The Sinocism China Newsletter For 02.26.13

This week’s China Insider column for Dealbook is about Xi Jinping’s first 100 days, the upcoming meetings in Beijing, the environment and the economy. On the environment I write:

The environment is likely to be on the N.P.C. agenda. Smog continues to plague much of China, and there are increasingly dire reports about water pollution, food pollution and soil pollution. For the first time, the government officially admitted the existence of a large number of “cancer villages” caused by pollution.

In addition to allowing much more open reporting on the environmental degradation, Beijing is also taking steps to address what increasingly appears to be one of the biggest risks to the Community Party’s rule and China’s future development. Examples of policy responses include a plan to invest hundreds of billions of dollars on water projects over the next 10 years, a new environmental tax, much stricter fuel emission standards for new cars in Beijing and a requirement that companies in heavy pollution industries buy environmental damage insurance.

While there are signs of regulatory progress, a recent article from Caixin, a leading Chinese business magazine, highlights the bureaucratic and special-interest challenges of reaching a consensus on new rules for cleaning up China’s relatively dirty gasoline, cited as one of the causes of the recent “smog sieges” across China.

The environmental degredation can no longer be covered up and Beijing has given the media more room to report on the problems. Now, the government must make aggressive, concrete progress or it is potentially setting itself up for a significant popular backlash.

Today the China Daily says that Environment may be an issue at two sessions while the South China Morning Post writes that a mooted Environment law to take back seat at NPC meeting.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection recently refused a lawyer’s request for an official on soil pollution because it is a state secret in China (BusinessWeek). Given the online outcry I expect the MEP to reverse this decision, as they did after the online reaction to keeping air pollution data secret..

In another sign that public attitudes are rapidly changing about the environment and the need to take action, Alibaba founder Jack Ma told a conference this week that pollution is steering China towards a cancer crisis (Global Voices):

China’s top Internet entrepreneur Ma Yun has warned that no amount of money can protect the rich from China’s cancer-causing pollution. His comments resonated with web users, many of whom are already alarmed by the country’s toxic combination of air and water contamination and food safety issues.

During the 13th annual meeting of the Yabuli China Entrepreneurs Forum, the founder and CEO of leading Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba, bypassed business opportunities to address China’s pollution-linked health problems in his speech. He predicted [zh] that cancer will trouble every Chinese family in 10 years.

He also stressed that citizens should be more environmentally aware and should not rely on the government only…

His speech, shared [zh] on popular Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo by Caijing News the day after, made waves among netizens, triggering over 99,136 reposts and 16,676 comments.

Something has to change as exposures of the environmental crises are coming very quickly now. And what are we doing to our children?

Today’s Links:

THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT

Xi Jinping Should Expand Deng Xiaoping’s Reforms | ChinaFile – by Zhou Ruijin, former editor-in-chief of Liberation Daily who also served as deputy editor-in-chief of the People’s Daily//In today’s China, it is of paramount significance that the new administration re-establish consensus on the direction of reform and galvanize public support for its continuation. The government should forge a sense of job security in its young people and build good feeling and a sense of belonging among the population at large. The new administration should also focus on continuing to consolidate the nation’s soft power and to improve the sense of cohesion and unity in the Chinese national identity. Comrade Xi’s Southern Tour sends a strong signal that that the new administration has the courage and determination to push back against the unyielding, wade into treacherous waters, surmount ideological obstacles, and breach the defenses of entrenched interest

Closer Look: The Key to Making the Real Estate Market More Rational -Caixin – Housing curbs enacted by the government in 2010 slowed the excessive growth of housing prices, decreased sales volume and weakened the housing market. However, housing prices have not returned to a level that is appropriate to people’s incomes. Many people still cannot afford to buy a home. Housing prices are composed of four parts, namely the costs of land, taxes and fees, construction, and the developer’s profit. The profit for developers must be maintained above the level enjoyed by entrepreneurs in other fields or no one would be willing to enter the sector. There is not much room to cut construction costs due to the rising costs for labor and building materials. So the only ways to bring housing prices down to a rational level are reducing the costs of land, taxes and fees.

地方财政压力加剧_杂志频道_财新网 – this week’s Caixin on the increasing pressure on local governments’ finances// 财政支出压力居高不下,新增财力捉襟见肘,财政收支缺口巨大,而且地方债务逐渐进入偿还高峰,全年预算平衡难度为近年少见

Defying the Government, Chinese Families Resurrect Graves · Global Voices – Scores of families have fought back against a controversial campaign in China’s central Henan province to raze millions of graves for farmland and resurrected their ancestors’ resting places during the Lunar New Year. In the latest pushback against the government’s plans to free up land, local residents throughout the province restored about half of the dug-up graves, or about one million [zh], throughout February 2013, according to a local news report.

