THE ESSENTIAL EIGHT
1. Born Red – The New Yorker – Evan Osnos on Xi Jinping Shortly after taking over, Xi asked, “Why did the Soviet Communist Party collapse?” and declared, “It’s a profound lesson for us.” Chinese scholars had studied that puzzle from dozens of angles, but Xi wanted more. “In 2009, he commissioned a long study of the Soviet Union from somebody who works in the policy-research office,” the diplomat in Beijing told me. “It concluded that the rot started under Brezhnev. In the paper, the guy cited a joke: Brezhnev brings his mother to Moscow. He proudly shows her the state apartments at the Kremlin, his Zil limousine, and the life of luxury he now lives. ‘Well, what do you think, Mama,’ says Brezhnev. ‘You’ll never have to worry about a thing, ever again.’ ‘I’m so proud of you, Leonid Ilyich,’ says Mama, ‘but what happens if the Communists find out?’ Xi loved the story.” Xi reserved special scorn for Gorbachev, for failing to defend the Party against its opponents, and told his colleagues, “Nobody was man enough to stand up and resist.”
2. China relaxes mortgage rules for second home buyers – Xinhua Chinese authorities on Monday decided to relax mortgage rules for second home buyers to address demand for improved housing and lift the sagging housing market. Down payment levels for second home buyers in general will be lowered to 40 percent from the current 60 to 70 percent, said a statement jointly published by the central bank, Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, and China Banking Regulatory Commission. Down payments for second home buyers using public housing funds will be cut to 30 percent from the current 60 percent.
Related: China eases tax rules for home sales – Xinhua tax changes applies to “ordinary homes 普通住房 only, definition varies by city but are generally smaller, cheaper homes // Sales of homes purchased over two years ago will be exempt from a tax of 5.6 percent on the current and original price gap, Chinese authorities said on Monday. Currently, sales of homes purchased over five years are exempt from the tax. The new rules are meant to “promote a healthy development of the housing market,” Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation said in a joint statement.
Related: 信贷财税双管齐下 房地产政策放松超预期公司频道财新网 Caixin on the real estate support measures. expectations are key. If Chinese buyers see these moves as signs that the government is determined to arrest price declines you could see a surge of buyers. Few things make people here more upset than missing out on the “bottom”, and sentiment can turn on a dime…Still no sign of relaxation of the housing purchase restrictions in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hainan…the government still has tools left in its toolbox to stabilize at least some of the property markets, and at a minimum these moves are a sign that Beijing is both concerned and serious about not letting things fall off a cliff. But anyone paying attention was not surprised… // 本轮房地产组合政策力度堪比2008年金融危机期间的那一轮救市，楼市会否引发2009年的井喷局面？
Related: 买二套房首付降了 动画演示房地产利好新政策视频新京报网 The Beijing News has put together a cartoon explaining the real estate policy changes…real estate stocks soared ahead of the announcements, which had been leaking in various forms for days
3. China Appears to Attack GitHub by Diverting Web Traffic – NYTimes James Andrew Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the attack was an attempt to deal with extraterritoriality on the Internet. “China is trying to redefine the rules of the Internet and they’re feeling their way forward as they do it,” he said. “This is one of another set of actions to say China will have a bigger voice in how the Internet works.” He added that the United States had reacted strongly to distributed denial of service attacks by Iran in the past, and in this case the Obama administration could increase pressure and enact stiffer penalties against China if these types of attacks continue.
Related: Chinese authorities compromise millions in cyberattacks | GreatFire.org Based on the technical forensic evidence provided above and the detailed research that has been done on the GitHub attack, we can now confidently conclude that the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) is responsible for both of these attacks…These attacks also illustrate the shortsighted nature of the Chinese authorities. Weaponizing Chinese internet services stifles global confidence in Chinese entrepreneurs and contributes to the fragmentation of the global internet
4. China to Delay Some Bank Technology Rules – WSJ China has agreed to delay implementation of some bank technology rules that have sparked heavy lobbying from the U.S. government and technology companies due to protectionist concerns, a senior U.S. Treasury official said Monday. While it is a small victory for U.S. tech companies, it is unclear how long China will delay the rules and if it will agree to suspend them as the U.S. is requesting. It is also not clear how many of the rules will be postponed.
