We are back in Beijing, apologies for no newsletter Thursday but it was a long travel day.
The Chinese New Year holiday starts today. As the news flow out of China is likely to be very light over the next 5-6 days I will probably not publish for the next few days. As always you can follow Twitter @niubi for updates.
Thanks everyone for a great year. Feel free to send me a “red envelope” by supporting Sinocism. It is a nice tradition…
Today’s commentary is from two years ago. I thought it would be interesting to read my February 8, 2011 post about the Jasmine Revolution in China. I got some things right and some things wrong but what I think is most valuable is the sense of perspective as two years ago many were saying the situation in China was increasingly untenable and change was imminent…
Here is the 2011 post Will Unrest In Egypt Strengthen The Chinese Government?:
Apologies for disagreeing with the wishful thinking of the folks at the Wall Street Journal editorial page–China Isn’t Immune to Nile Fever–but I expect that the protests in Egypt will end up strengthening the Chinese government.
To oversimplify, the Chinese Communist Party is focused on three basic things. First, staying in power. Second, driving the “Great Chinese Renaissance” and all that entails, from improving standards of living to expanding global influence. Third, getting rich, both personally and as a way of maintaining loyalty to the system, so long as it does not threaten the first and second principles.
The longer the Egyptian protests continue, and the greater the chaos and economic damage they bring, the easier the job gets for the propaganda organs in China. Egypt looks like a broken, Third World country, which is not what most Chinese aspire to. See Austin Ramzy’s article in Time Magazine–China: Why Egypt’s Uprising Hardly Stirs Chinese Citizens–for a good discussion of this point.
To the extent that the Chinese security services needed a reminder to stay vigilant, they have one. And they also have a very clear roadmap of how activists can use the Internet and social media like Facebook and Twitter to help catalyze political opposition. They will likely both increase their scrutiny of the Internet, especially “web 2.0″ services, and have even more budgetary resources allocated to their online and offline efforts. The Egypt protests will probably dash Facebook’s hopes for a China entry, no matter how much they compromise.
The Chinese leaders are not stupid; quite the opposite in fact. They know that inflation, unaffordable housing, labor issues and corruption are huge problems that may ultimately threaten their rule. Various special interest groups (such as real estate developers, local governments and SOEs) have grown quite powerful and have thwarted progress on some of these issues, especially real estate and further economic liberalization. But the Party has proven itself amazingly resilient over the last six decades, and most analysts underestimate its ability to adapt and neutralize both external and internal threats to its rule.
Egypt may turn out to be the catalyst that leads to the reigning in of the special interest groups that hamper further economic reform and threaten both future economic growth and regime stability. Yes these groups are powerful and have representatives at the highest levels of power, but ultimately no one and no group will be allowed to threaten the Party’s rule.
Note that I make no mention of Western-style political reform. That is not in the cards, and in fact the propaganda apparatus is using the chaos in Egypt to further deposition Western-style political reform as a contributor to instability.
I wish you and your family a very happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Snake.
THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
前所未有的大变局 对世界战略形势和我国家安全环境的认识与思考 发布时间：2013年01月21日 09:04 来源：学习时报 作者：戚建国 – this from Qi Jianguo in Study Times is important, one of my very astute readers tells me. Hope someone translates it// 当今世界，国际战略格局正在发生第二次世界大战以来最深刻的变化。习主席指出，“国际体系进入加速演变和深度调整时期”，“这个大变局，可以说是前所未有的”。“大变局”的重大战略思想，是对世界战略格局演变的科学判断，是对我国安全环境的总体把握，也是对加速推进世界多极化进程的战略构想。大变局呼唤大变革，大调整推动大发展。当前，世界战略形势的深刻变化正在进入一个加速发展时期。主要体现在以下五个方面：
Vipers and Beasts in the Year of the Little Dragon | The China Story – Barme// A general wariness surrounds the Snake, one of the twelve zoological signs of the traditional Chinese calendar, and not only because the reptile inspires fear and repulsion. The Chinese word ‘snake’ she 蛇 is homophonous with she 折 ‘to break’ or ‘lose’. Business people in particular regard the snake with some trepidation since she ben 折本, ‘diminished capital’, hardly chimes with the usual New Year’s benedictions to make money 发财 and enjoy good fortune 吉利. Even greater is the anxiety that things may start out with a ‘lion’s head only to end in a snake’s tail’ 虎头蛇尾. People attempt to ward off maledictions by employing sayings about ‘not losing out in the Year of the Snake’ 绝不蛇本 or ‘hoping for the Golden Snake [of wealth] to come out of its hole’ 金蛇出洞. In recent years, bureaucrats too have become increasingly wary of any ominous snake that may she, break or foreshorten, their ‘progress along the path to official success’ 官运 resulting in a side-tracked career or even abject failure.
