The Sinocism China Newsletter For 01.10.13

[Note: Subscribers to the email version of the Sinocism China Newsletter who subscribed with a Yahoo email account did not receive the newsletter today as Yahoo bounced all the emails. Apologies, hope it is a one day occurrence, nothing I can do on my end to fix Yahoo's dysfunction...but I think I will finally sell my Yahoo shares.]

The New York Times reports in Chinese Officials Pledge to Loosen Controls Over Embattled Newspaper that there is a deal in the Southern Weekend mess:

One senior editor at Southern Weekend, Yan Lieshan, said in a telephone interview that the outcome of the negotiations might seem tentative, but journalists did not want to back senior party officials into a corner.“Xi Jinping has begun by showing good intentions and creating an atmosphere of reform,” he said. “So we don’t want to push the leadership to the point where they have no room left to act. We at Southern Weekend want a result that both sides can accept.”

The Wall Street Journal has published a Beijing News (新京报) insider’s account of a Face-Off in a Beijing Newsroom, while reports of Dai Zigeng’s resignation as publisher of the Beijing News may be premature given that he spoke at a symposium Wednesday and was identified as the Publisher of the newspaper–新京报社社长戴自更9日在经济展望及城镇化发展论坛发言-财经网.

Today’s South China Morning Post carries a sobering commentary from Zhang Hong, the deputy editor in chief of the Economic Observer. Zhang writes in Southern Weekly row won’t lead to a loosening of rules on China’s media that:

This is a sad start for the new Chinese government. Long-awaited political reforms are just a dream that will not come true soon. The media and liberal intellectuals will find the environment for reporting and free speech as stifled as it has been in the past. With social discontent growing, more confrontations between authorities and liberal intellectuals loom.

Tensions are rising with Japan again over the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. Japan is apparently considering allowing its Air Self-Defence Force (ASDF) jets to fire warning shots when Chinese planes enter air space claimed by Japan (South China Morning Post). In a commentary Xinhua writes that Japan’s envisaged “warning shots” are dangerous and irresponsible while the Global Times warns that Japan tracer bullets will bring war closer:

There is little room for concessions. Therefore, let us abandon all hesitation and seriously prepare for mutual warnings and confrontation with Japan over the Diaoyu Islands. If the situation goes awry, we must make Japan pay more of a price than China.

The Diaoyu Islands dispute will test the Chinese government’s leadership for a long time. But we should have confidence: our rival is a bully which can even bear US military occupation. As long as we keep tough, we will not lose this test of wills.

Today’s Wall Street Journal looks at Abe Moves to Enhance Japan’s Defense and Diplomatic Clout:

Mr. Abe’s move to beef up Japan’s defense to counter China comes in contrast to a strategy he had embraced during his previous stint as prime minister. Days after his appointment in 2006, Mr. Abe made a surprise visit to China and then continued to work to improve bilateral relations that had cooled during his predecessor’s term. Lawmakers and political analysts had predicted Mr. Abe would do the same this time, despite his provocative comments in recent months that were seen as antagonizing China and South Korea—neighbors with which Japan has faced bitter territorial disputes since the summer.

Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, Mark Lippert, the assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs, and Daniel Russel, the national security council senior director for Asian affairs will visit South Korean and Japan next week (Yonhap).

How does one invest around the growing risks in the East China Sea?

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Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Bo Xilai’s law violation case transferred to judicial organs: CCDI – People’s Daily Online - so far no evidence to support speculation that the trial will be held before te 2013 NPC meeting in March. Possible sure, but more likely a similar timeline to those for Chen Liangyu and Chen Xitong..meaning maybe no trial until 2014. there is no urgency now for Xi..Bo is done, all that remains is to decide the depth of the hole in which he is buried, but it is important that the process not look rushed…// The serious law violation case involving Bo Xilai, former member of the Political Bureau of the Communis Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has been transferred to judicial organs, according to CPC’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI).

Hong Kong Proposal Makes Director Identification Harder – Bloomberg - Hong Kong proposed amendments that would make tracing the personal details of company directors in the city more difficult, amid increased scrutiny of the wealth held by Hong Kong and Chinese officials and their families.The proposal would obscure the residential addresses and full identification numbers of a company’s directors to the public from the first quarter next year, according to a document submitted to the Legislative Council. Individuals can also apply to have these personal details blocked on historical filings.

