The Sinocism China Newsletter For 01.17.13

Thanks for the support, still not where I would like it to be but we are making progress. On the fence? Jump off it here.

Our kids started their five week Chinese New Year vacation at 10 AM today, so just links this morning, back with commentary Friday.

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Xi questions propaganda chief’s handling of censorship row – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun- hear from other reporters that this report could be credible, that this paper has had other scoops recently..if true then very interesting// At a meeting in Zhongnanhai in Beijing on the night of Jan. 9, Xi, visibly displeased, asked if the media control division was not adding to confusion, sources familiar with the discussions said.Xi was responding to a report from Liu Yunshan, chief of the propaganda department of the party central committee, on censorship of the Southern Weekly, the sources said.

Chinese leader calls for dialogue to resolve Diaoyu Islands issue – Xinhua | English.news.cndangerous dance…talks, drills, rhetoric..hopeful this will not go over the line into conflict, but risks of mishaps growing//Top political advisor Jia Qinglin said Wednesday that China and Japan should resolve the Diaoyu Islands dispute through dialogue and consultation.”The two sides should handle the Diaoyu Islands dispute properly in order to ensure that bilateral relations remain on a track of healthy and stable development,” said Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), while meeting with former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.

China’s J-10 fighter joins live fire drill – Xinhua | English.news.cn- The fighters were organized into ten formations and used several tactics to approach the target more than a 1000 kilometers away. The drill also included strong electromagnetic interference to simulate a real combat scenario. The fighters covered for each other in a concealed raid and the targets were hit. The drill was launched after the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army issued the Military Training Instructions for 2013. It said all army forces and armed police should strengthen combat and information warfare training and step up the modernization of the military, so it can engage in and win wars.

Commentary: Rational policy needed from Abe government on China-Japan ties – Xinhua | English.news.cn- At a meeting in Beijing on Monday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying and former Japanese Education Minister Kenji Kosaka agreed that the two countries should shift their focus back to development of the strategic relationship of mutual benefit. The talks, expected to pave the way for a possible visit to China by Abe’s special envoy Masahiko Komura, marked the first time a Japanese ruling party lawmaker met with a senior Chinese official since the launch of the Abe government.

人民日报-“新四化” 新意在何处(新论) 易 鹏  People’s Daily on the “new four modernizations” Li Keqiang stressing//梦想激励人们前进,实现需要脚踏实地。“四个现代化”的宏伟理想激励几代中国人为之奋斗,今天的中国因此取得了巨大成就。15日,李克强同志在国家粮食局考察调研时强调,推进新型工业化、信息化、城镇化和农业现代化的“新四化”建设是中国现代化的必由之路。“新四化”,更具时代感地勾画了建设中国现代化的具体之路。

China’s Tencent Apologizes for Message Problems – WSJ.com- It is standard practice to block sensitive terms in China. The government gives Internet companies such as Tencent general guidelines for censorship, leaving most companies to make their own decisions in many cases. That sometimes leaves individual companies to make the tough calculation between pleasing domestic censors and serving international users. Activists also say Chinese Internet services are broadly used by the Chinese government to track their movements. Last week, an anticensorship activist at the Southern Weekly protests who had been detained by authorities for a day told The Wall Street Journal that his only activity before he was picked up was communicating with his friends via WeChat. Tencent didn’t respond to requests for comment on the issue.

Struggle Is The Enemy, Weed Is The Remedy: The Truth About Marijuana in North Korea | NK News – North Korea News – sounds like a joint CIA/NIS operation to seed the DPRK with 30%+ THC strain seeds could be in order?// NK NEWS receives regular reports from visitors returning from North Korea, who tell us of marijuana plants growing freely along the roadsides, from northern port town Chongjin, right down to the streets of Pyongyang, where it is smoked freely and its sweet scent often catches your nostrils unannounced. There is no taboo around pot smoking in the country – many North Koreans know the drug exists and have smoked it. In North Korea, the drug goes by the name of ip tambae or “leaf tobacco.” It is reported to be especially popular amongst young soldiers in the North Korean military – rather than getting hooked on tar & nicotine like their contemporaries in the West, they fraternize without fear of repercussion by lighting up king-sized doobies during down time on the military beat.

