The Sinocism China Newsletter For 01.13.13

Just links again, having trouble getting oxygen to my brain and my kids have exams this week so we are studying hard today.

Beijing is in the midst of an “airpocalypse”, as you can see from the view from my window around noon on Saturday and this AQI measurement from the US Embassy in Beijing monitor Saturday afternoon. Clearly this winter’s bitter cold and recent weather patterns have exacerbated China’s chronic air pollution problems. See “The Essential Eight” for several links about the unbreathable air.

So will someone write the “Unbreathable Lightness of Beijing”?

Spread the word by forwarding this email to your friends, follow me on Twitter @Niubi or Sina Weibo @Billbishopsupport Sinocism.

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

人民日报-13日零时,全国33个监测城市空气质量指数超过300,属严重污染 我们的空气怎么了(深阅读·当日新闻的背后) - Page 4 People’s Daily today on the pollution-.”what is going with our air”..also top story on people’s daily web site right now..environmental crises a bigger test for Xi than southern weekend..government increasingly not delivering the goods when it comes to basics like drinkable water (see recent shanxi/handan and shanghai problems) or breathable air..let alone food safety..people will take action for these issues, less likely to for a censored editorial ..Chinese media is not covering this up or pretending it is not a crisis

北京极重污染 空气监测点“爆表”_热点_新京报电子报 - Beijing News about the pollution..“爆表”..off the charts, literally// 部分地区空气质量指数达上限,PM2.5实时浓度超900微克/立方米;直到下周二,空气质量无改善

Beijingers Told to Stay Indoors as Pollution Hits Record – Bloomberg - “This should be a record level since the government started to publicize the PM2.5 measure,” said Ma Jun, a Beijing-based environmentalist and founder of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, a nonprofit organization that monitors corporate environmental performance. “The publication of the index lays the foundation for the government to do more in pollution control and protecting residents’ health.” China, which the World Bank estimates to be home to 16 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities, is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Beijing began to release real-time air quality data that measures pollutants of 2.5 micrometers in size in September, and 74 cities started publishing data including PM 2.5, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide starting Jan. 1

china’s real-time air pollution reporting gaining traction « livefrombeijing - The lead news story on Sina right now is the intense pollution in Beijing and other cities in eastern China. The story is depressing, of course, but I’m encouraged that Sina is reporting numbers from the new Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center’s real-time reporting system. In this story, they note a maximum PM2.5 concentration reading of 950 ug/m3 in Tongzhou (also here, with graph.) A similar data point making the rounds on weibo and some news outlets is Xizhimen’s maximum PM10 level of 993 ug/m3, again reported based on Beijing’s own monitoring.

China sends fighters to counter Japanese aircraft – Xinhua | English.news.cn- China’s Ministry of National Defense on Friday denounced Japanese military aircraft disrupting the routine patrols of Chinese administrative aircraft. At a press conference, an official with the ministry confirmed that China sent two J-10 fighters to the East China Sea after a Y-8 aircraft was closely followed by two Japanese F-15 fighters as it patrolled the southwest airspace of the East China Sea oil platform on Thursday.

China Voice: Eroding Chinese consumers’ trust unwise – Xinhua | English.news.cn- Some foreign companies are digging their own graves in the world’s top consumer market by eroding the trust of Chinese customers. These multinational businesses could risk losing the profits they came to China to seek if they don’t correct their practices. A belated apology from Yum Brands Inc., the parent company of U.S. fast food chain KFC, marks the latest case.

