The Sinocism China Newsletter For 11.04.12

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The must-read story for this weekend is the New York Times’ Change at Top of China’s Elite Political Committee.

Thanks for all the recent support, I would still like more interaction and comments from users and will happily publish the interesting bits if allowed.

Sunday’s suggested readings:

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Property grip bites China’s building materials – Xinhua | English.news.cn -Cement output rose 6.7 percent year on year to 1.59 billion tonnes in the January-September period, compared with 18.1 percent recorded in the same period of 2011, according to a report by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on its website.

600 million middle-class Chinese by 2020: think tank – Xinhua | English.news.cn - China’s rapid urbanization will greatly increase its number of middle-class people to 600 million and support an economic growth between 7 percent and 8 percent annually by 2020, a government think tank chief predicted here on Saturday. Speaking at a reform forum in Haikou, capital of China’s southern-most province of Hainan, Chi Fulin, executive president of the China Institute for Reform and Development, said, “As urbanization will create huge domestic demand potential, China still has ample room for transition and reform for the coming decade.”

任志强:限购令未限住需求 供需矛盾致房价暴涨_中国经济网??国家经济门户 - Influential real estate developer Ren Zhiqiang says real estate prices set to explode in some cities after March 2013 as inventory levels drop, land sales decline in 2011-12 mean developers wont have new projects come online soon enough// 限购令限制买第二套房、第三套房,直接导致二手房持有者不会拿出多余的二手房出售。导致市场上开发商新房及二手房存量同时出现不足,最后,最关键的问题是,限购令并未限制住购房需求,2012年新房销售额与以往相差无几,因此2012年3月,旧土地供应库存建的新房终止时,供需矛盾加剧,必导致房价暴涨。

Overstating revenue growth | China Accounting Blog | Paul Gillis - Analysts need to be careful when evaluating reported growth rates – is the company really growing its sales when measured in RMB? I believe that all Chinese companies should be using the RMB as a reporting currency. When they don’t, the SEC ought to be asking for additional disclosures as to the effect of currency rate changes on revenue growth rates.

Chanos Unmoved by Chinese Banks’ Biggest Rally Since Jan. – Bloomberg - “You can’t look at a month and say that’s the trend, or something’s changed,” Chanos, who oversees $6 billion as the founder and president at Kynikos Associates Ltd., said in a Bloomberg television interview. Bad loans peaking at 3 percent, “seems awfully Pollyannic,” he said.

Millionaire Liquor Spurs Top Stock in Hu Reign: Chart of the Day – Bloomberg - Shares of Kweichow Moutai Co., the maker of the 106-proof spirit preferred by Chinese millionaires, have beaten every other stock in Shanghai during President Hu Jintao’s 10-year term with a 3,453 percent rally.//And Maotai owns Xi Jiu, which may get a boost after 18th Party Congress

Nick Lardy vs. Michael Pettis – Debating China’s Economic Future – China Real Time Report – WSJ - Nick Lardy, an expert on China’s economy at the Peterson Institute, is arguing current growth rates can be sustained. Michael Pettis, a professor of finance at Peking University, is arguing a further sharp slowdown is inevitable. The opening exchange of views is posted below, with more to be posted next week.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

明鏡新聞網: 明鏡獨家:三大太子被查,涉薄熙來令計劃朋黨 - Mingjing news claims liu yuan, wang jun and bo xicheng are under investigation. blockbuster news if true, mingjing has spotty record, take with boulder of salt//  來自中紀委的消息說,中共已啓動對三大「太子黨」劉源、王軍和薄熙成的調查,這三人均涉嫌捲入薄熙來事件,其中劉源、薄熙來還參與了和令計劃的群黨活動。

18 Reforms for the Party’s 18th Congress – Caixin - The leadership handover coincides with China arriving at critical social and economic junctures. The following are suggestions for the changes it should make–By Liu Shengjun

China to promote rising star in Bo Xilai’s old stomping ground: sources | Reuters- Southwestern Chongqing, left reeling in the wake of a corruption and murder scandal, is expected to go to Sun Zhengcai, a former agriculture minister and current party boss of the chilly northeastern province of Jilin. The export powerhouse of Guangdong in the south, facing an economic slowdown due to the global downturn along with rising social tensions, will probably be handed to Inner Mongolia party boss Hu Chunhua, sources with ties to the leadership told Reuters.