Related: Chinese premier urges U.S. to approve IMF quota reform – Xinhua | n a meeting that touched on many other aspects of global economic affairs, Li emphasized that China and the United States should jointly advance liberalization and facilitation of global trade and investment. He petitioned Lew over the United States relaxing limits on exports of high technology to China. Li said negotiations that are about to start over establishing a list of banned practices under the two countries’ bilateral investment treaty (BIT) will be their focal point on in the coming months. He said the Chinese government will further open up service and manufacturing industries by slashing the number of foreign investment limits by half. “China will open its door even wider to the outside world,” Li said. “The China market will be even more open, transparent and predictable,” he vowed.
5. Fifty Shades of Xi — China Media Project on Medium Likening the act of self-confession to “a first-person ‘struggle session’,” the poet Shao Yanxiang (邵燕祥) suggested the Soviet origin of the tactic was just part of the story. There were also precedents, she said, in China’s ancient imperial system and in the Republican era after the Xinhai Revolution of 1911, evidenced in the way “advisors, eunuchs and various Ah Q’s would strike their own ears and say, ‘The servant must die!’”..watch or read Shi Lianwen’s “confession” on the CCDI website, where it is part of a new multimedia feature series called “Records of Confession” (忏悔录), and it becomes clear that Shi’s primary crime is not the breaking of the law per se — rather, it is his betrayal of the trust and responsibility vested in him by the Chinese Communist Party.
Related: 千万不能跟党装两面人 耍两面派——山东省委原常委、济南市委原书记王敏案件警示录—中央纪委监察部网站 confessional of fallen Jinan Party secretary Wang Min posted today to CCDI website
6. China regulates against officials’ judicial meddling – Xinhua China has formulated measures to name and shame officials who interfere in judicial cases, in a move it hopes will prevent this common problem and advance the rule of law. According to the 13-article rules issued by the General Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the General Office of the State Council on Monday, judicial personnel are obliged to keep detailed records should the interference occur, no matter who is involved. Under the new rules, officials will have committed violations if they intercede for litigants, ask personnel handling cases to meet with the litigants or their defenders privately, or overstep their authority to make tendentious suggestions or directions on handling of cases by means of hearing reports, holding meetings or issuing circulars.
Related: China to punish judicial officials for illegal interference – Xinhua A regulation was unveiled on Monday that will see judges, prosecutors and police officers blacklisted and punished for illegally intervening in investigations and court proceedings. The document was adopted by the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee with the aim of safeguarding judicial independence. According to the 15-article rules, any judicial official who looks into cases will be put on record and those who interfere in investigations or court proceedings will be named publicly or held accountable. Violations identified include interceding for litigants, asking personnel handling cases to meet with litigants or their defenders privately, as well as handing over case-related materials, inquiring about cases and tipping off litigants.
Related: 领导干部违法干预司法可追刑责国内新京报网 新京报讯 干预司法可能令领导干部的“官帽”不保。昨日，中办、国办正式下发《领导干部干预司法活动、插手具体案件处理的记录、通报和责任追究规定》，从记录、通报、追责三个环节对领导干部干预司法活动的行为进行约束。规定提出，领导干部违法干预司法活动，可以给予纪律处分，构成犯罪的可以追究刑责。
Related: 二套房商贷首付最低降至4成财经新京报网 中原地产首席分析师张大伟分析称，在现行二手房营业税政策下，北京房地产市场成交的房源中，有30%左右是需要缴纳营业税的5年内再交易房源，而在市场占比30%的缴税房源中又有60%是2-5年期的，新政对这部分房源影响最大。新政实施后，这部分房源将明显减少税费支出，减少的税费支出平均将达到10万-15万。
7. Chinese tycoon denies colluding with disgraced senior spy Ma Jian | South China Morning Post Financial news outlets Tencent, Caixin and Caijing last week alleged that Guo Wengui, controlling shareholder of Beijing Zenith Holdings and Beijing Pangu Investment, conspired with government officials – including former deputy spy chief Ma Jian who came under investigation for corruption in January – in his rise to riches. Speaking to the South China Morning Post on Monday, Guo rejected accusations that he went into hiding overseas from mainland graft-busters after Ma’s downfall. Rather, he said, he was in New York to treat a long-term leg injury and would soon return…Meanwhile, in a statement released on Beijing Zenith Holdings’ website on Sunday night, Guo made an accusation against Caixin chief editor Hu Shuli. Caixin denied Guo’s allegation and said it had made a police report over the matter and would take legal action.