中国黄金回应“黄金生锈”:符合国家标准_网易新闻中心 - can gold rust? because certain gold products sold by China Gold appear to be starting to rust// 2010年10月27日,沈先生在大兴区双安商场有限责任公司黄村王府井百货分公司(简称王府井大兴店)中国黄金专柜购买了黄金产品。沈先生出示的购物发票显示,他花14900元购买一枚50g的中国黄金AU9999元宝金。购货两年之后的2012年12月18日,他称元宝金上面出现红斑。12月24日,沈先生来到王府井大兴店中国黄金专柜要求解决此事。

Jackie Chan back in action, branding US more corrupt than China | South China Morning Postthis story made it onto Drudge..his agents/pr folks not having a good day..chan have any US sponsors?// Action star Jackie Chan has once again sparked controversy by branding America the world’s “most corrupt” country in a TV interview.His comments were slammed by The Washington Post’s foreign affairs blogger Max Fisher as “anti-American” and a reflection of China’s insecurity about itself.Chan told Phoenix TV that China has been bullied by international powers for a long time and only began making progress in recent years.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

China 2013 Auto Sales May Accelerate This Year to Top 20 Million – Bloomberg - this won’t help with the pollution problem

Private Equity in China: Which Way Out? – NYTimes.com- Starting from a base of almost nothing in 2000, global private equity funds and their start-up local counterparts rushed into the Chinese market — completing nearly 10,000 deals worth a combined $230 billion from 2001 to 2012, according to a report released this week by China First Capital, a boutique investment bank based in the southern city of Shenzhen.But of those deals, some 7,500 remain ‘‘unexited,’’ according to the report, meaning the private equity investors have yet to find a way to cash out of their investments and pocket their profits.

北京新机场明年全面开建_头版_新京报电子报 - The new Beijing airport to start land reclamation this year, construction in 2014, expected completion in 2018..will have 6 runways..70B RMB investment

 

POLITICS AND LAW

Setting Economic Reform in Stone, China’s Way – Part II Shifting Winds -Caixin - Part 1 of an abridged translation of an excellent China Reform piece on the restart of economic reform after 1989. original Chinese here 

Setting Economic Reform in Stone, China’s Way – Caixin - Part 2 of an abridged translation of an excellent China Reform piece on the restart of economic reform after 1989

Rare display of mainland media defiance of censorship | South China Morning Post- Most analysts, including former journalist and popular blogger Li Chengpeng, said greater media freedom was unlikely despite growing calls. “Mainland authorities must have been shocked by the public anger over the controversy, and will have to rethink censorship policy,” Li said. “But whether they have the guts to take the initiative and overhaul state censorship is another question.” Professor Liu Junning , a Beijing-based analyst, said censorship was essential for an authoritarian regime like Beijing.

Why Southern Weekly said “No” – China Media Project- Propaganda leaders may be more careful after this showdown over censorship. But the road to freedom of expression as guaranteed in Article 35 of China’s Constitution will be a long one. The orders and bans will continue. Punishments will still await those who step too far over the line. But we can say that things have begun. For the first time, the word “NO” has resounded within China’s media system. The game of competing interests we saw played out this week was like none we have seen before. My hope is that China’s leaders will have the wisdom to distinguish between those who desire and support a fresh approach to governance, and those whose disgusting actions only create anger and mistrust.

Fei Chang Dao: Communist Youth League Web Site Editorial Puts Southern Weekend In Its Place- On January 8, 2013, an editorial was published on China Youth Net (sponsored by by the Communist Party Youth League) entitled “The Southern Weekend is a Part of the Communist Party Newspaper Enterprise” (南方周末是党报事业的一部分). These screenshots show that the editorial, originally available here –  http://pinglun.youth.cn/zqsp/201301/t20130108_2786487.htm - has since been deleted.