The Myth of Xi Jinping’s “New” Leadership-Peter Mattis-The Diplomat– For the practically-oriented “get things done in China” crowd, the vagaries of Politburo Standing Committee policymaking mean that understanding the Chinese government is far more important than understanding China’s newest president. Speculating what Xi’s nationalism means or whether he is reformer is far less valuable than reading about the making of Chinese industrial policy or the nuts-and-bolts of how to make contracts enforceable—or understanding the relationship (or sometimes lack thereof) between Chinese government and business, and why that affects a foreign company’s ability to be successful in a specific locality. Xi Jinping already was a leader. He is not new to the top and the “ground floor” was long ago. Now is the time to focus on understanding how he affects the system below, how he can build his own political base, and how he can wield power.
Rubber chickens, ostrich heads ease China’s rough ride home | Video | Reuters.com – fun video, I want the ostrich head pillow// Millions of Chinese are heading home for the holidays, and social media is abuzz with wacky inventions that promise to make the grueling journey more comfortable. Jane Lee puts a few to the test.
Closer Look: The Link between SOHO’s Slumping Shares and China’s Unwritten Rules – Caixin – A link between “House Sister” Gong Aiai and Pan Shiyi, the chairman of SOHO China, has become a hot topic on the Web in China. It has also caused the share price of the major property developer to fall 8.6 percent to HK$ 6.28 on February 6. Gong’s story is an illustration of China’s unwritten rules, namely that a back door can be used to get around the law in any field, in this case the real estate sector. The fact is that for the privileged and rich this back door is an entrance to huge personal gain. Industry analysts said that the slump of SOHO’s shares was the result of several concerns by investors. First, the leak of Gong’s purchase information is a sign there is a problem with the company’s management and investors have reason to be worried about the safety of their data. Also, the fact that SOHO China is involved in the Gong scandal compromises its image. Finally, authorities may tighten rules, preventing potential clients from buying from SOHO.
Eye-Stinging Beijing Air Risks Lifelong Harm to Babies – Bloomberg – As doctors tended the patients snaking through the ground floor of Beijing Children’s Hospital last week, it wasn’t the raspy throats and watery eyes caused by the city’s acrid air that concerned Li Pu most. It was the potential for lifelong lung damage and behavioral changes. Li, a pediatrician focusing on early childhood development, is finding evidence of the cumulative toxic effect that pollution is having on children. It suggests that the acute sickness triggered this year by some of Beijing’s worst smog- cloaked days may be a prelude of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, decades later.
Will Xi Jinping open a Weibo account? Chinese netizens speculate | Offbeat China – Nevertheless, this thought that Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful man, might open a Weibo account fancies a lot of netizens. Reactions vary from warm welcomes to bitter cynicism.//love this picture. China Development Bank head Chen Yuan is in the picture, from an Australia trip a couple of years ago suggests another very astute reader. any idea who the foreigner is? I have a couple of lunch bets that Xi will open a Weibo account by the end of the NPC…
Failure of Trusts Sends Ripples through Industry – Caixin – For many trust investors in China, losing money did not even seem to be a real possibility because of the implicit repayment guarantee by trust companies. They probably need to reconsider. This is particularly true for those who bet on two trust products sold by Citic Trust Co., the nation’s largest trust company in terms of asset value. In a rare move, the firm has refused to guarantee any type of payment to investors when the trusts ran into problems. Instead, it has taken legal steps against the borrowers behind the trust loans, and said that this was investors’ last hope of getting their money back.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
China Signals Faster Push to Tackle Income Gap – WSJ.com– The publication of the plan Tuesday was nearly as important as the particulars, said some involved in the effort. They included using more of the profits of state-owned firms to pay for welfare programs, boost the lowest incomes and take steps to let depositors earn more on their savings. It “shows the leadership is very interested in reform,” said Qi Jingmei, a research fellow for the State Information Center, a government think tank, who has tracked the inequality plan for years. “I think they’ll move fast.”
China Holiday Sales Seen Gaining as Economy Strengthens – Bloomberg – Even with the promotions, a clampdown by China on lavish gifting may damp sales of high-end luxury products, said Ka Leong Lo, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Religare Capital Markets. China’s television watchdog has ordered all radio and television channels to cut advertisements suggesting “gift- giving,” in line with a broader push to limit corruption and excessive spending, the country’s Xinhua news service has reported. Money may flow into mid-end items priced below 10,000 yuan instead, according to Lo. Snackmaker Want Want China Holdings Ltd. may be a possible beneficiary of holiday spending on food, he said.
