The Sinocism China Newsletter For 01.25.13

Please help improve Sinocism by donatingforwarding this email to your friends, sending comments/ideas and following me on Twitter @niubi or Sina Weibo @billbishop.

The “older house sister” is getting massive coverage in Chinese media in a scandal that touches on many problems in contemporary China, including corruption and the household registration system (hukou). The Telegraph summarizes the case in Rural Chinese banker built up £100 million property portfolio:

Gong Aiai, 49, who is known in the Chinese blogosphere as “Older House Sister”, is said to have parlayed her position as deputy head of a small bank in northwestern China’s Shaanxi province into at least three extra identities, one of them identifying her as a Beijing native that allowed her to buy up sought-after property holdings in the capital.

At least one of her properties is apparently in Beijing’s Sanlitun SOHO (北京涉“房姐”案民警被停职-新闻频道-和讯网), rented to a KTV.

The case is again on page one of People’s Daily (人民日报-公安部调查陕西“房姐”多个户口 北京:注销户口,停职当事民警 神木:停职公安局副局长等4人), and a taskforce is looking into hukou fraud (China Daily):

On Thursday, Beijing police canceled Gong’s false hukou and seized all of her assets in Beijing, including properties and cars. Officers have also been sent to Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces to take part in a joint investigation.

“We will suspend and detain any police officer involved in (helping) Gong (to register false hukou),” the Beijing Public Security Bureau said in a statement on Thursday.

Xinhua writes that Hukou forgery scandals highlight police corruption:

A Xinhua reporter found by investigation that a fake hukou can be bought for between 30,000 yuan and 50,000 at a grass-roots police station in a county of northeast China’s Jilin Province.

“What do I need to prepare to get an extra hukou?” the reporter asked, pretending to be interested in buying one.

“Only a photo is needed, a different one from the one on your current ID card,” a policeman replied, adding it took about one month to finish all procedures.

In fact, it was found that the new hukou is not even “fake,” as all the documents and procedures are exactly the same as those used to get a legitimate one.

There must be some very nervous police and officials as it is highly unlikely Gong is the only one to have bought an extra hukou and any serious investigation could reveal a lot of corruption. Given the level of official media coverage heads will need to roll.

Beijing has launched a campaign (People’s Daily) against waste and official gluttony. It began with “four dishes and a soup” and has progressed to “Operation Empty Plate”. “Operation Empty Plate” apparently was started by netizens earlier this month, Sina Weibo has promoted it and today it is on page one of People’s Daily–人民日报-吃光盘中餐 今日不剩饭 “光盘行动”得到热烈响应. The People’s Daily says that “Operation Empty Plate” has been forwarded “50 million” times around the Internet (记者追踪“今天,你吃光盘中食物了吗” “光盘行动”被转发5000万次). 

Whether it is really a grassroots movement or something coordinated by the Ministry of Propaganda with assistance from Sina, it is desperately needed here as the amount of food waste is quite shocking (South China Morning Post):

Agricultural scientist Yuan Longping has called on Beijing to stop people wasting tens of thousands of tonnes of food each year by issuing fines.

Yuan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering who is known as “the father of hybrid rice”, said he had seen too many sumptuous banquets that ended up with many leftovers.

The People’s Daily cartoonists are quite talented and today they have a good one (Screenshot) depicting officials pigging out under a table in response to the campaign to stop waste and gluttony. Today’s paper also has a commentary about special privileges and waste–人民日报-吃空饷背后的身份特权.

Xinhua’s secretive government receptions defy China’s central authority is quite entertaining, especially when you try to imagine what a “cohort of pussyfooters” might look like:

After the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee promulgated a package of rules requiring government officials to change their work style and ditch extravagance for frugality in late December, more than 20 provinces have issued detailed regulations to build cleaner governments.

Behind the bandwagon, however, hides a cohort of pussyfooters who rack their brains to keep their corrupt working practices and lifestyles while maintaining good repute, as Xinhua reporters have confirmed.

An employee with the South Asia Wyndham Hotel in Kunming, capital of southwestern China’s Yunnan Province, told this news agency on condition of anonymity that all its large banquet halls had been booked by big companies and a few government departments for the Spring Festival period…

They added that the colloquial saying “to eat quietly, to take gently and to play secretly” had entered common use in local officialdom.

In one cunning countermeasure against the central authority’s “frugality order,” according to an executive of a state-owned enterprise, luxury banquets have been moved out of starred hotels and into the canteens of government departments.

“It used to be an unspoken rule to invite officials to starred hotels, while now starred-hotel cooks are invited to canteens,” said the executive.

Top chefs usually bring their high-end tableware to well-decorated canteens, which are as good as in starred hotels, they added.