Related: 财新传媒声明公告板财新网 Caixin’s statement about Guo Wengui’s claims. Here is the recent Caixin story on Guo 【特别报道】权力猎手郭文贵 and an abridged translation of the original-Tycoon Said to Bring Down a Deputy Mayor, Control Key Beijing Land Deal
Related: 明鏡新聞網-政泉：针对胡舒立无理采访郭文贵家祖坟的回应 Mingjing has posted the full text of Guo’s accusations against Hu Shuli and Caixin. they include allegations of an improper business and personal relationship between Hu and Founder Group’s former head Li You (now detained), and several other nasty claims. No wonder Caixin is taking legal action…
Related: Chinese Outlets Say Security Official in Graft Case Had 6 Mistresses – NYTimes Reported Caixin in its recent story on Guo Wengui // The official, Ma Jian, a former vice minister of state security, could also have up to six villas in Beijing, according to the report, which was first printed in Caixin, a newsmagazine that has been regularly publishing details of anticorruption investigations into senior officials. Details of the Caixin report were published Monday by China Daily, an official English-language newspaper, and the China Daily article was posted on several official news websites.
Related: 对造谣诽谤决不能听之任之_手机环球网 interesting from the Global Times, weighing in on Hu Shuli’s side? // 必须指出，治理诽谤性传言是让所有人都多些安全的法治工程。因为如果“文革”中大字报式的人身攻击可以肆意转化到今天的互联网上横行，那是对法治的公然蔑视，是从与大众安全息息相关的方向挖社会秩序的墙脚。如果我们今天热衷于围观“莫须有”的丑闻，那么谁也不能打保票，下一个受害者不是他自己。一些人出于舆论阵营或圈子的利益，当己方人士受诽谤时就强烈谴责，协助反击。对方人士有同样遭遇时就拍手叫好，鼓动围观。这种做法极不可取，很多公共恶习就是沿着社会群体的裂缝不断扩大根系，渐成危害的。让各种“造谣有理”的诡辩都去见鬼。我们要一个讲理、守法的舆论场。我们呼吁越来越多受到诽谤的人站出来依法维权，我们尤其希望司法机关使出足够力量，打击形形色色的造谣者。
8. Humble Student of the Markets: Why China won’t devalue and start a currency war Almost daily, we are seeing headlines about weakness in the Chinese economy. As an example, the latest HSBC Flash PMI contracted to 49.2, which was an 11-month low and indicated contraction. Readings like these created pressure for more stimulus and raised expectations of currency devaluation, especially if you read Zero Hedge…Why China won`t devalue in the near future…Nothing could be further from the truth. There are two major reasons why Beijing will not devalue the yuan in the immediate future: The PBoC isn’t prepared for a major devaluation; and more importantly China would lose face. // and it would fly in the face of their geopolitical ambitions with “One Belt, One Road” and all that entails.
BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND TRADE
Central Gov’t Indicates Developers Can Build Bigger Homes – Caixin Two ministries have indicated that property developers can build more large homes to meet demand, but a developer says the government can do more to help the slumping property market. On March 27, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development and the Ministry of Land and Resources advised local governments to let developers choose how many large homes to build in order to meet demand. The document, which appeared on the land ministry’s website, did not include any specific details.