United Family Home Health – interesting new service, probably a big market among rich Chinese in Beijing..house calls the ultimate luxury, especially in China// United Family Home Health is one of the first home care services in China with a medical focus, and its vision is to provide clients and their families with United Family Healthcare’s world-class medical care from the comfort of their homes.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

China Set to Exit Slowdown as Government Supports Infrastructure – Bloomberg – The National Bureau of Statistics will report tomorrow that gross domestic product expanded 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, according to the median estimate of 53 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. That’s up from a three-year low of 7.4 percent in the previous period. The risk is that the rebound may fade in the second half as the boost from railways and road projects ebbs and the government grapples with rising inflation and the expansion of shadow banking. While the nation is set to reverse its slide in economic growth, the pace remains short of the 10 percent average of the past two decades as higher wages and weakness in global demand limit export gains

China Loses Edge As World’s Factory Floor – WSJ.com – Foreign capital helped build China into a low-cost manufacturing powerhouse and global growth engine. But its increasingly urban population now has higher expectations in terms of wages and working conditions and louder objections to the pollution that often comes with low-level manufacturing—demands that have eroded China’s cost advantage.

China Billionaire Minted as Venezuela Orders Oil Gear – Bloomberg – Sun Weijie, chairman of Yantai Jereh Oilfield Services Group Co. (002353), has become a billionaire as shares of the Chinese oil equipment and service provider he co-founded surged on a supply contract from Venezuela.Jereh has been picked by Venezuela’s state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela S.A to supply equipment and tubes valued at $178 million, the Yantai, China-based company said on Jan. 10. The deal is equal to 40 percent of Jereh’s sales in 2012.

Cash wave washes China’s banks off course – FT.com -deep waters around the Tao case//  This couplet, from eighth century Tang dynasty poet Li Bai, was meant to describe the Postal Savings Bank’s transformation from a stodgy savings network to a bank at the cutting edge of rural development. With hindsight, we now know that the poem in fact foretold a doomed voyage for Mr Tao. He could not ride the wind and was eventually swallowed up by the waves. Mr Tao was detained in June for an investigation into “personal economic issues”. State media reported last week that he has been formally charged with corruption. It is alleged that he made illegal loans with bank money for personal benefit. Mr Tao’s downfall is a timely reminder of what remains the biggest problem in the Chinese financial system: an excessive concentration of money in the hands of state-run banks.

Deloitte Tightens Client Screening After China Scandals – WSJ.com-a joke..Deloitte didn’t have standards before? and will this mean any deloitte-audited China firm should no longer be put on the “likely good short idea” list?//  Deloitte’s Asia Pacific CEO, Chaly Mah, said the firm has specifically changed the work it does to test cash balances and introduced more stringent tests to determine whether to take on potential clients, for instance.”We have a multilayer process but if you have clients that are less than honest it is not easy,” he said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

Report says sick chickens sold[1]|chinadaily.com.cn- A major chicken supplier in Central China has been suspected of selling sick birds to popular food chains including KFC, in the latest crisis to hit the country’s poultry industry.According to a report on china.com.cn on Tuesday, several chicken farms owned by Doyoo Group in Henan province have been providing sick birds to the group, which resells the chickens to fast-food chains such as KFC and McDonald’s.

