The Sinocism China Newsletter For 11.29.12

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CBS News has a disturbing report about how wealthy Chinese drive the illegal ivory trade boom. It is hard to be optimistic about the future for elephants.

Bloomberg has an infuriating story about cyber-retribution against a US software firm whose code was stolen to power the 2009 Green Dam nannyware program. According to China mafia-style hack attack drives California firm to brink:

For three years, a group of hackers from China waged a relentless campaign of cyber harassment against Solid Oak Software Inc., Milburn’s family-owned, eight-person firm in Santa Barbara, California. The attack began less than two weeks after Milburn publicly accused China of appropriating his company’s parental filtering software, CYBERsitter, for a national Internet censoring project. And it ended shortly after he settled a $2.2 billion lawsuit against the Chinese government and a string of computer companies last April.

Does the US have any patriotic hacker groups who deliver vigilante justice?

Men in Hebei trying to evict a family and tear down their house walked into a real-life martial arts movie. The family of three are all martial arts masters and this video on Sina of the aftermath shows seven of the men on the ground in various states of consciousness and blood loss.

If you are in China and want a cheap luxury car, slightly used, head to Ordos, as the Economic Observer reports that the Ordos bust creates mecca for used luxury car buyers. But be careful believing the number on the odometer…

Today’s links:

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Good China data, untraded shares slam market – Asia Stocks to Watch – MarketWatchso much for the market “stability preservation” measures in effect to keep it above 2000 during the 18th party congress// Good Chinese economic data seem to lead to bad Chinese stock performance lately, as investors appear more worried the government will hold back on stimulus, or dump shares on the market. Yet again, the Shanghai Composite Index  headed to fresh multiyear lows, closing Wednesday’s session down 0.9%, its weakest finish since Jan. 16, 2009. Wednesday’s retreat comes as the main share index ended below the 2,000-point level Tuesday for the first time in nearly four years.

Foreign Punters Are Biggest Losers in China’s Stocks ‘Casino’ – Asia Business News – CNBC – CNBC - shocked, just shocked…//Overseas investors betting on China-traded stocks have generally fared worse than local Chinese players over the past five years, according to Thomson Reuters data, underscoring the challenges foreigners face in a market that some say resembles a casino.

China certain to hit 7.5 percent 2012 GDP growth target: Commerce Minister | Reuters and could even exceed it, Commerce Minister Chen Deming said on Wednesday. Chen made the comment at a conference, adding that China would likely spend more than $70 billion this year on non-financial outbound direct investment.

王波明:重启改革迫在眉睫 不改革风险比改革风险更大-财经网 - Wang Boming is very connected, perhaps more so than Hu Shuli// 不改革的风险比改革的风险更大。改革出现的问题是前进中的问题,可以依靠进一步的改革加以解决,而因循守旧,任由各种问题的积累,只能丧失中国发展的大好机遇。锐意进取,例行改革,是全社会,全民族的共同责任

Highlights of Caijing Annual Conference–Updating-Caijing - more interesting than the Caixin conference? great Hu Shuli split off, competition good for readers// China is facing an imminent demand to “re-launch reforms” at a time when China’s economic growth is losing momentum

China investment levels excessive, risks are rising: IMF research | Reuters- “Depending on precise assumptions, over this period, China may have been over-investing by between 12 and 20 percent of gross domestic product relative to its steady-state desirable value,” the report said.”Even allowing for elevated investment levels associated with most economic take-offs, the econometric evidence suggests that China is over-investing,” it said. “China’s predicted investment norm over the last 30 years has ranged between 33-43 percent of GDP. In reality, it has fluctuated in a much broader band of 35-49 percent of GDP.”

Indebted Dragon | Foreign Affairs  Lynette Ong// Given slower growth rates and falling real estate prices this year, the frequency of land expropriation is slowing down. But the truth remains that much of urbanization in China is a state-driven phenomenon, using resources drawn from the financial sector. Although the central government recognizes the seriousness of the problem, it seems to lack any real resolve to tackle the issue head on. Muddling through seems to be so much easier. So until a major slowdown in the economy happens, the Chinese real estate market will continue on its current course.