Web portals ready for CPC national congress coverage – Xinhua | English.news.cn - Commercial portals including Sina, Tencent and Sohu have all made room for congress coverage in their front pages. Even mobile media have unrolled various forms and content for breaking news and activities concerning the meeting.

Photos: Children all over China ‘celebrate’ the 18th Party Congress by forming human propaganda: Shanghaiist - All over China children are spontaneously volunteering to create human propaganda pieces to celebrate the upcoming 18th Party Congress during which the once-in-a-decade leadership transition will take place.

U.N. rights boss chides China over Tibet protests | Reuters - The United Nations’ most senior human rights official urged China on Friday to address deep-rooted frustrations that have led to desperate forms of protest by Tibetans, including some 60 self-immolations since March 2011.

Is it finally time for China to push asset disclosure of officials? | Offbeat China- Zhang Tiancheng, the deputy secretary of  Hanshou county Politics and Law Committee from Hunan province, may make some waves by his recent disclosure of personal assets. On October 29, Zhang, under the name of 洞庭渔夫—-张 on Sina Weibo, China’s most popular microblogging service, posted 10 messages of detailed accounts of  his family’s income and assets. All 10 messages started with “To answer netizens’ requests, I’m now disclosing my income and assets…”

Railway loses judiciary as its courts are transferred – Globaltimes.cn - The Ministry of Railways has lost some of its extraordinary powers now that its independent courts have been completely transferred to the local judicial system, marking the completion of the transition to civilian rule of railway’s police, courts and prosecutor’s offices.

Jon Huntsman: Internet Censorship in China – YouTube - Jon M. Huntsman Jr., former US ambassador to China, predicts that the new generation of leaders due to take power at the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th National Congress next month will ease restrictions on Internet use//we’ll see. i made similar prediction at end of this August profile.

华网: 泛华网首发:十八大预测各版本汇编 - list of various predictions for makeup of 18th PBSC// 泛华网首发:十八大预测各版本汇编

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

China’s Island Strategy: “Redefine the Status Quo.”-The Diplomat-Taylor Fravel - rather than a chaotic, uncoordinated, 9-headed dragon approach, it kind of looks like the Chinese knew what they were doing all along, and have very adroitly used these regional disputes to advance their interests and create a new status quo?// The most striking feature of China’s behavior in its maritime disputes this year has been efforts to redefine the status quo.  In its disputes with the Philippines and Japan, China has used the presence of its civilian maritime law enforcement agencies to create new facts on the water to strengthen China’s sovereignty claims.

US diplomat Kurt Campbell says China-Japan dispute cannot be solved | South China Morning Post - US diplomat acknowledges rival claims in East China Sea cannot be solved, but should be ‘managed’ to avoid further economic damage

The Problem With the Pivot | Foreign Affairsrobert ross..and trade and engagement will lead to democracy?// Unfortunately, however, this shift was based on a fundamental misreading of China’s leadership. Beijing’s tough diplomacy stemmed not from confidence in its might — China’s leaders have long understood that their country’s military remains significantly inferior to that of the United States — but from a deep sense of insecurity born of several nerve-racking years of financial crisis and social unrest…The new U.S. policy unnecessarily compounds Beijing’s insecurities and will only feed China’s aggressiveness, undermine regional stability, and decrease the possibility of cooperation between Beijing and Washington.

CHINASCOPE – PLA Daily: Resolutely Follow the Commands of Hu Jintao - On November 1, 2012, the People’s Liberation Army Daily issued an editorial in support of Hu Jintao. The editorial stressed the Communist Party’s absolute control over the military. It stated that the military is the main support for the Party and the country; it is responsible for the Party’s political dominance, implying that the role of the military in the rifts among the Party leaders is critical. The editorial warned, “The hostile forces in and outside China are ready to make trouble. … (We) must keep a clear mind and take a firm stand on major issues

CHINASCOPE – Military Expert: China Is only 15-Years behind the U.S. and Russia in Fighter Development - Commenting on the significance of the event, China’s aviation expert, Yongling Xu, said in an exclusive interview with a People’s Daily reporter, “China has narrowed the gap in the field of aviation technology between itself and foreign advanced countries to about 15 years. With the support of China’s strong national (financial) power, coupled with the ingenuity of the Chinese people, the day that China’s aviation industry catches up with the United States is just around the corner.”