福建证监局原副局长被实名举报拥有16套房产_网易新闻 - real name accusation online that a fujian official owns 16 properties// 1月11日晚间,自称是旅美侨胞的陈秀萍在互联网上发帖实名举报福建证监局原副局长田荔琴及其家人名下有16处房产,市场价值超过5000万元,相关贴文被多家网站转载,引起网民关注。记者采访举报人及田荔琴了解到,陈秀萍因邻里纠纷对田荔琴不满,通过田荔琴亲属及朋友了解到,田荔琴及家人有16处房产,陈秀萍在互联网上详细列举了这16处房产地址,并表示下一步将实名向纪检部门书面举报。田荔琴表示,举报要有真凭实据,将积极配合组织调查

The Southern Weekend Drama-Sinica Podcast - Joining Kaiser Kuo and Jeremy Goldkorn in the studio to talk about this ongoing constitutional kerfuffle are two guests we are delighted to welcome back to our studio: Ian Johnson, the former Beijing bureau chief for the Wall Street Journal who now writes for the New York Times, and Jeremiah Jenne, the new director of the IES Program in Beijing.

爆料人披露雷政富事件内幕:女主角镀金为名校生|雷政富|爆料人|不雅视频_新浪新闻- 同赵先生一样,“雷政富不雅视频”、“儿慈会48亿巨款”等事件的爆料人朱瑞峰、周筱赟,也曾受到过恐吓、威胁,甚至殴打、绑架。周筱赟就告诉记者,有一次爆料后,他曾遭遇了“跨省威胁”, 随后更是出现了美女模特半夜要求他去帮忙开锁的“色诱陷阱”。越来越多的腐败案件,因为网络深喉们的爆料而引起社会广泛关注、发酵,并在相关部门的介入下使得涉事腐败官员受到监督、惩处。湘潭大学法学院教授欧爱民认为,网络爆料是新媒体时代,公民行使控告、检举权等宪法权利的一种新方式,这一方式往往还起到了一些意想不到的效果。 但是,深喉们在维护社会公共利益的同时,他们的人身安全如何保障?又是什么动力推动他们冒着危险曝光社会阴暗面?本报记者对话上述三位网络深喉,揭开他们背后的故事。

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

China ready for worst-case Diaoyu scenario – Globaltimes.cn- China should have the courage to face military confrontations with any rival when provoked. At the same time, we should remain cool-headed. China and Japan have been cooperating in trade and other economic fields. We should try not to let political confrontations affect business. This will minimize China’s losses, which conforms to China’s overall interest and would help the nation gain support from the public in any confrontation. The Diaoyu crisis is a test of China’s unity in the Internet era. China’s strength has enabled it to take countermeasures against Japan and face any uncertainty. This requires society to remain united.

日媒:安倍将致信北约联手应对中国“海洋崛起”_资讯频道_凤凰网 - Japanese media claims Abe has sent a letter to Nato to work together to deal with China’s “maritime rise”

North Korea tells China it is planning nuclear test | South China Morning Post- A North Korean official has apparently told Chinese authorities that the communist state is planning to conduct a third nuclear test in the coming week, a news report said on Saturday. “We’ve heard a North Korean official in Beijing told the Chinese side that the North planned to carry out a nuclear test between January 13-20,” the Joongang Ilbo daily quoted an unidentified Seoul official as saying.

China publishes new maps; South China Sea islands highlighted – Xinhua | English.news.cn- China has inked for the first time South China Sea islands on its new official maps in equal scale to that of the Chinese mainland. The new vertical-format maps of China, published by Sinomaps Press, include more than 130 islands and islets in the South China Sea, most of which have not been featured on previous maps of China, the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation (NASMG) announced on Friday.

New Asean chief seeks early talks on South China Sea – The Nation- “Asean should speed up efforts towards an early start of negotiations with China with a view to achieving an early conclusion of a code of conduct on the South China Sea,” Asean Secretary General Le Luong Minh said.The Vietnamese diplomat was speaking in Jakarta after officially assuming the post of Asean secretary, replacing Surin Pitsuwan of Thailand.

China sends troops to border with conflict-torn Myanmar: media | Reuters- The Global Times said that troops were sent to the border between China’s Yunnan Province and Myanmar’s northern Kachin State “to understand the situation”. It did not give any details on the number or type of soldiers. “On the night of the 9th, there was shelling in Kachin, and residents of the unstable area quickly ran inside the Chinese border to pass the night in peace,” the report said. Yunnan is home to an ethnic Kachin population.

