The Sinocism China Newsletter For 12.17.12

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Just links today, fair bit of commentary in bold below:

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

收入分配改革方案再延期-财经网 - Caijing says income distribution reform plan to be delayed again, potentially very bad news. Then again, this is Wen Jiabao’s plan, perhaps Xi/Li want to put their own stamp on it, do something more, and get the credit?// 外界对纠结多年的收入分配改革方案期盼已久,但因意见分歧、利益博弈等诸多因素掣肘,方案再度搁浅

ANZ on China’s Central Economic Work Conference | | MacroBusiness - ANZ is out with a quick note [embedded] on China’s Central Economic Work Conference. In short China is going to build more, while rebalancing and driving slowly towards internal consumption with market-based reforms and liberalization.

Reform pledged at key economic meeting[1]|chinadaily.com.cn- Cutting tax and helping more rural workers settle in cities will be among the reforms pursued through steady economic growth, top policymakers said at a key conference plotting economic strategy for the year ahead. Mustering up “greater political courage and wisdom” and “pushing forward” were vital to achieving reform, they said as a number of measures, from raising bank lending to urbanization, were backed. The two-day Central Economic Work Conference over the weekend also endorsed “steady growth” for the world’s second-largest economy.

人民日报-中央经济工作会议在北京举行 习近平温家宝李克强作重要讲话 张德江俞正声刘云山王岐山张高丽出席会议 - Page 1 People’s Daily report on the central economic work conference

人民日报-坚持稳中求进 奋力扎实开局(社论) - page 1 people’s daily editorial out of the central economic work conference

China Sends Strong Signal on Economic Reforms – WSJ.com- “There’s a pretty clear policy line to support growth at the level it’s running at now,” said Arthur Kroeber, managing director of GK Dragonomics, a Beijing market-research company. Analysts expect China either to renew its 2012 goal of 7.5% growth for next year, or reduce it slightly. The number isn’t meant as a precise forecast—China regularly tops the stated goal—but it is significant as a signal of the leadership’s intentions. A relatively modest number, like 7.5%, suggests that Beijing is willing to swallow slower growth in the short term to revamp the economy so it has a stronger foundation for growth in the coming years. The statement refers to that priority as a quest for “quality” growth.

China to continue property controls in 2013 – Xinhua | English.news.cn - China will continue its property market control policies next year, according to a statement issued Sunday after a two-day central economic work conference held in Beijing.

京楼市12月首周成交开门红 二手房年内温热收尾 - Beijing housing market stayed strong into the first week of December// 北京住建委网站公布的网签数据显示,11月整月二手房共计成交14449套,超越成交火热的8月份水平,同时北京昌平、顺义等郊区房产的补涨行情,更推动了成交价格走高,接近24000元/平方米。而12月首周北京全市二手住宅网签总量为3476套,比11月同期上涨了24%,与成交量最高的7月份前七日的成交量相比,上涨了11%,而日均492套的成交量,更仅次于全年成交峰值时7月全月的日均签约量。业内人士分析认为,购房者年底入市积极,活跃了二手房市场,“翘尾”行情还将延续。

北京限购爆灰色地带:花钱可买购房资格|限购|购房资格|社保_21世纪网// -look at how some evade Beijing real estate repression rules// 但对于限购政策是否真会放松,业内人士对此并不抱有幻想。北京中原市场研究部总监张大伟表示,“未来1年限购不可能会放松。”中原我爱我家相关发言人也表示,“或者还会更为严格。”

广发证券:国内影子银行规模约30万亿元_金融频道_财新网 - Caixin–12.14 Guangfa Securities report (PDF, Chinese) says size of China’s shadow banking system is 3 Trilion RMB

华夏银行引爆理财乱象-财经网 - Caijing Magazine–Huaxia Bank Ignites WMP Chaos..Queue Beargasms

Swiss Watch Boutiques Swap Christmas Trees for Hongbao – Bloomberg - China and Hong Kong make up the biggest market for Swiss timepieces, accounting for 30 percent of exports of the country’s roughly 200 brands in 2011, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry. Exports to those two destinations rose 10 percent in the first 10 months of 2012.

Caixin on SEC/PCAOB | China Accounting Blog | Paul Gillis- Caixin has an extensive story (in Chinese) about the SEC/PCAOB issues with China. The story is largely consistent with Western accounts, but includes some reaction from local regulators. I have posted a translation here.  The picture that is painted illustrates that U.S. and Chinese regulators are looking at the situation differently. Both appear to be pursuing a situation based on the rule of law, but there are conflicting laws. China wants the U.S. to allow it to conduct and control all investigations in China, which is unacceptable to U.S. regulators.