Agricultural products price continually rises in China – Xinhua | English.news.cn – the price of agricultural products in 36 large-and-medium-sized cities across the nation continued to rise from Jan. 7, 2013 to Jan. 13, 2013, a continuous rising in 11 consecutive weeks

一线城市调控困境:国企的狂欢?|房地产|一线城市|调控_21世纪网 – real estate controls have turned out to be benefecial to the big SOEs, at least in first tier one cities…caused some pain at start but now they are most of the last ones standing…//核心提示:2012年,北京房企商品房销售金额排行榜中,北京城建、中海、保利、首开、中国铁建、中化方兴等国企以迅猛的态势抢占了前十名,民企只有龙湖、SOHO中国尚存。

茅台整改:反腐潮加快白酒业全面市场化 | 每经智库 – Moutai is in a big mess..not just corruption crackdown but big sales channel and administrative issues// 核心提示: 虽然这场貌似凭借反腐的东风,国家又动用了行政手段来限制茅台的价格,其实却是在动用市场经济的手,加速以茅台为首的高端白酒企业实现全面市场化的进程。

谁在推涨铁矿石_杂志频道_财新网 – Caixin on who is pushing up price of iron ore// 从2012年9月至今,进口铁矿石价格由不足90美元/吨一路狂涨至当前的155美元/吨,涨幅达75.1%。特别是进入12月以后,矿价加速上扬,短短一个月时间竟疯狂上涨了近40美元,涨幅高达31.4%。2013年1月8日,力拓的PB(皮尔巴拉混合矿)粉矿招标价格已接近每吨160美元。到底是什么因素在推动铁矿石价格的疯涨?

Corruption curbs crimp luxury market |Economy |chinadaily.com.cn- Ren said government officials, who used to be the main recipients of luxury watches as gifts, were unsure about the future policy environment.Several government officials who were noticed by the public to own luxury watches were investigated for corruption in 2012. One was the director of the provincial administration of work safety, who wore a Swiss watch when appearing at the site of a highway accident.Officials are cautious now about receiving gifts, Ren said.”It hurts the luxury watch business a lot,” since more than 25 percent of the luxury items sold on the Chinese mainland were used as gifts.//surprised no one out with gold thread underwear with jade powder/rhino horn crotch patch..netizens might never see it, could be huge seller

房企饮鸩止渴 信托狼吞劣质开发贷_财经频道_一财网 – 《第一财经日报》查阅资料发现,近年来,海南珠江控股股份有限公司(000505.SZ,下称“ST珠江”)、深圳市国际企业股份有限公司(000056.SZ,下称“*ST国商”)、上海世贸控股有限公司等上市或非上市房地产开发企业,都曾通过信托贷款方式,“赎买”即将到期的银行借款。房企是不是在饮鸩止渴?信托是不是在火中取栗?抑或是有别于银行体系的风控标准,让信托在银行不敢涉足之地看到了利润之光?

 

POLITICS AND LAW

Progress on Labor Camps Must Be Starting Point – Hu Shuli–Caixin – Just as there can be no private ownership of property without laws protecting ownership, people cannot be said to be free if there are no laws protecting their freedom. This is why we must rely on a court of law – one that is independent or at least relatively independent – to make decisions about our freedom. Among the three branches of government power, the executive (which oversees the police) holds the greatest power in China. As a result, a large number of laws are drafted by executive departments then approved by the legislative departments. Moreover, the judiciary has little oversight over the executive, which uses police power as a tool to get its way

人民日报-红色资源 作风富矿(大家谈)  世界上绝少有哪个政党,像中国共产党这样,把作风建设当成长期要求和历史任务,把“密切联系群众”当成不断走向胜利的法宝。建党90多年来,时代虽在变迁,党的宗旨却始终未变,红色故事仍在流传,优良作风还在赓续。读者投来的大量稿件中,就呈现了这些“红色资源”。希望本期“大家谈”的这些“红色故事”能给现实更多启示

中央部门被查102亿违规金额 “屡审屡改”亟待预算标准化制约_财经频道_一财网 – 公告显示,截至去年10月底,审计查出的50个中央部门及其所属单位违反财经制度问题金额102.81亿元,已整改76.21亿元。

张森根:精英读托克维尔不如读周有光-财经网 – better to read zhou youguang than de tocqueville? Zhou just turned 108, also known as the “father of pinyin”// 与其请一位150多年前的、长眠于地下的洋人出来,听他讲述230多年前法国大革命的故事,倒不如号召那些忙于顶层设计的政治精英们和高官们看看周先生的《百岁新稿》、《朝闻道集》和《拾贝集》

China Arrests 7 in New Effort to Stop Tibetan Self-Immolations – NYTimes.com – The authorities in northwest China have detained seven people they say organized the fatal self-immolation of a Tibetan villager in October, photographed his burning body and then sent the images abroad.

