The Sinocism China Newsletter For 11.14.12

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The Channel 4 “Dispatches” documentary on the Neil Heywood murder that was recently excerpted in The Sunday Times is now on Youtube. I have heard from several people closely following the Heywood story that they believe one of the key anonymous sources for this documentary was Bo Guagua.

The Wall Street has published the final round of the very interesting Cheng Li vs. Minxin Pei: China’s Prospects for Political Reform. The WSJ is also running a reader poll to pick which media outlet correctly guessed the new Politburo Standing Committee.

The Financial Times has a fun story about Xi Jiu in Chinese spirit chases Xi Jinping’s rise:

“The rationale for the big marketing push is the assumption that once Xi Jinping takes power lots of people will want to give Xi Jiu as gifts,” said Bill Bishop, an independent analyst in Beijing who bought a case of vintage Xi Jiu as an investment last year.

I bought my Xi Jiu and blogged about in Xi Jiu, A Baijiu Bet on Xi Jinping. The FT article is a bit tongue-in-cheek, and I did not really buy it as a serious investment. Perhaps it will rise in value, but worst case it makes good gifts or we can drink it at a Beijing Sinocism party.

Moutai, which owns Xi Jiu, has lost 20 billion RMB in market value over the last few days as investors are concerned about rumors of a glut of the liquor–第一高价股频陷“绯闻”贵州茅台9天蒸发逾200亿|贵州茅台|高价股|提价_21世纪网. So the party is looking more likely.

It will be fun; this cadre was not lying to the FT:

Ma Youquan, a party cadre in charge of an agricultural school in Guizhou, said the drink was “pure and tasty and easy to swallow”.

He added: “When you drink a lot of it you don’t get a bad headache or feel thirsty.”

My new favorite China satire site is the China Daily Show, run anonymously by some talented expats. This recent entry is timely given the Party Congress–Beijing bureau chief admits he doesn’t have a f***ing clue what is really going on. The bureau chiefs are in good company, as none of us have much of a clue…

Today’s links:

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Analysis: China turns to machines as farmers seek fresh fields | Reuters- Pulling together small plots of land to make larger operations and introducing modern mechanical techniques would help boost productivity, vital if China’s agricultural sector is to meet soaring domestic food demand. But efforts to modernize the sector are struggling to gain traction because many farmers are suspicious about giving up their land, and even for some mechanized farms, there are too few workers.

Derek Palaschuk | XPCP - man near center of billion dollar Longtop fraud. heard he was cooperating w US investigators, but no one will go to jail and investors will never see a dime a from the longtop fraud. several investors who lost big have told me they now believe palaschuk was not in on the scam but rather just a clueless CFO// Derek Palaschuk is responsible for Finance, Legal and Compliance matters at CrossPacific Capital Partners (XPCP). During Mr. Derek Palaschuk’s almost seventeen years in Mainland China he served as the Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) of three Chinese based technology companies which were listed on either the NASDAQ or New York stock exchanges.

Foreign Academics Again at Work for China – China Real Time Report – WSJ – Now Mr. Spence and company are back at it again, preparing a report for China’s new leaders. The effort is being coordinated by Edwin Lim, the World Bank’s first representative in China, who is retired and living in London, but who is an important and trusted link between the Chinese leadership and outside development experts.

China Steel Production Rises in October as Prices, Demand Climb – Bloomberg – “Mills in northern China we’ve talked with over the past month has been operating at high capacity utilization ratio,” said Hu Yanping, chief analyst with Beijing-based researcher Custeel.com. “There were also very few cases of suspension for maintenance.”

Peter Orszag–China’s New Leaders Face an Economic Turning Point – Bloomberg – The International Monetary Fund says that reality lies somewhere in the middle — that the Chinese economy will reach the Lewis turning point sometime between 2020 and 2025 — about the time when Xi’s term ends.

Yuan Gains to 19-Year High, Testing Top Band, on Growth Optimism – Bloomberg – “Capital returns to China as over-pessimism on the economy has been dismissed by recent data,” said Tommy Ong, a Hong Kong-based senior vice president of treasury and markets at DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Ltd. “There’s also an expectation that the government will focus on growth instead of stability when the congress ends.”