Restaurants and hotels stand to lose a lot of money between this and the corruption crackdown if they are actually implemented with rigor over any sustained period, as First Financial notes in 公务宴订单骤降 酒店餐饮业频现退单降餐标.

Since East Asia was not already tense enough, North Korea has now threatened to build up “nuclear deterrence” (NK News):

Reacting to the news today, North Korea expert Leonid Petrov said,

It is regrettable that after the sixty years of confrontation both the UNSC and the DPRK are still locked in the security dilemma and prefer to exchange invectives and threaten the region with prospects of resuming the Korean War. Despite the “generally balanced” tone of the recent UNSC resolution on North Korea, warnings to take “significant action” will only lead to promises “to boost and strengthen defensive military power”.

More sanctions will only lead to less dialogue because sticks work only when carrots are also on offer. In the situation where military action is inconceivable and diplomacy does not work, the usage of soft power might be more useful.

Following Obama’s 2008 arrival at the White House North Korea conducted a rocket launch similar to the latest one and when similar UN sanctions were applied, quickly followed it with a nuclear test. At a time when Obama had promised an “open hand” to North Korea, Pyongyang’s one-two blow undermined the prospects for any short-term engagement between Washington and Pyongyang.

China as usual has urged calm after the DPRK nuclear test announcement (Xinhua):

“It is in the common interests of all parties concerned to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and achieve the denuclearization of the peninsula,” spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news briefing. “(We) hope all concerned parties will keep calm and act in a cautious and prudent way, as well as refrain from taking any action that could lead to the progressive escalation of tensions,” the spokesman said.

At some point the US has to take nuclear threats from the DPRK seriously, as China surely understands, right?

For those interested in reading more about the DPRK, NK News is a terrific source of information on North Korea and also has a daily newsletter.

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Party Official: Bo Xilai Could Face Severe Punishment – WSJ.com - i’ve been saying since the chongqing exposes in chinese media last month that the odds Bo gets a ride in the lethal injection van are higher than many assume// “We have always had severe punishment for corrupt officials,” Mr. Li [Jingtian] said during the interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, in response to a question about the fate of Mr. Bo. Such interviews are rare for senior party officials. He cited the examples of Liu Qingshan and Zhang Zishan, two leaders in the party’s early days who were executed in the 1950s following accusations of embezzlement and other crimes in one of the party’s first anticorruption campaigns.

Apple’s China dilemma: market share or cachet? | Reutersa high-end phone 2 years ago is a low-end one today. market seeing massive feature and price compression (China manufactures most of world’s smartphones after all), it will be increasing hard for Apple to differentiate, especially since it does not have the content/iTunes ecosystem lockin it has in other markets, but never will in China given consumer behaviors. And given shift in market, and rise of Samsung, it has far less leverage with China Mobile than it once might have. Basically all my Beijing friends with smartphones are not interested in the iPhone 5, even though many have the 4s. it has been a stunningly rapidly shift in my little world…but that is how fashion works, and a phone in china is fundamentally a fashion accessory, and the iPhone 5 is a relative fashion flop // Apple’s best plan of attack remains securing a deal with the country’s top mobile carrier by far, China Mobile Ltd. It also needs to push the development of more localized apps and extend installment financing to bring its pricey smartphones within the reach of an urban populace with an average annual income of just $3,500. But it should resist the temptation to just put out a cheaper iPhone, some analysts say. Introducing a long-rumored lower-cost version of the gadget could backfire by diluting Apple’s premium brand – one of its most valuable assets. “If you think of Apple, it’s like a bright star in the galaxy, shining so brightly and everyone is looking at it. But it might have dimmed a bit as other stars such as Samsung have popped up,” said TZ Wong, an analyst at research firm IDC.

Lenovo Says RIM Bid Among Options to Boost Mobile Unit – Bloomberg - any possible deal unlikely to be approved, though that will not stop hyperventilating by bankers and RIM bulls// Acquiring RIM would require approval from Canadian and U.S. regulators because of the size of the transaction and the fact that the company operates secure mobile networks for government agencies. Canadian Industry Minister Christian Paradis said this week that he would prefer RIM to grow “organically.”

Sen. Kerry’s Approach to China as Secretary of State | Center for American Progress - Nina Hachigian | January 24, 2013–Some issues in the U.S.-China relationship need immediate attention. Foremost among them is the dispute between Japan and China over the Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands, which is becoming increasingly tense and dangerous. Sen. Kerry and his team would be wise to devote considerable energy to determining how the United States can help diffuse the situation. Beyond the immediate issues, a broader aspect of U.S. policy toward China needs attention: The United States and China have no shared vision for what their future bilateral relationship could or should look like. They have not articulated a clear understanding of how they could continue to co-exist in peace a decade or two down the road, and they need to develop a shared, tangible idea for the future of the relationship.