“地王”频现发出什么样的信号?-中国金融新闻网 - Chinese Financial News on why the resurgence of “land kinds” in record land sales is a bad thing, and not in the spirit of the 18th party congress report// 十八大报告强调,“要把保障和改善民生放在更加突出的位置”,“确保人民安居乐业”,并首次将“两个加快”并列提出,即“加快完善社会主义市场经济体制和加快转变经济发展方式”。有关方面要按照十八大精神,认真贯彻国家既定的房地产调控政策,采取有效措施,预防和治理“地王”频现等不健康、不合理的现象,确保房地产市场持续平稳发展,为“确保人民安居乐业”提供保障,为实现“两个并列加快”创造条件。

京住建委:市场供需稳定 房价不具备明显反弹条件 新华社——经济参考网 - Beijing authorities say no impending shortage of housing inventory in the city

Home Sales Up by 30 Percent, Says Consultancy – Caixin - New home sales across major cities in China jumped by 30 percent in November, according Centaline Group Research Center, a Shanghai-based real estate consultancy. In a survey of 54 major cities, Centaline said 236,295 new homes were sold in the first 25 days of November, surging to a two-year high. Newly-added homes climbed to 6.41 million square meters for the first three weeks of November in 22 cities, far higher than 4.58 million square meters in the month of October.

Land price at record high in Beijing, Shanghai|Industries|chinadaily.com.cn - On Tuesday, a parcel of land in Shanghai’s bund was sold for 2.77 billion yuan ($445 million), which equates to 36,000 yuan per square meter. This was the highest land price for Shanghai’s land market this year. Also on Tuesday, Beijing’s land authority offered a parcel of land within the third ring road with a starting price of 2 billion yuan, which was translated into 33,800 yuan per square meter, a record high for Beijing’s land market this year.

Uneven ground | China Economic Review- One example of this stasis is the blueprint for reforming income distribution. The plan, which has the strong backing of Wen Jiabao, will include measures that address minimum wages, the dividends state firms must pay back to the state, taxes on high-income earners and the salaries of SOE executives.Chinese media report that it will be released before the end of the year, but Liu of CEIBS cautions against excessive optimism. The blueprint has been on the drawing board since 2004, and the State Council has rejected the plan twice. “Those who will see their interests hurt will surely stand in the way of the reform. Therefore, we should not hold too high hopes for the plan,” said Liu.

State-owned assets ‘need to be further capitalized’ |Business |chinadaily.com.cn- “Some believe that SOEs should be backed up by the government to realize State strategies and maintain economic stability. It’s nonsense. Otherwise other major economies would have done the same thing,” said Qin Xiao, the council chairman of the Boyuan Foundation, a Hong Kong-registered think tank. Sheng Hong, director of the Unirule Institute of Economics, said that the reform of China’s SOEs could be called a “failure”, because policy discrimination against the private sector worsened, and the public can hardly get its dividends.

Copper Shortage Seen Extending as China Accelerates: Commodities – Bloomberg - Demand will outpace supply by 316,000 metric tons in the first six months, more than all copper in London Metal Exchange warehouses, before a surplus emerges in the second half, Barclays Plc estimates. Production has lagged behind consumption since 2010, according to the International Copper Study Group. The metal may average $8,300 a ton in the second quarter, 6.9 percent more than now and the most in a year, according to the median of 21 analyst and trader estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

6成网友反对人均住房超40平部分征房产税|房产税|人居住房_新浪新闻 - Netizens not happy w a CASS report with property tax suggestions

 

POLITICS AND LAW

China’s cabinet warns of rural land expropriation – Xinhua | English.news.cn - Rural stability and grain supply security face a number of challenges due to excessive land expropriation in the country’s urbanization move, China’s cabinet has warned.