Macau Casinos Get Lucky Money Ahead of Lunar New Year – Bloomberg – Gamblers booked into Macau resorts over the Lunar New Year can already count themselves lucky as accommodations are sold out, boosting revenue for operators including billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Sands China Ltd. Seventeen major casino hotels in the world’s biggest gambling hub were fully-booked for Feb. 12-14 for the weeklong Chinese holiday that begins on Feb. 10, according to Karen Tang, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Deutsche Bank AG. The surge may help boost monthly casino revenue 15 percent from a year earlier to $27.9 billion patacas ($3.5 billion), she said
上海二手住宅1月成交火爆_财经频道_一财网 – big surge in secondary home sales in ahanghai in january// 2013年1月，全市二手房共计成交22605套，环比下跌8.3%，同比上涨443.1%，创造了历年1月二手房成交的最高纪录。
China’s big step in rural reform; mapping tiny plots of farm land | Reuters – The bare lightbulbs, unheated rooms and elderly residents of the whitewashed village of Yangwang in eastern China make it seem an unlikely place for an experiment in cutting-edge satellite technology. This tiny village in Anhui province was home to a pilot project that for the first time mapped farmers’ land holdings, putting it on the front line of China’s efforts to build a modern agricultural sector that can underpin the country’s food security – a policy priority for the Communist Party.
China Hit by Scandals Over Officials’ Property – WSJ.com– Government industry experts say neither is likely to be widely implemented soon. But a property-tax trial is under way for some properties in the cities of Shanghai and Chongqing, and the city of Guangzhou will soon begin a limited asset-disclosure trial. “Property tax is closely related with anticorruption in China, and asset disclosure should be a precondition of levying a property tax,” said Li Yiping, an economics professor at Beijing’s Renmin University. He added that a property tax “serves three purposes: curbing housing prices, fighting corruption and, third, merely for the purpose of social justice.
千亿债务“压顶” 温州拟出台处置民间金融纠纷机制_财经频道_一财网 – 该人士认为，一些温州企业“造血”功能已经很差，目前“还本付息”都面临很大困难。与其给予转贷资金，苟延残喘地活着，还不如加速它们破产重组，早点推动温州经济“筑底回升”。据统计，去年温州法院受理破产案件27件，约占全省同期此类案件的1/4。
China Ends Preferential Policy for Foreigners’ Tax on Dividend Income – – China will terminate a preferential policy on expatriates’ tax payments for income from dividends, part of tax reforms included in the newly released blueprint to curb the widening wealth gap. Foreign individuals have been exempted from a 20 percent tax on their incomes from equity dividends in foreign-funded companies, a policy started in 1994 to encourage foreign investment in China.
Shadow Banking’s Scale and Risk Shrouded in Mystery -Caijing – In the past several weeks, a number of ministerial-level officials including China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) Chairman Shang Fulin have stated the risk and scale of so-called shadow banking have been largely exaggerated. Based on different estimates, the total scale of shadow banking in China can be anywhere from 5 trillion yuan to 40 trillion yuan. Risk classification and regulatory challenges may be inherently different depending on the overall size of the shadow banking system. Most central bank officials and financial industry research analysts agree that shadow banking does not exist in China according to the international definition. However, they have recognized the objective existence of a hybrid financial business type known as “Chinese shadow banking.”
SOHO在售二手房源锐减 业主害怕透露个人信息_中国经济网??国家经济门户 – SOHO China usually has good crisis PR but this time they are not stemming the bad press over the housing elder sister case// “房姐”、“房哥”事件愈演愈烈，SOHO被卷入舆论的漩涡。针对网友的怀疑，昨日，SOHO中国CEO张欣首度在微博上开口回应，称串通洗钱和给巨额回扣的指责都是造谣，并称，若是以非法手段获取客户信息，公司将报警公安。“财经女记者部落”则再次通过微博爆料：SOHO的最大问题不是三里屯SOHO，而是银河SOHO。
China OKs sweeping tax reforms to tackle inequality | Reuters– if implemented…this is not a plan, state council is not calling it a plan. there are “guidelines”..the real battles have not begun// Chief among the reforms is a requirement to raise the percentage of profits contributed by state-owned firms to the government by about 5 percentage points by 2015. Together with measures to raise wages and improve households’ return on assets, the reforms signal an attempt to shift economic growth towards increased consumption and away from the current reliance on investment spending. “The State Council is not just talking about the gap between rich and poor, they’re talking about the whole economy and how income is distributed among various actors – the households, the corporations and the government,” said Andrew Batson, research director of GK Dragonomics, an economic consultancy in Beijing. “It’s about changing the entire flow of income around the national economy.”