CDB branch chief suspended over Ping An deal-South China Morning Post– Head of China Development Bank’s HK branch sidelined after U-turn on loan support for Thai conglomerate aiming to buy stake in insurer //Caixin did excellent work breaking the story about this deal..interesting that Caixin was allowed the leeway to pursue this story and embarrass CDB, Chen Yuan and others?

China December New Yuan Loans and Money Supply Trail Estimates – Bloomberg China’s December new local-currency loans totaled 454.3 billion yuan while M2 money supply rose 13.8 percent from a year earlier, the People’s Bank of China said today. That compares with the median loan estimate of 550 billion yuan in a Bloomberg News survey of 37 analysts. Money supply was forecast to increase 14 percent. Aggregate financing of 1.63 trillion yuan exceeded the median 1.2 trillion yuan estimate of seven economists.//Aggregate Financing the numbr that matters more now

Beware December data…and the ‘China cheerleaders’ | Video | Reuters.com - The holiday effect means the market will have to wait until April to get a clear read on China’s economic recovery–which is not expected to last, says Asianomics’ Jim Walker.

US Officials: China Refuses to Help Stop Investment Scams ABC News-ABC World News and Nightline to broadcast..mass market may now pay more attention..Congress certainly will// The Chinese government snubbed a U.S. request for help in cracking down on a string of alleged investment frauds that have cost Americans billions, outgoing Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro told ABC News.The lack of cooperation has stymied efforts to recoup investor losses, she said, in one of the largest sprees of alleged financial crimes in recent memory — one that has gone largely unnoticed by most Americans.

Macau’s Gaming Take: Sign of Chinese Emigration? – NYTimes.com - or trying to get out as fast as they can before Wang Qishan swings his scythe and steals their souls? Are these rich “elite” who are leaving really people who are good for China’s future, or are at least some folks who profited from gaming and abusing the system and are getting out while they can?// Week in China, a Hong Kong online news magazine, suggests something quite different and fascinating: with so many rich Chinese using the casinos to wash money to finance their emigration to other countries, the gambling take is actually a bellwether of confidence among rich Chinese in their country, the magazine says. In this scenario, the higher the take, the lower the confidence.

Tibet’s Golden “Worm” – Pictures, More From National Geographic Magazine A medicinal fungus highly prized in China is fueling a boom on the Tibetan Plateau. By Michael Finkel Photograph by Michael Yamashita

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

China’s Capital Expenditure Boom – Business Insider - There’s much more nuance to the China story, noted Deutsche Bank’s David Bianco at a breakfast this morning. “China construction growth can slow, buts its capital goods demand can accelerate,” said Bianco. For years, China has focused its efforts on building airports, highways, and cities.  However, it still needs to deploy capital goods for all of that infrastructure. “China demand for capital goods should accelerate as urban living standards improve.  China still needs more airplanes, trucks, engines, climate control and automation.”

上海青浦四地块13.29亿成交_财经频道_一财网 - plot of land in shanghai’s qingpu district sells for 56% over minimum bid, continuing 2012 land sales surge..given rising land prices at end of 2012 the big banks have less of a loan markdown problem..// 当前土地市场延续着2012年底的余热。昨日,上海青浦区集中成交四幅地块,成交金额合计为13.29亿元,与出让起始价8.5亿相比,溢价率高达56%。

“尾牙经济”来袭 酒店宴会预订爆满_财经频道_一财网 - huge surge in consumption coming through 2.9 for “year-end” economy// 由于年底“尾牙”来临,各大酒店、餐厅本月的订单已被订满,而iPad、iPhone也成许多公司年底尾牙必备,这也导致苹果经销商出现断货情况。

流量规模超20万亿 银行理财野蛮生长_财经频道_一财网 - 对于银行理财产品,各界向来不乏监管套利、暗箱操作乃至庞氏骗局的诟病。但现实的情况却是,银行发售理财产品的规模越来越大,投资者一直都在乐此不疲地购买。

Metros a danger to finances |Society |chinadaily.com.cnhow many subways globally make a profit? how do you properly calculate the social benefits?// A city is eligible to build subways only if it has an urban population of more than 3 million, an annual GDP that exceeds 100 billion yuan, and a local government budget higher than 10 billion yuan. In addition, the one-way traffic flow must reach 38,000 people at peak time, according to the National Development and Reform Commission.”However, some less developed cities in inland China manipulated the figures to meet the requirement,” Wang said. Tang, the researcher from Anbound, said an incentive for some second- and third-tier cities to build subways is to increase their GDP with huge investments.