Chinese transport workhorses extending military’s reach | Reuters – and then there are all those struggling shipyards with excess capacity…// China is expanding its long-neglected fleet of supply ships and heavy-lift aircraft, bolstering its military prowess in support of missions to enforce claims over disputed territory and to defend Chinese interests abroad. These transport workhorses are unlikely to arouse the same regional unease as the steady rollout of high performance fighters, long-range missiles or potent warships, but they are a crucial element of the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) three-decade military build-up, defense analysts say.

China, den of cannibals? – China Media Project – Lu Xun’s diary of a madman still a must read// One of the most important recent pieces in the traditional media came the very same day the China News Service reported news of the Zhejiang trial. On February 20, China Youth Daily published a piece on page two by Zhang Ming (张鸣), a former CMP fellow and a professor of political science at Renmin University of China. Zhang’s piece argued China must reflect back openly on the Cultural Revolution if Chinese hope to regain a sense of humanity and dignity.

Tencent Opens Office in U.S., Taking WeChat onto Bigger Stage-Caijing – The company’s Corporate Development Group (CDG) will open an office in the U.S. led by vice president Zhang Xiaolong whose responsibilities include building a user base and customer relations department for WeChat in the world’s largest economy, said the company in an email sent to its staff on Monday. WeChat begun its overseas expansion last year, when Line, the Japanese messaging service came to China, home of its biggest rival.

U.S. Confronts Cyber-Cold War With China – NYTimes.com- When the Obama administration circulated to the nation’s Internet providers last week a lengthy confidential list of computer addresses linked to a hacking group that has stolen terabytes of data from American corporations, it left out one crucial fact: that nearly every one of the digital addresses could be traced to the neighborhood in Shanghai that is headquarters to the Chinese military’s cybercommand. That deliberate omission underscored the heightened sensitivities inside the Obama administration over just how directly to confront China’s untested new leadership over the hacking issue, as the administration escalates demands that China halt the state-sponsored attacks that Beijing insists it is not mounting. The issue illustrates how different the worsening cyber-cold war between the world’s two largest economies is from the more familiar superpower conflicts of past decades — in some ways less dangerous, in others more complex and pernicious.

 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Yum cutting some supplier ties after China food scare | Reuters – keep hearing Yum has bigger China problems than just juiced chickens// Diners began avoiding Kentucky-based Yum’s nearly 5,300, mostly KFC, restaurants in China in December after news reports and government investigations in the Asian country focused on chemical residue found in a small portion of its chicken supply. Yum was not fined by Chinese food safety authorities, but its restaurant sales in the country dropped and have yet to recover. As a result, Yum warned this month that it expected 2013 earnings per share to contract, rather than grow. Yum said it would end ties with smaller chicken suppliers that have not modernized their operations

CSRC Seeks Greater Influence over PE Funds – Caixin – (Beijing) – The securities regulator has been seeking greater authority over private equity investment, which has been largely governed by the nation’s top economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The latest progress made by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) includes two policies. One was issued on February 20 and addresses the regulation of privately offered funds that invest in public companies, including funds managed by private equity (PE) and venture capital (VC) firms. The other was announced two days earlier, opening the door for PE and VC funds to operate public funds.

Detailed property control policies underway: report – Xinhua | English.news.cn- Chinese authorities are discussing and preparing policy details to contain fast-rising home prices in some cities amid the government’s recent pledge to keep control measures continuous and steady, the China Securities Journal reported Monday. Related ministries and local governments have been offering policy suggestions and stepping up market analyses regarding recent dynamics in the property market, said the report.

Is China’s Property Market Topping Out? – China Real Time Report – WSJ- “People have so much money they don’t know where to put it,” J.P. Morgan’s Jing Ulrich told an audience of journalists on Feb. 25. “Property prices are a reflection of overall liquidity in the system.” China’s property cycle is incredibly short, typically lasting only 14 months, Ms. Ulrich said. If the market bottomed out in May or June of last year, we are nine months into the process. Property developers have spent the last few months raising funds, buying more land and ramping up construction and sales, Ms. Ulrich said. It might be time to start looking for a peak.