Goldman Sachs’s Cohn Bullish on China Banks After ICBC Sale – Bloomberg – did Cohn and other Goldman partners sell their some of their ICBC shares they bought at same time as firm investment?// Goldman Sachs Group Inc. President Gary Cohn said he’s “bullish” on China even after his firm last week sold a $1 billion stake in Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., the nation’s largest bank. “You can absolutely still make money off Chinese banks,” Cohn, 52, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Susan Li in Hong Kong yesterday, without naming specific banks. “We are very positive, optimistic, but cautious, about where China’s going.”
China Private Equity Chilled by ’Old Days’ Asking Prices – Bloomberg – Many Chinese private companies are seeking prices dating back to a time when the nation’s economy was growing at more than 10 percent, compared with 7.8 percent last year. They aren’t budging even as the number of private-equity deals in China fell an unprecedented 43 percent last year and domestic initial public offerings, which private-equity firms count on to exit the investments, tumbled 70 percent. There have been no domestic IPOs this year, and new deals are virtually halted.
POLITICS AND LAW
Xi Jinping urges CPC to accept criticism – Xinhua | English.news.cn – top story across many chinese media outlets and news sites this am// Chinese leader Xi Jinping has urged the Communist Party of China (CPC) to be more tolerant of criticism and receptive to the views of non-communists. Xi, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks on Wednesday, at a gathering convened to extend Lunar New Year’s greetings to people from non-communist parties, the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and those without party affiliations.
人民日报-习近平同党外人士共迎新春 代表中共中央，向各民主党派、工商联和无党派人士，向统一战线广大成员，致以新春的祝福 李克强、俞正声出席 – 习近平指出，要继续加强民主监督。对中国共产党而言，要容得下尖锐批评，做到有则改之、无则加勉；对党外人士而言，要敢于讲真话，敢于讲逆耳之言，真实反映群众心声，做到知无不言、言无不尽。希望同志们积极建诤言、作批评，帮助我们查找问题、分析问题、解决问题，帮助我们克服工作中的不足。中共各级党委要主动接受、真心欢迎民主党派和无党派人士监督，切实改进工作作风，不断提高工作水平。
China Targets Corruption, Luxury Brands Mourn : The New Yorker – How far will this go? Does the Party really want to stand in the way of its members who want to mark the new year with the love of family, and Vacheron Constantin’s hundred-and-fifty-thousand-dollar wristwatch with a snake etched into its face? Those looking for signs of how deeply felt the Party vow to root out corruption is may want to look at Guangzhou, which had been touted by optimists because it announced plans to test a program that would require officials to disclose their assets, the way that some American officeholders do. How’s the test going? The first reports are just in, and it appears the disclosures do not cover investments or family members’ income—demonstrating a belief in the honor system to a degree that would’ve pleased Lance Armstrong.
节前送礼花样翻新 巧借茶话会、汇报工作变相送钱 – 新闻中心 – 新华网 – xinhua investigates sneaky official gift giving in the the face of the frugality and anti-corruption campaigns// 新华网石家庄２月７日电 记者在北京、河北、江苏等地采访了解到，中央出台改进作风八项规定以后，各地纷纷响应，对遏制节前公款吃喝和送礼等不正之风起到积极作用。与此同时，也出现了节前送礼的手段新、花样多，巧借座谈会、茶话会、汇报工作等形式，变相送出钱物的情况，值得警惕。
China Exclusive: Frugality fuels science breakthrough – Xinhua | English.news.cn– this is from today, not late 50s/60s// BEIJING, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) — A senior Chinese scientist has told how global headline-grabbing achievements by his team would not have been possible without the spirit of frugality currently reigning in China. Their pivotal breakthrough last year in the study of neutrinos, one of the elementary particles in the universe, was made possible amid a thrift campaign that started long before a Xi Jinping speech at the end of 2012 in which the Chinese leader endorsed “being diligent and thrifty.”