Auditors named in Caterpillar-ERA debacle – FT.com - two bad the partners who own the relationship with the firms that go bad are never named. investors would benefit from an accounting malpractice database// Two of the world’s top accounting firms helped conduct due diligence last year for Caterpillar’s $886m acquisition of ERA, the Chinese mining equipment maker that was later alleged to have accounting irregularities. Deloitte and Ernst & Young conducted due diligence for the transaction, according to two sources close to the deal. Deloitte audited the working capital for ERA, while Ernst & Young conducted overall due diligence, one of these people said.

Cleaning Up China’s Secret Police Sleuthing – Caixin - Wiretapping, email hacking, cell phone tracking and secret videotaping are just a few of the cloak-and-dagger techniques long employed by police in the course of criminal investigations in China. But now, for the first time, police officers applying for permission to employ these so-called “technological investigation measures” will be subject to “rigorous” reviews, without saying by whom. The stricter rules were written into an amendment to the Criminal Procedures Code that took effect January 1. Details were spelled out in complementary regulation documents recently released by the Ministry of Public Security, the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the People’s Supreme Court…And authorities have been known to overstep the bounds. Last October, for example the director of public security in the city of Taiyuan, Li Yali, tapped his agency’s power of secrecy to spare his son judicial discipline after he was arrested for drunk driving

Japan-China Crisis Is A Huge Geopolitical Problem – Business Insider -Henry Blodget interview w Ian Bremmer– Blodget: So what happens if we get exactly that. A Japanese plane shoots tracers at a Chinese plane. The Chinese plane responds and shoots down the Japanese plane. What happens? Bremmer: Well, first of all, you’re gonna see a cut-off of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The ambassadors of course, will immediately be withdrawn. Not complete secession, but that’s the first thing that happens. You’ll see anti-Chinese and anti-Japanese across the board. You’ll see some violence. There will probably be Japanese ex-pats living in China that will be roughed up and killed. Japanese exposure in China which has already taken a beating would be considered unsustainable. Japanese companies would be leaving China in droves.

《平安乐清》 English Subtitles – YouTube An investigation concerning the Qian Yunhui incident in Yueqing.  对乐清钱云会事件的调查。by Ai Weiwei

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Las Vegas Sands Tightens Safeguards Against Money-Laundering – WSJ.com- Casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. LVS -1.05% has stopped executing international money transfers for its high-rolling customers and is overhauling its compliance procedures as it faces scrutiny from U.S. and international regulators, people familiar with the matter said. The move comes as Sands continues to be the subject of a money-laundering probe from U.S. authorities, according to people familiar with the matter. In addition, U.S. anti-money-laundering regulators are examining the casino industry and considering proposing stricter rules, according to Treasury Department officials. Sands has recently hired three former FBI agents to strengthen anti-money-laundering efforts and improve the background checks the company does on VIP customers and junket operators, the people familiar with the matter said.

China Economic Watch | China Rebalancing Update—Q4 2012 - Overall: The outlook for Chinese economic rebalancing has worsened modestly as compared to the third quarter. The growth of loans to small enterprises slowed slightly relative to overall enterprise loans. The tertiary sector failed to outpace the growth of the secondary sector when adjusted for inflation. Overall, things are moving in the right direction on most fronts, but at a glacial pace. The slow rate of reform is at odds with the urgent rhetoric that policymakers use when describing the necessity of economic rebalancing. The nascent recovery that appears to have taken hold in the fourth quarter will actually be detrimental to rebalancing if it relies on investment to power growth.

China Economic Watch | A Shrinking Leviathan: State Employment in China Looms Smaller Than Expected - Although the number of state workers is large in absolute terms, relative to size of China’s labor force, state employment is not only small but shrinking. Since 1999, China’s state employment has fallen from 13.6 percent of total urban and rural employment to 10.2 percent of total employment in 2009. The key explanation for this decline is the continued consolidation of the state-owned enterprise sector since the late 1990s. State-owned enterprises and state-controlled enterprise employment fell by 37 percent between 1999 and 2009. In contrast to the prevailing view of rising state influence in the Hu and Wen administration, the number of state employees continued to fall during most of their administration, down 25 percent between 2002 and 2009…Even if China’s state sector employment were to increase in the future, it would be in line with established norms in economic development. More importantly, this data suggests there is little validity in the assumption that the state dominates employment in China any more so than any other country at a similar per capita income level.