China’s riskiest property market just collapsed. Is this how it starts? Washington Post- how many times has hainan real estate “collapsed”? this is unlikely to be the catalyst for a broader crash that many bears have been calling for/(hoping for?) for years…several “frontier” real estate markets in china have already seen large declines…but expect this to get lots of play in the financial blogosphere// A real estate collapse in little Phoenix Island or in less-little Hainan is probably not the starter pistol for that bank run, unless Chinese consumers decide it is, in which case it is.

Chart of the week: the ups and down of Chinese property stocks | beyondbrics- The property sector, fuelled by hopes of economic growth and increasing stability in financial markets, has led the way for Chinese stocks. And if you take a longer view and go back to the pre-crisis months of early 2008, you can see that over the past five years, property stocks have done considerably better than the rest of the market.. What conclusions follow? First, equity investors don’t see any sign of the coming Chinese property crash so often predicted by China bears. The sceptics might retort that this is normal – there is no reason to expect equity investors to be ahead of other investors in spotting the disaster that is allegedly going to strike. But the sceptics have been saying this for five years and more, in some cases. Next, equity investors clearly have considerable faith in the authorities’ capacity to keep the property market afloat even as Beijing tries to curb what they see as excessive price rises.

货币政策重心现“控通胀”苗头 新华社——经济参考网 – 随着房地产、基建投资回暖,地方投资冲动加剧,流动性现过度宽松迹象,通胀压力逐渐加大引发市场担忧。《经济参考报》记者获悉,央行在2月的一份月度政策报告中认为,随着经济复苏力度增强,控制通货膨胀已经成为首要问题。接受记者采访的专家普遍表示,考虑到经济仍处于正常的复苏周期,货币政策收紧的空间有限,总基调仍将着力“稳健”,但重心已出现从“稳增长”转向“控通胀”苗头,短期内还将适度收紧流动性。长期看,央行需加快优化金融资源配置和提高金融效率,而非单纯依靠数量工具进行调控。

四天在京“吞”三幅地 绿地重心再返一线城市_财经频道_一财网 – 由于三四线城市地价已被炒高,消费支撑能力不及一二线城市,自去年7月起,绿地集团制定了重回一二线城市拿地的策略。

新国五条细化:供地计划3月底交卷_财经频道_一财网 – 房地产调控新“国五条”出台后,一年一度的全国住房用地供应计划正在加速制订,有望近期出炉。

唐志军:为何房地产调控基本无用(中)——房调政策的“十宗罪”-财经网 – 未严控货币供应量;未改变对土地财政依赖;未改变土的预期价值;未加快提高居民收入;未改变收入分配差距;未改变高额房产税费;未拓宽人们投资渠道;未搞好政府与市场分工;未避免政策间相互矛盾和抵冲;未做到全局思量和预期清晰

中央党校教授:房子是导致两极分化最重要原因|房子|两极分化|收入分配_新浪财经_新浪网 – 用“积极的公平”改善收入分配..想缩小收入差距,只解决垄断行业高工资等表层问题,是不行的,必须解决土地征用、土地出让金,以及创业和小企业发展等深层次的问题… 收入分配改革为何如此之难,其成因何在,出路何在?就此,中共中央党校教授周天勇接受了《瞭瞭望东方周刊》的专访。

China Quietly Invests Reserves in U.K. Properties – WSJ.com- China’s foreign-exchange regulator has been actively but discreetly investing in U.K. property and infrastructure, marking a significant shift in how the secretive manager of the world’s largest foreign-currency reserves uses its funds. Since May, U.K.-registered Gingko Tree Investment Ltd., a wholly owned unit of China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange, has invested more than $1.6 billion in at least four deals, including a water utility, student housing, and office buildings in London and Manchester, according to data providers that track property deals and disclosures by the companies that received the investments. People familiar with Gingko Tree say there have been other deals, but the details haven’t been disclosed publicly.

China’s Flash PMI Report Distorted – Business Insider – Why PMI is not a good barometer Neither the NBS nor the HSBC could do a good job in creating PMI during the Chinese New Year holiday. First, there could be a large amount of missing values for already small sample sizes (HSBC at around 500, NBS at 3000) due to the holiday. This is especially true for the HSBC February flash PMI this year as the holiday was from 9 to 15 Feb and the private sector’s holiday could last until end-Feb. Second, PMI data are heavily seasonally adjusted, but the season adjustment is quite inaccurate due to the different timing of CNY holidays and short history (since year 2005). In other words, Lu believes this may turn out to be a blip in a string of upward trending data.  Let’s hope he’s right and that this isn’t an inflection point to the downside.