China Shipyards Set to Spark Price War Among Rigmakers – Bloomberg - With orders for new ships plunging to an eight-year low in 2012, China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group Holdings Ltd. (1101) and its local rivals are foraying into the offshore business, lured by a market that will reach about $328 billion in 2017. The new entrants are lowering prices to grab contracts, hurting margins at Singapore-based Keppel Corp. (KEP) and Sembcorp Marine Ltd. (SMM), the world’s two-biggest rig makers. “It’s like moving from one bottomless pit to another,” said Park Moo Hyun, an analyst at E*Trade Securities Co. in Seoul. “Chinese shipyards are competitively trying to get into what they see as a lucrative business. But the consequence of that is they could end up distorting the whole market.”

Exclusive: China tightens grip on IPO listings | Reuters - China, under pressure to improve the quality of its IPOs, will tell underwriters and auditors of companies looking to list on mainland markets to review their financial statements and ensure that all is in order, sources with knowledge of the plan said. After their review, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) will randomly make a selection from the nearly 900 initial public offering applicants and conduct its own checks

HSBC’s Sale of Ping An Stake Draws Mounting Skepticism – Bloomberg - “The main issue here isn’t about financing because even if CDB backs off, there will be other banks that are willing to offer loans to CP,” said Wilson Li, a Shenzhen-based analyst at Guotai Junan Securities Co. “The issue is about how the regulator views the buyer and the structure of the deal: I don’t think that’s favorable at the moment.”

Reuters TV | China Tea Leaf Index: To gauge growth, reach for the bottle - Jan. 9 – A stumble in share prices for spirits maker Kweichow Moutai is sobering investors up. Yet this still could be good news for China’s economy as a whole, according to Breakingviews’ John Foley.

Is the SEC suing the wrong audit firm? | China Accounting Blog | Paul Gillis - I am surprised that Deloitte’s lawyers made such a potentially misleading statement in the filing. The SEC and the judge ought to be figuring out the significance of this change in the entity that operates the Big Four firms in China.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

Head of Postal Savings Bank Arrested over Criminal Charges – Caixin -水深// Tao has apparently also abused his lending authority. A source close to the case said earlier that his fall was also tied to probes into conglomerate Dalian Shide Group’s former chairman, Xu Ming, and Agricultural Bank of China’s former president, Yang Kun.

人民日报-实名举报优先办理 - CDIC to give preference to real name reports of official corruption//本报北京1月9日电  (记者姜洁、江琳)1月9日,中央纪委常委、秘书长、新闻发言人崔少鹏和中央纪委常委、监察部副部长兼新闻发言人黄晓薇在2012年全国纪检监察机关查办案件工作情况新闻发布会上表示,纪检监察机关提倡实名举报,凡是实名举报的,优先办理,及时回复。

中纪委:“密切关注新闻媒体和网络曝光”|中纪委|新闻|媒体_21世纪网 - CDIC says it pays close attention to news reports and Internet exposes…how many officials need Xanax these days?// 核心提示:北京大学法学院教授张千帆在接受记者采访时表示,在不断加大反腐力度的同时,反腐治本仍需构建制度反腐机制,其中的关键是选举机制的完善。

查办案件情况首次电视直播(热点解读)–时政–人民网 - very revealing infographic by Xinhua about the stats just released in CDIC 2012 report on corruption cases. the cartoon of the corrupt official quite revealing..love the jade necklace and the paintings…

人民日报-把“清正”牢记于心体现于行(声音) -

合肥“房叔”女婿违规转户口套取6套安置房_网易新闻中心 - 近日,安徽合肥社区干部“房叔”方广云,又被发现早在2005年已被撤职。但此后长达6年的时间里,他仍主持工作。日前,合肥市瑶海区纪委因当年执行纪律处分不力被通报批评。

The Useless Tree: Confucian Constitutionalism in defense of Freedom of Expression - a statement put out by a group of Confucian scholars that defends constitutionalism and freedom of expression.  It is entitled: 中国儒者就《南方周末》新年献辞事件告天下书 (“Declaration by Chinese Confucians on the “Southern Weekend” New Year’s message incident”).  I haven’t yet found a complete English translation; so, I’ll just refer to a few passages of it, to provide a sense of what it is about. Before that, though, I should say that this heartens me.  Previously, I had not been particularly impressed with the efforts of contemporary Confucians to craft constitutional answers to the PRC’s political problems.