Second stealth jet puts China on path to top regional power: expert | Reuters -

 

TECH AND MEDIA

What is going on with GMail in China, and how to get around it | GreatFire.org - Partially blocking GMail may give users the impression that Google is to blame for offering an unstable service. If this strategy works, Chinese users may decide to switch to domestic providers, which operate under local censorship and surveillence conditions

‘Iron Man 3′ Producer Dan Mintz Reveals China Co-Production Status, Offers Advice to Hollywood (Q&A) – The Hollywood Reporter - Okay, first off, Iron Man 3 is absolutely a DMG co-production. Obviously I can’t talk about story, but we’ll be filming in China before the end of the year and we’ll have an announcement about Chinese cast members sometime very soon—all will be revealed. About the co-production issue, of course, it’s kind of sensitive. What I will say is that I’ve lived in China for 20 years and we’ve been working at this a long time—and there’s no single loophole to be exploited, like some have been suggesting.

Baidu buying Providence Equity’s stake in iQiyi – MarketWatch - Providence have a put in Baidu deal, as they did in Hulu deal?// Terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter and will give Baidu a majority stake in iQiyi, weren’t disclosed.

Delivery Service Ventures into Cyber Cuisine – Caixin - (Beijing) –The market is buzzing about a possible fund-raiser by S.F. Express (Group) Co., one of China’s major delivery services, for an unconventional but dramatic foray into e-commerce sales of imported food.

Online Bridges for Small Loans Grow and Groan – Caixin - Hundreds of peer-to-peer credit websites are matching lenders and borrowers while raising risk and privacy questions

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Shanghai’s Forgotten Maestro – Caixin - A less well-known, but equally fascinating tale is how classical music from the faraway West ever came to sink such deep roots in China. It is one that involves religion, reform, revolution, politics, education – and a passionate belief in the power of great music to transform individuals and nations alike. It spans four centuries and is replete with larger-than-life characters, heroic and flawed (and both), whose names should be known to anyone who loves classical music but, sadly, are not. (My husband, Jindong Cai, and I became so enthralled by this history that we wrote a book about it called “Rhapsody in Red: How Western Classical Music Became Chinese.”)

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

在厚朴一期毕业典礼上的讲话_徐小周_新浪博客 -graduation speech from private Chinese TCM school in Beijing

China Accelerates Plan to Phase Out Prisoner Organ Harvesting – China Real Time Report – WSJ - China plans to launch a national voluntary organ donation system early next year in a bid to fulfill growing transplant lists and phase out its long-criticized reliance on organs from executed prisoners.

Water shortages in China potentially a perfect storm – The Tell – MarketWatch - HSBC highlighted China’s economic Achilles’ heel in a recent report, looking at the relationship between the growing electrical-power needs of industry and strained water resources.

 

BOOKS

Times Higher Education – Tombstone: The Untold Story of Mao’s Great Famine - This is one of the most important works of history written this century. Yang Jisheng, who retired in 2001 from a journalism post at the Chinese state news agency Xinhua, laboured in the archives of provincial China for more than a decade to produce his account of the great famine that blighted China from 1959 to 1962. His title is symbolic of the fact that this book is a memorial – to his foster father, who was one of the victims of the famine, to the other many millions who died then, and of the system that allowed such large-scale suffering to happen.

Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine, 1958-1962: Jisheng Yang-Amazon-Tombstone is a testament to inhumanity and occasional heroism that pits collective memory against the historical amnesia imposed by those in power. Stunning in scale and arresting in its detailed account of the staggering human cost of this tragedy, Tombstone is written both as a memorial to the lives lost—an enduring tombstone in memory of the dead—and in hopeful anticipation of the final demise of the totalitarian system. Ian Johnson, writing in The New York Review of Books, called the Chinese edition of Tombstone “groundbreaking…The most authoritative account of the great famine…One of the most important books to come out of China in recent years.”

Rhapsody in Red- How Western Classical Music Became Chinese: Sheila Melvin: Amazon - The authors capture the events with the voice of an insider and the perspective of a Westerner, presenting new information, original research and insights into a topic that has barely been broached elsewhere. “Every chapter is as exiting as it is revealing. The book is thoroughly researched, with superb bibliography. I am ecstatic; my students will be electrified.” – Clive M. Marks, Chairman, The London College of Music, Trestee, Trinity College of Music and The London Philarmonic Orchestra

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