建海上丝绸之路“核心区” 福建迎多重利好要闻一财网 Fujian stands to be a huge beneficiary of the “Maritime Silk Road”-CBN // 首先在历史上，福建是海上丝绸之路的起点，在对外经贸文化交流史上发挥重要作用。泉州刺桐港是元代东方第一大港，福州长乐太平港是郑和七下西洋的重要基地;漳州月港是明朝中后期“海上丝绸之路”的始发港。
POLITICS AND LAW
Party discipline before law a must in China’s overall plan – Xinhua When inspecting central China’s Henan Province at the end of last week, Wang Qishan, head of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), said the Party should be run strictly and “enforcement of Party discipline should be put before the enforcement of law.” It is the first time that China’s top leaders mentioned putting discipline before law in enforcement, however, the idea is in line with the Party’s emphasis of discipline of laws when restraining its members. Since the 18th National Congress of CPC in 2012, the Party has repeatedly stressed Party discipline is stricter than state laws. Some people question whether that means Party discipline is superior to state law. It’s a misunderstanding, as all people are equal before the law, and Party discipline, which never conflicts with laws, requires officials and Party members to act in a more positive way.
China jails a Muslim for six years — for refusing to shave his beard – The Washington Post The original report, issued Friday, cited the political and legal affairs committee of the Kashgar government as the source. It was picked up by major Chinese Web portals on Sunday, but later deleted by censors. On Monday, the reporter concerned wrote an apology for filing “a false report,” although there was considerable skepticism online about whether this apology was genuine or made under pressure from red-faced local officials.
中青报：做官其实越来越容易了–观点–人民网 八项规定和高压反腐让一些官员没法儿像以前那么“任性”了，不能随意吃喝，不敢乱收礼物了，官场上似乎有一种“官不聊生”的抱怨声，称上上下下对官员如此苛刻，这官实在是越来越难当了。“为官不易论”之下，有人表现出消极不作为，以“不做事”表达软抵制；有人撒娇要辞职，下海找更赚钱的工作；有人说“从严”要循序渐进，突然的严厉会让干部很不适应。 不过，从我近来与一些官员的交流来看，他们很少有抱怨“官不聊生”的，倒是有不少人坦言“做官其实越来越容易了”。
FOREIGN AND DEFENSE AFFAIRS
我国海军舰艇从也门撤侨571人 同胞高呼祖国万岁新闻腾讯网 CCTV video report on PLAN evacuation of PRC citizens from yemen
China Is Urged to Confront Its Own History – NYTimes.com In the 1970s, Mao wanted a client state in the developing world to match the Cold War influence of the United States and the Soviet Union. He found it in neighboring Cambodia. “To regard itself as rising power, China needed that type of accessory,” Andrew Mertha, author of “Brothers in Arms: China’s Aid to the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979,” said in an interview. According to Mr. Mertha, director of the China and Asia-Pacific Studies program at Cornell University, China provided at least 90 percent of the foreign aid given to the Khmer Rouge, from food and construction equipment to tanks, planes and artillery. Even as the government was massacring its own people, Chinese engineers and military advisers continued to train their Communist ally.
Chinese air force conducts first drill in western Pacific | South China Morning Post The PLA held its first drill in airspace above the western Pacific Ocean on Monday, as part of its plan to boost capacity in far-seas operations, an air force spokesman said in Guangzhou, according to the military’s news portal. Colonel Shen Jinke said an unspecified number of aircraft took part in the exercise after flying over the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines. The planes returned to base the same day, he said, without giving more details.
江南造船厂购1600吨龙门吊 被疑用于造航母-51军事观察室 据中国起重机械网消息，江南造船厂近期购入了上海振华重工的起重量达1600吨、横跨超过150米的大型龙门吊，交货地点在长兴岛造船厂。 另据此前媒体报道，振华重工2011年6月29日向英国罗赛斯船厂船厂交付了高70米，横跨120米，最大起重1000吨龙门吊。罗赛斯造船厂购入中国千吨级龙门吊主要为生产排水量超过6万吨的女王级航母。
Military-Linked Hospital Allows Fake Doctor to Practice – Caixin Caixin’s discovery that an unqualified person was working as a doctor at a hospital in Beijing that is affiliated to the air force underscores the facility’s lack of supervision and accountability, problems a doctor says are rampant in military-linked medical institutions.
