The Sinocism China Newsletter For 11.17.12

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The Internet in Beijing is working better now. I guess the “upgrades” during the 18th Party Congress were successful.

How the new leadership will manage the Internet is a key question for the future of reform in China and the stability of the government.

Zhu Huaxin (祝华新), the secretary general of People’s Daily’s Public Opinion Monitoring Unit, writes in Caixin that The Internet is Vital to Future Reforms (我劝天公重抖擞——从网络舆论场寄语十八大):

This second generation of rural migrants longs to truly assimilate into urban life, but they are being shut out, leaving them to feel trapped between the city and the countryside. Their increasing struggle to get by in the cities only serves to intensify the sense that they have been deprived of their rights. Their rootless social status has made them more susceptible to a desire to overthrow the existing social order. Crucially they know how to use the Internet to release the frustration of their daily lives and to voice their demands…

One thing is clear: maintaining the vitality of the Internet is a prerequisite to future reforms. As Net users themselves have put it, despite all the problems the last ten years have brought, the major contribution of the current government has been to allow the opening up of the Internet as a platform that has allowed different social groups a way to voice their concerns and defend their views. The Internet is helping to invigorate and energize Chinese society just as it goes through a crucial transformation period.

The South China Morning Post reports in China top censor’s new leadership role raises fears on the fears for increased controls now that Liu Yunshan is on the Standing Committee:

“Internet policing was a new policy introduced by Liu,” said Dai Qing, a dissident writer and former journalist. “The government has spent huge amounts of money on controlling content online.”“

Liu’s appointment has reduced our hopes that citizens will be allowed to monitor their government and spread information freely over the next decade,” she added.

In his 10 years at the department Liu has earned a reputation as a conservative who oversaw the introduction of measures to curb anti-government content online, as well as maintaining tight limits on print media.

It is the end of November, Spring still feels far away.

Netease News has historically had a wry sense of humor. Friday they posted a slideshow of journalists taking pictures of the numbers on the red carpet where the new Politburo Standing Committee members stood during their introduction on Thursday–七常委离开后 大批记者上台拍“号码”_网易新闻. Do you recognize anyone?

Today’s links:

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

China’s Stocks Fall, Dragging CSI 300 to 2009 Low; Sinopec Drops – Bloomberg – so much for the regulators’ 18th party market stabilization plans..participants also upset that wang qishan did not get the economy/finance job? lots of his supporters may be adrift, looking for a new patron?//

Xi Faces Economic Test of Courage After Leadership Change – Bloomberg – David Loevinger, former senior coordinator for China affairs at the U.S. Treasury Department, said the presence of several officials on the 205-member central committee, named Nov. 14, gave him some optimism. He cited Lou Jiwei, chairman of China Investment Corp., the sovereign wealth fund; Liu He, a senior government economic adviser; Guo Shuqing, chief securities regulator; and Bank of China Ltd. Chairman Xiao Gang. “All of them have a strong record for reform,” said Loevinger, now an Asia analyst in Los Angeles at TCW Group Inc., which oversees $135 billion. The four are set to gain “more senior positions in the government,” he said.

Charting China’s Economy: A Decade Under Hu Jintao – China Real Time Report – WSJ – After 10 years behind the big desk at Zhongnanhai, what is Mr. Hu’s economic legacy? China Real Time charts it out:

China’s New Leaders Are Also Expected To Push Land Reforms To The Top Of Their Agenda – Business Insider – yes everyone knows this. but will it happen?// Bank of America’s Ting Lu writes that the key to urbanization is reforming the rural land system.

Sany Accused of Stealing Rival’s Business Secrets-Caijing – Two employees of Sany Heavy Industrial Co Ltd., China’s leading heavy machinery manufacturer, were reportedly detained and accused of stealing business secrets from its major rival in China, according to some Chinese media.

Xi Jiu to IPO in coming February – MorningWhistle – Now Xi Jiu is scheduling an IPO (Initial Public Offerings) on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in February, 2013, reported AAStocks

SOHO China, from merchant to investor | beyondbrics -they will have to stop building tenements. any of the investors visited their current retail spaces in Beijing?// Moody’s assigned SOHO China a first-time Ba1 corporate family rating. Kaven Tsang, senior analyst at Moody’s, describes the shift in strategy as a “key rating concern” for the company: “The funding requirement has increased because of the slower cash flow generation in the new business model. The company needs to keep a good cash buffer.”

 

POLITICS AND LAW

High stakes in China’s game of thrones–Garnaut–Sydney Morning Herald - terrifying stuff, careful w rumors// In established democracies, a false rumour about the health of an ageing Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher or Bob Hawke would be promptly debunked and have little bearing on the workings of government. In China’s powerful but brittle dictatorship, built on invisible lines of patronage, the false reports of Jiang’s death immediately became a major matter of national security..