Porridge in support of Southern Weekly – China Media Project- But the spirit of principled resistance is still very much alive at The Beijing News, and it can be glimpsed in this piece posted online today in the paper’s lifestyle section — a classic example of the time-honored practice of conveying deeper meaning through sublime and ambiguous writing, or chunqiu bifa (春秋笔法).The piece is a loving tribute, yes, to porridge. In particular, to the porridge of the south. But it is really a song of love and support from The Beijing News to similarly embattled colleagues at Southern Weekly. In Chinese, the word for “porridge,” zhou (粥), is a homophone of the first character in “weekend,” zhoumo (周末), the second half of Southern Weekly‘s publication name. The shorthand for Southern Weekly is nanzhou (南周), which sounds very similar to “porridge of the south,” or nanfang de zhou (南方的粥).

What Spurred Crackdowns and New Restrictions on Chinese Press and Internet Media | PBS NewsHour Ray Suarez talks to James Fallows of the Atlantic and Ming Wan of George Mason University about China’s new leadership may approach government oversight of Chinese print and digital media.
律师忧劳教制度改名矫治 换汤不换药_网易新闻中心 Chinese lawyers not so sure about the supposed changes to reform through labor
东莞3幼儿园年耗公款2776万 仅招公职人员子女|幼儿园|公款_新浪新闻 - 27.76M RMB budgeted for three kindergarten’s for civil servants kids in Dongguan, Guangdong. No wonder people angry, structural inequalities growing 

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

China, Russia pledge closer security cooperation – Xinhua | English.news.cn- China and Russia pledged to deepen security cooperation during a Wednesday meeting between State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.Dai and Patrushev held in-depth discussions on China-Russia relations, as well as the current international and regional situation, according a press release issued for the eighth China-Russia strategic security consultation.

China no longer reliant on satellite image imports – Xinhua | English.news.cn- China’s first high-resolution, stereo mapping satellite Ziyuan III meets international standards, ridding the country of its reliance on imports of satellite images.It was announced at a seminar reviewing the research and development of Ziyuan III held on Wednesday, one year after the satellite was launched.

Inside the Ring: Chinese missile defense test? – Washington Times- The Washington Free Beacon reported in September on new intelligence reports that indicate China is preparing to fire its Dong Ning-2 missile into space, this time at a high-earth orbit target.Then last week Gregary Kulacki, a specialist with the Union of Concerned Scientist, reported on his blog, “All Things Nuclear,” that Chinese officials recently circulated an internal notice of an upcoming anti-satellite missile test in space, A U.S. official said a test at this point does not appear imminent. However there are signs an interceptor flight test is being prepared.

From “Angrily Denounce” to “Be Gravely Hurt” – My Country and My People- But the phrase of “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people” was not idiomatic in China 30 years ago. During the first 30 years of P.R.C, its people seemed much “stronger” and “more mighty” than nowadays. They showed their anger and “determination to win the battle against imperialism” instead of complaining the hurt. Based on the statistic through the archives of the CCP’s mouthpiece the People’s Daily between 1949 and 2006, the following research will reveal the change of the set phrases in China’s diplomatese when facing international disputes, and try to provide a possible explanation for this phenomenon.

CHINASCOPE – China Military Online: China’s Four Weapons to Deter the United States and Japan - On January 6, 2012, China Military Online published an article titled “China’s Four Weapons to Deter the United States and Japan.” According to the article, the U.S. and Japan find a powerful China to be shocking. It stated, (We in) China no longer “hide our capabilities and bide our time.” Below is a list of the four weapons.

What Did Google Earth Spot in the Chinese Desert? Even an Ex-CIA Analyst Isn’t Sure | Danger Room | Wired.com - Late last month, former CIA analyst Allen Thomson was clicking through a space news website when he noticed a story about a new orbital tracking site being built near the small city of Kashgar in southwestern China. Curious, he went to Google Earth to find it. He poked around for a while, with no luck. Then he came across something kind of weird.

Reciprocity and Journalist Visas | China Hearsay - Reciprocity always seems like a fair way to deal with bilateral policy, at least at first. It’s not quite the embodiment of the Golden Rule, but it’s the next best thing (i.e., Do Unto Others What They’ve Already Done Unto You). China for one loves it some reciprocity, particularly when it comes to foreign relations. For example, a large number of its administrative rules governing bilateral relations, including some visa procedures, have been put into place with reciprocity in mind.//but Stan thinks the act is a bad idea..I agree, but something has to change

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Foxconn Says Chinese Authorities Probing Bribery Report – Bloomberg Foxconn Technology Group said Chinese authorities are investigating allegations that at least one executive accepted bribes from suppliers.The statement came after Taipei-based weekly Next Magazine reported that a Foxconn executive was arrested in Shenzhen in September as part of a bribery probe. The group confirmed that authorities were investigating the allegations and said employees and suppliers were awaiting the results.