China blocks North Korean international bank membership | NK News – North Korea News DPRK fails to produce economic information or pledges on repayments required for AIIB membership
Xi eyes China-Australia FTA this year – Xinhua China is looking forward to a China-Australia free trade agreement being signed this year, President Xi Jinping said when meeting with Australian Governor-General Peter Cosgrove on Monday. “The two sides should work to sign and approve the free trade agreement this year and implement it as soon as possible, as it can act as a new accelerator for economic cooperation,” Xi told Cosgrove, who is making his first state visit to China.
Beijing’s Africa Problem: ‘No blacks’ Chinese restaurant shut down in Kenya | Mail & Guardian Africa However, the racist restaurant is symptomatic of a bigger problem the Chinese will increasingly face as they spread their wings further in Africa. In most African cities, the Chinese live apart from the African communities, rarely mixing except at work. Even there, from Uganda to Zambia, there has often been local anger at the Chinese for allegedly being abusive employers. A recent work law in Tanzania, one of China’s longest-standing allies on the continent, was seen as partly targeting the Chinese whom a Member of Parliament alleged were doing all sorts of businesses including “driving buses”, work that she said could be done by Tanzanians. // found via the excellent China Africa Project Email Newsletter
HONG KONG, MACAO AND TAIWAN
Taiwan in last-minute bid to join AIIB as founding member | South China Morning Post Taipei decided on Monday night to make a last-minute formal application on Tuesday to join the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as a founding member.
TECH AND MEDIA
Q. and A.: Adam Fisk on Evading Internet Censorship in China – NYTimes.com The biggest change has been the most recent V.P.N. blocking. To me, that blocking is fascinating in the sense that the ways V.P.N.s are blockable are obvious and trivial. So I think the reason they hadn’t been blocked earlier was that the only people who can access V.P.N.s are people who have foreign credit cards. Technically, that block was really fairly obvious. One of the reasons that Lantern exists is that things like V.P.N.s are easy to block. The V.P.N. blocking didn’t affect Lantern. // need to remember that not every VPN has been blocked
微信回应谣言：没有推出会员制度计划科技腾讯网 Tencent denies rumors it is about to launch a membership system for Wechat
Global tech events expand to China amid fast rise of both local buyers and manufacturers | South China Morning Post CES is not alone in its ambition to reach Chinese consumers and manufacturers on their home turf. Re/Code, the tech news site co-founded by influential tech writer Walt Mossberg, will also host an Asia-focused industry event, “Code Conference/Asia” in Hong Kong in late November. Tencent, one of China’s “big three” tech firms, is a founding partner of the event, tickets for which will go on sale for US$3,500 each.
Western media is full of sh*t – YouTube but you can always count on Western scholarship trailing not far behind. China in particular has been the target of ‘Western values’ propaganda and misinformation for centuries, with no end in sight. The NY Times, Economist magazine, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg all practice ‘Orwellian rules of writing’ and suppress non-Western words, ideas, and concepts. Thorsten Pattberg is the author of ‘The rising cult of China experts’ and ‘Free Asian Pacific from Western hold’. // wow
《三体》作者刘慈欣“加盟”腾讯：“科幻为电影和游戏而生”10%公司澎湃新闻-The Paper 那边厢，上个月《三体》电影版刚刚开机，刘慈欣化身电影监制；这边厢，刘慈欣又为手游《雷霆战机》“刷新世界观”，成为腾讯移动游戏“想象力架构师”。 3月30日，在腾讯互娱年度发布会上，畅销科幻系列小说《三体》作者刘慈欣展示了其为星际空战手游《雷霆战机》新版本撰写的9200多字的脚本和视频。
SOCIETY, ART, SPORTS, CULTURE AND HISTORY
China shuts downs 66 golf courses – Xinhua Chinese authorities have shut down 66 illegally built golf courses, according to a statement from the Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR) on Monday. The closed courses were found in many provinces, with three of them in Beijing. The statement did not specify a time frame during which these facilities were closed, but multiple ministries jointly issued a notice in July last year, asking for a crackdown on illegally built golf courses.