[视频]中央领导同志看望老同志_新闻频道_央视网 – current leaders pay new years respects to retired leaders..// 央视网消息(新闻联播)：本台消息：春节前夕，党和国家领导人分别看望或委托有关方面负责同志看望了江泽民、李鹏、万里、乔石、朱镕基、李瑞环、宋平、尉健行、李岚清、曾庆红、吴官正、李长春、罗干、贺国强、周永康和张劲夫、郑天翔、刘复之、田纪云、迟浩田、张万年、姜春云、钱其琛、王乐泉、刘淇、吴仪、曹刚川、曾培炎、王汉斌、张震、何勇、倪志福、王丙乾、邹家华、王光英、布赫、铁木尔-达瓦买提、彭珮云、周光召、曹志、李铁映、司马义-艾买提、何鲁丽、丁石孙、成思危、许嘉璐、蒋正华、顾秀莲、热地、盛华仁、唐家璇、肖扬、韩杼滨、贾春旺、叶选平、杨汝岱、任建新、宋健、钱正英、孙孚凌、万国权、胡启立、陈锦华、赵南起、毛致用、王文元、王忠禹、李贵鲜、张思卿、罗豪才、张克辉、郝建秀、徐匡迪、张怀西、李蒙、邓力群等老同志，向老同志们致以亲切的节日问候，衷心祝愿老同志们新春愉快、健康长寿。
山西房媳丈夫被曝为银行行长办3户口以转移资产_新闻_腾讯网 – 昨天上午，有爆料人称“房媳”丈夫孙红军为其哥儿们陈建辉也办理了多个户口，陈建辉目前任中国农业发展银行平陆县支行行长。运城市纪委表示，如情况属实将介入调查。
女婿称袁厉害名下只有3处房产 拟起诉《人物》杂志_资讯频道_凤凰网 – Lankao orphanage owner Yuan Lihai and family have 20 properties? this story could get very dark// 近日，袁厉害再陷舆论漩涡——《人物》杂志曝其自建或购买过20套以上住宅，消息一出引起舆论哗然，贬褒皆有。昨天，袁厉害的女婿郭海洋通过网络回应称，袁厉害名下只有3处房产，面积总共约有303平方米。袁厉害本人也称自己和孩子只有3套房。
Opinion: Cowardly officials behind thuggish pawns – Xinhua | English.news.cn– Petitioners’ rights were upheld when a court on Tuesday jailed 10 private security guards who illegally jailed petitioners in Beijing. Similar abuses, however, will not end until those responsible for hiring these kinds of guards are stopped and punished. Private security guards are occasionally hired by local governments in China to prevent petitioners from traveling to Beijing and voicing their grievances. The court verdict handed down for the 10 guards in the city of Yuzhou in central China’s Henan Province did not say whether they were hired by the local government. However, common sense and experience indicates that the guards are probably mere pawns in a bigger game.
Lawyers hail Yunnan’s suspension of laojiao system – Xinhua | English.news.cn– Chinese legal experts have expressed their support for a decision by southwest China’s Yunnan Province to suspend the use of the much-disputed labor camp sentence — “laojiao.” According to an announcement earlier this week by Yunnan Politics and Law Committee chief Meng Sutie, the province will stop sending people to re-education through labor camps on grounds including threatening national security, petitioning by causing unrest, and smearing the image of officials.
Lawyer Targets Ex-Security Chief-RFA– Prominent Beijing-based human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang has hit out openly at China’s former security chief Zhou Yongkang, calling him “a traitor to the people.” In a post made to his verified accounts on Twitter-like services run by Sina, Tencent and Sohu, Pu said the domestic security system masterminded by Zhou had brought tragedy to many, directly or indirectly.
China Makes Arrests in Crackdown on Immolations – NYTimes.com – The police in a restive Tibetan area have arrested 12 people and detained dozens more accused of playing a part in acts of self-immolation by Tibetan monks and others protesting Chinese rule, the state-run news media said Thursday, as the government stepped up its campaign of attributing the protests to a plot inspired by the exiled Dalai Lama.
Chinese documentary alleges US broadcaster incites Tibetan self-immolations – Behind The Wall – A controversial new documentary released by Chinese state broadcaster, CCTV, is alleging that the American government’s official broadcaster, Voice of America, is encouraging Tibetans to set themselves on fire. The story comes as China braces itself for the 100th Tibetan self-immolation since 2009. The 25-minute documentary, roughly translated as, “Outside Tibetan Separatist Cliques and the Southern Gansu self-immolations,” ran on the CCTV show, “Focus Today” and showed a Tibetan man in a hospital bed who allegedly attempted to self-immolate.
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
Corruption among top military officials kept under wraps in China – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun– A huge landscape painting hangs next to the closed gate, along with stone statues of an elephant and a dragon. The approximately 2-hectare compound is enclosed by a nearly 3-meter-high wall topped by razor wire. A military veteran who lives nearby said, “The owner has not been seen in nearly a year.” The individual in question is Lt. Gen. Gu Junshan, 56. He served as deputy head of the People’s Liberation Army General Logistics Department, which oversees the military budget and procurement of supplies.