China Prepares for Government Shuffle as Zhou Stays PBOC Chief – Bloomberg – Zhou will remain head of the People’s Bank of China, according to the person, who asked not to be named as the talks are private. The move contrasts with forecasts after he was left off the Communist Party’s revamped Central Committee member list in November, and comes ahead of an annual meeting of the nation’s legislature, when party boss Xi Jinping is projected to become president, and Li Keqiang premier.

 

POLITICS AND LAW

人民日报-深入学习贯彻党的十八大精神 努力开创 党风廉政建设和反腐败斗争新局面——在中国共产党第十八届中央纪律检查委员会第二次全体会议上的工作报告 – Page 2 People’s daily, Wang Qishan’s report to 2nd plenum of CFDIC in late January

Top Chinese anti-corruption official stresses frugality – Xinhua | English.news.cn – A top anti-corruption official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has vowed severe penalties for lavish banquets and tours fueled by public funds. The vow was made in a work report delivered by Wang Qishan, secretary of the CPC’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), on Jan. 21 at a CCDI plenary meeting…Professional activity conducted by senior officials who have left or retired from their posts should be regulated, Wang said, adding that the management and supervision of government workers whose spouses and children have moved overseas should be strengthened.

北京警方:尚未收到李天一案双方和解消息_资讯频道_凤凰网 – 几天来传得沸沸扬扬的李双江之子李某涉嫌轮奸案昨日再起波澜,一则“女主角撤销控诉,已达成和解意向”的微博在网上得到广泛传播。记者昨晚就此事进行求证,据可靠消息显示,警方目前尚未接到双方达成和解的消息。

人民日报-愿公平正义的阳光普照 —— 三论以实干贯彻十八大精神 – 实现公平正义,是一个长远目标,也是一个敏感的现实问题。做好这项工作,不可能一蹴而就、尽善尽美,也不能急于求成、苛求绝对。必须坚持实事求是,充分考虑现实的条件和可能,积极稳妥地推进这项工作。我们深信,勇于面对问题,积极解决问题,我们在实现公平正义的道路上就一定能够走得更好,助力中国的改革开放和现代化建设稳步前行。

“雅贿”与瓷器:送官员说值500万 纪委查就说值5000|瓷器|官员|纪委_21世纪网  giving fake antiques as bribes…official told one porcelain worth 5m rmb, CDIC appraised it at 5000 RMB// 核心提示:瓷器价值的不确定性在权钱交易的灰色空间中被充分利用,因为没有明确的定价标准,一旦东窗事发,价格的模糊也可以成为很好的搪塞理由。曾有纪委的办案人员就某位官员受贿的瓷器专门到景德镇找作者本人核实。根据这位大师的市场行情,那位官员收受的瓷器价格已经飙升到了500万元。但那位大师回复纪委说,这瓷器也就值5000元吧。之后,只能不了了之,事实也无法求证。

上海房价十年疯涨500% 专家称货币贬值实际在跌|房价|货币贬值|上海_21世纪网  核心提示:地产评论员谢逸枫形容,国务院对楼市十年九调房价却越调越上涨,可谓“调控犹如弹簧,打压越深反弹越高。”疯狂的货币超发,房价如脱缰野马。

China Austerity Drive Becomes a Joke – China Real Time Report – WSJ – The antics were all CCTV make-believe but they had their serious side and they suggest that the party is aware of public anger just below the surface. Making light of its own dismal track record on fighting corruption – on prime time television – might convince some viewers the Communist Party is trying to address some intractable problems.

习近平再出治吏新招 守法成官员考核标准_多维新闻网 – 【多维新闻】继1月22日发言要“要加强对权力运行的制约和监督,把权力关进制度的笼子里”之后,2月23日,中共总书记习近平在中共中央政治局第四次集体学习时要求全面推进依法治国。习近平强调,要坚持依法治国、依法执政、依法行政共同推进,坚持法治国家、法治政府、法治社会一体建设,各级组织部门要把能不能依法办事、遵守法律作为考察识别干部的重要条件。 从历史和文化上来说,中国一直是人治重于法治的国家,明君、清官情结根深蒂固。虽说“王子犯法与庶民同罪”,但那也不过是安抚民众的一个幌子罢了。如果没有严厉的惩罚机制,谁会不滥用权力而去“依法治国”?如果执政者不畏惧司法权,凌驾于法律之上,再好的法律也不能阻止“恶治”。