Robert L. Hite, Survivor of Doolittle Raid and Japanese Imprisonment, Dies at 95 – NYTimes After completing their bombing runs, the planes were to land at airstrips in China that had not fallen to the Japanese; the Hornet’s deck was too short to accommodate their return. But the planes encountered a storm and ran low on fuel, forcing crash landings and bailouts that killed three of the 80 crewmen. Eight others were captured. Three, including the pilot and the gunner of Mr. Hite’s plane, were shot by a firing squad. Another died from disease. Mr. Hite was imprisoned for 40 months, 38 of them in solitary confinement. His weight had dropped to 76 pounds from 180 when the war ended.
ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE AND HEALTH
A Struggle to Save the Scaly Pangolin – NYTimes Pangolin meat is considered a delicacy in parts of China, where it is believed to nourish the kidneys. Pangolin scales, made of keratin, like human fingernails, are used in traditional medicine to treat skin diseases and other ailments. Trade in the animal has a long history: In 1820, King George III of England was presented with a suit of armor made from pangolin scales.
Chinese Test Prep Database Yuantiku Pockets US$60M Series D Funding at US$360M Valuation – TechNode Founded by former NetEase executive Li Yong, the company behind Yuantiku pivoted from Fenbi, a social service for students and teachers built in 2012. The startup’s first K-12-focused offering, an exam database for National College Entrance Exam, became an instant hit after its launch in October 2013. The service claimed 13 million users as of present, up from 1.5 million in June last year.
Rhodes Scholarships Expanding to Include Chinese Students – NYTimes By entering China, the program, which has struggled financially in recent years, is also creating a new platform to raise money. But even among the many alumni who believe that an expansion is overdue and that Chinese students should be a part of it, there is some concern about whether the Communist Party will try to exert pressure on the selection process to exclude those who are deemed possible critics of the state…Some scholars even said that business and political elites, including Alvin Jiang, the grandson of former President Jiang Zemin of China, had served as advisers to the Rhodes Trust in fund-raising in China and that hints of political influence could taint the program.
首套国学高中教材今秋进课堂国内新京报网 Chinese Classics coming to high school classrooms starting this Fall // 共4册，供高一、高二年级使用；教材将原文全本讲解《道德经》– 新京报讯 （记者黄颖）孔子的“仁”和苏格拉底的“善”有何区别？这些内容将在大陆首套国学教材《中华优秀传统文化教育全国中小学实验教材》的高中四册书中出现。据介绍，该套教材主要供高中一、二年级使用，除了《道德经》为原文全本讲解外，《论语》、《孟子》以及《大学·中庸》都是按主题归类讲授，预计今年秋季开学投入使用，学校可自行选择是否使用。
重污染预计超72小时将单双号限行国内新京报网 Beijing lowers thresholds for taking actions like restricting car traffic on heavily polluted days // 昨日，《北京市空气重污染应急预案》发布，其中，空气重污染红色预警启动条件由“持续3天出现严重污染（六级）”变为“空气重污染（五级）将持续72小时以上”。这意味着，当预计重污染持续超过72小时，将启动单双号限行。
政府企业采购减少 京城茶庄难觅万元以上明前茶新闻腾讯网 Xi’s 8 regulations and the corruption crackdown have hurt the high end tea business. Beijing Youth Daily looks a tea merchaots in the capital
If you like Sinocism please spread the word using this link.
Follow me on Twitter @niubi for updates between newsletters
Send comments/tips/complaints to [email protected]
And if you really like Sinocism, feel free to donate some money, with Bitcoin or a credit card. Thanks.