访中国建设银行党委书记、董事长王洪章-中国金融新闻网 – interview with head of China Construction Bank

挑战贫困:中国式扶贫进入“大决战” 深度报道——经济参考网 –

 

POLITICS AND LAW

China’s Urban Champion Li Gets Task of Reviving Reform – Bloomberg – One signal of the sensitivity of the policy overhaul is a delay in publishing the Chinese version of the 448-page document co-written by the Washington-based lender and the Development Research Center of China’s State Council. The DRC wanted a postponement until after the Communist Party Congress, according to Yukon Huang, a former World Bank country head for China and an adviser on the project…“Economic reform is back on the agenda,” said Barry Naughton, author of the 2006 book “The Chinese Economy: Transitions and Growth” and a professor at the University of California at San Diego. “I’m now confident that within a year there will be some kind of major push to put together a package designed to renew reforms. The question is can they overcome interest-group resistance?”

Exclusive: oil chief quizzed over massive cash transfers in Ferrari crash cover-up | South China Morning Post – They said the probe into China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) chairman Jiang Jiemin focused on a large sum of money – several tens of millions of yuan – that was transferred from CNPC to the families of two women injured in the single-vehicle accident. //Ling Jihua’s son (or nephew whom ling formally adopted according to some) really turned out to be a tragic 败家子, for more than one family.

明鏡新聞網: 令計劃入局沒戲,統戰部長也難當 –

媒体称徐明投资足球为博领导欢心_网易新闻中心 – a reason bo xilai known as the “soccer mayor” //核心提示:《新京报》11月14日刊文称,徐明本不喜欢足球,投资足球是为了博大连市某领导欢心。实德收购万达时,大连市相关领导明确表示,“实德搞足球,冠军一百分,亚军不及格。”时任大连市长薄熙来曾提出,大连足球怎样定位,不是争第一,而是拿第一,实德要5年3夺冠。

多维新闻解读“士大夫”胡锦涛 开启中国权力制衡元年_多维新闻网 – Duowei’s long paean to Hu Jintao’s 10 year reign // 虽然作为士大夫的胡锦涛要再次把最高权柄交替给勋臣贵戚子弟,但他在十年任内的功绩不能抹杀,他为中国下一个可能到来的时代奠定了必要的基础,同时为士大夫更多参与到权力顶层政治开山劈石出一条成功的道路。现在的中国,士大夫精英群体已然兴起,他们对权力的制衡不可忽视。未来中国的高层政治很可能呈现出“你方唱罢我方来”的均衡格局。当历史再次翻阅胡锦涛时,就会发现他今天的毫无色彩,其实就是最鲜明的色彩。

Chinese Communist Party Congress: greatest comedy show on earth | beyondbrics – Jokes about such show outpourings of loyalty to the party have set the Chinese blogosphere alight. Many younger Chinese were also taken aback by how empty phrases and declarations of loyalty to century-old Communist ideology still dominate the party’s gathering although they appear to have nothing to do with the modern, quasi-capitalist society they live in

China’s Princelings Wield Influence to Shape Politics – NYTimes.com – Despite rising controversy over their prominent role in government and business — highlighted by recent corruption cases, including one that led to the downfall of Bo Xilai, the once-powerful princeling whose wife was found guilty of murder — China’s princelings, who number in the hundreds, are emerging as an aristocratic class that has an increasingly important say in ruling the country.

Factional politics: Old brooms | The Economist – Beijing is buzzing with political gossip about rivalries and factions. Little of the speculation is reliably informed.

胡耀邦为什么选中温家宝?-财经网 – Nice Caijing photo series about Wen Jiabao

泛华网: 泛华网内幕:《纽约时报》记者张大卫(David Barboza)背景调查 - fun rumors/conspiracy theories about David Barboza and his Wen Jiabao article

Video: Chinese ‘Community Security’ men prevent Telegraph report on Beijing village ‘shrouded in the shadow of cancer’ – Telegraph –

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

It is Time for China to calm down – FT.comthis will go over well…//China occupies an important place in an interdependent world. It is in everybody’s interests for China to behave as a responsible member of the international community, instead of seeking to impose its will. The recent tension over the Senkaku islands has been created and is being exacerbated by China alone. As soon as it has stopped its provocation, through its dispatch of quasi-military vessels or rogue fishing boats into Japanese waters, the tension will be defused. I hope the international community will speak up: “Calm down, China. Stop bullying.”The writer is the ambassador of Japan to the UK

China’s AVIC Unveils Future Plans at Zhuhai | Defense News | defensenews.com – AVIC also announced plans to replace the L-15’s two Ukrainian-built Ivchenko Progress AI-222K-25F engines that power the prototypes with the “Minshan,” a new, indigenous-built twin-spool turbofan engine. AVIC officials claim the engine is an “all-Chinese” engine, but a defense industry source indicates it is based on the Czech DV-2 engine built originally for the L-59 trainer during the Cold War. The L-59 never entered production, but the DV-2 blueprints were obtained by China.

