The Sinocism China Newsletter For 02.18.13

Over the weekend the FT Magazine published the very disturbing Death in Singapore about the alleged suicide of Shane Todd, an American electronics engineer in Singapore who worked for IME, a government research institute. Todd’s family does not believe he killed himself and when they visited his apartment discovered:

…an external hard drive with a back-up of his computer files, including his work at IME, and a timetable and plan for a project that apparently involved IME and Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecom giant.

The plan lays out how, from 2012 to the end of 2014, IME and Huawei would “co-develop” an amplifier device powered by gallium nitride (GaN), a semiconductor material able to withstand extreme heat and power levels well beyond silicon. GaN devices have commercial use in lighting as well as high-powered transistors for mobile phone base stations. They also have tremendous military potential, and major US defence contractors – including Northrup-Grumman and Raytheon – have pursued significant research and development in GaN for use in radar and satellite communications.

The Singapore police deny allegations that Todd’s death was not properly investigated (Channel NewsAsia) but it is clear from this Financial Times report that there are a lot of unanswered questions.

Kai-Fu Lee, former head of Google China and now a well known venture capitalist, announced on Twitter that he has been forbidden from posting on Sina and Tencent Weibo for 3 days. Dr. Lee is one of the most followed people on Chinese social media, with more than 30 million fans on Sina Weibo.

He did not give a reason for the punishment though many believe it is due to his criticism of Jike, the search engine of publicly traded People’s Daily Online, and its head Deng Yaping. Jike and Deng have been in the news lately for spending lots of money and possibly laying off up to 100 staffers, or so say the rumors–邓亚萍带领即刻搜索走上歧路?官方否认裁员 | 每经网.

Dr. Lee has for now retreated to Twitter, where he “only” has 996,500 or so followers. His latest tweet quotes Xi Jinping’s recent call (Xinhua) for the Party to be more tolerant of criticism.

The authorities supposedly invited Dr. Lee to tea (TechInAsia) in January to discuss his Weibo comments about the Southern Weekend censorship brouhaha. This is bad on many levels, and not just for Dr. Lee, his firm Innovation Works and his investors.

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

中国多地立新规严控“以人查房”_政经频道_财新网 – many localities making it harder to look up property holdings by name in wake of recent housing scandals, story getting lots of play in chinese media and weibo this morning// 房叔”“房婶”事件后,各地加紧出台查询规范,强调严控输入人名查询他人名下房屋的“以人查房”方式…【财新网】(记者 汪苏)2012年下半年以来,频发的“房叔”“房婶”事件令住房信息系统成为一些官员的梦魇。近段时间,一些地方加紧出台了房屋信息查询规范,这些规范对输入人名查询名下有多少套房的“以人查房”方式作出专门约束,这在此前已出台的规范中并不多见。

The RBA’s long march to China | | MacroBusiness – Find below the full speech from the RBA’s Christopher Kent late Friday on Chinese growth and the mining boom. The key points are: Chinese growth has now stabilised around 8%, which the RBA now sees as potential growth;The pace of urbanisation in China is likely to slow and so will bulk commodity demand;Iron ore and coal prices will keep falling;LNG boom is over but volumes will kick in in 2015;Mining investment is peaking right now and will decline steadily (an earlier peak but more gentle decline than most private forecasts)。 Reality has certainly arrived for the RBA. It’s still glass half full but there is no doubt that this is a much more realistic assessment of China and commodity cycles than those that dominated the bank in the recent past. Fanciful notions of endless Chinese demand have given way to heightened vigilance about local weakness and aggressive rate cuts.

Trust among Chinese ‘drops to record low’ |Society |chinadaily.com.cn- Trust among people in China dipped to a record low with less than half of respondents to a recent survey feeling that “most people can be trusted” while only about 30 percent trusted strangers. The Blue Book of Social Mentality, the latest annual report on the social mentality of China, analyzed respondents’ trust toward different people and organizations and drew a conclusion that trust in society is poor. The trust level was 59.7 points out of a full mark of 100 points. In 2010, the trust level was 62.9 points.

人民日报-用信任化解“陌生”坚冰(今日谈) – people’s daily weighs in on page 1 abut the CASS survey showing erosion of trust in chinese society…//不管调查的结论是否精确,这样的数字还是提示我们,社会的诚信生态亟待建设。首要的是大力推进政府、企业诚信建设,以此助推人与人之间的互信,促进整个社会的诚信。另一方面,诚信既是道德问题,也是法律问题,须通过建立健全法律法规,严惩背信弃义,提高失信成本。融化陌生人社会的坚冰,还需为人们沟通、交流创造条件,一些社区举办“邻里节”等活动,就不失为有益的尝试。

中央电视台首进钓鱼岛3海里海域拍摄岛屿全貌_网易新闻中心 - CCTV crew films goes within 3 nautical miles of diaoyu islands, first time for cctv it says… shadowed by japan coast guard…ships operating in close quarters…