国务院修改征地补偿标准 可能至少提高10倍-财经网 - State Council may raise compensation benchmark for land expropriation by at least 10X// 虽然目前具体修改条款还未可知,但有业内专家推测,此次修改,主要内容是提高征地补偿数额,提高额度可能至少为现行标准的10倍

邓聿文:通往法治之路-财经网 - 基于现实条件的约束,我们开启法治进程走的是一条政府推进型的路子。换言之,本该是受到法律约束的权力却被用作推进法治的力量。这就需要权力本身具有高度的自觉性,即自觉尊重法律的权威性,在法律的框架下执政和活动。

党国英:改革应与中产阶层崛起相伴-财经网 - 能不能找到一个好的切入点,使得改革风险降低、社会转型比较顺利?这是改革探索不可回避的问题。如果在今后几十年里中国的发展始终能伴随中产阶层的成长壮大,转型的风险就会大大减少。

Xi Jinping counts wunderkind and old soldier in his brain trus|WantChinaTimes.com -yesterday linked to original chinese report// The brain trust of China’s new leader Xi Jinping is dominated by a “wunderkind” and an “old soldier,” reports Duowei News, an outlet run by overseas Chinese.

明鏡新聞網: 明鏡獨家:段偉紅買進平安是勇敢決策 Mingjing once again comes to defense of Wen Jiabao and family over NYT Ping An stories. Who is really behind Mingjing?

Wen Jiabao prepared for wealth accusations for years: reportWantChinaTimes.com   The documents Wen handed to Ng added up to around a hundred pages, with the earliest being an article from Guangzhou’s 21st Century Business Herald in July 2004. Comprising mainly newspaper and magazine clippings, the documents covered the Ping An rumors as well as negative reports about Wen’s wife and two children. The files also contained reports debunking some of the rumors and retractions from media outlets that published misinformation. While the documents do not exonerate Wen or his family from all accusations, they do suggest that he may have been preparing for them for years.

Whistleblower arrested for economic crimes |Society |chinadaily.com.cn- A whistleblower was arrested in South China’s Guangdong province suspected of economic crimes on Tuesday, the same day the official he exposed was suspended from duty for his huge property portfolio, police told Xinhua Wednesday. Police in Longgang Branch of Shenzhen Municipal Public Security Bureau said Zhou Zujie had been arrested for suspected false declarations of the registered capital for four companies.”His arrest has nothing to do with him exposing Zhou Weisi,” a police officer, who declined to be named, said.

Will China’s First Lady Outshine Her Husband? : NPR - looks like there may be a very positive shift on dealing with AIDS?// In June 2011, she stepped up her role, becoming a World Health Organization ambassador for tuberculosis and AIDS — even as her husband was heading for the top.

BBC News – The man who exposed China’s Chongqing blackmail tape scandal - must be a lot of these in china. former beijing vice mayor liu zhihua supposedly brought down due to a similar video// Mr Zhu has a lot to look forward to. He is preparing to release four more tapes, also shot inside hotel rooms, clearly showing Chongqing officials having relations with young girls. All five videos were recorded as part of a blackmailing scheme by a crooked property developer in Chongqing.

Chinese women protest at gynaecology checks for civil service jobs | World news | guardian.co.uk - Invasive tests, gender inequality and job discrimination are rife in China, but female activism is increasing

China’s Born “Leaders”-Caijing Slideshow - Daughter of the respected ex-premier Zhu Rongji, is now the assistant president of the Bank of China (Hong Kong). Zhu, once a philosophy and politic science student, started a career in finance under the influence of her father

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Patrols in Hainan get more clout |Politics |chinadaily.com.cn- Police in Hainan will be authorized to board and search ships that illegally enter the province’s waters in 2013, the latest Chinese effort to protect the South China Sea. Under a set of regulation revisions the Hainan People’s Congress approved on Tuesday, provincial border police are authorized to board or seize foreign ships that illegally enter the province’s waters and order them to change course or stop sailing.