China’s Q4 property loans accelerates |Economy |chinadaily.com.cn - Loans to the Chinese property sector accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2012 as the industry showed signs of recovering, according to official figures released Thursday. Outstanding yuan-denominated lending from Chinese and foreign financial institutions to the property sector increased 12.8 percent year on year to 12.11 trillion yuan (1.93 trillion U.S. dollars) at the end of 2012, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), the country’s central bank, said in a statement. The growth rate was 0.6 percentage points higher than that recorded at the end of the third quarter, the PBOC said.

Lion Fund Says Buy China Stocks That Tap Urbanization – Bloomberg - Lion Fund Management Co., the $7.5 billion money manager that led Chinese investors into gold exchange-traded products, said the best returns in 2013 will come from stocks that tap the migration of farmers to the city. Demand for building materials, home appliances and property will benefit as Li Keqiang, set to become China’s new premier in March, promotes urbanization to drive economic growth that’s showing signs of accelerating after a two-year slowdown, Lion’s Chief Executive Officer, Ao Chengwen, said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Jan. 23.

影子银行:“错判”也会付出代价-中国金融新闻网discussion of recent comments by Zhou Xiaochuan about why China’s shadow banking system from that of other countries’// 对于喧嚣了数年的中国影子银行,中国人民银行行长周小川的回答应该可以对这个问题盖棺定论了。周小川表示,最近国际有些媒体对中国的影子银行议论比较多,在这方面可能有理解上的问题。中国也像其他许多国家一样,会有影子银行,但是我国影子银行的性质和规模实际上要比本次金融危机中发达国家所暴露出来的影子银行业务,从规模到问题都要小得多。另外,金融服务也确实需要多样化,过去传统银行对有些服务是不太容易提供的,所以就会有其他多样化的服务产生,这也是不可避免的。银行是承担风险的,也是经营风险的,所以风险也会向其他的非银行金融机构转移,这也是必然的。但在中国,绝大多数非银行金融机构的金融活动多数都处在监管之下,而不是像有些国家那样完全脱离了监管。因此对当前的情况要作出一个正确的判断。

人民日报:地产商鼓吹涨价干扰调控 带利益动机_国内财经_新浪财经_新浪网- 对于“坚持房地产调控不动摇”的政策,张茉楠认为,要提高政策执行力,如今一些地方政府在执行上比较松,容易形成上下两张皮。同时,她指出,还要加大供给,把存量释放一部分,并且针对不同需求细分市场,富人可以买高档房,给中低收入人群要提供价格合理的住房。还要从土地、金融保障等方面形成系统的房地产调控政策,加大保障房供给。“媒体也负有一定责任,因为百姓获取信息主要是从媒体、地产商那里获得的。”张茉楠指出. 专家建议,有关部门应对个别媒体不负责任地推波助澜和放大事实的报道进行严惩,对忽悠消费者和误导市场的有关当事人应追究相关责任。

去年九成多发债主体评级上调遭质疑 新华社——经济参考网credit ratings in China not to be trusted…dog bites man…//业内人士称,根源在发行人付费模式,应建有效评级机构监督机制 在2012年经济增速放缓和债券市场频发信用风险背景下,发债主体却出现了一边倒的信用等级上调。《经济参考报》记者近日从中债资信评级研讨会上获得的数据显示,2012年我国信用债主体等级变动186家,其中等级上调175家,占等级变动的94%。对此,业内人士表示,在发行人付费模式下,评级公司为抢市场会推高企业主体评级,应警惕背后债市违约风险。

Short-Seller Attacks Highlight Chinese Companies Social Media Shortcomings – Forbes - This guest post was written by Justin Knapp, an investor relations professional in China and director of Ogilvy Public Relations, China Outbound Practice in Beijing. //By the end of last year, one of the most frequently asked questions I received from the management teams of U.S.-listed Chinese companies was, “How do we defend ourselves against a short-seller attack?” Anyone who has ever played sports will be familiar with the old maxim: The best defense is a good offense. Chinese companies can’t stand on the sidelines and hope their investment thesis holds strong. They need to change their behavior and communicate effectively.

Railways Ministry Meets Investment Target for 2012 – Caixin - The Ministry of Railways says that fixed-asset investment in December totaled 124 billion yuan, up 51.6 percent from November and enough to help it meet its annual target. Total fixed-asset investment in railways for the year was 630.9 billion yuan, the ministry said, jumping 7 percent from 2011. Some 518.5 billion yuan of that was investment in infrastructure. The figure for December was the highest monthly figure of the year. The ministry had set a target for annual fixed-asset at 630 billion yuan, but over the first eight months the total was just 271.5 billion yuan. However, starting in September the monthly figures soared.//and GDP growth recovered…

Tips for Companies That Want to Sell in China – NYTimes.com Like many American businesses fighting to keep their prices competitive, Vision Quest Lighting turned to China about six years ago. It now imports about a sixth of the two dozen to three dozen parts required to make its lighting fixtures from there. Recently, however, the Long Island company began to see China in a different light: as a sales target. The growing economy of the world’s most populous nation made it ripe for Vision Quest’s architectural lighting fixtures, many custom-made for hotel and restaurant chains like Hilton and KFC.