China Exclusive: China to conduct daily fishery patrols in S China Sea in 2014 – Xinhua | English.news.cn– China will conduct daily fishery administrative patrols in the South China Sea in 2014 to better safeguard the legitimate interests of domestic fishermen, a fishery official said Thursday. Wu Zhuang, chief of the South China Sea Fishery Bureau under the Ministry of Agriculture, said the timeframe for the patrols is based on his bureau’s growing law enforcement capacity. A noticeable improvement will be seen in our enforcement capacity in the next two years, as the bureau has entered a period of rapid development, ” he said.
戚建国：国家核心利益不能损，主权不能丢，领土不能少——国防部网站 2.4.13 – 戚建国强调，当前，我国安全威胁主要来自海上，我国发展重点也在海上，海上斗争事关国家主权和安全，也事关国家建设和发展。在复杂严峻的海上斗争形势面前，既要高举和平发展的旗帜，中国决不主动挑起海上争端和冲突，决不对任何国家构成安全威胁，决不影响国际法允许的海上航行自由；也要坚定不移捍卫国家主权、领土完整和海洋权益，国家核心利益一点也不能损，国家主权一分也不能丢，国家领土一寸也不能少。对此，既要靠决心和意志，也要靠实力和准备。任何国家都不能低估中华民族捍卫国家主权的坚强意志，都不能低估中国政府捍卫领土完整的坚定决心，都不能低估人民军队捍卫国家核心利益的坚强力量。
Japan PM says China dialogue window must stay open – Channel NewsAsia– Japan’s prime minister said on Thursday the “window of dialogue” with China must remain open, even as he reiterated his rebuke to Beijing over a naval confrontation on the high seas. Shinzo Abe said an incident in which a Chinese frigate locked its weapons-targeting radar on a Japanese warship was “extremely regrettable”, as tension grows over the sovereignty of islands in the East China Sea.
国防部否认中国舰艇曾用雷达瞄准日本舰机|日本|钓鱼岛|跟踪_新浪新闻 – China’s MOD denies turning on radar against Japanese ship
U.S. airs concern over China’s radar locking on Japanese defense ship－ 毎日ｊｐ(毎日新聞)– The United States on Tuesday expressed concern by a recent locking of a weapons targeting radar by China’s warship on a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer in the East China Sea, saying such an action increases the risk of miscalculation and could undermine peace. Asked to comment on the development that took place last week in waters off the Japanese-administered Senkaku Islands, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, “With regard to the reports of this particular lock-on incident, actions such as this escalate tensions and increase the risk of an incident or a miscalculation.”
Japan and China’s island argument is a U.S. concern – The Washington Post– Pomfret opinion piece// The problem with this crisis is that it seems insoluble. Japan won’t give the islands back to China, and China can’t back down. What’s equally troubling is that the United States does not have a stellar record of avoiding war in Asia. In the beginning of the 20th century, Washington helped facilitate the rise of Japan and then sat by as that country took chunks of China, ignoring decades of bad behavior until it was too late and Pearl Harbor was attacked. Today, Washington faces a similarly nettlesome challenge — only this time the roles are reversed. China is resurgent and Japan is relatively frail. The United States needs to find a way to support its friend without alienating Beijing, a tough balancing act, especially when there is an assumption in China that the black hand of America benefits from bad blood between the two neighbors. That is not the case, but if a conflict erupts in the East China Sea, truth will be the first casualty.
Japan and China: Tensions Mounting–The Diplomat-James Holmes– It was far from unusual for U.S. and Soviet warplanes, surface combatants, and especially submarines to target or maneuver around one another at close quarters. ..Electromagnetic emissions can be recorded and analyzed, with a view toward exposing and exploiting weaknesses. Tactical advantages can accrue. And yet the run-ins between JSDF and PLA units feel different from their Cold War predecessors..But sovereignty — an arena for Thucydidean motives like fear and honor — wasn’t at stake when American and Soviet units met in the nautical commons. Even so, enough near misses took place that Washington and Moscow ultimately felt obliged to negotiate an accord governing incidents at sea.