网曝前山西省委副书记提前出狱 当地官商列队欢迎 – 地方联播 – 新华网 – someone someday may make a lot of money writing the “shanxi sopranos”. former deputy provincial party secretary released from jail early (sentenced in 2011 to 11 years for corruption), officials and businessmen line up to give him a very warm welcome home// 据微博爆料,2006年因贪污受贿被判入狱11年的前山西省委副书记侯伍杰,于近日提前出狱,当地官员和煤老板及名流富商们,争相迎接贪官“荣归故里”,或列队欢迎,鲜花簇拥,甚至欲以礼炮迎接;回家后门庭若市,其礼遇犹如英雄凯旋。(据2月16日新华网)story just keeps giving, outrage online 山西前副书记出狱受欢迎续:其曾被扫黄组抓现行|山西|贪官|提干_新浪新闻 –

Study: Toxic Organic Compounds Found in Beijing’s Smog-Caijing – A huge amount of toxic organic compounds were found in the smog that shrouded Beijing and surrounding cities in January, chemicals that resemble those in the so-called photochemical smog a hundred years ago which killed over 800 residents in Los Angeles, a recent study showed. Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences pointed to emissions of human-made pollutants as the culprit of the toxic air pollution in the capital that has lasted for years but has gained public attention only in recent years when increasing cases of respiratory problems are reported.

U.S.-China Tensions: What Must Kerry Do? | ChinaFile – another good conversation at China File

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

China New Year Retail Sales Growth Slows on Frugal Drive – Bloomberg – Shop and restaurant sales in China during the week-long Lunar New Year festival rose at the slowest pace in four years as a government crackdown on extravagant spending by officials limited outlays on food and drink. Retail sales at outlets monitored by the Ministry of Commerce increased 14.7 percent in the Feb. 9 to Feb. 15 period from the year-earlier break to 539 billion yuan ($86 billion), according to a Feb. 15 statement on its website. That was down from a 16.2 percent pace in 2012 and the least since a 13.8 percent gain in 2009, previously released figures show.

银监会限期三个月整改“资金池”_金融频道_财新网 – “资金池”规范是今年银监会现场检查的重点;银监会将在春节后抽查几家银信合作的“资金池”操作突出的银行,并要求商业银行开展内部风险自查,并限期三个月完成整改

外资身份引律师举报 SOHO中国陷违规命名风波_中国经济网 Holiday is over, attacks on SOHO China start up again// 日前有律师向北京市工商管理局提出申请,称SOHO中国企业名称“开曼群岛SOHO中国有限公司北京代表处”涉嫌违法违规,请求去掉“中国”二字。申请人昨日称,北京市工商局办公室以“投诉举报信要直接写给12315”为由拒收了申请,但自己已经再次寄送。

蛇年开门红?谨慎期待_股票频道_一财网 – 不过,从节前市场的走势来看,市场人士多认为出现开门红的行情概率偏低,对短期行情持谨慎态度,但股指的中期走势仍值得期待。

温州“山寨”国企腐败窝案大起底 深度报道——经济参考网 – detailed look at a corruption case involving a fake SOE in Wenzhou// 1.成立“山寨”国企 2.侵吞国资胃口大 3.制度不应成摆设 4.“杂交式腐败”频发得值得反思

Beijing to construct new subway line |Economy |chinadaily.com.cn- The No.16 Line, which will link the Yongfeng high-tech industrial base in the north with Lugouqiao town in the south, will pass through downtown Beijing. It is expected to be put into operation by the end of 2016, the Beijing City Subway Construction Management Company announced Sunday. The line with 24 stations, including 11 transfer stations, will be 36 km long. It will cost about 36 billion yuan (5.78 billion U.S.dollars), according to the company.

China – Quandllooks interesting, anyone know about quality of the underlying data?// This is Quandl’s topic page on China. It is a portal to all of Quandl’s currated data on China. To see similar topic pages on 200 other countries, visit Quandl’s Country Index. Click on any indicator on this page to see a time series of that indicator, along with options for graphing, downloading and validating the underlying data.