Chinese dissident gets 12 years for contract fraud- A dissident Chinese poet whose detention has drawn an international appeal for his release was sentenced Monday by a court in southwestern China to 12 years in prison for contract fraud, his lawyer said. Li Bifeng — formerly imprisoned for five years for involvement in the Tiananmen Square democracy movement — was sentenced at Shehong County Court in Sichuan province, said lawyer Zhao Jianwei. He said the defense would appeal.

Uphold freedoms in China’s constitution, says Hu Yaobang’s son|WantChinaTimes.com- Hu Dehua, son of China’s former leader Hu Yaobang, has said in an interview with Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao that Beijing should fulfill the promises citizens’ rights contained in the country’s constitution, also calling for the government to oust the senior officials with ties to the disgraced politician Bo Xilai if it is as serious as it claims about tackling the problem of corruption.Hu, who runs an energy technology company, said he believed the new administration under Xi Jinping would launch political reforms, though these would be hard to achieve in the short term and would meet resistance from entrenched interests. “China has formed a giant interest group, and reforms cannot satisfy people on all levels,” Hu was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

广西粮油董事长涉嫌吞十几亿国资 名下私企数不清_财经中国 –

山东胶州官员办公室受贿视频流出 当事人被停职_网易新闻中心 -bribe taking official caught on video in Shandong..already lost his job

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

鸠山:若日方不承认主权争议 就永远解决不了钓岛问题_资讯频道_凤凰网 –

US aircraft tailed by Chinese fighters near Japanese border|Politics|News|WantChinaTimes.comthis uncommon? or just getting reported as part of the propaganda/psychological campaign over the Diaoyus?//  On Jan. 10 US aircraft were shadowed by Chinese fighters in airspace near the border between China and Japan, reports the Global Times, a nationalist Chinese tabloid.A US Navy P-3C patrol plane based at Misawa Air Base and a US Air Force C-130 cargo plane based at Yokota Air Base were tailed by Chinese J-7 and J-10 fighters last week. When both American aircraft reached the aerial border between China and Japan on Jan. 10, Chinese fighters scrambled to intercept them, according to Tokyo’s Sankei Shimbun newspaper. The report said the People’s Liberation Army-Air Force’s move was an apparent overreaction to movement of aircraft taking off from Japanese bases.

Chinese military to join mapping of Diaoyu Islands – People’s Daily Online – In 2013, China will issue geographical information in the surveying and mapping of its islands and reefs. This program will be conducted under the direction of National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation and PLA surveying and mapping departments will also join this program, according to Li Zhigang, director of National Geomatics Center of China. He disclosed the information in an interview after the press conference for Blue Book of China’s Surveying and Mapping.

Designation of China’s group army no longer secret to public – People’s Daily Online – Last night, CCTV military channel has announced through Weibo that,The designation of group army is unveiled as of today”. According to the information, the designation of PLA group army can be used to the public instead of referred to as “a group army” This act indicates ” more open presentation of Chinese army”

“直-10”突击手–中国军网 – ——记特级飞行员、南京军区某陆航旅参谋长盛建忠 profile of a top Chinese PLA helicopter pilot..wonder how his night vision gear compares…