中共十八大后腾手“强攻”南海 酝酿系列实质动作_多维新闻网 - 【多维新闻】十八大后,中共“腾手”在南海问题上释放一系列强硬信号。位于南海争端“前沿阵地”的海南省11月27日通过立法禁止外国船舶及其人员非法进入海南海域,并首次明确提出包括检查、扣押、驱逐等实质惩治举措。而稍早前,中国官方通过公布新版护照的形式明确纳入包括南海诸岛在内的争议地区,引起包括越南、菲律宾等国的激烈反弹。凡此种种举措显示,中共在十八大实现国内政治稳定后,因应十八大报告提出的“海洋强国”战略,可能将在近期把注意力转移到迫在眉睫的海洋主权维护上…另一方面,值得关注的是,中共智囊也在酝酿探讨为争夺南海主权进行下一步准备。据官方媒体透露,就在海南通过立法禁止非法入境海南水域并威胁使用强制措施的当天,中共智囊40余人出席在三亚举行的“南海安全形势评估与前瞻研讨会”,该会议由中国政策科学研究会国家安全政策委员主办。国家安全政策委员会是中国政策科学研究会领导下的专业委员会,由跨学科领域的专家学者组成。其主要任务是根据国际战略形势和格局变化,适时提出有关国家安全与发展的应对战略和策略。

Beijing opens up over naval manoeuvres | South China Morning Post - At least five warships from the East Sea Fleet passed through the Miyako Strait after 10am yesterday on their way to the western Pacific for regular drills, Xinhua reported an hour later.

中国舰队今日通过宫古海峡进入西太平洋训练_网易新闻中心 - video report–PLAN warships going through the Miyako Strait to the Western Pacific all over news in China

As China showcases carrier, global naval balance shifting | Reuters- The retirement this month of the USS Enterprise after half a century of service will bring Washington once again down to 10 carriers. With maintenance and training requirements, however, it can often only call on half that number at any given time. Keeping one pair in the Gulf and another in Asia, experts say, could prove ultimately unsustainable. That does not particularly worry naval officers who have long juggled limited resources around the globe. But it may force U.S. policymakers to moderate the expectations they have of both their own fleet and that of allies.

China’s New Leaders May Surprise Obama – All Things Nuclear - always a good perspective from Dr Kulacki// …but Xi’s use of the term “Great Chinese National Renaissance  (中华民族伟大复兴)” deserves attention. Having consumed nearly thirty years of Chinese Communist Party propaganda, I don’t believe Xi’s reiteration of a long-standing CCP talking point represents a dramatic departure from past practice….It would be a mistake, therefore, for U.S. policy-makers to underestimate the power and the relevance of Chinese socialism in the formation and implementation of the foreign and security policies of China’s new leaders. They see the world and China’s place in it very differently than President Obama, whatever they may be telling his aides and emissaries behind closed doors

North Korea’s Illegal Weapons Pipeline Flows On – WSJ.com- Illegal shipments of missile technology and weapons from North Korea have flowed unabated under the leadership of Kim Jong Eun, dashing Western hopes that Pyongyang’s new leader might moderate his country’s aggressive proliferation activities. Ships or planes bound for Myanmar and Syria and loaded with weapons-related equipment originating in North Korea have been diverted or blocked in recent months, U.S., Asian and Arab officials say. The United Nations has imposed sanctions against Pyongyang’s weapons trade.

CPC, government posthumous titles for fighter jet director – Xinhua | English.news.cn - likely much better benefits for his family//The Organization Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Wednesday conferred the posthumous title of “national outstanding CPC member” on the production head for China’s new J-15 fighter jet…The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council also conferred the posthumous title of “model worker of state-owned enterprises” on Luo.

India, China Have New Territorial Beef – India Real Time – WSJ - The face-off began a few weeks back, after India discovered Beijing issuing new biometric passports depicting two areas along the countries’ 4,000-kilometer disputed Himalayan border as part of China. One of the areas, Arunachal Pradesh, is a northeastern Indian state that Beijing briefly captured in a 1962 border war and still claims as part of China. The other, Aksai Chin, also a focus of the 1962 war, is administered as part of China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region but claimed in its entirety by Ind

China Seeks to Calm Anger Over Passports – WSJ.com- At a regular media briefing on Wednesday, China Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei sought to play down the map’s significance. “The picture on the passport should not be overinterpreted.” he said. “China is ready to maintain communication with relevant countries and promote the sound development of personnel exchanges.” State media said China began issuing new passports this past spring to introduce new technology, including smart chips. However, the issue surrounding the map has drawn attention only in the last week after protests from the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan.