Shipyard prepares to build Titanic II|Economy|chinadaily.com.cn – A Chinese shipyard has formed a panel and upgraded its facilities to prepare for the construction of a replica of the Titanic for an Australian billionaire. According to the State-owned CSC Jinling Shipyard Co Ltd in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, it will take three years to build the luxury liner. The shipyard signed an agreement to build the liner in April with the Australian mining billionaire Clive Palmer.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

深入学习贯彻党的十八大精神在新的历史起点上开创政法工作新局面_2013/04_求是理论网 – Meng Jianzhu wrote lead essay in latest Seeking Truth//以党的十八大为标志,我们党和国家开启了全面建成小康社会新的伟大征程,政法工作也站在了一个新的历史起点上。2013年,政法机关要全面贯彻党的十八大和习近平总书记关于做好新形势下政法工作重要指示精神,紧紧围绕全面建成小康社会的奋斗目标,牢牢把握坚持和发展中国特色社会主义这一主线,坚持一手抓当前维护国家安全和社会稳定工作、一手抓政法事业长远发展,以平安建设、法治建设、队伍建设“三大建设”为载体,以推进劳教制度改革、涉法涉诉信访工作改革、司法权力运行机制改革、户籍制度改革“四项改革”为重点,以提升做好新形势下群众工作能力、维护社会公平正义能力、新媒体时代社会沟通能力、科技信息化应用能力、拒腐防变能力“五个能力”为保障,进一步加强和改进政法工作和政法队伍建设,努力为全面建成小康社会、夺取中国特色社会主义新胜利创造安全稳定的社会环境、公平正义的法治环境和优质高效的服务环境。

伍皓:“微改革”改变中国改变未来-财经网 – 对基层来说,中央提出“顶层设计”之后,应该怎样去行动和实践?我推崇的改革做法呢?是瞅准社会进步的方向,轻轻打开一扇窗,让清风徐徐进来,再不可逆转。我称之为“推窗效应”。

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

Panel: Chinese Navy: Operational Challenge or Potential Partner? – YouTube – The panel discusses China, and our relationship as nations. usni.org/west2013 January 31, 2013 San Diego, CA

The Jamestown Foundation: Radar Incident Obscures Beijing’s Conciliatory Turn toward Japan – think it is too early to conclude we are seeing a real shift…who wanted to deal with increasing tensions over the holiday? reaction to this week’s Ae visit to dc this week with be interesting// Radar-locking incidents aside, Beijing’s behavior in recent weeks seems aimed at calming tensions. The opacity of the Chinese party-state and military make the incidents on January 19 and January 30 difficult to explain with certainty.

China Steps Back From War Over Rocks – Bloomberg – In the last several weeks, that hyped state of commentary has begun to ebb as prominent voices in social and traditional media have started to argue that perhaps war may not actually be in China’s best interest. Such voices aren’t popular, at least if measured in terms of the often-abusive comments directed at them on Chinese microblogs. Still, they represent a significant new perspective.

Chinese experts see U.S.-DPRK antagonism as root cause of nuke test – People’s Daily Online- BEIJING, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) — The United States should reflect seriously on the latest nuclear test of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which was caused by long-standing antagonism between the two countries, Chinese experts said. After the DPRK’s nuclear test earlier this week, some Western media said China’s policy toward the country has proven to be a failure, a straw-man fallacy refuted by Chinese experts and scholars. History has proven that a country threatened by force and sanctions would maintain and further develop its own military strength, they said. ILL-FOUNDED ARGUMENT ON CHINA’S “FAILURE”

With Creativity and Profanity, Chinese Web Users Lambast “Drug Lord” and “Criminal” Kim Jong-Un | Tea Leaf Nation – Exasperation with Chinese authorities was not limited to the social web. Liberal columnist Zhao Chu (@赵楚) penned a widely-shared column for the Wall Street Journal’s Chinese language site in which he wrote, “It is unbelievable that nations the world over have sat idly by while small neighboring countries walk the road of nuclear armament. North Korea already declared the six-party talks dead back in 2009 when it tested a nuclear weapon, yet China has continued willingly to sit by as it loses control of the peninsula.”

China Shipbuilder Calls for Greater Cooperation with U.S. Firms | Defense News | defensenews.com- “We want to cooperate with U.S. firms,” said Bo Li, a project manager with China Shipbuilding and Offshore International Co. (CSOC), a major shipbuilding group that builds a range of naval and commercial ships for domestic and foreign customers. “We want to talk with them, with Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, but they won’t talk with us,” Bo said.

Russian Meteor Sheds Light on Russia-China Tensions | Via Meadia – While Russia and China can cooperate on many specific issues, and while both share a feeling that the United States needs to come down a peg or two, Russian skittishness about China’s rise and its long-term intentions puts sharp limits on how deep cooperation between the two powers can go. Indeed, Russian fear of China’s rise is one of the key realities shaping world politics today. Russia has no interest in talking about it, and both Russia and China gain leverage over the US and others by holding out the possibility of growing cooperation between them, but there are good reasons why the two powers haven’t forged a coherent alliance.

Xi pledges continued support for Africa |Politics |chinadaily.com.cn- China’s top political leader Xi Jinping pledged continuing support for Africa’s development on Sunday while meeting with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairwoman of the African Union Commission. “Africa is a continent of hope,” said Xi, and Africa’s development conforms to the historical trend of the times and helps to safeguard world peace and stability. Xi said China supports the self-determined development of and the solidarity among African countries as well as their pursuit of progressive paths suitable for their own national conditions. “Africa’s development creates opportunities for China, as China’s development creates opportunities for Africa,” Xi said.