社科院:多数公职人员反对上缴亲属违规经营所得_网易新闻中心 – 核心提示:日前,中国社科院发布2013年《法治蓝皮书》。报告称,超6成公职人员和公众认为应当将公职人员直系亲属从事营利性活动的情况向社会公示;过半公职人员和公众认为应责令公职人员亲属退出营利性活动。然而调查显示,多数公职人员反对将亲属违规经营所得上缴国库。

全国人大常委委员:城乡户籍有60多种不平等福利|户籍|不平等福利|城镇化改革_新浪新闻 – 民建中央将在今年“两会”把城镇化改革问题作为重点提案提出 [主持人]:各位网友,上午好,欢迎收看人民网强国论坛视频访谈,今天做客演播室的嘉宾是全国人大常委会委员、内务司法委员会副主任委员、民建中央副主席辜胜阻。今天辜主席将和我们网友进行在线交流,探讨城镇化改革与农民工市民化这样一个话题,同时我们也欢迎网友积极地和我们进行在线交流和互动。辜主席您好。

四川出台省委“一号文件”: 实行农民增收县委书记、县长负责制_财经频道_一财网 – 提出改革农村集体产权制度,探索土地确权后增加农民财产性收入

革命的推特、维稳的微博 « Anti is Blogging – 从某种意义上说,微博是共产党政权控制地方的高级维稳工具。 简单说,删微博,只有中央政府才能做。地方政府为了适应这样的变化,只能通过三个方法,第一是建立现代信息发布机制,雇佣专业上被成为Spin Doctor的“微博发言人”;第二,被迫接受压力,道歉,并且进行一定程度的改革和透明化努力;第三,如果地方领导人没有深厚中南海关系,就得雇佣专业上被成为Lobbyist的中央代理人,说服中央微博舆论管理机构删贴。《新世纪周刊》揭露的一些所谓“非法删贴”现象,就是这些中央代理人的生意,这个产业,每年都是数亿人民币。 微博不是公民社会的福音。信息发布分散化造就了微博成为国民言论自由训练场,但信息控制精密化、中央集中化造成了公民社会空间缩小。政治改革转型,大都伴随着地方分权(Devolution)的过程,即便是中国的经济改革,也是从安徽农村和沿海城市开始,公民社会的成长,往往是对这些分权造成权力空隙的利用。但今天的中国,微博覆盖了全部舆论场,而能被审查通过的市民运动,也就是类似名人发起的慈善活动、以及针对地方政府的邻避环保运动。这种不会积累公民社会组织能力、不会损伤中央权威并且一切在中央可控之下的活动,能推动中国社会的程度也非常有限。 微博的中国,是信息过载、愤怒漫溢,但行动受限、也无法组织的三亿网民。他们是活火山,随时会爆发,但却会毫无章法。这造就了一个危险并且无法完全预测的中国社会未来。

 

FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS

All Japanese activities regarding Diaoyu Islands illegal: FM spokeswoman – Xinhua | English.news.cn- All Japanese activities regarding the Diaoyu Islands are “illegal and invalid,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said Monday. “The Diaoyu Islands are an inherent part of China’s territory,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing, adding that no country challenged China’s sovereignty over the islands from the 15th century to 1895

人民日报-美化侵略历史,不入流! 钟声 – 阻碍日本成为“正常国家”的,正是日本自身。一个公然美化侵略历史、否定世界反法西斯战争胜利成果、挑战战后国际秩序安排的国家,不可能融入国际关系体系

沈阳:如何看待“罗援微博”舆情事件?_观点频道_财新网 – 军方传统的话语体系“登陆”网络舆论场,有不兼容的地方;容易引发网民的好奇心,却难被心平气和地接受,引发反弹,双方都受到了文化震荡

What China’s hackers get wrong about Washington--Ezra Klein–Washington Post – What the Chinese hackers are looking for is the great myth of Washington, what I call the myth of scheming. You see it all over. If you’ve been watching the series “House of Cards” on Netflix, it’s all about the myth of scheming. Things happen because the Rep. Frank Underwood has planned for them to happen. And when they don’t happen, it’s because someone has counterplanned against him.