景颇族人:缅甸政府军若再不停火就越境帮克钦族_网易新闻中心 - members of the jingpo ethnic group in yunnan threatening to cross the border into burma to help the kachin if the burmese government does not agree to a cease fire// 核心提示:近日,缅甸政府军与克钦独立军战事持续。在中国,与克钦族属于同一民族的景颇族大量聚集边境小镇,要求缅甸双方停火。他们称,如果再不停火,他们就要赴缅帮助克钦独立武装。

Carnegie-Tsinghua Center-Carnegie-Tsinghua Center – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace- Over the past decade, China-Latin America relations have boomed, aided in large part by China’s increasing demand for the region’s plentiful natural resources.  But as Matt Ferchen highlights in this Q&A, China’s increasing commercial and diplomatic ties with Latin America are fraught with political and economic risk.  These risks are brought into sharp relief by the challenges China faces in Venezuela as President Hugo Chávez’s health falters. C

Speed called for on maritime law |Nation and Digest |chinadaily.com.cn- China will accelerate work on long-awaited legislation on maritime affairs this year amid rising sea disputes with neighboring countries, a top maritime official said. The State Oceanic Administration will speed up the drafting of maritime laws, including the long-awaited basic law on maritime affairs, which is widely expected to help China settle conflicts over sea disputes, Liu Cigui, chief of the national oceanic watchdog, said at a national conference on maritime work in Beijing on Thursday.

New think tank to focus on China’s marine affairs – Xinhua | English.news.cn- The China Association of Marine Affairs (CAMA), made up of more than 200 representatives from relevant oceanic authorities and research institutions, colleges and companies, will become an important advisor for China’s marine development. The association’s main function is to organize academic research and exchanges centering on marine economic development, oceanic resource exploitation and ecologic protection, and the safeguarding of national marine rights and interests

Asian Alliances: Nice Guys Finish First | Stephen M. Walt - Will just being “nicer” really help US in its competition with China? “Nicer” will need to include lots of trade and money…

 

TECH AND MEDIA

If Tencent wants WeChat to go global, it has to stop international censorship-Pando Daily- Tencent reportedly believes that WeChat will one day be bigger and more important than its desktop-based instant messenger, QQ, which has 700 million accounts. That’s significant – QQ was Tencent’s first and most popular product, and it continues to provide the backbone for the $60 billion company. That’s the equivalent of Facebook suddenly inventing a new, equally popular social network. Starbucks, Nike, and Cadillac have already run marketing campaigns on the platform, even though Tencent has said it’s not too interested in monetizing the product just yet. Until now, WeChat has been allowed to spread beyond China without having to deal with a big censorship blowup. Now it’s being put to the ultimate test. For users in China, it’s business as usual. For everyone else, it’s time to reassess.

新浪网党委开通微博引围观_传媒_南都网 - Southern Metroplis Daily looks at the Party Organizations and memberships in China’s big Internet companies// 新浪成立了党委,有283名党员,那么其他网站呢?2012年11月5日,中共首都互联网协会党委成立大会上,首都互联网协会会长佟力强介绍说,北京现有互联网企业42万家,其中95%为非公有制企业,2011年开始北京对26家主要网站党建工作进行专题调研。目前,北京属地26家主要网站有党员2680人。其中,建立党组织的重点网站共有9家:百度、新浪、第一视频成立了党委,千龙网成立了党总支,首都之窗、空中网、开心网、奇虎360、优酷网成立了党支部。

Google in China: Mr Kim, tear down that wall; Mr Xi, carry on | The Economist - The notion that Google could curry favour with the leadership now by halting its warning messages is ridiculous, insists a former Google insider: “the opportunity to capitulate was lost forever when Google gave the middle finger and left.”//I do not NOT think Google believes it can curry favor… [NOTE: There was a typo in the email version of this that went out. I left out the "Not"]