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

PROFILE: Jiang to step into the limelight as premier – Taipei Times – A recent survey showed that more than 40 percent of respondents felt that premier-designate Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) was an unfamiliar face, presumably because he entered politics just five years ago when President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was first elected. The appointment has made the 52-year-old a contender to be the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) candidate in the 2016 presidential election and will bring to the fore his political convictions, which have previously been kept out of the spotlight.

Webb Stops ID List, Hong Kong Probes Amid Privacy Debate – Bloomberg – David Webb, a corporate-governance activist in Hong Kong, said his website has suspended publication of the identity-card numbers of more than 1,100 people after an inquiry from the city’s privacy commissioner. Webb-site.com, which publishes commentary and information including the composition of corporate boards in the city, posted the Hong Kong identity card numbers starting on Feb. 12. The list was suspended after Webb-site.com received an inquiry from Hong Kong’s Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Webb said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

上海“毒校服”事件续:21所中小学停穿校服_资讯频道_凤凰网 – carcinogenic school uniforms in Shanghai? 21 schools stop primary and secondary schools stop wearing them//

内地64%城市地下水严重污染 仅3%基本洁净_网易新闻中心 – 核心提示:中国水资源总量的1/3是地下水,专家称全国90%的地下水遭受不同程度污染,60%污染严重。据新华网报道,对118个城市连续监测数据显示,约64%的城市地下水遭受严重污染,基本清洁的地下水只有3%。

环保部公布1月份空气最差城市名单_新浪新闻 – top 10 chinese cities w worst air in January, beijing 9th worst: 1月份74个城市中空气污染最重的10个城市依次是邢台、石家庄、保定、邯郸、廊坊、衡水、济南、唐山、北京、郑州;//10 best cities for air in january, haikou the best//: 空气污染较轻的10个城市依次是海口、福州、舟山、厦门、惠州、肇庆、深圳、昆明、拉萨、珠海。

Reward offered for tips on underground water pollution – Xinhua | English.news.cn- A municipal government in east China’s Shandong Province has offered a huge reward for clues or evidence of local enterprises pumping emissions underground. The government of Weifang City has offered a 100,000 yuan (15,873 U.S. dollars) reward to the first whistleblower who can help prove the widely circulated rumors. On the Twitter-like Sina Weibo microblogging service, users have posted that some enterprises in Weifang like chemical plants and paper mills have been pumping polluted water some 1,000 meters below ground

NE China’s first nuclear power plant starts operation – Xinhua | English.news.cn – the Hongyanhe nuclear power station near Wafangdian, northeast China’s Liaoning Province. The Hongyanhe nuclear power station, the first nuclear power plant and largest energy project in northeast China, started operation on Sunday afternoon

ConocoPhillips Given Approval to Resume Production at Penglai – Bloomberg – ConocoPhillips received approval to resume production at the Penglai 19-3 oilfield off the northeast coast of China, which was closed in 2011 after an oil leak. A development plan and environmental assessment report for the oilfield have been approved, China’s State Oceanic Administration said in a statement on its website. The regulator will keep monitoring the area while Houston-based ConocoPhillips restarts operation, it said.

野象群连日袭扰云南景洪村寨_图片频道_财新网 – wild elephants causing havoc in a village in yunnan…pictures

Cities see excessive pollution during holiday |Society |chinadaily.com.cn- BEIJING – Festival fireworks caused readings of PM2.5 to skyrocket in many cities during the Spring Festival holiday, indicating worsened air quality, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said. Figures released Sunday by the ministry show that 42.7 percent of 74 Chinese cities reported higher-than-normal PM2.5 reading. The highest average reading in a single day was 426 micrograms per cubic meter, or 5.7 times the country’s standard of 75 micrograms.

How Did Japan Curb Pollution Without Sacrificing Growth? – NYTimes.com – TOKYO — Seeing Beijing wreathed in smog throughout the winter, it has been hard not to worry about the costs of China’s rapid economic growth. As Jon Stewart pointed out on The Daily Show: Can’t a country capable of lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty find a way to keep its own capital safe for habitation?

Things May Be Bad, But at Least We Can’t Chew Our Air – The Daily Show with Jon Stewart – 01/24/13 – Video Clip | Comedy Central – missed this jon stewart segment from january 24//America’s stagnant economy and unhealthy school lunches don’t look so bad when compared with China’s hazardous, record-high air pollution levels.

 

JOBS AND EVENTS

Career and Job Opportunities | Turner Broadcasting System–CNN Beijing – The producer is required to work with correspondents and TV crew to cover breaking news in China. He/she will be responsible to produce feature and enterprise stories and perform other responsibilities as may be assigned by the Bureau Chief.

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