Financial Crisis Suit Suggests Bad Behavior at Morgan Stanley – NYTimes.com which Chinese bank? nothing like screwing people who are also your investors// On March 16, 2007, Morgan Stanley employees working on one of the toxic assets that helped blow up the world economy discussed what to name it. Among the team members’ suggestions: “Subprime Meltdown,” “Hitman,” “Nuclear Holocaust” and “Mike Tyson’s Punchout,” as well a simple yet direct reference to a bag of excrement. Ha ha. Those hilarious investment bankers. Then they gave it its real name and sold it to a Chinese bank.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

Officials Offload Property translation of earlier Economic Observer article about CDIC report that triggered recent reporting//Luxury properties are being dumped on the market in Shanghai, Guangzhou and other cities as panicked officials try to cover their tracks ahead of the introduction of a new database that will store information on property holdings across the country.

媒体称上海公务员降价百万元抛售豪宅_网易新闻中心   shanghai officials have sold 4755 luxury apartments recently, some at big discounts, per CDIC report, warnings that risks of these transactions high, sellers and buyers could see properties frozen// 核心提示:近日有媒体称,在寸土寸金的上海陆家嘴,一套159平米、市场价680万元的“公务员房”却挂出了565万元的售价,降幅达20%,而据中纪委通报,目前上海官员已抛售豪华住宅4755套,排全国第二。

The Yueqing Incident and Graeme Smith’s Essay “Political Machinations in a Rural County” Sinocism Jan 2011– China’s Communist Party has approximately 78 million members. If you assume that each member provides for 2-6 people, you have anywhere from 156 million to 468 million people who rely on the graces of the Party for their livelihoods (2-6 is a SWAG on my part; the number could easily be higher.) With so many people benefiting, the system is more stable than many observers assume. But that is also why corruption will never be eradicated; take away the monetary benefits and peoples’ attitudes may change quickly.

反腐总动员 习近平的“笼子”如何装下权力?_多维新闻网 因此,“把权力关在笼中”并非仅仅是一个政治姿态,重要的是如何“关”。“南都”称,与35年前号召经济建设大有区别的是,在如今号召反腐,并不能形成对官员的利益激励,而仅能形成一种风险压力。在巨大利益面前,官员自然趋之若鹜,但在压力面前,如果压力不够,那么效果也将大打折扣。

反腐揭开官场腐败惊人乱象 倒逼习王启动第二阶段_多维新闻网  另一方面,贪腐官员的集体恐慌将中国官场腐败的严重程度暴露在了中共高层及中国民众的眼中。在国内矛盾和各种问题日渐突出的今天,如果习近平不能有效解决中共党内的腐败问题,不仅将来难以凭借这支队伍完成各项国家建设目标,乃至实现“中国梦”,而且任凭腐败长期发展下去,必然将危及中共的执政地位和合法性,这对中共将造成真正的“致命伤害”。或许正是出于这种考虑,习近平才不得不强势启动反腐第二阶段,将反腐进行到底。

观察站:再见 政治老人_多维新闻网   综合上述三个事件或许可以基本判定,从今天开始的中国政坛上,江、胡将彻底退出,“老人干政”在短时间内不会左右中国政治,政治意义上的“习近平时代”正式开启。

人民日报-国资委:支持收入分配改革 专家认为,央企高管“组织人、市场价”和“名义收入”应规范 SASAC says it supports income distribution reform…

许小年:放开媒体管制 让百姓参与改革-财经网 - Caijing has some of the most interesting commentaries..this one from xu xiaonian on need to loosen media controls to allow the people to participate in reform// 许小年认为,执政党要把民众吸纳到改革的推动和改革的讨论中来,否则单靠执政党没有办法克服来自于既得利益的阻力,必须依靠民众,而媒体开放是民众参与改革最直接的渠道

Commentary: CPC will not tolerate defiance of discipline – Xinhua | English.news.cn- For the CPC, clear and strict political discipline has been a glorious tradition and a distinct advantage. However, there are still some CPC members and officials who have failed to observe such discipline. Some of them make irresponsible remarks about major political issues; some pretend to be in agreement with the decisions of the Central Committee but are actually at odds; others tend to say whatever they like to say and do whatever they want to do. Last year’s scandal involving Bo Xilai, a former member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, as well as actions committed by his crony Wang Lijun, are cases that fall into the latter category. CPC organizations and officials at all levels must abide by the party’s Constitution and be politically compatible with the Central Committee in both thought and action. The CPC will never tolerate any compromise made by officials or departments in carrying out decisions made by the Central Committee.