The Chinese Army Today: Tradition and Transformation for the 21st Century (Asian Security Studies): Dennis J. Blasko: 9780415783224: Amazon.com: Books – hear great things about this book// The Chinese Army Today is a comprehensive study of the Chinese military, examining its ground forces in a level of detail not found in any other contemporary works. This new, revised edition has been fully updated to take account of recent changes in the institution. In 1999, the military modernization program of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army increased in intensity and achieved a focus not seen in the previous two decades. Based primarily on actual Chinese sources, this book details these changes and puts them in the context of the many traditions that still remain. Written by a retired professional military officer who has served in China, the text uses first-hand observation of the Chinese military and three decades of military experience to weave many disparate threads from official Chinese statements, documents, and media reports into an integrated whole. The author also conducts an in-depth exploration into the many forces that constitute the People’s Liberation Army.
China’s Increasingly Good Mock Air Battles Prep Pilots for Real War | Danger Room | Wired.com – In terms of authenticity, China’s pretend air battles are getting pretty close to the real thing. That improving realism, combined with Beijing’s new fighters and other hardware, has some observers in the U.S. feeling uneasy. For decades the Pentagon has counted on highly realistic aerial training to mitigate the increasing age and decreasing size of its warplane holdings. “That [training] used to be a significant advantage U.S. air forces held relative to the PLAAF,” Dave Deptula, a retired Air Force general who flew F-15 fighters, tells Danger Room.
China’s UAV into a period of fast progress – People’s Daily Online– How will US react if China turns armed drones on people it calls separatists or threats to its government, argues it can kill PRC citizens in the name of protecting imminent threats?// Thanks to the increasingly advanced support systems, China’s UAV is progressing in all aspects. In his interview with Outlook Weekly, Wei Yiyin, head of the Third Research Institute of China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation, said that although the UAV industry in our country developed later than the world’s large UAV exporters, the domestic UAV was progressing rapidly thanks to the country’s loosening of airspace control, improving customer approvals, and advancing technologies. “In general, the UAV is still in a early stage around the world. Its development paths and application models are still under investigation.” Military expert Chen Hu said in the interview that happily, China is catching up in this aspect.
China media urge ‘heavy price’ for North Korea nuclear test | South China Morning Post– China should exact a “heavy price” from North Korea if it carries out a planned nuclear test, state-run media said on Wednesday, in an unusually strongly-worded call for action by Pyongyang’s closest ally. Beijing, which has stressed calm and restraint as its unpredictable neighbour prepares to conduct its third nuclear test, has tended to avoid punitive measures against it, partly for fear of provoking regional instability. “If North Korea insists on a third nuclear test despite attempts to dissuade it, it must pay a heavy price. The assistance it will be able to receive from China should be reduced,” the Global Times said in an editorial.
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN
DPP slams Beijing over Japan comments – Taipei Times – The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday rejected Beijing’s criticism of the party’s “flattery of Japan” over the Diaoyutai Islands (釣魚台) dispute, saying that China’s provocative moves in the region are what should be condemned.
Taiwanese officer gets 12 life terms for spying for mainland | South China Morning Post– A former Taiwanese air force officer has been given 12 life sentences for spying for the mainland, adding to a long list of espionage cases that have rocked the island. Lieutenant Colonel Yuan Hsiao-feng was convicted of passing unspecified military secrets to the mainland between 2001 and 2007. He handed the secrets to the mainland via retired colleague Chen Wen-jen. Both men were sentenced on Tuesday, with Chen receiving a 20-year jail term.
Taiwanese naval officer questioned in espionage probe｜WantChinaTimes.com– A rear admiral was questioned by Taiwanese military prosecutors last week in connection with an investigation into alleged leaks of submarine nautical charts to China, the country’s Ministry of National Defense said Monday. The rear admiral was summoned as part of an inquiry into a suspected espionage case involving Chang Chih-hsin, a former chief officer in charge of political warfare at the Naval Meteorology Oceanography Office, ministry spokesman Major General Luo Shou-he said.
TECH AND MEDIA
Kindle-Less Amazon in China Doomed to 1% Market Share – Bloomberg – After more than eight years of effort and a $74 million acquisition of a local online retailer, Amazon has less than 1 percent of China’s $196 billion e-commerce market. The world’s largest Internet retailer held the same share four years ago as it struggles to catch dominant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
Suited-Up Online: Why China’s Fashionista Websites Aim High (And Low) – Forbes– These days Zhao wears designer knitwear and Italian brogues, a taste of the fancy imported fashion sold on his e-commerce site, Shangpin. But the 40-year-old Beijing CEO is still a geek at heart. “I’m an outsider to fashion circles,” he says. Other entrepreneurs are making a similar journey to the fashion world, lured by the promise of e-commerce in China, forecast by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to be worth $370 billion in 2015, up from $74 billion in 2010. The sector’s commanding heights belong to Alibaba, 360buy.com and a handful of other, well-financed general sites. But that leaves plenty of space for specialist websites to expand by offering goods and services to consumers looking for alternatives. Fashion is China’s biggest e-commerce category.