How a Taiwanese Singer Became an Overnight Free-Speech Star in China | Tea Leaf Nation- Annie Yi — a.k.a. Yi Nengjing, a.k.a. Inō Shizuka, and formerly Wu Jingyi — is a woman of many facets. Born in Taipei, Taiwan in 1969 to a political family with a history of persecution by the Kuomintang, the popular singer and actress has faced harsh online criticism for an extramarital affair and a failed marriage, and has clashed with Taiwanese tabloids. Now, she faces perhaps her greatest test: The wrath of the Chinese government, and a possible ban from appearing before mainland Chinese audiences in the future.

Fei Chang Dao: Sina Weibo Begins Censoring Searches About Famous People Being Asked to Tea- On the evening of January 9, 2013, Kai-fu Lee posted the following on his Sina Weibo: “This tea is hard to swallow!” (好难喝的茶! – alternatively, “This tea tastes awful!”). Several minutes later, Lee posted the following: “From now on, only discuss East, West, and North, only discuss Monday through Friday” (从现在开始,只谈东西北方,只谈周一到周五。)

Cracking the China code: Microsoft vs. Apple | asymco- The contrast with Microsoft now comes back into focus. China and the US have a roughly equal number of PCs but the mobile users in China exceed the US by a factor of three to one. The pool of users is so great that Apple obtained its growth even with reaching only 30% mobile network distribution coverage. Without a mobile portfolio Microsoft is severely hampered. Of course, Microsoft is trying and has made several attempts to place its Windows Phone in the hands of Chinese users. It’s a tough sale however because Microsoft must work through partners. They need to get vendors to license the OS and the operators to range the devices and retailers to push it. Given the flood of “free” Android variants they are having trouble even starting down that long road.

China Shames U.S. With Plan to Speed ‘Last Mile’ Internet | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com - no mention of censorship or gfw..author’s agenda clearly to criticize US policies. fine, they could be better, but this post is Friedman-esque but worse

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

The man who made friends with Mao – FT.com - A feeling that Rittenberg must, surely, have been a deep-cover CIA agent still surfaces occasionally in the US. “There were actually no western agents in China in my time,” he says. “But former intelligence people are convinced to this day that I was an agent under deep cover. I get asked quite probing questions even today by retired CIA people. When I deny it, they say, ‘Wow, you’re good.’ I always considered myself a representative of the genuine American people, in the tradition of revolutionaries like Tom Paine. That’s why I always dressed as an American. I wanted to be an American friend of China, not Chinese.” So do Americans regard him as a traitor? His face takes on a bleak, haunted look, but it seems they don’t.

China sets highway toll-free dates during Spring Festival – Xinhua | English.news.cngreat, so everyone will wait till that day to drive…//Chinese drivers rushing home for family reunions during the upcoming Spring Festival will find it a pleasant journey this year as the country’s highways will operate toll-free during the holiday. The Ministry of Transport announced on Friday that the country’s highways will be toll-free for passenger cars from 0:00 on Feb. 9 to 24:00 on Feb. 15 when most Chinese will go home for the Spring Festival and return to work.

Landslide kills dozens, Xi orders all-out rescue – Xinhua | English.news.cn- The death toll from a landslide that hit a mountainous region in southwest China’s Yunnan Province on Friday has risen to 43 after more bodies were retrieved. Three are missing. Chinese leaders Xi Jinping, Wen Jiabao and Li Keqiang have ordered all-out efforts to rescue victims of the landslide in order to minimize casualties from the disaster.\

Beijing’s homeless get touch of warmth | South China Morning Post - Street sleepers who came to petition for justice lose winter quilts and coats in official raid – then volunteers show up bearing gifts of relief