Red Balloon – By Tom Z. Collina | Foreign Policy- So, if the United States has a 20-to-1 advantage in nuclear weapons that can reach across the Pacific, why should Congress worry about China when thinking about arms reductions with Russia? It should not. In fact, what we do know about the Chinese arsenal should make Congress more confident about U.S. arms reductions with Russia, not less.

Maritime power to protect ecology |Latest News |chinadaily.com.cn- China’s newly proposed strategy to build a “maritime power” will not lead to marine hegemony, analysts said as the country is engaged in heated discussion of the leadership’s call to develop the marine economy. Meanwhile, the country’s top marine official said that maritime strategy faces challenges such as protecting the ecology and ensuring rights.

十八大报告弃“不对任何国家构成军事威胁”_多维新闻网 – 【多维新闻】在阐述国防军队和外交板块时,多维新闻注意到,十八大报告的措辞与十七大报告明显不同。中国看待军力增长的态度经历了由夹起尾巴做人到坦荡无所畏惧的变化。其中最引人瞩目的是中国舍弃了“中国不对任何国家构成军事威胁”的说法。

The Real China Model – NYTimes.com – Nice destruction by a Harvard scholar of the fallacious meritocracy claims being pushed by people like Daniel Bell// That present-day commentators still promote outmoded thinking regarding the imperial “meritocracy” demonstrates not only the long half-life of that ideology, but also the strong hold that the Chinese state continues to have over much of China’s (and not only China’s) intelligentsia. That hold, rather than meritocracy, is a much better example of the way in which the effects of China’s long history continue to be felt today.

An absurd defence of communist rule–Lowy Interpreter - the quality of the arguments from Bell and Li are so poor as to actually be almost embarrassing to Beijing// If I did not know that Bell does indeed live in Beijing I would think he is locked up in an ivory tower on an isolated island.

 

HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

Asia Sentinel – Pro-Beijing tycoons circle Taiwan Media – There are strong indications that the pro-Beijing rice cracker and media king Tsai Eng-meng is emerging from behind the scenes as a major player seeking to take over the Taiwan operations of the media empire of Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai, a vociferous critic of the Chinese Communist Party.

Swire Sells Gehry-Designed Apartment for Hong Kong Record – Bloomberg – An unidentified buyer bought the 6,683-square-foot (621- square-meter) unit in Opus Hong Kong in the Peak district for HK$455 million ($58.7 million), the company said in an e-mailed statement. The HK$68,083 per-square-foot price is a record for the city, according to Alnwick Chan, Hong Kong-based executive director at property broker Knight Frank LLP.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Jingdong Mall Raises $40Mln in New Funding From Canada’s OTPE,Tiger Fund-Caijing – Jing Dong Mall or 360buy, a major e-commerce giant in China, announced Tuesday that it has secured 400 million U.S. dollars in new funding in its latest fundraising round at a valuation of roughly 7.25 billion U.S. dollars. The new round was headed by Canada’s Ontario Teacher Pension Fund, who invested 250 million U.S. dollars in the online retailer, and followed by Tiger Fund, one of the previous investors of Jingdong.

Why Chinese People Are Getting Sick of Chinese Social Media – Natalie Thomas – The Atlantic – Worryingly, a common theme among many of those who commented on Zuoye Ben’s post was that feelings of helplessness have led to apathy, not just toward online life, but all of life in modern China. User @颍川陈 wrote, “Society is getting colder and colder; it’s best to stay hidden away. It’s not about not hearing things, it’s about deliberately not letting oneself hear them.” @大头娃奋斗不息 added, “Keeping even just a little bit of faith in your heart is so very, very difficult. It’s impossible to change things; all you can do is stay silent and try to avoid them happening to you.”

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

China, Are You Ready for Some American Football? – NYTimes.com – The N.F.L. and its corporate partners in China are hoping that American football’s flash — which peaks every year with its hugely popular, and lucrative, championship game, the Super Bowl — could someday give basketball and soccer, the top-ranked sports in China, a run for their money.

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