郭树清:民粹主义和狭隘的民族主义 未来影响改革两大因素 -财经网 - 我们很不赞成去把日系的汽车去划一道,或者砸一把。任何汽车都不要砸,你的亲戚可能在日本投资的企业里工作的,可能就是你兄弟姐妹,被砸那个车的人,可能就是你的叔叔,阿姨,这个对谁都没有好处。

人民日报-BBC跌破职业道德底线(国际视点) - Today’s People’s Daily having some fun, lambastes the BBC for all its recent scandals

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Kakao Launches Free Group Voice Chat with Some Interesting Features-TechinAsia- Tencent is a significant shareholder in kakao, would not be surprised to see this in weixin/wechat, if allowed by regulators// Korea-based Kakao announced today that it has launched what it calls the world’s first HD voice free mobile group Call service. In English, what that means is this: Kakao Talk now features group voice chat with high quality audio for up to five participants, and it’s all still free

Apple’s Going To Launch A $200 iPhone — Munster – Business Insider - they need it badly for share in China//And one analyst, Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, thinks that that’s exactly what Apple is going do. In 2014, Munster thinks, Apple will roll out a $200 iPhone (unsubsidized).

Chinese Mobile Ads are Stealing Your Location, Phone Number, and Contacts - China’s official television network, CCTV, recently conducted an undercover investigation of mobile advertising in China, sending reporters posing as clients to mobile ad agencies to ask about the products they offered…what reporters heard from the Yinggao ad agency representative: “This thing [our platform] is like having a tracking device installed on you. Wherever you go, we’ll know about it; as long as you’re connected to the network we’ll know.” The Wabang rep said that they could track clients too

Former President Of Amazon China Joins Allyes Group – ChinaTechNews.com - Chinese digital interactive marketing solutions provider Allyes Group announced that Wang Hanhua, former president for Amazon China, has joined the group as chief executive officer, leading the group’s strategy and implementation.

Jing Daily: Chinese E-Commerce Site Xiu.Com Caught Up In Counterfeiting Scandal - ebay’s partner..

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

How ‘Red Dawn’ Could Have Been Remade Without the Xenophobia – Speakeasy – WSJ - “And to make a long story short, no one would distribute the film if the enemy was China. This was the reality we encountered. So we made changes to the opening sequence, did some slight editing and visual effects work, and changed the invading army from Chinese to North Koreans.”

State Meddling Stifles China’s Film Industry – NYTimes.com- film bureaucrats said last week that the National Film Development Fund would return its 5 percent cut of box office takings to theaters that show more domestic films, in a kind of reward. Yet in a sign of what officials really intend, at the same news conference, Sun Zhijun, deputy head of the party’s Propaganda Department, said: “Some media organizations and people believe that deepening the cultural reform is for the purposes of making the culture an industry and wholly market-based. This is not true.”

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

China says HIV/AIDS cases up, premier-in-waiting promises help | Reuters - The number of new HIV/AIDS cases in China jumped in the first 10 months of the year, as premier-in-waiting Li Keqiang promised to let non-governmental groups play a bigger role in fighting an epidemic spreading fast in vulnerable groups.

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

Foreign cheese firms eye big slice of China’s market|Economy|chinadaily.com.cn - Leo Liu, a cheese trader who runs an online store on Taobao.com, China’s biggest e-commerce website, said mozzarella and cream cheese from New Zealand are his bestsellers. He sold almost 3,000 packs of mozzarella last month, priced at 20 yuan ($3) a pack. ”Young people are buying cheese to cook pizza at home. It is not expensive, and gives a feeling of a Westernized lifestyle, which is chic,”

Scandal-hit liquor maker halts packaging lines|Companies|chinadaily.com.cn - Initial investigations indicated that liquor produced by Jiugui Liquor Co Ltd might be contaminated with plasticizer during the packaging process — from plastic tubes and corks, according to Xia Xinguo, general manager of the firm.

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