chongqing | Reuters
Thirty of China’s biggest state-owned businesses have signed contracts worth about 350 billion yuan ($55.3 billion) with the southwestern municipality Chongqing
- Ruihua Popsicles possibly tainted, production halted
Beijing authorities called a halt to production of Ruihua, one of Beijinger’s favorite Popsicle producers, during the weekend after media revealed a quality scandal of its products, which contain an excessively large amount of bacteria.Ruihua Old Popsicle, which sells around 50,000 units per day for 1 yuan each, mostly in tourist sites, contains bacteria 1,767 times higher than that stipulated in the national standards for cold beverages, according to the Beijing News. The newspaper sent samples to a test center in Beijing, and found the batch, produced on April 1, to be extremely unhealthy. It was merely a mixture of water and additives.
- UPDATE 1-Chinese buyers default on coal shipments -traders | Reuters
Chinese traders have defaulted on some thermal coal contracts following a drop in prices over the past month, traders said on Monday, providing more evidence that a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy is hitting the appetite for commodities.The coal defaults also come after sources at steel mills and traders said last week that some iron ore shipments had been postponed.
- Bo Xilai’s Fall in China Put Allies in Peril – NYTimes.com
The three men — two of them powerful businessmen and the other a former intelligence agent — had befriended Mr. Bo and Mr. Wang years ago. They knew both to be controlling and impulsive, and their goal was to broker a peace.
The most famous of the three, Xu Ming, 41, listed by Forbes as China’s eighth-richest person in 2005, had flown in on his private jet. He and the others held separate meetings with Mr. Bo and Mr. Wang. The damage was irreparable. The former intelligence agent, Yu Junshi, rushed home and stuffed a bag with 1.2 million renminbi, or nearly $200,000, to take to a bank with Ma Biao, the other businessman, known for his girth. Then all three fled to Australia within days, fearful of the fallout from a possible investigation of Mr. Bo.
Those figures are now being detained as central suspects or witnesses in the Chinese government’s broad investigation into Mr. Bo’s use of power
- AMC Theater Deal Links China to Hollywood – NYTimes.com
The Wanda Group, a Chinese conglomerate with extensive interests in the entertainment business, has agreed to acquire AMC Entertainment, North America’s second-largest movie theater owner, in a deal that is valued at $2.6 billion, including roughly $2 billion in assumed debt, the companies said Sunday.
- Yahoo! and Alibaba Reach Agreement on Comprehensive Plan for Alibaba Stake – MarketWatch
a win for the very smart “crocodile of the yangtze”//
The first step is the repurchase by Alibaba of up to one-half of Yahoo!’s stake, or approximately 20% of Alibaba’s fully-diluted shares. The purchase price will be based on a valuation of Alibaba to be established through equity financings that Alibaba intends to undertake to finance the transaction, subject to a floor valuation of approximately US$35 billion..
The agreement also establishes a framework for Yahoo! to monetize its remaining interest in Alibaba in stages. First, at the time of an initial public offering (IPO) of Alibaba in the future, Alibaba will be required either to repurchase one-quarter of Yahoo!’s current stake at the IPO price or allow Yahoo! to sell those shares in the IPO. Second, following such an IPO, Yahoo! has registration rights and rights to marketing support from Alibaba to enable Yahoo! to dispose of its remaining shares, at times of Yahoo!’s choosing following a customary lock-up period…
the companies have also agreed to amend their existing technology and intellectual property licensing agreement. Among other things, this amendment will result in Yahoo! granting Alibaba a transitional license to continue to operate Yahoo! China under the Yahoo! brand for up to four years, while restrictions on Yahoo!’s ability to make other investments in China will be terminated. Alibaba will make an upfront lump sum royalty payment of US$550 million to Yahoo! and continuing royalty payments for up to four years. In addition, Alibaba will license certain patents to Yahoo!.
- Schell: Chen Guangcheng a ‘Hopeful Breakthrough’? | Asia Society
- Taobao surveys the personalities of women in areas across China｜Society｜News｜WantChinaTimes.com
Young women shoppers in Beijing are “elegant;” their counterparts in Shanghai are “modern,” while those from Guangdong province are “pragmatic,” according to a survey released by leading Chinese online shopping site Taobao.
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