Google Names New Head of Asia-Pacific – WSJ.com- Mr. Temsamani, 39 years old, replaces Daniel Alegre, who now oversees Google’s operations with its various global business partners at the Mountain View, Calif., headquarters. Mr. Alegre took up the new post late last year following the departure of Ms. Mayer, a longtime Web search executive who became Yahoo’s chief executive in July. In October, she recruited another high-ranking Google executive, Henrique de Castro, as Yahoo’s new chief operating officer.Mr. Temsamani, who hails from France, will oversee all of the U.S. company’s sales and operations in the Asian-Pacific region,

The Sad Case of Lashou–TechnodeVC firm GSR owns almost 39& of lashou..//For the swamped group-buying market, the cold winter is here to stay, at least for some of the unfortunate participants. Recently, insiders haved revealed details regarding Lashou’s turbulent and tense situation since last August.Day by day, Lashou’s management team disintegrates.

Apple Said to Develop Cheaper IPhone Model for Late 2013 – Bloomberg - could have dominated in china if had had this a year ago..now may be too late// Apple, which had been working on a more affordable smartphone since at least February 2011, is weighing retail prices of $99 to $149 for a device that would debut in late 2013, at the earliest, according to the person, who asked not to be named because the negotiations are private. Apple has spoken to at least one of the top U.S. wireless carriers about its plans, the person said yesterday.

China’s Sina Weibo Rolls Out Partial English Interface [UPDATE: Sina Confirms--TechInAsia - not a big deal// The Weibo.com frontpage – which has a simpler redesign today – now also has an “English” option in the dropdown menu (access it here), though it doesn’t convert the whole page from Chinese. Then, once logged in, Sina Weibo now has some English in the menus, but the whole interface is far from transformed. But it seems to be a start.

Beijing to require ID for cellphone numbers[1]|chinadaily.com.cn- Beijing residents will soon need to provide identification when they register a new cellphone number or transfer an old one, authorities said on Wednesday.The so-called real-name system, part of a draft regulation still under discussion, follows similar moves by many micro-blogging websites to get users to log their personal details.

人民日报-网络表达同样应正当合法(今日谈) - more page 1 people’s daily on the new internet law// 社会生活有边界,网络世界有底线。众所周知,“自由”是相对的,网络世界与现实社会一样,并不存在绝对自由。对待网络需要宽容而不能纵容。我国对网络的“自由”进行法律规范,将有效克服“自由丛林”的弊端,不仅网络世界会更加健康文明有序,同时公民的自由表达也将得到更有力的保障。

Wong Kar-wai Scores With ‘The Grandmaster’ – China Real Time Report – WSJ- After a decade of preparation and three years of filming, Wong Kar-wai’s “The Grandmaster” opened in China on Tuesday, and any lingering questions over whether the movie would live up to its lofty expectations immediately evaporated.Mr. Wong has made a martial-arts film for people who typically wouldn’t go to see an action movie, and an art-house film for audiences who resist ambiguity in their cinematic experiences.

Gawker’s new international strategy is wise…for Gawker - Pando Daily–The big hole left, Denton says, is China, which Gawker is actively working on.// plus lots of detail from Sarah Lacey on her China efforts when she was at Techcrunch

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

The Bat Mitzvah Tutor of Beijing – Forward.com- Beijing is a unique outpost. There, the liberal Kehillat Beijing community has been around since 1979, more than two decades before Chabad arrived. Kehillat Beijing is a diverse community of expats from all over the world. Some families have Chinese members, too. Its egalitarian services mean that a girl can read from the Torah, but its lay-led organization means there isn’t a rabbi to teach her.That’s how I became the Bat Mitzvah Tutor of Beijing.

陈独秀旧居年内将腾退修缮_北京新闻·时政_新京报电子报 - Beijing to restore Chen Duxiu’s old home// 新京报讯 (记者魏铭言)始建于明代的古寺庙——清华寺,今年将得以修缮。昨天,东城区两会上,东城区文委主任李承刚介绍,今年,东城区将开展清华寺、陈独秀旧居等一批文物及历史文化建筑的腾退修缮工作。

Probe after reporter beaten up at shelter — Shanghai Daily- A HOMELESS shelter in central China’s Changsha City is under investigation after an undercover reporter claimed he was beaten up after he had been sent there.The reporter, dressed as a homeless man and pretending to be deaf, said three people at the shelter kicked him to the ground, held his hands behind his back, and trampled on his body so hard he could not move or even take a breath, the Changsha-based Sanxiang City Express reported.