CPC sends inspectors to provincial elections – Xinhua | English.news.cn- The Communist Party of China (CPC) has sent inspection teams across the country to supervise ongoing elections of provincial authorities and ward off corruption in these power reshuffles. Legislatures and political advisory bodies of the 31 provincial regions will elect governors or mayors for the regions, as well as heads of provincial legislatures and political advisory bodies during their annual sessions.

重庆11名厅局级官员涉不雅视频被免职_网易新闻中心 - 11 Chongqing officials removed from their posts over revealing videotapes of them w women who were not their wives// 核心提示:记者1月24日获悉,重庆九龙坡区委书记彭智勇、重庆市地产集团董事长周天云等10名党政干部、国有企业负责人被免职,此批人员免职原因系涉及不雅视频。再加上此前的雷政富,重庆已经有11名厅级官员涉不雅视频事件被免职。

Wife sacked amid graft probe — Shanghai Daily- THE wife of the dismissed deputy Party secretary of southwestern Sichuan Province has been removed from her position at the Chengdu branch of the Red Cross Society of China. An unnamed official with Chengdu Red Cross said Qu Songzhi had not been at work since her husband Li Chuncheng was put under investigation.

China’s reformers within | South China Morning Post- This narrow desire for black-and-white opposition politics risks overshadowing the efforts of a new generation of Chinese reformists who manoeuvre within official channels to push forward reform. A man who typifies this generation is Yu Jianrong, a 50-year-old scholar at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He was named in Foreign Policy magazine’s list of Top 100 Global Thinkers “for daring to be specific about how to change China”. It followed his publication of a 10-year plan for China’s social and political reform on the Chinese weibo.

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Senior officials urge calm over islands dispute[1]|chinadaily.com.cn - As the waters witness more standoffs between vessels and aircraft from both sides, the risk of a potential conflict is rising. Yet “both sides know really well that major combat cannot bring a resolution to the issue”, said Zhang Tuosheng, a researcher at the China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies.

Japan urged to make moves to mend China ties | South China Morning Post- would probably be a positive sign if Xi meets with him today//Senior officials in Beijing yesterday responded for the first time to new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s hawkish rhetoric in the territorial dispute over the East China Sea by urging Tokyo to take “positive steps” to mend ties. Top officials in Beijing said the appeal was made in talks between Abe’s special envoy Natsuo Yamaguchi and two officials from the party’s International Department, Wang Jiarui and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi , aimed at easing tensions over rival claims to the islands China calls the Diaoyus and Japan the Senkakus.

Japan Coast Guard chases off Taiwanese protest boat near Senkakus – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun- In a spectacular ship chase using water cannon, Japan Coast Guard vessels drove out a Taiwanese protest ship from the contiguous zone off Japanese territorial waters around the disputed Senkaku Islands on Jan. 24. The ship was spotted about 33 kilometers west-southwest of Uotsurishima island in the East China Sea around 11:40 a.m.

中国军网_范长龙出席国防大学2012学年冬季毕业典礼时强调 深入学习贯彻习主席一系列重要指示 努力建设一支听党指挥能打胜仗作风优良的人民军队 张阳一同出席 -

人民日报-中俄关系的内生动力(国际论坛) 冯玉军 - People’s Daily Comment on Sino-Russia relations// 在国际层面,中俄两国战略协作引领健康思维、塑造安全秩序、与国际伙伴一起共同应对全球性挑战。进一步激发上海合作组织的活力,使其成为维护地区安全稳定、促进经济发展、推动文明对话的战略性平台,这将是中俄战略协作的一个重要方面。(作者为中国现代国际关系研究院俄罗斯研究所所长、研究员)

Russia, China Working On Deal Despite Property Rights Trouble | Defense News | defensenews.com- However, China and Russia have been discussing these acquisitions for quite some time, and “they have until recently not made much progress because of the deep lack of trust that Russia has with China about their prior track record in unauthorized reverse engineering and other IPR infractions,” said Tai Ming Cheung, author of the book “Fortifying China” and a researcher under the Pentagon’s Minerva Initiative. The recent change of heart in Moscow could have more to do with “broader geopolitical considerations at play that may trump the strong reservations that the Russian defense industry would have in selling their advanced arms to China,” Cheung said.

Arctic melt brings new opportunities – People’s Daily Online - The annual conference of Arctic Frontiers, the world’s largest arctic affairs forum, kicked off in Tromso in northern Norway on Jan. 21. The delegates said that the warming of Arctic might bring a lot of opportunities, but a common issue faced by both the arctic and non-arctic countries is how to carry out the resource development and other economic activities on the premise of protecting Arctic environment.