China’s CIC Says 2012 Investment Returns Will Be Positive – Bloomberg - China Investment Corp., which helps manage the world’s largest foreign-currency reserves, will make a profit on its overseas investments this year after a loss in 2011, according to Jesse Wang, executive vice president of the sovereign wealth fund. Monetary easing in Western countries boosted capital markets and investment returns, Wang said at forum in Sanya, China.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

人民日报-坚决反对腐败 建设廉洁政治(学习贯彻十八大精神) 张惠新 - long excerpt from 18th party congress report study guide, page 6 today’s people’s daily, about fighting corruption, building a clean government…

【舒立观察】反腐难与易_杂志频道_财新网 -Hu Shuli’s latest editorial, this week’s on fighting corruption// 当代中国的问题或许更为复杂,但根本性问题并不复杂。反腐的核心还是与依法治国相关的基本制度安排。舍此,中国就无法步入制度反腐的轨道,一切只能归于纸上谈兵

陕西榆林市司法局长坠亡 警方称其重度抑郁|官员自杀|坠亡|重度抑郁_新浪新闻 - Another “depressed” official jumps to his death, this time in shaanxi

专家建议赦免部分退赃官员以换取支持政改|财产公示|退赃_新浪新闻 - expert calls for amnesty for corrupt officials…

成都新都国土局长被双规 疑与李春城同涉一案|落马|贪腐|李春城_新浪新闻 - Chengdu land official detained, likely related to the Li Chungcheng case

Corruption fighters home in big property owners | South China Morning Post - Wang Xiangwei column..good luck with that property tax..all the economists/pundits pushing it ignore/do not understand the “politics”// Corrupt officials prefer property investments not only because the market has been buoyant, but also because the options for laundering their ill-gotten gains are limited, particularly for those officials who work in medium-sized and smaller cities. However, it is difficult for them to scoop up a portfolio of properties in their own cities without raising eyebrows. That explains why they prefer to buy properties in big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, where there are plenty of rich people – and corrupt officials – and where someone owning 10 or 20 properties is hardly noticeable

王立军打黑真相_政经频道_财新网 - Southern Weekend takes very long look at Wang Lijun’s “Strike the Black” crackdown in Chongqing..Ugly. Surprised no notice yet in western media of the steady diet of Chingqing exposes in Chinese media over last weeks//【编者按】2012年12月17日出版的《南都周刊》以封面文章的形式刊发了“起底王立军”系列文章,全面回顾了前重庆市公安局长王立军发迹、治警、打黑乃至涉入薄谷开来杀人案的过程,并通过对“王立军模式”的还原与反思,揭示了这宗惊天大案的由来与深层根源。正如中共中央总书记习近平在纪念1982年宪法实施30周年的讲话中所指出的,“一些公职人员滥用职权、失职渎职、执法犯法甚至徇私枉法严重损害国家法制权威……对这些问题,我们必须高度重视,切实加以解决。”对于王立军事件的持续追问和反思,正是中共十八大以来反思强调的“依法治国、依法行政”的题中之意。财新网特此选录了该组报道的部分内容,以飨读者。

刘锋:思想家托克维尔对于中国的意义-财经网 - Caijing.com commentary by Liu Feng on meaning of de Tocqueville for China//处在权力上位的执政者,阅读一下托克维尔的作品,很有好处。他们最应该考虑三点:一是如何教给民众一种重视自由、平等、民主的权利知识,训练他们用行动去追求这些权利,利用法治保障去实现这些权利;二是学会借鉴国外权力相互制衡的制度手段,而不是仅仅靠自我修正的手段去运行权力;三是着力培育一个数量庞大的中产阶层,构建合理的社会阶层结构,增强社会的流动性,缓和阶层之间的矛盾,使社会的和谐充满柔性的色调。

习风南来 改革再启 – 经济观察网 - 专业财经新闻网站 - 导语:“南方谈话”使人心鼓舞,是“改革再出发”的宣言,体现勇气和自信;但仍须细解读,在国家政治、经济、社会等各领域落到纸面、落到实践,方能勾画成完整的改革路线图、计划书。

Minxin Pei « German Marshall Fund of the United States - Minxin Pei joined the German Marshall Fund as a non-resident senior fellow for Asia in 2012. As part of the Asia team, Dr. Pei advances GMF’s work on the implications of China’s rise for the West, supports Stockholm China Forum, and manages a research project on China’s economic and political transition.