中日会从“三战”走向“实战”吗? – 评论 – FT中文网- 最后,俄罗斯也是抑制武力冲突不可忽略的因素。早在2005年,以“中俄和平使命2005”军演为背景,日本著名军事评论家锻冶俊树以《警惕正在复苏的中苏同盟》为题撰文,指出中俄联手不仅美国难以抗衡,而且日美同盟也将受到极大动摇。2012年12月6日,中俄签署了《第十七次总理磋商联合公报》。1月9日,原定今年下半年举行的中俄第八次战略安全会议在北京举行。国际媒体评论:“习近平显然是在寻求俄罗斯的支持。”不管俄罗斯呼吁中日双方以和平方式解决争端是真心还是假意,但中俄全面战略协作关系的建立对遏制战争发生,无疑具有积极意义.(注:作者冯玮现任复旦大学历史学系教授、日本研究中心研究员,博士生导师,中华日本学会常务理事,日本庆应大学客座教授

Cooling the Nuclear Hotspot: Advocating a PRC Nuclear Umbrella for North Korea « SINO-NK – Long Xingchun’s trial balloon  (抛砖引玉), translated here, is revolutionary.  The concepts he espouses could lead to further steps toward a nuclear weapons free zone and should be met with Track II and Track 1.5 efforts to seize on the momentum.  Extending a Chinese nuclear umbrella, obviously, requires re-thinking of some aspects of China’s nuclear doctrine.

About | NK News – North Korea News – another excellent resource about North Korea// NK NEWS aims to be the internet’s No.1 source for breaking North Korean news, analysis, culture and curiosities + professional, academic and student resources. We know how keen the world is to learn about daily life in North Korea, and we’re determined to show you it.

Don’t forget the critical role of China in Mali – Comment – Voices – The Independentwill China have to worry about Islamist blowback at some point? // Mali and the other former French colonies which surround it have had extensive dealings with China. The country, one of the poorest in the world, has received substantial Chinese money for development. In 2011 China made good on a package of hundreds of millions, partially as a “gift” to improve the “living standards of Malian people”.Some argue that China will sit back and let the French do its work for it by handling the crisis and restoring some kind of stability, with China perhaps moving back in later. Contrary to that view, it is worth considering that the intervention may be at least partially informed by a need to counter the Chinese, certainly on the part of the US and also on the part of major European countries.

 

HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

Mainland to return Chen Shui-bian shooting suspect to Taiwan | South China Morning Post- Tang Shou-yi, who sold a gun he made to the alleged gunman and fled to the mainland in 2006, was recently arrested at a hideout in Xiamen by mainland police, Taiwanese media reported yesterday. He will be sent back to the island before the beginning of the Lunar New Year on February 10 under an agreement signed by Taipei and Beijing in 2010 on joint efforts to crack down on cross-strait crime, the Liberty Times said, quoting an unnamed source.

Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong Leader, Pledges to Ease Housing Shortage – NYTimes.com – The chief executive, Leung Chun-ying — who took office in July and has already weathered one legislative vote of no confidence, one vote to start an impeachment process and a series of large street protests — pledged to help produce 100,000 housing units over the next five years by streamlining approvals, opening undeveloped land for housing and even using rock caverns and other underground spaces for development.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Alibaba Group Said to Hire Credit Suisse, Goldman for IPO – Bloomberg - skeptical of this// The Hong Kong IPO may raise $3 billion to $4 billion this year, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

春运抢票版插件用户量巨大 拖垮Github服务器_IT与铁路_cnBeta.COM – china train ticket plugin takes down Github over surge in traffic by people trying to buy tickets for spring migration? plugin moves to sina servers..scale of internet traffic for popular services almost unimaginable to most us internet operations

Tencent’s WeChat messaging app passes 300m users, adding its latest 100m in just 4 months – The Next Web – WeChat continues to pick up speed, as it took just four months to add the most recent 100 million, compared to the 6 months it took to go from 100 million to 200 million.