中国科考船雪龙号访问塔斯马尼亚_唐咏北_博联社 - nice pictures from the Snow Dragon’s visit to Tasmania…this is more effective soft power

 

HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

Redefining the Meaning of ‘Chinese’ – NYTimes  “What Taiwan says is that there is nothing immutable about being Chinese, and there are a lot of other ways of thinking about being Chinese that are beyond the nationalism of the People’s Republic of China,” Dr. Harrison said. That model could eventually convince ethnic minorities that they are truly equal members of the Chinese state.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

“Cloud Atlas” Cut by 38 Minutes for China Audience – ABC News- Nearly 40 minutes have been chopped from the Hollywood film “Cloud Atlas” for Chinese audiences, deleting both gay and straight love scenes to satisfy local censors despite a movie-going public that increasingly chafes at censorship. It premiered Tuesday in Beijing in a red-carpet ceremony with actor Hugo Weaving and China’s own Zhou Xun, but won’t start running in Chinese theaters until next Thursday. The filmmaker’s Chinese partners have slashed that version from the U.S. runtime of 172 minutes to a pared-down 134 to expunge the “passionate” episodes.

传马云现持房产总值5亿到10亿元 曾鼓励员工不买房_科技频道_凤凰网 - rumors that Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma owns 500m-1B worth of real estate even tough he has encouraged his workers to not buy property…

马云欲千亿建电商物流 目标全国任何地区24小时内送达_科技频道_凤凰网 - Alibaba to spend 100B RMB to build logistics network, goal to be able to deliver anything anywhere in China within 24 hours

Focus Media Says SEC Probes Possible Securities Violation – Bloomberg - started almost 11 months ago..buyout firms would know all about this, unlikely to derail going private deal// Focus Media Holding Ltd. (FMCN) said the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is probing potential “violations” of securities law, with special attention to purchases and resales of companies including Allyes Online Media Holding. The Shanghai-based advertising company is cooperating with the SEC, it said in a regulatory filing on Jan. 18 about its going-private transaction with Carlyle Group LP and other firms. “On March 14, 2012, the SEC informed the company that it was initiating a non-public investigation into whether there had been any violations of the federal securities laws,” it said in the filing. “The SEC advised the company that the existence of the investigation should not be construed as an indication by the SEC or its staff that the company or any of its officers or directors had violated any of the federal securities laws,” it said.

Tencent’s WeChat looking to enter SA market with a bang | memeburn - 30%+ Tencent shareholder Naspers/MIH can help//This is potentially very big. Chinese internet giant is looking to take its massively successful instant messaging service WeChat to South Africa, where it will take on the likes of Mxit, Africa’s largest mobile social network.

Foxconn Workers Strike Again in a Row over Pay: Media-Caijing - Nearly a thousand workers at a Foxconn factory in Beijing held a strike on Tuesday over pay dissatisfaction following a similar strike only ten days ago at a Jiangxi factory, according to media reports. Some senior executives were under siege at a factory restaurant by the workers who hold a grudge after they found they would get no annual bonus before the traditional Chinese New Year approaches, and that there would be no pay rises in the coming year, theifeng.com reported. Riots continued into late that day, with live pictures disseminating on the mainland’s social networking platforms. Armed police were reportedly deployed to prevent from any escalation at the factory in Yizhuang Economic Development Zone in South Beijing’s Daxing District.

The Two Things That Worried Me From Last Night’s Apple Earnings Call – Forbes- 2. China. Tim Cook talked last night about the growth Apple enjoyed in China in the quarter.  iPhone sales were up triple digits compared to last year. It sounds good, and Apple has been beating the drum on the importance of China to it for the past few years now. However, Apple’s greater China revenues were 13.4% of its quarterly revenues announced yesterday.  That’s down from 20% earlier in 2012.  China, as percentage of Apple’s overall geographies, is half as important today compared to less than a year ago.  Why? Apple has an attitude among senior management of “never letting them see you sweat.” But I think Tim Cook’s recent trip to China and Phil Schiller’s interview with a Shanghai newspaper were two clear indications that Apple is sweating about China.