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
中国女子在印度被强奸 中方要求严惩案犯_网易新闻中心 – Chinese national raped in New Delhi
媒体称河南义昌大桥残存桥墩无箍筋_网易新闻中心 – looking more and more like the henan bridge collapse caused by shoddy construction// 核心提示：在河南义昌大桥坍塌现场，记者在断裂桥墩内没有发现箍筋。一位资深建筑设计人士根据现场照片表示，这点儿配筋是不够的，只能看到竖直方向的钢筋，水平方向的箍筋一个都看不到。这完全就是胡来的。这就是行业内经常说的：钢筋“偷得太多了”。
Shanghai wives hold the purse strings |Society |chinadaily.com.cn– they hold more than just the purse strings…// Shanghai wives have more power in managing their family wealth, research has found.Almost 42 percent of families in China have their assets managed by both husbands and wives. However, wives in Shanghai seem to have a stronger say in family finances. More than 40 percent of families in Shanghai have their family wealth managed by wives, which is higher than the country’s average of 38.4 percent, according to Horizon Research Consultancy Group.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH
启东政府食言“秋后算账” 16名参与者被判刑_多维新闻网 – 【多维新闻】中共官媒新华社2月6日发布新闻称，当日江苏省启东市法院对去年“启东市民反对排污项目事件”中的16名参与者进行一审判决，最长刑期达一年六个月。据媒体报道，启东事件发生时，当地政府曾承诺决不“秋后算账”。有分析认为，当时启东市政府为尽快平息事态作出的这一承诺其实是临时性、策略性的表态和手段，对政府的行动不会构成任何约束。此事突显了地方政府失信于民的一面，但也在一定程度上反映了法治逐渐被纳入地方的政治轨道的趋势。
China sentences 16 for violent protest against pollution | Reuters – China has sentenced 16 people to up to a year-and-a-half in prison for involvement in an environmental protest last July when a crowd of thousands ransacked government offices, the official Xinhua news agency reported. A court in Qidong city, 65 km (40 miles) north of Shanghai, charged the group of demonstrators with “gathering to assault state organs, damaging property and theft” during the July 28 demonstration against a pipeline for waste from a paper factory.
Japan’s Embassy: Beijingers Under “Animal Tests” in Air Pollution Seige -Caijing – At a press briefing to warn about China’s dirty air, the Japanese Embassy on Wednesday warned that people living in Beijing are under a state of “animal tests” blanketed by the thick brown and yellow haze, the Asahi Shimbun reported. Sales of Japan-made air purifiers, which were on display at the briefing, nearly quadrupled in January, it said, citing a sales person.
Buying ‘Double Happiness’ Reveals China’s Tobacco Battle – Bloomberg – n the war against tobacco in China, the world’s largest cigarette market, the toughest battle happens at Lunar New Year. As countries from Canada to Australia intensify warnings, raise taxes and remove logos from packs, China has balked at tarnishing the image of cigarettes, the most commonly exchanged gift during the week-long holiday, which begins Saturday. That’s helped preserve tobacco’s prestige and served to promote the addictive habit, blamed for 1 million deaths in the country each year.
China flags peak in coal usage－The Age–Garnaut– China’s decade-long boom in coal-driven heavy industry is about to end as the leadership shifts priorities towards energy conservation, say officials and policy advisers. The advisers predict China’s coal consumption will peak at only a fraction above current levels after the State Council, or cabinet, last week set an ambitious new total energy use target for the five-year plan ending 2015. “Coal consumption will peak below 4 billion tonnes,” Jiang Kejun, who led the modelling team that advised the State Council on energy use scenarios, told Fairfax Media.
FOOD AND TRAVEL
Chocolate not yet China’s cup of tea – YouTube – An explosion of wealth in China has made it a prime destination for European luxury goods such as cars, watches and fine wines. But when it comes to chocolate, Western confectioners face a major challenge: Chinese people barely eat any.
BOOKS AND LITERATURE
Ping Fu Defends Memoir After Chinese Netizens Attack – China Digital Times (CDT) – On February 1, China Daily’s Chinese portal posted an article about Fu’s “exaggerations,” including a picture seeming to substantiate claims that she was a Red Guard during the Cultural Revolution [zh]. The article was widely forwarded on Sina Weibo. Meanwhile, notorious (and controversial) Chinese “myth-buster” and academic watchdog Fang Zhouzi dug into previous media coverage of Fu to weigh in, blasting Fu’s claims one by one.
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