The Jamestown Foundation: 18th Party Congress Showcases Stunning Setback to Reform – willy lam. in september lam predicted the 18th pbsc as: Xi Jinping, age 59 (General Secretary and President); Li Keqiang, age 57 (Premier); Yu Zhengsheng, age 67 (Chairman of the National People’s Congress); Zhang Dejiang, age 65 (Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference); Li Yuanchao, age 61 (Head of the Party Secretariat and Vice President); Wang Qishan, age 64 (Executive Vice Premier); and Wang Yang, age 57 (Secretary of the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection [CCDI]).// The most pertinent message of the just-ended 18th Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress has perhaps come from Premier Wen Jiabao. This is despite the fact outgoing General Secretary Hu Jintao’s 101-minute Political Report to the 18th Party Congress (hereafter Report) has dominated Chinese and international media coverage of the seven-day mega-event. “We must strengthen and improve the leadership of the Party,” Wen said while talking to members of the Tianjin delegation to the Congress, “In particular, we must push forward the reform of the leadership system of the party and state” (Xinhua, November 9). It is true that Hu, who remains state president until next March, has devoted a good part of his Report to political and institutional reforms. Yet the most important function of the Congress—picking a new slate of Fifth Generation leaders—has been dominated by old-fashioned, non-transparent factional intrigue as well as the resurgence of the influence of long-retired party elders.

Xi Jinping Can Send China in a New Direction | Brookings Institution – cheng li is remarkably optimistic// Senior Fellow Cheng Li says from its slowing economy to middle-class unrest, China’s new leadership, headed by Xi Jinping, is facing enormous challenges. Reform can be slow in China, but with this new generation of realistic and pragmatic leaders, we can be optimistic.

Key CPC congress documents to get digital publishing – Xinhua | English.news.cn – Several key documents concerning the just-concluded 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC)will be published in both traditional and digital format on Nov. 19, it was announced on Friday.

习近平主持政治局会议强调首要政治任务_网易新闻中心 -Xi chairs first Politburo meeting, expects lots of study sessions for party’s 80m+ members

Son-in-law of Zhang Gaoli is a director at 17 Hong Kong firms | South China Morning Post – SCMP gets right to it..no wonder Internet blockages seem more common//

The Chengguan’s Parent-Child Relationship - Caixin The establishment of a central authority to oversee chengguan cannot simply function to shield the officials from abuse of power, but rather to bring order to the system. The creation of a central government authority to oversee the chengguan system should derive its authority from: 1. The fundamental need to establish an urban management regulator 2. Vertical supervision from the central level so checks come from both central and local governments; 3. Coordination in the relationship between the central government and other government departments.

China’s commerce minister voted out in rare congress snub: sources | Reuters – China’s commerce minister was surprisingly blocked from a spot on the ruling Communist Party’s elite body during a conclave this week, sources said, a rare snub for an official that could raise questions about trade policies during his tenure.

China held landmark straw poll to choose top leaders: Xinhua – rumored May straw poll..no word on how the voting went

Chinese instantly like their new leader, Xi Jingping | Ministry of Tofu 豆腐部 – In fact, just when netizens were fervently celebrating the settling of the political dust, the censorship apparatus clicked into overdrive, and internet moderators were squeamishly deleting web comments on Xi Jinping and the new lineup. Evidence? Almost all of the Weibo posts cited in the article have been taken down, and the two posts below really captured how the moderators took it too far.

Translation Debate: Apologizing, Ambiguously, in Chinese – China Real Time Report – WSJ – did he feel sorry? // People appeared to generally agree that Mr. Xi’s comment conveyed a sense of mild regret either way, with many Chinese observers on the Sina Weibo microblogging service praising Mr. Xi for apologizing. Still, the difference sparked good-natured discussion among people who watch the intersection between translation, politics and culture in China.

Li Keqiang Named China’s Prime Minister – NYTimes.com – He lost out in the competition for the top job in China, but Li Keqiang will step into the secondary role of prime minister next year bearing the hopes of some of the more reform-minded members of his generation.

Culture and the 18th Party Congress – China Media Project- As I’ve written frequently before, the overarching narrative driving official China’s development of media and culture is one of strategic opposition to the West and to Western values that are being foisted on the world — or so the meta-narrative grumbles — by Western dominance of communication and “global public opinion.”That’s where the “socialist core value system” comes in

China’s Communist party congress draws to a close – in pictures | World news | guardian.co.uk –

习近平:胡锦涛等带头离开领导岗位体现高风亮节_网易新闻中心 - 习近平:胡锦涛等带头离开领导岗位体现高风亮节

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

The Jamestown Foundation: Parsing the Selection of China’s New High Command – In choosing the ten uniformed officers who make up China’s new Central Military Commission (CMC)—seven new appointments and three incumbents, two of whom have moved to more senior positions—Beijing has charted a decidedly middle course.