You Can’t Hack a Steakhouse – By Haley Barbour and Ed Rogers | Foreign Policy – In Washington, you don’t need a satellite to find out who is raising money for whom. Just look at the co-host list of an invitation to any fundraiser. And if the Chinese really want to get a look at where the power decisions get made, send an undercover eater to see who’s dining with whom at the Four Seasons for breakfast, Tosca for lunch, and the Palm or Oceanaire for dinner. And here’s a secret in Washington the Chinese haven’t hacked into yet: Actual decision-makers will meet with the actual experts and affected parties in order to make as informed a decision as possible. Shhhh. Don’t tell the Chinese….The Chinese government’s worst mistake was to imagine that it could find out anything worth knowing by reading things that were written down, electronically or otherwise. If anyone were writing down anything useful in the first place, WikiLeaks stopped all that. The fact is, you don’t have to spy — you can just ask. You don’t need to peep through the keyhole to follow the political maneuvering in Washington; just walk in to any good steakhouse and look around.

Digital Spying Burdens German Relations with Beijing – SPIEGEL ONLINE – Companies like defense giant EADS or steelmaker ThyssenKrupp have become the targets of hacker attacks from China. The digitial espionage is creating a problem for relations between Berlin and Beijing, but Chancellor Angela Merkel has shied away from taking firm action.

Revanchist China by John Lee – Project Syndicate – no mention of Deng Xiaoping by Lee? //The idea of Chinese renewal or rejuvenation was popularized by then-Premier Zhao Ziyang in the late 1980’s, and frequently promoted by Presidents Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. Most recently, incoming President Xi Jinping, visiting the National Museum of China’s “Road Toward Renewal” exhibition, pledged to continue the “great renewal of the Chinese nation.” What does “renewal” or “rejuvenation” mean to the Chinese? All nations – great and small – embody a combination of historical fact and myth. In this case, the CCP’s view of rejuvenation is built on the belief that the zenith of Chinese power under the Ming and Qing dynasties represents the natural, just, and permanent state of affairs for a 5,000-year-old civilization.

Japan film distributor goes bust; Senkaku row blamed | The Japan Times – The company had been slated to produce the movie “1905,” which was supposed to have been a Japan-China joint work. But the project bogged down due to the bilateral territorial row and Prenom-H ran into financial difficulties, Teikoku Databank said.

BBC says radio broadcasts being jammed in China | Reuters- China, which enforces strict restrictions on its domestic media, has been accused by several prominent foreign media of seeking to stop their news reports reaching Chinese audiences. “The BBC has received reports that World Service English shortwave frequencies are being jammed in China,” said the London-based public service broadcaster. “Though it is not possible at this stage to attribute the source of the jamming definitively, the extensive and coordinated efforts are indicative of a well-resourced country such as China.”

China Policy Institute Blog » Abe’s Southeast Asian Diplomacy: Intersection of the South and East China Sea disputes- While China’s political and economic leverage in Southeast Asia has become a subject of concern for some commentators on regional politics, the apparent success of Kishida and Abe’s diplomatic overtures was a timely reminder of Japan’s own importance to ASEAN countries. While China was ASEAN’s number one trading partner with 11.7% of the bloc’s total trade in 2011, Japan was just 0.3% behind with 11.4%, according to official statistics. Japan remains Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines’ top trading partner, Vietnam’s leading foreign investor, and a major source of cheap capital via its Official Development Aid program. Japan also has the fifth-largest defense budget in the world, despite its “pacifist” constitution, and that strategic heft is looking increasingly valuable to China’s co-claimants in the South China Sea. Japan, for its part, is seeking to spread its strategic burden through direct assistance to China’s principal rivals there, Vietnam and the Philippines.

U.S. media misquote China-related reports, causing concerns – Xinhua | English.news.cn- In a similar case, the Wall Street Journal misquoted a Chinese story in a recent report on China’s growing luxury shopping trips abroad. The writer of “China gets angry at overseas luxury shopping trips,” which published on Tuesday on its website, quoted a Xinhua story released a week earlier, saying it criticized Chinese consumers of spending wantonly abroad, avoiding tariffs that would benefit the nation. The reporter had unfortunately misunderstood the basic stand of the article, which was urging the “relevant departments” of the Chinese government to contemplate possible policy changes — such as to cut the high luxury import taxes — to gain these customers back, boost the domestic retail industry and add jobs.

Chinese general dives in deep end of social media- garnaut on general luo yuan’s weibo waterloo// But the less forgiving audiences on Weibo wondered why General Luo purported to fight for the ‘‘beloved Communist Party’’ before ‘‘the people’’ and whether generals should be so active in politics. And when General Luo sounded the bugle to fight ‘‘traitors’’ and ‘‘corrupt’’ officials they suggested he begin his mission at home, noting his siblings are extensively involved in business. But the public relations war really backfired when he appeared to be caught trying to even up the public opinion scorecard by writing laudatory comments about himself. He claimed his password had been hacked, prompting netizens to ask whether the PLA could be expected to defend China’s territorial integrity if its generals had such difficulty protecting their Weibo passwords. ‘‘If the national security professional can’t even change his password then the people really should be worried,’’ said Kaifu Lee, an IT entrepreneur who was the founding president of Google China, writing on his own Weibo account.