社科院报告显示中国社会陷入信任危机_网易新闻中心 - CASS blue book says Chinese society in a credibility crisis// 核心提示:近日,中国社科院发布《中国社会心态研究报告》。报告显示,中国社会信任度已跌破警戒线,总体社会信任降到了“不信任”水平。另外,64%的民众认为现金的中国社会“不公平”。

Wives of gay men appeal to annul – Globaltimes.cn- Those women believe that if the marriage is annulled, then their status would revert to “single,” rather than divorced, which can better protect their rights. Some wives claimed that they did not have an intimate relationship with their husbands and remained a virgin, according to the court. This reflects an age-old societal bias against women, said LGBT activists.  Hu Zhijun, the executive director of PFLAG China, an organization for gay people and their relatives, said “behind the appeal to annul the marriage is discrimination against divorced people. If you are labeled as divorced, especially for women, you will suffer from societal pressure.”

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

Great Smog – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - anyone know the AQI levels during this?// The Great Smog of ’52 or Big Smoke[1] was a severe air pollution event that affected London during December 1952. A period of cold weather, combined with an anticyclone and windless conditions, collected airborne pollutants mostly from the use of coal to form a thick layer of smog over the city. It lasted from Friday 5 to Tuesday 9 December 1952, and then dispersed quickly after a change of weather. Although it caused major disruption due to the effect on visibility, and even penetrated indoor areas, it was not thought to be a significant event at the time, with London having experienced many smog events in the past, so called “pea soupers”. However, medical reports in the following weeks estimated that 4,000 people had died prematurely and 100,000 more were made ill because of the smog’s effects on the human respiratory tract. More recent research suggests that the number of fatalities was considerably greater at about 12,000.[2

beijing experiences worst pollution in recent memory « livefrombeijing - Beijing’s air pollution levels have been “hazardous” or “beyond index” (by the US Embassy monitor‘s designation) for nearly three days. The city is in the midst of one of its epic, multiple-day extended pollution spells, also known as an “airpocalypse.” So what’s new or different about this one? Let’s take a look from a few angles.

人民日报-让低碳生活者有尊严(今日谈) - Page 1 people's daily today on respecting a low carbon lifestyle

 

BOOKS AND LITERATURE

Fang Zhouzi slams Han Han over science awards nomination|WantChinaTimes.com - Blogger Fang Zhouzi, known for blowing the whistle on cases of fraud, especially within China's scientific community, is stepping up his confrontation with popular author Han Han, whom he accuses of passing his father's work off as his own. On finding out that both he and Han had been nominated for the 2012 Annual Newsmakers of Science in China awards, Fang said on Jan. 5, "I didn't want to be listed as [a nominee] on that ground, and also didn’t want to be on the same list as a liar and cheater. I ask the organizers to delete my name from the candidates’ list,” reports Want Daily, our Chinese-language sister paper.

 

JOBS AND EVENTS

Senior Correspondent, Political and General News, China Job - wonder what this pays// Reuters is looking for an outstanding journalist to help drive our enterprising coverage of the pressing political and social issues facing China and its leaders as the country grapples with the fallout of its breakneck economic growth and the rising expectations that rising living standards have fostered among its people. The senior correspondent will need to be able to carry out in-depth reporting on a range of issues, moving seamlessly from unearthing details of political scandals to deeply reported stories on problems such as pollution and food safety breaches – stories that break new ground and offer readers insight into the challenges the government is facing, how it is dealing with them and their potential impact on China and the rest of the world.

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7WJHCMVHM2B4SWEWMQ4A5QDT5I Joseph

    I’m shocked that Beijing’s air pollution is an international front page news story. Must be a huge embarrassment to the regime. Hope the emerging public health crisis lights a fire under their ass. Between the smoking and the particulate pollution, China sure to face huge surge in numbers of lung cancer cases.

    Gratified that U.S. embassy air quality monitoring contributed to increasing attention to Beijing air pollution. Chinese leaders must be fuming. (Get it?)