How China views Obama’s trip to Myanmar – CSMonitor.com – China is watching Obama’s trip to neighboring Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia this weekend with a wary eye. But Myanmar could offer an opportunity for China and the US to work together, say analysts.

Scholars discuss Asia-Pacific security in Beijing – Xinhua | English.news.cn – The fourth Xiangshan Forum, a bi-yearly event organized by the China Association for Military Science to promote exchanges of opinions among defense scholars from around the world, kicked off in Beijing Friday

The State of the Navy–Sinica Podcast - Taylor Fravel a very knowledgeable guy..and a fellow Midd grad// this week on Sinica we take a break from China’s leadership transition and turn our attention to more long-term developments in Chinese foreign policy. And with this in mind, Kaiser Kuo is delighted to be joined by Taylor Fravel, Associate Professor of Political Science at MIT and expert on Chinese foreign policy and particularly its naval development.

National Security Adviser Speaks on Administration’s Asia Policy | C-SPAN – U.S. National Security Adviser Thomas Donilon addressed the Center for Strategic and International Studies on President Obama’s Asia policy and his upcoming trip to the region.

A Time for Optimism for the U.S. and China? | Brookings Institution- With China’s new leadership selected during the 18th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, and with President Obama about to embark on a second term, the U.S. and China must consider a path forward for their sometimes bumpy but critically important relationship. Moreover, the U.S. must understand that China has to sort through a host of domestic issues as well.Senior Fellow Jeffrey Bader says that the U.S.-China relationship has never been an easy one, but both countries are clear on its paramount importance.

Origins of ‘Senkaku tuna’ touted as a selling point : National : DAILY YOMIURI ONLINE (The Daily Yomiuri) – Local fishermen have been working on the branding of fish caught in the waters off the Senkaku Islands in Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture, by registering them under a “Senkaku” trademark aimed at distributing them at higher prices and revitalizing the fisheries industry in the prefecture.

 

HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

Taiwan politics: Ma the bumbler | The Economist – Five years on, and despite being handily re-elected ten months ago, much has changed. In particular, popular satisfaction with Mr Ma has plummeted, to a record low of 13%, according to the TVBS Poll Centre. The country appears to agree on one thing: Mr Ma is an ineffectual bumbler.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Tencent’s WeChat Takes Bite Out of Weibo, Sina Says – China Real Time Report – WSJsina down 15% last night, most sell side analysts months behind on this story, only on it now that Sina had to admit this was happening. some of us have been warning about this for over a year. Investors should ignore all prognostications about Chinese Internet services from people who do not actually use them in Chinese..or call Weibo “way bow”// Launched in early 2011, WeChat already has more than 200 million users and has helped Tencent claim a healthy chunk of China’s middle- and upper-class users, who do not necessarily use the company’s microblog or QQ desktop-computer messenger services.That means it is square on Sina’s turf, since Sina Weibo is predominantly used by China’s urban upper crust. Tencent reports larger user numbers for its own microblogging service than Sina does, but most analysts argue that users of Tencent’s Weibo tend to be less wealthy or from smaller cities in China.
Bronte Capital: Scepticism and good finance journalism: Focus Media edition John Hempton thiks the Western media has been played over the Focus Media deal// But when gullible journalists are played then acting on information in the financial press becomes a way to lose money. And what is the point in paying for that?

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

上海体育局:女排副教练性骚扰队员已被撤职_网易新闻中心

Two million to be moved in one of largest relocations in Chinese history – Telegraph – what resources under the mountains?// Between now and 2020, two million people are to be moved from their isolated mountain homes in Guizhou province as part of one of the single largest relocations in recent Chinese history.

Why Rural Chinese Kids Don’t Go to College — 2Non.org – meritocracy…//While the students in Ma’eryang are ethnic minorities, they are in the majority when it comes to their experiences with rural education. According to the Rural Education Action Project, a joint initiative to improve schooling in rural areas supported by Stanford University and Tsinghua University, as few as 1.3% of poor rural students make it beyond high school (compare that to the national average of 30%, or the nearly 50% rate of college enrollment in developed eastern cities like Beijing and Shanghai).

Seeking additional credible information about Chinese applicants, colleges use video interviews | Inside Higher Ed -passed on investing in one of these. probably a mistake//  Where there’s a niche, a vendor is never far behind. Colleges are increasingly turning to companies that provide video interviews of Chinese applicants and promise, in various ways, to help with vetting and verification. Some vendors score applicants’ interviews and writing samples, while others merely act as a secure conduit, passing a videotaped interview along to the admissions office. Most are for-profit, though there is one nonprofit player in the mix.

Words Without Borders: Current Issue – November 2012: Banned Chinese Writers

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