China living in denial of NK’s status as an ally – Globaltimes.cn- The North has never viewed China as an ally. Even if the two ever had friendship, China has already lost North Korea. The North has always been wary of China’s influence. In the 1950s, it introduced the ideology of Juche, which says that the Korean people are the masters of their country’s development. It also opposed flunkeyism, an idea which traditionally referred to subordination to Chinese Confucian culture and then meant subservience to foreign influence. North Korea used to count on China to shield it from the US’ threat and pressure of the UN Security Council. When China didn’t do what the North wanted it to, the North would turn hostile, as it did this time. Developing nuclear weapons is North Korea’s national policy. It’s not a bargaining chip that North Korea will give up under any circumstances. North Korea may pretend to do so in order to get economic assistance from other countries and wait for the right timing, but will never follow through with it. The article was compiled by Global Times reporter Wang Wenwen based on an interview with Zhang Liangui, an expert on North Korea at the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC.

 

HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN

Xi vows friendly ties with Taiwan in meeting with Lien | South China Morning Post- New Chinese leader Xi Jinping vowed on Monday to pursue friendly ties with Taiwan and keep seeking “peaceful reunification” in a meeting with an influential politician from the island, state media reported. Xi, who became Communist Party chief in November and is set to assume the country’s presidency next month, held talks with Lien Chan, a former vice president of Taiwan, the official Xinhua news agency said

人民日报-习近平总书记会见连战一行 – Page 1 People’s Daily on Xi Jinping’s meeting with Lian Zhan

China’s Xi to tread peaceful, patient path on Taiwan | Reuters – China’s Communist Party chief Xi Jinping pledged peaceful ties on Monday during a meeting with a Taiwan delegation, suggesting that the mainland’s policy towards the self-ruled island will not shift dramatically when he becomes China’s president. Peaceful development of cross-Strait ties is the duty of the Chinese Communist Party’s new leaders, Xi told Lien Chan, honorary chairman of Taiwan’s ruling Nationalist Party, whose four-day trip to China is seen as offering an early look at how Xi will handle relations between the political rivals.

 

TECH AND MEDIA

Can China Become the Next Silicon Valley? – WSJ.com – What we don’t see these companies doing is buying other companies. So an important distinction between China and Silicon Valley is the M&A route generally isn’t there—partly because for the entrepreneur in China, it’s all about the IPO. This has created companies that shouldn’t have tried to go public or shouldn’t have actually gone public when they did.

Ang Lee Best Director Win is Bittersweet for China Film Fans – China Real Time Report – WSJ – Mr. Lee’s own relationship with the mainland is complex. He’s had multiple movies banned or censored by Chinese authorities, and his martial arts epic “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” earned a lukewarm reception on the mainland. Yet he’s widely celebrated in mainland media and once told the Wall Street Journal that he considers himself “like a proud son of China.”

Ericsson Finds a Chinese Rival Hot on Its Heels – NYTimes.com – As long as there have been mobile phones, Ericsson has dominated the global market for equipment for wireless telecom networks, selling the biggest share of gear to mobile phone operators around the world. But last year something happened that even the longtime market leader, based in Stockholm, had never faced.A competitor, Huawei of China, pulled even in overall sales.//surprised this article does not mention that huawei set up its Swedish HQ “within sight” of Ericsson’s global HQ in Kista and hires a significant number of laid-off ericsson employees. the Swedish government appears to have not been paying attention…

 

SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY

The NFL’s prospects in China | The Li-Ning Tower- Former NFL safety Jack Brewer, who is very active promoting the game in China, admitted to me recently that the NFL had made some serious missteps in the past here by rushing in too quickly and then having to retreat somewhat. “It’s the NFL. We’re Americans. When are we not overambitious?” But he added that the league has learned from that and is now taking a slower, grassroots approach that it hopes will be more sustainable.