Homeless harassment provokes calls for equal rights – People’s Daily Online- BEIJING, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) — The theft of vagrants’ belongings in downtown Beijing has prompted an outcry for the protection of homeless people’s rights.A group of more than 50 uniformed, but unidentified, individuals took the possessions of homeless people who were staying on a street near the Yongdingmen long-distance bus station Saturday afternoon, witnesses confirmed Wednesday.

我国有61.5万名孤儿 政府仅收养10.9万人_新闻_腾讯网 - China has 615,000 orphans but on 109,000 are under car of the government…//

人民日报-警惕字母词侵蚀汉语(人民论坛) - People’s Daily warns of letters/English abbreviations eating away at the Chinese language…//近年来,英语缩略词(字母词)呈迅速扩张之势。以《现代汉语词典》收录的字母词为例,第四版收录字母词39个,第六版猛增到239个。特别是《国家通用语言文字法》明确规定的不该使用英语的地方,字母词也屡见不鲜。我们中国人生产的、具有完全知识产权的产品,流行“洋名”或汉英混合的名称。高耸在大都市的一些公共建筑、楼盘,经常见到英文标识,而不见汉语踪迹,让人恍若到了英语国家

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

China, Africa should jointly fight fake drugs: newspaper – China.org.cn- An investigative report carried by the People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China, on Wednesday called for joint efforts by China and Africa to eradicate the circulation of fake drugs.The newspaper refuted recent claims that China is exporting fake anti-malaria drugs to Africa.However, the newspaper’s investigation showed that there indeed is rampant circulation of fake drugs in such African countries as Tanzania.//China has big plans for exporting low cost drugs to Africa..a great thing for global health if done right

Report spells out China’s cancer risk |Society |chinadaily.com.cn- One in five may fall victim if they live to be 74About one in five Chinese people might develop cancer if they live to be 74, according to a new report. There is one death from cancer every five minutes on the Chinese mainland, which translates into 2.7 million cancer deaths annually, according to the 2012 Cancer Registry Annual Report, which is recognized by the government.

Shanxi orders leak scandal company to halt production – Xinhua | English.news.cn- The company whose recent aniline leakage aroused great concern in north China’s Shanxi Province was ordered to suspend production for safety overhaul, a senior provincial official announced Tuesday.Li Xiaopeng, acting governor of the coal-rich province, said the provincial government ordered the Tianji Coal Chemical Industry Group to stop all production and not to resume production until it met requirements.

Hebei swimming club sues Shanxi chemical company over toxic spill | South China Morning Post- A swimming club in Handan, Hebei, is suing a chemical company in neighbouring Shanxi province over the cost of cleaning up a toxic spill and the delay in issuing a warning.The first lawsuit over last week’s spill was filed by Handan’s winter swimming association, a registered non-government group with about 1,200 members. It is asking Shanxi’s Tianji Coal Chemical Industry to pay 20 million yuan (HK$24.6 million) in compensation – 10 million yuan for the Handan city government’s clean-up effort and 10 million yuan for moral suffering by hundreds of thousands of Handan residents. Drinking water supplies were cut off from Saturday to Tuesday.

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

Chinese Thirst for Safe Baby Formula Empties Australian Shelves – NYTimes.com - A surge in sales of one of Australia’s most popular brands of infant formula has led to an unusual sight for this wealthy nation: barren shelves in the baby aisle and even rationing of baby food in some leading retail outlets.

 

BOOKS AND LITERATURE

The Great Firewall: Nathan Green: Amazon.com: Kindle Store - Behind China’s Great Firewall, fifty thousand internet police comb the web for political dissent, erasing every trace they find. When journalist Chen Bo exposes corrupt officials through his blog and turns nationalistic protesters against their own government, Director Yang deploys the full force of China’s high tech police state to stop him. Evan Svenson, an American internet executive under the spell of China’s booming economy and the seductive Mei Lin, collaborates with the police. As millions take to the streets and a cyber chase races from the back alleys of old Guangzhou to the skyscrapers of new Shanghai, the future of the most populous nation on earth hangs in the balance.

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