Low-Budget Comedy Finds Record-Setting Success -Caixin – Since its debut on December 12, the low-budget comedy Lost in Thailand has earned 1.2 billion yuan at the box office, making it the most profitable film ever in China. In the month since it opened, a record 38 million cinema-goers have viewed the movie, a story about three men who visit Thailand. This means the film has had more Chinese viewers than the most popular Hollywood blockbusters to hit the country, Transformers III and Avatar. Considering this success, Beijing-based Enlight Media, which made the film and is its main investor, said it decided to extend its run in theaters. It will also debut in Hong Kong by the end of January.//Enlight owns 90% of the movie? 

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

足协掌门人韦迪被曝下课 政策法规司长可能接任_新闻_腾讯网 – more problems at China’s football federation?// 有消息称,韦迪被解职一事非常突然。昨日下午,韦迪还在同足管中心其他负责人研究实德的注册问题。傍晚他突然接到体育总局电话通知,对方宣布将其调离足管中心的决定. 由于该消息传出时已近今日凌晨,因此无法获得官方证实。足协工作人员也表示,此前从未听到过领导下课的消息。韦迪的电话,也始终无法接通。有消息称,体育总局政策法规司司长张剑有可能接替韦迪。

In remote Hunan, what’s a matchmaker to do? – The Globe and Mailour Ayi from rural Hubei going through this..year 4 of trying to find her son a bride..going nuts..bride price 4X what it was when she started..and their daughter dating an orphan who cant pay them…// Men who have managed to get married say it costs them and their families upwards of 100,000 yuan – cash, plus goods, plus the cost of the wedding itself – to seal the deal. The men complain that families with young women have raised dowry demands as the number of eligible females has shrunk. The situation has upended some long-standing truths in Lower Qiantan. Local families who for centuries prayed for sons who could take over the farm and take care of them in their old age now see sons as a potential financial burden whose wedding costs can push a family deep into debt. Meanwhile, a daughter who marries well can provide for her parents for years. “If you have a daughter, you can laugh. If you have son, you will cry,” said Wu Longbao, who got married last year at age 29 and whose wife is now expecting their first child. But, he said, you still need a son to tend the farm.

临近春节怕“催婚”租男友回家过年 亲一口50元–陕西频道–人民网 -“leftover women” hiring “boyfriends” over the Chinese New Year to silence nagging parents?

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

Beijing’s toxic smog was years in the making | South China Morning Post- The China Academy of Sciences estimates a quarter of the lethal PM2.5 emissions drifting across Beijing originate from beyond its borders, with the industrial heartland of Hebei province, which surrounds the capital, a major culprit.Hebei is responsible for more than a quarter of national steel output – an industry that accounts for a quarter of the nation’s total coal consumption – and it is also a major cement producer. Its cities, including Shijiazhuang, were at least as badly hit as Beijing over the weekend.

Sense of Security Comes With Openness – Economic Observer – re Beijing tap water// Summary:In addition to opening up the information to the public, we also need to answer the related questions of who will be responsible for providing the information and who will supervise the process to make sure the data is genuine.

Beijing’s Pollution ‘Airpocalypse’ Reflected in Online Shopping Stats – China Real Time Report – WSJ – tiny absolute numbers…vast majority of kids Monday at my kids school did not have masks// Searches for face masks on Taobao surged 15% in a two-day period ending January 12, up from the same period a quarter earlier. Actual purchases of face masks jumped 130% in the same time frame, according to information provided by Alibaba. Consumers in Beijing purchased approximately 10,000 facemasks on Taobao and Tmall in the first two days that the air pollution ballooned, Alibaba said.

Lesson of London must be learnt |Comment |chinadaily.com.cn- However, the prolonged smog these past days indicates that as China’s industrialization and urbanization is moving ahead, the environmental situation facing the country will be increasingly challenging and counter-pollution control work will be arduous and require more vigorous, effective and scientific measures. There is no reason to be too optimistic. In addition to policies to curb the pollution sources, the bleak weather also tested the government’s emergency response capabilities.

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