The Great Flourishing | Go West, Young Orchestra – It was not so very long ago that a concert tour in the United States was a dream come true for a Chinese orchestral musician – but times have changed. Indeed, the head of a major Chinese symphony recently told us that just a decade ago his main worry on a US tour was that one or more of his musicians wouldn’t come back to China.  Nowadays, he said, laughing, his biggest problem is getting his musicians to agree to go to the US (or Europe) in the first place.  They complain, he said, of jet lag, long flights, too little time for fun, language barriers, and accommodations and food that are sub-par compared to China

李双江之子:坑爹也被爹坑-中国青年报 – 在这个17岁的年轻人身上,既有在“名二代”的特殊身份下的各种荣誉,也有2011年打人之后被劳教一年的“污点”。  当他的母亲面对媒体数度哽咽,希望媒体和大众宽容儿子的时候,人们窥见一个“问题孩子”在家庭教育失当、社会教育缺位下的成长困境。

社科院蓝皮书建议逐步取消超生罚款_网易新闻中心 – 中国社会科学院昨天发布2013年《法治蓝皮书》,其中首次推出《中国政府采购制度实施状况》报告,显示政府采购的八成商品高于市场均价,浪费资金超三成。《公职人员亲属营利性行为的法律法规》报告则显示,有26.7%的省部级官员反对让亲属退出在其管辖行业从事营利性活动。

山地腰鼓_王少勤_博联社 – cool pics of dancing Shandong “waist” drummers, with audio of the drum dance…which auto plays…control at the top in the green box

People’s Daily slams ‘spoiled’ children of top officials | South China Morning Post – “Family education” among successful, well-known figures in China needed to be “cautious”, said the People’s Daily in an editorial on the case. “Many of these children have not experienced the hard work needed in the struggle to achieve success, but are shown the results of this success. “Used to getting everything they want and having all their problems handled, they will use their father’s name as an excuse, take flaunting wealth for granted and regard defying the law as brave behaviour.”

 

ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND HEALTH

内地器官捐献网络年内建成 按病情严重程度分配器官_资讯频道_凤凰网 – 原标题:器官捐献网络系统年内建成. 昨天,卫生部和中国红十字会总会联合召开全国人体器官捐献工作视频会议,此前在19个省市试点的人体器官捐献工作,本月开始将在全国所有省份推广。年底前,我国人体器官捐献信息系统将建成,届时,器官捐献者和需求者都可登录该系统申报登记。

百度对接药监局大数据 高价走私药“暗道”待堵_财经频道_一财网 – 目前制售假药已形成产供销一条龙犯罪产业链条,网络兜售假药情况突出,竞价排名、论坛、广告等往往成为不法分子的帮凶。

人民日报-农村治污没有退路(新论) 刘彦随 – 环保部近日发布的《化学品环境风险防控“十二五”规划》显示,我国化学品污染对人体健康和生态环境危害严重,个别地区甚至出现“癌症村”等严重的健康和社会问题。尽管目前关于“癌症村”的成因尚无官方的权威解读,但面对日益严峻的农村环境问题,应当对传统的发展模式、环保意识及民生理念深刻反思

China launches gross ecosystem product pilot – People’s Daily Online – China on Monday launched a pilot gross ecosystem product (GEP) evaluation system in Inner Mongolia’s Kubuqi Desert, a new attempt at securing more balanced, sustainable development.The scheme was introduced by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Elion Green Foundation, and Kubuqi, China’s seventh-largest desert, will be the first pilot area.The GEP, created and advocated by the IUCN, is meant to be an accounts system that corresponds to the gross domestic product (GDP) and measures the status of an ecosystem.

The 40b yuan cost of new emission rule | South China Morning Post- Stringent new emission standards that will be imposed on mainland carmakers from March 1 may cost the industry about 40 billion yuan (HK$49.28 billion), but well-prepared manufacturers say that for them, it is as much about opportunity as extra costs. From the beginning of next month, Beijing will become the first city in the world’s largest car market to ban registration of petrol vehicles that fall below the new National V emission standard.

 

FOOD AND TRAVEL

Champagne in China Seen Failing to Match Cognac Cachet – Bloomberg – There’s a problem with that plan: champagne doesn’t have the staying power of cognac, its fellow French export. The fizzy drink has to be consumed immediately after opening. Cognac, by contrast, can be kept for years and offered to special guests when the occasion warrants, said Paul French, an analyst with researcher Mintel in Shanghai. Most Chinese sales of cognac come around the just-finished Lunar New Year holiday, when Chinese often give friends and business contacts expensive bottles of cognac or baijiu — a local white spirit. These gifts are displayed “on a shelf, like a vase,” said French. “There’s a massive over-expectation about China” among makers of bubbly, he said. “Champagne is quite a hard product to push.”
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