Minxin Pei – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - Minxin Pei is no longer with the Carnegie Endowment.

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

吉米.卡特:中日对钓鱼岛应达成“不占领”的共识-财经网 - At the Caijing-Sanya forum, Former US President Jimmy Carter says Japan and the PRC should reach a “no occupation” consensus over the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands

Ahead of the Tape: China Quietly Eases Off Treasurys – WSJ.com - Monday’s Treasury International Capital System data for October may show Japan, once the largest foreign holder of U.S. debt, retaking the top spot. The country was just $25 billion behind China in September and had been closing the gap at an average pace of $22 billion a month in the past year. Relative to the size of the U.S. economy, China’s Treasury holdings have dropped from 8.4% in mid-2011, when Ms. Bachmann made her comments, to 7.3% recently.

U.S. raises concerns with China over airspace intrusion near Senkakus | Kyodo News - Washington was apparently turning up the heat on China over the incident. On Thursday, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland gave a restrained response, not mentioning “concern” and only saying that Japan and China need to talk to each other so that such incidents do not continue.

Disputes over small islands pose big conundrum for U.S | Reuters- Recent moves by Beijing “in part mean China has not been deterred by the increased U.S. commitment,” said M. Taylor Fravel, a scholar at the MIT Security Studies Program. China has taken de facto control of the Scarborough Shoal, a reef that falls inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, and now frequently challenges Japan’s control of islands it calls the Senkakus. Many analysts say intensifying Chinese pressure over the islands issue since 2010 helped fuel the election victory on Sunday of hawkish Japanese ex-premier Shinzo Abe. Abe’s campaign included calls for a tougher stance toward China.

金正恩执政一年间的朝鲜_高清图_新浪网 - Kim Jung Un’s first year in pictures, via Sina

 

HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

US analysts at conference oppose selling Taiwan F-16s – Taipei Times - Two experts at a Washington conference on “US Rebalancing to Asia” strongly opposed the sale of F-16C/D aircraft to Taiwan on Friday. “The last weapon we should sell Taiwan is the F-16,” Boston College political science professor Robert Ross said. Christopher Clarke, a retired analyst at the China Division of the US Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence, agreed emphatically.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

马云重构阿里巴巴-财经网 - Caijing on Jack Ma’s restructuring plans for Alibaba//阿里巴巴正在进行一场以重塑公司生态系统为核心诉求的大变革,它很可能先是分拆成约30家公司,然后再整合为三家上市公司。这场由马云一手发动的变革不仅将改变中国互联网行业的格局,还深入影响从制造业到服务业的多个传统行业的未来

Alibaba, Sohu Sites Removed From U.S. ‘Notorious Markets’ – Bloomberg - “I applaud the actions that some markets have taken to begin ridding their virtual and physical marketplaces of pirated and counterfeit goods,” U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement. “It is through both voluntary and government actions” that the landscape for protection of intellectual property will improve, he said. Alibaba’s Taobao has committed to continue working to further reduce listings of counterfeit products, the trade office said. “The intellectual property rights issue in China is a long march,” John Spelich, a spokesman at Alibaba, said in an e-mail today. “This is a milestone and it is only the beginning.”

Taobao Removed from US Pirate List, But Still Plenty of Chinese Pirates Around–Tech In Asia - I’m surprised that fashion counterfeiting was not mentioned more fully in the new report, and it only takes a few seconds of searching on Taobao to see items like this fake Louis Vuitton handbag (here) for a mere 78 RMB (US$12.50).

全新日本版 The Beatles 披头士 Stereo Box Set 16CD+1DVD-淘宝网 - 15 CD + 1DVD Beatles box set on Taobao for 130 RMB. what are the odds this is not pirated? screen capture here

April 2012–Alibaba Hires Ex-U.S. Official to Aid Washington Lobbying – Businessweekand it worked, now off notorious markets list. how many other chinese net firms will start spending money on dc influence peddling? but is Taobao now really piracy free, and why was USTR so quick to remove them? shouldn’t a firm that has allowed egregious piracy for years need to prove itself for a while before getting a pass from the US government? // Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. hired former U.S. official James Mendenhall as China’s biggest e- commerce company steps up an appeal to Washington to remove its Taobao site from a list of “notorious markets” for piracy. Mendenhall will represent Alibaba in talks with the U.S. government and industry groups over intellectual property rights protection, John Spelich, a Hong Kong-based spokesman at the Chinese Internet company, said in an e-mail today. Mendenhall is a counsel at the Washington DC office of Sidley Austin LLP, according to the law firm’s website.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

Chinese Media Effort to Emphasize Newtown Tragedy Backfires in Blogosphere | Tea Leaf Nation - see next entry, Xinhua got angry, attacked local officials// Web users appeared to offer competing, if equally cynical, interpretations for why Chinese officialdom was so tight-lipped about the Guangshan attack. Many agreed that officials may have downplayed domestic news because they were interested in “protecting their rice bowls” than getting at the truth. @路过月亮的石头 wrote, “American officials can only remain in their positions by facing this matter; Chinese leaders can only keep their posts by avoiding it!”