Nokia: pain again in China | beyondbrics- Every big mobile company wants to do well in China and Nokia is no exception, having partnered with China Telecom to sell a customised version of its Lumia phone. In the third quarter, analysts were prepared to give the company time. So now its Q4 numbers are in, how are China sales doing? In a word: badly. Handset sales in China tumbled from 15.9m in Q2 to 5.8m in Q3. And in Q4? Nokia sold just 4.6m phones, a fall of more than a fifth or, if you prefer a yearly comparison, down 69 per cent from 14.7m devices in Q4 2011

Check Out 3 Years of Stunning 3G Growth in China [CHART]   China has just reached 233.44 million 3G subscribers across its three mobile telcos. Digging back through the self-reported stats for each, I noticed that the end of 2009 is the earliest firm data point for all companies involved, so let’s take a look at three years of stunning 3G growth in China. The newest numbers for 2012 Q4 show that China Mobile (NYSE:CHL; HKG:0941) is up to 87.93 million on its 3G network, closely followed by China Unicom (NYSE:CHU; HKG:0762) with 76.46 million, and China Telecom (NYSE:CHA; HKG:0728) with 69.05 million. It’s all quite equal (see graph below), and growing at a steady rate.

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

7-star nursing home opens in Haikou[1]|chinadaily.com.cn - very cheap compared to US// A view of China’s first seven-star nursing home in Haikou, capital of South China’s Hainan province, Jan 22, 2013. Offering tailored services for seniors, Gongheyuan is the most expensive nursing home in the province, charging 7,980 ($1,283 dollars) to 15,200 ($2,444 dollars) yuan per month.

复旦政治学教授邓正来逝世-中国政治发展 - @凤凰周刊:【著名学者邓正来今晨因胃癌去世,曾将哈耶克引进中国】著名法学家、政治学家,复旦高研院创院院长邓正来今晨逝世,享年56岁。历史学者马勇在微博中说:“邓正来教授是这个时代、这个年龄段最有故事的学者。体制内、体制外,启蒙、革命、改良,民主、威权、转型,学术自救,学在民间。”

Fewer Chinese overseas students staying abroad – Xinhua | English.news.cn- Statistics from the Ministry of Education underline Chinese overseas students’ willingness to return home. Out of 2.24 million overseas students from 1978 to 2011, 818,400 had returned after studies. Among those who had returned, more than half, or 429,300, had done so in just three years from 2009 to 2011. And 2011 alone registered 186,200 returned students.

Daxing locals in dash for airport compensation cash – Globaltimes.cn- Plans were first announced for a possible new international airport in the district in April 2009, according to the People’s Daily Online, but it was not officially approved by the State Council until the end of 2012. This did not stop residents in villages like Nangezhuang, Dongzhuangying and Lixian from enlarging their homes, either by expanding outwards, or adding new stories, or even building whole new houses and villas. Li Yonghui, spokesman with Daxing district government, told the Global Times Tuesday that the demolition, which will involve over 20 villages, has not yet begun. “We’ve been inspecting these illegally built houses for several years to avoid people enlarging their homes to get more compensation,” he said.

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

Ban lifted on controversial Nu River dam projects | South China Morning Post- Beijing has decided to reopen controversial plans to dam the Nu River in Yunnan province – eight years after Premier Wen Jiabao suspended the plans out of environmental concerns. The decision was mentioned in a 2011-15 energy-sector blueprint that was released by the State Council late on Wednesday night, sparking criticism about a lack of openness in the decision on the dams.

Saab Hometown Prays for Revival With China Electric Push – Bloomberg - The new owners aim to supply China with electric vehicles. After adding the 9-3X wagon later this year and electrics based on the 9-3 in 2014, the goal is to produce 120,000 cars a year by 2016, according to the letter from National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, or Nevs, which bought Saab out of bankruptcy last August. That target would come close to the brand’s 2006 peak of 133,000 autos. “The likelihood of this project turning into a success is very small,” said Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, director of the Center for Automotive Research at Germany’s University of Duisburg-Essen. “Even in China, selling electric cars is a very difficult business.”

New on Beijing skyline: pollution domes | beyondbrics who has the contract to sell these, and where are they made?// The latest trend at Beijing’s posh international schools is pollution domes—giant pressurised canopies that can cover sports fields, playgrounds or tennis courts—so that children can have recess and play sports outside without breathing the toxic air.  The International School of Beijing, an elite K-12 day school where tuition runs as high as $35,000 per year, just inaugurated two new pollution domes this week (although the school prefers to call them “sports domes”).

 

JOBS AND EVENTS

Asia Society Online Looking for Spring 2013 Interns | Asia Society - Asia Society, a leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships between Asia and the United States, is looking for talented interns to assist its New York online team in the following categories: online reporting, multimedia production, social media and basic site maintenance and administration. NOTE: To be eligible for this internship, applicants must be based in the New York City area.

Urgent: Casting middle easterners to play ” bad guys ” (Beijing) - We are casting for middle easterns to play ” bad guys ” in a prologue for a hollywood feature film. Actor should be 28-40 years old with a hardened aggressive look. Need some basic acting skills. //wonder which hollywood film

Subscribe to the Sinocism China Newsletter email. Free