新华调查:留守儿童之殇——河南光山“冷对”22名小学生被砍伤事件追踪 – 新华法治 – 新华网 - Xinhua rips into the local officials in Henan for trying to cover up news of the knife attack, being derelict in their duties, claiming one official who played video games after the attack//    新华网郑州12月16日电(记者李鹏)河南光山县14日发生的小学生校园被砍伤事件中,22名小学生被砍伤,1名老人命在旦夕。在发出这一消息后,光山县当地封锁消息,官方集体失声,甚至有当地干部在办私事、玩游戏,称“探讨没意义”。面对在外地打工匆匆赶回的死伤学生的家长,人们追问:如何给留守儿童一个安全校园

Henan Knife Attack and US School Shooting, Chinese Reactions – chinaSMACK - “If China legalized gun ownership… I bet the current population would be less 1 billion. What more, I bet there would be less than half the number of various “party branch secretaries”.

Shanghai car license plate costs on the rise |Society |chinadaily.com.cncontrast with Beijing’s opaque lottery// Getting a car license plate in Shanghai costs almost as much as buying an economy family car, and industry insiders predict prices will continue to rise. The city’s monthly number plate auction on Saturday saw a record-high average bid of 69,346 yuan ($11,000), up 3.58 percent from November, authorities said. The lowest transaction was 68,900 yuan, also a reco

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

Official cars garaged if Beijing air worsens – People’s Daily Online“crazy bad” not written into the law, but this is progress if enforced//Construction is to be suspended and use of official vehicles limited in cases where Beijing air quality plummets to “extremely bad,” under a new rule on curbing air pollution. The rule, to be enacted on Jan. 1, 2013, categorizes air pollution as “bad,” “seriously bad,” and “extremely bad” — depending on a basket of indexes that include measurements of both fine and coarse air particles and ozone levels, meteorological officials announced on Friday.

让空气监测变得透明-财经网 - Caijing editorial calling for more transparency in air quality measurement//那种因公布PM2.5数据可能带来恐慌所以应予拒绝的看法,实际上是夸大其词,正确的做法应是把技术问题还给技术。因此,无论如何,空气需要透明,空气质量监测也需要透明。

 

BOOKS AND LITERATURE

Never Forget National Humiliation: Historical Memory in Chinese Politics and Foreign Relations (Contemporary Asia in the World): Wang Zheng: Amazon.com: Kindle Store - The result has been the institutionalization of a manipulated historical memory and consciousness now directing political discourse and foreign policy. Wang demonstrates the role historical memory has played in China’s rise: its manipulation by political elites, its resonance in the popular imagination, and its ability to constrain and shape China’s international relations. By concentrating on the telling and teaching of history in today’s China, Wang illuminates the thinking of the young patriots who will lead this rising power in the twenty-first century. He positions historical memory as one of the biggest factors shaping the exercise of Chinese power and the key to understanding Chinese nationalism and intention.

H-Net Reviews–Zheng Wang. Never Forget National Humiliation: Historical Memory in Chinese Politics and Foreign Relations. Reviewed by Zachary Fredman (Boston University)- Wang wrote Never Forget National Humiliation because he wanted to help Westerners better understand the Chinese people, their motivations, and their intentions. Here he succeeds admirably, and his task is no doubt an important one. Failing to understand Chinese nationalism in the past has caused and exacerbated problems in U.S-.China relations. Taiwanese scholar Ch’i Hsi-sheng, for example, shows that during World War II General Joseph Stilwell, commander of U.S. forces in China, needlessly angered the Chinese by treating them with disrespect and contempt. Stilwell assumed this was the best way to accomplish his goals, but Chinese president Chiang Kai-shek interpreted Stilwell’s manner as evidence of the general’s ignorance and racism. Ch’i concludes that Stilwell treated Chiang harshly and demanded control over Chinese military forces because he failed to understand the depth of Chinese nationalism.[1] Books like Never Forget National Humiliation go a long way toward giving non-Chinese a clearer understanding of how many Chinese see the world

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